April 11, 2018




Bishop Stanislaus of Krakow was executed.  Polish King Bolesław sent his men to execute Bishop Stanisław without trial but when they didn't dare to touch the Bishop, the King decided to kill the Bishop himself. He is said to have slain Stanisław while he was celebrating Mass in the Skałka outside the walls of Kraków. (According to Paweł Jasienica: Polska Piastów, it was actually in the Wawel castle.) The guards then cut the Bishop's body into pieces and scattered them to be devoured by wild beasts. According to the legend, his members miraculously reintegrated while the pool was guarded by four eagles. The exact date of Stanisław's death is uncertain (either April 11 or May 8, 1079).  According to recent historians, Stanisław took part in a plot of nobles, aimed to gain more powers or dethrone the king.  The cult of Saint Stanisław the martyr began immediately upon his death. In 1245 his relics were moved to Kraków's Wawel Cathedral. In the early 13th century, Bishop Iwo Odrowąż initiated preparations for Stanisław's canonization and ordered Wincenty of Kielce to write the martyr's vita. On September 17, 1253, at Assisi, Stanisław was canonized by Pope Innocent IV.  As the first native Polish saint, Stanisław is the Patron of Poland and Kraków, and of some Polish dioceses. He shares the patronage of Poland with Saint Adalbert of Prague, Florian, and Our Lady the Queen of Poland.  Each year on the first Sunday following May 8, a procession, led by the Bishop of Kraków, goes out from Wawel to the Church on the Rock. The procession, once a local event, was popularized in the 20th century by Polish Primate Stefan Wyszyński and Archbishop of Kraków, Karol Wojtyła. Wojtyla, as Pope John Paul II, called Saint Stanisław the patron saint of moral order and wanted his first papal return to Poland to occur in April 1979 in observance of the 900th anniversary to the day of his martyrdom. Unfortunately the Communist government denied his request,, causing the visit to be delayed until June of that year.


Nazis issued a Decree defining a non-Aryan as "anyone descended from non-Aryan, especially Jewish, parents or grandparents. One parent or grandparent classifies the descendant as non-Aryan...especially if one parent or grandparent was of the Jewish faith." This was an amendment to the law passed a few days earlier, banning Jewish people from employment.


Demonstrations by the Maritime and Colonial League in Poland, demanded overseas colonies for Poland. The League was created in 1930 to educate the Polish nation about maritime issues, development of a merchant fleet and navy, and creation of Polish colonies. They recommended Polish settlements in Brazil, Peru, Liberia, Portuguese Mozambique and French possessions in Africa, with Madagascar.  By 1939 the League had widespread popularity, with about one million members.


Adolf Hitler decreed Fall Weiss, the Nazi strategic plan for the invasion of Poland.  It called for a start of hostilities without a declaration of war. And that German units were to invade Poland from the north, west and south. The origins of the plan went back to 1928 when Werner von Fritsch started working on it. Fall Weiss was developed primarily by Günther Blumentritt and Erich von Manstein while the two were serving as staff officers under General Gerd von Rundstedt with Army Group South in Silesia.


Liberation of Buchenwald:  A detachment of soldiers from the US 9th Armored Infantry Battalion, and from the 6th Armored Division, part of the US Third Army, and under the command of Captain Frederic Keffer, arrived at Buchenwald on April 11, 1945 at 3:15 p.m. (This is the time which is permanently displayed on the clock tower at the entrance gate of the camp.) The soldiers were given a hero's welcome, as the emaciated survivors barely found the strength to lift some of them into the air as celebration. Most barely could get out of their bunker beds. Later that same day, elements of the US 83rd Infantry Division liberated Langenstein, a smaller sub-camp of the Buchenwald complex.  The US soldiers liberated over 21,000 prisoners, ordered the mayor of Langenstein to send food and water to the camp, and hurried medical supplies forward from the 20th Field Hospital.


Adolph Eichmann's trial began in Jerusalem for crimes against the Jewish people, crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was found guilty and hanged at Ramleh on May 31, 1962. A fellow Nazi reported that Eichmann once said "he would leap laughing into the grave because the feeling that he had five million people on his conscience would be for him a source of extraordinary satisfaction." Eichmann's youngest son Ricardo said that he was not resentful toward Israel for  having executing his father, and that his father's "following orders" argument did not excuse his actions. His son also revealed how his father's lack of remorse caused "difficult emotions" for the Eichmann family. Ricardo is now a professor of archaeology at the German Archaeological Institute.


Polish Marshal Spychalski succeeded Edward Ochab as Chairman of the Polish Council of State.  With Gomułka's rehabilitation and return to power in 1956, Spychalski became the Polish Minister of Defence. In 1959 he returned to the Politburo, and four years later was promoted to Field Marshall. Later, at Gomułka's request he left the Polish Army and his job as Minister of Defense, to accept the appointment as President of the Front of National Unity,and Chairman of the Council of State, which was the de facto Head of State, the Council being the de jure executive authority in the People's Republic, a post that was symbolic in nature.

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