The information center: The Poles of Driel - 'Bound by friendship and gratitude' is an initiative of the Foundation Driel-Poland. A foundation dedicated since 1946 to the memory of the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade Group during the Battle of Arnhem.
After the rehabilitation of the Polish fighters, the interest in the story of Poles van Driel has grown. About 2 years ago this resulted in the plan for the establishment of an information center. Also from Poland, there was an increasing need to know the national history. In Driel itself there was a need to have a place dedicated to a part of the environmental history. The information center also plays a part in the growing battlefield tourism in the region.
The fighting in September 1944 left deep marks on the Driel community. Since then, a close relationship has developed between the Polish paratroopers and the population of Driel. A tire that is maintained to this day. The annual commemoration at Polenplein is the best-known example of this.
The deployment of the Polish paratroopers proved to be of great value. Soon after the landing of the Polish paratroopers on September 21, they resisted German attacks. The evacuation of the remnants of the 1st British Airborne Division at Oosterbeek to the south side of the Lower Rhine would not have been possible had the Poles failed to maintain their positions in Driel.
The information center tells the story of the Polish paratroopers during the Second World War. It not only discusses her efforts during Operation Market Garden, but also tells about the formation of the unit in the years before. The dramatic aftermath and the accusations of some senior British commanders about the Polish deployment during this military operation are also explained. Rehabilitation eventually followed, which is also widely discussed.
On the basis of various themes - supplemented with personal stories - a chronological picture is given of the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade. Also view the aerial photo of Driel and the surrounding area, which provides a detailed picture of the different locations that played a role during the fighting in and around the village. For people who have already learned more about the fighting in Driel, this information center offers enough depth to supplement their knowledge. Therefore, a visit is an excellent addition to a visit to the Airborne Museum 'Hartenstein'.
The information center is located in the center of the village. Therefore, it is a great place from which you can visit various monuments and sights in Driel. Opposite to the Catholic Church are Poland Monument and the Sosabowski Memorial Appeal presented in 2006 by the British comrades from 1944. A little further away, at the Protestant church you will find the Commonwealth War Grave Driel. If you wish to continue your visit beyond the village center, you can visit the Monument The Hampshire Regiment Driel and the Monument Royal Engineers and Royal Canadian Engineers Driel at the Drielse Rijndijk is well worth a visit.
At the moment there are plans to set out a walk in the future. This walk takes you along places that played a role during the fighting in September 1944. The exact locations involved and what they will look like will be further elaborated in the near future.
For current visiting hours, please visit the website of the museum.
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- Text: Jeroen Niels, STIWOT (02-10-2014)
- Photos: Arjan Vrieze (1, 2, 3, 4), Jeroen Koppes (5)