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Polonica
The Battle of Monte Cassino

Christianity        Millennium        Monte Cassino         Warsaw

In 1969, on the 25th anniversary of the battle of Monte Cassino, a souvenir sheet was issued featuring a portrait of the Polish General Wladyslaw Anders, 70 x 95 mm.  This was printed in grey on white paper and brown in white and cream coloured paper.  The sheet was available in a special folder issued during the POLPHILEX 66 exhibition.  It was printed similar to the Millennium sheet and tete-beche.  The portrait does occur with perforations, done so by the engraver himself.  Mr. Slania printed several trial copies of the sheet in different colours and on different papers.  Perforations are similar to the Millennium issue.   The Monte Cassino sheet displays the same image of General Anders as shown on the sheets below.  The inscription "is XXV MONTE CASSINO 15. VIII. 1969".

The following two images show Czeslaw Slania's similar works for the National Treasury Fund in London, England (affiliated with the Polish Government-In-Exile) of which General Wladyslaw Anders was chairman from 14th October 1949, until his death in London on 12th May 1970.  The souvenir sheets are very rare, especially the proof on white paper; only a few are known to exist.  Below the sheets is a close up of Slania's engraver-signature.  

Please click on the images to have a full view of the sheets.  Each of the sheets takes around 500 kb, and will open in a new window for your convenience.  

 

Text and images are contributed by Paul Kobialka (Canada) to be published on this site.  

 

A Danish collector has submitted this unknown  souvenir sheet depicting General Anders. The sheet being signed by Slania, it beyond any reasonable doubt, that it was done by him.  

The notes on the sheet refer to the Polish National Anthem, the Dabrowski Mazurka. 

Mazurek Dąbrowskiego is a Polish National Anthem, composed by Józef Wybicki. It's lyrics printed on the Polonia sheet are the first verse of the song, and go:

Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła póki my żyjemy
Co nam obca przemoc wzięła - szablą odbierzemy
Marsz, marsz Dąbrowski, z ziemi włoskiej do Polski
Pod Twoim przewodem, złączym się z Narodem

More information and a translation of the lyrics are available here: 

Thanks to Mr. Leszek Sipowski (USA) for clarifying this question. 

Further links: 

It is unclear which is the relation to Kopenhaga (Copenhagen), and for which occasion the sheet was issued. 

Any visitor to this page, who knows more details,  or can point me in the correct direction, is invited to email me such information, which will be uploaded here with due credits. Please use the email-link at the bottom of this page. 

The famous abbey at Monte Cassino was founded in the year 529 on a former site of the temple of Apollo, 75 miles southeast of Rome. From the heights - its altitude is 1,700 feet - it overlooks the town of Cassino and the surrounding countryside. 

Throughout its history, Cassino has been a military stronghold - and a target. By the time of the Second World War, it had been razed and rebuilt several times. In late 1943, Cassino and its abbey stood in the way the Allies on their way to liberate Rome from Nazi control. German troops surrounded the abbey, from which vantage point they controlled air and ground fire against the Allies. 

Three times, starting on January 17, 1944, American and British troops tried to take Monte Cassino, and three times they were hurled back. Then the Polish 2nd Corps, under the command of General Wladyslaw Anders, took their place; after three days of fierce fighting, on May 18, the Poles raised the white-and red-Polish flag on top of the ruins of the monastery. It was a costly victory: the 2nd Polish Corps counted 1,000 dead and 3,000 wounded. 

The Polish soldiers had come to Cassino by a circuitous route. Following the defeat of Poland by Soviet and German armies, they had been imprisoned in Russian gulags. Anders himself had been held in the notorious Lubianka Prison in Moscow. During the political tumult following the German attack on Russia, the Poles were released and made their way to the Middle East through Iran, where they were welcomed by the Allied command. 

Contributed by Bob Ingraham (Canada). 

Christianity        Millennium        Monte Cassino         Warsaw

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