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WWII POLISH BOOK ON IRAQ: Irak, jego przeszłość i teraźniejszość [Iraq, Its Past and Present].



A rare book on the history and geography of Iraq was printed and published by the Polish Carpathian Rifle Division during their campaign in the country during WWII in 1943. 


1 in stock


Oblong 8°, 110pp. mimeographed text with illustrations within text, [1] folding map, [3] pp. mimeographed maps, with original card binding, with mounted title page, red linen spine (Very Good, binding slightly stained and scuffed, old ink marks and annotations on the inner side of the wrappers. Pages 1-2 mounted on cover, collation complete).


The book, accompanied with mimeographed illustrations, gives information on the history of Iraq as well as the contemporary description. The images at the back include a folding map of Mesopotamia, and Assyria and Babylonia, a map of modern Baghdad, Ur and ruins of Babylon, with a key.

The book was published by the Carpathian Rifle Division, which was a part ofthe Polish II Corps (Drugi Korpus Wojska Polskiego), stationed in Iraq in 1943 during WWII.

The Polish II Corps (Drugi Korpus Wojska Polskiego) was formed in 1943, from various units fighting alongside the Allies in all theatres of war, one of them being located in British-held Iraq. The corps consisted not only of Polish soldiers, but also of Jews, Belorussian and Ukrainians. Many Polish soldiers were imprisoned in Gulags by the Soviets from 1939 on and were released in 1941, after the Polish-Russian Military Agreement on 14 August, which allowed for the creation of a Polish Army on Soviet soil.

The Polish II Corps played a major role in the North African and the Italian Campaigns (1941–1945) as part of the British Eighth Army. After the war the division was housed at various locations in England, where they maintained a presence until 1962.

The book is very rare. We could only trace five examples in institutions worldwide (4 in Polish libraries and one in the British Library).


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