June 22, 2018




Colonel Walery Slawek was elected Marshall of the Sejm, that is, the speaker (chair) of the Sejm, in the lower house of the Polish parliament. The history of this Office has been traced to the 15th century. In modern Poland, the full title is Marshal of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland. In the Second Polish Republic (1918-1939), the deputies elected one of their number as Marshal of the Sejm for the duration of the Sejm's term. Until 1935 (when superseded by the Senate Marshal), the Marshal or Chairman of the Sejm substituted for the President of Poland in the latter's absence or disability (Acting President of the Republic of Poland).  During the 1930s Slawek served three times as Prime Minister of Poland. He was one of the closest aides of Polish leader, Józef Piłsudski. (see April 2, 1939)


France signed an armistice with Hitler:   The Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed by France and Germany, which split French territory -  Germany occupied the north and western regions, while the remainder was the so-called unoccupied free zone, to be administered by the Vichy government led by Marshal Philippe Pétain, but with strict restrictions. Italy also held control albeit of a small occupation zone in the south-east.  All individuals who had been granted political asylum had to be surrendered to the Germans and occupation costs were imposed on France to the tune of 400 million French francs a day. The Germans however permitted a fledgling French Army, but disarmed the French Navy.  Moreover, more than one million French soldiers became POWs and spent the rest of the war in prison camps. Hitler chose Compiègne Forest for the signing of the armistice because of its symbolism. In a supreme act of revenge, Hitler not only used the same rail carriage, and placed in the exact spot where it had been in 1918, but sat in the same chair as Marshal Ferdinand Foch when he faced the military leaders of the defeated Germany.  The cease-fire went into effect at 00:35 on June  25, 1940.


Nazis invaded Russia: Operation Barbarossa was the brain-child of Hitler and was two years in the planning. Hitler's objectives were to invade and conquer Russia, to seize the vast oil reserves in the Caucasus, use the Russians as slave labourers, and repopulate the area with German settlers.(Hitler envisaged himself conquering Russia as a latter-day "Napoleon".) The Soviet Union had suffered heavily from the battles, losing huge tracts of territory, and vast losses in men and material. Nevertheless, the Red Army proved capable of countering the German offensives, particularly as the Germans began experiencing irreplaceable shortages in manpower, armaments, provisions, and fuel. By 1943, Soviet arms production was fully operational and increasingly outproducing the German war machine.  Operation Zitadelle was the final major German offensive in the Eastern theater which took place during July to August 1943. Approximately one million German troops faced a Soviet force of over 2.5 million strong.  Following the victory of Operation Zitadelle,  the Soviet forces having amassed a total of 6 million men advanced along a 1,500 mile front towards the Dnepr River driving the Germans westward.  The Red Army destroyed Army Group Centre, and liberated much of the area that had been occupied by the Nazi Germans. With additional Soviet offensives against the German Army Groups North and South in the fall of 1944 the German war machine was beaten into a retreat and in January 1945, Berlin was the final conquest by the Red Army. World War Two ended with the defeat and capitulation of Nazi Germany in May 1945.

June 21, 2018




After the end of World War I,  the German fleet was scuttled at Scapa Flow, in Scotland. The High Seas Fleet was interned there under the terms of the Armistice during negotiations took place over the fate of the ships.  Ludwig won Reuter, the German commander, fearing that all the ships would be seized and divided among the Allied powers, decided to scuttle the fleet, which he carried out on June 21, 1919. Intervening British guard ships were able to beach a number of the ships, but 52 of the 74 interned vessels sank. Many of the wrecks were salvaged over the next two decades and were towed away for scrapping.


Polish Government in Exile moved to London: After the invasion of Poland by Germany on September 1, 1939, the leaders of the Polish government evacuated Poland and made their way to France.  The Polish Government in Exile wielded considerable influence in Poland during World War Two, through the establishment of the Polish Underground State (Secret State) and an enormous network of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa). Polish army units took part in virtually every Allied military operation during the War, in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.  The Polish government-in-Exile was based in France during 1939 and 1940, first in Paris and then in Angers. From 1940, following the Fall of France, the Polish Government-in-Exile moved to London, and remained in the United Kingdom until its dissolution in 1990.  (see January 1, 1945 and July 6 1945)

Palmiry Massacre of Poles:  For two days, the German SS conducted mass executions of Polish citizens near the village of Palmiry in the Kampinos Forest, located northwest of Warsaw.  In a single operation, the Nazis executed 358 members of the Polish political, cultural and social elite. Among them were Janusz Kusociński, 33, Polish athlete, Mieczysław Niedziałkowski, Polish politician and writer,  Maciej Rataj, 56, Polish politician and writer, Tomasz Stankiewicz, 37, Polish track cyclist.  Between December 1939 and July 1941 more than 1,700 Poles and Jews – mostly the inmates of Pawiak prison – were executed by the SS.


Himmler ordered the liquidation of remaining ghettos in the General Government, and removal of Jews capable of working to forced labor camps and those incapable of work to Nazi German death camps in Poland. After the joint invasion of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union in September 1939, Poland was divided into three sectors - the center was called General Government, the west was annexed to Germany, and the east was occupied by the Soviet Union. The General government was a Nazi administrative and logistical center. Their ultimate objective was to eliminate the intelligentsia (Jews and Poles), reduce the Polish population to subservient slaves, and repopulate the area with Germans. Here is the order in a memo from Himmler, dated June 21, 1943, " To: The Higher SS and Police Leader (Hoherer SS- und Polizeifuehrer) Ostland;  Chief of the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office (Chef des SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamtes)  1)  I order that all Jews still remaining in ghettos in the Ostland area be collected in concentration camps.   2)  I prohibit the withdrawal of Jews from concentration camps for [outside] work from August 1, 1943.  3)   A concentration camp is to be built near Riga to which will be transferred the entire manufacture of clothing and equipment now operated by the Wehrmacht outside. All private firms will be eliminated. The workshops are to be solely concentration camp workshops. The Chief of the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office is requested to see to it that there will be no shortfall in the production required by the Wehrmacht as the result of this reorganization.  4)   Inmates of the Jewish ghettos who are not required are to be evacuated to the East.  5)   As many male Jews as possible are to be taken to the concentration camp in the oil-shale area for the mining of oil-shale.    6)  The date set for the reorganization of the concentration camps is August 1, 1943.    signed H. Himmler"

June 20, 2018




The division of borders of Upper Silesia between Poland and Germany were decided by a commission of the Paris Peace Conference. The German Reich was granted West Upper Silesia (which did not have economic value), and had to accept the fact that the coal-bearing territory was granted to Poland.  The Silesian coal was highly relevant to the German economy during that time. The major part of Silesia remaining in Germany, was reorganized into the two provinces of Upper Silesia and Lower Silesia.  The Polish Sejm decided that the eastern-most Upper Silesian areas would become an autonomous area within Poland, and categorized as the Silesian Voivodeship, possessing its own Silesian Parliament as a constituency and Silesian Voivodeship Council as the executive body. A central political figure was Wojciech Korfanty. The part of Silesia awarded to Poland was by far the best-developed and richest region of the newly formed state, producing most of Poland's industrial output. ( see May 2, 1921 )


Bishop Adam Stefan Sapieha, who had opposed the Pilsudski Sanacja regime, made the controversial decision to move Piłsudski's body, within Wawel's Cathedral, from St. Leonard's Crypt to the crypt under the Silver Bells. The event was met with public outcry and calls for the removal of Saphieha.  During his regime, Marshal Piłsudski periodically changed his religious affiliation from that of Catholicism to Lutheranism and then back again.  After the May coup, Piłsudski considered himself a Roman Catholic, but he did not appear to be religious and often used religion as public tool. Piłsudski was quoted saying: "Religion is for idiots". After the May Coup and during his reign as authoritarian leader Piłsudski's often clashed with Catholic leaders but did enjoy a good working relationship with Cardinal Aleksander Kakowski, who subsequently led his funeral mass.  After the Germans invaded Poland, Sapieha was forced to operate the Polish seminary in secret because the Germans began executing seminarians whenever they found them. Sapieha moved his students (including the future Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyła) into the Bishop's Palace in Kraków to finish their training during the Nazi Occupation of Poland.


The Glinciszki massacre:   Nazi units of the Lithuanian Auxiliary Police Battalion instigated a mass killing in the village of Glinciszki.  39 Polish villagers were murdered, which included 11 women (one who was in the final stage of pregnancy) and 11 children (some as young as 3 years old) and 6 elderly men.  The Nazis inflicted collective punishment on the Poles in reprisal for the death of four Lithuanian policemen the night before at the hands of Polish resistance units of the 5th brigade of Armia Krajowa (Polish Home Army) under the command of Lieutenant Wiktor Wiącki.  Two days later, Polish partisans retaliated against Lithuanian civilians in Dubingai.

June 19, 2018




Polish parliament elected Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki as King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Michael I was a native Pole and descendant of Korybut, brother of King Władysław II Jagiełło, Michael, chosen after the abdication of his predecessor, John II Casimir Vasa., won the election partly because of the merit of his father, Prince Jeremi Wiśniowiecki (a powerful border magnate who had helped suppress the Cossacks in eastern Poland during the Khmelnytsky Uprising). However, Michael proved to be a passive tool in the hands of the Habsburgs. In view of this, the French party rallied round John Sobieski, a rising military commander.


British Royal Family Changed its Royal Name:  During the third year of World War I, Britain’s King George V ordered the British royal family to dispense with the use of German titles and surnames, changing the surname of his own family, from the Germanic Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, to the more acceptable name,  Windsor. His decision was based on strong anti-German feeling within Britain. It caused sensitivity among the royal family about its German roots -  Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, also a grandson of Queen Victoria, was the king’s cousin; the queen herself was German.

June 18, 2018




Trial of the 16:  Between June 18 and 21, 1945, sixteen Polish Officers of the Armia Krajowa, Polish Home Army, were subjected to a mock Soviet trial on falsified charges. They were accused of gathering intelligence and sabotage against the Soviet Union, propaganda against the Soviet Union, fighting against the Red Army, membership in an underground organization, and collaborating with Nazi Germany.(Note:  The vast majority of Poles, the Polish Government In Exile, and Polish military never collaborated with the Nazis, and fought against the Nazis throughout the war.) Immediately after the arrest of all the leaders, the Polish Government in Exile dispatched a letter of protest to Washington and London demanding their release. Stalin declared that the protest was a bluff by the “Fascist Polish government” but finally admitted that the leaders were arrested. Stalin then told American envoy Harry Hopkins that “there is no point in linking the case of the Trial of the Sixteen with the support for the Soviet-backed government of Poland because the sentences will not be high.”  Both British and American governments shared this view.


Jarosław Kaczyński (dob) was the 13th Prime Minister of Poland from July 14, 2006 to November 16, 2007. He was the leader of the Law and Justice Party. The party was founded in 2001 by the Kaczyński twins, Lech and Jarosław, and was formed from part of the Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS), with the Christian democratic Centre Agreement forming the new party's core.   The party won the 2005 election, while Lech Kaczyński won the presidency. Jarosław served as Prime Minister. In the 2007 parliamentary elections, Law and Justice finished a distant second behind pro-European Christian-democratic and conservative liberal Civic Platform. Kaczyński was succeeded as prime minister by Donald Tusk (after which Kaczyński remained chairman of Law and Justice, becoming leader of the opposition).  On April 10, 2010, Lech Kaczynski and many leading members of government and military were killed in a plane crash near Smolensk, Russia. The delegation was on route to attend a commemoration of the victims of the Katyn Massacre who were massacred near Smolensk, Russia during World War II.  Following the death of his brother, Jaroslaw announced that he would run in the 2010 presidential elections, but was defeated by Bronisław Komorowski by a small margin.

June 17, 2018




Stanisław Lubomirski died on this day. He was a powerful nobleman of the aristocratic house of Lubomirski. He inherited a large estate from his father and by 1642 he owned 10 castles, 12 towns, 300 villages and many forests, lakes, mills and even private salt mines, making him one of the wealthiest magnates in Poland of his time. The family introduced several innovative facilities and processes to their estates and introduced enlightened social practices, such as granting equal rights for subjects, allowing Jews to buy properties in private towns and to build houses, and vesting them with judicial powers. He believed that the increase in economic rights of all his subjects would make him get richer, too.


Polish King John III Sobieski died in his palace at Wilanów near Warsaw. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had to hold free elections to select a new monarch. Among the candidates was the Elector of Saxony Augustus II the Strong, backed by the powerful Emperor Leopold I. To ensure his place on the Polish throne, he converted from Lutheranism to Catholicism and thus won the support of Roman Catholics, conservative Poles, and the support of Pope Innocent XII.  Augustus II The Strong's lineage was the House of Wettin, a dynasty of German counts, dukes, prince-electors and kings that once ruled territories in the present-day German states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.


Heinrich Himmler, SS Chief, was appointed to head all German police.  Hitler decreed the unification of all police forces in the Reich, and named Himmler as Chief of German Police.  The police force, initially under the control of Interior Minister Frick, was now a division of the SS and untouchable.  Himmler had operational control over the detective force, as well as all of Germany's law enforcement agencies. They were amalgamated into the Ordnungspolizei, the "order police", which became a branch of the SS under Daluege.  Under Himmler's direction, the SS established its own military branch, the SS-Verfügungstruppe (SS-VT), which would later become the Waffen-SS.  It had its own order of command and operations, and was fully militarized growing to over 38 divisions during World War II. It served alongside the Heer (army), but never being formally part of it.


After four days of negotiations from June 17 to 21, 1945 in Moscow between the Polish communists,  Soviet Union, and Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, the Soviet-backed Provisional Government of National Unity (TRJN) was established in Poland.  On July 5, 1945, the United States, Britain and France officially recognized the TRJN, and the next day withdrew their recognition of the legitimate Polish Government in Exile, but the Vatican did not follow suit. On August 16, a Soviet-Polish border agreement was signed in Moscow and before the end of August, Poland had agreed to cede the eastern provinces to the Soviet Union and officially recognized the eastern border based on a slightly modified version of the Curzon line.  (Note:  The TRJN had promised 'free and fair' elections, but they postponed it until the Communists were certain that they could manipulate the election process. In the meantime, they harassed  opposition members by threats, bribery, and resorted to murder.  In the words of Gomułka, the goal of the communists was to be the "hegemon of the nation" and nothing would stand in their way.  On June 30, 1946, they tested their power during the 3xTAK referendum, the results of which were falsified.


Icchak Cukierman died on June 17, 1981. He was also known by his nom de guerre "Antek", or by the anglicised spelling Yitzhak Zuckerman. He was one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and fighter in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944—both heroic and epic struggles against Nazi German terror during World War II. In 1943, he was working on the "Aryan" side of Warsaw to procure guns and ammunition when the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising erupted. Unable to enter the ghetto to join his comrades in battle, he nonetheless proved a crucial link between resistance forces within the ghetto and the Home Army on the "Aryan" side.  Along with Simcha "Kazik" Rotem, he organized the escape of the surviving ZOB (Jewish Combat Organization) fighters through the sewers to safety. During the later Warsaw Uprising of 1944, he led a small troop of 322 survivors of the Ghetto Uprising as they fought the Germans within the ranks of the Polish Home Army.

June 16, 2018




The Lausanne Conference, held from June 16 to July 9, 1932, was a meeting of representatives from Great Britain, Germany, and France to discuss the reparations payments that were imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.  Apparently, Joseph Goebbels was in Lausanne during this conference to rally in favor of Germany's interests.  In the midst of the world financial crisis caused by the Great Depression, the conference concluded with an agreement to suspend all reparation payments since Germany could not afford its payments. Germany's rearming program had begun after the Treaty of Versailles. Chancellor of the Weimar Republic, Hermann Müller, had passed cabinet laws that permitted secret and illegal rearmament efforts, in violation of the terms of the Treaty. When the Nazi Party took over power in 1933, Hitler pursued a rapid, and massive increase in re-militarization.


Pope John Paul II visited Poland for the second time to celebrate the 600th Anniversary of the arrival of Our Lady of Jasna Gora in Czestechowa. Beatification of Raphael Kalinowski, Albert Chmielowskiego in Krakow, and Ursula Ledóchowska in Poznan.  The places he visited: Warsaw, Częstochowa, Niepokalanów, Szczecin, Kamień Pomorski, Poznań, Katowice, Wrocław, Kraków. The Black Madonna is attributed with the miracle of saving the Jasna Gora monastery from a Swedish invasion during the Siege of Jasna Gora in the winter of 1655.   As the Swedish army  attempted to capture the monastery, 70 monks and 180 local volunteers held off 4,000 Swedes for 40 days, saving their sacred icon, and changed the course of the war.  This event led King John II Casimir Vasa to "crown" Our Lady of Częstochowa ("the Black Madonna") as Queen and Protector of Poland in the cathedral of Lwow on April 1, 1652.


General Slawomir Petelicki, founder of GROM, found shot dead in the street: Petelicki was found dead Saturday afternoon lying in a pool of his blood, killed by a single gunshot wound to the head - the gun found at the scene. His body was discovered by his wife in the underground parking lot of their apartment building. Preliminary examinations indicated that there were no other injuries to the body and that the bullet had entered the side of the head. Police handled this as a suicide and did not consider foul play. General Petelicki was an iconic figure who was respected and admired by people the world over. He had a long and illustrious career during Poland's communist, and post-communist eras,  and was a specialist in intelligence services. He was the founder of the famous GROM (Grupa Reagowania Operacyjno-Manewrowego), the acronym meaning, Operational Mobile Reaction Group. GROM is the Polish equivalent of the U.S. Navy Seals, and British SAS, and ranks among the worlds top elite special forces. GROM served in special missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

June 15, 2018




Polish King Henryk of Anjou abandoned Poland: Henry III was the first elected King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1573 to 1575 and King of France from 1574 until his death. At the age of 22  Henry abandoned Poland-Lithuania upon inheriting the French throne when his brother, Charles IX, died without issue. Henry's absence "provoked a constitutional crisis" that the Parliament attempted to resolve by notifying Henry that his throne would be lost if he did not return from France by May 12,  1575. His failure to return caused Parliament to declare his throne vacant.


Colonel Bronislaw Pieracki, Minister of the Interior was assassinated by Ukrainian nationalists of the OUN.  Just two days later,the Polish Sanacja government created the Bereza Kartuska Detention Camp. Its first prisoners were almost the entire leadership of the Polish nationalist far-right National Radical Camp (ONR) arrested on July 6 and 7, 1934.  Stephan Bandera and Mykola Lebed were also sentenced to death for the assassination. Their sentences were commuted to life imprisonment but Lebed escaped when the Germans invaded Poland in 1939.


The Soviet Union invaded and annexed Lithuania, according to the secret protocols of Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. The occupation was followed by mass arrests and deportations of over 34,000 citizens. According to a Lithuanian government official, this was the start of a planned removal of 700,000 from Lithuania.


Deportation of Jews from the Netherlands to Poland and Germany began:  All non-Dutch Jews were also sent to Westerbork (deportations ending on September 13, 1944)  Ultimately about 101,000 Jews were deported in 98 transports from Westerbork to Auschwitz (57,800; 65 transports), Sobibor (34,313; 19 transports), Bergen-Belsen (3,724; 8 transports) and Theresienstadt (4,466; 6 transports), where most of them were murdered.


Krystna Skarbek died on this day.  Also known as Christine Granville, she was a Polish secret agent working for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the Second World War. She became celebrated especially for her daring exploits in under-cover intelligence and irregular-warfare missions in Nazi-occupied Poland and France.  Ian Fleming, in his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale (1953), modeled the character Vesper Lynd on her. After the WW2 ended, Krystyna  had begun to work as a liner stewardess. On June 15, 1952, Skarbek was stabbed to death in the Shelbourne Hotel, Earls Court, in London by Dennis George Muldowney, an obsessed Reform Club porter and former merchant marine steward, whose advances she previously rejected. Muldowney was convicted of her murder and hanged at HMP Pentonville on September 30, 1952.

June 14, 2018




Russia and Poland signed Peace Treaty of Polianow:  The Treaty of Polyanovka (Polish: Polanów) was signed on June 14, 1634 between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Tsardom of Russia in the village of Semlevo located near the Polyanovka River. The accord was signed in the aftermath of the Smolensk War. The negotiations began on April 30 after the failure of the Polish siege of Belaya. Overall, the agreement confirmed the pre-war status quo, with Russia paying a large war indemnity (20,000 rubles in gold) for Władysław IV agreeing to surrender his claim to the Russian throne and return the royal insignia to Russia. Władysław, despite holding an upper hand, was trying to bring Russia into an anti-Sweden alliance; hence in a gesture of goodwill he agreed to give the Russians the border town of Serpeysk and nearby territories. However, the alliance never came through, as the Polish Sejm, unwilling to fight Sweden after the Treaty of Sztumska Wieś, subsequently objected, and Russians saw no benefit in such an alliance.


Pogrom against Jews in Bialystok in Russian Empire: The pogrom occurred between from June 14–16, 1906 in then part of the Russian Empire. Between 81 and 88 people were murdered and about 80 people wounded.  Just as shots were fired, the violence suddenly erupted as mobs of thugs began looting Jewish stores and apartments. The police did nothing to stop it and even participated. By the next day, the attacks on Jewish people no longer appeared as a spontaneous outbreak of violence but rather systematic as in a coordinated military attack.  Russian authorities tried to blame the pogrom on the local Polish population in order to stir up hatred between the Jews and Poles (both of which were opposed to the Tsar).  However Jewish survivors of the violence reported that the local Polish population had in fact sheltered many Jews during the pogrom and did not participate in it. Apolinary Hartglas, a Polish Jewish leader and later a member of the Polish Sejm, together with Ze'ev Jabotinsky, managed to obtain secret documents issued by Szeremietiev which proved that the pogrom was planned in advance by Russian authorities and that the murderers were Russian railroad workers transported from Russia to instigate the violence.


Auschwitz concentration camp began to operate in Nazi controlled Poland. The first transport, from the southern Polish city of Tarnów, consisted of 728 Poles, including 20 Jews. (eventually  3 million would die within its confines). The inmate population grew quickly as the camp absorbed Poland's intelligentsia and dissidents, including members of the Polish underground resistance. By March 1941, 10,900 were imprisoned there, most of them Poles. By the end of 1940, the Nazis had confiscated land in the surrounding area to create a 40-square-kilometre (15 sq mi) "zone of interest" surrounded by a double ring of electrified barbed wire fences and watchtowers.

German forces occupied Paris unopposed on June 14 after a chaotic period of flight of the French government that led to a collapse of the French army. The Battle of France was fought from May 10 to June 25, 1940.  French divisions made a determined resistance but were unable to overcome the German air superiority and armoured mobility. Though the French believed that the Maginot Line would be sufficient defence, German tanks charged through its defenses and deep into France. German commanders met with French officials on June 18 with the objective of forcing the new French government to accept an armistice that amounted to surrender. On June 22, the Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed by France and Germany, resulting in a division of France. The neutral Vichy government led by Marshal Philippe Pétain superseded the Third Republic and Germany occupied the north and west. Italy took control of a small occupation zone in the south-east, and the Vichy regime was left in control of unoccupied territory in the south known as the zone libre.


The Battle of Porytowe Wzgórze began between Polish and Russian partisans and Nazi German forces:  Polish and Russian partisans, numbering around 3,000 found themselves overwhelmed and surrounded by 25,000 to 30,000 German soldiers backed by artillery, tanks, armored cars and air support.  The Germans managed to break through the partisans' line of defense and despite high casualties among the Poles and Russians, they managed to drive the Germans back. The Germans took cover in the woods nearby from which they could keep the partisans under constant fire, increasing the number of casualties, then capturing the western side of the Porytowe Hill, they succeeded in breaching the main line of defense. The Poles and Russians counterattacked, and were able to recover their lost positions and break out of the trap. After fierce fighting, and heavy losses, the main columns of partisans, managed to reach the safety of the Solska Wilderness after a march of 40 kilometers.

June 13, 2018




Jan Szczepanik (dob) was a Polish inventor, with several hundred patents and over 50 discoveries to his name, many of which are still applied today, especially in the motion picture industry, as well as in photography and television. Some of his concepts helped the future evolution of TV broadcasting, such as the telectroscope (an apparatus for distant reproduction of images and sound using electricity) or the wireless telegraph, which greatly affected the development of telecommunications.


Ryszard Jerzy Kukliński (dob) was a Polish colonel and Cold War spy for NATO.  Between 1972 and 1981 he passed 35,000 pages of mostly Soviet secret documents to the CIA. The documents described Moscow's strategic plans regarding the use of nuclear weapons, technical data about the T-72 tank and 9K31 Strela-1 missiles, the whereabouts of Soviet anti-aircraft bases in Poland and East Germany, the methods used by the Soviets to avoid spy satellite detection of their military hardware, plans for the imposition of martial law in Poland, and many other matters. Before martial law in December 1981, Kuklinski and his family defected to the USA with the help of the CIA.  Both his sons died in tragic accidents within a few months of each other, but Kuklinski did not discount the possibility that the KGB was behind it. On May 23, 1984 Kukliński was sentenced to death in absentia, by a Soviet military court in Warsaw. After the fall of communism, the sentence was changed to 25 years, but was eventually dropped. The Polish newspaper Trybuna lamented that  "Colonel Ryszard Kukliński—a spy, deserter, and traitor—has been turned into a model of virtue and a national hero of the rightists." In a 1997 survey conducted by the CBOS, 27 percent of Poles considered Kukliński a hero and 24 percent a traitor (compared to 12 and 24 percent, respectively, in 1992.

June 12, 2018




Anne Frank started her diary:  For her thirteenth birthday on June 12, 1942, Frank received a book she had shown her father in a shop window a few days earlier. Although it was an autograph book, bound with red-and-white checkered cloth and with a small lock on the front,  Anne decided she would use it as a diary, and she began writing in it almost immediately. In her entry dated 20 June 1942, she listed many of the restrictions that were placed upon the lives of the Dutch Jewish population. On July 5, the  the Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung (Central Office for Jewish Emigration) ordered the family to report for relocation to a work camp. The next day the Frank family went into hiding. She continued writing regularly until August 1, 1944.  The following is an entry dated April 5, 1944:  ".....I finally realized that I must do my schoolwork to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that's what I want! I know I can write ..., but it remains to be seen whether I really have talent ... And if I don't have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself. But I want to achieve more than that. I can't imagine living like Mother, Mrs. van Daan and all the women who go about their work and are then forgotten. I need to have something besides a husband and children to devote myself to! ...I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I've never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that's why I'm so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that's inside me!  When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that's a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?........"


John F. Kennedy awarded with medals.  On June 12,  Kennedy was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, the highest noncombat decoration for heroism, and the Purple Heart Medal.  On the night of August 1–2, PT-109 was performing night patrols near New Georgia in the Solomon Islands accompanied by PT-162 and PT-169.  Kennedy spotted a Japanese destroyer, the Amagiri nearby and commenced procedures to attack, but the PT-109 was suddenly rammed and the impact cut the destroyer in half, resulting in the deaths of two of his crew members.  Kennedy and the ten remaining men swam to a small island three miles away rather than surrender. Despite an injury that Kennedy sustained in the collision, he towed a badly burned crewman through the water, and later to a second island, where they were eventually rescued.  After the war, Kennedy felt that the medal he had received for heroism was not a combat award and asked that he be reconsidered for the Silver Star Medal for which he had been recommended initially.


On this day in 1980, Yad Vashem recognized Stefan Korboński, as Righteous Among the Nations. Korbonski  was a founding member of the Polish underground  (Union of Armed Struggle, the ZWZ), and then the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK). He was also part of the extensive network of the underground Polish Secret State, and leader of the Delegatura.  The duties of his government included the coordination and organization of civilian resistance, information and propaganda. During his term at the office, Korboński expanded the responsibilities of the Directorate by including maintaining law and order, organizing underground civil courts, and coordinating and carrying out their verdicts by the National Security Corps. (The court passed death sentences against specific Nazi German officers, which were carried out by the Polish Underground in "Operation Heads") In September 1942  Korbonski became head of Directorate of Civil Resistance, and he informed the Polish Government in Exile, in London, that the Nazi Germans had began to liquidate the Warsaw Ghetto of the Jewish prisoners for extermination. Stefan Korbonski authored several books about the history of the Polish underground (in Polish) and a book in English entitled, "The Jews and the Poles in World War II"  New York : Hippocrene Books, 1989.


June 11, 2018




A train with remains of Saint Andrzej Bobola arrived at the border station of Zebrzydowice, greeted and celebrated by enormous crowds of the faithful.  The holy religious icon was also brought to Katowice, Krakow, and Poznan and ultimately arrived in Warsaw on June 17. Following three days of veneration, the remains of Saint Bobola were laid to rest at the Jesuit chapel on Rakowiecka Street. Andrzej Bobola was declared Blessed by Pope Pius IX in October 1853, and was canonized by Pope Pius XI on April 17, 1938. Pope John Paul II declared Bobola a patron saint of Poland and of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Warsaw. Saint Bobola was a Polish missionary and martyr of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Apostle of Lithuania and the "hunter of souls". On May 16, 1657, he was captured by the Cossacks during the Khmelnytsky Uprising, and subjected to a variety of tortures and murdered.


Britain struck back at Italy.  Mussolini declared war on England and France on June 10, 1940, bombing targets in the British-controlled Suez Canal territory, as well as British-controlled island of Malta. At precisely 5 am on the morning of June 11, ten Italian aircraft bombed the dockyard and Hal Far airfield.  It was followed by another attack in late afternoon, this time by 25 aircraft. By the end of the month, attacks were occurring night and day in varying intensity, the heaviest from 60 bombers, escorted by fighters.  On June 14,  French cruisers from Toulon , accompanied by No. 767 Fleet Air Arm Squadron from Hyeres, bombed military installations at Genoa. Meanwhile French aircraft bombed the oil tanks at Venice. On the 17th the French sunk an Italian submarine in the Western Mediterranean. On the 21st British cruisers and a French battleship bombed military targets at Bardia. It was just the beginning, with many more operations to come.  All available British vessels from Alexandria to Malta were dispatched. Of the four British submarines operating near Malta,  the Grampus, Odin and Orpheus failed to return. They had been sunk by Italian anti-submarine vessels.  Allied reaction to the declaration of war was swift. The British immediately interned all Italians who had lived in Britain less than 20 years, and who were between the ages of 16 and 70.  In the U.S. President Roosevelt  broadcast on radio his promise to supply Britain and France with “the material resources of this nation.”


Operation Corkscrew:  It was the code name for the Allied invasion of the Italian island of Pantelleria, (between Sicily and Tunisia) which was launched prior to the Allied invasion of Sicily.  The Allies had planned Operation Workshop in 1940 to invade the island, but had to cancel it as the German strongholds were impervious to attack at the time.  The bombing started in late May and by June the allies had dropped 14,203 bombs amounting to 4,119 tons, destroying 16 Italian batteries.   By June 8, the British Royal Navy task force dispatched five cruisers, eight destroyers and three torpedo boats on a bombing raid of the main port.  The intense ten-day air bombardment succeeded in drastically reducing enemy defences. Out of a total of 80 guns bombed, 43 were damaged as well as communications, ammunition stores and air-raid shelters. Italian garrisons on nearby islands (Lampedusa and Linosa) quickly fell. This opened the way for the invasion of Sicily a month later.

June 10, 2018




Lidice Massacre:  Hitler and Himmler ordered the complete destruction of an entire village, Lidice in the Kladno district  (then Czechoslovakia) in reprisal for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich on June 6, 1942. All 173 men over 15 years of age from the village were executed;   184 women and 88 children were deported to concentration camps; a few children considered racially suitable for Germanisation were handed over to SS families and the remainder were sent to the Chełmno extermination camp where they were gassed to death. After the end of the war only only 153 women and 17 children survived.


Mieczysław Jagielski tendered his resignation as a member of the Politburo of the Polish United Workers' Party, stating,  "I submit my resignation as a member of the PB (Politburo), especially since I had a certain incident in my life. I also submit my resignation as vice premier (Deputy Prime Minister)"  His offer was rebuffed, and the incident he spoke of was a heart attack he suffered recently. On July 31, 1981,  Jagielski was fired from his position as Deputy Prime Minister, apparently because he failed to produce a recovery program for the economic crisis Poland was experiencing at the time. (see April 1, 1981) The Politburo stripped him of his memberships in the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers Party, the Politburo of the Polish United Workers and the Economic Committee. He remained a deputy to the Sejm until 1985. He died on the night of February 27, 1997, from a heart attack in his home.  Lech Wałęsa described him as a "sensitive man who always listened to arguments", and said that Jagielski differed in that respect from other Polish politicians in 1980s.

June 9, 2018




Congress of Vienna concluded:  In the wake of Napoleonic France's defeat and surrender in May 1814,  after 25 years warfare, the Congress convened to devise a long-term peace plan for Europe by settling critical issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. The objective was not merely to restore old boundaries but to create a balance among the the main powers that would ensure future peace. France lost its recent conquests while Prussia, Austria and Russia enjoyed major territorial gains. Prussia added smaller German states in the west, Swedish Pomerania and 60% of the Kingdom of Saxony; Austria won Venice and much of northern Italy and Russia gained parts of Poland.


Joseph Tykociński Tykociner was a Polish engineer and a pioneer of sound-on-film technology.  On June 9, 1922, Tykociner publicly demonstrated for the first time a motion picture with a soundtrack optically recorded directly onto the film. When Tykociner demonstrated the first sound-on-film motion picture recordings the projector had a photoelectric cell made by his Illinois colleague Jakob Kunz at its heart. In the first sounds ever publicly heard from a composite image-and-audio film, Helena Tykociner, the inventor's wife, spoke the words, "I will ring," and then rang a bell. Next, Ellery Paine, head of the university's Department of Electrical Engineering, recited the Gettysburg Address. The demonstration was written up in the New York World on July 30, 1922. A dispute between Tykociner and university president David Kinley over patent rights to the process thwarted its commercial application.

June 8, 2018




After the defeat of Germany and Japan, Britain held the London Victory Celebrations  in London. Many of the Allies were invited to join the parade - except the Polish forces. The Poles were vital to the allied war effort and fought in every major battle of World War II, including the Battle of Britain,  the Battle of Monte Casino, the Falaise Gap,  Battle at Arnhem, and D-Day, among many other battles.  After V-E Day, the Polish servicemen were forgotten and were not invited to represent Poland in the Victory Parade.


Pope John Paul II made his third pilgrimage to  Poland and took part in a National Eucharistic Congress.  Beatification of Karolina Kozka and Michal Kozal. The places he visited: Warsaw, Lublin, Tarnów, Kraków, Szczecin, Gdynia, Gdańsk, Częstochowa, and Łódź.


Polish Census:  A census was taken in Poland from May 21, to June 8, 2002. The results indicated 96% of Polish ethnicity; 1,23% Other and 2,03% no answer. Of the ethnic groups, there were 173,153 Silesians,  152,897 Germans, 48,737 Belorusians,  30,957 Ukrainians, 12, 855 Roma,  6,103 Russians,  5,863 Lemkos,  5,846 Lithuanians,  5,062 Kashubians, 2,001 Slovakians, 1,808 Vietnamese,  1,633 French,  1,541 American, 1,,404 Greek,  1,367 Italian, 1,133 Jews, 1,112 Bulgarians, 1,082 Armenians,  831 Czechs,  800 British, and 495 Tatars. (In the 2011 census the number of Jews has increased to 7,353 (residing mainly in large cities) Before World War II there were slightly over 3 million Jews throughout Poland.  The Nazi Germans conducted the "Final Solution" which destroyed 6 million Jews (the 3 million Jews of Poland and 3 million deported from other European countries).

June 7, 2018




Oskar Dirlewanger Found Dead:  Dirlewanger was a German military officer who was the founder and commander of the infamous Nazi SS penal unit "Dirlewanger" during World War II.  Dirlewanger was a psychopathic killer and child molester and "an expert in extermination and a devotee of sadism and necrophilia"  According to Timothy Snyder, "in all the theaters of the Second World War, few could compete in cruelty"  Dirlewanger's Gang was a "storm brigade" which was sent to suppress the Polish resistance during the Warsaw Uprising.  During the the Wola Massacre, the Direlewanger Gang looted, butchered, raped and murdered with unspeakable ferocity.  On June 1st, 1945, Dirlewanger was captured and arrested near the town of Altshausen in a remote hunting lodge, wearing civilian clothes.. He was reportedly recognized by a former Jewish concentration camp inmate and brought to a detention centre. He died around June 5 to 7, 1945 in a prison camp at Altshausen, probably as a result of ill-treatment. The causes of death were never established, but speculation suggested that he was beaten to death by guards.


A referendum on joining the European Union was held in Poland on June 7 and 8, 2003. The proposal was approved by 77.6% of voters. Poland subsequently joined the European Union that year following the ratification of the Treaty of Accession 2003. The country's first European Parliament elections were held in 2004.

June 6, 2018




D Day Landings:  Code named Operation Neptune (or Operation Overlord), it was massive Allied invasion of Normandy with the goal of liberating north-western Europe from Nazi occupation.  It was the largest seaborne invasion in history with over 5,000 Allied landing and assault craft, 289 escort vessels, and 277 minesweepers joining the battle. Almost 160,000 Allied troops crossed the English Channel on D-Day, with 875,000 men disembarking by the end of June. Bombing of Normandy began around midnight with more than 2,200 British, Canadian, and American bombers attacking targets along the coast and further inland. The Germans had 570 aircraft stationed in Normandy and the Low Countries on D-Day.  Allied casualties on the first day were at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead. The Germans lost 1,000 men. The Operation ended in an Allied victory on August 30, 1944, as German forces retreated across the Seine.


George Orwell's book, "1984" was published.  "1984"  is a dystopian novel set in  "Airstrip One", formerly Great Britain, a province of the superstate Oceania. Oceania is a totalitarian state which is in a constant state of war, whose government exerts control over every aspect of society, and uses propaganda to manipulate public opinion. The citizens of Oceania are dictated to by a political regime that Orwell named, "English Socialism" which he shorted to "Ingsoc" in "Newspeak" the new language invented by the Government. Oceania is no longer a democracy but is under the control of the elite Inner Party. The Inner Party does not tolerate free-thinking people, and actively persecutes citizens who are independent thinkers, and non-conformists. The people are charged with "thought crimes", which are enforced by the "Thought Police." One of the catch phrases of the book, "Big Brother Is Watching You" was coined by Orwell, to refer to the supreme leader of Oceania, who has decreed that every citizen be under constant surveillance (mainly by Telescreens).  The concept of "Big Brother" has become ubiquitous throughout the world, as citizens' civil liberties have steadily been eroded away.

June 5, 2018




Krakow granted city rights:  During the Mongol invasion of 1241, Krakow was almost completely destroyed, but it was rebuilt to look practically identical.  In 1257 the High Duke Boleslaw V The Chaste introduced city rights based on Magdeburg Law, which allowed tax benefits and new trade privileges for citizens. (The Magdeburg Laws regulated the degree of internal autonomy within cities and villages, granted by the local ruler and prompted the urban development of the towns and cities.)


A letter was sent by Willy Just to Walter Rauff which described in great detail the operation of the Nazi's  "Spezialwagen" ( special vans) and the gassing of thousands upon thousands of Jews and Roma. Excerpts from the letter reads as follows:  "As of December 1941, ninety-seven thousand have been processed..." --- "... In order to facilitate the rapid distribution of CO, as well as to avoid a buildup of pressure, two slots, ten by one centimeters, will be bored at the top of the rear wall. The excess pressure would be controlled by an easily adjustable hinged metal valve on the outside of the vents...."  --- the observation windows that have been installed up to now could be eliminated, as they are hardly ever used. Considerable time will be saved in the production of the new vans by avoiding the difficult fitting of the window and its airtight lock.....".  The letter used euphemisms, nevertheless it is clear what "processed" means.


Jozef Beck died at the age of 49. He was Polish Foreign Minister from November 2, 1932 to September 30 1939.  During the interwar period, Beck attempted to maintain a semblance of accommodation, but without ceding to the demands of either.  In July 1932, he brokered a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union and in January 1934, a German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact.  Since neither proved to be successful, Beck established Mutual Defence Agreements with Great Britain and France. When Poland was invaded by Germany and the Soviet Union in September 1939, neither Britain nor France upheld their Agreements.  Jozef Beck, and other leaders of the Polish Government evacuated to Romania.  Jozef Beck played a decisive role early in 1939,  by adamantly refusing Hitler's demands to subordinate Poland into a German puppet-state.  Beck rejected Hitler's demands for annexation of Polish Pomorze (Pomerania), which would have blocked Polish access to the sea and its main trade route. He also rejected demands for an extraterritorial rail and highway corridor to East Prussia and Free City of Danzig in exchange for vague promises. (In 1937 Hitler had assured Beck that he had no claims on Danzig.  But at 4.45 a.m. on September 1, 1939 the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein opened fire on the Polish garrison of the Westerplatte Fort, Danzig (modern-day Gdansk), in what was to the beginning of World War Two.) (see May 4, 1939)


The Berlin Declaration was signed by the United States, USSR, Britain and France, confirming the complete legal extinction of Nazi Germany.  The preamble of the Declaration confirmed that  Nazi Germany had ceased to exist on April 30, 1945, following the suicide of Adolph Hitler. And that the existing German national territory would be subject to the four signatory powers, and by whose authority, the future boundaries of Germany would be decided.  The preamble also confirmed  that representatives from the signatory governments would exert supreme civil and military authority within German territory as well as over German forces.


Pope John Paul II eighth visit to Poland and what was his longest (until June 17) pilgrimage to  Poland for the closing of the 2nd National Plenary Synod, and Beatification of 108 Martyrs of World War II in Warsaw.  The places he visited: Gdańsk, Pelplin, Elbląg, Lichen, Bydgoszcz, Toruń, Ełk, Wigry, Siedlce, Drohiczyn, Warsaw, Sandomierz, Zamość, Łowicz, Sosnowiec, Kraków, Stary Sącz, Wadowice, Gliwice, Częstochowa.

June 4, 2018




Ignacy Mościcki took Office. By recommendation of Pilsudski, Ignacy Moscicki was elected President of the Second Republic of Poland on June 1, 1926 but remained subservient to Pilsudski, and never openly showing dissent on any issue.  After Pilsudski's death in 1935, Moscicki's influence on the state affairs increased substantially. This was due in large part to Pilsudski's revision of the Constitution which increased the powers of the Presidential office. Moscicki was the longest serving President in Polish history (from June 4, 1926 – September 30, 1939)


Nazi German officer Reinhard Heydrich died of his wounds:  On May 27, 1942, Heydrich was ambushed in Prague by Czech soldiers Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubis in Operation Anthropoid.  When Heydrich's vehicle slowed down around a curved road, Gabcik stepped in front of Heydrich's vehicle, and attempted to open fire but his Sten gun jammed. Heydrich ordered his driver to stop the car and stood up to take aim against Gabcik. At that moment, Kubis threw a grenade at the vehicle, which ripped through the right rear fender, and embedded shrapnel into Heydrich's body. Kubis was also injured by the shrapnel.  Heydrich got out of the car, and despite his injuries began to return fire while giving chase, but soon collapsed. His driver returned from his abortive attempt to chase Kubis, and Heydrich ordered him to chase Gabcik. The driver was shot twice and was wounded by Gabcik (who was now using his revolver)  It seemed that the assassination attempt failed. Heydrich was rushed to hospital and was diagnosed with sepsis. He went into shock and died on June 4, 1942.  Operation Anthropoid was the code name for the assassination of Heydrich and was planned by the British Special Operations Executive with the approval of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile.  (Note: The Polish Underground has also assassinated several German officers, including high level Nazi German Officers - see Operation Kutschera (Feb 1, 1944) and Operation Burkl (Sept 7, 1943). The Polish Home Army assassinated many other German officers and commandants.)


The Polish legislative election of 1989 was the tenth election to the Sejm, the parliament of the Polish People's Republic, and the first election to the recreated Senate of Poland. The first round took place on June 4, right after the 1989 June 4th Beijing Tiananmen Square massacre in China, with a second round on June 18.  It was the closest thing to a free election in the country since 1928, and the first since the communist Polish United Workers Party abandoned its monopoly of power in April.  It resulted in a phenomenal victory of the Solidarity opposition and paved the way for the fall of communism in Poland.


Dr. Felix Zandman, Ph.D. died on this day in 2011. He was the founder and chief technology officer of Vishay Inter technology – one of the world's largest providers of electronic components. From 1946 to 1949 he studied physics and engineering in France at the University of Nancy.  He was also enrolled at the Grande École of engineering E.N.S.E.M (Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Electricité et de Mécanique). He received a Ph.D. at the Sorbonne as a physicist on a subject of photo elasticity.and was awarded the Edward Longstreth Medal from the Franklin Institute in 1962

June 3, 2018




The Duke of Windsor married Wallis Warfield Simpson in Monts, France. As King Edward VIII, he had abdicated the British throne in December of 1936 amid tumultuous uproar, to marry Simpson, an American who had been divorced. (Note: Despite the advice of the British government, the Duke and Duchess visited Hitler at his Berghof retreat in Bavaria, Germany. The German media had a heyday with this event and photographed the Duke giving Nazi salutes. According to the Duke of Windsor, he claimed to support appeasement, in the wake of the horrors of World War I.  Hitler considered Edward to be friendly towards Nazi Germany and anticipated that Anglo-German relations could have been improved were it not for Edward's abdication. Albert Speer quoted Hitler directly: "I am certain through him (Edward) permanent friendly relations could have been achieved. If he had stayed, everything would have been different. His abdication was a severe loss for us." (Note:  Nazi Germany made overtures to Britain, because the British royal family's blood line came from the German descent and was originally House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, until it was changed to House of Windsor in 1917 because of anti-German sentiment in the British Empire during World War I.)


Germans bombed Paris:  The Nazi Germans bombed a suburb of Paris, targeting the Citroën automobile factory. 254 persons were killed, including 195 civilians. Many other suburbs of Paris were bombed resulting in countless civilian deaths and injuries. French Prime Minister Reynaud dismissed his commander, Maurice Gamelin, and appointed Maxime Weygand to take his place. He also named the 84-year-old Philippe Pétain as deputy prime minister. Both Weygand and Petain knew that they could not defeat the Germans and began to look for ways out of the war. By June 8,  Parisians could hear the sound of artillery in the distance. Refugees fled in droves, and within a few days the more affluent arrondissements were nearly vacant. Meanwhile the working class 14th arrondissement decreased from 178,000 to 49,000. The British General Staff urged the French to defend Paris street-by-street, but Pétain dismissed the suggestion: "To make Paris into a city of ruins will not affect the issue." By June 12, the French government declared Paris to be an open city and that there would be no resistance. On June 14, the German armies marched in and occupied the city, raising the swastika flag atop the Arc de Triomphe.

