POLISH GREATNESS TRAFFIC

July 31, 2018

JULY 31 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 31

1941

Under the instructions from Hitler,  Hermann Göring, issued a written directive to Reinhard Heydrich, which read partly as follows:   “.....I herewith commission you to carry out all preparations with regard to . . .... a total solution of the Jewish question in those territories of Europe which are under German influence. . .  I furthermore charge you to submit to me as soon as possible a draft showing  the . .  .... measures already taken for the execution of the intended final solution [Endloesung] of the Jewish question...."  After the end of World War Two, with  Germany's unconditional surrender, the Allies convened the International Military Tribunal, that is the Nuremberg Trials.  The most important surviving Nazi on trial for war crimes was Göring.  Heydrich  had been assassinated by the Czech Underground in June 1942)  During the investigation, the prosecutors discovered that there was written evidence of what was called the "Fuhrer Order on the Final Solution" but could not find a document with Hitler's signature on it. They did however, find Göring's directive and used it in the tribunal to indict Göring.  When the evidence was brought forward, Göring protested claiming that the word "Endloesung" did not mean "final solution" but rather "desired" solution. Göring's attempt to deny culpability based on a feeble play on semantics did not work. He was sentenced to death, but committed suicide before the day of his execution.



1944

As the Soviet forces were approaching central Poland in mid 1944, the Polish Government in Exile in London instructed General Bor-Komorowski to commence  preparations for an armed uprising in Warsaw. The Government-in-exile wished to return to a capital city liberated by Poles, to prevent a Communist take-over of Poland which Stalin had planned.  The Warsaw Uprising began on August 1, 1944.


1951

Trial of the Generals:  Communist authorities in Poland held a show trial from July 31 to August 31, 1951. The objective was to "cleanse" the Soviet army of Polish officers who had served in the Polish Armed Forces during the interwar Poland or in the anti-Nazi resistance during World War II. All of the arrested officers were falsely accused of conspiracy against the Polish United Workers' Party and for having collaborated with British and American intelligence services.  All of the accused generals were sentenced to life imprisonment, including Franciszek Herman, Jerzy Kirchmayer, Stefan Mossor and Stanisław Tatar. The colonels Marian Jurecki, Marian Utnik and Stanisław Nowicki were sentenced to 15 years in prison, while Major Roman and Commander Wacek were sentenced to 12 years. In the so-called "splinter trials", an additional 86 officers of the Polish Army, Navy and Air Forces were arrested and tried. Most of them were tortured by the secret police (Urząd Bezpieczeństwa) under the command of Roman Romkowski.  Approximately 40 Polish officers were sentenced to death, but only the first 20 executions were carried out.


July 30, 2018

JULY 30 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 30

1941

The Sikorski-Mayski Pact was signed in London between Poland and the Soviet Union, the signatories being General Wladyslaw Sikorski and Soviet Ambassador to the UK, Ivan Mayski.  The pact re-opened diplomatic relations between Poland and Russia. A subsequent military pact signed between the two adversaries on August 14, 1941, resulted in the release of tens of thousands of Polish POWs held in Soviet camps. Stalin also agreed to nullify any pacts he had with Nazi Germany, invalidate the 1939 Soviet-German partition of Poland, and  granted "amnesty to many Polish citizens. (Many of the released POWs joined Anders Army, the 2nd Polish Corps)


1944

Polish Prime Minister met with Stalin:  Stalin, under pressure from Churchill and Roosevelt, finally agreed to meet with Polish Prime Minister Stanislaw Mikolajczyk in Moscow.  Mikolajczyk did not approve of Stalin's chicanery regarding the future of the Poland, and attempted to defend Polish interests, to no avail. Stalin did not recognize the legitimate Polish Government in Exile in London, and had already installed his own regime. (On July 22, 1944 Stalin set up the  ‘Polish Committee of National Liberation’ (PKWN) which was for all intents and purposes, a puppet-government controlled by Stalin.)


