History and Heritage

Invisible Army

Project overview

Forty year 9 and 10 students from Ely College worked with Keystage to tell the little-known story of the Polish army and civilians deported to Siberia by Stalin, released to begin a mammoth exodus to the Middle East where they joined the British army in its fight against the Nazis.
The students worked in teams as researchers, writers and actors to produce a play entitled ‘Invisible Army’ based on the incredible story. In June 1941, Hitler broke his treaty with Stalin and invaded Russia. Stalin found his country under dire threat. With the agreement of the allies he released the senior Polish general Wladyslaw Anders from prison in Moscow and told to form an independent Polish army from those locked up in the Siberian camps. The story that follows is worthy of a Hollywood movie!
The Ely College students researched this complex but moving story using archive material, a visit to the Polish Sikorski Museum in London, the Imperial War Museum and, most importantly, interviews with veterans of Anders Army.

Project outcomes

  • Research
  • Educational resource
  • Exhibition
  • Theatre

“It has been an exhilarating journey for the students… It has been gratifying to watch the project take shape and see the interest this has stimulated in places as far afield as Italy and Canada.”

Ely College Teacher

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