April 20, 2018




Polish Army captured Vilno, Lithuania from the Soviet Army.  The Polish advance forced Soviets to withdraw their left wing from territories south of the Neris River as well as significantly shortening the Lithuanian–Soviet front line. It allowed Lithuania to concentrate its forces for operations in northeastern Lithuania. However, it also meant that a new front line with Poland was open. At first, both Poles and Lithuanians cooperated against the Soviets, but soon the cooperation transformed into increasing hostility. The first clashes between Polish and Lithuanian soldiers occurred on April 26 and May 8 near Vievis. (Note: Poland did not recognize Lithuania. Józef Piłsudski, its Chief of State, wanted a union with Lithuania in hope of reviving the old Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, that is, a Międzymorze federation, or Intermarium. Poland's actions were not merely part of a military campaign against the Soviets, but a desire for the right of self-determination of local Poles, who formed a significant minority in eastern Lithuania. On the other hand, Lithuanians claimed Vilnius as their own, and were opposed to any federation with Poland, desiring an independent national Lithuanian state.


Juliusz Bogdan Deczkowski (dob) was Polish soldier of Zoska battalion.When the Germans and Soviets invaded Poland in 1939, Juliusz joined the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa). He became a runner with the Polish Scouting Association, which was then operating as the underground Szare Szeregi. In 1944, he took part in the Warsaw Uprising as a member of the Batalion Zośka. In 1949, during the darkest years of Stalinism in Poland he was arrested by the security service and sentenced by a military court to 5 years in prison. After his release, he graduated from the Warsaw University of Technology in November 1953, and became an inventor of medical equipment.


Battle of Berlin:  Soviet artillery began shelling Berlin at 11 a.m. on April 20, Hitler's 56th birthday. Preparations were made to evacuate Hitler and his staff to Obersalzberg to make a final stand in the Bavarian mountains, but Hitler refused to leave his bunker. Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler departed the bunker for the last time. The 1st Belorussian Front led by Marshal Georgy Zhukov, advancing from the east and north, started shelling Berlin's city centre, while Marshal Ivan Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front broke through Army Group Centre and advanced towards the southern suburbs of Berlin.

Flossenburg Concentration Camp: In September 1939, the SS transferred 1,000 political prisoners to Flossenbürg from Dachau.  During the war, the Germans expanded the Camp to about 100 subcamps in which prisoners were forced to work in the increasingly important German arms production.  More than 1,000 Soviet prisoners of war were executed in Flossenbürg by the end of 1941.  From 1941 to 1942, about 1,500 Polish prisoners, mostly members of the Polish resistance, were deported to Flossenbürg. In July 1941, SS guards shot 40 Polish prisoners at the SS firing range outside the Flossenbürg concentration camp. Between February and September 1941 the SS executed about one-third of the Polish political prisoners deported to Flossenbürg.  On April 20, 1945, 22,000  prisoners, including 1,700 Jews, were forcibly evacuated. Those too sick to walk were left behind. They were forced on a death march to the Dachau concentration camp and SS guards shot any inmate too sick to keep up. Before they reached Dachau, more than 7,000 inmates had been shot or had collapsed and died. ( see April 23, 1945)

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