Following graduation as Lieutenant in the Polish Army, dad and a few others stopped in Rome before reporting to duty back near Ancona. They were fortunate to stay in a hotel next to a group of Polish students, and joined them in daily tours of Rome. It was an opportunity to learn more of an historical city that still showed remnants of civilization centuries before the birth of Christ.
From the inside of St. Peter's, dad and the students took a staircase to reach the dome, and from there climbed ladders to reach an observation point above the dome. Today spiral stairwells climb 360 steps from the domes base to its top, where spectacular views of Rome and the Vatican greet the climbers.
Often after visiting a venue, dad returned in the evening. A common visit was to the Colisium, where he visualized spectacles in front of roaring crowds below him. 'panem et circenses' the promise of bread and entertainment kept the crowds in line. Such promises would not subdue the people under Russian occupation. However Stalin now held company with victorious Allied leaders. Surely, they would see through his ruse.
Every victorious general was marched through Rome with his throng of warriors, captors, and exotic spoils. The long march wound through arches along the old streets and ended atop Palatine Hill. It was the only time in Rome that any mortal was considered a god, until the general stood face to face with their true god Jupiter atop the hill. The Polish soldiers returning to their bases looked forward to marching along the liberated streets of Poland.
Author - Andrew Bajda
I've been working on writing the story of my father for two years, his adventures during WW2. I will retrace his steps and use this blog to share stories and images of the places that make up his fascinating story.