May 8, 2018




Stanisław Franciszek Sosabowski, (born, May 8, 1892) was a Polish general in World War II.  He was commander of the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade. Sosabowski was a brilliant strategist with an illustrious service in the military yet British command made him a scapegoat so as to avoid admitting their own mistakes and culpability in the tragic debacle of the Battle of Arhem - Market Garden in 1944. (Background:  The Allies were fighting a losing battle. Upon British orders, most of the Polish Brigade were parachuted near the town of Grave, and the Polish soldiers fell directly over the waiting guns of the Germans who were camped in the area, and waiting for them. The Poles were obliterated. Another disaster occurred when British Command decided to send Polish troops cross the Rhine to come the assistance of the men of 1st Airborne Division who were surrounded by the Germans. The Poles had no choice but to attempt the crossing in small rubber dinghies because the ferry had been sunk. They attempted three times to make the crossing while under heavy fire.  Only 200 men made it across to reinforce the British paratroopers. Despite the dire situation,  General Sosabowski believed that they could still win the battle, and made recommendations at the staff meeting on September 24.  He proposed that the combined forces of XXX Corps, under Lieutenant-General Brian Horrocks, and the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade should start an all-out assault on the German positions and try to break through the Rhine. British Command rejected his plan. But during the last phase of the battle on September 25 and 26, Sosabowski was told to lead his men southwards and shield the retreat of the remnants of the 1st Airborne Division. Casualties among the Polish units were very high, approaching 40%, the result of which was due to Lieutenant-General Browning's decision to drop the Polish paratroops just 7 kilometres from the bridge at Arnhem. Following the Allied defeat, Montgomery sent a letter to Sosabowski commending his soldiers as having fought bravely and offered awards to ten of his men. But several days later Montgomery wrote another letter, this time to the British commanders, in which he scapegoated Sosabowski for the failure of Market Garden. Sosabowski was removed from his position as commander for criticizing Montgomery.


Rudolf Höss returned to Auschwitz by Himmlers orders to oversee the extermination of Hungarian Jews.  Hoss supervised the operation Aktion Höss, in which 430,000 Hungarian Jews were transported to the camp and killed in 56 days.


German forces on the Channel Islands surrendered: At 10:00 on May 8, the Channel Islanders were informed by the German authorities that the war was over. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made a radio broadcast at 15:00 during which he announced: "Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight tonight, but in the interests of saving lives the 'Cease fire' began yesterday to be sounded all along the front, and our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed today."

German forces in Norway surrendered.  Quisling was arrested and found guilty of treason. He was executed on October 24, 1945.

Victory in Europe Day, (also called  V-E Day or simply V Day) was the public holiday on May 8, 1945 to celebrate the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender. It marked the end of World War II in Europe. The former Soviet Union celebrates victory day on May 9, but Poland celebrates it on May 8.

Winston Churchill announced Germany's unconditional surrender in a radio broadcast. "Our gratitude to our splendid Allies goes forth from all our hearts in this Island and throughout the British Empire," Churchill stated. "We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing; but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead. Japan, with all her treachery and greed, remains unsubdued. The injury she has inflicted on Great Britain, the United States, and other countries, and her detestable cruelties, call for justice and retribution. We must now devote all our strength and resources to the completion of our task, both at home and abroad.  Advance, Britannia! Long live the cause of freedom! God save the King!"

President Harry S. Truman made a proclamation to declare May 13 as a national day of prayer. "The Allied armies, through sacrifice and devotion and with God's help, have wrung from Germany a final and unconditional surrender. The western world has been freed of the evil forces which for five years and longer have imprisoned the bodies and broken the lives of millions upon millions of free-born men. They have violated their churches, destroyed their homes, corrupted their children, and murdered their loved ones. Our Armies of Liberation have restored freedom to these suffering peoples, whose spirit and will the oppressors could never enslave. ....I call upon the people of the United States, whatever their faith, to unite in offering joyful thanks to God for the victory we have won and to pray that He will support us to the end of our present struggle and guide us into the way of peace," the proclamation read. "I also call upon my countrymen to dedicate this day of prayer to the memory of those who have given their lives to make possible our victory."


Witold Pilecki was arrested on May 8, 1947, imprisoned and tortured at the Mokotów (or Rakowiecka) Prison in Warsaw by Staff Sergeant Piotr Śmietański, the" Butcher of Mokotow Prison". Witold Pilecki was a Polish cavalryman and intelligence officer, serving under the code names Roman Jezierski, Tomasz Serafiński, Druh, Witold).He served as a Rittmeister with the Polish Army during the Polish-Soviet War, Second Polish Republic and World War II. Pilecki was also a co-founder of the Secret Polish Army (Tajna Armia Polska) a resistance group in German-occupied Poland and was later a member of the underground Home Army (Armia Krajowa). He was the author of Witold's Report, the first comprehensive Allied intelligence report on Auschwitz concentration camp and the Holocaust.   He was arrested, tortured and put on trial by the notorious Soviet Ministry of Public Security. The investigation of Pilecki's activities was supervised by Colonel Roman Romkowski. He was interrogated by Col. Józef Różański, and lieutenants S. Łyszkowski, W. Krawczyński, J. Kroszel, T. Słowianek, Eugeniusz Chimczak and S. Alaborski – men who were especially infamous for their savagery. But Pilecki sought to protect other prisoners and revealed no sensitive information.

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