POLISH GREATNESS TRAFFIC

May 5, 2018

MAY 5 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

MAY 5

1939

Józef Beck delivered a famous speech in the Sejm, in which he rejected Hitler's demands towards Poland. Here is a brief excerpt: "...But when, after repeated statements by German statesmen, who had respected our standpoint and expressed the view that "this provincial town will not be the object of a conflict between Poland and Germany," I hear a demand for the annexation of Danzig to the Reich, when I receive no reply to our proposal of the 26th March for a joint guarantee of the existence and rights of the Free City, and subsequently I learn that this has been regarded as a rejection of negotiations-I have to ask myself, what is the real object of all this?.....Is it the freedom of the German population of Danzig, which is not threatened, or a matter of prestige-or is it a matter of barring Poland from the Baltic, from which: Poland will not allow herself to be barred?....., the question of the future of Danzig and of communication across Pomorze, it is still a matter of unilateral concessions which the Government of the Reich appear to be demanding from us. A self-respecting nation does not make unilateral concessions. Where, then, is the reciprocity?....Peace is certainly the object of the difficult and intensive work of Polish diplomacy. Two conditions are necessary for this word to be of real value: (1) peaceful intentions, (2) peaceful methods of procedure. If the Government of the Reich is really guided by those two preconditions in relation to this country, then all conversations, provided, of course, that they respect the principles I have already enumerated, are possible..... We in Poland do not recognize the conception of "peace at any price." There is only one thing in the life of men, nations and States which is without price, and that is honour. "


1945

Mauthausen Concentration camp was liberated by a squad of US Army Soldiers of the 41st Reconnaissance Squadron of the US 11th Armored Division, 3rd US Army, led by Staff Sergeant Albert J. Kosiek. His troops disarmed the policemen and left the camp. By the time of its liberation, most of the SS-men of Mauthausen had already fled. The 30 Nazis who were remained were killed by the prisoners. Mauthausen camp operated from the time of the Anschluss, when Austria was annexed into the German Third Reich in early 1938, to the beginning of May 1945. Mauthausen consisted of four camps, including Gusen I, II and III.  By the end of the war, of the 320,000 people who were imprisoned in the camps and sub-camps, only 80,000 survived, including between 20,487 and 21,386 in Gusen I, II and III.  As the Germans were escaping on May 4, 1945, they tried to destroy the files containing evidence. The files that remained listed 37,411 murdered prisoners, including 22,092 Poles, 5,024 Spaniards, 2,843 Soviet prisoners of war and 7,452 inmates of 24 other nationalities. Other death registers from KZ Gusen list an additional 30,536 names of people murdered.


The Prague Offensive was the last major Soviet operation in  World War II Europe and was fought on the Eastern Front and lasted from May 5 to May 8, 1945.  All German troops of Army Group Centre, and many of Army Group Ostmark (formerly known as Army Group South) were killed or captured. This battle is noteworthy because it was being fought at the same time as the Prague Uprising, and the battle actually ended after the surrender of the Third Reich on May 8, 1945. The Polish 2nd Army also participated in the Offensive.  Polish troops numbered about 69,000, and suffered 887 casualties.




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