"Today marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Monte Cassino, one of the longest, bloodiest, and most important battles of the Italian campaign during the Second World War.
"After Poland was brutally attacked and divided by Hitler and Stalin in 1939, two million Poles were arrested and deported to Soviet slave labour camps. Hundreds of thousands perished, but when the Nazi-Soviet pact collapsed in 1941, many of the survivors enlisted in the Polish 2nd Corps and joined the Allied fight against Germany.
"Commanded by General Wladyslaw Anders, in 1944 the Polish soldiers in 'Anders' Army' were dispatched to the front in Italy in where Allied forces, comprised of British, American, Indian, New Zealand, Canadian, and other troops, had been trying for months to dislodge the Germans from a key defensive strategic position at the ancient Benedictine Abbey of Monte Cassino.
"The fighters of the 2nd Corps, inspired by General Anders' pre-battle exhortation to 'Let the spirit of lions enter your hearts. Go and take revenge for all the suffering in our land, for what you have suffered for many years in Russia and for years of separation from your families!' led the final seven-day assault that finally broke through the German line. All told, the battle claimed an estimated 55,000 Allied casualties, including hundreds of Canadians.
"On behalf of the Government of Alberta I am pleased to join with Albertans of Polish descent and all Albertans in marking this proud moment in the history of the Polish people."