During the Second World War, more than 10,000 Polish soldiers were interned in Switzerland. Among them were prominent architects, including Marek Leykam and Bohdan Garliński, who upon returning to Poland, left their mark on postwar modernism. Leykam was later marginalized for his buildings that were allegedly too International in style. Garliński became one of the key ideologists of Socialist Realism in the First General Exhibition of Architecture of the People’s Republic of Poland.
This article is the first to re-trace their years in Switzerland and their contacts with Alfred Roth, CIAM member and former employee of Le Corbusier. During the war, Roth pursued plans for the reconstruction of Europe, and it was he who supplied the internees with architectural literature and support. Their intersections exemplify the larger history of Switzerland’s insular role during the war, and Poland’s immensely complex architectural scene in the early 1950s.