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General Stanisław Sosabowski and the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade in Arnhem.


MareGaea 29 | 2,752  
22 Sep 2009 /  #1
In this time of the year, in the area where I am from in the Netherlands, the Battle of Arnhem is always commemorated. Many British ex-soldiers who fought there come to visit the former landing sites and to cry with the loss of their comrades. However, I never see that many Polish former paratroopers join in the procession. At least, they hardly get mentioned in tv-coverage. This is unfair as the Poles fought very bravely in an effort to liberate my part of the country from occupation. I always have felt deep respect and gratefulness towards General Stanisław Sosabowski, who was so brave and sent his men to a slaughter the British knew they could never win, and afterwards got the blame for the failure of Market Garden. He got rehabilitated later on, but still, I think it's a shame what the command of the 30th Army Corps did to the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade. Some links:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanis%C5%82aw_Sosabowski

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Arnhem

Any comments?

Edit:

Is this commemorated in Poland too?
How is Sosabowski looked upon in Poland? He never came back to PL again during his life.
What is the Polish opinion about the fact that the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade never got to fight in Poland because the Russians did not allow the use of Russian airfields?

M-G (was born not that far from Arnhem)

Nah, nobody interested in the fate of Sosabowski?

Tsk!

M-G (tsk, tsk, tsk!)
Mikolaj Rosz 1 | 4  
22 Sep 2009 /  #2
MareGaea

In Australia me and my friends commemorate these men every year...We have a Polish soldiers day event every year....Is this world wide????
My friends Dad was a member of the Polish Para.

And he we are!!!

Cheers

Mikolaj
OP MareGaea 29 | 2,752  
22 Sep 2009 /  #3
I don't think it's world wide - at least I've never heard something like that. Which kinda surprises me as the Battle of Arnhem is one of the most important and defining battles of WW2.

M-G (the 2nd and 10th SS Panzer-Division was stationed in the woods around the village where I was born)
Mikolaj Rosz 1 | 4  
22 Sep 2009 /  #4
I don't think it's world wide - at least I've never heard something like that. Which kinda surprises me as the Battle of Arnhem is one of the most important and defining battles of WW2.

Thats a shame! Oh well, we remember them.

Cheers

Mikolaj



Harry  
22 Sep 2009 /  #5
What is the Polish opinion about the fact that the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade never got to fight in Poland because the Russians did not allow the use of Russian airfields?

The general view that I've encountered from Poles is that to them this is just another example of how Britain 'betrayed Poland and sold Poland to the Soviets'....
OP MareGaea 29 | 2,752  
22 Sep 2009 /  #6
Harry

Ok, this opinion was to be expected. What interests me most is how the Poles look upon their brave fellow country men who entered a battle in a country that was not their own and which they knew they would never gonna win. Because over here in the area where I come from, everybody speaks with deep respect and sympathy about these heroes.

M-G (that's also why my area was the first in Holland to send food convoys to Poland in the winters of the first half of the 80's)
Ziemowit 12 | 3,582  
22 Sep 2009 /  #7
What is the Polish opinion about the fact that the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade never got to fight in Poland because ?

You must remember that the communist rulers of Poland would not allow such facts to be widely known in Poland. For example, I have heard that the Russians did not allow the use of Russian airfields in the context of the proposed Allied Forces help to the Warsaw Uprising, but not specifically with the 1st Polish Parachute forces. Of course, the Bitwa pod Arnheim name widely is known here, although it is perhaps less known than the Bitwa pod Monte Cassino.

I was very much surprised when I once entered a bookshop in Warsaw with a visiting Dutch friend of mine and he, having spotted a Polish book about the battle of Arhem, opened it and seemed to know everything about the battle and particularly about the Polish presence in the battle. When I asked him where he got to know all about this, he told me that he knew it from his relatives and their friends who constantly told him stories about that battle. He praised the Polish soldiers of the battle very much and said almost everybody in the Netherlands knew of their role in it. It seems that ordinary Dutch people know more about it than - as you say - television programmes are keen to tell them.
OP MareGaea 29 | 2,752  
22 Sep 2009 /  #8
Ziemowit

WW2 was the first war to happen to my country in over 100 years. Nobody knew what war and being occupied was like. So naturally this already made a huge impact on the Dutch psyche. The Battle of Arnhem and Operation Market Garden (which took place for 99% solely on Dutch territory) was one of the main battles in the war and it took place in Holland. It is in fact the only major battle that took place in the Netherlands. Given these facts, it's understandable that these things are very well known and preserved within the Dutch consciousness. For myself, when I was a kid, it was exciting, that battle and it took place in my own country. Even more, it took place in my own backyard! I don't know where your Dutch friend is from, but it could be very well that he is from the Arnhem area in Eastern Holland.

I think General Sosabowski is one the greatest Poles of WW2 and I don't know if he gets the recognition he deserves in his own country. In the Netherlands he definitively gets this. He was awarded with the Bronze Lion by Queen Beatrix in 2006.

M-G (remembers a neighbour of my grandmother telling him how he saw German tanks rolling towards Arnhem)
isthatu2 4 | 2,708  
23 Sep 2009 /  #9
However, I never see that many Polish former paratroopers join in the procession.

The Poles are generally over the river in Driel,away from the areas of the most hellish fighting,the so called hexenkessel of Oosterbeek and the western suburbs of Arnhem. Some polish troops did manage to get where they were meant to be,ie linked with the bulk of 1st airborne and did take part in the heroic defence of oosterbbek and the bridgehead accross the rhine and so you will occasionally see one or two veterns in the larger parades. The other reason would just be down to numbers. The Polish contribution ,on the ground,was less than a Brigade in size,a matter of hundreds of men rather than the thousands that were in the Full British Division so of course there will be less Polish veterns visable,but they are there if you look. I know here in Yorkshire there are,or were,many polish veterns of the battle,many of whom I was lucky enough to know as I grew up and know for a fact that anyone who studies the battle,or has a vague interest in it knows full well the fine contribution made by the 1stpipb.
OP MareGaea 29 | 2,752  
23 Sep 2009 /  #10
isthatu2

I know for sure that in Arnhem and surrounding areas (like my area) they are treated with deep respect and admiration. But that seems only naturally to me anyway. They came to liberate us and if the plan would have succeeded, the war would've been over by the end of 1944 and maybe, just maybe, things would look a bit different in Europe.

Just wondering: how is Sosabowski looked upon in Poland? Is he, like other generals regarded as a hero or isn't he regarded much at all?

M-G (tiens)
Ziemowit 12 | 3,582  
23 Sep 2009 /  #11
I think General Sosabowski is one the greatest Poles of WW2 and I don't know if he gets the recognition he deserves in his own country.

I didn't know the name of General Sosabowski, though I can vaguely remember I must have read or heard a discussion in connection with him quite recently. Certainly, he's not an "icon" name in Poland, such as General Anders or General Sosnkowski, not to mention General Sikorski. But people who are more interested in the history of the WWII must surely have heard of him.

This Dutch friend of mine I have mentioned seemed to have been subjected to a "brainwash" about the battle of Arnhem by his male relatives. He was describing stories told by them as "never ending" ones. The battle must have been going on in his backyard, too, as he appeared to understand most of the captions under the maps and photographs in the Polish book we were looking upon in the bookshop in Warsaw. Otherwise, he didn't speak a single word of Polish!

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