Battle of Dunkirk ended with German victory.   The Battle of Dunkirk was part of the Battle of France, as well as that of Operation Dynamo - the emergency evacuation of British and French soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, who were cut off and surrounded by German troops.  In Churchill's speech to the House of Commons, he referred to this as "a colossal military disaster....(that)...the whole root and core and brain of the British Army" was stranded at Dunkirk and in danger of annihilation.  The evacuation began on May 27, and by June 3rd,  338,226 soldiers had been rescued by a fleet of over 800 boats. Subsequently, Churchill referred to the successful evacuation as a "miracle", and the British press reported it as a "disaster turned to triumph". However, Churchill gave another speech on June 4, to remind the country that "we must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations."   From May 10 until the armistice with France on June 22, BEF suffered casualties of 68,000 soldiers (dead, wounded, missing, or captured). All the heavy equipment had to be abandoned; 2,472 guns, 20,000 motorcycles, about 65,000 other vehicles; 416,000 short tons (377,000 t) of stores, more than 75,000 short tons (68,000 t) of ammunition and 162,000 short tons (147,000 t) of fuel and almost all of the 445 British tanks sent to France.  Six British and three French destroyers were sunk, as well as nine major vessels, 19 destroyers damaged; over 200 British and Allied sea craft  sunk, with a similar number damaged;  145 aircraft lost   ( of which at least 42 were Spitfires)  while the Luftwaffe lost 156 aircraft in operations in the nine days of Operation Dynamo, including 35 destroyed by Royal Navy ships (plus 21 damaged) during the six days from May 27 to 1 June 1.

June 2, 2018




The Vichy government under Petain, collaborated with the Nazi regime. They decreed the Second Statut des Juifs which systematized the registrations of Jews across the county and in Vichy-North Africa. The Jews in unoccupied France were not obliged to wear the yellow star of David badge, because the registration records enforced by the French were sufficient to provide the Nazis with information about their whereabouts for future round-ups and deportations.


Liquidation of the Lwów Ghetto:  The Lwów Ghetto was one of the largest Jewish ghettos established by Nazi Germany after the joint Nazi-Soviet invasion of Poland. Lwow had a Jewish population of over 110,000 before the outbreak of World War II on September 1, 1939.  By the time the Nazis advanced toward the city and Jews fled from Nazi-occupied western Poland,  the Jewish population of Lwow increased to over 220,000.  The Lwow Ghetto was set up in the latter part of 1941, and was liquidated in June 1943. When the Nazis entered the Ghetto there was intermittent acts of armed resistance from the Jews; other Jews hid in bunkers they previously prepared. Despite their efforts to save themselves, the Germans pumped gasoline into the buildings and lit it, in order to force them to come out of hiding. Some Jews managed to escape, others were captured and sent to concentration camps at Belzec and Janowska.  When the Red Army entered the city in July 1944, there were about 200 Jews remaining (other sources report 900)  Since 1945 the city has been called Lviv, and is part of the Ukraine.


John Paul II arrived in Poland for his first papal homecoming. More than 10 million Polish people turned out to meet him as the pontiff toured the country. The rest watched the live TV coverage of his pilgrimage. The high point of the trip was the pope's farewell address in Warsaw, when he said: “Let your Spirit descend and renew the land....this land!” Those words instilled new hope in his countrymen. A year later, a strike wave erupted which would snowball into the Solidarity movement, the Soviet bloc's first free labor union. This was the first of his nine visits to his native land. The places he visited:  Warsaw, Gniezno, Częstochowa, Kraków, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Wadowice, Brzezinka, Nowy Targ.


Jan Karski was recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations. Jan Karski was a Polish World War II resistance movement fighter with the Armia Krajowa (Home Army) and in 1942 and 1943 reported to the Polish Government In Exile, and western allies on the situation in German-occupied Poland, the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Holocaust of the Jews.  After the war he became Professor at Georgetown University.  A tree bearing a memorial plaque in his name was planted in 1982 at Yad Vashem's Avenue of the Righteous Among the Nations in Jerusalem. In 1994, Karski was made an honorary citizen of Israel in honor of his efforts on behalf of Polish Jews during the Holocaust (Shoah). Karski was nominated for the Nobel Prize and formally recognized by the UN General Assembly shortly before his death.  He passed away July 13, 2000.

June 1, 2018




Tadeusz "Bor" Komorowski (dob)  was a Polish military leader. He was appointed Commander in Chief a day before the capitulation of the Warsaw Uprising. After taking part in the fighting against the German invasion of Poland at the beginning of World War II in 1939, he helped organize the Polish underground in the Kraków area and in July 1941 became deputy commander of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa or "AK"). In March 1943 Komorowski was appointed Commander, with the rank of Brigadier-General.  After the war Bór-Komorowski moved to London, where he played an active role in Polish émigré circles. From 1947 to 1949 he served as Prime Minister of the Polish government-in-exile,  but by then the Allies no longer gave them diplomatic recognition.


Ignacy Mościcki was elected President of Poland on June 1, 1926, and served until 1939. He was the longest serving President in Poland's history.  Following Pilsudski's coup d'etat on May 12, 1926, Moscicki was elected on the recommendation of Pilsudski. However, he remained subservient and obedient to Piłsudski's leadership.  Three main factions emerged after Pilsudski's death in 1935:  those supporting Mościcki as Piłsudski's successor; those supporting General Edward Rydz-Śmigły; and those supporting Prime Minister Walery Sławek. The ensuing power struggle resulted with Rydz-Śmigły as the de facto leader of Poland though Mościcki remained influential by continuing in office as President.  After the outbreak of World War II, Mościcki was interned in Romania and was forced by France to resign his office. He transferred the Office to General Bolesław Wieniawa-Długoszowski, who held it for only one day, before General Władysław Sikorski and the French government deposed him in favor of Władysław Raczkiewicz.


Jews in France, Holland, Belgium, Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania were ordered to wear yellow stars. But in Denmark, the Jewish badge was never introduced.  The story has oftentimes been told that the Danish King Christian X wore a yellow star to demonstrate his solidarity with the Jews, but this is purely myth. Perhaps it was a mistaken interpretation of the King's remarks to his finance minister, Vilhelm Buhl, that if the Germans introduced the star in Denmark, "perhaps we should all wear it." The Jewish badge was not introduced in Norway either, however , after January 10, 1942, all Jews had to carry identification cards stamped with the letter "J." The imposition of this Nazi law was to facilitate the identification of Jews for deportation (and death in the concentration camps.)


During his first 4th papal pilgrimage Poland, John Paul elaborated on the subject of the true meaning of freedom and expressed alarm at the assumption that “anything goes”. He urged people to guide themselves by the ethical concepts of Christianity and not misuse freedom as an excuse to violate the moral order. Beatification of Józef Sebastian Pelczar, Boleslawa Lament and Rafal Chylinski.  The places he visited: Koszalin, Rzeszów, Przemyśl, Lubaczów, Kielce, Warsaw, Łomża, Białystok, Olsztyn, Włocławek, Płock.

May 31, 2018


MAY 31


Pope John Paul II seventh pilgrimage to Poland. It included celebrations of the 1000th anniversary of St Adalbert's (Wojciech's) martyrdom.  In his homily the pontiff emphasized the tenet, "Christ yesterday, today, and forever." Beatification:  Bernardina Jabłońska and Maria Karłowska and canonization of Bl. Queen Jadwiga of Anjou. The places he visited: Wrocław, Legnica, Gorzów Wielkopolski, Gniezno, Poznań, Gniezno, Kalisz, Częstochowa, Zakopane, Ludzmierz, Kraków, Dukla. (Saint Adalbert was the Bishop of Prague and a missionary to the Hungarians, Poles, and Prussians. He was martyred in his efforts to convert the Baltic Prussians to Christianity. He died on April 23, 997.  Polish King Boleslaus I brought his remains back to Gniezno for the payment of his remains in gold.  The massive metal doors of Gniezo Cathedral depict the life, and death of Saint Adalbert in relief and is a valuable historical testimony. A silver coffin containing his remains rest in Gniezno Cathedral.)


The Polish 1st Independent Airborne Brigade was awarded the Dutch Military William Order by HM Queen Beatrix for gallantry at Arnhem during Operation Market Garden in 1944. It was the highest Dutch military honor for heroism during World War II.  The Polish Brigade played a pivotal role in the Allied airborne invasion of the Netherlands in September 1944, but whose contributions were largely ignored by the Allies.  Though the Battle of Arnhem, ie Operation Market Garden failed (due to errors committed by British Command), the Polish soldiers distinguished themselves with bravery and immeasurable sacrifices.  British commander Montgomery immediately blamed the failure of the Operation on its leader Major-General Stanislaw F. Sosabowski who was subsequently dismissed.  Queen Beatrix and the nation recognized the great contribution made by the Poles in liberating the Netherlands in April and May 1945 at great sacrifice to themselves.  (Despite British diplomatic resistance, the brigade's commander, Sosabowski was posthumously awarded the "Bronze Lion".)

May 30, 2018


MAY 30


The funeral of Aleksander Bruckner took place in Berlin. Brucker was born in Brzeżany (Berezhany) in Galicia, Austrian Empire. He was a Polish scholar of Slavic languages, historian of literature, and a philologist and lexicographer. He was among the most notable Slavicists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and was the first to prepare complete monographs on the history of Polish language and culture. He published more than 1,500 titles and discovered the Holy Cross Sermons - parchments which are the oldest extant prose text written in the Polish language (circa 13th to 14th century.) Bruckner strove to elevate the prestige of the Polish language and culture in the eyes of the Germans, and though he was not political, he was opposed to Russian autocracy and the centralized Russian state of his time.


