Translation from the book
Z Kresów Wschodnich R.P. Wspomnienia z Osad Wojskowych 1921-1940
(From: The Eastern Borderlands of Poland, Memories of Military Settlements 1921-1940)
Pub: Ognisko Rodzin Osadników Kresowych (OROK)
(Association of the Families of the Borderland Settlers)
London, UK. 1992 and 1998 (out of print)
ISBN 1 872286 33 X
When the publishers of these reminiscences approached me to write a few words of introduction, strong feelings of resistance awoke within me. I did not know whether the intent of this work was to reopen old wounds and mutual hurts or simply to provide a historical background to illuminate a past era to promote a better understanding of succeeding events.
I therefore asked the publisher to send me some samples of these reminiscences to help me determine the goal of this work. After reading these materials I came to the conclusion that I could in good conscience take up the task of writing a few words of introduction to present the problem of the whole Settlement Program and the historical drama which you lived through.
The actual purpose of the Settlement Program was not the Polonization of the frontier of the Polish Republic, but to bring the culture of the free world to that part of the country where it would take root and promote the harmonious co-existence of the peoples living in those lands.
You took up your mission with great dedication not even realizing the essence of the reasons why you were ordered to settle in the Borderlands. Carrying out your work entailed extreme sacrifice and suffering which was, in the end, necessary to bring about the world events that are now unfolding. You are not directly involved in current world events, but the seeds of culture you sowed enabled the latest phase of evolution in that region to come about. And so, the Belarusians and Ukrainians have arrived at the conclusion that their place must be in the free world and not in a world of captivity.
I pay homage to you Settlers for fulfilling your role with such dedication which in the end brought you such suffering.
We must have faith that the fate of what was once the frontier of the Republic of Poland is on a good path and that the peoples living on the lands between the Bug and Dnieper will become a truly free society. We can only hope that the world will expand perhaps even further than De Gaulle foretold when he said “free Europe as far as the Ural”, maybe even as far as Vladivostok.
And this is my wish for all of us because I know well that the time has come when that which once seemed impossible is now a very real possibility. Let no one forget this.
Antokoł, January 1992
General Klemens Rudnicki (28 III 1897-12 VIII 1992) Commander of the 9th Cavalry Regiment, he succeeded General Maczek as commander of the First Polish Army Corps in Scotland. Task Force Rud or Rudforce was named after General Klemens Rudnicki, who commanded it. It consisted primarily of the 3rd Carpathian Rifle Brigade of the 3rd Carpathian Division and the 4th Wolyn Infantry Brigade of the 5th Frontier Infantry Division.