History

On 23 September 1941, the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade was created and based in Scotland. Their mission was to support a possible uprising of the Polish underground resistance movement. The parachute brigade was under command of Major General Sosabowski. Under pressure from the British Army command, the Poles were used in an Allied attempt to liberate Western Europe. Their mission to aid the Warsaw Uprising had failed and due to a lack of outside support, the Germans found no real difficulty in crushing the uprising with great violence. Thousands of Polish citizens and fighters lost their lives. On 21 September 1944, during Operation Market Garden, the 1st Independent Parachute Brigade landed at Driel. There it had to cross the River Rhine with the assistance of the Driel ferry with the objective of strengthening the besieged British 1st Airborne Division at Oosterbeek. However, on arrival the ferry appeared to have been destroyed. The Polish paratroopers then entered the village of Driel where they had to endure several German infantry and artillery attacks. They also continued to make further attempts to cross the Rhine.

HISTORY

On 23 September 1941, the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade was created and based in Scotland. Their mission was to support a possible uprising of the Polish underground resistance movement. The parachute brigade was under command of Major General Sosabowski. Under pressure from the British Army command, the Poles were used in an Allied attempt to liberate Western Europe. Their mission to aid the Warsaw Uprising had failed and due to a lack of outside support, the Germans found no real difficulty in crushing the uprising with great violence. Thousands of Polish citizens and fighters lost their lives. On 21 September 1944, during Operation Market Garden, the 1st Independent Parachute Brigade landed at Driel. There it had to cross the River Rhine with the assistance of the Driel ferry with the objective of strengthening the besieged British 1st Airborne Division at Oosterbeek. However, on arrival the ferry appeared to have been destroyed. The Polish paratroopers then entered the village of Driel where they had to endure several German infantry and artillery attacks. They also continued to make further attempts to cross the Rhine.

Under pressure from the British Army command, the Poles were used in an Allied attempt to liberate Western Europe. Their mission to aid the Warsaw Uprising had failed and due to a lack of outside support, the Germans found no real difficulty in crushing the uprising with great violence. Thousands of Polish citizens and fighters lost their lives.

Under pressure from the British Army command, the Poles were used in an Allied attempt to liberate Western Europe. Their mission to aid the Warsaw Uprising had failed and due to a lack of outside support, the Germans found no real difficulty in crushing the uprising with great violence. Thousands of Polish citizens and fighters lost their lives.

Operation Market Garden

Sosabowski had already pointed out the flaws of the British Army command’s plan prior to Operation Market Garden beginning. And even when during the execution of the operation the plans are adjusted, Sosabowski remains critical of the plan and seeks to prevent any further unnecessary military sacrifices. This critical attitude was far from appreciated. The British Army command made sure that he was relieved as commander after the battle. The Army command also used the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade and Sosabowski as a scapegoat for the failure of Operation Market Garden.  

Operation Market Garden

Sosabowski had already pointed out the flaws of the British Army command’s plan prior to Operation Market Garden beginning. And even when during the execution of the operation the plans are adjusted, Sosabowski remains critical of the plan and seeks to prevent any further unnecessary military sacrifices. This critical attitude was far from appreciated. The British Army command made sure that he was relieved as commander after the battle. The Army command also used the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade and Sosabowski as a scapegoat for the failure of Operation Market Garden.  

When these graves were moved to the Airborne Cemetery in Oosterbeek, it caused great commotion among the people of Driel. They saw it as their duty to look after the graves of their ‘liberators’.

When these graves were moved to the Airborne Cemetery in Oosterbeek, it caused great commotion among the people of Driel. They saw it as their duty to look after the graves of their ‘liberators’.

evacuation

During the September days of 1944, a friendship developed between the people of Driel and the Polish soldiers. In May 1945, a group of Polish paratroopers visited the former battlefield at Oosterbeek and Driel. During this visit, their fallen comrades were also buried in the cemetery next to the Catholic church of Driel. When these graves were moved to the Airborne Cemetery in Oosterbeek, it caused great commotion among the people of Driel. They saw it as their duty to look after the graves of their ‘liberators’.

DRIEL POLEN

EVACUATION

During the September days of 1944, a friendship developed between the people of Driel and the Polish soldiers. In May 1945, a group of Polish paratroopers visited the former battlefield at Oosterbeek and Driel. During this visit, their fallen comrades were also buried in the cemetery next to the Catholic church of Driel. When these graves were moved to the Airborne Cemetery in Oosterbeek, it caused great commotion among the people of Driel. They saw it as their duty to look after the graves of their ‘liberators’.

DRIEL POLEN

The present day

Commemoration in Overbetuwe Despite the fact that increasingly more eyewitnesses of the battles of 1944 and 1945 have passed away, the commemoration of what happened in Overbetuwe, and especially in Driel, remains at the core of activities that keep the memory of this period, the horrors, the suffering, and the victims, alive. The contribution of the Poles and the 1st Independent Parachute Brigade in Driel to the Battle of Arnhem has been recognised and commemorated now for almost 75 years.

Understanding in Overbetuwe The municipality of Overbetuwe and Luctor et Emergo, the organisation of the Polentocht (a walking tour commemorating the Polish contribution), and the Driel-Poland foundation are committed to the promotion of the story of the Poles of Driel. This contributes to the idea that freedom cannot be taken for granted and that war is not merely something that occurs far away from the Netherlands, but that it is something that has actually occurred in this very area not so long ago. As regards the promotion of awareness, reference here must be made to the Information Centre ‘The Poles of Driel’ which is located in the Roman Catholic Church in Driel and which tells the story of the Poles in Driel. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden, an extension of the information centre has been planned. For the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden, Luctor et Emergo will publish a glossy book for the Polentocht that will focus on the Poles of Driel.

THE PRESENT DAY

Commemoration in Overbetuwe Despite the fact that increasingly more eyewitnesses of the battles of 1944 and 1945 have passed away, the commemoration of what happened in Overbetuwe, and especially in Driel, remains at the core of activities that keep the memory of this period, the horrors, the suffering, and the victims, alive. The contribution of the Poles and the 1st Independent Parachute Brigade in Driel to the Battle of Arnhem has been recognised and commemorated now for almost 75 years.

Understanding in Overbetuwe The municipality of Overbetuwe and Luctor et Emergo, the organisation of the Polentocht (a walking tour commemorating the Polish contribution), and the Driel-Poland foundation are committed to the promotion of the story of the Poles of Driel. This contributes to the idea that freedom cannot be taken for granted and that war is not merely something that occurs far away from the Netherlands, but that it is something that has actually occurred in this very area not so long ago. As regards the promotion of awareness, reference here must be made to the Information Centre ‘The Poles of Driel’ which is located in the Roman Catholic Church in Driel and which tells the story of the Poles in Driel. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden, an extension of the information centre has been planned. For the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden, Luctor et Emergo will publish a glossy book for the Polentocht that will focus on the Poles of Driel.

the present day

Experiencing in Overbetuwe The following actions can be understood as being an experience: living together, spending time with, undergoing, experiencing, getting to know something, apprehension, participation, suffering, enjoying, perceiving, living through something, encountering, witnessing something, feeling what people experience. On Sunday 22 September 2019,  the Polish 6th Air Assault Brigade from Krakow, with the support of the 11th Airmobile Brigade, will organise a military crossing in the floodplain of Driel in memory of the Polish attempts to help the trapped British soldiers on the other side. Starting in September, the annual Polentocht will also take place. The walking tour will guide its participants past various historic locations. 

THE PRESENT DAY

Experiencing in Overbetuwe The following actions can be understood as being an experience: living together, spending time with, undergoing, experiencing, getting to know something, apprehension, participation, suffering, enjoying, perceiving, living through something, encountering, witnessing something, feeling what people experience. On Sunday 22 September 2019,  the Polish 6th Air Assault Brigade from Krakow, with the support of the 11th Airmobile Brigade, will organise a military crossing in the floodplain of Driel in memory of the Polish attempts to help the trapped British soldiers on the other side. Starting in September, the annual Polentocht will also take place. The walking tour will guide its participants past various historic locations. 

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO?

Highlighted activities

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO?