POLISH GREATNESS TRAFFIC

August 21, 2018

AUGUST 21 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 21

1941

French Resistance Assassinated a German Soldier:   At a secret meeting from August 15 to 17, members of the French resistance movement called, Jeunesse Communistes (JC), agreed to obtain weapons and begin training for armed underground attacks against the Germans. The recent news of the execution of Gautherot and Tyszelman, compelled the members of the group to take action.  (Previously, the JC  dealt only with propaganda.)   Of the JC leaders, Pierre Georges became primarily involved in military operations in the Paris region, while Albert Ouzoulias was more concerned with recruitment and liaison between the regions.   On August 21, Pierre Georges and three companions carried out a revenge killing of a German soldier named Alfons Moser when he was boarding a train at the Barbès metro station at eight in the morning. When Adolf Hitler heard of Moser's execution, he ordered the immediate execution of one hundred hostages. Contrary to Hitlers order, Otto von Stulpnagel, the German military commander in France, ordered the number to be reduced to 10 hostages On August 27, August 1941 three Communists were sentenced to death by guillotine, and were executed the following day. Over the next few days five more communists more shot.  Over the next several months, a series of assassinations and reprisals were conducted which resulted in the execution of five hundred French hostages.


1968

Invasion of Czechoslovakia: The Prague Spring  was a period  in which attempts were made to introduce political liberalization  in Czechoslovakia during a period of draconian political and military domination under the Soviet Union.  On January 5, 1968, reformist Alexander Dubcek was elected First Secretary of the Communist Party, and attempted to usher in economic decentralization, democratization and basic human rights. On August 21, 1968, the Soviet Union sent half a million troops with tanks in the invasion of Czechoslovakia, to quash attempts at reforms.



August 20, 2018

AUGUST 20 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 20

1794

Greater Poland Uprising began:  (Powstanie Wielkopolskie) It was a military insurrection by Polish troops against the Kingdom of Prussia, which had seized the territory of Greater Poland after the 1793 Second Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Kościuszko Uprising in central Poland broke out in March 1794 and provided the catalyst for the formation of Polish military units. Initially Tadeusz Kościuszko hoped to avoid a two front war, as he had already initiated the fight against Russians in central Poland. But in June 1794, the situation changed when the Prussians (originally allied with Poland) switched alliances to support Tsarist Russia in suppressing Kosciuszko. The Supreme National Council issued a proclamation to the Citizens of Greater Poland calling them to arms. (Note:  The Supreme National Council was the central civil government of Poland loyal to the Kościuszko Insurrection.)


1939

In Katowice, funeral of Wojciech Korfanty took place.  Korfanty was a Polish activist, journalist and politician, who served as a member of the German parliaments, the Reichstag and the Prussian Landtag. But later, he became a member in the Polish Sejm.  He organized the Polish Silesian Uprisings, and hoped to join Silesia to Poland after Poland regained its independence.  He fought to protect Poles from discrimination and from the policies of Germanisation in Upper Silesia before the war. (during the interbellum period).  In 1930 he was arrested and imprisoned for his opposition to the May Coup of Jozef Pilsudski, and in 1935 forced to leave Poland.  While in Czechoslovakia, he joined Ignacy Paderewski and Wladylsaw Sikorski in forming the center-right movement of Morges Front.  He returned to Poland in April 1939 and was arrested upon arrival and imprisoned.  He died in prison on August 17, 1939, though the circumstances of his death could not be determined. Rumours of conspiracy allude to the possibility that he was poisoned by arsenic vapors soaked in the walls of his cell. Wojciech Korfanty was a member of the Polish Senate (1930-35), Member of the Sejm (1922-1930), and Deputy Prime Minister from October 1923 to December 1923).


1940

"The Few":  Winston Churchill spoke in the House of Common in which he praised the pilots of the RAF, of which Polish pilots were an integral part.  In his speech, Church included these words, "......Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. All hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day; but we must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month, our bomber squadrons travel far into Germany, find their targets in the darkness by the highest navigational skill, aim their attacks, often under the heaviest fire, often with serious loss, with deliberate careful discrimination, and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the technical and war-making structure of the Nazi power. On no part of the Royal Air Force does the weight of the war fall more heavily than on the daylight bombers, who will play an invaluable part in the case of invasion and whose unflinching zeal it has been necessary in the meanwhile on numerous occasions to restrain......"


1943

Operation Belt was a large-scale anti-Nazi operation conducted by the Polish Underground to attack German border guarding stations between the General Gouvernment and territories annexed by the Third Reich. In two nights the Polish underground destroyed 7 of these stations.  Though the Polish side had few losses, they lost a beloved member of their unit, Tadeusz Zawadzki, who was killed during the Operation. Zawadzki was second lieutenant of the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa, or AK), and a scouting resistance fighter. He was only 22.  Soon after his death,  the Home Army created a battalion in his memory, after his code-name, Battalion Zoska.


1944

Polish fighters captured 115 German prisoners:  Polish troops under the command of Cavalry Captain Henryk Roycewicz "Leliwa" launched an attack on Warsaw's tallest structure, a nine-story building of the Polish Telephone Company, named PAST (Polska Akcyuna Spolka Telefoniczna) located at 37-39 Zielna Street. Among the troops of Captain "Leliwa" were a shock platoon of "Koszta" Company, two engineer patrols, a women's sapper patrol, two flamethrower patrols, and a special fire brigade. Previous attempts to take the PAST building had failed resulting in very heavy losses to Polish troops. Despite the superior firepower of the Germans and their fortified positions, the Polish insurgents fought on for over 12 hours. The Poles succeeded in capturing the PAST building killing 38 enemy soldiers and taking over 115 German prisoners. The Poles also succeeded in capturing a considerable cache of weapons and ammunition.


URGENT AND MOST SECRET MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT AND Mr CHURCHILL TO MARSHAL STALIN  (no.322)  "We are thinking of world opinion if anti-Nazis in Warsaw are in effect abandoned. We believe that all three of us should do the utmost to save as many of the patriots there as possible. We hope that you will drop immediate supplies and munitions to the patriot Poles of Warsaw, or will you agree to help our planes in doing it very quickly? We hope you will approve. The time element is of extreme importance."  ROOSEVELT    CHURCHILL   (August 20th, 1944 )



August 19, 2018

AUGUST 19 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 19

1587

Sigismund III was elected ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, backed by strong supporters, and with the blessings of the primate of Poland Stanisław Karnkowski.  His new official name and title became, " By the Grace of God, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, Ruthenia, Prussia, Masovia, Samogitia, Livonia and also Hereditary King of the Swedes, Goths and Wends"  The latter part was reference to the fact that he was Crown Prince of Sweden and would succeed to the Throne of Sweden upon the death of his father.


1920

Second Silesian Uprising began.  Pro-German activists organized a march to celebrate what they thought was the end of independent Poland. A German newspaper in Upper Silesia published a fake announcement that Warsaw was defeated in the Polish-Soviet war. When it became apparent that Warsaw had not fallen, the demonstration escalated into violence and looting of Polish stores. Consequently,  a Polish uprising took control of government offices in the districts of Kattowitz (Katowice), Pless (Pszczyna), Beuthen (Bytom). Between August 20 and 25, the rebellion spread to Königshütte (Chorzów), Tarnowitz (Tarnowskie Góry), Rybnik, Lublinitz (Lubliniec) and Gross Strehlitz (Strzelce Opolskie).


1934

Hitler received 88.1%  'Yes' vote in the referendum. The vast majority of Germans approved of his new powers, while 9.9% were against and 2.0% not valid or blank votes. Over 38 million Germans agreed to the merging of the titles "Fuhrer" and "Reichskanzler" (Chancellor) making Hitler the de facto dictator of the Third Reich. The referendum was fraught with voter tampering, intimidation, and electoral fraud. In many places, voting booths were removed entirely, and signs placed, "only traitors enter here" to discourage those who wanted secret ballot.  In many instances, the ballot was already marked "Yes", whereas  the"No" ballots, or spoiled ballots were counted as a "yes". Hitler had already assumed power, but used the referendum to legitimize his role in the eyes of the world.


1939

Stalin addressed the Politburo about upcoming war. He discussed Soviet policy and strategies that would empower the Soviet Union.  "….On the other hand if we accept Germany's proposal,  that you know and conclude a non-aggression pact with her, she will certainly invade Poland, and the intervention of France and England is then unavoidable. Western Europe would be subjected to serious upheavals and disorder. In this case we will have a great opportunity to stay out of the conflict, and we could plan the opportune time for us to enter the war....."


1941

Execution of French Resistance Fighter:   Samuel Tyszelman, a Polish-born Jewish Communist, was an active member of the French Resistance movement in Paris. On August 19, 1941, Tyszelman was among a crowd of  100 young men and women who emerged from the Strasbourg – Saint-Denis metro station waving the tri-color flag of France, singing La Marseillaise and shouting "Down with Hitler! Vive La France!" French and German police intervened.   Germans soldiers opened fire and Tyzelman was hit in the leg.  Henri Gautherot fled but a German civilian pursued him and caught him in a porter's lodge at 37 Boulevard Saint-Martin. Tyszelman took refuge in the cellar of 29 Boulevard Magenta (19th arrondissement), but German soldiers arrested him with the assistance of the Emergency Police. Following a German military tribunal, Syszelman and Gautherot were sentenced to death by firing squad at the Vallée-aux-Loups in Châtenay-Malabry, Hauts-de-Seine.  On the same day the Germans posted notices in black lettering on red paper, announcing the sentence and execution. He was 20 years old.


1942

The Battle of Dieppe (or Dieppe Raid), on August 19, 1942, was an Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe.  The raid took place on the northern coast of France at 5:00 am and  involved 5,000 Canadian troops, 1,000 British troops and 50 United States Army Rangers. By 10:50 a.m.  Allied commanders were forced to call a retreat.  They failed in all their objectives, and worse still was being trapped on the beach between obstacles and heavy German fire power. Less than ten hours since the beginning of the raid, the last Allied troops had all been either killed, evacuated, or left behind to be captured by the Germans.  Captain Romuald Nalecz-Tyminski of the Polish Destroyer,  ORP Slazak was honored for saving the lives of 85 Canadians during the Dieppe Raid. "With guns blazing he led the rescue..." He was hailed as a hero in both Canada and Poland.


