General Stanisław Maczek and his 1st Armoured Division liberated much of the Netherlands, including the city of Breda.
The construction of the museum-memorial dedicated to the General and his division has begun. It is located near the Polish war cemetery, where many of his soldiers are buried. The city will take care of the infrastructure and the local Polish community will prepare the exposition. Other cities liberated by the 1st division have joined the project.
“Almost everyone in Breda knows about Maczek. He is not as commonly known in the rest of the Netherlands so that’s why we want to remind our fellow countrymen of that part of history” said Peter Haah, director of the project.
General Maczek saw his first action, on the very first day of World War II, commanding the 10th Motorised Cavalry Brigade in the September Campaign in Poland. He then fought in France in 1940. Later, in the UK, his unit was properly equipped and trained. In July 1944, it was transferred to Normandy. There it played a key role during the battle of Falaise, where major German forces were encircled.
The Division then fought in northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands and finally Germany, where it captured the city and naval base of Wilhelmshaven. After the war, General Maczek was stripped of his citizenship by the communist regime in Poland, while the British government denied him a military pension.