Legislative Election in Poland.  Władysław Gomułka was re-elected as leader of the Polish United Workers Party until 1970 (he was succeeded by Edward Gierek) The electoral lists were controlled by the Front of National Unity, which in turn was controlled by the  Polish United Workers' Party. The distribution of seats were decided in advance of the elections and electors had no possibility to change it. The results of the 1965 election was duplicated in each of the elections from 1969 and 1972 where the change in the distribution of seats was negligible. The number of seats won was 411 out of  528.  (Gomulka was the de facto leader of post-war Poland until 1948. He came leader again from 1956 to 1970, after the Polish October.  Initially, Gomułka enjoyed popularity with his reforms (Polish way to socialism) but during the 60s his policies became authoritarian. He also sanctioned persecution of the Catholic Church and Polish intellectuals (for instance, he forced Leszek Kolakowski into exile.) In the period from 1967 to 1968 Gomułka permitted the surge of "anti-Zionist" propaganda and tried to use the momentum to his political advantage. He tried to avert public attention away from the realities of the stagnating economy by propagating anti-semitism.  A majority of surviving Polish Jews left the country at this time.  Gomulka was also responsible for persecuting protesting students and tightening censorship of the media. Gomułka supported Poland's participation in the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.

May 29, 2018


MAY 29


Great Sejm Ended. The Great Sejm was the parliament of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth between 1788 and 1792. Its principal objectives were to restore sovereignty of the Commonwealth, and reform its political and economic structure. It's greatest achievement was the creation of and adoption of the Constitution of May 3, 1791. It was Europe's first modern written national constitution and the world's second, after the United States Constitution. The Constitution intended to replace the existing autocracy, with a democratic constitutional monarchy. Among its laws were the protection of peasants, thereby lifting the worst abuses of serfdom, as well as removing the parliamentary liberum veto (which gave any deputy the right to block any legislation passed by the Sejm). Despite these great reforms, the intervention of the Russian Empire annulled all the enactments of the Great Sejm including the Constitution.


In the occupied zone of France, the Nazi Germans ordered all Jews over the age of 6 to wear the yellow Star of David badge.  (In March 1941, the Vichy regime created the Commissariat Général aux Questions juives to manage the seizure of Jewish assets, and created anti-Jewish propaganda. Meanwhile, the Nazi Germans were creating registers of Jews in the occupied French zone, which was incorporated by the Vichy Law, Second Statut des Juifs of June 1941 (the Star of David badge was not made compulsory because, the Jews could be rounded up based on the registration information alone.)

May 28, 2018


MAY 28


Hungary passed a law banning Jews from various professions. Another anti-semitic law was passed on May 5, 1939. A third law, added in August 1941, defined Jewish as anyone with at least two Jewish grandparents, and forbade sexual relations or marriages between Jews and non-Jews.


Cardinal Wyszyński died following a long and debilitating struggle with cancer. He was succeeded as primate by Archbishop Józef Glemp. Cardinal Wyszynski was a prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as the Bishop of Lublin from 1946 to 1948, Archbishop of Warsaw and Archbishop of Gniezno from 1948 to 1981. He was appointed Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria in Trastevere, on January 12, 1953 by Pope Pius XII.  Stefan Wyszyński assumed the title of Primate of Poland and was often called the Primate of the Millennium.  To many Poles he was the leader of Polish nation (the uncrowned king of Poland) From 1945 to 1989, he boldly opposed the iron grip of the Soviet regime in Poland and was credited for the survival of Polish Christianity in the midst of repression and persecution. He himself was imprisoned for three years, and is considered by many to be a Polish national hero. In 1989, the case was made for his beatification and canonization.  In April 1989, Pope John Paul II declared Nihil Obstat, which signified the first step to elevate Wyszynski to sainthood. Despite the praise of his great works, Wyszynski was anti-semitic.  Following the events of the Kielce pogrom in May 1946, local Jewish leaders met with then Bishop of Lublin Stefan Wyszynski, imploring him to publicly condemn the massacre and the anti-semitism that instigated it.  Wyszynski refused to support them and was unwilling to dispel the propaganda of "blood libel", a myth that formed the basis of medieval folklore and was a fabrication.


Polish government of Hanna Suchocka lost by a single vote. She was Poland's Prime Minister and served between July 8, 1992 and October 26, 1993 under the presidency of Lech Wałęsa. She is the first woman to hold this post in Poland (with Ewa Kopacz and Beata Szydło holding the post in the 2010s) and was the 14th woman to be appointed and serve as prime minister in the world. She declared that her government was committed to social reconciliation and would lead the country forward in the transformation from communism to capitalism. She was approved by 233 against 61 votes and 113 abstentions.  When she formed a cabinet, she wanted to include other female ministers but none of the other coalition partners were receptive to her recommendations. The two deputy prime ministers were male. In the midst of a wave of strikes in Poland, she was staunchly opposed to demands for increased wages, though she was wholly committed to market reforms.  Her refusal to concede salary increases to teachers and health workers, led to a parliamentary vote of no-confidence.  Walesa then dissolved parliament and held new elections and Suchocka resigned.  In 1994 Hanna Suchocka was one of the founding members of the Liberty Union Party, which became the country's third largest political force. From 1997 to 2000 she was the Minister of Justice in a coalition government. She is a member of Club of Madrid (an independent non-profit organization whose mission it is to promote democracy and change in the international community. Its membership is composed of former heads of state from 65 countries. Suchocka is also a member of the Council of Women World Leaders (an international network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers who are committed to collective action on issues of vital to women and the equitable development within nations.) Hanna Suchocka served as Poland's Ambassador to the Holy See from 2002 to 2013 and was a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in the Vatican (appointed by Pope John Paul II on January 19, 1994)

May 27, 2018


MAY 27


MS St. Louis, a German ship docked in Cuba carried 930 Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. The refugees had legitimate landing certificates before their departure, but their papers were invalidated by the pro-fascist Cuban government authorities. Only 22 Jewish refugees were allowed entry. Canada and the United States also denied them entry.  The remainder had to return to Europe. Some refugees were taken by Belgium, UK, Netherlands and France, among other nations. Their refuge was only temporary, until the Nazis invaded these countries and began rounding up Jews from all European nations to carry out their "Final Solution" (the systematic extermination of Jews throughout Europe)


Evacuation at Dunkirk continued:  This was the first full day of the evacuation during which only one cruiser, eight destroyers, and 26 other craft were active. British command was desperate for assistance and searched frantically for nearby boats that could ferry British troops from the beaches out to larger craft in the harbour, as well as larger vessels that could load from the docks.  After putting out a call for emergency help, they began receiving volunteers, and by May 31almost four hundred small craft had been put into service for the rescue mission. Meanwhile, the Luftwaffe had heavily bombed the town of Dunkirk and its dock installations. With water supply knocked out, fires blazed out of control killing many civilians. About a thousand people lost their lives, and only one third of the town survived. Sixteen squadrons of the British RAF engaged the Luftwaffe in battle and claimed 38 kills, but lost 14 aircraft.  The total number of allied sorties during Operation Dynamo was well over 3,500, and was able to inflict heavy losses on German bombers throughout the week. Regardless of RAF efforts, British soldiers were being bombed and strafed while awaiting transport, and unaware that the RAF was fighting to protect them.  Consequently, the soldiers were embittered towards the RAF and accused them of doing nothing to help them. (Most of the dogfights took place far from the beaches.)


SS leader Heydrich was mortally wounded by members of the Czech Underground during an ambush in Prague. It was carried out by a team of Czech and Slovak soldiers in a British Operation called Operation Anthropoid. Heydrich died from his injuries a week later. Nazi intelligence falsely linked the assassins to the villages of Lidice and Ležáky and subsequently razed both villages to the ground. They shot all the men and boys over the age of 16, and all but a handful of women and children were deported and exterminated in Nazi camps.  Heydrich was a high-ranking Nazi official, and architect of the Holocaust. He chaired chaired the January 1942 Wannsee Conference, which formalised plans for the Final Solution to the Jewish Question—the deportation and genocide of all Jews in German-occupied Europe.

May 26, 2018


MAY 26


Emergency Evacuation at Dunkirk: At 9:00 am on May 26, 19410, Churchill ordered Operation Dynamo to officially commence. It called for the evacuation of British soldiers which had found themselves surrounded by German troops, during the Battle of France.  Before the operation even started, 28,000 men had already escaped. The Operation planned for the rescue of 45,000 men from the BEF within a two day period, however, German troops were expected to block further evacuation. Approximately 25,000 men escaped during this period, including 7,669 on the first day.


