March 19, 2018




Around 27,000 French troops under Marshall Lefebvre besieged 14,400 Prussian troops under Marshall Kalckreuth garrisoning the city of Danzig. Danzig  was a heavily fortified port with a very important strategic positions, situated at the mouth of the Vistula River. It posed a direct threat to the French left, as it lay within Prussian lands but to the rear of the French army as it advanced eastward. It was also a potential dropping off point for allied troops, that could threaten the French army by opening another front to their rear. Danzig was also difficult to attack, being only accessible from the west, while all other directions were covered either by the Vistula (N) or wetlands (S and E). Moreover, among its resources it possessed powder, grain, eau de vie, etc.  which was of great interest to the Grande Armée. In a letter dated February 18, 1807, Napoleon advised Marshal Lefebvre: " Your glory is linked to the taking of Danzig: you must go there."


Elżbieta Zawacka (dob) was a Polish university professor, scouting instructor, SOE agent and a resistance fighter during World War II. She was also a Brigadier General of the Polish Army (the second and last woman in the history of the Polish Army to hold this rank), promoted by President Lech Kaczyński on May 3, 2006. The only woman among the special forces called Cichociemni, she served as a courier for Armia Krajowa, the Polish Home Army, carrying letters and other documents from Nazi-occupied Poland to the Polish Government in Exile in London, and back. Her regular route ran from Warsaw through Berlin and Sweden to London. She was also responsible for organizing routes for other couriers of the Home Army.


The government of Lithuania accepted Polish ultimatum. ( See March 17, 1938)


10 Jewish men publicly hanged in Zelow Ghetto:  As in Bełchatów, there was an execution of ten male Jews, hanged publicly in winter 1942 (probably on 19th or 20th March). The reason for these executions was probably Nazi revenge for their losses on the Eastern front. The victims were chosen by the Judenrat, probably by lot. The gallows were brought from Bełchatów. The whole Jewish population had to watch the execution, even the children of the victims. The noose was put on by other Jews, among them Abram Siwek (according to the report of the priest Ciosek), probably the only one who managed to survive the war. After the execution, a dinner for invited Nazi officers from Zelów and Bełchatów took place for which the Judenrat was obliged to deliver food and drinks.

Hitler issued the Nero Decree, ordering the destruction of German infrastructure to prevent their use by Allied forces. Albert Speer and the army chiefs strongly resisted this and conspired to delay the order's implementation.

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