Royal Mile location for Maczek Memorial

A Polish Second World War hero and his men are set to be honoured with a memorial bench to be placed in the courtyard at the entrance to the City of Edinburgh Council Chambers.

A life-size image of General Stanislaw Maczek seated on the bench is hoped to be cast in bronze at a cost of £85,000 after a public appeal for donations.

General Maczek was Commander of the 1st Polish Armoured Division and appointed by Winston Church to defend Scotland’s East coast from potential invasion.

He played a key role in the Battle of Normandy preventing the retreat of thousands of German soldiers and with his men liberated parts of France, Belgium and Holland. When the Second World War ended he was unable to return to his home in Poland as it was absorbed into the Soviet Union as part of an Allied agreement.

Refused a war pension, he worked as a barman in his adopted city of Edinburgh and with his wife raised a son and two daughters. After the collapse of the Communist regime in Poland, the head of Chancellery of President Lech Walesa came to Edinburgh and decorated General Maczek with the Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest decoration awarded the most distinguished Poles and to heads of state.A model of the Maczet statue set to take centre stage outside the City Chambers

A number of sites for a statue of General Maczek have been considered, and with the agreement of the Lord Provost and Council Leader, the Maczek Trustees have now accepted an offer to place the bench within the courtyard at the Council’s City Chambers.

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Frank Ross, said: “We’re delighted that this fitting tribute to General Stanislaw Maczek and his men is to be placed in such close proximity to the war memorial at the City Chambers. It will be located in a highly visible spot, right outside our recently refurbished Registrar’s office, where many people will pass by and have the opportunity to reflect on the General’s heroics and the many other war heroes who risked their lives during combat every day.

“Edinburgh has a strong relationship with Poland and many of its citizens came to settle here after World War II.  The memorial makes a great addition in the city’s treasured Statue of Wojtek "the Soldier Bear" and his keeper, unveiled in Princes Street Gardens in 2015.”

Trustee Katie Fraser said: “We have been so grateful to all those who have supported this project thus far. In recognition of that support, we want to ensure that all funds go directly to the memorial and also wish to see it established during the lifetime of some of those men to whom it is intended to honour.

“We are very pleased to announce that the memorial will be on the Royal Mile at the heart of our capital city. Located within a few yards of the Stone of Remembrance, where wreath laying takes place every November, we think the setting is not only appropriate but suitable prestigious.”

“We offer sincere thanks to the Lord Provost, Council Leader and many others for their assistance in moving our project forward. We are also grateful to the Friends of the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links for their continued support throughout the campaign. With this site now established we hope to achieve our fundraising target over the forthcoming months and look forward to unveiling a permanent memorial to this great General and his men, an hour which is so long overdue.”

Donations can be made to the General Stanislaw Maczek Memorial Trust via Paypal – www.paypal.me/generalmaczek

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