1944

Soviets Massacred Polish Soldiers. On August 19, 1944, in a report to the Polish Government-in-Exile, the Lublin District of the Home Army (AK) wrote: "Mass arrests of the AK soldiers are being carried out by the NKVD all over the region. These arrests are tolerated by the Polish Committee of National Liberation, and AK soldiers are incarcerated in the Majdanek Camp. Losses of our nation and the Home Army are equal to the losses which we suffered during the German occupation. We are paying with our blood."  (Editors note:  Stalin commissioned the NKVD to kill members of the Polish Home Army, because they were seen as threats to Soviet supremacy. The Soviet intention had always been to conquer and occupy Poland and destroy any opposition.  After the end of the war, many Polish soldiers who returned to Poland were arrested and murdered.)


August 18, 2018

AUGUST 18 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 18

1943

RAF attacked German V-2 Center:  RAF pilots launched Operation Hydra during the night on August 17-18, 1943 in a massive attack on Peenemunde Army Research Center, Germany's V-2 rocket manufacturing and test center. It was the first time a master bomber was used for the main force. Group Captain John Searby, CO of 83 Squadron, commanded the operation. 596 allied aircraft were deployed in the mission ( 324 Lancasters, 218 Halifaxes, 54 Stirlings) The air raid killed two V-2 rocket scientists and delayed V-2 rocket test launches for seven  weeks.  Allied casualties were 215 British aircrew members and 40 bombers lost, and hundreds of civilians were killed in a nearby concentration camp.


1944

American, Canadian and Polish Armed Divisions closed in on the German 7th Army trapping them in a 6 mile gap in the city of Chambois. The 1st Polish Armoured Division under the command of General Stanislaw Maczek fought  to the east of the Canadian 4th Armoured Division, and took Hill 262, (or the Mace) successfully defeating German counter attacks.  Having the Mace under their control, the Poles could overlook the Chambois-Vimoutiers road, which was the last route out of the pocket, and easily pick off Germans trying to flee.  And though the Germans repeatedly returned fire they could not dislodge the Poles from their position.  In the next couple of days the Germans faced a battle to the break of annihilation as the Allied troops closed in and forced them to surrender. The Germans were killed, wounded or captured by Allied forces. The Allied Victory closed the Falaise Pocket on August 21, 1944.


Churchill to Roosevelt (message no. 767)  "The refusal of the Soviet to allow the U.S. aircraft to bring succor to the heroic insurgents in Warsaw added to their own complete neglect to fly in supplies when only a few score of miles away constitutes an episode of profound and far reaching gravity. If, as is almost certain, the German triumph in Warsaw is followed by a wholesale massacre no measure can be put upon the full consequences that will arise. I am willing to send a personal message to Stalin, if you think this wise and if you will yourself send a separate similar message.   Better far than two separate messages would be a joint message signed by us both.  I have no doubt that we could agree on the wording.   The situation in Europe is being vastly changed  by the glorious and gigantic victories being achieved in France by the U.S.  and British forces and it may well be that our armies will gain a victory in Normandy which far exceeds in scale anything that the Russians have done on any particular occasion.  I am inclined to think therefore, that they will have some respect for what we say so long as it is plain and simple.  It is quite possible that Stalin would not resent it but even if he did  we are nations serving high causes and must give true counsels towards world peace."



August 17, 2018

AUGUST 17 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 17

1629

John III Sobieski (dob) was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1674 until his death in June 1696. He was one of the most notable monarchs of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Sobieski's military skill, demonstrated in wars against the Ottoman Empire, contributed to his prowess as King of Poland. Sobieski's 22-year reign marked a period of the Commonwealth's stabilization, much needed after the turmoil of the Deluge and the Khmelnytsky Uprising. Popular among his subjects, he was an able military commander, most famous for his victory over the Turks at the 1683 Battle of Vienna.  After his victories over them, the Ottomans called him the "Lion of Lechistan"; and the Pope hailed him as the savior of Christendom.


1938

Nazis passed anti-semetic law regarding names:  The Nazi Law on the Alteration of Family and Personal Names, made it obligatory on all German Jews that they adopt the name "Israel" for men, and "Sarah", for women if their birth names were not Jewish in nature. The Nazi regime established this law to facilitate the identification, and thus, separate the Jews from the rest of the population. All German Jews were required to carry identification cards at all times, which clearly specified their ethnic origin. Passports were stamped with a large "J". 


1980

21 Demands of the MKS:   A Mass was celebrated by a priest, Henryk Jankowski,  at which 21 demands of the MKS were read.  The Solidarity movement demanded new, independent trade unions be established, as well as the right to strike, freedom from censorship, rights for the Church,  freeing of political prisoners, and improvements in the national health service. The 21 demands were written on two wooden boards and hung on the gates of the shipyard, and led the way to the Gdansk Agreement by which the Solidarity movement was officially recognized. The complete demands are as follows:  1. Acceptance of free trade unions independent of the Communist Party and of enterprises, in accordance with convention No. 87 of the International Labor Organization concerning the right to form free trade unions.
2. A guarantee of the right to strike and of the security of strikers.
3. Compliance with the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech, the press and publication, including freedom for independent publishers, and the availability of the mass media to representatives of all faiths.
4. A return of former rights to: 1) People dismissed from work after the 1970 and 1976 strikes. 2) Students expelled because of their views. The release of all political prisoners, among them Edmund Zadrozynski, Jan Kozlowski, and Marek Kozlowski. A halt in repression of the individual because of personal conviction.
5. Availability to the mass media of information about the formation of the Inter-factory Strike Committee and publication of its demands.
6. Bringing the country out of its crisis situation by the following means: a) making public complete information about the social-economic situation. b) enabling all social classes to take part in discussion of the reform programme.
7. Compensation of all workers taking part in the strike for the period of the strike.
8. An increase in the pay of each worker by 2,000 złoty a month.
9. Guaranteed automatic increases in pay on the basis of increases in prices and the decline in real income.
10. A full supply of food products for the domestic market, with exports limited to surpluses.
11. The introduction of food coupons for meat and meat products (until the market stabilizes).
12. The abolition of commercial prices and sales for Western currencies in the so-called internal export companies.
13. Selection of management personnel on the basis of qualifications, not party membership, and elimination of privileges for the state police, security service, and party apparatus by equalization of family allowances and elimination of special sales, etc.
14. Reduction in the age for retirement for women to 50 and for men to 55, or (regardless of age) after working for 30 years (for women) or 35 years (for men).
15. Conformity of old-age pensions and annuities with what has actually been paid in.
16. Improvements in the working conditions of the health service.
17. Assurances of a reasonable number of places in day-care centers and kindergartens for the children of working mothers.
18. Paid maternity leave for three years.
19. A decrease in the waiting period for apartments.
20. An increase in the commuter’s allowance to 100 złoty.
21. A day of rest on Saturday. Workers in the brigade system or round-the-clock jobs are to be compensated for the loss of free Saturdays with increased leave or other paid time off.


August 16, 2018

AUGUST 16 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 16

1905

Marian Adam Rejewski (dob) was a Polish mathematician and cryptologist who reconstructed the Nazi German military Enigma cipher machine sight-unseen in 1932. The cryptologic achievements of Rejewski and colleagues Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski enabled the British to begin reading German Enigma-encrypted messages at the start of World War II, seven years after Rejewski's original reconstruction of the machine. The intelligence that was gained by the British from Enigma decrypts later formed part of what was code-named Ultra and contributed to the defeat of Germany. In 1929, while studying mathematics at Poznań University, Rejewski attended a secret cryptology course conducted by the Polish General Staff's Cipher Bureau (Biuro Szyfrów), which he joined in September 1932. The Bureau had had no success in reading Enigma-enciphered messages and set Rejewski to work on the problem in late 1932; he deduced the machine's secret internal wiring after only a few weeks. Rejewski and his two colleagues then developed successive techniques for the regular decryption of Enigma messages. His contributions included the cryptologic card catalog, derived using the cyclometer that he had invented, and the cryptologic bomb.  Five weeks before the German invasion of Poland in 1939, Rejewski and colleagues presented their achievements to French and British intelligence representatives summoned to Warsaw. Shortly after the outbreak of war, the Polish cryptologists were evacuated to France, where they continued breaking Enigma-enciphered messages. After the Fall of France, they and their support staff evacuated,  and they resumed work undercover a few months later in Vichy France. After the French "Free Zone" was occupied by Germany in November 1942, Rejewski and Zygalski fled via Spain, Portugal, and Gibraltar to Britain. There they enlisted in the Polish Armed Forces and were put to work solving German ciphers.


1920

Miracle at the Vistula: Red Army advanced towards Warsaw and nearby Modlin Fortress: It marked the beginning of the Battle of Warsaw.  Poland, on the verge of total defeat, repulsed and defeated the invading Red Army.  On August 16, Polish forces under the command of Józef Piłsudski counterattacked from the south, disrupting the enemy's offensive, and forced the Russian army into a disorganized withdrawal eastward and behind the Neman River.  On August 25, the Battle ended with a decisive Polish victory.  Russian casualties were 10,000 killed, 500 missing, 30,000 wounded, and 66,000 taken prisoner, while Polish losses were 4,500 killed, 10,000 missing, and 22,000 wounded.  Vladimir Lenin, the Bolshevik leader, referred to the Battle as "an enormous defeat" . In the following months, several more Polish follow-up victories saved Poland's independence and led to a peace treaty with Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine later that year, securing the Polish state's eastern frontiers until 1939.


