April 2, 2018




Peenemunde Test Center: The Nazi German aviation ministry paid 750,000 reichsmarks to the town of Wolgast for the entire northern peninsula of the Baltic island of Usedom, to construction a massive network of research, developement and testing of its rocket program. By the middle of 1938, plans were nearly complete in the organization of its facilities - the Army facility had been separated from the Luftwaffe facility with personnel moved from Kummersdorf. The Army Research Center (Peenemünde Ost) consisted of Werk Ost and Werk Süd, while Werk West (Peenemünde West) was the Luftwaffe Test Site (Erprobungsstelle der Luftwaffe), one of the four test and research facilities of the Luftwaffe, with its headquarters facility at Erprobungsstelle Rechlin.


President Ignacy Mościcki posthumously awarded the Order of Polonia Restituta to pianist Karol Szymanowski. The Order of Polonia Restituta was a state order established on February 4, 1921 and has been conferred to both military and civilians as well as to foreigners for outstanding achievements in the fields of education, science, sport, culture, art, economics, national defense, social work, civil service, or for furthering good relations between countries. Among Polish civilian awards, the order is second only to the rarely awarded Order of the White Eagle.


On this day at precisely 8:45 pm (the exact hour of Pilsudski's death), Prime Minister Walery Slawek, committed suicide. He shot himself in the mouth at his Warsaw apartment (located on Jan Chrystian Szuch Avenue). He left a suicide letter in which he wrote, " I am taking away my life. Please do not blame anybody. 2/IV. 1939. W. Sławek (...)   I have burned all private papers, and those confined to me. If not all, please forgive me. God Almighty will perhaps forgive me my sins, including this final one". Slawek was one of the closest aides of Polish leader, Józef Piłsudski.  He also left a letter for President Mościcki, but its contents have never been revealed. When Slawek found out that Beck had departed for London, he committed suicide in the evening of the same day.  To Slawek, Beck's trip meant that war with Germany would be inevitable and lead to the end of Poland. Just a few hours before his death, Sławek met with Bogdan Podoski, to whom he confided: "I know it, I feel that they are leading Poland to destruction, and I do not know how to react against it".


German submarine U-321 was depth charged and sunk southwest of Ireland by a Vickers Wellington of No. 304 Polish Bomber Squadron. Forty-one Germans were killed. There were no survivors.


Adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland. This Constitution replaced the Small Constitution of 1992 of the Peoples Republic of Poland, reversed the effects of the communist dictatorship, and established the Republic of Poland as "a democratic state ruled by law and implementing the principles of social justice". The Constitution was adopted by the National Assembly of Poland and approved by a national referendum on May 25, 1997. It came into effect on October 17, 1997.


At approximately 15:30 CEST, Pope John Paul II spoke his final words to his aides, "Pozwólcie mi odejść do domu Ojca" ("Allow me to depart to the house of the Father"), and fell into a coma about four hours later. He passed away in his private apartment at 21:37 CEST (19:37 UTC). The Pope was a spiritual beacon to millions of Christians around the world and an inspiration to people of other faiths. Among his life achievements: he was the first Pope to visit the White House in the U.S., first modern Pope to visit a synagogue, re-established diplomatic relations with Britain after 450 years; most widely traveled Pope in the history of the Vatican, established diplomatic relations with Israel, and the PLO;  released a formal apology to Jews for the Church's failure to do more to prevent the Holocaust and apologized for the Church's mistreatment of Jews, non-Catholic Christians, women, the poor and minorities over the last 2,000 years. When Poland was invaded in 1939, Wojtyla managed to evade capture by the Gestapo by hiding in the basement of his uncle's house.  He helped protect and save many Polish Jews from Nazi arrest.  He helped a 14-year-old Jewish refugee by the name of Edith Zierer. She had escaped from a Nazi labour camp in Częstochowa and collapsed on a railway platform. Wojtyła rescued her and carried her to a train and stayed with her throughout the journey to Kraków.  During the Nazi occupation, a Jewish family sent their son, Stanley Berger, to be hidden by an ethnic Polish family.  When Stanley's parents later died in the Holocaust, his new Christian parents asked a young Polish priest by the name of Karol Wojtyła, to baptize the boy.  Wojtyla refused, explaining that the boy had to be raised in the Jewish faith of his birth parents and nation, and not as a Catholic.

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