1945

USS Indianapolis sunk after delivery of "Little Boy": At 00:15 on July 30, the USS Indianapolis was hit on her starboard side by two Type 95 torpedoes, one in the bow and one amidships, from the Japanese submarine I-58. The Indianapolis sustained massive damage and took on a heavy list, settling by the bow. In a matter of twelve minutes, she completely rolled over, the stern rose into the air and she plunged beneath the waves. About 300 of the 1,196 crewmen went down with the ship. The ship did not have enough life jackets, and most of the crew were set adrift without life jackets.  On July 26, the USS Indianapolis had delivered the atomic weapon components to Tinian, which would later be assembled and dropped on Hiroshima. Then she was on the way to Guam, sailing toward Leyte, then onto Okinawa to join VADM Jesse B. Oldendorf's Task Force 95. (see July 16, 1945)



July 29, 2018

JULY 29 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 29

1921

Hitler became leader of the National Socialist Workers Party:   At a special congress of the party on July 29, 1921, Hitler won the seat of party chairman by a vote of 533 to 1.  He was granted absolute powers as the party's only leader, and soon after acquired the titled Fuhrer.  Despite initial conflict, the party agreed that it would be governed according to the principle of Fuhrerprinzip (leadership principle). Consequently, the party was highly centralized and orders were issued from the top down, with Hitler as absolute leader.  Hitler's objective was to overthrow the Weimar Republic which he claimed was controlled by socialists, Jews and what he called, "November criminals" who betrayed the German soldiers in 1918.  In 1921 the SA, also called storm troopers were founded as a party militia, and began violent attacks to eliminate other political parties.


1944

Radio Moscow broadcast urged Poles to rise up against German occupiers. The official line of Soviet propaganda was that the Polish underground was "waiting with their arms at ease" and was not fighting the common enemy. Soviet radio stations demanded a full national uprising in Warsaw to cut the communication lines of the German units still on the right bank of the Vistula.  The first Soviet armoured units reached the outskirts of Warsaw on July 29, 1944. With the recent flood of reports from the eastern territories about forced demilitarisation, trials and execution of Home Army soldiers by the Soviets, on July 21, 1944 the High Command of the Polish Home Army decided to expand the scope of the Operation Tempest to include Warsaw itself. The date for the Warsaw Uprising was set for August 1, 1944.


Soviet Broadcast on Moscow "Kosciuszko" Radio Station Kosciuszko, July  29,1944:  "….Fight The Germans! No doubt Warsaw already hears the guns of the battle which is soon to bring her liberation ... The Polish Army now entering Polish territory, trained in the Soviet Union, is now joined to the People's Army to form the Corps of the Polish Armed Forces, the armed arm of our nation in its struggle for independence. Its ranks will be joined tomorrow by the sons of Warsaw. They will all together, with the Allied Army pursue the enemy westwards, wipe out the Hitlerite vermin from Polish land and strike a mortal blow at the beast of Prussian Imperialism...."


Telegram no. 1144 from The British Prime Minister ( Churchill ) to President Roosevelt  London 29 July, 1944   "This seems to me the best ever received from U. J.      Begins.   I have received your messages of July 25th and July 27th on the subject of departure of Mikolajczyk. Monsieur Mikolajczyk and his party will be given necessary assistance on arrival in Moscow.    You know our point of view on the question of Poland, who is our neighbour and relations with whom have an especial importance for the Soviet Union. We welcome National Committee, which has been created on territory of Poland from democratic forces and I think by creation of this Committee a good start has been made for unification of Poles friendly disposed towards Great Britain, U.S.S.R. and the United States and for the surmounting of opposition on the part of those Polish elements, who are not capable of unification with democratic forces.         I understand the importance of Polish question for the common cause of the Allies and for this very reason I am prepared to give assistance to all Poles and to mediate in attainment of an agreement between them. The Soviet forces have done and are doing everything possible to hasten the liberation of Poland from the German usurpers and to help Polish people in restoration of their freedom and in the matter of welfare of their country.  Ends.   (notes: U.J. stands for Uncle Joe, nickname for Stalin; National Committee was Soviet-based Polish government to usurp the legitimate Polish government in exile)



July 28, 2018

JULY 28 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 28

1920

The territorial dispute between Poland and Czechoslovakia over Cieszyn Silesia was settled at the Spa Conference, in Belgium on July 28, 1920.  The western part of the disputed territory was given to Czechoslovakia while Poland received the eastern part, thus creating a Zaolzie region with a substantial Polish minority.  Czechoslovakia also agreed to cede to Poland 13 villages (especially Nowa Biała, Jurgów and Niedzica; 195 km²; pop. 8747) in northwestern Spis and 12 villages in northeastern Orava (around Jabłonka; 389 km²; pop. 16133). The Czechoslovak authorities officially regarded their inhabitants as exclusively Slovak, while Poles pointed out that the dialect used there belonged to Polish language. The Polish government was not satisfied with this result.  The conflict was resolved by the Council of the League of Nations on March 12, 1924, which decided that Czechoslovakia should retain the territory of Javorina and Ždiar and which entailed an additional exchange of territories in Orava - the territory around Nižná Lipnica went to Poland, the territory around Suchá Hora and Hladovka went to Czechoslovakia. The new frontiers were confirmed by a Czechoslovak-Polish Treaty on April 24, 1925 and are identical with present-day borders.