1943

Bialystock Ghetto liquidated:  As part of Aktion Reinhard, the ghetto was raided by regiments of the German SS with Ukrainian, Estonian, Latvian and Belorussian auxiliaries (Hiwis), known as Trawniki-men, aiming at the ghetto's final destruction. Faced with the final deportations, when all hope for survival was abandoned, the ghetto underground staged an uprising against the Nazis. On the night of August 16, 1943, several hundred Polish Jews began an armed insurrection against the troops who were carrying out the liquidation of the Ghetto. The resistance fighters attacked first. It was 10 o'clock in the morning. A fleet of German planes appeared in the sky and flew at a low altitude over the heads of the fighters, and shot at them from above. The courageous fighters split into several units and continued shooting at the Germans. The war was not balanced. About 300 poorly armed Jews, fought against more than 3,000 SS soldiers, armed with mechanized firearms of all types. Helping the Germans were also Ukrainian and Byelorussian criminals. Some of the Jewish resistance escaped into the forest, many others died.  The deportations resumed with the remainder of the Jews sent to death camps in Treblinka, Majdanek, and Auschwitz.


1944

SECRET AND PERSONAL FROM PREMIER J. V. STALIN TO THE PRIME MINISTER, Mr W. CHURCHILL (no.321)  "After a talk with Mr Mikolajczyk I instructed the Red Army Command to drop munitions intensively into the Warsaw area.  A liaison officer was parachuted, but headquarters report that he did not reach his objective, being killed by the Germans. Now, after probing more deeply into the Warsaw affair, I have come to the conclusion that the Warsaw action is a reckless and fearful gamble, taking a heavy toll of the population.  This would not have been the case had Soviet headquarters been informed beforehand about the Warsaw action and had the Poles maintained contact with them.  Things being what they are, Soviet headquarters have decided that they must dissociate themselves from the Warsaw adventure since they cannot assume either direct or indirect responsibility for it....."   (August 16, 1944)



Soviet Tanks Stop at the Vistula:  The Red Army reached the outskirts of Warsaw in the last days of July 1944 (the 1st Belorussian Front had virtually decimated the Germany army during the Lublin-Brest Operation, and Operation Bagration. The Soviets had overwhelming superiority over German sectors), but the Soviets stopped at the Vistula, merely 10 km away from the center of Warsaw, and remained in their fixed positions for the next 45 days.  The Polish fighters had expected that with the Soviet forces to help them , they could recapture control of Praga in a matter of days, which would then free the way to cross to the left bank and engage in the main battle of the Uprising.  As a matter of fact the Soviets had urged the Polish fighters to launch the Warsaw Uprising. (see July 29, 1944)  The inaction of the Red Army virtually guaranteed the destruction of the Polish fighters, and civilians at the hands of the Germans. The sudden halt of the Red Army elicited amazement from the German 9th Army. Their journal entry on August 16, 1944 read as follows: "....Contrary to our expectations, the enemy has halted all of their offensive actions alongside the entire front of the 9th Army...."


1945

Soviet-Polish border agreement:  The Border Agreement was signed in Moscow between the Soviet Union and the communist Polish Provisional Government of National Unity, officially establishing the borders of Poland, and ceding the pre-war eastern territory to Russia, according to the Yalta agreement of February 1945. Poland's eastern border was roughly based along the Curzon Line, an argument which Stalin used to justify his claims to seize eastern Poland.  The treaty also recognised the division of the former German East Prussia and ultimately approved the finalised delimitation line between the Soviet Union and Poland: from the Baltic sea, to the border tripoint with Czechoslovakia in the Carpathians.


2002

Pope John Paul II's ninth visit to Poland. It was a three day pilgrimage to Poland with the high point of the consecration of the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow, and beatification and 400th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska.   In 1600, Mikolaj Zebrzydowski, the Voivode of Krakow, commissioned the construction of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska ,  the first Calvary in Poland ( Way of the Cross) which was based on the topography of Old Jerusalem. The holiest icon in the shrine is the painting of Holy Mother of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska .  On May 3,1641 the image was seen to have tears of blood streaming down her face,  and has since been attributed with many miracles.  The town was erected in 1617 to accommodate the throngs of faithful pilgrims who flocked to the shrine every year .  As a child, Karol Wojtyla often went to the shrine with his father to pray before the image of the Holy Mother.  When he became a seminarian, his devotion to the Blessed Madonna was magnified, entrusting his life to her.



August 15, 2018

AUGUST 15 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 15

1919

First Silesian Uprising began on August 15, 1919: German border guards (Grenzschutz) massacred ten Silesian civilians in a labour dispute at the Mysłowice mine (Myslowitzer Grube). The massacre sparked protests from the Silesian Polish miners, including a general strike of about 140,000 workers, and caused the First Silesian Uprising against German control of Upper Silesia. The miners demanded the local government and police become ethnically mixed to include both Germans and Poles. The Silesian Uprisings were a series of three armed uprisings of the Poles and Polish Silesians of Upper Silesia, from 1919 to 1921, against German rule; the resistance hoped to break away from Germany in order to join the Second Polish Republic, which had been established after the end  of World War I. In the latter-day history of Poland after World War II, the insurrections were celebrated as centrepieces of national pride.


1940

The Polish 302nd City of Poznan Squadron, part of 12 Group, began operations in England with the British RAF.  Their mission was to relieve squadrons of 11 Group when necessary.  The 302 Squadron intercepted its first enemy aircraft on August 20th, 1940. A Junkers Ju 88 bomber was shot down by Squadron Leader William Satchell. Other pilots in the squadron served with distinction, particularly in the Battle on September 18th defending the city of  London. Their overall score was 18 enemy planes destroyed, 12 probables and one damaged.


1991

Pope John Paul II celebrated the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa.  The Assumption of Mary, or the Day of Assumption, is an annual public holiday in Poland but it is also Polish Army Day as it is connected with the anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw, which was fought between the Poles and the Bolsheviks from August 12 to 25, 1920.  In Poland people attend Mass on the Day of Assumption and many churches have services to remember Polish soldiers who died fighting for Poland. Gatherings take place at some cemeteries where readings are made in honor of dead soldiers. There is also the Change of Guards near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw. The destination for worshipers is the Sanctuary of Jasna Góra in Czestochowa.  between the Poles and the Bolsheviks. The Battle of Warsaw was considered a breakthrough because it assured Poland’s independence but also blocked the spread of communism and Soviet totalitarianism in Europe during the 1920s. August 15 is a HolyFeast day in the Catholic faith, as the day that God assumed the Virgin Mary into Heaven following her death.



August 14, 2018

AUGUST 14 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 14

1941

Maximilian Kolbe volunteered to die in place of another prisoner in Auschwitz:  Kolbe and several other priests of the monastery organized a temporary hospital, where they provided shelter and assistance to Jews fleeing from Nazi persecution. He hid 2,000 in their friary in Niepokalanów.  The Nazis permitted him to continue publishing religious material, but he secretly issued a number of anti-Nazi German publications. On February 17, 1941, the Nazis shut down the monastery and arrested Kolbe and four others, sending them to Pawiak prison. On May 28, Kolbe was transferred to Auschwitz as prisoner #16670.  When a prisoner escaped from the camp, the Nazis selected ten others to be killed in reprisal. One of them was Franciszek Gajowniczek, who broke down in despair and weeping, " My wife! My children! I will never see them again!" Maximilian Kolbe stepped forward and asked to die in his place. His request was granted ... (PS: After the Germans invaded Poland, Kolbe was arrested and briefly detained by the Gestapo. Kolbe refused to sign the Deutsche Volksliste, which would have given him rights similar to those of German citizens in exchange for recognizing his German ancestry. His father was an ethnic German.)


1944

Operation Tractable, the final phase of the Allied offensive began on August 14, 1944. It was conducted by the 1st Canadian Army and the 1st Armored Polish Division against Army Group B of the Wehrmacht. Their objective was to capture the strategically important French towns of Falaise, and smaller towns of Trun and Chambois  The Polish Division, under the command of General Brygady Stanislaw Maczek in their drive for Chambois, enabled the Falaise Gap to be partially closed by Aug 19, 1944 thus trapping about 150,000 German soldiers in the Falaise Pocket.  Attacks and counter-attacks continued on Hill 262 between the 1st Polish Armoured Division and the II SS Panzer Corp.  Despite the fact that the Gap was narrowed to a distance of only several hundred yards, thousands of German troops were able to escape. For two days of nearly continuous fighting, Polish forces using artillery barrages and close-quarter fighting, managed to hold off seven German divisions. On August 21, elements of the First Canadian Army relieved the Polish survivors and sealed the Falaise Pocket by linking up with the Third US Army. This led to the surrender and capture of the remaining units of the German 7th Army in the pocket.


President Roosevelt sent Stalin a request for US landing facilities in Russia in order to transport supplies to the Poles during the Warsaw Uprising.  The Soviets bluntly replied that they did not object to the British and American supply mission, however they would be refused landing facilities once they had completed the mission over Warsaw.  In the following three weeks both Churchill and Roosevelt engaged in negotiations with Stalin, and finally on September 9, 1944 Stalin sent a message to the British Ambassador in Moscow, stating that the Soviet Union would not take responsibility for what was happening in Warsaw, but that they would begin their own air supply missions, and give American and British planes landing rights according to pre-determined arrangements.


1980

The Rise of Solidarity:  16, 000 workers went on strike at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, marking the beginning of the Solidarity movement (Note: The strike was organized by the Free Trade Unions of the Coast, led by electrician Lech Wałęsa. He was a former shipyard worker who had been dismissed in 1976. The strike committee demanded the rehiring of Walentynowicz and Wałęsa, as well as respect for workers' rights among other issues. Moreover, they demanded that a monument be raised in memory of the shipyard workers who were killed in 1970, and for the legalization of independent trade unions. The Polish government tried to impose censorship by blocking all phone connections between the coast and inland regions. The communist media barely mentioned the strike except to indicate some "sporadic labor disturbances in Gdańsk".  Regardless, the democratic ideals of the emerging Solidarity movement spread rapidly through Radio Free Europe broadcasts, mass circulation of a series of samizdats, including Robotnik (The Worker), and spreading the word through the grapevine.


