Central European and WWII debate at Imperial War Museum
A debate on WWII and its consequences for Central Europe is being organized in the Imperial War Museum in London this Saturday.
Krysia Kolosowska reports
It is a part of the "Polish Paths to Freedom" project developed in association with the Polish History Museum in Warsaw and focusing on the history of Poland and of Eastern Europe.
The Polish History Museum in Warsaw and the Imperial War Museum in London have joined hands to give British people a closer insight into some lesser known chapters of World War Two. Polish History Museum director Robert Kostro says the Saturday debate will highlight the specific Polish and East European experience of the 2nd world war.
"We experienced 2 phases of the war. First - when we had two enemies - Germany and the Soviet Union, and second phase, when we fought on the same side as the Soviet Union with Western allies. In the final account, Poland, which was a part of the anti-Nazi coalition from the very beginning, did not profit from the fact that Nazi Germany was defeated."
Poland, Robert Kostro recalls, found itself in the Soviet bloc and was deprived of democracy and freedom for over 4 decades. Hence the theme of the debate - Who was the winner? The debate will close the "Polish Paths to Freedom" film season at the Imperial war Museum.
This is not the first time that the Polish History Museum and the Imperial War Museum prepare joint events for the British people. Last weekend was devoted to the Anders army and saw surviving veterans recall their fight. General Wladyslaw Anders created a Polish Army in the Soviet Union. That was after Germany's attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, which prompted Moscow to let some Poles out of its prisons. Squabbles with the Soviet authorities eventually made general Anders lead his men, along with a large number of Polish civilians, out of the Soviet Union. They embarked on an epic journey into Iran, Iraq and Palestine, where general Anders created the 2nd Polish Corps, which fought heroically in the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy. Director Kostro.
"Eventually, many soldiers of the Anders Army, including general Anders himself, stayed in Britain. Their story is very interesting from the point of view of Polish experience of the 2nd world war but also it should be interesting for the British people because it shows how the first wave of Polish immigrants came to Britain."
The Polish senate declared 2007 the Anders Year, to honor the memory of this outstanding Polish politician and general, who until his death in exile in 1970 remained hostile to the communists. Jaroslaw Kozminski, editor in chief of Dziennik Polski, or Polish Daily, published in London, says general Anders was and is a very important figure for Poles, especially those who settled in the UK after the war.
"We Poles are a part of European history. We took part in World War II but the knowledge of our role is not common. The projects at the Imperial War Museum is a lesson not only for British or Polish people resident in London, but for all visitors. London is a multicultural city perfect to show the role and place of Poles."
Karol Borowski of the Anglo-Polish Orla Radio in London found the Anders army exhibition fascinating.
"Last weekend visitors to the Imperial War Museum in London were surprised when they were greeted by ex-soldiers of the Anders Army. Thanks to cooperation with the Polish History Museum the exciting history of the Anders Army became alive once again."
The Anders Army event at the Imperial War Museum was addressed to visitors of all ages. There were educational workshops for children and special theme paths for adults, recalling the memory of the Anders Army, which was destroyed for decades by the communist leaders of Poland.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]