GENERAL ANDERS

In 1969, on the 25th anniversary of the battle of Monte Cassino, a souvenir sheet was issued featuring a portrait of the Polish General Wladyslaw Anders, 70 x 95 mm.  This was printed in grey on white paper and brown in white and cream coloured paper.  The sheet was available in a special folder issued during the POLPHILEX 66 exhibition.  It was printed similar to the Millennium sheet and tete-beche.  The portrait does occur with perforations, done so by the engraver himself.  Mr. Slania printed several trial copies of the sheet in different colours and on different papers.  Perforations are similar to the Millennium issue.   The Monte Cassino sheet displays the same image of General Anders as shown on the sheets below.  The inscription “is XXV MONTE CASSINO 15. VIII. 1969”.

The following two images show Czeslaw Slania’s similar works for the National Treasury Fund in London, England (affiliated with the Polish Government-In-Exile) of which General Wladyslaw Anders was chairman from 14th October 1949, until his death in London on 12th May 1970.  The souvenir sheets are very rare, especially the proof on white paper; only a few are known to exist.  Below the sheets is a close up of Slania’s engraver-signature.

  • The text “PRZEWODNICZACY GLOWNEJ KOMISJI SKARBU NARODOWEGO” means “Commander of the High Commission of the National Treasury”

Sheet at the right is printed in offset and portrait is 50% bigger than original label.

The notes on the sheet refer to the Polish National Anthem, the Dabrowski Mazurka. 

Mazurek Dąbrowskiego is a Polish National Anthem, composed by Józef Wybicki. It’s lyrics printed on the Polonia sheet are the first verse of the song, and go:

Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła póki my żyjemy
Co nam obca przemoc wzięła – szablą odbierzemy
Marsz, marsz Dąbrowski, z ziemi włoskiej do Polski
Pod Twoim przewodem, złączym się z Narodem

The Battle of Monte Cassino (also known as the Battle for Rome and the Battle for Cassino) was a costly series of four assaults by the Allies against the Winter Line in Italy held by the Germans and Italians during the Italian Campaign of World War II. The intention was a breakthrough to Rome.

At the beginning of 1944, the western half of the Winter Line was being anchored by Germans holding the Rapido, Liri, and Garigliano valleys and some of the surrounding peaks and ridges. Together, these features formed the Gustav Line. Monte Cassino, a historic hilltop abbey founded in AD 529 by Benedict of Nursia, dominated the nearby town of Cassino and the entrances to the Liri and Rapido valleys, but had been left unoccupied by the German defenders. The Germans had, however, manned some positions set into the steep slopes below the abbey’s walls.

Fearing that the abbey did form part of the Germans’ defensive line, primarily as a lookout post, the Allies sanctioned its bombing on 15 February and American bombers proceeded to drop 1,400 tons of bombs onto it. The destruction and rubble left by the bombing raid now provided better protection from aerial and artillery attacks, so, two days later, German paratroopers took up positions in the abbey’s ruins. Between 17 January and 18 May, Monte Cassino and the Gustav defences were assaulted four times by Allied troops, the last involving twenty divisions attacking along a twenty-mile front. The German defenders were finally driven from their positions, but at a high cost.