1942

Jewish partisans formed the ZOB resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto:  On Wednesday, July 22, 1942  the Nazis had began the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto.  The Jews immediately called on the Jewish Public Committee to discuss the situation and decide upon what measure could be taken. Opinions were divided. The Zionists, and the left-wing parties called for active intervention in any way possible. The majority however wanted to wait until the situation became clearer. Rumours were already circulating that 50,000 to 70,000 Jews would be deported from the Ghetto. On July 28, 1942, a meeting was held and it was agreed to set up the Jewish fighting Organization (YKA, Yidishe-Kamf-Organizatsie). The organization signed proclamations in the Polish language with the initials ZOB ( Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa, meaning Jewish Fighting Organization.) The members of the Command were: Bresler, Cukierman, Zivia Lubetkin, Mordecai Tenenbaum and Josef Kaplan. At that time there was only one pistol in the entire Ghetto district. The Jews sent a delegation outside to the Aryan side to make contact with the Poles;   Tosia Altman, Plotnicka, Leah Perlstein and Arie-Jurek Wilner, took great risk to make the passage outside to obtain weapons for the ghetto uprising. ( if the Nazis detected them, they would have have been shot on spot.)


Stalin decreed Order No. 227 on July 28, 1942 in which his slogan, "Not One Step Back" became the rallying cry of the renewed Soviet resistance against the German invasion.  At the outset of Hitler's Operation Barbarossa, the Soviets experienced very heavy losses, accompanied by a massive retreat by as well as desertion from the Red Army.  Stalin intended Order No. 227 to re-establish discipline, and demand courage of the men in the Soviet Army.   Stalin wrote, "The enemy throws new forces to the front without regard to heavy losses and penetrates deep into the Soviet Union, seizing new regions, destroying our cities and villages, and violating, plundering and killing the Soviet population. Combat goes on in region Voronezh, near Don, in the south, and at the gates of the Northern Caucasus. The German invaders penetrate toward Stalingrad, to Volga and want at any cost to trap Kuban and the Northern Caucasus, with their oil and grain. The enemy already has captured Voroshilovgrad, Starobelsk, Rossosh, Kupyansk, Valuyki, Novocherkassk, Rostov on Don, half Voronezh. Part of the troops of the Southern front, following the panic-mongers, have left Rostov and Novocherkassk without severe resistance and without orders from Moscow, covering their banners with shame...... it is time to finish retreating. Not one step back!.....Military councils of the fronts and first of all front commanders should..... Unconditionally remove from their posts and send to the High Command for court martial those army commanders who have allowed unauthorized troop withdrawals from occupied positions, without the order of the Front command..... From within each Front from one up to three (depending on the situation) penal battalions.... where commanders and high commanders and appropriate commissars of all service arms who have been guilty of a breach of discipline due to cowardice or bewilderment will be sent, and put them on more difficult sectors of the front to give them an opportunity to redeem by blood their crimes against the Motherland........"  Stalin decreed similar punishment to soldiers under their command.


1943

Jan Karski met with President Roosevelt:  Polish resistance fighter, Jan Karski personally met with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Oval Office, to report to him the situation in Poland. Karski was the first eyewitness of the atrocities committed against the Jews in concentration camps. However, during their meeting, Roosevelt asked about the condition of horses in Poland but did not ask one question about the Jews. Karski met with many other government and civic leaders in the U.S. including Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, Cordell Hull, William Joseph Donovan, and Rabbi Stephen Wise.  Later Justice Frankfurter expressed his skepticism of Karski's report when he said, "I did not say that he was lying, I said that I could not believe him. There is a difference."  Karski presented his report to the American media, to bishops of various denominations (including Cardinal Samuel Stritch), members of the Hollywood film industry and artists, but without much result.  When the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, Karski was arrested and forced on a POW train but managed to escape. He joined the resistance movement in Warsaw (the  SZP, and later Armia Krajowa (Home Army) and served as an underground courier. His harrowing experiences led him to the most dangerous mission of all - to infiltrate a concentration camp on a fact-finding mission.  Disguised as an Estonian camp guard, he visited Belzec death camp.  In 1942 Karski began issuing reports to Polish, British and U.S. governments on the situation in Poland, the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto and the Holocaust of Polish Jews. He had also carried out of Poland a microfilm with further information from the underground movement on the extermination of European Jews in German-occupied Poland.