August 13, 2018

AUGUST 13 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 13

1940

The Battle of Britain:   Hermann Göring launched the Luftwaffe's all-out air assault on Britain on August 13, 1940. Code-named Adlertag ('Eagle Day'), its objective was to destroy the British RAF in order to achieve air superiority over England. This was to be followed by Operation Sea Lion, a massive invasion of England, according to Hitler's Directive No. 16.  Though the German attacks on August 13 inflicted significant damage and casualties on the ground, they ultimatley failed to achieve their primary goals. Hence, Operation Sea Lion was shelved definitely.  Regardless, the Luftwaffe continued in its campaign against the RAF well into September of 1940.  The Luftwaffe, unable to destroy the RAF, adopted a different strategy - strategic bombing of British coastal towns and cities, and then London itself.  It was called the Blitz.


1948

Black Friday in Berlin:  After the end of WW2,  Germany and Berlin were divided into allied occupation zones, but by 1948, the rising Cold War rhetoric became extremely hostile. The Soviets interfered with road and rail traffic in an attempt to dislodge the British and Americans from their zones of occupation in Western Berlin, and halted ground and water travel to western part of Berlin. US and UK responded by conducting continuous and massive air lifts to Berlin, which on August 13, 1948  turned into a deadly mission. On August 13, 1948,  thick cloud cover and heavy rain over Berlin caused very poor visibility. A  C-54 crashed and burned at the end of the runway, and a second one landing behind it burst its tires while trying to avoid it. A third transport ground looped after mistakenly landing on a runway under construction.  According to the standard of procedure at the time, all incoming flights (approaching every three minutes) were stacked above Berlin from 3,000 feet (910 m) to 12,000 feet (3,700 m). During severe weather, it greatly increased the chances of a mid-air collision. To make matters worse, planes on the tarmac which had just been unloaded were denied permission to take off, which created a backup on the ground.  There was no loss of life, but the complete lack of control and coordination, compounded by the ill-fated weather was cause for embarrassment for traffic control personnel.


1961

Berlin Divided:  Just past midnight on August 13, 1961, East German soldiers began laying down a barrier of barbed wire and bricks between Soviet-controlled East Berlin and the western Berlin. Walter Ulbricht, the Communist leader of East Germany,  received approval from Khrushchev to begin blocking all access between East and West Berlin.  From August 12 to 13,  soldiers had laid more than 100 miles of barbed wire just inside the border of East Berlin. Soon afterwards, the barbed wire was replaced by a six-foot-high wall made of concrete blocks which covered a distance of 96 miles.  The construction was completed with guard towers, machine gun posts and search lights, and were patrolled by East German officers night and day.


1991

Pope John Paul II's fifth visit to Poland:  The Pope celebrated World Youth Day in Jasna Gora, Częstochowa. It was the first time that World Youth Day was held in Eastern Europe, and the first time that the youth from eastern countries went to Poland to celebrate. There was a powerful spiritual connection between the Pope and the youth of the world that was very special. Over 1.6 million attended for the final Mass. An anthem was composed by Jan Góra and Jacek Sykulski, entitled, "Abba, Ojcze". In his homily, the Pope stated, "......As theme of the Sixth World Youth Day, I have chosen the words of St Paul: "You have received a spirit of sonship" (Rom 8:15). These words lead us into the deepest mystery of the Christian vocation: in the divine plan, we are indeed called to become sons and daughters of God in Christ, through the Holy Spirit.....To all of you young people, on the occasion of this World Youth Day, I say: Receive the Holy Spirit and be strong in faith! "God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and selfcontrol" (2 Tim 1:7)......"     The Pope also visited Krakow.



August 12, 2018

AUGUST 12 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 12

1941

Stalin granted a temporary one-time amnesty for all Polish citizens imprisoned in the Soviet Union.  (Polish Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Jews were excluded because they were considered Soviets).  The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet signed the document on August 12, 1941 which temporarily halted persecutions against Polish civilians under Soviet occupation.  (About two million Polish men, women and children had been deported to Russian camps after the Soviet Union invaded Poland on September 17, 1939) With the outbreak of war with Germany in 1941, Russia was seeking help from other  countries.   On July 5, 1941, Sikorski initiated negotiations with Russia to re-establish diplomatic relations and it culminated in the Sikorski-Maysky Treaty, signed on July 30, 1941, which forged  a military alliance.  At the same time, the previous German-Russian pact (the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact) of August 1939 was nullified, and an agreement was made for the release of some Polish prisoners - but only about 100,000 Polish men, women and children were permitted to leave.   General Wladyslaw Anders ordered an evacuation, the first phase which took place between  March 24 and April 4, 1942 where 33,069 soldiers, 10,789 civilians, and 3,100 children left the Soviet Union for Iran.  (at this point  Polish - Soviet relations deteriorated and the NKVD began arresting Polish officials. ) The second evacuation took place from August 9 to September 1, 1942 consisting of over 43,000 soldiers and about 25,000 civilians. Thousands died along the way.  Only 40,000 Polish men were recruited to a new Polish Army, which became the 2nd Polish Corps, commanded by General  Anders.  The Polish army earned a reputation for being skilled, fierce soldiers in the battlefield.


1944

The Battle of the Falaise (or Falaise Pocket) (Aug 12-21,1944) was the decisive engagement of the Battle of Normandy.  The Western Allies formed a pocket around Falaise, Calvados in which the German Army Group B,  and the 7th Army and the Fifth Panzer Army were encircled.  In the ensuing battle, most of the Army Group B west of the Seine were decimated, thus opening the way to Paris and the Franco-German border for the Allied forces on the Western Front.  The Germans began to withdraw on August 17,  and on August 19 the Allies linked up in Chambois. Gaps were forced in the Allied lines by German counter-attacks, the biggest being a corridor forced past the 1st Polish Armoured Division on Hill 262, a commanding position at the mouth of the pocket. By the evening of August 21, the pocket had been sealed, with approximately 50,000 Germans trapped inside. Though it was a decisive allied victory. Allied troops suffered 5,150 casualties of which 2,300 were the soldiers of the Polish 1st Armoued Division.  Canadian troops suffered 5,679 casualties. German casualties were 60,000 ( 10,000 killed, 50,000 captured)


PERSONAL AND MOST SECRET MESSAGE FROM Mr CHURCHILL TO MARSHAL STALIN (no.317)   "I have seen a distressing message from the Poles in Warsaw, who after ten days are still fighting against considerable German forces which have cut the city into three. They implore machine-guns and ammunition. Can you not give them some further help, as the distance from Italy is so very great?" (August 12th, 1944 )


1945

The Potsdam Agreement was signed on this day in 1945. In connection with this, the Allied leaders planned the new postwar German government, resettled war territory boundaries, de facto annexed a quarter of pre-war Germany situated east of the Oder-Neisse line, and mandated and organized the expulsion of the millions of Germans who remained in the annexed territories and elsewhere in the east. They also ordered German demilitarization, denazification, industrial disarmament and settlements of war reparations.  The Agreement included a Protocol which included administrative and territorial terms for Poland, as follows:  "There should be a Provisional Government of National Unity recognized by all three powers, and that those Poles who were serving in British Army formations should be free to return to Poland. The provisional western border should be the Oder–Neisse line, with territories to the east of this excluded from the Soviet Occupation zone and placed under Polish and Soviet administration. Poland would receive former German territories in the north and west, but the final delimitation of the western frontier of Poland should await the peace settlement; which eventually took place as the Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany in 1990."

August 11, 2018

AUGUST 11 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 11

1892

Wladyslaw Anders (dob) was a General in the Polish Army, and later became a politician and prominent member of the Polish Government-in-Exile in London. When Poland was invaded by Germany on September 1, 1939,  Anders was called into action and commanded the Nowogródzka Cavalry Brigade in the Battle of Mlawa. With the collapse of the Polish Northern Front, the Brigade withdrew towards Warsaw, fighting several battles against the Germans. Following the Soviet attack on September 17, 1939 Anders retreated south in the direction of Lwów in the attempt to reach the Hungarian or Romanian border but was wounded twice and captured by the Red Army. The Soviets transferred Anders to the notorious Lubyanka prison were he was confined until February 29, 1940. During his imprisonment, he was interrogated and tortured by the NKVD who attempted to force him to join the Russian Army. He refused.  But after the Nazis launched Operation Barbarossa, and the signing of the Sikorski-Maisky Agreement, Anders was released, and given the command to form a Polish army which would join the Soviets in the battle against the Nazis. Ander's army, the 2nd Polish Corp were composed of Polish civilians who had been deported to the Russian gulag,  from Soviet-occupied Poland.  The Polish 2nd Corps became a vital tactical and operational unit of the Polish Armed Forces in the West. Anders commanded the Corps throughout the Italian Campaign, capturing Monte Cassino on May 18, 1944, later fighting on the Gothic Line and in the final spring offensive. After the end of World War Two, Anders was prominent in the Polish Government in Exile in London and became inspector-general of the Polish forces-in-exile, as well as working on behalf of various charities and welfare organization. He never returned to Poland.


1939

Ribbentrop met with Ciano, the Italian Ambassador to Germany, and Attolico:  During the meeting, both Ciano and Attolico were horrified to learn from Ribbentrop that Germany planned to attack Poland that summer, and that the Danzig issue was merely a pretext for aggression. When Ciano offered to broker a Polish-German settlement,  Ribbentrop admitted that "We want war!"  Despite Ciano's efforts, the Germans did not want a diplomatic solution, but rather they wanted war only to eradicate Poland from the map.  Ribbentrop was certain that neither Britain nor France would go to war for Poland, claiming that "France and England cannot intervene because they are insufficiently prepared militarily and because they have no means of injuring Germany."


