Military service was of great importance for Polish citizenship in the period from January 31, 1920 to January 18, 1951.
Completion of military service in a foreign army during this period resulted in the loss of Polish citizenship. In accordance with the case law, this applied to any type of service (including backup) and was independent of the will of a given person (Article 11 (2) of the Act on Citizenship of the Polish State of 1920)
On the other hand, the fact that men were obliged to perform military service in the Polish army meant that their acquisition of foreign citizenship did not result in the loss of Polish citizenship. Subject to military service depended on the age of the man. The situation for women was a bit more complex.
In the period from October 28, 1918 to November 19, 1924, the Provisional Act on Universal Duty of Military Service was in force. During this period, men were generally subject to compulsory service from 1 January of the calendar year in which they reached the age of 18 until the end of the calendar year in which they reached the age of 50. Pursuant to Art. 5 of this Act, the obligation to serve in the army begins on January 1 of the calendar year in which the obligee ends 20 years. On the other hand, pursuant to Art. 14, all men are obliged to serve in the mass army from January 1 of the calendar year in which they turn 18, until January 1 of the calendar year in which their duty to serve in the army begins, or in reserve, i.e. in which are 20 years old; all those who completed their service in the army stood in reserve, in reserve and in national defense. The duty of service in the mass start for this category starts from the calendar year in which the obligated person turns 41 and lasts until the end of the calendar year in which he turns 50; all those who were not released from active military service, but on the basis of a legally valid decision of the competent military authority, either during the inspection or later, were included in the mass mobilization. The duty of service in the mass move for them begins when they are included in the mass move and lasts until the end of the calendar year in which they turn 50.
In the period of November 20, 1924 until September 1, 1938, the Act of May 23, 1924 on universal compulsory military service (Journal of Laws No. 61, item 609) was in force for men aged 17 to the end of the calendar year in which they turned 50.
In the period from September 2, 1938 to May 28, 1950, the Act of April 9, 1938 on universal military duty was in force (Journal of Laws No. 25, item 220, as amended). At that time, the military obligation was imposed on men aged 17 to the end of the calendar year in which they turned 60.
On the other hand, in the period from September 2, 1938 to November 3, 1943, women were subject to auxiliary military service from the age of 19 to the age of 45, in the period from November 4, 1943 to March 19, 1945, from the age of 18 to the age of 45, and from the age of 20 March 1945 to May 28, 1950 again from the age of 19 until the age of 45. Then, on May 29, 1950, the duty of auxiliary military service for women began at the age of 18. Initially (i.e. in the period from September 2, 1938 to March 19, 1945), women were subject to the obligation of military service to a limited extent. This obligation applied to women who, in times of peace, underwent military training for auxiliary military service or in times of war, mobilization, and in times of state emergency, volunteered for auxiliary military service and were deemed fit to perform this service. The Council of Ministers, at the request of the Minister of Military Affairs, may, in time of peace, impose the obligation of military training for auxiliary military service on women under the age of 45 who have obtained proof of graduation from a general secondary school or a state or non-state vocational gymnasium with the rights of state schools or schools (studies) high school degree. On the other hand, from March 20, 1945, the duty of auxiliary military service was a common burden for women. Therefore, while until that date the duty of women to perform military service was dependent on the fulfillment of additional conditions, from March 20, 1945, there should be no doubt that women were obliged to perform active military service. In accordance with par. 16 REGULATION OF THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENSE of December 14, 1942, issued in consultation with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Interior and Social Welfare on the voluntary enlistment of women for auxiliary military service in the Polish Armed Forces military auxiliary service, performed by women, is equivalent to active military service (Journal of Laws 1942.11.25 of 1942.12.31).
As a curiosity, it can be added that women who were wedding children of Polish citizens and whose father lived, were protected until the age of 18 from losing Polish citizenship as a result of acquiring foreign citizenship (they lost Polish citizenship only together with their father). Meanwhile, as described above, the duty of auxiliary military service did not always start from the age of 18. This would mean that the period when the duty of auxiliary military service began from the age of 19, and the wedding daughter who would acquire foreign citizenship between the age of 18 and 19 would lose Polish citizenship. Similarly, if one were to adopt an unfavorable interpretation (see the judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court of 27 April 2022, II OSK 1648/19) that also earlier naturalization (before the wedding daughter turned 18 would result in the loss of Polish citizenship at the age of 18. such an interpretation, also the lack of being subject to auxiliary military service from the age of 18 would result in the loss of Polish citizenship upon reaching the age of 18. However, in the periods when the obligation of auxiliary military service began from the age of 18, the risk of losing Polish citizenship as a result of earlier naturalization did not appear As mentioned above, from May 29, 1950 this applied to all women, earlier - from November 4, 1943 to March 19, 1945 only selected groups of women. 2022 II OSK 1648/19 leads to very complicated legal interpretation results and should be rejected as such.
In the period from May 29, 1950 to April 22, 1959, the Act of February 4, 1950 on universal military duty (Journal of Laws No. 6, item 46) was in force. At that time, men aged 18 to 50 were subject to military duty. Women were compulsory of auxiliary military service from the age of 18 to 40.
It must be remembered that on January 19, 1951, the provisions on Polish citizenship changed and the issue of military service ceased to be relevant.
The judicature has established a number of rules regarding military service. It is worth, among others remember that:
- 1. Military service in the army of a state fighting against Germany during World War II did not result in the loss of Polish citizenship (this also applied to the period after the end of World War II until demobilization).
- 2. Women who were not subject to compulsory military service always lost their Polish citizenship upon acquiring foreign citizenship.
- 3. Polish citizenship was not lost if the acquisition of foreign citizenship took place during the period of being obliged to perform military service. However, upon exceeding the age limit of 50 or 60 (depending on the applicable law), Polish citizenship was lost. It is comforting that the loss was not retroactive, which means that the wedding children of such a man did not lose Polish citizenship if they had reached the age of majority in the meantime.
- 4. There is no clear line of jurisprudence in the field of qualifying the duty of auxiliary military service of women as an obligation of the so-called active military service, which protected against the loss of Polish citizenship in the event of acquiring Polish citizenship. Whereas W. Ramus in his study "Legal institutions on Polish citizenship", ed. 1980 p. 244. includes women's auxiliary service to the concept of active military service.