1944

SECRET AND PERSONAL FROM PREMIER J. V. STALIN TO THE PRIME MINISTER, Mr W. CHURCHILL (no. 306) " Your messages of July 25 and 27 concerning the departure of Mikolajczyk have reached me. Mr Mikolajczyk and his companions will be given every help in Moscow.  You know our point of view on Poland, which is a neighbour of ours and relations with which are of special importance to the Soviet Union. We welcome the National Committee of the democratic forces on Polish soil, and I think the formation of this Committee signifies a good beginning for the unification of those Poles who are friendly towards Great Britain, the U.S.S.R. and the United States, and for overcoming the resistance of those Polish elements who are incapable of uniting with the democratic forces.  I realise the importance of the Polish question to the common cause of the Allies, and that is why I am willing to help all Poles and to mediate in achieving understanding among them.  The Soviet troops have done and are continuing to do all in their power to accelerate the liberation of Poland from the German invaders and to help the Polish people regain freedom and achieve prosperity for their country."  (July 28, 1944 )





July 27, 2018

JULY 27 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 27

1929

The Geneva Convention was signed on  July 27, 1929 and became official on June 19, 1931.  It dealt with the treatment of prisoners of war, and was the predecessor of the Third Geneva Convention which was signed in 1949. Articles 82 to 97 covered the implementation of this convention. Two important provisions are included, Articles 82 and 83 which stated, "In case, in time of war, one of the belligerents is not a party to the Convention, its provisions shall nevertheless remain in force as between the belligerents who are parties thereto", and that " the provisions of this convention continue to cover prisoners of war after hostilities up to their repatriation unless the belligerents agree otherwise or a more favorable regime replaces it."  Among the Articles of the Convention, are specific rules regarding the evacuation of POWs from combat zones, the living conditions of the camps, ie quality and amount of food provided, medical and religious needs, as well as the imperative termination of captivity of prisoners who are seriously sick and injured, and preparations for their repatriation to their homeland. The key elements of the 1949 Geneva Convention specifies the inviolability of the wounded, and their right, under international law, to respect, protection, humane treatment and care, as detailed in the Articles of the Convention.


1943

RAF Bombing of Hamburg (4th Night):  On July 27, 1943 just before midnight,  787 RAF aircraft comprising of 74 Wellingtons, 116 Stirlings, 244 Halifaxes and 353 Lancasters, bombed Hamburg relentlessly.  It resulted in one of the largest firestorms created by the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Forces in World War II.  The lack of rain, and the unusually warm weather in Hamburg provided the conditions which enveloped the city in a raging inferno.  The RAF concentrated on specific targets, dropping explosive and incendiary bombs on the city.  It created a vortex and whirling updraft of super-heated air which created a 460 meter high tornado of fire, which in turn generated winds of up to 240 kilometres per hour (150 mph) with temperatures that reached 800 °C (1,470 °F). It incinerated everything in sight within 21 square kilometres (8 sq mi) of the city. Asphalt streets burst into flame, and fuel oil from damaged and destroyed ships, barges and storage tanks spilled into the water of the canals and the harbour, causing them to ignite as well.  People running for safety towards bomb shelters and cellars never made it as the firestorm had the power to sweep people up off the streets as if they were dried leaves. In the aftermath, British officials referred to it as the Hiroshima of Germany.  The last night of bombing was on August 3. Operation Gomorrah deployed a total of  3,000 aircraft and dropped 9,000 tons of bombs. Over 250,000 homes were destroyed. Total casualties were 42,600 people killed and 37,000 wounded. About one million German civilians fled the city.


1944

PERSONAL AND MOST SECRET MESSAGE FROM Mr CHURCHILL TO MARSHAL STALIN M. (no.305)  "Mikolajczyk and his colleagues have started. I am sure M. Mikolajczyk is most anxious to help a general fusion of all Poles on the lines on which you and I and the President are, I believe, agreed. I believe that the Poles who are friendly to Russia should join with the Poles who are friendly to Britain and the United States in order to establish a strong, free, independent Poland, the good neighbour of Russia, and an important barrier between you and another German outrage.  We will all three take good care that there are other barriers also.  It would be a great pity and even a disaster if the Western democracies find themselves recognising one body of Poles and you recognising another. It would lead to constant friction and might even hamper the great business which we have to do the wide world over. Please, therefore, receive these few sentences in the spirit in which they are sent, which is one of sincere friendship and our twenty-years' alliance."  (July 27th, 1944 )