1944

Ochota Massacre:  Germans recaptured the Ochota district of Warsaw from Polish insurgents. (The Polish Underground had launched the Warsaw Uprising on the first of August 1944) By August 11, the Nazis expelled more Polish civilians from their homes and murdered them. Their bodies were placed in piles in the neighboring Hugo Kollajaj Secondary School, doused with alcohol and set on fire. On August 12 a German officer captured three boy scouts of the Gustaw Battalion of the Home Army, and shot them in the backs of their heads as they lowered corpses into an excavated pit.  On August 13, the final evacuation of civilians to the Pruszków transit camp began. This was the Ochota Massacre,  a German orchestrated mass murder of civilians, involving looting, arson, torture and rape. These atrocities continued unabated from August 4 to August 25, 1944 and were carried out by the notorious RONA brigade, commanded by Bronislav Kaminski, of the so-called Russian National "Liberation" Army.   The RONA units withdrew from Ochota in the last week of August 1944, but looting of property continued until the beginning of October. The Nazi Germans organized this campaign of pillaging, and loaded the stolen property on trains and truck convoys headed for Germany. Lastly, units of the Vernichtungskommando were brought into the district where they systematically set street after street on fire, resulting in the total destruction of the Ochota district. More than 40,000 Polish civilians were murdered.


1945

Violent eruption of Krakow Pogrom:  On August 11, 1945, in the Soviet-occupied city of Kraków, Poland,  the pogrom resulted in the shooting death of one person, Róża Berger while she was standing behind closed doors. Five others were wounded.  The prelude to the pogrom occurred on June 27, 1945, when a local Jewish woman, Milicja Obywatelska, was arrested by the police for the alleged abduction of a child. In reality, the mother placed the child in her care. But rumours started to spread like wild fire that the Jewish woman had tried to kill the child and a hysterical mob gathered outside. The militia was brought in to restore peace but the rumours of blood libel continued to spread. By August 11, 1945, the rumours claimed that the number of "victims" had increased to 80. Groups of young hooligans converged at Kleparski Square every week to throw stones at the Kupa Synagogue. On August 11, an attempt was made (by whom?) to seize a thirteen-year-old boy who was vandalizing the synagogue, but the youth managed to escape and ran to the nearby marketplace screaming "Help me, the Jews have tried to kill me!" That's when all hell broke loose. Crowds broke into the syngagogue during Saturday Sabbath service, beating the Jews, and burning the Torah scrolls. Jewish men, women and children were attacked and beaten on the streets, their homes broken into and robbed. Jews wounded during the pogrom were attacked in hospital.  The notorious Soviet NKVD prepared a report for Joseph Stalin, in which they claimed that it was Polish militiamen who sanctioned the violence. (Editors note: In both the Krakow Pogrom and the Kielce Pogrom (July 4 1946) the violence was ignited in the same manner - that of accusations of the abduction of children and blood libel.  Regardless of whether the Polish miltiamen sanctioned the violence,  it can be surmised that the Soviet NKVD were the instigators of the pogrom, and bears their MO.  The NKVD issued a report to Stalin about the event, so their presence at the scene should have raised suspicions.)


1957

Rudolf Stefan Weigl was a Polish biologist and inventor of the first effective vaccine against epidemic typhus. During the Nazi occupation of Poland, Weigl harbored Jews, thereby risking execution by the Germans. His vaccines were also smuggled into the Lwów Ghetto and the Warsaw Ghetto, saving countless additional Jewish lives. Weigl employed and protected Polish intellectuals, Jews and members of the Polish underground. In 1945 Weigl moved to Kraków, Poland. He was appointed Chair of the General Microbiology Institute of Jagiellonian University, and later Chair of Biology of the Poznań Medical Faculty. He died on August 11, 1957 in the Polish mountain resort of Zakopane. In 2003,  Rudolf Weigl was recognized as Righteous Among Nations of the World.



August 10, 2018

AUGUST 10 - DAY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 10

1938

Destruction of Synagogue in Nuremberg: On the orders of Nazi Streicher, the Great Synagogue and the adjacent Jewish community building were torn down, under the pretext “that they were spoiling the look of the city.” The synagogue’s Jewish Stone, a remnant of a medieval synagogue that served as the base for the Holy Ark, was saved by a non-Jewish architect.  Jews had lived in Nuremberg from the 12th century, and through their trades and professions brought a period of prosperity and growth to the city. Unfortunately there were also episodes of riots, expulsions,and pogroms. The Jews were the second largest community of Nuremberg but in 1923, their plight took a turn for the worst when Julius Streicher founded the newspaper Der Sturmer, a periodical notorious for its hatred towards the Jews. (Moreover, it is important to note that the city of Nuremberg was highly regarded by the Nazi German regime as it equated the city with the glory of the Holy Roman Empire. For that reason, it became the site of massive Nazi Party rallies.)


1939

The Battle of Wizna (September 7 and September 10, 1939) was fought during the initial stages of the Invasion of Poland, as Polish forces battled against the German onslaught.  Between 350 and 720 Polish troops fiercely defended a fortified line for three days against 40,000 Germans. Though defeat was imminent the Polish defence was able to delay the encirclement of the Independent Operational Group Narew which was fighting nearby.  Eventually the German tanks broke through and eliminated the Polish bunkers. The last bunker surrendered on August 10, 1939.


1944

PERSONAL AND MOST SECRET MESSAGE FROM Mr CHURCHILL TO MARSHAL STALIN  (no.316)   "I am very much obliged to you for your telegram of August 8th about the Poles. I am very glad that you brought both sides together. Undoubtedly an advance has been made towards our common goal. I share your hope that the business will go better in future.  Another effort was made by Polish aviators last night to carry some more ammunition to Warsaw. It is claimed that this was delivered. I am so glad to learn that you are sending supplies yourself. Anything you feel able to do will be warmly appreciated by your British friends and Allies....."
(August 10, 1944)



August 9, 2018

AUGUST 9 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 9

1937

Top Secret Soviet NKVD Order No. 00485, called "On the liquidation of the Polish diversionist and espionage groups and POW units" (POW stood for Polish Military Organization). It was approved by Nikolai Yezhov, the Party's Central Committee Politburo and distributed to the local subdivisions of the NKVD with Yezhov's thirty-page secret letter entitled, " On Fascist-Resurrectionist, Spying, Diversional, Defeationist and Terrorist Activity of Polish Intelligence in the USSR".   The order targeted "absolutely all  Poles"  for arrest and immediate execution, to be carried out by the NKVD , in particular those Poles who were "....prisoners of war from the Polish army who after the 1920 war had remained in the Soviet Union, deserters and political émigrés from Poland [such as Polish communists admitted through prisoners' exchange], former members of the Polish Socialist Party and other anti-Soviet political parties; and the inhabitants of Polish districts in border regions....." and confirmed that "all Poles should be completely destroyed."  A secret letter from Ezhov was attached specifying various excuses to be used against the Poles, in other words, accusations were fabricated.  According to Soviet archived documents, the anti-Polish operation targeted  139,815 people, 111,071 of whom were condemned to death without trial and executed immediately afterwards.


1942

200 Jews escaped Mir Ghetto:  Mir Ghetto was located in what is now Belarus. During the first half of 1942, the younger Jews formed an underground resistance, but faced difficulty obtaining weapons. Eventually they broke out and made their way through a cornfield into the nearest woods.  Of the 200 that escaped, many had been killed by the Nazis, while others had joined the partisans to fight against German-occupation.


1944

Warsaw Radio Blyskawica:   The Polish Home Army assembled the Blyskawica long range radio transmitter on August 7, 1944 in the city centre of Warsaw. It was operational on August 9, 1944 and began making three to four daily broadcast transmissions, reporting news programmes, government reports, patriotic poems, music, and frequent appeals "to all countries in the free world" for urgent assistance (broadcast in Polish, English, German and French)  It was the only underground radio station operating regularly in German-occupied Europe. The radio program included speakers such as Jan Nowak-Jeziorański,  Zbigniew Świętochowski, Stefan Sojecki, Jeremi Przybora, and John Ward.  Ward was a British officer and war correspondent for The Times of London. He remained in Warsaw throughout the Uprising, and made daily broadcast reports (in English) of all events on the front lines.  (Editors Note:  I have posted the text of each of Wards broadcasts, in my special series "Warsaw Uprising Day by Day". Please refer to the Complete Index of Blog Posts for this series.)   The first words of the broadcast were delivered by Zbigniew Świętochowski as follows:  "Hallo, here is Błyskawica speaking! A radio transmitter of the Home Army in Warsaw, on 32.8 and 52.1 meter bands.  The spirit of Warsaw is wonderful. The women of Warsaw are wonderful.  They are everywhere, in the front line together with soldiers as nurses or liaison officers.  Even children are animated by a wonderful spirit of bravery. We greet all freedom-loving people of the world!  Polish soldiers who fight in Italy, Polish pilots and mariners."  (Radio Blyskawicz also broadcast a subversive program on a different frequency which they addressed the Wehrmacht. )


Liquidation of the Jews from Lodz Ghetto: From August 9 to 29, 1944,  about 67,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz to be exterminated.  The total number of Jews liquidated (January 1942 to August 1944) was 143,000 to 145,000.  Lodz Ghetto was the second-largest ghetto in all of German-occupied Europe after the Warsaw Ghetto.  The Nazis original plan for Ghetto was to be used as a preliminary step in a more elaborate plan to liquidate all the Jews from the province of Warthegau. But the Ghetto was transformed into a massive industrial complex, utilizing forced labor to produce war materiel for the Wehrmacht.  The Lodz Ghetto managed to survive until August 1944 because of its productivity. Within the first two years, the Ghetto incorporated another 20,000 Jews from nearby liquidated ghettos, in addition to 20,000 from the rest of German-occupied Europe.  The remaining population of the Lodz Ghetto was transported to Auschwitz and Chelmno extermination camps. It was the last ghetto to be liquidated in German-occupied Poland.


