Tribute to Georgians in Polish Service
Katarzyna Pakosinska (tańczy gruziński taniec
Poland and Georgia fight for freedomGeorgian Officers Fighting for Polandby Gia Kandashvili
Seehttp://www.tvpolonia.com/player/index.php?path=58&mov=87367586.wmv&play=1W rogatywce i tygrysiej skórze - film dokumentalny - TV Polonia ...Losy gruzińskich oficerów, którzy w czasie II wojny światowej znaleźli się w AK. W Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego ma powstać ich pomnik.Originally Published in Georgia Today NewspaperLast week, Georgia Today learned about a unique work that Jerzy Lubach, a renowned Polish documentary director, friend of Georgia and expert of the Caucasus had taken over. This is a documentary about Georgian officers who fought in the Polish army against the fascist and communist invaders. In the interview, Lubach disclosed a touching story of a Georgian noble diaspora having left a glorious trace in Polish history. Jerzy Lubach, along with his Georgian colleagues, discovered many interesting facts in the recently opened archives of Poland, Georgia and Russia. Since it sounds so interesting, we decided to narrate a bit about the basic story that laid the ground to the idea for the film. First of all, how did Georgian officers find themselves in Poland? Jerzy Lubach willingly answered this and other questions.Jerzy LubachWhen Georgia gained independence from the Russian Empire, Georgia and Poland launched extensive diplomatic, political and military exchanges। The Polish state envoy, Waclaw Ostrowski, was dispatched to Georgia to set up a Polish diplomatic mission in the fledgling democratic republic. Poland firmly adhered to the policy of establishing close diplomatic relations with the states of the South Caucasus, which had escaped the shadow of Russian rule. Marshal and leader of Poland, Jozef Pilsudski, attached great importance to that strategy. Soon Georgia became a pivotal state as the way to Azerbaijan was cut off because of Bolshevic upheaval there. However, all the plans of fast development of Polish-Georgian relations collapsed with intrusion of the Soviet Red Army in independent Georgia on February 1921. After two weeks of merciless fighting, the tiny Georgian corps was crushed and the Soviet flag was raised in Tbilisi. The state was annexed, and the remainder of the leading Georgian military personnel as well as the temporary government fled to Europe via Batumi and Constantinople. Poland did not recognize the annexation of Georgia and kept close relations with the Georgian political and military authorities in exile. Moreover, in autumn 1921 Marshal Pilsudski’s military attaché in Constantinople, Colonel Babicki, addressed an offer to the chief of the Georgian military headquarters, General Alexander Zakariadze, that Poland was willing to accept Georgian officers in the Polish army. Georgian officers – six generals among them – came to Poland and it was to become their second motherland. According to historical data, they quickly grasped the specifics of the Polish military, perfected their Polish and established close relations with their Polish colleagues. “Although Germany announced free passage from Poland for any foreigners, none of the Georgian officer left the country in September 1939, when the fascist army invaded Polish lands. They heroically battled against the fascist occupants as well as Stalin’s Soviet army,” stressed Jerzy Lubach. Some Georgian officers held high military positions in the Polish army. Colonel Valerian Tevzadze led the northern defense of Warsaw. He later was awarded with the Silver Cross for Military Valor. After the Red Army took over Poland, Valerian Tevzadze joined the Polish underground against the communists until his death 1987. “Many Poles knew about Tevzadze who was just a ‘tidbit’ for both Soviet and Polish KGB, but no one gave him in,” underlined the film director in his talk with Georgia Today. As we learned, the current defense minister of Georgia, David Tevzadze, is a close descendent of Valerian Tevzadze. The minister pledged support to the film crew. “There are many other figures from the ranks of Georgian officers who gained fame in the battle for Poland,” Jerzy Lubach narrated. Major Artemi Aronishidze led the 360th infantry battalion in the defense of Warsaw. “He did not retreat until the surrender of the capital to the fascists.” Aronishidze was soon captured by the Germans, and later handed over to the Soviet KGB. Overall amnesty saved him from capital punishment. The major, who was also awarded the Silver Cross, died at 58, in 1950. Giorgi Tumanishvili was born in Poland, to a family of a Georgian officer in exile. In his youth he joined the Polish army in 1939 and had time for taking part in a number of Polish military campaigns against the fascists. Having gained the rank of captain, he was twice awarded with the Silver Cross for Military Valor. Dimitri Shalikashvili gained the rank of major in Poland. After the fall of Warsaw he escaped to America where his sons managed to reach the highest military positions. John Malkhaz Shalikashvili, the eldest son, was the chief of the united military headquarters of the U.S. for years in the early 90s. The younger brother is now taking active part in the Train and Equip Program conducted by the U.S. government in Georgia. “But, such success stories are very rare. A number of Georgian officers fighting in the Polish army died in Gestapo dungeons or Soviet camps,” the film director sighed. Thus, it is obvious that Jerzy Lubach has got a lot to say about the history of the military fraternity between the two nations. Tamara Dularidze, a lecturer at a Moscow cinematography institute and friend of the Polish director is working along with him. Dularidze and Lubach have a good experience in working together on Georgian-Polish history. The film “Seeking the White Angel”, about Grigol Peradze, a Georgian priest and scientist working in Poland, having been killed by the fascists for treating Polish Jews, deserved a high honor. The documentary about Georgian officers in Poland is to be shot in Georgia, Poland, Great Britain and Russia. The Georgian film studio Grifon Film Productions, under Irakli Metreveli, expressed its willingness to work in partnership with Jerzy Lubach on the film. “I hope to invite John Malkhaz Shalikashvili to work in Warsaw as well,” Jerzy Lubach told Georgia Today. The director is going to re-scrutinize the archive of the first Georgian republic of 1918-1921, which should provide a great deal