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The Polish Institute

The Polish institute and Sikorski museum, London

Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum
20 Princes Gate, London SW7

The Sikorski Museum was established at the end of World War II by the exiled Polish community in London who did not wish to return home to a Russian controlled homeland.

This museum is named after General Wladyslaw Sikorski, 1881 - 1943, the war hero and leader of the Polish government-in-exile.

Exhibits are labelled in Polish but visitors without knowledge of Poland's role in World War II can take an English-language guided tour. The museum shows the struggle of the ordinary people through the everyday items on display. A collection of paintings and drawings is in the main staircase.

The museum's main collection is the 10,000 military items arranged in rooms dedicated to each of the armed forces. These include an Enigma ciphering machine, cracked by Polish mathematicians.

The full-size model of Wojtke the 'soldier bear' adopted by Polish soldiers as a travelling mascot is popular with younger visitors.

General Sikorski personifies the Polish national spirit, and his writing desk, together with part of a collection of his personal and military effects, is an attraction for Polish visitors.

The Polish Institute archives, documenting the wartime period, are used for academic research.

Admission is free

The Opening Times are:-

Open Mon-Fri 14:00-16:00, First Sat each month 10.00-16:00, Tel: 020 7589 9249 for details and appointments.

The Sikorski Collection

This section of the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum is concerned purel with General Wladyslaw Sikorski and falls essencially into three categories. First there are his personal belongings - his ceremonial sword, his cap and uniform retrieved from the wreck of the Liberator in which he met his death. Secondly, there is a collection, containing books, albums, pamphlets and volumes of press cuttings relating to his life and activities. Thirdly, there is his wartime diary maintained by his aides-de-camps, which subsequently served as the basis for a complete chronicle of events pertaining to the General's activities as Prime Minister and Commander in Chief. This chronicle was compiled by the Institute's archivists. This section also comprises General Sikorski's personal papers and official records and documents kept by the secretariat of the Prime Minister.
 
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Below are some links that may be of interest to you.

Poland - the facts.

Poland by Wikipedia

Polish underground study trust.

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website updated 18/02/2007

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