Piotr Niwiński: Krzyż harcerski
Polish Scouting Badges & Pins (ZHP)
This is a guide that will assist in the basics of Polish Scouting Badges and the authenticity of their rarity.
The Polish Scout movement was started in 1910. Initially the ideas of Scouting were implemented by Andrzej Małkowski and his wife Olga. The three main branches of Polish Scouting included the Strzelec paramilitary organization for boys, a sport and education society Sokół and the anti-alcoholic association Eleusis. However, it wasn't until the Partitions of Poland came to an end that the ZHP would be officially founded by the merging of existing groups.
Soon after the merger in 1918, the ZHP members fought in all the conflicts Poland was engaged in around this time: Great Poland Uprising, Polish-Bolshevik War, Silesian Uprisings, and Polish-Ukrainian War, much like their predecessors during the Siege of Mafeking.
All of the units joined together in 1918 and formed the ZHP, one of the founding members of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. Although many units retained their own traditions, a common law, common symbols and a common oath was introduced.
The common pin is the Scouts cross however without a serial number on the back of it, it is simply part of mass production and never at any stage issue. The value is in the issue of crosses and not necessarily the cross itself, unless the cross represents a ranking. Rankings involve certain parts of the cross being plated in gold.
The Krzyż harcerski (The Scouts Cross) is the symbol of the Polish Scouting awarded to all Scouts, Senior Scouts and Rangers. It was first used by an underground Scouting organisation in Warsaw in 1912. The initial design by Kazimierz Lutosławski has not been modified significantly ever since. It is worn over the heart, two fingers above the left pocket of the uniform. In November 1918 the Polish Ministry of War Affairs decreed that the Krzyż Harcerski is the only civilian sign that can be worn on military uniforms. This tradition lasts to this day.
The Scouting Cross
The central point of the Cross is the Fleur-de-lys, an ancient symbol of virtue and purity. It is used worldwide as a symbol of the Scouting Movement. The three letters ONC on the wings of the symbol stand for "Ojczyzna, Nauka, Cnota" (Polish for Motherland, Education, Virtue). The middle wing with the letter N is also to symbolise a compass that should guide every Scout through his or hers life. The Fleur-de-lys on the Scouting Cross does not have the ONC letters, which were replaced by two stars, the symbol of wide-open eyes of a Scout.
A circle or a ring, a symbol of both perfection and unity of all Scouts surround the Fleur-de-lys. The rays around the inside of the ring signify the Latin phrase per aspera ad astra ('through hardships to the stars').
The wreath around the centre of the Cross is composed of two parts. To the left there is a chain of oak leaves which symbolise strength, courage, heroism and agility. To the right there is a chain of laurel leaves - symbol of victory. A Scout is to achieve victories over his own weaknesses rather than over an enemy. Thus the laurel leaves signify also the knowledge and proficiency. The tie between both chains is to remind every Scout to commit good deeds every day.
The arms of the cross are filled with grains of sand. Their purpose is to symbolise both the multitude of Scouts on Earth and stones that are thrown on the road of a Scout by fate. The word Czuwaj (for Beware and be aware) is the motto and the greeting of all Polish scouts and symbolizes readiness.

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