Władysław Anders

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General
Władysław Anders
Wladyslaw Anders.jpg
Born (1892-08-11)11 August 1892
Krośniewice-Błonie, Warsaw Governorate, Kingdom of Poland, Russian Empire
Died 12 May 1970(1970-05-12) (aged 77)
London, England
Years of service 1913–1946
Rank Lieutenant General
(Polish: Generał Broni)
Battles/wars World War I
Polish-Bolshevik War
World War II
 • Invasion of Poland
 • Monte Cassino
Awards See list below
Spouse(s) 1st Irena Maria Anders (Jordan-Krąkowska)
2nd Irena Anders
Relations Tadeusz Anders
Karol Anders
Mug shot made by NKVD after arrest 1940
The tombstone of General Anders at the Polish War Cemetery at Monte Cassino in Italy.
The Polish War Cemetery at Monte Cassino in Italy.

Władysław Albert Anders (11 August 1892 – 12 May 1970) was a General in the Polish Army and later in life a politician and prominent member of the Polish government-in-exile in London.

Biography[edit]

Before World War II[edit]

Anders was born on 11 August 1892 to his father Albert Anders and mother Elizabeth (maiden name Tauchert)[1] in the village of Krośniewice–Błonie, sixty miles west of Warsaw, in what was then a part of the Russian Empire. At the time of his birth Poland did not exist as an independent state, as a result of the Partitions of Poland at the end of the eighteenth century.

Both his parents were of Baltic-German origin and he was baptised as a member of the Protestant Evangelical-Augsburg Church in Poland.[2] Anders had three brothers - Karol, Tadeusz and Jerzy, all of whom also went on to pursue careers in the military.[3] Anders attended a technical high school in Warsaw and later studied at Riga Technical University, where he became a member of the Polish student fraternity Arkonia.[4] After graduation Anders was accepted into the Russian Military School for reserve officers. As a young officer, he served in the 1st Krechowiecki Lancers Regiment of the Imperial Russian Army during World War I.[5]

When Poland regained independence in November 1918 he joined the newly created Polish Army. During the Polish–Soviet War he commanded the 15th Poznań Uhlans Regiment and was awarded the Silver Cross of the Virtuti Militari. After the war Anders continued his military education in France at the Ecole Superieur de Guerre and upon graduation he returned to Poland, where he served on the general staff of the Polish Army under General Tadeusz Jordan-Rozwadowski.

Anders opposed Józef Piłsudski's coup d'etat in Poland in 1926 but unlike Jordan-Rozwadowski, he avoided persecution by the Sanation regime that assumed power after the coup. Piłsudski made him the commander of a cavalry brigade in 1931 and he was promoted to the rank of general three years later.[6]

World War II[edit]

Anders commanded the Nowogródzka Cavalry Brigade during the German Army's invasion of Poland in September 1939 and was immediately called into action, taking part in the Battle of Mława. After the collapse of the Polish Northern Front the brigade withdrew towards Warsaw, and also fought heavy battles against the Germans around Minsk Mazowiecki and in the second phase of the Battle of Tomaszów Lubelski. After learning about the Soviet invasion of Poland, Anders retreated south in the direction of Lviv (then Lwów), hoping to reach the Hungarian or Romanian border, but was intercepted by Soviet forces and captured on 29 September, after being wounded twice.[7]

He was initially jailed in Lwów and subsequently transferred to the Lubyanka prison in Moscow on 29 February 1940. During his imprisonment Anders was interrogated, tortured and unsuccessfully urged to join the Russian Army.[8]

A wartime picture of Anders.

After the launch of Operation Barbarossa and the signing of the Sikorski-Maisky agreement, Anders was released by the Soviets with the aim of forming a Polish Army to fight against the Germans alongside the Red Army. Continued friction with the Soviets over political issues as well as shortages of weapons, food and clothing, led to the eventual exodus of Anders' men – known as Anders Army – together with a sizeable contingent of Polish civilians who had been deported to the USSR from Soviet-occupied Poland, via the Persian Corridor into Iran, Iraq and Palestine. Here, Anders formed and led the Polish 2nd Corps, while continuing to agitate for the release of Polish nationals still in the Soviet Union.

