Remembering General Maczek - A Memorial in Edinburgh

96 Books about Poland | Polish War Graves in Britain

General Stanislaw Maczek was the commander of the 1st Polish Armoured Division in World War Two. The division took part in the liberation of France. They fought the German Army in Normandy, preventing them from escaping encirclement by closing the Falaise Pocket at Chambois in August 1944. The Polish division then went on to liberate towns in Belgium and Holland before capturing the German naval base at Wilhelmshaven in April 1945.

After the war General Maczek was appointed Commanding Officer of the 1st Polish Corps, headquartered in Scotland. He also became commander of Polish Forces in the UK.  The post war communist government in Poland stripped General Maczek of  his Polish citizenship. In 1948 he was demobbed and he settled in Edinburgh, never to return to Soviet dominated Poland again.

General Maczek had fought in the Austro-Hungarian army on the Italian front during World War 1. After Poland became independent in 1918 he joined the Polish Army and fought in the Polish-Ukrainian War of 1918-19. He also took part in the war against the Soviet Union which led to a Polish victory in August 1920. (Source: Poland in the Twentieth Century 1999)

The General lost his three brothers in these wars:

  • Karol in WW1 in 1914
  • Franciszek (his twin) killed in WW1 in 1915
  • Jan in the Polish-Soviet War in 1920

After Poland was attacked and occupied by both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia in 1939 General Maczek escaped to France. He was given command of a Polish Armoured Cavlary Brigade which fought the Germans when they attacked France in the spring of 1940. When France fell General Maczek made his way to Britain and was part of the Polish Forces which were given the task of defending eastern Scotland against a possible German invasion.

The General and his family lived in Edinburgh for many years at 16 Arden Street, near The Meadows. A plaque was unveiled in December 1997 on the wall of the house in Arden Street commemorating him.

Memorial to General Maczek

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie (1945-2013) proposed a few months before his death that funds be raised to create a memorial to General Maczek in Edinburgh. The plan was to have a metal bench which would include the figure of the General sitting on it. [Update: The memorial bench was unveiled in November 2018 and located outside Edinburgh City Chambers, 253 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1YJ]

Baca - Remembering General Stanislaw Maczek

Baca. Remembering General Stanislaw Maczek. from Oahu Films on Vimeo.

Video: A documentary about Polish General Stanislaw Maczek, who after the war worked as a barman in an Edinburgh hotel.

General Maczek died in Edinburgh in 1994 aged 102. He is buried with fellow members of the 1st Polish Armoured Division at a cemetery in Breda, Netherlands.

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Added on 19 September 2016. Updated on 03 April 2024.