Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Edward Herzbaum

Self portrait in uniform with beret done with a brown ink wash created by 25 year old Edward Herzbaum in 1946. Edward was a soldier in the 2nd Polish Corps, who participated in the four month long Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy from January - May 1944. The Allies bombed the circa 1349 abbey in February and the resulting ruins provided protected defensive positions for German troops. The 2nd Polish Corps led the mountain assault in the May 1944 victory, the fourth battle by Allied forces since January to break through German defenses. Edward, 19, left Lodz, Poland, shortly after Germany occupied the country in September 1939. He went to stay with family in Soviet controlled Lvov. In June 1940, Edward was arrested by Soviet security police and exiled to a forced labor camp. Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. Edward was released as part of an amnesty granted to Polish forced laborers. He headed south to join the Polish Army of the East, known as Anders Army, a volunteer unit formed by General Anders per agreement with Stalin. In August 1942, the unit left Soviet territory and became the 2nd Polish Corps in the British Army. In February 1944, they deployed to join the 8th British Army in the Italian Campaign. They fought their way north and were in Italy in May 1945 when the war ended. Edward learned that his mother had died in the Lodz Ghetto in 1943. He resumed the study of architecture in Rome until the British decided to allow Polish Corps veterans to emigrate to England in October 1946. He then worked for two years with the Polish Resettlement Corps and completed his architectural degree.   

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