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Legions of a Lost World - the Anders Army in the Middle East (1941-1946)

Formed in Russia in August 1941, the Army of General Anders was drawn from a huge pool of Polish citizens who had spent the previous two years in the Soviet Gulag, in POW camps, or in forced exile, growing to be over 100,000 strong. In 1942-43, it was evacuated first to Iran and then Iraq to guard the oilfields against possible German attack, and passed under British command.  Some 40,000 civilian dependents were sent as refugees to Africa, India, Mexico and New Zealand.  In Palestine, some three thousand Polish-Jewish soldiers either deserted or were discharged to join the Zionist underground. In 1943-45, Anders took his Second Corps to Italy to fight alongside the British Eighth Army, and conquered Monte Cassino. Yet at the war’s end his soldiers were stranded; their homes had been annexed by the Yalta Agreement to the USSR. Almost all of them, together with their families, then came to Britain in the UK’s largest ever resettlement scheme.


Auditorium, Investcorp Building 68 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6JF
25 November 2015
Norman Davies
Eugene Rogan