The Battle of Studzianki began in Poland. It was a tactical engagement between troops of the Soviet Red Army's 2nd Guards Tank Army employed as a cavalry mechanized group of the 1st Belorussian Front, and elements of the German 9th Army of the Army Group North Ukraine defending the area south of Warsaw. The battle was part of the Soviet Lublin–Brest Offensive and was supported by the First Polish Army, including its 1st Armoured Brigade. The Soviet and Polish forces successfully held the bridgehead the German forces suffered heavy casualties before withdrawing (at least 40 tanks, 26 guns and mortars, and 9 APCs.)


1945

U.S. atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki (the "Fat Man")  The USAAF dropped another atomic bomb, this time on Nagasaki, though the original target was the city of Kokura.  The original target had to be abandoned due to heavy cloud covering about 70% of the city.  After a delay of fifty minutes, the decision was made to drop the bomb on Nagasaki. It too was shielded by cloud cover but at the last minute there was a clearing in the clouds.  The bomb was dropped by the B-29 Superfortress named Bockscar (named after its pilot, Captain Frederick C. Bock),  who flew The Great Artiste with his crew on the mission. Bockscar was flown by Major Charles W. Sweeney and his crew, with Commander Frederick L. Ashworth from Project Alberta as the weaponeer in charge of the bomb. When the Fat Man was dropped,  following a 43-second free fall, it exploded at 11:02 local time, at an altitude of about 1,650 feet (500 m).  Casualties were approximately 35,000 to 40,000 people killed outright; many more died later from blast related and burn injuries.  A total of 60,000–80,000 deaths occurred over the long term due to the effects of radiation exposure.   At 12 noon on August 14, 1945,  Emperor Hirohito broadcast his message of surrender to the Allies.

August 8, 2018

AUGUST 8 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 8

1940

Romanian government passed legislation that Jews who converted to Christianity would be regarded as Jews for legal purposes, and barred from marriage with ethnic Christians; by defining Jews not based on religion this was "the first step, and a large one at that, to further racial legislation"


1944

Polish troops fought in Normandy in Operation Totalize:  It was an offensive launched by Allied troops of the First Canadian Army during the later stages of Operation Overlord, from August 8 to 9,  1944. The mission was to break through German front lines south of Caen on the eastern flank of the allied positions in Normandy and exploit success by driving south to capture the high ground north of the city of Falaise. The II Canadian Corps, consisted of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division, 51st (Highland) Infantry Division, 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division, 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade and the British 33rd Armoured Brigade as well as the 1st Polish Armoured Division.


SECRET AND PERSONAL FROM PREMIER J. V. STALIN TO THE PRIME MINISTER, Mr W. CHURCHILL (no, 315)  "I should like to inform you of my meeting with Mikolajczyk, Grabski and Romer. My talk with Mikolajczyk convinced me that he has inadequate information about the situation in Poland. At the same time I had the impression that Mikolajczyk is not against ways being found to unite the Poles.  As I do not think it proper to impose any decision on the Poles, I suggested to Mikolajczyk that he and his colleagues should meet and discuss their problems with representatives of the Polish Committee of National Liberation, first and foremost the matter of early unification of all democratic forces on liberated Polish soil. Meetings have already taken place. I have been informed of them by both parties. The National Committee delegation suggested the 1921 Constitution as a basis for the Polish Government and expressed readiness if the Mikolajczyk group acceded to the proposal, to give it four portfolios, including that of Prime Minister for Mikolajczyk. Mikolajczyk, however, could not see his way to accept. I regret to say the meetings have not yet yielded the desired results. Still, they were useful because they provided Mikolajczyk and Morawski, as well as Bierut who had just arrived from Warsaw, with the opportunity for an exchange of views and particularly for informing each other that both the Polish National Committee and Mikolajczyk are anxious to co-operate and to seek practical opportunities in that direction. That can be considered as the first stage in the relations between the Polish Committee and Mikolajczyk and his colleagues. Let us hope that things will improve."  (August 8, 1944)


1945

The Nuremberg Charter was issued, setting down the laws and procedures by which the Nuremberg Trials were to be conducted. The charter stipulated that crimes of the European Axis Powers could be tried. Three categories of crimes were defined: crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Article 8 of the charter also stated that holding an official position was not considered a defense to war crimes. Obedience to orders could only be considered in mitigation of punishment if the Tribunal determined that justice so required. The Charter was created by the European Advisory Commission under the authority of the Moscow Declaration: Statement on Atrocities, agreed upon at the Moscow Conference of 1943.  The charter was drafted by Robert H. Jackson, Robert Falco and Iona Nikitchenko of the European Advisory Commission and issued on August 8, 1945.



August 7, 2018

AUGUST 7 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 7

1942

Janusz Korczak was killed in Treblinka death camp. He was a Polish-Jewish educator,  and author of childrens books.  In 1914 Korczak became a military doctor with the rank of Lieutenant. He served again as a military doctor in the Polish Army with the rank of Major during the Polish-Soviet War. During the 1930s he had his own radio program which he used to promote the rights of children.  In 1933 he was awarded the Silver Cross of the Polonia Restituta. When World War II broke out, he volunteered to join Armia Krajowa, but they declined due to his age. During the Nazi occupation, Korczak was forced to move his orphanage. But on August 5 or 6 the Nazi soldiers deported the 192 to Treblinka extermination camp.  Zegota had offered Korczak sanctuary on the “Aryan side” but he refused, saying that he could not abandon his children. He stayed with the children all the way until the end.


1944

U.S. refuse aid to Warsaw: In a response to the Polish Ambassador's letter of August 6,  the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff replied that they "believed the Polish Ambassador should be informed that his appeal has been given most sympathetic consideration by the United States military authorities and that the matter has been referred to the Combined Chiefs of Staff for such action as is possible under the circumstances." In the annexes to the letter it stated that  in accordance with the agreed policy of the Combined Chiefs of Staff that supplies and equipment for the Polish Underground Forces was a British responsibility, and that the Polish request should be referred to the British Chiefs of Staff for such action as they may deem necessary and desirable.



August 6, 2018

AUGUST 6 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 6

1939

Nazi officers murdered 36 villagers in the town of Żywocice, in the  Zaolzie area of Czechoslovakia. In the early hours of August 6, 1939, the town was surrounded by the German Army and the Landwache. The townspeople were ordered to register as ethnic Germans and be documented on the "Volkslite".  Those who refused to comply were singled out and were hunted down by the Landwache and Gestapo. They were dragged out of their homes and executed with one gun shot in the nape of the neck. Some tried to flee but were shot on sight. The prelude to the massacre occurred two days earlier when members of a local Polish resistance unit (Armia Krajowa) under the command of J. Kamiński killed two officers of the Teschen command of the Gestapo and their driver.  The Gestapo retaliated against the village residents when a search for the Polish fighters turned up fruitless. The liquidation operation was under the command of Q. Magwitz,  head of the Teschen headquarters of Gestapo. He targeted innocent victims who had no involvement in the guerilla operation and whose only demand was the preservation of their Polish or Czech identity.


1942

Fifteen thousand Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto were deported to Treblinka in a single day as a result of the German food giveaway.  The Jews lined up for several days for the chance to get some bread. But they were deceived by the Nazis, as there was no bread, but only deportation to the death camp. By August 27, there were a total of 53,750 Jews deported. This was called the Gross-Aktion Warsaw, the secret Nazi plan of mass extermination of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. It began on July 22,  1942 during which the Nazis made daily patrols rounding up Jews, marched them through the streets of the Ghetto to Umschlagplatz station square, from where they were "resettled". Unbeknownst to the Jews, the trains were destined for Treblinka death camp.


1944

Polish Ambassador called on the Lt. General McNarney to present an urgent request from the President of Poland for supplies to be furnished to the Polish Underground Army fighting the Germans in Warsaw. The Polish requested that either General Eisenhower be authorized to send in supplies by air or that German munitions captured by Soviet forces be sent to Warsaw from the United States bases in the Soviet Union. The Ambassador's memorandum also stated that arms and ammunition which Churchill had promised to parachute to Warsaw had not been sent because of technical difficulties.


In response to the Warsaw Uprising that broke out on August 1st, the Nazi Germans attempted to prevent a similar uprising in Krakow, by rounding  up all young Polish men.  Karol Wojtyla (who later became Pope John Paul II) narrowly escaped capture. He and other seminarians took refuge in the Bishops Palace in Krakow at the invitation of Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha.  On August 1st, 1944, the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa, or AK) launched the Warsaw Uprising, Operation Ostra Brama, and Operation Tempest had previously been launched in July 1944 by the AK, as part of a Polish national uprising to take back control of Nazi-occupied cities and regions, ahead of the arrival of Soviet troops. The Lwow Uprising started on July 23, 1944 against the German occupation of the city of Lwow (now Lviv, in Ukraine). Although the Krakow Uprising was planned, it was never carried out. Archbishop Sapieha opposed the idea of an uprising and asked German General Harpe to proclaim Krakow an "open city", in the hopes that it would save the civilians and historic buildings.  The next day Harpe agreed to safeguard the city and the buildings, but warned that if there were an uprising, Krakow would then be destroyed.  The Nazis had chosen Krakow as the capital of the General Gouvernment, where there were about 10,000 German troops stationed. Krakow dates back to the 7th century and has been the center of Polish academia, literature, culture, and artistic life. Jagiellonian University, situated in Krakow, is one of the oldest universities in the world and among the most distinguished institution of higher learning.


1945

U.S. atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima: At precisely 08:15 on August 6, 1945, the "Little Boy" atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.  It fell for 44.4 seconds, at which time the barometric triggers set off the firing mechanism.  The bomb detonated at an altitude of 1,968 ± 50 feet (600 ± 15 m) with an explosive energy of about 15 kilotons of TNT (63 TJ).  Civilian casualties were about 66,000 people killed and 69,000 injured in varying degrees.   The bomb was dropped by a Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay, piloted by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets Jr.  commander of the 509th Composite Group of the USAAF.  Sixteen hours later,  President Harry Truman warned Japan to "expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth" unless they submitted to an unconditional surrender. The Japanese remained defiant publicly, though secretly were making entreaties to the Soviet Union to mediate more favorable terms on behalf of Japan.


