The First Polish Stamp: The first Polish stamp was issued for the Congress Kingdom on January 1, 1860 as per the Gregorian calendar. (However, since the 1st fell on a Sunday, the stamp did not become available until the next day.) The engraving was done by Henryk Meyer, a Polish banker, based on drawings he found in the archives at St. Petersburg. The design was typical of Russian stamps, bearing the arms of the Congress of the Kingdom. The stamps were printed by the government printers in Warsaw, using a letterpress machine that printed in two colours, was capable of printing 1,000 sheets per hour, and had a counting device. The printing began without the prior knowledge or consent of the Russian postal service, but was approved a couple of months later. Restrictions on the use of the stamps meant that it could only be used within the Congress Kingdom and to Russia. Letters bound for other countries had to be paid for in cash and unstamped. About three million stamps had been printed before the authorities discontinued its use on April 1, 1865. Subsequently 208,515 stamps were destroyed and Russian stamps were introduced from that day on. In 1915 the Congress Kingdom was occupied by the Central Powers. The Congress of the Kingdom (also known as the Kingdom of Poland, or Russian Poland) was established as a sovereign state in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna and connected the Russian part of the Russian Empire, under the Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland. By 1832, the Congress Kingdom gradually integrated into Russia, and by 1867 officially became part of the Russian Empire. In 1915 the Congress Kingdom was occupied by the Central Powers.
Stalin's assistant defected to France: Boris Bazhanov was the only assistant of Stalin's secretariat to have defected from the Soviet Union. From 1923 to 1924 he attended all the meetings of the Politburo, working in Stalin's Secretariat of the Central Committee and for the Politburo. He had the responsibility to take notes of these meetings, putting him in the inner sanctum of the Russian regime. On October 26, 1923, Bazhanov took notes at a meeting attended by Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, and Leon Trotsky. Lenin was very ill at the time, and it would be three months before he died. According to his notes, Lenin offered to appoint Trotsky as his "heir" but Trotsky turned the job down because he was Jewish, replying that "We should not give our enemies the opportunity to say that our country was being ruled by a Jew. ... It would be far better if there was not a single Jew in the first Soviet revolutionary government." Bazhanov defected from Russia because, as the story goes, he was "dissatisfied" working under Stalin. He escaped to Iran, and was granted asylum in France. Stalin called him an "enemy of the state" and ordered a massive manhunt, which was led by Georges Agebekov, (chief Soviet spy ) who ironically also defected to France. In October 1929, Stalin sent Yakov Blumkin, an assassin, to pursue and kill Bazhanov, and then to travel to Istanbul, Turkey to assassinate Leon Trotsky (who had been deported there by the Soviet Union, in February 1929). Blumkin, with the collaboration of his cousin and GPU informer Arkady Maximov, attempted to stage a car accident to kill Bazhanov, but the plot failed. Bazhanov published his memoirs in France in 1980, entitled 'Memoirs of a Secretary of Stalin's'. Bazhanov died in Paris in 1982.
Polish Senate Passed Shechita Bill, in effect on January 1, 1937: The bill, introduced Deputy Janina Prystor, wife of the Senate’s president, originally provided for a complete ban on kosher slaughtering. However after warnings from the Government spokesmen that the complete ban would violate constitutional rights of religious practice, the Sejm added an amendment to permit sufficient kosher slaughtering to meet religious requirements under a system of Government concessions. Nevertheless, Jewish communities opposed the measure on the grounds that it would deprive Jewish communities of the revenue, and put thousands of persons engaged in slaughtering and retailing the kosher meat out of work.
Stalin's Polish Government: The Soviet-controlled, Polish Committee of National Liberation became the Provisional Government of Republic of Poland. In London, the Polish Government-in-Exile protested and issued a declaration that the Soviet Union had "taken over the sovereign political rights of the Polish nation." The governments of Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt also issued formal protests, but they took no further action.
Polish prisoners of Auschwitz: 100 male and 100 female Polish prisoners of the Gestapo from block 11 in Auschwitz I camp were transferred by SS doctor Fritz Klein to Erich Muhsfeldt, the chief of Auschwitz II-Birkenau Crematorium V. Muhsfeldt's men executed the prisoners by firing squad. (Note: Auschwitz I was first constructed to imprison Polish Christian political prisoners, who began to arrive in May 1940. The first extermination of prisoners took place in September 1941. (Recommended reading: The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation, 1939-1944 by Richard C. Lukas. A forward by Norman Davies stated as follows, " Dr. Richard Lukas has rendered a valuable service, by showing that no one can properly analyze the fate of one ethnic community in occupied Poland without referring to the fates of others. In this sense, The Forgotten Holocaust is a powerful corrective. )
US Troops Killed German POWs: The Chenogne Massacre (in Belgium) was the killing of Wehrmacht prisoners by American troops in retaliation for the Malmedy massacre on December 17, 1944, in which members of the Kampfgruppe Peiper (part of the 1st SS Panzer Division) executed 84 American prisoners of war. One American unit issued orders: "No SS troops or paratroopers will be taken prisoners but will be shot on sight." The events were covered up at the time and none of the American soldiers were punished. Post war historians believe the killings were ordered from top level senior commanders. Following the end of World War Two, the U.S. government stated that "it is probable that Germans who attempted to surrender in the days immediately after the 17th ran a greater risk" of being killed than earlier in the year, nevertheless, "there is no evidence... that American troops took advantage of orders, implicit or explicit, to kill their SS prisoners."
Britain refused to recognize the Polish Committee of National Liberation. (or Lublin Committee). The Polish Committee of National Liberation was a puppet government established by Stalin to control Polish territory that was seized from Nazi Germany. The objective was to discredit and eventually remove all power from the legitimate Polish Government in Exile in London. The pervasive development of the Soviet regime led to the tensions between the Soviet Union and the other members of the United Nations which would eventually lead to the Cold War.