POLISH GREATNESS TRAFFIC

April 19, 2018

APRIL 19 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

APRIL 19

1938

The inhabitants of Wilno celebrated the 19th anniversary of city's liberation from the Soviets. Dar Pomorza returned to the port of Gdynia, after a 216 -day cruise.  The Dar Pomorza was a Polish full-rigged sailing ship, constructed in 1909 by Blohm & Voss to be a German training ship and named in tribute to the German Prinzess Eitel Friedrich. Following WW1, Friedrich was taken as reparations by Britain and brought to France. Eventually it was sold to the Pomerania community of Poland for 7,000 British pounds, and renamed Dar Pomorza.  Dar Pomorza won the Cutty Sark Trophy in 1980.  She is now preserved at Gdynia as a museum ship.


1943

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising:  In response to the Nazi's attempt to liquidate the Warsaw Ghetto and deport the remaining Jews to Treblinka,  Jewish prisoners instigated an armed resistance from within the walls of the Ghetto.  The Jews refused to surrender. When the SS troops tried to liquidate the Ghetto, the Jews drove them back with gunfire.  Nazi police commander Jurgen Stroop then ordered the burning of the Ghetto, block by block.The aktion ended on May 16, 1943.  It was the largest single revolt by Jews during World War II.  A total of 13,000 Jews died, about half of them burnt alive or suffocated.  The surviving 56,000 inhabitants were deported to Treblinka for extermination.  German casualties were not more than 300.


Dawid Moryc Apfelbaum was commander of the Jewish Military Union (Żydowski Związek Wojskowy, ŻZW), during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. He was reportedly killed in the first few days of the Uprising.  (He also fought for Poland, during the German invasion of Poland, joining the troops in defence of Warsaw.) After his death he was promoted to the rank of Major in the Polish Army by the the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa,) AK command. In 2004, the mayor of Warsaw Lech Kaczyński had a square named for Apfelbaum in the city's Wola district.


Mordechai Anielewicz was the leader of the Jewish Fighting Organization (ŻOB), which led the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising; the largest Jewish insurrection during the Second World War, which inspired further rebellions in ghettos and extermination camps. His character was engraved as a symbol of courage and sacrifice, and to this day his image represents Jewish resistance during the Holocaust. In July 1944, Anielewicz was posthumously awarded the Cross of Valour by the Polish Government in Exile, and in 1945 he was also awarded the Cross of Grunwald, 3rd Class by the Polish People's Army. Numerous other awards and memorials were made in his name by the State of Israel and many Jewish organizations.


1945

The Battle of the Seelow Heights ended in Soviet-Polish victory. It was a pitched battle, and one of the last assaults on large entrenched defensive positions. The Battle was fought over three days ending on  the 19th of April 1945.  The road to Berlin lay open -  90 km (56 mi) to the west. By April 23, the city was completely surrounded, and the Battle of Berlin was soon at an end. Within 2 weeks, Adolf Hitler committed suicide and the war in Europe was essentially over.  Close to one million Soviet soldiers of the 1st Belorussian Front (including 78,556 soldiers of the Polish 1st Army), commanded by Marshal Georgi Zhukov, attacked the position known as the "Gates of Berlin".  They were opposed by about 110,000 soldiers of the German 9th Army, commanded by General Theodor Busse, as part of the Army Group Vistula. The defensive line on the Seelow Heights was the last major defensive line outside Berlin.


German submarines were sunk:  U-251 was sunk by rockets from no less than eight British and Norwegian Mosquitos of 143, 235 and 248 squadrons in the Kattegat; U-548 was sunk by depth charges from the American destroyer escorts Reuben James and Buckley; (it is not certain whether U-879 or U-857 was sunk, as both were in the vicinity at the time of the Allied attack.)


1947

The Flick Trial was the fifth of 12 trials of the United States Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (not to be confused with the Nuremberg Trials). It was also called the "Subsequent Nuremberg Trials". The trial was held from April 19 to December 22, 1947 and most well-known of all the trials which tried 22 of the most important captured Nazi Germans. Among the accused were Frederich Flick and five high-ranking directors of a group of companies under his control. The charges were implementing slave labor and plundering. In addition, Flick and Otto Steinbrinck, his senior director, were both charged for their membership in what was named the "Circle of Friends of Himmler". This group was established in 1932, and consisted of many powerful German industrialists and bankers who had given about 1 million Reichsmarks to a special account of Himmler.  Flick was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment, Steinbrinck to 5 years, Weiss to 2 and a half years, and three were acquitted. 



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