VINTAGE SKY Today we visit an important Polish aviation memorial site – the Żwirkowisko. We are in Terlicko (Czech Republic). On September 11th, 1932 RWD-6 plane crashed here killing Żwirko and Wigura aviators. They were on the way to Prague. The specific flight stage was from Kraków to Brno. They approached from that direction. Here, 145km before destiantion, a sudden storm broke out. Turbulent air caused the plane to disintegrate and crash on this hillside. This is the story of this memorial site. After the crash a special train brought pilots’ bodies back to Poland. Along the way many mourning celebrations took place, planes made fly-by’s and Czechoslovakian army paid tribute as if Żwirko snd Wigura were their officers. It was all with great dignity, despite politcal tension between Poland and Czechoslovakia. Initially a cross was placed here. In 1935 a mausoleum was raised. There was a gate with caption “Żwirko’s and Wigura’s takeoff for the eternity”. There was a cross, behind which two trees were preserved (the ones directly hit by the plane). This is the mausoleum itself. We know it only from the pictures and plans. In 1940, the neighbouring Germans forgot they were poets’ and musicians’ nation. They destroyed the mausoleum of pilots who had beaten them in Berlin in 1932. Germans have also destroyed a 1200kg memorial bell casted in Poland and displayed in Tesin at the time. Local people have buried this tombstone which was later recovered after the war and is still here. These are symbollic graves. Żwirko and Wigura are buried in Warsaw Powązki Cementary. Their funeral gathered 300 000 people. In 1950 a statue was raised. According to various sources it shows either the Icarus, an aviator, and maybe this figure holding propeller personifies glory or victory. Inscription is below. Up until 1957 it stated (mistakenly?) that this is a monument for allied pilots killed fighting with the Nazis. It may have been deliberately written so as the Czechs raising the statue were not interested in restoring the pre-war form of Żwirkowisko site. Today Żwirko and Wigura are literally mentioned in Czech and Polish. There is a discussion if this states correctly that they were “killed in action”. Not far away is the Żwirko and Wigura “Polish Home”, a Polish cultural center in the region. It was founded in 1992(4?) I thank all who take care of this important place. We see a tidy site with fresh wraiths, and we are here not on any anniversary day.