Unveiling of the restored stained glass window
Arno Baltussen Chairman Foundation Driel-Poland
18 September 2020
General Grodzki, Burgomaster Hoytink-Roubos, committee members of the football club RKSV, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.
Welcome at the unveiling of the restored stained glass window. This window was an important element in the band that developed in September 1944 between Driel and Poland and which, after the liberation in 1945, continued.
Shortly after the people came back from their evacuation addresses they came quickly in contact with members of the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade that at that moment as part of the occupying army were in Kleef and Gronau. From here they travelled frequently to Driel in search of the graves in the fields of comrades who had died and the remnants of the materials that they had had to leave behind during their retreat on 26 September 1944.
The relationships during this period were strengthen on both sides.
This must be the reason why those who took the initiative to set up the football club to choose the colours of the Polish flag. During the jubilee in 1985 the logo with the parachutist was added.
Since October 1945 members play every week in the colours of the flag of Poland – at the moment 35 teams and 600 members. During the last 75 years it is unlikely that anyone had missed the fact that Poland and Driel are closely connected.
Last year our foundation was asked by the committee of the football club how, in the year they celebrate their 75 years of existence they could make clear the link that they have with our liberators in the Information Centre in the years to come. In the context of the Gelderland Herdenkt subsidy we developed a project that amongst others included the restauration and placing of the stained glass window.
When we explored the history behind this window it emerged that it was an excellent object to express the relationship between our Polish liberators and the local football club. In the following speeches this will become clear.
However, the sponsoring of this stained glass window is not all.
Last year, with enthusiasm, an agreement has been made that during this weekend a football match would be played between the star teams of the 6th Airborne Brigade and the 1st team of RKSV. It is a pity that the current pandemic has been responsible for breaking play. I am sure that in the coming years both teams will take on this football match. Members of our foundation’s board experienced that various members of the 6th Airborne Brigade are fighting for a place in the star team during this very special match. From the bottom of our hearts we hope that next year it will be possible to watch this football match.
Thank you for your attention
Can I ask your attention for General Grodzki