June 30, 2018




Night of the Long Knives:  From June 30 to July 2 Hitler conducted a purge of political leaders in a series of extrajudicial executions intended to consolidate his absolute on power in Germany.  Over 85 people were killed, and more than 1,000 arrested. Most of the killing was carried out by the SS and Gestapo. In the aftermath, Hitler ordered his cabinet to approve a measure that would  present the massacre as legally sanctioned and on July 3 he declared: "The measures taken on June 30, July 1 and 2 to suppress treasonous assaults are legal as acts of self-defence by the State."


Lwow Pogroms:  Ukrainian troops loyal to Nazi Germany conducted consecutive pogroms against the Jews of Lwow (now Lviv, Ukraine) that lasted from June 30 to July 2, 1941, and again from July 25 to 29, 1941, during the Wehrmacht's attack on Soviet-occupied eastern Poland. The German historian Peter Longerich and the Holocaust Encyclopedia estimate that the first pogrom cost at least 4,000 lives. It was followed by the additional 2,500 to 3,000 arrests and executions in subsequent Einsatzgruppe killings,and culminated in the so-called "Petlura Days" massacre of more than 2,000 Jews, all killed in a one-month span. During the inter-war years, before the invasion of Poland in 1939 by Germany and the Soviet Union, the city of Lwow, had the third-largest Jewish population in Poland.  As the Nazis advanced into Poland, the Lwow's Jewish population swelled to over 200,000 as a result of Jewish refugees escaping eastward.  Government documents released in 2008 by the Ukrainian Security Services make the claim that the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists may have been involved to a lesser degree than originally thought. But among respected historians (John Paul Himka,  Per Anders Rudling, and Marco Carynnyk among others) this claim amounts to nothing more than revisionism, the attempt to change or manipulate World War II history.


Leader of the Polish Home Army Was Arrested:  Stefan Rowecki, General of the Polish Armia Krajowa (Home Army) was arrested on June 30, 1943, by the Gestapo in Warsaw and imprisoned at Oranienburg in Berlin.  He was betrayed by Ludwik "Hanka" Kalkstein,  Eugeniusz "Genes" Swierczewski and Blanka "Sroka" Kaczorowska who were all Gestapo agents posing as members of the Armia Krajowa (Polish Home Army). Prominent Nazi officials including Himmler interrogated Rowecki, and offered him an anti-bolshevik alliance, but he refused. He was executed in August 1944 in Sachsenhausen, by the command of Himmler.  The arrest and death of Rowecki was part of a major intelligence operation by the Germans and Soviets to destroy the Polish Underground State, by eliminating top Polish commanders and political leaders. In the same period, the Gestapo arrested Colonel Ignacy Oziewicz, commander of the National Armed Forces (NSZ) on June 9, 1943 . Then General Wladyslaw Sikorski, died in a plane crash on July 4, 1943, under suspicious circumstances.  Three top commanders were killed in a period of two months.


The Polish People's Referendum, also known as 3xTAK, (Three Times Yes) was held on this day in 1946.  On authority of the State National Council, the referendum was presented as an opportunity for all political groups to test their popularity among the general population. However, the outcome of the vote was falsified, and the referendum did not follow democratic standards and procedures. Three questions were asked: 1. Are you in favour of abolishing the Senate? 2.  Do you want consolidation, in the future constitution of the economic system founded on agricultural reform and the nationalization of basic national industries, including the preservation of the statutory rights of private enterprise? 3. Do you want consolidation of the western border of the Polish State on the Baltic, Oder river and Lusatian Neisse? Parties Reactions:   Parties of the pro-communist Democratic Bloc were strongly in favor of "Three Times Yes", while non-communist parties advocated various other combinations. (Essentially the referendum would decide whether the people supported or opposed communism and people would be deciding the future of Polish independence.)  The majority of support for the Polish People's Party (PSL) was in rural areas, among people who supported agricultural reform, so the party could not vote "no" on the second question.  The PSL and Labor Party voted "no" on the first question, and it was used by the communists to declare them as "traitors".  Catholic groups supported "no" on the first question, "yes" on the third, and left the second to voters individual preferences. The Wolność i Niezawisłość party argued against the first two questions only, while the National Armed Forces advocated a "no" for all three questions, as a sign of protest against the annexation of the eastern territories of Poland (known as the Kresy) by the Soviet Union. The Results:  Question 1:   68%  Yes, 32% No;  Question 2:   77.2% Yes,  22.8 No;  Question 3:  91.4% Yes,  8.6% No. (P.S. In 1989 official documents show that only the third question received a majority of votes.)

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