In September 1939, when Germany invaded Poland, Anders commanded the Nowogródek Cavalry Brigade of the Polish "Modlin" army at the East Prussian border. During his brigade's subsequent withdrawal to southeastern Poland, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east and Anders was captured.
Imprisoned in Moscow's Lubianka Prison, Anders was released following an understanding between the Polish government-in-exile and the Soviet Union. On 30 July 1941, General Wladyslaw Sikorski and the Soviet ambassador to Great Britain, Ivan Majskij, agreed to restore diplomatic relations and form a Polish army on Soviet territory. That army was to be composed of Polish soldiers detained in the Soviet Union since 1939. Anders was appointed its commander in chief with the rank of lieutenant general.
Establishing his first headquarters at Buzuluk on the Volga, Anders continued to insist on the liberation of Polish prisoners withheld by Soviet authorities, but he had only limited success. In 1942 he was allowed to move his army to Yangi-Yul near Tashkent and then to Pahlevi in Persia, where his troops were no longer subordinate to the Soviet Supreme Command. Linking up with the British in Iran, Anders's newly formed II Polish Corps was transferred to North Africa and Italy. There it fought as a part of the British Eighth Army at Monte Cassino in May 1944. Its victory helped open the way to Rome for the Allies.
In the last stages of the war, Anders commanded all Polish forces in the west. After the war, he refused to return to Communist-ruled Poland and became a prominent member of the Polish émigré community. Anders died in London on 12 May 1970. Pascal Trees
Anders, Wladyslaw. An Army in Exile: The Story of the Second Polish Corps. Nashville, TN: Battery Press, 1981.; Davies, Norman. God's Playground. 2 vols. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1981.; Sarner, Harvey. General Anders and the Soldiers of the Second Polish Corps. Cathedral City, CA: Brunswick, 1997.; Zaron, Piotr. Armia Andersa (The Anders army). Torun, Poland: Adam Marszalek, 2000.