The Polish History Museum was enriched with the uniform of General Stanisław Maczek, commander of the 1st Armored Division. The memento of the legendary soldier will go to the permanent exhibition devoted to the period of World War II. – General Maczek remained faithful to the honor of the Polish uniform and the Polish raison d’état. He was also faithful to his soldiers – said the director of the facility, Robert Kostro.
After long efforts, the Polish History Museum was enriched with: a uniform, a beret and a belt belonging to the commander of the 1st Armored Division, the legendary general Stanisław Maczek. On Wednesday, the souvenirs were officially handed over to the museum collections at the temporary seat of the facility.
The uniform, so far in the collections of the general’s immediate family, is a garrison uniform of the British pattern, the so-called Service Dress. It was an outfit for everyday use, both in barracks and during ceremonial occasions. The general used it, inter alia, when the 1st Armored Division was stationed in Scotland. Together with the uniform, a beret was handed over, which was part of the field uniform, but often combined with the garrison uniform.
The uniform will be on permanent display
– General Maczek is a legendary figure, he was an outstanding commander of the Polish Army. He was a man who was prudent and romantic at the same time. He participated in four wars, fought for Poland’s freedom in many places around the world and during the September campaign, and in France, in Great Britain. He remained faithful to the honor of the Polish uniform and the Polish raison d’état. He made the incredible journey from Poland through Hungary to France, to Great Britain, then fought again. He was also faithful to his soldiers. Back then, when he was in exile, he was a great authority and support for them. He never left them, also when he had an offer to return to Poland. He did not decide to return from exile. He decided that he would only come back when his soldiers were able to return to Poland – said the director of the MHP Robert Kostro at the ceremony.
He stressed that General Maczek was “an outstanding man, manager, commander”. – Someone who knew how to manage the battlefield very well. Someone who invented armored forces in Poland – pointed out Kostro.
Thanking the family of General Maczek for donating the uniform to the collections of the MPH, he announced that the uniform will be on display at the Polish History Museum, in the part devoted to World War II. – For us, it is also a kind of culmination of the work that we have been doing over the last few years – he emphasized.
The granddaughter of general Maczek, Karolina Maczek-Skillen recalled that this year marks the 130th anniversary of General Maczek’s birthday. – It is a beautiful moment to hand over the uniform to the Museum of Polish History. Grandpa could never come back to Poland. The uniform returned by itself, without the hero who wore it. British uniform with Polish symbols, said Maczek-Skillen, touched.
She pointed out that Polish soldiers “did not wait for other countries to liberate Poland”. – My grandfather said: a Polish soldier fights for the freedom of all nations, but he dies only for the Polish homeland – she emphasized.
Exhibition and films commemorating general Maczek
The event was a continuation of the work carried out by the Polish History Museum to commemorate General Stanisław Maczek and the 1st Armored Division. In 2019, the mobile exhibition “General Stanisław Maczek and his soldiers” was presented. Since the first show in Warsaw, she has visited Breda, Żagań, Wrocław, Tokarnia, Lublin and Gdynia. Also in 2019, two films produced by the Polish History Museum had their premiere. The first of them, the document “Undefeated. A Tale of General Stanisław Maczek”, received the Janusz Kurtyka during the Gala of the 27th SDP Awards competition. The second film is the animation “Marian at War”, about Marian Walentynowicz, the creator of the character of Koziołek Matołek, and during World War II, a soldier of Maczek’s division. In 2020, during the 8th Zamość Film Festival “Meetings with history”, this picture received the award for the best animation.
In October 2021, the General Maczek Memorial in Breda was officially inaugurated, co-created by the Polish History Museum. The main element of the Memorial’s permanent exhibition is an interactive multimedia wall realized by the MPH, which displays animations about the fate of six soldiers of the 1st Armored Division.
Main photo source: Paweł Supernak / PAP