September 25, 2011

Warsaw Uprising 1944: September 25 NO SURRENDER! Polish Insurgents Die Fighting!

During the night German attacks on Mokotow have escalated. Polish-controlled areas of the district have sharply diminished. With Polish casualties mounting, Lieutenant Colonel "Karol" has ordered an immediate retreat. German command has again proposed  surrender to AK commander of Mokotow Sector but the Poles do not respond.

Since early morning the enemy has continued its attack on Mokotow from the south and west. There is fierce fighting in the southern sector. A school on Woronicza Street has changed hands seven times. Meanwhile in the western sector the “Olza” battalion was forced to retreat under heavy German fire, from the line of Aleje Niepodleglosci Street along Goszczynskiego and Odynca towards Krasickiego Street. The insurgents have lost an important point of resistance – the “Alkazar Redoubt” on the corner of Aleje Niepodleglosci and Odynca Streets. Home Army troops fighting south of Malczewskiego Street are also in danger of being cut off. German forces have advanced from Malczewskiego Street towards Pulawska Street, resulting in severe Polish losses. Areas seized by German troops have been subjected to plunder, arson and killing. Conversely, the situation in Zoliborz and Srodmiescie is relatively calm.

Sturmpanzer IV z 218.Sturmpanzer-Kompanie z.B.V., Mokotow September 25, 1944

Despite overwhelming enemy fire, General Monter has issued an order today. He stated that “Today we are standing on the threshold of victory. Because of your heroic sacrifices, tenacity, discipline, and perseverance, Warsaw has received assistance and succour. The moment is approaching when the victorious and heroic Red Army will come to give the last blow to the German barbarians.”  It is more than a call to arms. It is the hope that with persistent and unrelenting pressure, Warsaw may finally receive promised allied assistance. After 50 days of fighting, the rank and file of insurgents are convinced that the Soviet Red Army will soon arrive.

Polish Insurgents - Warsaw Uprising 1944

The British War Cabinet convened today, at which Anthony Eden proclaimed that in his judgement Marshall Stalin now has a more favourable attitude toward Poles. He also noticed that “the population of Warsaw was in sore straits and very short of food.” So, the War Cabinet requested that the Chiefs of Staff “suggest to the United States Air Command that they should consider undertaking a further flight to Warsaw, dropping mainly food supplies.”  The British Cabinet seems to share the opinion that such additional assistance rendered to Warsaw might "soften" the attitude of the Polish government towards Stalins' demands.

British War Cabinet
Back row – Arthur Greenwood; Ernest Bevin; Lord Beaverbrook; Sir Kingsley Woods
Front row – Sir John Anderson; Winston Churchill; Clement Attlee; Anthony Eden

Also at the forefront of British politics is mounting pressure from within to remove General Kazimierz Sosnkopwski from his post as Polish Commander in Chief.  Apparently, they have been able to persuade the Polish Cabinet, Prime Minister Mikolajczyk and even General Wladyslaw Anders (the leader of the Polish victory in the Battle of Monte Cassino) to support the decision.  In Eden's report to the War Cabinet, Sosnowski was described as "a matter of indifference to the Polish Army". 

(For more on General Sosnowkowski click here.)

The civilian population of Warsaw is dying from malnutrition. The Warsaw civilian administration has organized a mass collection of clothing and foodstuffs for the AK units that are still alive. They have managed to gather about 3,500 pieces of clothing and 2,391 kilograms (5,260 pounds) of food. The people of Warsaw have put up a tremendous fight - not merely resistance to the enemy.  During the first three weeks of the Uprising, more than 4,000 lbs of bread were baked under the auspices of the civilian administration. Each district in Warsaw had appointed a quartermaster who was charged with the duty of assessing the amount of rations available per person, a list of food supplies as well as a list of bakeries with supplies of flour.

Under artillery fire, civilians have been carrying food supplies to the kitchens, having them cooked, and distributing the food to Polish families.  An AK soldier has been seen repeatedly delivering powdered milk to Polish families in German-controlled areas.

Lt. John Ward
Lt. John Ward, a British soldier, is also a member of Armia Krajowa. Since the start of the Uprising he has been dispatching secret radio messages to London, England in the hopes that the British allies would help the Polish insurgents.  His messages no longer plead for allied intervention, but serve as a testament to the horrific slaughter of Polish insurgents and civilians at the hands of the enemy.