July 26, 2018

JULY 26 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 26

1939

Hermann Goring established another Zentrastelle in Prague, Central Office for Jewish Emigration, charged with the task of organizing the expulsion of Jews from Czechoslovakia.  There were also Zentrastelle centers located in Amsterdam and Vienna. Adolph Eichmann founded the Vienna branch in the autumn of 1938 and explained its process as follows, " ...I immediately said: this is like an automatic factory, let us say a flour mill connected to some bakery. You put in at the one end a Jew who still has capital and has, let us say, a factory or a shop or an account in a bank, and he passes through the entire building, from counter to counter, from office to office – he comes out at the other end, he has no money, he has no rights, only a passport in which is written: You must leave this country within two weeks; if you fail to do so, you will go to a concentration camp..."


 1941

Nazis Murdered Polish Prime Minister:  Kazimierz Władysław Bartel served as Poland's Prime Minister for three terms during the interwar period (1926 and 1930) and Senator, from 1937 until the outbreak of World War II). He returned to university as professor of mathematics. In 1930 he became rector of the Lwów Polytechnic and was awarded an honorary doctorate and membership in the Polish Mathematical Association.  After the invasion of Poland by the Soviets, he was permitted to continue his lectures at the university.  In 1940 he was summoned to Moscow and offered a seat in the Soviet parliament. On June 30, 1941, following Operation Barbarossa,  the German Wehrmacht entered Lwów and began arresting and killing the local intelligentsia. Two days later, the Gestapo imprisoned Bartel and pressured him to create a puppet government in Poland with himself as the head.  He refused and was charged with treason. Kazimierz Bartel was executed upon the order of Himmler, on July 26, 1941, three weeks after the Massacre of the Lwow.  (see July 4, 1941)


1942

Stefan Korbonski, the head of the Directorate of Civil Resistance (Secret Underground State)  in Poland sent a message to London informing them that the Germans had began mass deportation of Jews to the death camps at Treblinka, the slaughter of the Warsaw Ghetto, and shootings in the streets and in houses.  Over a month had passed before the BBC even broadcast it.  The United States press however was quick to respond and reported the news the next day. Korbonski was among the last officials to hold the post of Government Delegate for Poland.  He was arrested by the NKVD in 1945 but soon after was released and forced into exile. He settled in the United States where he was an active journalist and devoted his life work among the local Polish diaspora. Stefan Korbonski was among the few people whose names were completely eradicated by the communist censorship in Poland. (see June 12, 1980)



July 25, 2018

JULY 25 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 25

1932

Soviet–Polish Non-Aggression Treaty:  It was signed on July 25, 1932, effective for a three year period, ratified by both countries and registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on January 9, 1933. Negotiations for the treaty began in January 1926 in an effort to normalize the bilateral relationship with the Soviet Union. The Treaty was meant to fortify the Polish gains of the Peace of Riga,  and was to be balanced by a similar pact signed with Germany. However, the talks with Germany did not begin because the Polish–Soviet talks were interrupted in June 1927 Britain had broken diplomatic relations with the USSR and Soviet plenipotentiary Pyotr Voykov was murdered in Warsaw. Instead, Poland applied to the Briand-Kellogg Pact of 1928. The Polish-Soviet negotiations were resumed in Moscow in 1931  On May 5, 1934 the Treaty was extended to December 31, 1945 without amendment. Among the issues,, both sides agreed to renounce violence in bilateral relations, to resolve their problems by negotiations and to forgo any armed conflict with, or make alliances aimed at the other side.


1944

Operation Most III (Polish for Bridge III) or Operation Wildhorn III (in British documents) was conducted by Polish soldiers of Armia Krajowa (Home Army) to steal top-secret information from the Nazis of their V-2 rocket program.  On the night of July 25, 1944, just past 10:00 p.m., an American C-47 transport plane, code-named "Dakota" lifted off from Brindisi in southern Italy bound for an abandoned airfield in Poland in a mission code-named "Motyl".  It landed in the center of a territory surrounded with German military units which were retreating westward, pursued by Soviet forces. At just past midnight, the Dakota circled above the landing location and the Polish partisans (who had been waiting for them) emerged from the forest nearby pulling carts laden with key V-2 components. As soon as the cargo was loaded onto the plane, the pilots attempted to take off but the Dakota had sunk deeply into the mud. After frantic attempts to dislodge the wheels, the plane was finally able to take off.  Two days later the C-47 transport plane arrived in London. British scientists studying the components began devising a way to interfere with the guidance of the V-2 missile using radio waves, but it was discovered that the V-2 mechanism was not designed to "react to countermeasures by radio."