2015

Polish President Vetoed Constitution: Andrzej Duda became President of The Republic of Poland:  Duda is the sixth and current President of Poland, holding the office since August 6,  2015.  Before his tenure as President, Duda was a member of Polish Lower House (Sejm) from 2011 to 2014 and the European Parliament from 2014 to 2015. His presidency has not been without controversy: On November 16, 2015, based on Art. 139 of the Constitution of Poland, Duda pardoned former Central Anticorruption Bureau (CBA) head Mariusz Kamiński and three CBA officers convicted by a court of 1st instance in the so-called Land Affair, making this the first pardon granted by a president before reaching a final verdict.  According to some lawyers (including Professors Jan Zimmermann. Andrzej Duda's doctorate promoter, Leszek Kubicki, former Minister of Justice, and Andrzej Zoll,  former president of the Constitutional Tribunal) Duda has breached the Constitution of Poland. In other instances, President Duda has refused to swear in the five Constitutional Tribunal judge candidates selected by the Sejm of the VII cadence, and the three of those mentioned that were selected since November  7, 2015 whose election was declared constitutional.  In July 2017, about 50,000 people demonstrated in Warsaw against changes in the justice system. On July 24, Duda informed the public he had decided to veto two controversial judicial bills backed by the government and passed by both houses of the Polish parliament.
 

August 5, 2018

AUGUST 5 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 5

1944

Wola Massacre of Polish Citizens:  Through the initial phase of the Warsaw Uprising, between 40,000 and 50,000 Polish citizens, including members of the Polish resistance movement, Armia Krajowa (Home Army) were massacred by Nazi Germans and collaborators, in the Wola district of Warsaw.  Units of  Dirlewanger's Gang were joined by local police units in the mass shooting of Polish civilians. In a matter of two days, they rounded up and shot over 40,000 Polish people.  The Dirlewanger Gang burned three hospitals with patients still inside, while the nurses were "whipped, gang-raped and finally hanged naked, together with the doctors" to the accompaniment of the a popular German song "In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus". This was followed by a drunken melee as they raped and murdered their way through the Old Town of Warsaw, slaughtering citizens at random.  They murdered several thousand of the wounded in field hospitals, and set the buildings on fire with flamethrowers. According to reports, "the Dirlewanger brigade burned prisoners alive with gasoline, impaled babies on bayonets and stuck them out of windows and hanged women upside down from balconies." The Germans expected to quash the Uprising easily, but Polish resistance was unrelenting and fierce. The fighting in Wola  continued until August 5 to 12,  1944 after which the Germans regained control of the district.


Polish insurgents liberated Jews from a Nazi forced-labor camp:   During the first days of the Warsaw Uprising,  the "Zośka" scouting battalion of the Armia Krajowa's Radosław Group led by Ryszard Białous and Eugeniusz Stasiecki stormed into the Gęsiówka sub-camp in one of two German panther tanks where they captured and engaged the Germans in a fierce battle that ensued for about an hour and a half. The Poles succeeded in killing most of the SD guards, and captured others. Many of the Germans fled. The Polish insurgents set free 360 Jewish men and women, before they were forced to withdraw. Many of the freed Jews joined the ranks of the Polish resistance to fight against the Germans.  (Gęsiówka camp  was then used by the Soviet NKVD to imprison Polish resistance fighters, who subsisted in captivity under appalling living conditions.  Later the camp was taken over by the Polish communist secret police using the camp as a prison and labor camp, for criminal and political prisoners until 1956.)


Radium Institute:  Soon after the Warsaw Uprising began, the notorious SS RONA troops broke into the Radium Institute, a hospital and research centre, at 15 Wawelska Street, that was founded by Marie Curie.  After they looted the hospital, robbed the staff and patients, they set fire to the library, destroyed the food, pharmacy and much of the hospital equipment.  They were about to execute the staff and patients but decided to keep the patients and eight staff members, while the remainder were sent to Zieleniak camp. That evening, the nurses were gang-raped.  The next day the building was set on fire and some of the patients were burned alive. About  60 people escaped death by hiding in the building's cellar and chimneys.  By August 19, RONA troops captured the remaining survivors in the building, and murdered 50 critically-ill patients on the spot.  The remainder were sent to the Zieleniak camp, where they were, according to eye-witness reports,  executed by a shot to the back of the head. In total, about 170 people (patients and staff) were murdered


SECRET AND PERSONAL FROM PREMIER J. V. STALIN TO THE PRIME MINISTER, Mr W. CHURCHILL (no.313)  "I am in receipt of your message about Warsaw.  I think that the information given to you by the Poles is greatly exaggerated and unreliable. I am impelled to this conclusion by the mere fact that the Polish émigrés claim that they have all but captured Vilna with Home Army units, and have even announced this on the radio. But, of course, that has nothing at all to do with the facts. The Home Army consists of a few detachments misnamed divisions. They have neither guns, aircraft nor tanks. I cannot imagine detachments like those taking Warsaw, which the Germans are defending with four armoured divisions, including the Hermann Goering Division."  (August 5, 1944)


August 4, 2018

AUGUST 4 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 4

1944

Western Allies began airdrops of munitions and other supplies to support Polish fighters during the Warsaw Uprising. Initially the air raids were carried out mostly by 1586 Polish Flight of the PAF stationed in Bari and Brindisi in Italy flying Liberators, Halifaxes and Dakotas. Later on at the insistence of the Polish Government-in-Exile they were joined by the Liberators of 2 Wing - 31 and 34 Squadrons of the SAAF based at Foggia in Southern Italy, and Halifaxes, flown by 148 and 178 Squadrons of the RAF. The drops continued until September 21, delivering a total of 104 tons of supplies.


At approximately 10:00 am, units of the SS RONA (anti-partisan formation) under the command of Bronislav Kaminski entered Warsaw's Ochota district.  The soldiers began their rampage against the civilian population near Opaczewska Street. They stormed into people's homes, forcing them to leave their valuables. Those who resisted were shot on the spot.  The Germans created Zieleniak camp as a transitional camp to hold all the citizens who had been expelled. (They were later transported to a transit camp in in Pruszków.) After the SS had looted the properties, they set the buildings on fire. Residents of 104 Grójecka Street were killed with grenades while hiding in their cellars. RONA troops stormed into Radium Institute where they shot many of the patients. Many of the victims were gang raped before they were brutally murdered.  On August 25, the SS entered the Szpital Dzieciątka Jezus (Infant Jesus Hospital) on 4 Lindleya Street where they beat and murdered the patients. They also killed the wounded in the resistance field hospital at 11/13 Langiewicza Street with grenades. Kaminski was the commander of the S.S. Sturmbrigade R.O.N.A. (also known as Kaminski Brigade and earlier as the Russian National Liberation Army.) The Radium Institute, located at 15 Wawelska Street was founded by Marie Curie. After World War II, the Institute re-opened and changed its name to "Maria Skłodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology". Approximately 10,000 people were killed during the Ochota massacre, including 1,000 people who died in the Zieleniak camp.  Many areas of Ochota were used for mass executions, some of which are now marked with memorial plaques to commemorate the victims. Among those killed were the 82-year-old painter Wiktor Mazurowski and his wife, who were murdered at 83 Filtrowa Street, the well-known dramatic actor Mariusz Maszyński and his family, as well as the architect Stefan Tomorowicz and his wife, who were killed in Pole Mokotowskie.


Anne Frank and her family had been in hiding since July 6, 1942, in a secret annex above the Opekta offices on Prinsengracht in Amsterdam. On August 4, 1944, the Nazi police led by SS Karl Silberbauer stormed the hiding place and arrested Anne Frank, her family, as well as the Franks, van Pelses and Pfeffer, taking them to the Reich headquarters where they were detained overnight and interrogated. The next day they were transferred to a detention house and two days later to Westerbork transit camp where they were forced to do hard labour.  Anne and her sister Margot were later sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. They met briefly with two friends, Hanneli Goslar, and Nanette Blitz who survived the war. They described Anne as being bald, emaciated and shivering. Anne died of typhus, in February (or March) 1945. In her diary, Anne Frank documented her experiences and fears of living in hiding from the Nazis, and her thoughts and feelings about life in general.  She reached fame posthumously when her writing was published in "The Diary of Anne Frank".


Polish poet and Home army soldier killed in action:  Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński, 23, was a member of Scouting Assault Groups (Harcerskie Grupy Szturmowe), and took part in many sabotage actions against the German occupation.  Baczynski's poems expressed romantic traditions and catastrophism, depicting the brutality of war. Among many of the missions was the derailment of a German military train, which caused a 26-hour delay in their transport along the strategic connection  Warsaw-Białystok.  After the Warsaw Uprising broke out, he joined the "Parasol" battalion. He was killed in action by a German sniper at approximately 4 pm of August 4, 1944, in Blank Palace (Pałac Blanka) in the Warsaw Old Town area. He was 23.


URGENT, SECRET AND PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM Mr CHURCHILL TO MARSHAL STALIN (no.311)  "At the urgent request of the Polish underground army we are dropping subject to the weather about sixty tons of equipment and ammunition into the south-western quarter of Warsaw where it is said a Polish revolt against the Germans is in fierce struggle. They also say that they appeal for Russian aid which seems very near. They are being attacked by one and a half German divisions. This may be of help to your operations."  (August 4th, 1944 )


Mission 512;  3rd Bombing of Peenemunde:  221 B-17s against Peenemünde, 110 against Anklam Airfield, and 70 against Anklam aircraft factories; they claimed 1-0-0 Luftwaffe aircraft; three B-17s were lost, one was damaged beyond repair and 94 damaged; 2 airmen were KIA, 2 WIA and 40 MIA. Escort was provided by 223 P-51s; they claimed 4-0-4 Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground; 9 P-51s were lost and 1 was damaged beyond repair; 1 pilot was KIA. Ten Peenemünde people were killed, including anti-aircraft soldiers. The big hangar had been damaged, including the office and laboratory wings. Peenemunde was the location of the secret Nazi research and test center for the V- rocket.



