• August 16, 2015
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The Association of Poles in Lithuania pays tribute to the founder of the Polish Army

“We have reasons to be proud”, ensures the President of The Association of Poles in Lithuania (Związek Polaków na Litwie) Michał Mackiewicz. He utters those words in the place where Marshall Józef Piłsudski was born. Piłsudski saved Europe from Bolsheviks in the battle near Warsaw in 1920.

In the place where the founder of the Polish Army was born, members of the Association of Poles in Lithuania have gathered on the Polish Army Day for years. Without Piłsudski, the battle probably would not have been successful. Maria and Józef Wincenty Piłsudski’s second son was born on 5 December 1867 in Zułów manor near a village. In 1937 an oak was planted and after regaining independence the Association of Poles in Lithuania bought the estate and built the Sanctuary In Remembrance of Piłsudski (Rezerwat Pamięci Piłsudskiego) in order to preserve the memory of him and his deeds.

“We have gathered here to pay tribute to those who have kept the emerging Bolshevik aggression at bay. Bolsheviks wanted to spread communism in Europe by death and the ordeal. As it turned out later, Bolsheviks paid homage to a terrible utopia. Not long after Poland regained independence did it halt Bolsheviks. Nowadays we have a different army. We are members of the national alliance NATO which safeguards and curbs aggression. It is not an easy task. As we can see in our neighbouring countries and in more distant places it is quite easy to engage nations in a war. As Poles we have reasons to be proud”, says Mackieiwcz under the oak planted by the President of the Republic of Poland Ignacy Mościcki. Members of the Polish Theatrical Studio in Vilnius (Polskie Studio Teatralne w Wilnie) performed during the ceremony. Also, Stanisław Cygnarowsk, the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland, took part in the celebration.

“I am very grateful that I can stand in front of the monument here in Zułów again. I am thankful that I can pay tribute to the person who nowadays should be remembered not only as a founder of the Polish country but also as a person who actively defended Poland together with a Polish soldier”, says the Director of the Consular Section of the Polish Embassy in Vilnius.

During the ceremony, flower tributes were placed under the oak and at the stela in the Avenue of National Remembrance which commemorates the Battle of Warsaw. Moreover, two monuments were consecrated. The first one commemorates heroes of the November Uprising and the second one is devoted to repatriates who after 1945 had to leave their home – the Vilnius Region. There was a picnic on the grass after the official part of the ceremony.

Translated by Barbara Żur within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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