The last battle of the Bismarck. Following the Battle of Denmark Strait,  Bismarck's fuel tanks were damaged and several machinery compartments, including a boiler room were flooded. She was on her way to reach Brest for repairs. The hunt was on as Allied warships tried to approximate her position using triangulation.  The Polish destroyer, ORP Piorun was sent to join in the hunt and was the first of the destroyers to spot the Bismarck. The Allies proceeded their attack in four phases:  the first phase consisted of air strikes by torpedo bombers from the British aircraft carrier Ark Royal, thereby disabling Bismarck's steering gear and jamming her rudders. This limited her to make only turning maneuvers, and thus prevented her escape. The second phase consisted of shadowing and harassing the Bismarck through the night (May 26/27) by British destroyers. Again, the Polish destroyer, ORP Piorun participated in shadowing the Bismarck, launching torpedoes during the night. Piorun charged at Bismarck by herself, while Maori manoeuvered for position to fire torpedoes. Alone, Piorun exchanged fire with Bismarck for about thirty minutes though neither side scored any hits. According to one report, before firing on the Bismarck, Commander Pławski transmitted the message "I am a Pole". (other sources claim that the signal to commence fire was "Trzy salwy na cześć Polski" (Three salvoes for the Glory of Poland!)  Unfortunately Piorun was not able to use the remaining torpedoes, because of low fuel and at 05:00 was ordered home.  The third phase occurred on the morning of May 27 and culminated in a joint attack by British battleships King George V and Rodney, supported by cruisers. They opened fire at 08:47.  The Bismarck returned fire, but due to her inability to steer and that the battleship listed to port so drastically, her shooting accuracy was greatly compromised.  That and her slow speed of 11 kn (13 mph; 20 km/h) made her an easy target when she was hit by the big guns of Allied battleships. When Bismarck's guns were put out of action, the Norfolk and Dorsetshire closed in for an attack. The Rodney launched one 16-inch (406 mm) salvo destroying the forward control post, which killed most of the senior officers, while the other salvoes destroyed all four gun turrets. Bismarck was silent, and lower in the water. Rodney then moved in from a position of 3km (1.9m) to fire into the superstructure while King George V fired from further out. (this maneuver enabled the salvos to attain a more vertical angle). With her engines still running, the Bismarck's upper works were destroyed, and her guns silenced. The Bismarck was slowly beginning to settle by the stern due to flooding, and listed 20 degree to port. It was then that the crew abandoned ship and procedures to scuttle her began.  The Bismarck did not give any sign of surrender.  With the Bismarck mostly under water, the Dorsetshire launched three final torpedoes at short range. At least one hit the superstructure, and the Bismarck went under the waves at 10:39 that morning.  British warships rescued 111 survivors from Bismarck before being obliged to withdraw because of an apparent U-boat sighting, leaving several hundred German men to their fate. The following morning, a U-boat and German weathership rescued five more survivors.

May 25, 2018


MAY 25


Mieszko I was the first ruler of Polans who ruled from 960 AD until his death on May 25, 992. He was a member of the Piast dynasty and a de facto creater of the Polish State. Mieszko unified numerous disparate Polish regions, introduced Christianity as the basis of the Polish state, and established the Gniezno Cathedral (which has survived to this day). Through his skill at diplomacy and military prowess, Miezko substantially expanded Polish territories that included Silesia, Western Pomerania, and probably Lesser Poland including Krakow.The territory of the Polish nation became twice as vast as the lands he inherited from his father, Siemomysł.


Mieczysław Gregory Bekker (dob) was a Polish engineer and scientist. Bekker worked for the Polish Ministry of Military Affairs from 1931 to 1939, and the Army Research Institute in Warsaw. There he worked on systems for tracking vehicles to work on uneven ground.  When Germany and Russia invaded Poland in 1939, he was in a unit that retreated to Romania, then moved to France. In 1942 he accepted an offer from the Canadian government to relocate to Ottawa and work in armored vehicle research.  A year later he enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1943 as a researcher and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Decommissioned in 1956, he moved to the U.S.  Bekker co-authored the general idea and contributed significantly to the design and construction of the Lunar Roving Vehicle used by missions Apollo 15, Apollo 16, and Apollo 17 on the Moon. He was the author of several patented inventions in the area of off-the-road vehicles, including those for extraterrestrial use.


Rudolf Hoss was handed over into the custody of Polish authorities. The Supreme National Tribunal in Poland tried him for murder. His trial lasted nineteen days. During the trial, when accused of murdering three and a half million people, Höss replied, "No. Only two and one half million—the rest died from disease and starvation." ( See April 16, 1947)


Witold Pilecki  was a Polish cavalry officer and intelligence officer who became a member of the underground Home Army (Armia Krajowa). During World War II, he volunteered for an secret operation in which he allowed himself to be arrested in a roundup, and was deported to Auschwitz death camp. While there he gathered vital intelligence, and attempted to organize a secret resistance movement.  He escaped from Auschwitz in 1943 after nearly two and a half years of imprisonment. As early as 1941, Pilecki informed the Western Allies of Nazi Germany's Auschwitz atrocities through contacts with his colleagues on the outside.  He fought with the Polish underground during the Warsaw Uprising (August 1 to October 3, 1944.) At the end of WW2, the Soviets occupied Poland and persecuted Poles who still remained loyal to the London-based Polish Government-in-Exile.  Soviet police of the Ministry of Public Security arrested Pilecki on charges of espionage.  After conducting a show trial in 1948, they executed him on May 25, 1948.


A constitutional referendum was held in Poland on May 25, 1997. Voters were asked whether they approved of a new constitution. It was narrowly approved, with 53.5% voting in favour (22,58% of Voters with right to vote, voting for "yes"). Voter turnout was just 42.9%. Although the 1995 Referendum Act stated that a 50% turnout was required to validate the referendum, the Supreme Court ruled on July 15 that the constitution could be introduced.


Death of Wojciech Jaruzelski. Jaruzelski was leader of communist-ruled Poland since 1985 as Prime Minister, and Head of State, then as President from 1989 to 1990.  He died on May 25, 2014 following a stroke.  President Bronisław Komorowski and former Presidents Lech Wałęsa and Aleksander Kwaśniewski as well as hundreds of other Poles attended his funeral mass at the Field Cathedral of the Polish Army in Warsaw  Wałęsa and Komorowski, were among the thousands imprisoned during the crackdown on Solidarity in 1981.  Jaruzelski was cremated and buried with full military honors at Powązki Military Cemetery in Warsaw, near the grave of Bolesław Bierut, the first Communist leader of Poland after World War II.  The decision to bury Jaruzelski at Powązki Cemetary, with full military honours, raised an outcry of protest from many Polish people who recall that Jaruzelski imposed martial law, resulting in the arrests of thousands of Poles, and around 91 killed.  The debate still continues if Jaruzelski took such action to circumvent what might have been a disastrous Soviet military intervention, or if he was a traitor to Poland. As Walesa and Komorowski said the judgement "would be left to God." Powaki is the resting place of Polish heroes killed fighting for the freedom of Poland since the early 19th century.

May 24, 2018


MAY 24


HMS Hood was attacked by the Bismarck:  Just before 06:00 on May 24, 1941, the pride of the British fleet, HMS Hood turned 20° to port to unmask her rear turrets in readiness to exchange fire. But just at that moment the Bismarck launched its fifth salvo from a distance of about 16,650 metres (18,210 yd) and hit the boat deck of the Hood, dumping debris and body parts on deck. The Hoods main mast burst into a huge jet of flame followed by an apocalyptic explosion that completely destroyed the aft part of the destroyer. The HMS Hood sank in three minutes, and was partially submerged in a vertical position. The last sight of the ship was her bow, before she disappeared beneath the waves.  (HMS  Hood, accompanied by the battleship Princes of Wales were sent out along with several other Allied ships, to hunt for the Bismarck. The Bismarck had started sail towards the Atlantic earlier in May 1941 and the Allied mission was to intercept the German battleship before it could attack Allied convoys. The German ship was spotted by two British heavy cruisers (Norfolk & Suffolk) on May 23,  and Holland's ships intercepted Bismarck and her consort, the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, in the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland on May 24. The Polish destroyer, ORP Piorun also took part in the hunt for the Bismarck. In fact she was the first to spot the German ship and took part in shadowing it, and launching torpedo attacks on the Bismarck the night before she was sunk. The Piorun charged at the Bismarck by herself, and exchanged fire with her for half an hour with no hits on either side. But when the Bismarck's third salvo missed the Piorun by only 20 yards (18m), Plawski pulled back. According to an official report, which was detailed at the Auschwitz I exhibition, Oświęcim, Poland, Pławski transmitted the message "I am a Pole" before commencing fire on Bismarck; other sources claim that the signal to commence fire was "Trzy salwy na cześć Polski" (Three salvos for the glory of Poland).


The "Angel of Death" Mengele arrived at Auschwitz:  Josef Mengele was posted to Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp as chief physician to the Romani family camp, appointed by SS Standortarzt Eduard Wirths, chief medical officer at Auschwitz. Birkenau camp was originally chosen to imprison slave laborers, but was re-purposed to combine the labor camp with an extermination camp.  The Nazis deported Jews from all over German-occupied Europe, and the prisoners arrived in daily rail convoys in massive numbers.  The  SS soon after began conducting "selections" of Jews who were fit for labor, and those who were deemed unfit, (women, children, pregnant women, the elderly) were marked for extermination in the gas chambers.  Mengele was among the team of doctors assigned to do the selections, and he undertook this work even while off-duty, in the hope of finding subjects for his personal experiments. Mengele injected chemicals directly into the eyes of living victims to see if it would change the eye color, and he killed prisoners with heterochromatic eyes so that the eyes could be removed and sent to Berlin for study. He was obsessed with searching for twins, and carried out his sadistic experiments on them with a cheerful, flamboyant air, often smiling or whistling a tune. After the twins were killed, he would dissect them for study.  He experimented on dwarfs, pregnant women, and victims with physical abnormalities included taking physical measurements, drawing blood, extracting healthy teeth, and treated them with unnecessary drugs and X-rays. Many were sent to the gas chambers after about two weeks, and their skeletons shipped to Berlin for further study. On one occasion where Mengele personally killed fourteen sets of twins in one night by chloroform injections directly into the heart.  In other cases, if one twin died of a disease, Mengele killed the other so that comparative post-mortem reports could be prepared.  According to the reports by Nyiszli and others, Mengele's twin studies might have been motivated by the desire to improve the reproduction rate of the German race by improving the chances of racially desirable people having twins. (Note:  Dr. Miklós Nyiszli, was an Hungarian Jewish pathologist, who arrived in Auschwitz on May 29, 1944. He performed dissections and prepared specimens for shipment in this laboratory. )