Anders, Lieutenant General Wladyslaw, 1892-1970

Anders was in command of the Nowogrodek Cavalry Brigade stationed in south Poland when the German blitzkrieg hit his country (1 September 1939). He was captured by the Russians and interned in Lubianka jail where the Red Army tried to recruit him. After the German invasion of the USSR he was freed and set about tracing the Poles who had been held in camps after 1939. The Soviets were uncooperative and Anders was faced by a bureaucratic wall of silence. He asked Stalin twice to help him trace officers who were missing but received no assistance. Stalin wanted the Polish Corps to fight for the USSR but would not arm them. Eventually he agreed to allow the Poles, about 60,000 men and 100,000 women and children, to leave via Persia for Palestine in 1942. The Polish ‘Army’ received extensive training in Palestine and was ready for combat in late 1943 and joined the British 8th Army in Italy. The Poles were noted for their courage and the Polish II Corps was involved in the close hand-to-hand fighting at Monte Cassino and eventually took the hill on 18 May 1944 after suffering very high casualties. His Corps was withdrawn for a while to build up its numbers. Soon after Anders led his Corps in the Adriatic sector, fought at Pescara and Ancona and liberated Bologna.

After the death of SIKORSKI in July 1943 the Poles looked to Anders as their national leader. Although it seemed as if the Soviets would install a puppet regime in Poland after its liberation. Anders was determined to fight untilHITLER was finally defeated and then to look at the political problems. After the war his army was 112,000 strong and was a considerable embarrassment to the Western Allies. There was talk of using it to garrison Germany but it was finally decided to disband it. Anders and all but seven officers and 14,000 men decided not to return to Poland. Anders was head of the Polish community in England until his death.

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