Caring for Polish graves in the UK

Migrations are one of the direct effects of Poland’s history in the 20th century. Especially visible was the one that took place during and immediately after the Second World War. At that time, a significant part of the country’s intellectual elite, as well as representatives of state and military authorities, left the country. Britain, and London in particular, are dotted with cemeteries with large concentrations of Polish burials. Many of our compatriots resting there are distinguished people of science and culture, social and political activists, or military officers.

We recognise the need to take action not only to carry out restoration work, but also to organise permanent, basic care for Polish graves in this country, as well as to remember that the figures who fought for a free Poland and the preservation of Polish identity in exile are buried there.

As part of the activities carried out this year related to the care of the graves of members of Polish governments buried in the UK, we would like to remind some of these dedicated Polish figures. The graves of some of them deserve special attention due to their state of preservation and the neglect of the area around them.

Bohdan Geisler – lieutenant colonel of infantry of the Polish Army and the Polish Armed Forces, head of the Ministry for the Affairs of Polish Citizens Abroad. He was buried in Brompton Cemetery in London. His grave is completely obscured by the branches of a nearby tree.

Bronislaw Regulski – Major General of the Polish Army, Cavalier of the Order of Virtuti Militari, one of the main founders of the London “The Polish Hearth”. He rests in Brompton Cemetery in London near Bohdan Geisler. His grave is not only obscured by the branches of a nearby tree, but has also lost some of the letters from the inscription.

Herman Lieberman – Polish attorney, socialist activist, one of the main activists of the Polish Socialist Party, parliament member during the Second Republic, vice-president of the National Council of the Republic of Poland, Minister of Justice in the third government of Wladyslaw Sikorski. He rests in Highgate Cemetery in London in an unmarked grave.

London is also home to the burials of Poles who fought for the freedom of their homeland in the 19th century. One of the most prominent sites is the White Eagle Hill located in Highgate Cemetery in London.

The above-mentioned graves are only one of many of the Polish memorials in the UK demanding care. Many distinguished Poles buried there also need to be remembered. The project implemented by The Jan Olszewski „Aid to the Poles in the East” Foundation will consist in carrying out both of these necessary actions in relation to more than 100 graves. Actions will be taken to remember the figures buried in them, most of the graves will be renovated, and in selected cases the mortal remains will be brought to Poland.

The project “Restoration works of Polish graves in Great Britain and exhumation, transfer and burial in the country of persons of merit to Poland, including members of the Polish government in exile” is financed from the funds of the Polish Chancellery of the Prime Minister within the framework of the public task of helping Polonia and Poles abroad 2023.


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