June 29, 2018




Operation Barbarossa: In the midst of the German invasion, a Soviet directive was issued among civilians and armed forces personnel in a desperate attempt to subdue the mass panic and hysteria that was unfolding. The order stipulated that anybody who participated in inciting panic, or displaying cowardice in the face of the enemy, would be dealt with swiftly and severely. The NKVD worked with commissars and military commanders to scout out possible escape routes used by Russian soldiers retreating without military authorization. Field expedient general courts were established to deal with civilians spreading rumours and military deserters.  On July 1, Stalin dismissed Dmitry Pavlov of his command, because of the disastrous defeat in the Battle of Białystok-Minsk during the first days of the German invasion. On July 22, Pavlov was tried and executed him along with many members of his staff on charges of "cowardice" and  "criminal incompetence" and "failure to perform their duties".  Many other commanders were arrested and executed by the Soviet NKVD:  Chief of Staff, Major General B. E. Klimovskikh;  Chief of communications corps, Major General AT Grigoriev;  Chief of Artillery, Lieutenant General of Artillery A. Klich; and Air Force Deputy Chief of the Western Front, Major General Aviation A. I. Tayursky; Commander of the 14th Mechanized Corps, Major General Stepan Oborin;  Commander of the 4th Army, Major General A. A. Korobkov.

Jassy Pogrom:  On June 29, 1941, Romanian troops allied to Nazi Germany conducted a pogrom against Jewish civilians in the town of Jassy, murdering over 13,000 people.  The pogrom was ordered by the Romanian government, headed by the Iasi police, and backed by the Bessarabia police and gendarmerie units.  Romanian army soldiers participated along with SSI agents, and mobs who robbed and killed in a frenzied blood-lust. The Romanian authorities also arrested more than 5,000 Jews, forcing them to the train station (the death train) shooting anyone who did not move quickly enough, and then robbing them of all of their possessions. Over 100 Jews were stuffed into each train car. Many of them died of thirst, starvation, and suffocation aboard two trains that traveled back and forth across the countryside for eight days.

Polish Hero Ignacy Jan Paderewski Died on June 29, 1941.  Ignacy Paderewski was a politician, statesman, and spokesman for Polish independence. He had met with President Woodrow Wilson and was influential in obtaining explicit inclusion of Poland's independence (point 13 of the Fourteen Points, in Wilson's 1918 peace terms). Paderewski was the 3rd Prime Minister of Poland in 1919,  Foreign Minister, and represented Poland at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. He was also an accomplished concert pianist and highly acclaimed around the world. His musical fame opened access to diplomatic circles and the media. After the invasion of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union, Paderewski returned to public life. In 1940 he became the head of the National Council of Poland, a Polish parliament in exile in London. He turned to America for help as well. He spoke to the American people directly over the radio, the most popular media at the time; the broadcast carried by over a hundred radio stations in the United States and Canada. Ignacy Paderewski was bestowed with numerous medals and honours. Streets and schools have been named after him, as well as music festivals, the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles, California, and Paderewski Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina. Paderewski died in New York City after a sudden illness. He was 80 years old when he died.

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