Although one of the higher of Poland’s orders with a strong collector following, this decoration has not yet been discussed in any great detail on this forum. The greatest interest remains with the pre-WW2 issues, hence this threads inclusion in this section of the forum.
By way of a very brief history (there’s plenty of detailed info available on the web that I won’t bother repeating here), the “Polonia Restituta” was formally established in 1921 and has remained a national decoration ever since, being re-adopted by the successive governments. Following WW2 it was awarded by both the exile government and also the Soviet-controlled communist regime on Polish soil.
The Order ranks third in the Polish Order of Precedence, behind the Order of the White Eagle and the Order of Virtuti Militari.
Most collectors refer to it simply as Polonia Restituta (Poland Restored), which is the Latin text on the center disc of both cross and the star of the order. The Polish name is Order Odrodzenia Polski, which translates most accurately as “Order of Poland Reborn”.
The Polonia Restituta was awarded to military, civilians, and foreigners in five grades:
1. Grand Cross (Krzyż Wielki) – 68mm cross and breast star
2. Commander's Cross with Star (Krzyż Komandorski z Gwiazdą) – 58mm cross and breast star
3. Commander's Cross (Krzyż Komandorski) – 58mm cross
4. Officer's Cross (Krzyż Oficerski) – 53mm cross
5. Knight's Cross (Krzyż Kawalerski) – 42mm cross
Pictured below are the five classes. These are all pre-WW2 Polish 2nd Republic issues in their original presentation cases.
Tacked onto the end in the one picture is a Star of the Order, which was occasionally coupled to a separately cased Grand Cross, and also a Commander's Cross to create a 2nd Class award of the Order.
I encourage members to post their Polonia Restituta’s, regardless of era.