Supreme National Committee

Fischer 1-2 | not included in Michel | Year of issue 1914

On 16 August 1914, the Naczelny Komitet Narodowy (NKN = Supreme National Committee) was founded in Kraków. Under Austrian protection, the NKN formed three Polish legions, fighting against Russia as Polish units within the Austro-Hungarian army.



Polish eagle





First Kraków issue ("Poczta O.K.N.K.N. - Na skarb Legionów")





Second Kraków issue ("Na skarb Legionów")


16 sierpnia 1914 = 16 August 1914


The NKN, founded by Józef Piłsudski, was led by Władysław Sikorski. The first task of the NKN was the liberation of Russian-occupied Galicia. The legions drew their members mainly from the Riflemen's Association and other Polish organisations dedicated to Polish independence. The Riflemen's Association was a Polish paramilitary organisation founded in 1910 as ZS (Związek Strzelecki) in Lwów and Towarzystwo Strzelec in Kraków. Secret paramilitary organisations also sprang up in the Kingdom of Poland and the Prussian partition. The principal aim of the Riflemen's Association was to train officers and soldiers for the struggle against Russia. Polish Legions were active from 1914 to 1917 on the side of the Central Powers, under the command of the Austro-Hungarian army, but politically responsible to the Supreme National Committee. It was the highest authority in military, fiscal and political matters for Polish armed forces. The NKN had two autonomous divisions: one in the east, in Lwów, and the other in Kraków. The military side of NKN was the most important. In October 1914, the secret POW (Polska Organizacja Wojskowa or the Polish Military Organization) was established for the organisation of partisan warfare in Russian Poland. Russia promised that Poland would be restored as an autonomous kingdom. This policy secured the support of an important faction of Polish nationalists, led by Roman Dmowski who established the Polish National Committee in Warsaw on 25 November 1914. The Polish National Committee was supported by the National Democrats. Roman Dmowski hoped to reconstitute a Polish state under Russian protection, while the NKN oriented towards accommodation with the Central Powers.

Examples of NKN cancels
"Strzeleca Komenda Etapowa - Poczta polowa"


Examples of NKN cancels
"Poczta Polowa W.P. (Wojsk Polskich) - Jędrzejów"

Examples of "14 Sierp(nia) 1914" cancellations (14 August 1914)


Postcard marked with closing label for widows and orphans

NKN label "Naczelny Komitet Narodowy"

NKN label "Departament Wojskowy N.K.N."