Trail of Hope: The Anders Army, An Odyssey Across Three Continents
November 24, 2015
by Norman Davies (Author)
Following the conquest of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939, hundreds of thousands of Polish families were torn from their homes and sent eastwards to the arctic wastes
Trail of Hope recounts the compelling story of the escape of over 100,000 Polish citizens from the clutches of Stalinism, and their gruelling journey from the Siberian gulag through the Middle East and North Africa to freedom. Drawing on meticulous research and first-hand accounts, Professor Davies retraces their steps as they formed the celebrated Polish II Corps or ‘Anders Army’ and fought shoulder to shoulder with Allied troops in Italy, uncovering the hardships and triumphs of their incredible odyssey.
To mark the 75th anniversary of the Polish Government-in-Exile’s relocation to London and the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of its activities, the Embassy has initiated a promotional and educational campaign under the title “Republic in Exile / Rzeczpospolita Londyńska”. Last year we produced a short documentary series on the history of the Polish Government-in-Exile, featuring newly recorded interviews as well as an extensive archive material. The project covers the activity of the exiled Polish authorities and the wider Polish émigré community in Britain both during the Second World War and in the post-war period up until the political breakthrough of 1989-1991. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of the history and legacy of the Government-in-Exile and of the wartime Polish exiles in Britain among Poles in Poland and in the United Kingdom. This year we will film a number of new interviews and launch an internet portal that will make easily accessible all the information and archives which we have gathered so far.
Follow the project online until the end of the year 2015 under the hashtag #RepublicInExile on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the @PolishEmbassyUK YouTube channel.
17.11.2015 at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in London
filmed and edited by Agnieszka Chmura, Light Leeks
of the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa just two years later, Russia and the Allied powers found themselves on the same side once more. Turning to those that it had previously deemed 'undesirable', Russia sought to raise a Polish army from the men, women and children that it had imprisoned within its labour camps. In this remarkable work, renowned historian Professor Norman Davies draws from years of meticulous research to recount the compelling story of this unit, the Polish II Corps or 'Anders Army', and their exceptional journey from the Gulag of Siberia through Iran, the Middle East and North Africa to the battlefields of Italy to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with Allied forces. Complete with previously unpublished photographs and first-hand accounts from the men and women who lived through it, this is a unique visual and written record of one of the most fascinating episodes of World War II.
of Siberia. Prisoners of war, refugees, those regarded as 'social criminals' by Stalin's regime, and those rounded up by sheer chance were all sent 'to see the Great White Bear'. However, with Hitler's invasion