I Heared a Song

‘Poland has not perished yet, So long as we still live’

Whether they sang it 1917 in the Champagne?
It’s the ‘Song of the Polish Legions in Italy’ (Ger., Eng.), written by Józef WYBICKI (Ger., Eng.) 1797 in Reggio nell’Emilia. 1795 the last, third, partition of Poland had taken place (Ger., Eng.) and the Polish state was wiped of the map. The following romantic and unsuccessful uprisings always used the song and it became the National Anthem 1927. The three crowns that grabbed the weak construction called Poland 1795 – the Prussian, the Austrian and the Russian –  finally fell off their heads and rolled in the dust: The German Kaiser WILHELM II.  (Ger., Eng.) went to the Netherlands and started to chop wood; the very old Austrian Kaiser FRANZ JOSEPH I.  (Ger., Eng.) simply died 1916 and his successor KARL I. (Ger., Eng.) (who is counted under the Seligen, beati, the not yet really holy, by Pope JOHANNES PAUL II.) had to resign despite his desperate tries to reach peace and save at least the Austrian federation; and the last Tsar, Emperor NIKOLAUS II. of Russia (Ger., Eng.) who also held the title ‘King of Poland’, was murdered with his whole family 1918.

Meanwhile the soldiers of the Blue Army (Ger., Eng.), the Armia Polska we Francij, Polish Army in France or Haller-Armee, fought their way through the Flanders’ mud. Volunteers from all over the world, between 20 or 25 thousand alone from Northern America, fought with the Allies against Germany for a new Poland. When the murderous madness was over in the West, Haller’s Army was transferred to the East where Poland came into existing after a break of  123 years. They fought on in the Polish-Ukrainian war (Ger., Eng.), establishing a first Polish Eastern frontier. And they helped to stop the Red Army before Warsaw 1920 (Ger., Eng.), where PILSUDSKY (Ger., Eng.) defeated TUCHATSCHEWSKI (Ger., Eng.), one of the first Marschall der Sowjetunion (Ger., Eng.), later killed by STALIN in the great purge.

Haller’s (Ger., Eng.) soldiers were heroes. Those who fought after 1939 on the side of the Western Allies were not counted as and respected as heroes by the newly established Volksdemokratie. They are called Cursed Soldiers (Ger., Eng.), the last of them ( Eng.) was killed 1963.
After the occupation of Poland by Germany and Russia 1939 the Polish government in exile (Ger., Eng.) was established, finally in London. Again Polish volunteers joined Western armies and Polish units were founded. Even in Soviet Russia, where ANDERS  (Ger., Eng.) founded the Anders Army (Ger., Eng.), they won Monte Casino. ANDERS and his men came out of Russia 1942, after Katyn 1943 the relations between the Polish gouvernement in exile and Soviet Russia were ended. After the end of the war in Europe Poland was pushed to the West and established as Soviet satellite. Consequently those who had fought against the Germans or other occupants and being not Communists got a bad press, to put it ridiculously mild and simple. Do not forget that the Red Army stood idle while the Armia Krajowa (Ger., Eng.) under KOMOROWSKI (Ger., Eng.) was eliminated by the SS in the Warschauer Aufstand (Ger., Eng.) – it started on 1st of August 1944.

History is sometimes bitter. In the military cemetery of Auberive (Marne) Polish soldiers from both world wars are buried (pdf). Since 1989 the Third Polish Republic exists, since 2004 Poland is full member of the EU. Europa seemingly arrived at herself.
‘Noch ist Polen nicht verloren’.

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5 thoughts on “I Heared a Song

  1. A friend’s mother, aunt, and grandmother lived in Poland. It was difficult, but they survived the 1939 invasion and occupation. At the end of the war, they chose to retreat into Germany rather than to stay in a Soviet-occupied Poland. They eventually all moved to the US and never returned to Poland.

  2. The 20th century created many astonishing lives, millions on the move. With a whole generation distance now still questions about ‘Heimat’ and belonging are important. But today I can jump a train and reach Warsaw station in some hours and meet colleagues at the university …

  3. History is bitter. So many lives lost. Not so much lost, but given away by the politicians. It’s appalling the soldiers contribution isn’t recognised. But, I don’t really know enough about the subject to comment any further than my gut reaction. I flounder in my ignorance.

    As one of the millions on the move, I can say I prefer the option to move, to travel, than to have to stay in one place.

  4. No floundering, Roses. Today we are lucky in this part of the world, we are allowed to move voluntarily. The generation before me was not asked, but simply moved., or better re-placed, displaced.

  5. Switched the template because I had difficulties reading with the former fonts – elegant but too much sand in the eyes. I hope this one is less exhausting. The comment box is smaller, sorry.

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