URGENT, PERSONAL AND MOST SECRET MESSAGE FROM Mr CHURCHILL TO MARSHAL STALIN M. (no.303)  "Mikolajczyk is starting tomorrow night in response to the suggestion in the last paragraph of your message of July 23rd.  He is bringing with him M. Romer and M. Grabski. His Majesty's Government are making arrangements for his transport to Tehran or to Moscow as may be required. He desires a full and friendly conversation with you personally. He commands the full support of all his colleagues in the Polish Government, which of course we continue to recognise.  Our heartfelt wish is that all Poles may be united in clearing the Germans from their country and in establishing that free, strong and independent Poland working in friendship with Russia which you have proclaimed is your aim.  I have told the President of the United States of your telegram to me and have sent him also a copy of this. He will no doubt communicate with you."  (July 25th, 1944 )

July 24, 2018

JULY 24 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 24

1943

RAF Bombed Hamburg:  At approximately midnight, RAF bombers began the bombing assault on Hamburg, code-named, Operation Gomorrah.  The first night bombing lasted an hour, and the Operation would continue for 8 days, and 7 nights. RAF losses to aircraft were very low, due to the confusion caused to German radar systems; the RAF introduced a new radar countermeasure called "chaff", which consisted of very small tin pieces of aluminum, metallized glass fibre or plastic, released from aircraft. The substance, which appeared as clusters of primary targets, interfered with radar screens in the form of creating multiple returns.  At the same time, RAF pathfinders, which normally would maintain radio silence, were able to freely engage in radio communications with bomber forces.


1944

Russian troops entered Majdanek Concentation Camp, the first to be liberated by the allies.  As Soviet forces rapidly approached Lublin, the Nazis hastily evacuated the camp, forcing 1,000 inmates to march to Auschwitz (only half arrived alive).  The Nazi staff succeeded in only partially destroying the crematoria before the Soviet troops arrived on July 24, 1944.  Over 360,000 inmates were murdered (Jews and non-Jews).   After the capture of the camp by the Soviet Army, the NKVD retained the ready-made facility as a prison for Polish soldiers of the Armia Krajowa (AK, the Home Army resistance) who were loyal to the legitimate Polish Government-in-Exile and the Narodowe Siły Zbrojne (National Armed Forces) who also opposed  both German and Soviet occupation. The NKVD like the SS before them used the same facilities to imprison and torture Polish patriots.  (note: The 2005 research by historian Tomasz Kranz, Head of Scientific Department at Majdanek Museum, estimated that there were 79,000 victims, 59,000 of whom were Jewish.)





July 23, 2018

JULY 23 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 23

1942

Jews gassed at Treblinka: The Treblinka extermination camp opened in occupied Poland, east of Warsaw. The SS kept secret the fate that would befall them, and they were sent to their deaths unaware until the very last moment what was happening. The Jews were told that they were being sent to the camp, but that they first had to undergo disinfection and bathe. After the victims undressed, they were taken into the gas chamber (which were made to look like showers, and they were locked into the tightly-sealed chambers which were then filled with Zyklon B gas. After they were killed, Sonderkommando prisoners dragged the corpses out of the gas chambers. They cut off the women’s hair and removed all metal dental work and jewelry. Then they burned the corpses in pits, on pyres, or in the crematorium furnaces. Bones that did not burn completely were ground to powder and then dumped, along with the ashes, in the rivers Soła and Vistula and in nearby ponds, or strewn in the fields, or used as landfill on uneven ground and in marshes.


Czerniakow Committed Suicide:   Adam Czerniaków was the head of the Warsaw Ghetto Judenrat. He committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide pill one day after the Nazi Germans began the mass deportation and extermination of Jews in the Grossaktion Warsaw.  The Judenrat, or Council of Jews was comprised of the elite of the Jewish community, and they served as a self-enforcing intermediary council. Essentially the Judenrat enforced rules that were imposed upon them by the Nazi Germans. This applied to all Jewish Ghettos in German-occupied Poland. The Nazis established the Judenrat to facilitate their administrative control over Jewish communities throughout the occupied areas. Later the Nazis assigned the Judenrat to take control of the administration of "resettlement" of the Jews, in other words, the Judenrat was compelled to choose which Jews would be deported to the death camps. According to Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum has written: "...the Judenrat had no influence on the frightful outcome of the Holocaust; the Nazi extermination machine was alone responsible for the tragedy, and the Jews in the occupied territories, most especially Poland, were far too powerless to prevent it." (Editors note: The members of the Judenrat eventually succumbed to the same fate in the death camps.)