August 3, 2018

AUGUST 3 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 3

1914

Jozef Pilsudski, Marshal of Poland, created the First Cadre Company in Cracow. It was the predecessor of the Polish Legions, and formed the core of the Polish Legions' First Brigade during World War I. On August 6, 1914, Austro-Hungary declared war on Tsarist Russia.  The First Cadre crossed into Russia and captured Kielce, then proceeded to break through Russian lines and advanced north. The Polish troops attempted to capture Warsaw so as to set off an uprising in Tsarist Poland against the Russian regime. However, on August 13,  the Russians checked the First Cadre just outside Kielce, forcing the Cadre's retreat from Kielce to Kraków.


1944

Polish Prime Minister Met with Stalin:  Polish Prime Minister Stanislaw Mikolajczyk met with Marshal Stalin in an effort to make arrangements for Mikolajczyk to travel to Warsaw and begin preparations for the establishment of a new Polish government there. Mikolajczyk added that he expected Warsaw to be free very soon to which Stalin replied, “Pray God!”   But Stalin refused his request on the grounds that the Soviet Union has broken off diplomatic relations with Poland and did not recognize the legitimacy of the Polish Government in Exile in London.


1948

Russian Spy in U.S. State Department:   Alger Hiss, an American government official,  was accused of being a Soviet spy in 1948 and convicted of perjury in connection with this charge.  On August 3, 1948, Whittaker Chambers, a former Communist Party member, appeared before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) to denounce Alger Hiss.  Chambers asserted that he had known Hiss as a member of "an underground organization of the United States Communist Party" in the 1930s, code named the "Ware Group" and that "the purpose of this group at that time was not primarily espionage. Its original purpose was the Communist infiltration of the American government. But espionage was certainly one of its eventual objectives."  Espionage was treason, traditionally punishable by death. The distinction was not lost on the cleverest member of HUAC, Congressman Richard Nixon. He had been studying the FBI's files for five months, courtesy of J. Edgar Hoover. Nixon launched his political career in hot pursuit of Hiss and the alleged secret Communists of the New Deal.

August 2, 2018

AUGUST 2 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 2

1934

German President Paul von Hindenburg died.  With the presidential office vacant, Hitler proclaimed himself head of state. (President von Hindenburg had signed the The Reichstag Fire Decree on February 28, 1933, on the advice of Hitler.  The decree nullified many civil liberties of German citizens. With Nazis holding powerful positions in the German government, the decree allowed them to legally imprison anyone considered to be opponents of the Nazi Party. A month after that, Hitler passed the Enabling Act, and proclaimed himself "fuhrer". (see March 24, 1933)


1943

Over three hundred Jews escaped from Treblinka:  On August 2, 1943, Jewish prisoners in Treblinka quietly seized weapons from the camp armory, but were discovered before they could take over the camp. Hundreds of prisoners stormed the main gate in an attempt to escape. Many were killed by machine-gun fire. More than 300 did escape -- though two thirds of those who escaped were eventually tracked down and killed by German SS and police as well as military units. Acting under orders from Lublin, German SS and police personnel supervised the surviving prisoners, who were forced to dismantle the camp. After completion of this job, the German SS and police authorities shot the surviving prisoners.


1944

Stefan Paweł Rowecki died on August 2 1944. He was a Polish general, and the leader of the Armia Krajowa.(Polish Home Army) He was executed by the Gestapo in prison, probably on the direct order of Heinrich Himmler. There have been claims that the arrest of Rowecki on June 30, 1943 was a result of a wider intelligence operation against the Polish Underground State. The Nazis plan was to eliminate top commanders and political leaders of the Polish resistance. During the same period, the Gestapo arrested the commander of National Armed Forces (NSZ), Colonel Ignacy Oziewicz (on June 9, 1943). Then on July 4, 1943, General Władysław Sikorski was killed in a plane crash under mysterious circumstances, which raised suspicions that the Soviet NKVD was somehow responsible.  Within a period of two months, the Polish Army had lost three top commanders. (see June 30, 1943)


1945

Potsdam Conference, held between July 17 and August 2, 1945, was attended by leaders of US, UK and Soviet Union, to decide how to administer the defeated Nazi Germany, which had agreed to unconditional surrender nine weeks earlier, on May 8, (V-E Day). The goals of the conference included the establishment of post-war order, peace treaty issues, and countering the effects of the war. They also agreed on the matter of Poland's border, ie the  provisional western border would be defined by the line along the Oder and Neisse rivers. Silesia, Pomerania, the southern part of East Prussia and the former Free City of Danzig would be ceded to Poland. However the final delimitation of the western frontier of Poland would await the peace settlement (which would take place 45 years later at the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany in 1990). The three leaders all officiallyt recognized the Provisional Government of National Unity (known as the Lublin Poles). This meant, in effect, that the legitimate Polish Government in Exile in London (or the London Poles) had been overthrown (by agreement of Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin).  The leaders also assured that Poles who were serving in the British Army "should be free to return to Poland, with no security upon their return to the communist country guaranteed."


Rescue of USS Indianapolis Crew:   On July 30th, the USS Indianapolis was attacked, and sunk with 300 men on board.   900 men were adrift in the ocean struggling to survive on the meager food rations they could find among the debris. They waited four terrifying days, suffering hunger, thirst, exposure, and surrounded by swarms of sharks. Many of the men were attacked and eaten by the sharks; others, in desperation, drank the salt water resulting in madness and death.  On August 2, 1945 at 10:25, while on a routine patrol flight, Lieutenant Wilbur Gwinn, and co-pilot Lt. Warren Colwell accidentally spotted the survivors. They immediately dropped a life raft and radio transmitter,  and contacted Navy Command to dispatch air and surface rescue operations at once.  U.S. Navy Command did not even know about the ship's sinking until the pilot reported it.  The vessel was scheduled to arrived at Leyte on July 31, but no report was ever made that the vessel was overdue.  (The USS Indianapolis had sailed on a secret mission to deliver the components of the atomic bomb called "Little Boy" to Tinian Island. The bomb would later be dropped on Hiroshima. Having unloaded the cargo, the vessel was on its way to Leyte when it was hit by torpedoes from a Japanese submarine.)



August 1, 2018

AUGUST 1 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 1

1936 

The 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin was declared open. The Nazi regime temporarily removed anti-Semitic posters for the duration of athletic events in an effort to "clean up" Germany's image to the world.  The Olympics was a propaganda bonanza for Hitler who tried to showcase Germany to the world as cordial, sane, and tolerant. Meanwhile the Nazis banned many Jewish athletes from competing in the events (though many Jews had boycotted the Berlin Olympics).  Lilli Henoch, a top athlete in the shot put and discus throw was excluded from the games. She was a four time world record holder and 10 time German national champion. Gretel Bergmann was suspended from the German team just days after she set a record of 1.60 meters in the high jump. Hitler wanted the so-called  Aryan German athletes to march away with all the medals, and he was stunned when the American track star, a black man, Jesse Owens had won four gold medals in track and field events.  But as Owens was running for gold, "two Jewish runners for the U.S. team, Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller, had been pulled by their coach from the 4×100 meter relay the day before the event, so that they would not humiliate Germany. (Nazi Germans referred to Jews  as " untermenschen", that is sub-human, yet many Jewish athletes were capable of surpassing the Nazi athletes.)  After the closing of the Berlin Olympics, the Nazis resumed their persecution of the Jews. Many of the Jewish athletes that competed in the games were arrested and late died in concentration camps.  Ilja Szraibman, a Polish swimmer, and Roman Kantor, a Polish fencer, later died in Majdanek extermination camp.  Alfred Nakache, was sent to Auschwitz concentration camp. He survived and competed in the 1948 Olympic Games in London.


1941

Bialystock Ghetto established by the Nazis: The Białystok Ghetto was set up between July 26 and early August 1941. About 50,000 Jews from the vicinity of Białystok and  surrounding region were forced into a small area of the city, which was turned into the Bezirk's capital. The ghetto was split in two by the Biała River running through it. The Jews were subjected to forced-labor enterprises to serve the German war effort, primarily in large textile, shoe and chemical companies operating inside and outside its boundaries. On August 1, 1941, the Nazis sealed the ghetto, isolating the inmates inside. Following the Bialystok Uprising, the Nazis liquidated the ghetto,  and transported most of the Jews by train to Majdanek and Treblinka extermination camps.


1944

The Warsaw Uprising was launched on August 1, 1944 upon the order of General Tadeusz "Bor" Komorowski, commander of the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa).  Their objective was to liberate Warsaw from German occupation, and the uprising was timed with the retreat of the German forces, as the Soviet troops advanced into Poland. The Red Army approached the eastern suburbs of Warsaw, but instead of entering Warsaw, they stopped their advance on the banks of the Vistula River.  The Soviets waited as the German forces regrouped and decimated the Polish Resistance fighters and then razed Warsaw to the ground.  On the first day of the Uprising, Heinrich Himmler ordered the destruction of the city and the extermination of its civilian population.  At an SS Officers Conference, Himmler stated, "The city must completely disappear from the surface of the earth and serve only as a transport station for the Wehrmacht. No stone can remain standing. Every building must be razed to its foundation."  On the first day of the Uprising, the Polish Home Army had military supplies that consisted of 1,000 guns, 1,750 pistols, 300 sub-machine guns, 60 assault rifles, 7 heavy machine guns, 20 anti-tank guns, and 25,000 hand grenades. These were augmented with additional weapons received by allied air drops, or weapons the Poles had seized from German soldiers during battles The Polish Underground also mass produced many weapons, such as grenades, grenade launchers, and flame throwers. The Polish underground resistance movement was the largest resistance in Europe. The Warsaw Uprising was expected to last just a few days but the Polish insurgents fought for 63 days with no military support from their allies, and finally capitulated. The help promised by their allies was too little, too late. The Warsaw Uprising was the single largest military effort undertaken by any European resistance movement during World War II.