May 21, 2018


MAY 21


General John Sobieski was elected King of Poland: John III Sobieski was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1674 until his death in 1696, and was one of the most notable monarchs of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Sobieski's leadership prowess was demonstrated in wars in which he defeated the Ottoman Empire. Sobieski's 22-year reign marked a period of stabilization in the Commonwealth, much needed after the upheaval of the Deluge and the Khmelnytsky Uprising. King Sobieski was popular among his subjects. He was an extraordinary military commander, most famous for his victory over the Turks at the 1683 Battle of Vienna. The Ottoman's named him, the "Lion of Lechistan", and the Pope hailed him as the savior of Christendom. John III Sobieski was a hero of Poland.


Nazis banned Jews from serving in the military. The Germans used the word "Mischling" to denote persons of mixed heritage or mixed blood, (those having Aryan and Jewish ancestry) and imposed strict racial tests to determine the degree of a person's "Jewishness".   A person was Jewish if they had two Jewish grandparents, or was married to a Jew, or was the offspring from a mixed marriage with a Jew (in or out of wedlock).   Despite these strident conditions and scrutiny,  Hitler personally approved or denied any request for reclassification of ethnicity. Despite these laws, there were about 100,000 Jewish soldiers (Mischlings) serving in the German armies.  There were many "Mischlings" who attained high rank in Hitlers Reich: 2 Field Marshals, 15 Generals, 2 full Generals, 8 Lieutenant Generals, and 5 Major Generals. Former Mischlings were Nazi party members – 4 were full Jews, 15 were half Jews and 7 were quarter Jews. For example:   Field Marshall Erhard Milch (a half-Jew);  General Helmut Wilberg  (a half-Jew); General Johannes Zuckertort (a half-Jew);  Col. Walter H. Hoellander (a half-Jew);  Commander Paul Ascher (a half-Jew); Admiral Bernhard Rogge, 1st Officer on the Bismarck (a quarter-Jew).


Attack on the NKVD Camp in Rembertów took place on the outskirts of Warsaw. A unit of the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK)  freed all Polish political prisoners from the Soviet NKVD camp.  Hundreds of Polish Citizens had previously been imprisoned at Rembertów and systematically deported to Siberia,  including members of the Home Army and other Polish underground fighters.

May 20, 2018


MAY 20


Wladyslaw Sikorski (dob) was a Polish military and political leader. In WW2 he was appointed  Commander in Chief and General Inspector of the Polish Armed Forces. He also held the position of the Polish Minister of Military Affairs, thus cementing full control over the Polish military during the war. In addition he was the 1st Prime Minister of the Polish-Government-In-Exile, from September 39, 1939.   Even with its territory occupied by Germany and the Soviet Union,  Poland still commanded substantial armed forces: the Polish Navy had sailed to Britain, and hundreds of thousands of Polish troops had escaped via Romania and Hungary or across the Baltic Sea. These routes would be used frequently until the end of the war by both interned soldiers, Polish underground, and volunteers from Poland, who called themselves "Sikorski's tourists". They embarked on treacherous journeys, risking capture and imprisonment in concentration camps, or execution,  if caught by the Germans or their allies. The new Polish Army was getting a steady flow of recruits in France, and when France fell to Hitler, many of them escaped to Britain.  Even in Poland there was a large resistance movement. Sikorski had founded the  Zwiazek Walki Zbrojnej (Union of Armed Struggle), which later became Armia Krajowa (Home Army). Sikorski also created the Government Delegation of Poland, to supervise the Secret Polish Underground State in occupied Poland. Poland had the largest resistance movement of any occupied country in Europe, and were the fourth largest Ally of the war.   On July 4, 1943, General Sikorski was killed in a tragic plane crash. Suspicions still prevail to this day of the possibility of Russian conspiracy.


Romanian prime minister, Patriarch Miron Cristea, arrived in Poland. (Note: Cristea visited Poland, with which Romania had an alliance and with which it tried to create a neutral block between Nazi Germany and the USSR.  Cristea was an Austro-Hungarian-born Romanian cleric and politician.   Cristea, a bishop in Hungary was elected Metropolitan-Primate of the Orthodox Church of the newly unified Greater Romania in 1919. As the Church was raised to a rank of Patriarchate, Miron Cristea was enthroned as the first Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church in 1925. In 1938 he served as  Prime Minister until his death in March 1939.  In his tenure as Patriarch, Cristea supported tolerance towards the Jews.  In 1928 he appealed to Romanian students to live the Golden Rule and he expressed sorrow for attacks and profanations of synagogues.

May 19, 2018


MAY 19


Russian army invaded Poland.  On May 18,  1792 Russian ambassador to Poland, Yakov Bulgakov, delivered a declaration of war to the Polish Foreign Minister Joachim Chreptowicz. The next day Russian armies entered Poland and Lithuania starting the Polish-Russian War.   Russia felt threatened by the formation of a new alliance between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Prussia, and the creation of a new Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791 which instituted liberal reforms. Russia regarded Poland as a de facto protectorate. Alexander Bezborodko, chief author of foreign policy remarked that "The worst possible news have arrived from Warsaw: the Polish king has become almost sovereign"   The Kingdom of Prussia was equally opposed to to the new Polish constitution.  Poland was subjected to yet another partition in 1793 and by 1795 the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ceased to exist.


Franco-Polish Alliance: The Kasprzycki-Gamelin Convention was signed in Paris. (named after Polish Minister of War Affairs General Tadeusz Kasprzycki and Commander of the French Army Maurice Gamelin). It was a military, and not a state convention and therefore was not in force legally, as it was dependent on signing and ratification of political convention. It obliged both armies to provide help to each other in case of a war with Germany.


New Nazi battleship Bismarck left Gdynia, Poland:  Bismarck and her sister ship Tirpitz were the largest battleships ever built by Germany, and two of the largest built by any European power. Bismarck conducted only one offensive operation, in May 1941, code named Rheinübung. Accompanied by the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, they raided Allied shipping lanes from North America to Great Britain. The two ships were detected several times off Scandinavia, and British naval units were deployed to block their route. The operation eventually ended with the sinking of the HMS Hood, and Bismarck.


Solidarity deputies proposed a no-confidence motion against the government of Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka.  Of the 460 seats in the Polish Sejm (lower House of Parliament) 223 voted against the Suchocka government while 198 supported her, and 24 abstained. (only 445 members were present to vote). The motion of no-confidence passed and President Wałęsa dissolved Parliament.  Suchocka government was criticized for its hard line policy against strikers, though welcoming market reforms. When teachers went on strike demanding an increase in salary Suchocka refused to bargain. Solidarity threatened to call a nationwide general strike if Suchocka's Cabinet didn't fall. If she had been reappointed, there would be no change as she would again have disregarded union demands.