From the very beginning, the Communists repressed the legal opposition (the Polish Peasant
Party) and eventually led to its complete liquidation in 1949 (de facto it lost its importance as
early as 1947). The underground independence movement was decimated by brutal
repressions. Religion was also fought with and clergymen were repressed. Polish society was
intimidated. The security apparatus tracked down all the enemies of the state, whether real or
imagined, and the courts, which depended on them, imposed severe penalties, including the
death penalty. The Ministry of Public Security had at its disposal a whole army of Security
Officers and a large number of informants, necessary to supervise the society on an
unprecedented scale in Poland.
Between 1944 and 1956, the communist state security apparatus arrested about 300,000
Polish citizens (the highest number in 1946), and until 1953, "for crimes against the state"
military courts sentenced over 70,000 people, including 5,000 to 8,000 to death (more than
3,000 sentences were executed). It is estimated that the total number of communism victims
in the years 1944-1954 may reach as much as 50,000.