The Polish 2nd Corps became a major tactical and operational unit of the Polish Armed Forces in the West. Anders commanded the Corps throughout the Italian Campaign, capturing Monte Cassino on 18 May 1944, later fighting on the Gothic Line and in the final spring offensive.

After World War II[edit]

After the war the Soviet-installed communist government of Poland deprived him of Polish citizenship and of his military rank. Anders had, however, always been unwilling to return to a Soviet-dominated Poland where he probably would have been jailed and possibly executed, and remained in Britain. He was prominent in the Polish Government in Exile in London and became inspector-general of the Polish forces-in-exile, as well as working on behalf of various charities and welfare organisations.

His book about his experiences during the Second World War, An Army in Exile, was first published by MacMillan & Co, London, in 1949.

He died in London on 12 May 1970, where his body lay in state at the church of Andrzej Bobola, and many of his former soldiers and their families came to pay their last respects. He was buried, in accordance with his wishes, amongst his fallen soldiers from the 2nd Polish Corps at the Polish War Cemetery at Monte Cassino in Italy.

After the collapse of communist rule in Poland in 1989, his citizenship and military rank were posthumously reinstated.

Many personal effects which once belonged to Anders are on display in the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum in London.

Private life[edit]

Anders was married twice. He had two children with his first wife Irena Maria Jordan-Krąkowska (born 1894, died 1981) - a daughter, Anna (born 1919, died 2006) and a son, George (born 1927, died 1983).[9]

In 1948 he married the actress and singer Irena Jarosiewicz, better known under her stage name Renata Bogdańska, with whom he had a daughter, Anna Maria (born in 1950).

Medals[edit]

The Władysław Anders room in the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum, London
A bust of Władysław Anders in the Polish Army Museum in Warsaw

Anders received numerous awards and decorations:[10]

Poland[edit]

Foreign[edit]

Czechoslovakia
France
Italy
The Sovereign Military Order of Malta
  • Grand Cross of Merit
Persia
Imperial Russia
United Kingdom
United States of America
Kingdom of Yugoslavia

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Generał Broni Władysław Anders". Rzeszów University of Technology (in Polish). 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Bogusz Szymański (2010-10-28). "Władysław Anders". Gazeta.pl (in Polish). Archived from the original on November 6, 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2016. 
  3. ^ Wyższa Szkoła Informatyki i Zarządzania w Rzeszowie (in Polish)
  4. ^ Księga Pamiątkowa Arkonii 1879 – 1979 (in Polish) – http://www.arkonia.pl/Czytelnia/Ksiegi_pamiatkowe/Ksiega_100lecia.
  5. ^ Sarner, Harvey (2006). General Anders and Soldiers of the Polish II Corps. Brunswick Press. p. xi. ISBN 1-888521-13-9. 
  6. ^ Sarner, Harvey (2006). General Anders and Soldiers of the Polish II Corps. Brunswick Press. p. xii. ISBN 1-888521-13-9. 
  7. ^ Anders, Władysław (1949). An Army In Exile. MacMillan & Co. pp. 1–12. 
  8. ^ Sarner, Harvey (2006). General Anders and Soldiers of the Polish II Corps. Brunswick Press. p. 10. ISBN 1-888521-13-9. 
  9. ^ "Irena Maria Anders (Jordan-Krąkowska)". 
  10. ^ "Odznaczenia Gen. Broni Władysława Andersa" [Medals of Lt. Gen. Wladyslaw Anders]. Rzeszów University of Technology (in Polish). 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
Military offices
Preceded by
none
Commanding General of the Polish II Corps
1943–1945
Succeeded by
Zygmunt Bohusz-Szyszko
Preceded by
Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski
General Inspector of the Armed Forces
1946–1954
Succeeded by
Michał Karaszewicz-Tokarzewski
Political offices
Preceded by
none
Member of the Council of Three
Alongside: Tomasz Arciszewski, Edward Raczyński, Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski, Roman Odzierzyński, Stanisław Mglej, Alfred Urbański

1954–1970
Succeeded by
Stanisław Kopański