POLISH GREATNESS TRAFFIC

July 17, 2018

JULY 17 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 17

1399

Saint Queen Jadwiga of Poland Died:  Jadwiga, the first female monarch of the Kingdom of Poland reigned from October 16, 1384 until her death on July 17, 1399. She was the youngest daughter of Louis the Great, King of Hungary and Poland, and his wife Elizabeth of Bosnia. Jadwiga was a member of the Capetian House of Anjou, but she had more close forebears among the Polish Piasts. Jadwiga was crowned "King" October 16, 1384. Her coronation either signified that the Polish nobility's was opposed to her intended husband, William becoming king, or just emphasized her status as queen regnant. In 1997 she was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.  Numerous legends about miracles were recounted to justify her sainthood. One of them is about "Jadwiga's cross" Jadwiga often prayed before a large black crucifix hanging in the north aisle of Wawel Cathedral. During one of these prayers, the Christ on the cross is said to have spoken to her. The crucifix, "Saint Jadwiga's cross" is still there, with her relics beneath it. Because of this event, she is considered a medieval mystic.


1918

Execution of the Romanov family: By order of the Bolshevik Party and carried out by the Cheka, former emperor Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra Feodorovna, their children, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei, and retainers were shot at the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Their remains were found by an amateur sleuth in 1979 but their existence was kept secret until 1989 during the glasnost period. In 2008, after lengthy legal wrangling, the Russian Prosecutor General's office rehabilitated the Romanov family as "victims of political repressions".  A criminal case was opened by the post-Soviet government in 1993, but nobody was prosecuted on the basis that the perpetrators were dead.


1941

Nazi racial 'philosopher' Alfred Rosenberg was appointed Reich Minister for the Eastern Occupied Territories following the German invasion of Russia. Rosenberg was charged with the duty to administer territories seized from the Soviet Union and to replace the previously Soviet-controlled territories with new Reichskommissariats. He was one of the main authors of key National Socialist ideological creeds, including its racial theory, persecution of the Jews, Lebensraum, abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, and opposition to degenerate modern art. He is known for his rejection of and hatred for Christianity and played an important role in the development of German Nationalist Positive Christianity. After the end of the war he was tried at Nuremberg, and sentenced to death by hanging for war crimes and crimes against humanity.


1942

Himmler watched the gassing of Jews:  On July 17 and 18 Himmler visited Auschwitz-Birkenau to inspect construction and expansion of the crematories. He then observed the extermination process from start to finish of Jews who had arrived on two trainloads from Holland. Kommandant Höss was then promoted.  (After the end of World War II,  on March 11, 1946, British Intelligence captured and arrested Hoss near a farm in Flensburg, Germany. He confessed to his role in the mass killings at Auschwitz in his memoirs and in his trial before the Supreme National Tribunal in Warsaw, Poland.  He was convicted of murder, returned to Auschwitz and hanged on April 16, 1947 at the site of his crimes. Himmler went into hiding after the war, but was captured and interrogated. In May 1945, he committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide pill. He was dead in 15 minutes.)


1945

The Potsdam Conference, was held from July 17 to August 2, 1945 among the three great powers, USSR, U.S.A. and the UK, represented by Stalin, Harry Truman, and Britain's new Prime Minister, Clement Atlee.  The conference was convened to discuss the administration of the defeated Nazi Germany, (which had agreed to an unconditional surrender just nine weeks earlier) as well as to establish post-war order, make peace treaties, and counter the effects of the war. Unlike the late President Franklin Roosevelt, U.S. President Harry Truman was suspicious of Stalin's intentions, and recognized that Stalin was pursuing communist expansion throughout eastern Europe, which was in contradiction to the terms of the Yalta Agreement. Among the decisions made  at Potsdam, were first and foremost the demilitarization, denazification, democratization, decentralization, dismantling and decartelization of Nazi Germany;  that Germany and Austria would have to be divided into four occupation zones (as per the Yalta Agreement), and that the capital cities, Berlin and Vienna, would likewise be divided into four zones; all Nazi criminals would be put on trial (i.e. Nuremberg Trials);  all Nazi German annexations to be reversed;  that Germany's eastern border would be shifted westwards to the Oder–Neisse line, thereby reducing the territorial area of Germany by approximately 25% compared to its 1937 borders. Consequently, the provisional western border for Poland would be the Oder–Neisse line (delineated by the Oder and Neisse rivers), and that Silesia, Pomerania, the southern part of East Prussia and the former Free City of Danzig should be under Polish administration.   It was decided to place severe restrictions on Germany's manufacturing and industrial capacity, among other issues.  Since the fate of Poland had already been agreed to by the Big Three at Yalta, the three representatives at Potsdam agreed to recognize the Soviet-controlled Provisional Government of National Unity (known as the Lublin Poles) and at the same time, it signified the end of allied recognition to the legitimate Polish Government in Exile in London.   Polish nationals and military were permitted to return to Poland, but "without guarantee" for their safety. (Editors note: many Polish military who returned to Poland after the end of the war were arrested and imprisoned by the Soviet NKVD, and many were murdered.)


