Polish Cemetery at Monte Cassino
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Polish Cemetery, as seen from Monte Cassino monastery
|No. of graves||1,000|
The Polish Cemetery at Monte Cassino holds the graves of over a thousand Poles and over two hundred Belarusians  who died, storming the bombed-out Benedictine abbey atop the mountain in May 1944, during the Battle of Monte Cassino.
The religious affiliations of the deceased are indicated by three types of headstone: the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox headstones feature different forms of the Christian cross, and the Jewish headstones bear the Star of David.
The cemetery also holds the grave of General Władysław Anders, who had commanded the Polish forces that captured Monte Cassino. Anders died in London in 1970.
The Polish memorial at Monte Cassino bears two inscriptions. The first, based on the Epitaph of Simonides, reads:
- Passer-by, go tell Poland
- That we have perished obedient to her service
The other translates from Polish:
- For our freedom and yours
- We soldiers of Poland
- Our soul to God
- Our life to the soil of Italy
- Our hearts to Poland
An anthem, The Red Poppies on Monte Cassino — composed on the eve of the Polish storming of the German stronghold — memorializes the Polish soldiers who gave their lives. The refrain is familiar to most Poles:
- The red poppies on Monte Cassino
- Drank Polish blood instead of dew...
- O'er the poppies the soldiers did go
- 'Mid death, and to their anger stayed true!
- Years will come and ages will go,
- Enshrining their strivings and their toil!...
- And the poppies on Monte Cassino
- Will be redder for Poles' blood in their soil.
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