FILE 4: The Legacy


The graphic to the left is a summary of the project to date.

The most gratifying aspect of this project is the preservation and conservation of the legacy of those who once found solace at Tweedsmuir Camp after the Second World War. Clearly it has taken many years of dedicated work by numerous volunteers to accumulate the body of knowledge exemplified by this website and in the exhibition at the Rural Life Centre in Tilford, Surrey, England. As far as possible, original materials have been integrated to promote the understanding of this history, the legacy of which is highlighted by a wide range of interested parties.

You may like to view the interest this legacy has generated by navigating the archives linked to this page.

The photograph on the back of which the above was written is shown below. The original opening words of the poem by Mickiewicz read,
"O Lithuania, my fatherland. You are like health: intoxicatingly fresh. Only they who have lost you, are able to appreciate your virtue."

Prompted by the first four lines of Pan Tadeusz, a ten thousand line poem by Adam Mickiewicz (poet; 1798-1855), which was finished and published in Paris in 1834**, Sergeant Mikolaj Rogalski, Polish Army Second Corps, wrote on the back of a personal photograph:

Poland! My Fatherland.
Only he who once lost you
Can love you the more .....

Underneath that, Sergeant Rogalski cites the photograph as testament of his release to freedom from a Russian detention camp.

These words, inspired by Mickiewicz, are more significant than one can possibly imagine because they touch upon the eighteenth century partitions of the historical Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which comprised the Kingdom of Poland and the Duchy of Lithuania. The Duchy was a feudal state, which included Ruthenia, the regions of modern Belarus and western Ukraine. The partitions of the Commonwealth, and their consequential aftermath, threw these countries, their citizens, and their histories into turmoil for decades. The legacy of the adults at Tweedsmuir Camp is deeply rooted in their understanding of this history and is influenced by the events of interwar (1918-1939) Poland.

By 1990, 'their Poland' started to evolve into a modern country which has managed to tease out the differences between its history and its politics, where the former is the discipline of historians and the latter the domain of politicians.

Today Poland exists as a European country in its own right.