Prepared by the Polish History Museum in cooperation with the General Maczek Museum in the Dutch city of Breda, the open-air multimedia exhibition devoted to Gen. Stanisław Maczek and his soldiers soldier will be available for viewing in Breda from 11 October onwards in Polish, English and Dutch language versions.
The Warsaw presentation was a true success and for a month crowds came to see it at Krakowskie Przedmieście Street. The exhibition was visited by 120,000 people. The visitors could not only learn more about the course of combat involving the 10th Cavalry Brigade and the 1st Armoured Division over the period 1939–1945 but also about the daily life in the barracks and on the front: how the soldiers spent their free time, where they slept, what they ate or how they coped with wartime stress and longing for their families and their home country. Enriched with unknown photographs, film chronicles and the soldiers’ recollections, the exhibition narrative facilitated understanding of those difficult times. Now, as planned, the exhibition has gone to Breda, where it can be viewed at Kasteelplein between 11 October and 3 November. The presentation ties up with the observance of the 75th anniversary of the city’s liberation.
The exhibition narrative leads the visitor from the start of Stanisław Maczek’s military career, i.e. before the First World War and his 1919 promotion on a battlefield, through the September 1939 campaign where the 10th Cavalry Brigade under his command shielded the ‘Kraków’ Army against the Germans, the evacuation over Hungary and France to the British Isles, until the landing of the Allies in Normandy and a series of won battles in 1944, during which the 1st Armoured Division of Gen. Maczek liberated successive French, Belgian and Dutch localities from the German occupation. The exhibition closes with the post-war fate of the soldiers, some of whom established families in the West, while some others decided to return to Poland despite the dangers related to the country’s subjugation to the Soviet Union.
The exhibition ties up with two important anniversaries: the September one of the outbreak of the Second World War and that of 29 October, the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Dutch city of Breda.
The mobile exhibition is a part of a broader project devoted to Gen. Maczek, funded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and involving cooperation between the Polish History Museum and the General Maczek Museum in Breda in preparations for a permanent exhibition of General Maczek’s Memorial in Breda. A documentary about Stanisław Maczek and the 1st Armoured Division has also been produced, directed by Rafał Geremek, an eminent author of historical films. Another film has been made, too, an animation entitled Marian on the Front, inspired by drawings by Marian Walentynowicz, a wartime correspondent at the 1th Armoured Division and more broadly known as the creator of Koziołek Matołek (The Billy-Goat). The animated film focuses on his life during the war.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue and its online version is in preparation. Once ready, it is going to be available on the international platform Google Arts & Culture (www.wystawy.muzhp.pl). Additionally, an international scientific conference is planned for 2020.
Dates and venue: 11 October–3 November 2019, Kasteelplein, Breda, The Netherlands. Admission free.
The exhibition is co-funded by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage.
Sponsor: PZU Życie SA.
Partners: General Maczek Museum in Breda, Breda Municipality, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Warsaw, History Meeting House and the National Digital Archives.
Media patrons: Polish Television (Telewizja Polska), Polish Radio (Polskie Radio), Polish Press Agency (Polska Agencja Prasowa), Rzeczpospolita, Mówią wieki, Sieci, wSieci Historii, history portal dzieje.pl.
Exhibition curator: Wojciech Kalwat
Exhibition concept and script: Wojciech Kalwat and Prof. Michał Kopczyński
Exhibition concept cooperation: Lena Dąbkowska, Agata Krok, Sebastian Pawlina, Anna Piekarska, Aleksandra Rodziewicz and Karolina Wichowska
Exhibition visual concept, executive design, delivery and assembly: Sowa-Szenk