Memory in places
Polish historical locations in London
In 1939 on the first of September, Poland was invaded by the Nazi Germany. As The second Word War begun, many of Poles were forced to leave the country. Many of them had joined with the British military forces. Countless of victims died not only by serving and fighting for the country they loved but also contributed to the freedom of today's England.
I have visited three different locations, which all share one common piece of history - they were build after the second World War in memory of Polish and the UK alliance.
POLISH WAR MEMORIAL
The Polish War Memorial was erected on 2nd of November 1948 to signify the contribution of Polish airmen during the World War II. It is situated beside the A40/A4180 roundabout junction near RAF Northolt.
The Polish Air Force Association, which have decided to build the memorial, was created by the group of Polish officers, who settled in the UK after the war. By the leadership of Polish Air Vice Marshal Izycki, they have raised the necessary funds mostly from British people and Polish war veterans. Memorial is made of Portland stone and Polish granite and was designed by Mieczyslaw Lubeski, who was captive in German Nazi concentration camp, during the war.
The memorial unveiling ceremony was uniting Poles, who couldn't come back to their country as it was occupied by the Soviet Union. Polish war memorial has inscribed 1 243 names of Poles who died during the second world war. When the statue was refurbished in 1994 - 1996 another 659 names were added to the wall. It's celebrating the contribution made by 145 Polish fighter pilots to the Battle of Britain, who fought in No. 302 and No. 303 Polish Squadrons.
POSK is the Polish Social and Cultural Association in London that was founded in 1967 by Roman Wajda. With its location in Hammersmith, it used to be a shelter for Poles who escaped the occupation of their country. Now its primal and current mission is to promote the Polish culture in London and the United Kingdom by organising various cultural events and associations.
POSK mission is to unite poles with their culture abroad and provide an opportunity for non-poles to experience everything from art to Polish cuisine. POSK is also a host of many cultural events such as jazz club, exhibitions, theatre performances, cinema, workshops and dance classes.
Gunnersbury Cemetery was first to open in 1929, and it's located in 143, Gunnersbury Avenue in Acton.
The Katyn Memorial is dedicated to the victims of the tragical "Katyn forest massacre" that took place in between April and May in 1940. The landmark was designed by Louis Fitzgibbon and Cout Stefan Zamoyski as a tribute to those who were murdered and buried in disgrace. It's a remembrance for 14 500 "Polish prisoner of war who disappeared in 1940 form camps at Kozielsk, Starobielsk and Ostraszkow of whom 4 500 were later identified in mass graves at Katyn." The monument was unveiled in a period of Cold War on 18th of September 1976.
As the Soviet Union was not to admit to the conducted murders, they did not want the landmark to be built. They successively put pressure on the UK government to stop the creation of the memorial, resulting in delaying the construction for many years. After the local community had prevented the rights to create the monument, however, none of the official UK government representatives had shown in the opening ceremony, some of the MP's did attend unofficially.