In a solemn ceremony held in Warsaw, Marshal Józef Piłsudski and General Władysław Anders were commemorated on the 86th and 51st anniversaries of their passing away. Also, the 77th anniversary of the entry of Anders’ soldiers into the fray of the Battle of Monte Cassino was celebrated.
Bologna honours memory of its Polish liberators
Commencing in the ceremony at the Krasiński Park in Warsaw, the head of the Office for War Veterans and Victims of Oppression (USKOR) Jan Józef Kasprzyk laid a wreath at the feet of General Anders’ commemorative plaque. The official recalled that the general was an outstanding figure of Polish history because he had formed an army from people sentenced to toil at Soviet gulags.
“He knew how to enkindle faith in the hearts of people full of doubts born in the soviet captivity. Out of thousands of vagabond soldiers, he knew how to form an invincible army that, through the victories of Monte Cassino, Ancona, Bologne, proved its capability to win and that nothing is impossible for the Poles,” Mr Kasprzyk said.
By force of the Polish-Soviet agreements guaranteed by the Sikorski-Majski Agreement of July 30, 1941, the Poles apprehended in 1939-1941 and illegitimately held captive by the Soviets were to be released. As many as 120,000 people left the “inhumane land” of Soviet Russia. From the released Poles, the II Polish Corps was formed — force commanded by General Anders.
Jan Józef Kasprzyk recalled that the anniversary of the general’s death coincides with the anniversary of the beginning of one of the most important battles of his soldiers, that is, the victorious Battle of Monte Cassino.
In the battle for Monte Cassino, a hilltop that soldiers of a number of states failed to capture, all units of the II Corps took part. The hill and the Benedictine abbey were captured on May 18. A total of 923 Polish soldiers fell in the fierce combat, while nearly 3,000 were wounded. The victory opened the road to Rome to the Allies and rendered it possible to drive Germans out of the Apennine Peninsula swiftly.
United by faith in victory
At noon, before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw, the tribute was paid to General Józef Piłsudski and General Władysław Anders alike.
Mr Kasprzyk stressed that Marshall Piłsudski and General Anders held in common the firm faith in victory and independence of Poland. “They knew how to tell their subordinates that there is no more precious and important a thing than sovereignty and the independent Republic of Poland. They could convince young people and Polish soldiers even in the direst of situations that the victory can come, that if one has strong faith and hope that Poland would be free, then a miracle can occur.”
Józef Piłsudski died on May 12, 1935, in Warsaw. He was a social and independence activist. From November 11, 1918, he was the chief commander of the Polish Army. In 1918-1922, he was the Chief of State. He became the first marshall of Poland, whereas the Polish armies under his command stopped the Soviet aggression in 1920.