Unwilling to give up fighting the Nazis after their country was quickly overrun in September 1939, a small group of Polish pilots eventually made their way to Britain and offered their services to the Allies.
Altogether, 145 Polish pilots took part in the pivotal Battle of Britain, helping stave off the German assault and invasion that likely would have resulted if the Nazis had been victorious.
Tadeusz Sawicz, believed to have been the last of the Poles who took to the skies alongside the Brits in the 1940 battle, died this week at age 97.
Sawicz, who shot down three German planes during the war and damaged several others, went on to take part in several Allied operations throughout the remaining years of the war, including being attached to the US 9th Air Force in 1944 and escorting American bomber formations while flying a P-47 Thunderbolt.
Among the awards he received was the British Distinguished Flying Cross, the US Air Medal and the Vlieger Cruis, the Dutch equivalent of the DFC, according to The Telegraph.
The role of Sawicz and his comrades is relatively unknown, but because the Allies won the Battle of Britain by a narrow margin, some historians believe the outcome would have been different without the Polish aviators’ involvement.
A nine-inch silver statuette purchased at a French flea market in the 1980s is an unknown work by 19th century master Auguste Rodin, a French art expert announced Thursday.
Gilles Perrault presented a 60-page report to reporters in Paris that purports to authenticate the work, which depicts a female figure, as that of Rodin.
Perrault, himself a sculptor, is an official art expert for France’s Cour de Cassation who has carried out more than 750 appraisals connected to Rodin’s work, including being hired to sniff out fakes, according to Agence France-Presse.
Perrault says he has studied the figure, which depicts a female figure, curbed over as if in pain, with a draped fabric clenched between her thighs, for 24 years and is now “intimately convinced” it is by the sculptor, who lived from 1840 to 1917, the wire service added.
The statue itself was not displayed for security reasons.
Rodin was a prolific artistic, producing thousands of busts, figure, and sculptural fragments over a career that spanned more than five decades.