Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The monument to Polish general in Leipsig

This pretty modest and inconspicuous monument is located in Leipzig near the St. Michaelis Church. It has been unveiled in honor of Jan Henryk Dąbrowski (1755 – 1818), a Polish general and national hero.
In June 1812 General Dąbrowski commanded a Polish division in the Grande Armee, joining Napoleon on his Moscow expedition. However, by October the Franco-Russian war was over and the French forces, decimated by a severe winter, had to retreat. Their defeat was completed by a battle lost during the crossing of the River Berezina, in which Dąbrowski was wounded. He fought under Marshal Auguste Marmont at the Battle of Leipzig (October 18, 1813).
His division was ordered to secure the withdrawal of French troops from Leipzig. Price at which the order was executed was very high, but anyway the division succeeded in holding its position. The fiercest fighting between French army and Russian-Prussian troops has taken place on the site where the monument was erected in 1863.
In the following year General Dąbrowski returned to Poland, unable to continue the fight any further. He was one of the generals entrusted by the Tsar Alexander I with the reorganization of the Polish army, and was named in 1815 general of cavalry and senator palatine of the new Congress Kingdom, and awarded the Order of the White Eagle. He retired in 1816 to his estates in Winna Gora in the Grand Duchy of Posen, Kingdom of Prussia, where he died in 1818.
He wrote several military historical works in Polish. His name, in the French version "Dombrowsky", is inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. "Dąbrowski's Mazurka" has become the national anthem of Poland. It was originally meant to boost the morale of Polish soldiers serving under General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski.