Poland’s Secretary of State Anna Maria Anders visits Cheektowaga

Supervisor Diane Benczkowski greets Poland’s Secretary of State Anna Maria Anders during her visit to the Polish Festival on July 15, 2017. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
Supervisor Diane Benczkowski greets Poland’s Secretary of State Anna Maria Anders during her visit to the Polish Festival on July 15, 2017. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
A child from the Polish Saturday School greets Poland’s Secretary of State Anna Maria Anders during her visit to the Polish Festival on July 15, 2017. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
A child from the Polish Saturday School greets Poland’s Secretary of State Anna Maria Anders during her visit to the Polish Festival on July 15, 2017. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. – Secretary of State to the Republic of Poland, Anna Maria Anders, flew into Buffalo Saturday afternoon and stopped by the Polish Festival in Town Park to dedicate an exhibit documenting how the Andres’ Army fought back during World War II.

Secretary Andres landed at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport around 1:30 p.m. Saturday and was greeted at the airport by students from the Polish Saturday School.

“I got this wonderful reception with this wonderful group of people dressed in Polish costume, flowers and a loaf of bread welcoming me in the traditional Polish way. I looked at them and I thought, oh my God, I’m going to cry, this is so sweet,” said Secretary Andres.

Arriving in Town Park, she was greeted by Town leaders and attendees of the Polish Festival.  She was there to dedicate an exhibition documenting Władysław Anders‘ fight in World War II.

“This exhibition means a lot to me because it’s about my father. Of course, I’m here as a government official, but also very much so as my father’s daughter.  I found out about a week ago that he was the honorary grand marshal in the parade in 1950,” added Secretary Andres.

“It explains the history of the tragic history of Poland; the division, the story of Russia and Germany, how they wanted to divide Poland up and then the twist in it where they thought there was no longer an alliance which was the reason the Polish people in concentration camps in Russia could come out and form the Anders’ Army,” continued Secretary Andres.

Poland’s Secretary of State Anna Maria Anders cuts the ribbon on an exhibition about Andres' Army during the Polish Festival on July 15, 2017. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
Poland’s Secretary of State Anna Maria Anders cuts the ribbon on an exhibition about Andres’ Army during the Polish Festival on July 15, 2017. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

After the launch of Operation Barbarossa and the signing of the Sikorski-Maisky agreement, Anders was released by the Soviets with the aim of forming a Polish Army to fight against the Germans alongside the Red Army.

“He saved over 120,000 people, and he regretted to the end of his days that he couldn’t save even more people.  He became the hero of the Battle of Monte Cassino, a great symbol of the freedom of Poland and also symbolic of Poland’s fight for freedom,” said Secretary Andres.

Many people were deported from Poland during the war and were spread across the World.  Secretary Andres says some 12 million Polish people now live in the United States.  She herself, lived in Boston where she received her MBA from Boston University.

Poland’s Secretary of State Anna Maria Anders greets Polish Festival attendees on July 15, 2017. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
Poland’s Secretary of State Anna Maria Anders greets Polish Festival attendees on July 15, 2017. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

“I lived here for over 20 years; I still have a home here.  Polonia and the U.S. is exceptional, they really are exceptional,” continued Secretary Andres.

“I’m one of the people who really believe that you don’t have to speak Polish in order to be a patriot and I push this all the time…We now have wonderful career people who could help Poland and help Polonia, so I’m very much for pushing that trade between the states and Poland,” said Secretary Andres.

The Secretary will travel to the Polish war monument in St. Stanislaus Cemetery before touring the Western New York region Saturday night. She will follow in her father’s footsteps and will lead the Pulaski Day Parade as honorary grand marshal Sunday.

The 79th annual Pulaski Day Parade steps off at 1:30 p.m. and travels down Harlem Road to Town Park.