Presidents Exhumed

The Polish government-in-exile, was formed in the aftermath of the Invasion of Poland of September 1939, and the subsequent occupation of Poland by Germany, and later the Soviet Union.

Despite the occupation of Poland by hostile powers, the government-in-exile exerted considerable influence in Poland during World War II through the structures of the Polish Underground State and its military arm, the Armia Krajowa (Home Army) resistance.

After the war, as the Polish territory came under the control of the communist Polish People’s Republic, the government-in-exile remained in existence albeit without effective power.

It lost recognition of the majority of states upon formation of the Provisional Government of National Unity on 5 July 1945 although it continued to be hosted and informally supported by the UK in Newark on Trent, Nottinghamshire.

However, after the end of communist rule in Poland the government-in-exile formally passed its responsibilities and insignia onto the government of the Third Polish Republic at a special ceremony held on 22 December 1990 at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, while the liquidation of its apparatus was declared accomplished on 31 December 1991.

Three of those Presidents in exile were interred in Newark cemetery, Nottinghamshire.

Władysław Raczkiewicz, August Zaleski and Stanisław Ostrowski, where exhumed from Newark Cemetery, Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, prior to repatriation to Warsaw and a State Funeral.

Planning for the exhumations began in the summer 2022 and was finalised on Thursday 3rd November 2022

A memorial service took place in St.Mary Magdalene Church, before the repatriation flight by the Polish Air Force.

Michael Gill

Special Projects Manager, February 2023