The Poles of Driel

The Netherlands

FightingLiberationVictory and defeat




In the battle of Arnhem, General Sosabowski and his Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade acted bravely. The enormous service they performed in the liberation of the Netherlands has only been formally recognized recently. For many, the rehabilitation came posthumously but for family members it is no less important.

Major-General Stanislaw Sosabowski, born in Galicia in 1892, was highly regarded by his troops. He fought in Warsaw against the German invaders of Poland, and was highly decorated for his actions. Sosabowski then escaped via France to Great Britain, where he rose to command of the First Independent Polish Parachute Brigade Group. Many of his men died in the battle for Arnhem.

Montgomery and Browning held Sosabowski personally responsible for the failure of Operation Market Garden. He was relieved of his command, and left the army in 1947. Sosabowski died in exile in Great Britain in 1967, and was buried in Warsaw.

The Polish general was used as a scapegoat on whom Montgomery and Browning could place the blame for the fiasco of the battle for Arnhem. It was only the inhabitants of Driel who recognised the tragedy of the struggle by the Polish army troops, who had suffered heavy losses through unfavourable circumstances and through bad planning by the British High Command. They see the Polish soldiers as their liberators, with General Stanislaw Sosabowski at their head.


Polenplein, Diel