Unveiling bust General Sosabowski, 23 September 2017, Warsaw – Żoliborz, Plac Inwalidów
Speech Arno Baltussen Chairman Foundation Driel-Polen during the unveiling of the General Stanisław Sosabowski bust in Żoliborz 23 September 2017
Your excellency Minister
General, members of the 6th Airborne Brigade
Ladies and Gentlemen
In 2006, a sculptor in the Netherlands came to us with a model of the bust of General Stanisław Sosabowski. His name was Martin Abspoel and he is amongst us this afternoon.
On television he watched the ceremony when Queen Beatrix decorated the banner of the 6th Airborne Brigade with the Order of William and posthumously awarded General Sosabowski with the Bronze Lion. He was moved by the story and the injustice done to General Sosabowski and his Brigade. He immediately decided to create a bust of the General and contacted our foundation to find where this might be placed.
We asked the veterans present at the commemoration in 2007 to evaluate what he had made. They decided unanimously that it was the general as they remembered him.
From the beginning we had the intention that the bust should get its home in Poland.
The only condition of the sculptor was a contribution to the cost of the bronze needed for the final realisation of the bust.
In 2014, President Komorowski came to the Netherlands and together with our King Willem Alexander participated in the commemorations in Driel.
During the preparations we got in touch with the Dutch Embassy in Warsaw. When we said that a bust of General Stanislaw Sosabowski has been made and explained that we wanted to give it a place in Poland they immediately agreed and committed themselves to meeting any costs involved.
As Foundation Driel-Polen we are very happy that today this bust finds its place in the heart of Poland – in Warsaw. A location which in the near future will be home to the renewed Polish Army Museum. A museum in which the story of General Sosabowski will be told in more detail than it is today.
For this reason I would like to thank the sculptor – Martin Abspoel, the Charge d’Affaries of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Poland Mr. Raphaël Varga, the major of Żolibirz Mr Bugla and Brigade General Hałupka for supporting the idea and coordinating related discussions.
As token of appreciation we would like to extend our gratitude by giving a typically Dutch present.
On the occasion of the 125th birthday and also name day of General Sosabowski on 8 May this year a tulip named after the General was baptised in Driel. One of those that had the honour to perform the official act was General Hałupka, for him probably a once in a life time experience.
For this reason we will hand over to the Mayor of Żolibirz, Mr Bugla, a box with 500 bulbs of the General Stanisław Sosabowski tulip. In the Spring of the coming year they will flourish and create a park filled with red and yellow colours – colours that – coincidental – are very close to the colours of the city of Warsaw.
The Embassy of the Netherlands has already many tulips within its gates in front of its building. The colours are the same. The bulbs we would like to hand over to Mr. Varga will create a colourful accent during spring time and remind you once more of the relationship between Poland and the Netherlands based on our relationship with General Sosabowski.
We also would like to present bulbs to Martin Abspoel, without his initiative we would not have met today.
Also Mr. Dworczyk we will present some tulips which will remind him in Spring next year his presence this afternoon.
Yesterday we presented General Hałupka with the bulbs. In Spring Warsaw and Cracow will be beautifully coloured with the General Stanisław Sosabowski tulip. I hope that in future more cities will follow and the story of General Sosabowski and his Brigade will increasingly be spread throughout the country.
In Driel these tulips will flourish in public and private gardens areas that during the war were landing areas.
This tulip is a token of our friendship and gratitude.
Thank you for your attention.
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