1947

Raoul Wallenberg died (date unknown):   Raoul Wallenberg  was a Swedish diplomat and humanitarian.  During World War II, he rescued tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary from the German Nazis and Hungarian Fascists.  Wallenberg issued protective passports and sheltered Jews in buildings which were designated as Swedish territory - thus providing diplomatic immunity to them.  In one of his missions he raised enough money to rent  32 buildings in Budapest,declared them protected by diplomatic immunity and put up signs such as "The Swedish Library" and "The Swedish Research Institute"and hung huge Swedish flags on the front of the buildings to complete the facade. Wallenberg succeeded in housing almost 10,000 people.  The last time Wallenberg was seen alive was on January 17, 1945, during the Siege of Budapest by the Red Army. He was arrested by SMERSH and charged with espionage and taken away.  According to a Soviet document of February 6, 1957, officials claim that Wallenberg died on July 17, 1947. Here is an excerpt of the report:  "...I report that the prisoner Wallenberg who is well-known to you, died suddenly in his cell this night, probably as a result of a heart attack or heart failure. Pursuant to the instructions given by you that I personally have Wallenberg under my care, I request approval to make an autopsy with a view to establishing cause of death.... I have personally notified the minister and it has been ordered that the body be cremated without autopsy."   Questions surrounding the circumstances of his death remain a mystery and the basis of numerous theories. Raoul Wallenberg has received countless international awards and monuments erected in his memory, such as Honorary Citizen of the United States, of Canada, of Hungary, of Australia, and of Israel. Yad Vashem has designated Wallenberg as Righteous Among Nations.


July 16, 2018

JULY 16 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 16

1942

Jews of Paris were rounded up:  Following the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup on July 16 and 17, 1942, more than 4,900 of the 13,152 victims, including more than 4,000 children, were arrested and sent directly to the camp at Drancy, from where they were deported in rail cattle cars to Auschwitz for exterminated. The raid was directed by Nazis and French police to eradicate the Jewish population in France, both in the occupied zone and in the free zone.  ( In 1995, French President Jacques Chirac apologized for the complicit role that French policemen and civil servants served in the raid.  And in 2017, President Emmanuel Macron admitted the responsibility of the French State in the roundup and hence, in the Holocaust.)


1945

Three components of the atom bomb, code-named "Little Boy" left Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, California, aboard the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis.  Specifications for building each component was given to three different plants, to ensure that no one had the complete design.  The Naval Gun Factory in Washington, D.C made the gun and breech.;  the Naval Ordnance Plant in Center Line, Michigan, made the target case and other components;  the Expert Tool and Die Company in Detroit, Michigan, made the tail fairing and mounting brackets ( without the fissile components.). There was the concern that an accidental detonation during transport might occur, despite the safety-mechanisms incorporated into the design of the "Little Boy".  Tests were conducted to determine, in the event of a crash, if the hollow "bullet" would be driven onto the "target" cylinder, which would result in a massive release of radiation, or possibly nuclear detonation. But neither possibility was likely since the impact would require 500 times the force of gravity.  In the event of a crash and fire, there was concern that it could trigger the explosives. Or, if it immersed in water, there would be a neutron moderator effect (which would result in massive radioactive contamination of the water.)  Therefore, pilots were instructed on the emergency procedure, that is, to crash on land, rather than at sea.  The "Little Boy" was dropped on Hiroshima, on August 6, 1945.



July 15, 2018

JULY 15 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 15

1410

Battle of Grunwald (2nd Battle of Tannenburg) was fought on July 15, 1410 led by Polish King Władysław Jagiełło and Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas who defeated the Teutonic Ulrich von Jungingen. The Teutonics were virtually decimated, either killed or taken prisoner. Despite their defeat, the Teutonic Knights withstood the siege of their fortress in Marienburg (Malbork) and suffered minimal territorial losses at the Peace of Thorn (1411) (Toruń), with other territorial disputes continuing until the Peace of Melno in 1422. However, they would never recover their former power. War reparations became a financial burden, and inflamed internal conflicts, precipitating an economic downturn in the lands under their control. The Battle of Grunwald shifted the balance of power in Central and Eastern Europe and marked the rise of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth as the dominant political and military force in the region. The battle was one of the largest in Medieval Europe and is regarded as the most important victory in the histories of Poland and Lithuania.


1871

Henryk Arctowski, born Henryk Artzt, was a Polish scientist and explorer. Living in exile for a large part of his life, he was one of the first persons to spend the winter in Antarctica and became an internationally renowned meteorologist. He was instrumental in restoring Polish independence after the First World War. Several geographical features, the Henryk Arctowski Polish Antarctic Station and a medal of the National Academy of Sciences are named in his honor.


1908

Henryk Zygalski (dob) was a Polish mathematician and cryptologist who worked at breaking German Enigma ciphers before and during World War II.  He worked with Marian Rejewski and Jerzy Rozycki to develop methods and equipment for decrypting Enigma messages.  In late 1938 he designed the "perforated sheets," also known as "Zygalski sheets," a manual device for finding Enigma settings. These Polish mathematicians were the first to break the Enigma Code and passed on their information to the French and British governments before the outbreak of World War Two.