of material for the film.Georgian emigration in PolandFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to: navigation, searchThe documented ties between Georgia and Poland reach back to the XV century, when the Georgian (Kartlian) King Konstantin sent a diplomatic mission to the Polish King Alexander Jagellon. Later, Polish King Jan III Sobiesky tried to establish contacts with Georgia. Many Georgians participated in military campaigns led by Poland in XVII century. Bohdan Grudziecki, a Georgian, was the greatest authority on all things Persian working in the Polish king's diplomatic service, made frequent diplomatic trips to Persia, on which he obtained, among other things, guarantees upholding earlier privileges for missionaries. Already during the rule of King Jan Kazimierz was he sent on missions to Isfahan, and King Jan III Sobieski availed himself of Gurdziecki's talents in like manner (in 1668, 1671, 1676-1678, in 1682-1684, and in 1687). Gurdziecki remained at the court of the shah for several years in the capacity of special resident and representative of the Polish king; it was him who delivered to the shah Suleiman news about the victory of the Christian forces at Vienna (1683).Several Georgian politicians, intellectuals and military officers left Georgia for Poland after the Soviet armies invaded the Democratic Republic of Georgia (DRG) in February 1921, taking over the government and establishing the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in the same March. Although not very numerous and consisting of a few hundred members, the Georgian community of Poland was very active politically and culturally. The best remembered are, however, the Georgian military personnel who served in the Polish ranks from the early 1920s until the end of the World War II. Georgian PrometheismActive diplomatic contacts developed between the short-lived DRG and Poland was part of Józef Piłsudski’s well-known political concept known as Prometheism. Its aim was to greatly reduce the power of Tsarist Russia and subsequently, the Soviet Union, by supporting nationalist independence movements of the major non-Russian peoples that lived within the borders of Russia or the Soviet Union.Polish and Georgian officers serving in the Polish Army, 1925The Georgian Promethean groups were one of the most active within the movement. This was not overlooked by the Bolsheviks, who in 1930 organized the assassination of Noe Ramishvili, a prominent Georgian political leader and a major promoter of Prometheism.The 1932 Polish-Soviet mutual nonaggression pact precipitated the downfall of the Promethean movement though the Georgians continued their activities in various cultural and social organizations. The most important was the Committee of Georgia founded as early as 1921 by several Georgian intellectuals led by Sergo Qurulashvili. They had close contacts with the centers of Georgian political emigration across Europe, primarily in Paris. The Committee organized various meetings and social activities and provided material support for the Georgian émigrés. It also published its own publications, ProGeorgia (1922), and Propartia (1923). From 1923 to 1924, Qurulashvili also directed the journal Schlos Wschodu pertaining to the Georgian problems. The Georgians organized also the Union of Georgian Students and the Polish-Georgian Society led by Prince Pavle Tumanishvili. The activities of these organizations were limited, however, due to financial difficulties. Georgians in the Polish military serviceMajor Giorgi Mamaladze, later murdered in the 1940 Katyn massacreImmediately after the fall of the DRG, Noe Zhordania, the head of the Georgian government-in-exile, addressed the friendly nations, particularly France, Greece and Poland, to help in maintaining the professional military cadres. The government of Poland promptly responded, and from 1922 to 1924, hundreds of Georgian Junkers and officers, recommended by Zhordania’s government, were accepted in the Polish military schools. Several professional officers of the former DRG attended military training courses at the Polish army centers. Although not obligated to do so, virtually all of them were subsequently enrolled in the Polish army as contract officers. In the subsequent decade, the total number of Georgian military servicemen reached 1,000.At the outbreak of the World War II, most of the Georgian officers took part in the 1939 Defensive War, and several of them commanded their own regiments composed of Polish soldiers. The most notable officers were:Zakaria Bakradze, generał dywizji, deputy commander of Polish 15th Infantry Division.Aleksandre Chkheidze, generał brygady, deputy commander of Polish 16th Infantry Division.Ivane Kazbegi, generał brygady.Aleksandre Koniashvili, generał brygady.Kirile Kutateladze, generał brygady.Aleksandre Zakariadze, generał brygady.Viktor Lomidze, the commander of ORP Gryf.Giorgi Tumanishvili, captain of the navy, who was awarded Virtuti Militari.Valerian Tevzadze, podpułkownik, the commander of the northern sector of the Polish defences during the siege of Warsaw.Mikheil Kvaliashvili, major, the commander of a cavalry battalion within the 15th Uhlans Regiment.Several Georgian officers were captured by the Soviet forces during the 1939 campaign. General Chkheidze, Major Mamaladze, Captain Skhirtladze and Captain Rusiashvili were killed during the infamous Katyn Massacre, from 1940 to 1941. Many others spent several years in the gulag camps.St. Grigol PeradzeDuring the occupation of Poland, the Germans reorganized the Warsaw-based Committee of Georgia and placed it under their tight control. The occupation administration encouraged the Georgian soldiers in the Polish service to join the Georgian Legion of the Wehrmacht. Some of them responded to the Nazi request, but subsequently joined the Polish resistance movement. The notable Georgian Orthodox priest and Professor Grigol Peradze of Warsaw University ended his life in the Auschwitz concentration camp (1942), when he deliberately entered a gas-chamber instead of a Jewish prisoner who had a large family.John Malchase David Shalikashvili, general of the United States Army who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993 to 1997, was born in Warsaw, Poland where his father also served in the army.After the war, most Georgians either left for Western Europe or were deported to the Soviet camps though some of them (e.g., General V. Tevzadze) remained in the Polish anti-Communist underground for several decades.