New Polish monument unveiled at Monte Cassino
PR dla Zagranicy
A new monument has been unveiled at the Polish military cemetery in Monte Cassino in Italy, which saw some of the most brutal fighting of World War II.
Polish cemetery at Monte Cassino.Photo: cc/wikipedia
Polish cemetery at Monte Cassino. Photo: cc/wikipedia
“This monument is a symbol of memory of those who fell on the hills of Monte Cassino: let us always remember them!” said Antoni Lapinski from the 3rd Carpathian Rifle Division, which fought at the Battle.
The ceremony was organised by the Polish government’s Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom Sites, and was held in San Vittore del Lazio.
A new monument, decorated with a cross made of spent artillery shells dating from the Battle in May 1944, was erected at the site where 500 soldiers were buried temporarily after the Battle before being moved to the Polish cemetery by the Benedictine Abbey at Monte Cassino.
The monument in San Vittore del Lazio was blessed and unveiled in the presence of a delegation numbering 150 from Poland, including veterans who fought in General Wladyslaw Anders’ 2nd Polish Corps.
Also present were culture minister Malgorzata Omilanowska, deputy speakers of the Senate and Sejm parliamentary houses, the Presidential Chancellery and Defence Ministry.
Representatives of the Italian authorities were also present.
Speaking at the unveiling, Council secretary Andrzej Kunert said that the “Battle [of Monte Cassino] was called the most hard-fought, and Polish soldiers became renowned as the best of World War II”.
Kunert added that in erecting a monument dedicated to Polish soliders one must remember that “human memory is stronger than granite or bronze monuments”.
Monte Cassino and the neighbouring Benedictine Abbey comprised key defence positions of the Nazi German Gustav line, which was supposed to prevent the Allies from taking Rome.
On 18 May 1944, the Battle was won after over 120 days of heavy fighting. As many as 923 Polish troops died during the campaign, 2,931 were injured and 345 were considered missing in action. (jb)