Minister Joachim Brudzińki took part in ceremonies commemorating the 74th anniversary of the battle of Monte Cassino
On 17-18 May Head of the Ministry of the Interior and Administration Joachim Brudziński, together with the Polish delegation of senior state officials, attended in Italy ceremonies of the 74th anniversary of the battle of Monte Cassino.
- The fact, that every year the Polish government’s delegation is present here at Monte Cassino shows that this place is of the utmost importance to Poland and the Polish nation and that it is one of these sacred places sanctified by the blood of a Polish soldier – said Minister Joachim Brudziński during ceremonies and he stressed that nations must be strong not only thanks to their military or economic strength, but also thanks to their identity and memory.
On Thursday the state delegation commemorated Polish soldiers who had fought for Piedimonte San Germano. Apart from Minister Joachim Brudziński, Poland was represented by, i.a., Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak, Deputy Senate Marshal Maria Koc, Head of the Office For War Veterans and Victims of Oppression Jan Józef Kasprzyk and Senator Maria Anders.
During the ceremony, which was also attended by world war II veterans, including soldiers fighting for Monte Cassino from General Anders’ army, a commemorative plaque was unveiled, naming the place “the Hill of Remembrance”. Members of the Polish delegation praised the heroes having fought the victorious battle and paid tribute to those who had perished in defence of the Italian soil. Then the delegation laid flowers at the monument commemorating the 6th Armored Regiment known as “Children of Lviv” and major Otton Hulacki, soldier of the 2nd Polish Army Corps, read out a roll call of the dead.
After the ceremony in Piedimonte San Germano, the Polish delegation went to Cassino to lay flowers at the monument of General Władysław Anders.
Then the Thursday celebrations were held at the war cemetery of the Italian Liberation Corps located in Mignano Monte Lungo. Representatives of the Polish authorities, together with veterans, heads of veterans’ organizations, anti-communist dissidents and colour guards commemorated Italian soldiers who had fought together with Poles, Britons and Americans.
Main celebrations of the 74. anniversary of the battle of Monte Cassino
Central anniversary celebrations were held at the Polish war cemetery at Monte Cassino on Friday, 18 May, exactly on the 74th anniversary of the victory of the 2nd Polish Army Corps. The main part of the ceremony was the Holy Mass for the Homeland and soldiers fighting at Monte Cassino and their families. The call of the Fallen was read out and the military choir sang the song “The Red Poppies” (pl. “Czerwone Maki”). This year at Monte Cassino, during the main ceremonies, the shooters of the Association "Strzelec" took an oath. The formal ceremony ended with laying wreaths.
One of the most important battles of world war II
On 18 May 1944, after fierce fighting, the 2nd Polish Corps commanded by General Władysław Anders fought a decisive victorious battle at Monte Cassino and the white-red flag was raised over the ruins of the Benedictine monastery. Thus, one of the most important German defensive positions during world war II was captured.
Seizing of the monastery did not end fights in the Cassino massive. From 19 to 25 May the corps of General Anders fought another victorious battle for Piedimonte San Germano village, which also constituted a key position of the German defence.
923 Polish soldiers were killed during the battle, 2,931 wounded and 235 declared missing in action. In the years 1944-1945 the Polish war cemetery was established beneath the monastery, in the so called “Death Valley”. General Władysław Anders is also buried at this one of the most important Polish necropoleis. A sign inscribed on the cemetery that says "Go, tell Poland, o stranger passing by, that here we lie—having fallen faithful in her service" reminds of the heroism of the Polish soldiers.