Polish cemetery at Monte Cassino
The Polish cemetery at Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino is a rocky hill about southeast of Rome, Italy, c. to the west of the town of Cassino and altitude. St. Benedict of Nursia established his first monastery, the source of the Benedictine Order, here around 529. It was the site of Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944...

 holds the graves of over a thousand Poles who died, storming the bombed-out Benedictine abbey atop the mountain in May 1944, during the Battle of Monte Cassino
Battle of Monte Cassino
The Battle of Monte Cassino was a costly series of four battles during World War II, fought by the Allies against Germans and Italians with the intention of breaking through the Winter Line and seizing Rome.In the beginning of 1944, the western half of the Winter Line was being anchored by Germans...


The religious affiliations of the deceased are indicated by three types of headstone: the Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 headstones feature different forms of the Christian cross, and the Jewish headstones bear the Star of David
Star of David
The Star of David, known in Hebrew as the Shield of David or Magen David is a generally recognized symbol of Jewish identity and Judaism.Its shape is that of a hexagram, the compound of two equilateral triangles...


The cemetery also holds the grave of General Władysław Anders, who had commanded the Polish forces that captured Monte Cassino. Anders died in London in 1970.

The Polish memorial at Monte Cassino bears the following two inscriptions

The first, based on the Epitaph of Simonides, reads:
Passer-by, go tell Poland
That we have perished obedient to her service

The other translates from Polish:
We Polish soldiers
For our freedom and yours
Have given our souls to God
Our bodies to the soil of Italy
And our hearts to Poland.

An anthem, The Red Poppies on Monte Cassino — composed on the eve of the Polish storming of the German stronghold — memorializes the Polish soldiers who gave their lives. The refrain is familiar to all Poles:
The red poppies on Monte Cassino
Drank Polish blood instead of dew...
O'er the poppies the soldiers did go
'Mid death, and to their anger stayed true!
Years will come and ages will go,
Enshrining their strivings and their toil!...
And the poppies on Monte Cassino
Will be redder for Poles' blood in their soil.

External links

  • http://nuke.montecassinotour.com/THEWARCEMETERIESATCASSINO/tabid/56/Default.aspx
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