Tanks on Monuments, Monument Tanks: On Trench Art and “Gratitude Memorials”

Tanks on Monuments, Monument Tanks

On Trench Art and “Gratitude Memorials”





trench art, monuments, “monuments of gratitude”, Red Army, armored weapons, tanks, World War II


The purpose of this outline was to introduce the topic of using armored weapons elements in the erection of monuments. The text discusses the issue of “monuments of gratitude” to the Red Army, which often drew on the motif of the tank monument, using a tank of the liberator of a particular locality. Monuments to the brotherhood of arms between the Red Army and the People’s Polish Army are also discussed. Two unique works that were not created by state order and were not propaganda manifestations are discussed next: the monument in Kasina Wielka and the now demolished one in Zyndranowa. In Kasina Wielka, a local artist designed a monument commemorating Polish soldiers who fell in September 1939. The work uses the turret of a Vickers tank, a real rarity since not a single Vickers tank taking part in the operations of the 1939 campaign has survived to this day. Moreover, it shows the grassroots initiative of citizens who wanted to commemorate the clashes in Kasina Wielka. The second monument was erected in Zyndranowa to commemorate the casualties of the 1944 Dukla operation. Importantly, it was again a grassroots initiative. The text discusses the stages of its creation, along with the actions taken by the authorities to dismantle it. The article is supplemented by a table listing “monuments of gratitude” that used elements of World War II military equipment.

Author Biography

Wiktor Szymborski, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland

Historian and a Professor at the Institute of History of the Jagiellonian University. His research interests revolve around Church history with  a  particular focus on the history of the Dominican Order in the modern era. Author of monographs: Odpusty w Polsce średniowiecznej, Kraków 2011; Collegium Broscianum, Kraków 2014; Bracia z ulicy Freta. Studia nad dominikanami warszawskimi w epoce nowożytnej, Studia i Źródła Dominikańskiego Instytutu Historycznego w Krakowie, vol. 18, Wydawnictwo Esprit, Kraków 2018. By decision of the Prior Provincial of the Dominican Order and the Provincial Council, appointed to the Scientific Council of the Dominican Historical Institute. Member of the Polish Heraldic Society branch in Krakow, the Society of Friends of Science in Przemyśl and the Historical Commission of the Polish Academy of Sciences branch in Krakow. As a hobbyist, he promotes the issue of trench art. Co-author of the trench art exhibition realized at IPn’s Przystanek Historia [History Stop] branch in Krakow.