September 4, 2011

Warsaw Uprising 1944: September 4 German Troops Unleash Fury As Poles Wait For Allied Help

Polish Insurgent Murdered by Germans
The power plant in Powisle which had been supplying electricity to Warsaw since the start of the Uprising has been completely destroyed by German bombing. Since morning German troops have been pounding the area with heavy artillery fire and air raids as well as in northern part of Srodmiescie and Mokotow.

German troops are attempting to cut off the insurgents in Powisle from Srodmiescie North and have launched a continuous barrage of attacks from Karowa Street along three parallel streets: Wybrzeze, Kociuszkowskie, Dobra and Browarna. However by noon the Poles succeeded in pushing the Germans back to the line at Karowa Street. Polish casualties were severe. Two hours later, German troops launched a second attack and were able to seize the Waterworks Head Office on Lipowa Street. Fighting is very heavy and has continued into the evening. Many parts of the city are ablaze making it difficult for insurgents to organize defensive positions. Captain 'Krybar' ordered the immediate evacuation of civilians from the area to Northern City Centre. Polish troops of the Armia Krajowa have redeployed to Upper Czerniakow.

Civilians who sought refuge in Srodmiescie have all been killed under heavy German artillery fire. Houses located between Nowy Swiat Street and Napoleon Square have crumbled under massive bombardment. Neighborhoods of Twarda, Panska, Sliska and Sienna Streets have been methodically destroyed one by one. The printing house of the Home Army Military Publishers that was once on Szpitalna Street has been obliterated, as well as the PKO Bank building on the corner of Jasna and Swietokrzyska Streets.

Despite the overwhelming assault Polish insurgents continue to fight off enemy attacks and succeeded in driving the Germans back: from Krakowskie Przedmiescie to Nowy Swiat Street ; from Malachowski Square to Mazowiecka Street; and from Chlodna to Grzybowska Street. Meanwhile a company under the command of Lt. Andrzej Romocki "Morro" has taken up positions inside the printing house of Michal Arct's famous publishing house located at 225 Czerniakowska Street.

German troops unleashed their fury against the insurgents. They desecrated a Polish memorial by running their tanks over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, crushing the slab beneath their tracks. Hitler had ordered not only the destruction of Warsaw, but that it also be pacified. The rampant unbridled destruction has only intensified the Polish will to fight.

Also destroyed by German bombs was Zamek Krolewskie, the famous Royal Castle, located at the entrance of Old Town Warsaw. It has been the residence of Polish royalty for centuries. It was burnt after the Germans bombed it during the blitzkrieg invasion of Poland in September 1939. Now the Royal Castle has been razed to the ground. After all was done, the only thing left was the ground floor, the lowest part of the Grodzka Tower and remnants of the Royal Library and Kubricki's Arcades. During the five year occupation by the Germans the Castle was plundered for its priceless treasures. Renowned German scholars including Professor Dagobert Frey and Dr. Joseph Muhlmann actively participated in its destruction. The National Museum was permitted to keep just a few pieces of equipment necessary to describe the losses, but secret photographs were taken to document its destruction. Early in 1940 Hitler had issued orders that the Castle was to be blown up. A bomb unit began making the preparations by drilling holes for dynamite, but it was not carried out until after the Uprising.  
Royal Castle in Warsaw Destroyed
Royal Castle as it looked in early 20th century

Prime Minister Churchill and War Cabinet
As Polish blood flows in the streets of Warsaw, political rhetoric flows in the British House of Commons. In a special emergency meeting the War Cabinet unanimously agreed that it was of the utmost importance that everything possible should be done to help the Poles. The general consensus was that the only viable means of resolving the crisis is to have Churchill invite Roosevelt to reconsider the matter of authorizing the USAAF to carry out air operations for dropping supplies on Warsaw, and if necessary, to land on Russian airfields without receiving prior authorization. British leaders are acutely aware of public reaction to the sufferings of the people of Warsaw but are very concerned with the "shock to public opinion" if the allies allowed Warsaw to be overwhelmed by German forces without so much as providing material assistance to Polish troops. It is only now becoming publicly known that the Russians have refused access to their airfields. In a last ditch effort to sway Stalin's position, a telegram was dispatched to him in the name of the War Cabinet, warning him of the dire consequences to Anglo-Russian relations should he refuse to comply. Churchill immediately sent a message to Roosevelt proposing that they participate in a joint air operation to Warsaw, and also sent a message to Stalin. Lt.John Ward, a British soldier and member of the Armia Krajowa has dispatched an urgent message to London describing the desperate situation of civilians and insurgents and pleaded for help for Warsaw.  

  Today is the 35th day of the battle for the Polish capital – a city with a population of 1,300,000 people. During those 35 days there has been no communication with the provinces. Therefore no food has reached Warsaw. Rations are already very short, in many places people are starving. The greatest tragedy is for the small children who receive no milk or special nourishment that they need. The people here hear with hungry envy of the liberation of Paris after four days of fighting. They heard that the British Army rushed thousands of tons of food and medical supplies to the French population. Warsaw during the first few days of the uprising received some much needed help in form of ammunition dropped by the R.A.F., but for the past two or three weeks has received no relief whatever. Poland is our oldest ally in this war. Despite all she has suffered at the hands of the German invaders, she has remained always an active power against the enemy. Polish troops fought in France in 1940; later Polish pilots took part in the battle of Britain, her troops fought at Tobruk, and are still fighting in Italy and France. The Home Army in Poland itself has now risen and is also fighting openly as it has fought under cover during the whole war. Poland is a country which I, as an Englishman, am proud to call an ally. She produced no government to co-operate with the Germans. The only government she has acknowledged is the one in exile in London. To end I would like to make an appeal to the British Nation. It is short: HELP FOR WARSAW.

Political leaders of Warsaw sent an urgent telegram to Prime Minister Mikolajczyk in London describing the overwhelming suffering among civilians and insurgents and asked for an immediate resolution to the battle, stating that “the catastrophic decrease in the amount of territory in our possession, lack of foodstuffs, water, and the compete exhaustion of the population (require that) immediate attention (be given to) the problem of stopping the fighting in Warsaw, particularly in view of the absence of immediate and effective assistance. We are awaiting an immediate reply." However, the response from British officials was indecisive and obscure. The battle continues.  

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