The south sector of the Warsaw front of the Polish Home Army has been heavily bombed by the Germans and subjected to heavy artillery fire. This is the first time since last week that German bombers have been in action here. There has been no fundamental change on any of the three Warsaw sectors during the past 24 hours. The Germans are determined to stop the Poles re-occupying the west bank of the Vistula in order to prevent them preparing bridgeheads for Soviet landing in force.

The Polish Staff officially announced the following information received from Cracow: The Germans intend completely to liquidate the internment camps at Oswiecim and Buchenwald. The S.S. commandant of the Oswiecim camp sent out an S.S. Fuhrer asking for an efficient plan to liquidate the camp and the prisoners still living. A certain Moll, Commander of Birkenau camp, a branch of Oswiecim camp, submitted a plan for which he would need several S.S. detachments, six aircraft and some artillery, also a number of workers. Over ruins cremated bodies were to level up the site and it was to be planted with young trees.

There are 16,727 men and 39,125 women prisoners at Birkenau, whilst the figure for Oswiecim and Buchenwald must be near the hundred thousand mark. It is feared the Germans will carry out this massacre and try to throw the blame on Allied bombers. The Polish authorities are issuing an appeal to the whole world in the hope that this new crime will be thereby averted.

Eugeniusz Lokajski
Most people have never heard of him but his photographs have attained world-wide attention. His name is Eugeniusz Lokajski. He has taken over 1,000 photograph during the Warsaw Uprising documenting every facet of the battle. His photos have shown us rare glimpses of the struggle of Polish insurgents and civilians against the overwhelming German war machine. Lokajski served as a platoon commander during the Invasion of Poland in 1939 in the Polish 35th Infantry Division and was arrested by Soviet troops after the Battle of Brzesc. He managed to escape captivity, and fate. Shortly thereafter the other Polish officers with whom he was imprisoned were executed by the Soviet NKVD. It was the Katyn Massacre.

During the German occupation of Poland, Lokajski was a member of the Polish underground, working as a university teacher, and operating a photographic shop. When Lokajski`s brother Jozef died, Eugeniusz took over his duties in the Armia Krajowa, in charge of arms and munitions transport. He served with distinction as Lieutenant "Brok".

When the Uprising broke out, Eugeniusz and his sister enlisted in the Koszta Company, defending the Srodmiescie area of Warsaw. Commander Stefan Mich decided to use Lokajski`s photographic talents and gave him a camera. The photographic contributions of Eugeniusz Lokajski has become a priceless treasure to the city of Warsaw, to Poland, and the world. 

By the end of August, Polish forces were short of officers and Lokajski was attached to the 2nd Platoon of the Koszta Company as a commanding officer. His unit had taken part in the skirmishes in the attempt to linkforces in Warsaw's Old Town with that of City Centre. Although his unit successfully reached its target, they had to withdraw because other Polish units were unsuccessful in their attempts.

After the failed action his unit was withdrawn and placed at the rear becoming the tactical reserve, filling in gaps in Polish lines. Lokajski's unit took part in major struggles, for control of the barricades on Chmielna Street. And the battle for the Main Post Office resulted in a Polish victory, where his troops retook the building and captured 18 German soldiers. Despite this victory, Lokajski's unit was decimated and stranded without supplies food, and ammunition. But they managed to survive until a relief force arrived 48 hours later.

Lieutenant Eugeniusz Lokajski "Brok", liaison officer of the "Koszta" Company, was caught in an artillery barrage and died today.  He had gone to a photographic shop on 129 Marszalkowska Street to prepare photos of important AK soldiers for fake German documents. (The plan was to help Polish soldiers evade captivity and continue the struggle.) His body lies under the ruins of 129 Marszalkowska Street.(Editors note: His remains were not exhumed until May1945 after which he was buried at Powazki cemetery.)

The following are just a few of his photographs:

Home Army Soldiers Preparing for an Assault - Warsaw Uprising

Home Army Launches Assault - Warsaw Uprising

Polish soldiers reading a German leaflet during the Warsaw Uprising

Barricade at Marszałkowska Street

After the Battle - Warsaw Uprising

Wedding Ceremony - Warsaw Uprising

Portrait of Jerzy Tyczyński
Jerzy Tyczynski was a Polish platoon cadet in the Home Army and took part in the successful capture of the insurgent's Police Headquarters in Krakow suburb. He also participated in the capture of the PAST building. Jerzy died on September 3, 1944 under the rubble of building bombed by a German plane. In November 1944 he would have turned 21 years old.

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