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Polish Radio launches website to commemorate war reporter Wańkowicz and Battle of Monte Cassino

17.05.2024 16:00
In a tribute to one of Poland's most revered war correspondents, Melchior Wańkowicz, and to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino, Polish Radio has unveiled a special website.
Image:Polish Radio

The new digital platform, montecassino.polskieradio.pl, breathes life into Wańkowicz's historic broadcasts, originally aired over 50 years ago, providing global access to his vivid accounts in Polish of one of World War II’s fiercest battles.

Wańkowicz, who accompanied the soldiers of the 2nd Polish Corps during the battle, provided firsthand reports on the preparations, the fierce combat, and the ultimate victory that saw the Polish flag raised over the monastery ruins.

What is especially interesting, in 1944, Wańkowicz did not have the status of an official war correspondent. He performed this status unofficially, in defiance of the Polish authorities in London, as well as in defiance of the 2nd Corps command.

His broadcasts from 1971 are now presented in a modern format that combines audio storytelling with visual archives.

The website features the storytelling in 12 detailed segments, enriched with graphic compositions derived from archival photographs. Izabella Mazurek, editorial director of Polish Radio's IAR news agency's Special Services and Archives, explained that "each part is illustrated by a graphic composition, allowing users to feel the atmosphere of the battles as if they were there eighty years ago."

In addition to reviving Wańkowicz's narratives, the website also offers transcriptions for the deaf and footnotes for clarifying historical terms and contexts. "Sometimes Wańkowicz uses understatements and even makes mistakes. This is where our role begins: through queries of scholarly studies, we have undertaken to verify what Wańkowicz says," added Bartłomiej Makowski, co-author of the site.

Polish author and journalist Melchior Wańkowicz, born in 1892, was deeply intertwined with the military, having served in multiple conflicts and becoming a master of war reportage. His experience with the 2nd Polish Corps led to the creation of his seminal work, "Battle for Monte Cassino," published just after the end of the war.


Source: IAR