Irena Anders (12.05.1920—29.11.2010)
Irena Anders, the wife of WW II General Władysław Anders, has died in London, aged 90.
Born Irena Jarosiewicz she was a singer and actress who toured with the Henryk Wars band during the WW II and later the “Polish Parade” band with the Polish 2nd Corps, led by General Anders.
After the war she settled in Great Britain where she continued her singing and acting career. Irena Anders celebrated during 2010, her 90th birthday at the London’s Embassy of the Republic of Poland. The legendary actress is well known for having performed during World War II for the Polish II Corps, led by General Władysław Anders, boosting their morale.
And it was Irena Anders who is said to have first sung Czerwone maki na Monte Cassino (Red Poppies on Monte Cassino), written in the midst of the fighting in honour of those who lost their lives. Her beauty was famed and her talent was well remembered by those who were there. Polish veterans recal her singing to them on the back of trucks as they moved across war-torn Europe. After the war in 1948, she married Gen. Władysław Anders and subsequently became an icon on the Polish social émigré scene in London.
Irena Anders' birthday - May 12 - coincided with the anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino, one of the bloodiest battles in Polish history, nonetheless crowned by glory - it is a well known fact that had it not been the Poles led by General Anders, Monte Cassino would have been lost to the enemy.
She was awarded the Order of Polonia Restituta by the then president Lech Kaczynski in 2007. She worked tirelessly to promote the advancement of the Polish people and culture.
Maryla Zulawska a close friend said: “Her death is a closing chapter in the story of those Poles who fought their way back to freedom and democracy through battle and through song”.
Marek Stella-Sawicki with Irena Anders, 2009.
Funeral Mass for Irena Anders
The funeral of Irena Anders, the widow of General Władysław Anders, Commanding General of the Polish II Corps and the General Inspector of the Armed Forces, took place on December 8 at the St. Andrew Bobola Church in Hammersmith and was attended by Irena Anders' daughter, Anna Maria, who flew in from Boston, the First Lady of the Republic of Poland, Mrs. Anna Komorowska, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland, Her Excellency, Ms. Barbara Tuge-Erecińska and prominent members of the Polish community.