1944

The Lwów Uprising was an armed insurrection launched by Armia Krajowa, the Polish Home Army resistance, against the Nazi Germans who invaded the city of Lwow, Poland. (now Lviv, Ukraine). The Polish Underground had a secret plan, code-named Operation Tempest, that would involve an all-out countrywide Uprising against the Nazi Germans. It was to have occurred just ahead of the expected Soviet advance on the Eastern Front. The Lwów Uprising lasted until July 27 and resulted in the so-called "liberation" of Lwow when the Soviet troops marched in and occupied the city. Shortly afterwards, Polish soldiers were rounded up and arrested by the Soviets; some Polish soldiers were forced to join the Red Army while others were deported to the north-most reaches of the Soviet wasteland.


SECRET AND PERSONAL FROM PREMIER J. V. STALIN TO THE PRIME MINISTER, Mr W. CHURCHILL (no.301)  " Your message of July 20 received. I am now writing to you on the Polish question only.  Events on our front are going forward at a very rapid pace.  Lublin, one of Poland's major towns, was taken today by our troops, who continue their advance.  In this situation we find ourselves confronted with the practical problem of administration on Polish territory. We do not want to, nor shall we, set up our own administration on Polish soil, for we do not wish to interfere in Poland's internal affairs.  That is for the Poles themselves to do. We have, therefore, seen fit to get in touch with the Polish Committee of National Liberation, recently set up by the National Council of Poland, which was formed in Warsaw at the end of last year, and consisting of representatives of democratic parties and groups, as you must have been informed by your Ambassador in Moscow. The Polish Committee of National Liberation intends to set up an administration on Polish territory, and I hope this will be done.  We have not found in Poland other forces capable of establishing a Polish administration. The so-called underground organisations, led by the Polish Government in London, have turned out to be ephemeral and lacking influence. As to the Polish Committee, I cannot consider it a Polish Government, but it may be that later on it will constitute the core of a Provisional Polish Government made up of democratic forces.  As for Mikolajczyk, I shall certainly not refuse to see him.  It would be better, however, if he were to approach the Polish National Committee, who are favourably disposed towards him." (July 23, 1944 )






July 22, 2018

JULY 22 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 22

1940

Vichy Regime revoked citizenship:   The Deputy Secretary of State Raphael Alibert created a committee to review 500,000 naturalizations given since 1927. This resulted in 15,000 people having their French nationality revoked, of whom 40% were Jews. Alibert was the signatory of the Statutes on Jews.


1942

Beginning of massive deportations of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to the newly set up extermination camp, Treblinka.  Germans with Ukrainian and Latvian guards in SS uniforms surrounded the walls of the Ghetto.


1944

Polish National Committee of Liberation (PKWN, or Lublin Committee) was  formed by Stalin to assist in the "administration" of  liberated areas of Poland.  His objective was to undermine and usurp the power of the legitimate Polish Government in Exile, and install in its absence, a puppet regime. The Manifesto of the PKWN contained among its communist rhetoric, a denunciation of the Polish Government in Exile and the Polish Constitution. The Polish Government in Exile in London, instructed General "Bor" Komorowski, commander of Armia Krajowa (Home Army) to prepare for an armed uprising against the German occupation in Warsaw, beginning on August 1, 1944.  The Polish Government in Exile wanted to prevent the communist take-over of Poland, and was determined to reach Warsaw first, so that the city would be liberated by the Poles and not the Soviets.



1952

Adoption of Constitution of the People's Republic of Poland. The constitution was based on the 1936 Soviet Constitution (also known as Stalin Constitution), and it superseded the post-war provisional Small Constitution of 1947 which, in its turn, had declared null and void the pre-war April Constitution, defined as fascist. The Russian text of the Constitution was reviewed and corrected by Soviet premier Joseph Stalin and later translated into Polish. It "legalized" the communist legislature and practices as they had been introduced to Poland with the Polish Committee of National Liberation, in the wake of Red Army progress in 1944. The constitution of 1952 broke the tradition of separation of powers, and introduced instead the Soviet concept of "unity of the state's power"


1983

Martial Law Ended. It began on December 13, 1981.  During that time the communist regime in Poland tried to destroy democratic movement. Thousands of people were arrested and imprisoned, and up to 91 people were killed. But after the end of martial law, political prisoners were not released until a general amnesty in 1986.


