This imposing statue was originally featured at the entrance to the Polish pavilion at the 1939 World’s Fair of Flushing Meadows, Queens.
Covering 1,216 acres New York World's Fair was erected on what was an ash-dump. The theme, "Building the World of Tomorrow" echoed in virtually every corner of the Fair. The 1939 New York World's Fair opened on May 30, 1939 which was the 150th anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington in New York City, the nation's first capitol.
Many countries around the world participated in it, and over 44 million people attended its exhibits in two seasons.
At the entrance to the Polish exhibit stood a replica of a monument of the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, Wladislaw II Jagiello .
|Battle of Grunwald|
The 26th Grand Master of Teutonic Knights, whose army was about to clash with a coalition of Polish, Lithuanian, and Ruthenian forces, sent two messengers to King Jagiełło. They delivered two swords. King Jagiełło accepted the gift and the challenge.
The swords were later placed in Poland’s Royal Treasury at Wawel Castle in Cracow and were subsequently carried in front of Polish kings during their coronations as symbols of their power. Unfortunately, in 1853, the swords were confiscated by Russian troops and never found again.
On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. The Polish army was defeated within weeks of the invasion. After heavy shelling and bombing, Warsaw surrendered to the Germans on September 27, 1939.
When the New York World's Fair closed most of the items from the Polish Pavilion were sold by the Polish Government in exile in London to the Polish Museum of America and shipped to Chicago. The only one was made for a monument of the Polish-Lithuanian King Jagiełło to which Mayor Fiorello La Guardia took such a liking that he helped spearhead a campaign to have it installed in Central Park. The statue was installed in 1945. The author of the monument Stanisław K. Ostrowski emigrated to New York and died in 1947.
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