March 1, 2018




Frederick Chopin (dob) was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era who wrote primarily for the solo piano though he also wrote two piano concertos, a few chamber pieces, and some songs to Polish lyrics. Among his major piano works were mazurkas, waltzes, nocturnes, polonaises, études, and sonatas.  He gained worldwide fame and admiration for being a leading musician of his era. Chopin's "poetic genius was based on a professional technique that was without equal in his generation." A child prodigy, he completed his musical education and composed his earlier works in Warsaw before leaving Poland at the age of 20, less than a month before the outbreak of the November 1830 Uprising.  Chopin was credited with introducing to music a new sense of nationalism. In a 1836 review of the piano concertos, Schumann highlighted the composer's patriotic feelings for his native Poland, writing that "Now that the Poles are in deep mourning (following the defeat of the November Uprising of 1830), their appeal to us artists is even stronger ... If the mighty autocrat in the north ( Nicholas I of Russia) could know that in Chopin's works, in the simple strains of his mazurkas, there lurks a dangerous enemy, he would place a ban on his music. Chopin's works are cannon buried in flowers!" Chopin's music remains very popular and is regularly performed, recorded and broadcast around the world. The International Chopin Piano Competition, founded in 1927, is held every five years in Warsaw. The Frederyk Chopin Institute of Poland lists on its website over eighty societies worldwide devoted to the composer and his music. The Institute site also lists nearly 1,500 performances of Chopin works on YouTube as of January 2014.


Heinrich Himmler paid his first visit to Auschwitz Concentration Camp.  He was accompanied by Gauleiter, and the head of the Upper Silesia SS-Brigadeführer Fritz Brach, the high commander of the SS and the Police in Wrocław SS-Obergruppenführer Ernst Schmauser, SS-Oberführer Glücks, the head of the districts, and the highest representatives of the IG Farbenindustrie complex.  During the visit he ordered Commandant Rudolf Höss to expand the current camp to hold a total of 30,000 prisoners, expand the camp to Birkenau with capacity for 100,000 prisoners, supply 10,000 prisoners to work for the nearby I.G. Farben factory, and to expand the camp's agricultural and industrial output. Rudolf Höss and his family hosted Heinrich Himmler for dinner during Himmler's inspection of Auschwitz Concentration Camp in occupied Poland.


In New York, American Jews held a mass rally at Madison Square Garden to pressure the U.S. government into helping the Jews of Europe. It drew a crowd of 70,000. Subsequently, similar rallies were held in a several cities throughout the United States. The "Rally of Hope” expressed the sympathy of Americans for the Jewish children persecuted in Nazi Europe. The focal point of the rally was a pageant in which 1,000 children and adult actors participated. The meeting was addressed by Senator William Langer of South Dakota, Eddie Cantor and Rep. Joseph Clark Baldwin of New York.


Mokotow Prison Massacres:  On March 1, 1951, the Soviet-controlled Communist Polish secret police, Urząd Bezpieczeństwa (UB), carried out the execution of seven members of the 4th Headquarters of the anti-Communist organization Wolność i Niezawisłość (WiN) in the Mokotów Prison in Warsaw. They were accused of actively participating in anti-Nazi resistance during World War Two.  The executed men were: Łukasz Ciepliński, Karol Chmiel, Adam Lazarowicz, Józef Rzepka, Józef Batory, Mieczysław Kawalec and Franciszek Błażej. The accused were not given an opportunity to refute charges brought against them, despite the fact that on several occasions Ciepliński had stated that he was tortured and that his confessions were extracted with the use of torture. The Communist judges disregarded his testimony. The courtroom was filled with UB functionaries. All seven men were shot on March 1, 1951, at five- to ten-minute intervals. They were executed with a single shot to the back of the head, the standard Communist execution method, and consistent with the executions of Polish officers at Katyn Forest. The executions began at approximately 8 p.m., with Ciepliński being shot first, followed by Batory at 8:05, Chmiel at 8:15, Kawalec at 8:20, Lazarowicz at 8:25, Blazej at 8:35, and Rzepka at 8:45. Two of the executed men, that is, Ciepliński and Rzepka, were previously awarded Poland's highest military decoration for valor, the Cross of the Virtuti Militari. The firing squad consisted of a single man, the notorious Piotr Śmietański, nicknamed by the prisoners the "Butcher of the Mokotow Prison."  Smietanski was believed to have emigrated to Israel in 1968. The burial place of the seven WiN soldiers executed by the Communist regime remains unknown to this day. The 1950 court ruling rendered by the Communist court was overturned in 1992 by the Warsaw Military Court and the seven convicted and executed men were acquitted retrospectively on all counts. In the 1992 court ruling, it is stated that the executed WiN soldiers "Fought and Died for a Free and Sovereign Poland."

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