Wladyslaw Anders was born in Blonie, a village about 100 miles west of
Warsaw. During World War I he served in the 1st Squadron of the 1st
Krechowiecki Lancers Regiment in the Tsar's army. After the war he was
apppointed leader of the 15th Poznanski Lancer's Regiment in the newly
formed Polish army - a regiment he led into battle during the Polish-Soviet
war of 1919. He rose to the rank of General.
When Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, the Novogrodek
Cavalry Brigade under General Anders' command fought at Lidzbark. The
Germans were so overwhelming in men and materiel that Anders had to
withdraw. He was shot twice but continued to lead his men to safety.
Within days, the Soviets invaded eastern Poland. Anders was captured by
He survived the most notorious prison at Lubyanka for two years.
The tide changed when the Nazis invaded Russia. A Soviet-Polish agreement was made which allowed for the formation of a Polish army
on Soviet territory. Anders was hastily released from prison and named Commanding General of the new army. Poles who had been
deported when the Red Army invaded eastern Poland were interned in labor camps and concentration camps throughout Russia. Now
they were being released to join the new army. Along with them were thousands of Polish civilians who followed the army in order to
survive. When the Polish troops were all assembled for inspection, General Anders was shocked and visibly moved to see that they were
all severely emaciated and starving, dressed in rags and no shoes. But each and every one stood at attention proud of their rank and
the ability to serve again.
Anders knew firsthand the lengths of Soviet deception and tried to warn the Churchill but to no avail.; The decisions taken at Yalta were
irreversible.; It was a betrayal of Poland's confidence in its Allies, and sealed Poland's fate for the next 50 years. When World War II came
to an end, the Polish soldiers who had fought so bravely on the side of the Allies found themselves homeless, and stateless. They
suddenly became pariahs - unwanted by the British government nor by the British people. Despite the Allied victory, the British
government was adamant that Poles never again speak of the war, so great was their fear of offending the Soviet Ally.
The Grand Victory Parade held in London on June 8, 1946, was a celebration of all the nations who fought against the Nazis. .Every
country was represented but the II Polish Corps was not invited.
In the United States, the Commanding General of American Forces in the Mediterranean, General Lee, introduced a bill to the US
Congress calling for special emigration rights to the men of the II Polish Corps and their families, and granting American citizenship to
those who can't return to Poland. The Bill was killed by Secretary of State Dean Acheson.
In Communist Poland, the popular song about the II Polish Corps. The Red Poppies of Monte Cassino was banned.
Many Polish servicemen emigrated to the US, Canada, and Australia. Other remained in England.. General Anders lived the rest of his
life in England, but never applied for British citizenship. He died on May 12, 1970, and at his request was buried with his men at the Polish
Cemetary at Monte Cassino.
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