„In the long history of injustice, no one has been treated more unfairly than General Stanisław Sosabowski, commander of the 1st Independent Parachute Brigade,” said Norman Davies, British historian.
The brigade’s slogan was „The shortest way!”, Which means that they would be the first to return to Poland this way – using parachutes.
Author Julia M. Jaskólska
Throughout the years of communist Poland, we read about Sikorski and Anders in the second circulation. About Sosabowski less, or not at all. And the chuckle of the story is that he was brought back to life on the Vistula River only in the book by Cornelius Ryan „One Bridge Too Far”, describing the „Market-Garden” operation and its great screen adaptation with the great role of Gene Hackman, who played the role of the commander 1st Independent Parachute Brigade. It was Ryan who removed the stigma of Sosabowski’s guilty defeat for this operation, showing the Polish commander as the one who from the beginning tried to convince about the absurdity of Mongomery’s plan and, thanks to his opposition, the date of the landing was postponed twice.
Much can be written about Sosabowski.
For example, about his participation in the September campaign and the defense of Warsaw’s Grochów, when its 21st infantry regiment, called the „Children of Warsaw”, on September 16, during the German general assault on Praga, completely smashed the 23rd Wehrmacht Infantry Regiment, many times stronger, and Sosabowski was entrusted with command of all Polish units in in the area of „Podcinek Grochów” and for which he was awarded the Silver Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari.
In 1941, already in England, the most important stage in Sosabowski’s military life began. The 1st Independent Parachute Brigade was created. General Władysław Sikorski, who left the brigade at his exclusive disposal, said to its soldiers on September 23, 1941 during exercises in Scotland: „When the moment comes, the victorious eagles will fall on the enemy and you will be the first to contribute to the liberation of our homeland.”
Hence the brigade’s slogan: „By the shortest path”. The shortest, so parachuting to Poland to fight there. That was the purpose of establishing the unit and Sosabowski stuck to it. The English also promised him this, but as is their custom – they broke the promise. As a result of General Browning’s actions, the Sikorski-Alan Brooke pact was canceled, according to which the unit was to be left for operation in Poland. Then, threatening to disband and incorporate the soldiers into an armored division, the new Commander-in-Chief, General Kazimierz Sosnowski, was forced to agree to hand over the SBS under the command of the Allies, or more precisely, to General Browning, which took place on June 6, 1944.
So when the Warsaw Uprising broke out on August 1, 1944, Polish paratroopers were already under British command and were not allowed to be transferred to Warsaw and participate in the fighting, despite the fact that the population of the capital counted on this help.It was from her contributions that the brigade’s banner was created, which was presented on June 15, 1944, nine days after, after British-Polish decisions, it became clear that Sosabowski’s soldiers would liberate Arnhem instead of Warsaw.General Bór-Komorowski sent messages to London on this matter.Unsuccessfully.But it was after Tehran and Yalta, where we were sold through London to Stalin and left behind with Soviet influence.And the Soviets counted as an ally, and not some wayward Poland, which only caused troubles, eg by claiming the truth about Katyn.
Sosabowski was betrayed by the English, he was betrayed and by the Polish government in London walking along the British bar. Marshal Montgomery, Generals Horrocks and Browning blamed the general with the defeat at Arnhem. They claimed that he commanded ineptly and did not want to come to the aid of the Oosterbeck defenders. They pressed for its removal. General Sosnkowski was no longer there to defend the Polish commander, as a result, on December 2, 1944, General Kopański summoned General Sosabowski, presenting him with Browning’s letter on this matter, and stated that, despite possible personal harm, he should leave his position. On December 9, President Raczkiewicz – who had previously justified it with the threat of a crisis in relations with England – dismissed Sosabowski from his post and appointed the Inspector of Staging and Guarding Units, which in fact meant his removal to a peripheral position in the army.
This is how the outstanding commander was repaid, about whom General Kazimierz Sosnkowski said: “Strict and demanding on himself, he also demands a lot from his subordinates;paternal and just in his judgments and punishment, he knows how to win the trust and love of soldiers so willing to pay with their hearts for their hearts.He has that mysterious gift that always bears fruit on the battlefield – the gift of making love knots between the commander and his subordinates.”
Without a doubt, Sosabowski proved by his life that he was a textbook figure when it comes to devotion to his homeland. And he met him with a frequent fate. He was consecrated on the altar of good relations with the Allies on the Thames. Later, after the war, the same military and émigré politicians who led Sosabowski’s removal accused him of „collaborating with the communists” when he fought to bring his wife and son to London, who had lost his sight during the Warsaw Uprising.
After the war, the general himself was employed in the „CAV” electrical equipment factory as a warehouseman with a salary of 6 pounds a week. For the next 17 years he was a simple laborer known to his associates as „Stan.” When he left his job at the age of 75, he did not acquire any retirement rights, he received a modest severance pay and a golden pen from his colleagues. This is how the government in exile took care of its great commander after demobilization, who after his death in 1967 was buried in Poland as requested.
After all, did any of the British, American, Soviet and French generals end up serving their own country as a warehouse worker? As far as I know, no!
Julia M. Jaskólska
From editor np.pl
The highest military decorations On May 31, 2006, in the courtyard of the Binnenhof in The Hague, the then Queen Beatrix presented the highest military decoration of the Netherlands: the Military Order of William (Militaire Willemsorde) to the 1st Independent Parachute Brigade. Its commander, General Stanisław Sosabowski, is posthumously awarded the Bronze Lion medal. These high decorations were awarded in recognition of the contribution of the Polish unit to the Battle of Arnhem (Operation Market-Garden) in September 1944.
Only that … earlier, for over 60 years, there was a battle to restore the honor and honor of both Polish soldiers and their commanders, whom British war generals blamed for the failure of the entire operation in the fields near Arnhem. (Quoted after Małgorzata Bos-Karczewska, ed. Polonia.nl)
General Stanisław Sosabowski, the organizer and commander of the famous 1st Independent Parachute Brigade, headed by Arnhem in 1944 in Operation Market-Garden, was also honored in the so-called free Poland.
September 1, 2013 at the Gallery of Great Poles located in the Krakow Park Henryk Jordan’s bust was unveiled. It took place as part of a ceremony dedicated to Poles who died and murdered during and after World War II. It was placed next to the busts of: General Władysław Anders, General Stanisław Maczek, General Leopold Okulicki, General August Emil Fieldorf „Nil” and Captain Witold Pilecki. The bust monument, which was made by the Krakow sculptor Wojciech Batko, was funded by a Polish activist in the UK. Britain Elżbieta Kasprzycka.
Feel free to comment. What is your opinion on this article …?