through the eyes of soldiers of the 1st Independent Parachute Brigade of General Stanisław Sosabowski
is a story about the largest airborne operation in the history of the Second World War, as well as the fate of the Poles taking part in it, written by a participant in Operation Market-Garden, a soldier of the 1st Independent Parachute Brigade corporal cadet Sławomir Kwiatkowski (1916-2011). The book describes many unknown details about the 1st Independent Parachute Brigade, one of the most legendary Polish formations that fought during World War II.
About the book
„For the Poles, the goal was to clash with the enemy and kill the Germans. And now the moment has come. Everyone is serious, they already know that we are flying – wrote the Polish parachutist – a careful observer will see the longing for revenge on people’s faces, and even fear, which is natural because what awaits us is not manoeuvres, but eye-to-eye encounters with the enemy. Nevertheless, there is a spirit of joy.”
About the authors
Sławomir Kwiatkowski (1916 – 2011) was born in Lublin, where he graduated from the Middle School. He belonged to scouting, which – as he claimed – gave him a lot of knowledge and skills, which later came in handy during parachute training. In September 1939, he moved with his family to Brześć, where after the outbreak of war he was arrested by the Soviet authorities for trying to cross the border and sent to a labor camp. After the conclusion of the Sikorski-Maisky treaty, he joined the Polish Armed Forces in the West. Traveling through Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Persia, Iraq, India and sailing around Africa, he reached the British Isles, where the 1st Independent Parachute Brigade of General Sosabowski was being formed. As a soldier of the Brigade, he took part in the largest airborne operation of World War II, code-named „Market-Garden”.
„We’ve always been prepared for things to go wrong, but in this case, we felt like we were being sent to fail because that was the deal. We felt our spiritual strength, we felt our devotion to the cause of Poland, we finally felt that we were becoming saviors for our allies, but … unfortunately, not like the cavalry relief in the stories of the Americans, but those who are supposed to be only historical proof that things were done, whatever was possible. In every Polish head there was probably a presumption that we were simply sacrificed, as if to cover our tracks. Later it turned out that the rank and file of the British thought similarly, although our presence was exactly the same for them as the arrival of the cavalry. They valued us very much both then and after the war, when we could reminisce together.”
Excerpt from the book