|Witold Pawel Szredzi|
These military courts were established under the decree of the PKWN, the Soviet-backed Polish Committee of National Liberation. They are authorized to investigate so-called "crimes of state" and have arrested hundreds of officers of the Polish Home Army on trumped up charges. (By the end of the war, and into the early years of the Cold War, the WSR will have issued about 3,500 death sentences, with more than 1,300 executions carried out.)
In 1941 Rowecki organized large-scale sabotage operations against the Germans in territories east of the Polish borders Wachlarz. On June 30, 1943 he was arrested by the Gestapo in Warsaw and sent to Berlin. There, he was interrogated by prominent Nazi officials such as Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Heinrich Himmler and Heinrich Muller. They offered him an "anti-bolshevik alliance" but Rowecki refused. He was executed sometime in August 1944 by the Nazi Sachsenhausen.
On January 2, 1944 Russian forces of the 2nd Belarusian Front crossed Poland's prewar border. During that time, Polish civilians were being massacred at Volhynia. The massacres were carried out by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in Eastern Galicia and Volhynia in July and August of 1943. UPA Commander Dmytro Klyachkivsky ordered that all Polish males between the ages of 16 and 60 be liquidated but most of the victims were women and children. By the end of the bloodletting, between 40,000 to 60,000 Polish civilians were slaughtered in Eastern Galicia and between 2,000 to 3,000 in Volhynia. The Bandera faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists were responsible for the killings. Their objective was to purge all non-Ukrainians from a future Ukrainian State. A Ukrainian Orthodox Pope gave this blessing to his congregation in Volhynia in 1943: "Fellow Christians-Ukrainians! Butchering the Poles is your duty, and there will be independent Ukraine. ... and on that slaughter I bless you."
|Polish Victims of the Volhynia Massacre July - August 1943|
The Polish Division was the largest partisan unit in central Europe numbering about 7,300 soldiers, officers, and NCOs. Hence Operation Storm was put into action. Joint Polish-Soviet units succeeded in recapturing Kowel (on April 6) and Wlodzimierz. After reaching the front line, the Soviet proposed that the Polish Divison be combined with that of the Soviet Red Army. Polish Colonel Jan Kiwerski "Olivia" refused and his Division returned to partisan fighting. Over the span of two weeks, German troops virtually decimated the Polish army. Though the Soviet promised to provide help, none ever came. Polish casualties reached up to 50 %.
Polish troops had to retreat westward and were attacked by not only German forces but Soviet forces as well. Polish soldiers were taken prisoner by the Soviets and given the "choice" of joining the Red Army or being deported to Soviet gulags. Only a small number joined the Soviet army. Remnants of the Polish Division made it across the Bug River on June 7 and linked up with other Home Army units. Together they took part in the liberation of Kock, Lubartow and Firley on July 21, 1944.
|27th Home Army Infantry Division Poland 1944|