2004

Karl Plagge was recognized as Righteous Among Nations by Yad Vashem. Plagge was a member of the German Nazi party in 1931, and was initially inspired by the promises of Adolf Hitler, to rebuild the German economy and restore national pride.  But he was soon removed from the Nazi party for refusing to teach their racial anti-semitic propaganda. The Nazis accused Plagge of being " a friend of the Jews and the Freemasons". Plagge used his position as a staff officer in the German Army to provide employment thereby protecting about 1,240 Jews (500 men, the others women and children). His intervention gave the Jews an improved chance for survival, during a time that resulted in the almost total annihilation of Lithuania’s Jews.(1941–1944)



July 21, 2018

JULY 21 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 21

1944

Hitler's radio speech after the plot:   A day after the failed assassination attempt on his life, Hitler made this broadcast speech,  "For the third time an attempt on my life has been planned and carried out.... The claim made by the usurpers that I am no longer alive is being contradicted at this very moment now that I am speaking to you. ....A very small clique of.... officers have formed a plot to eliminate me and with me, the German Wehrmacht command ....The bomb was placed by Colonel Graf von Stauffenberg.....I therefore now order that no military authority, no leader of any unit, no private in the field is to obey any orders emanating from these groups of usurpers. ....I also order that it is everyone's duty to arrest, or if they resist, to kill at sight anyone issuing or handing on such orders......".


Claus von Stauffenberg was executed:  One day after a failed assassination attempt on Hitler, code-named Operation Valkyrie, German officer, Claus von Stauffenberg was executed by firing squad.  Von Stauffenberg was one of the key members of the German Resistance movement operating within the Wehrmacht, and planned the assassination with the collaboration of Henning von Tresckow and Hans Oster.  General Friedrich Romm, C-C of the Replacement Army was also a co-conspirator, but to save his own life he accused other officers for having taken part in the plot. At 1:00 in the morning, Lieutenant Werner von Haeften, General Friedrich  Olbricht, Colonel Albrecht Mertz  and Stauffenberg were executed by firing squad in the courtyard of the Benderblock, which was lit by the headlights of a truck.



July 20, 2018

JULY 20 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 20

1933

Nuremberg Jews Assaulted by SS:   In Nuremberg, SA storm-troopers broke into four hundred Jewish houses and confiscated cash and savings accounts. About 300 Jews, most of them members of the fraternal order B’Nai B’rith were arrested by the SA, herded into empty lots in the suburbs, and beaten up.


1944

Assassination Plot Against Hitler:  Hitler escaped death when a bomb placed in a briefcase exploded, but failed to kill him. Colonel Stauffenberg, chief of the army reserve, was given the task of planting the bomb during a conference at Berchtesgaden, but the meeting was later moved to Hitler’s “Wolf’s Lair, a command post at Rastenburg, Prussia. Stauffenberg placed the loaded briefcase under a table, then left quickly. Hitler was studying a map of the Eastern front and, Colonel Heinz Brandt, trying to get a better look at the map, moved the briefcase out of the way.  At 12:42 p.m. the bomb exploded. When the smoke cleared, Hitler was wounded, charred, and even suffered the temporary paralysis of one arm, but he was still alive. Hitler believed that Providence had spared his life so that he could continue his 'great cause'. Once Hitler figured out the extent of the conspiracy he ordered the systematic liquidation of his enemies. More than 7,000 Germans were arrested and up to 5,000 would be executed. Hitler, Himmler, and Goering established an ever tighter grip on Nazi Germany and its war machine. (Editors note:  There were numerous attempts by high level German officers who wanted to assassinate Hitler. None of their plans succeeded.)



July 19, 2018

JULY 19 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 19

1939

General Sir Edmund Ironside, Inspector-General of Overseas Forces, arrived in Warsaw on a four-day visit. He met with Marshal Smigly-Ridz, the Inspector-General of the Polish Forces, as well as Polish Foreign Minister Colonel Beck, and General Stachiewicz, the Chief of General Staff.  The visit was considered highly important on both sides. The British wanted to ascertain the Polish military's strategic plans for the imminent war, as well as co-ordinate British, French and Polish military efforts. The visit was seen as symbolic of Anglo-Polish solidarity, and was met with great interest in the Polish capital. This morning,  Ironside placed a  laurel wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Pilsudski Square, and declared in Polish, "Czolem Panie Generali – Heil General".  As a result, Ironside's popularity surged, and Poland felt assured that Britain, and French were reliable allies.  The “Kurjer Poranny”, an official Government periodical commented on Ironside thusly "... Thanks to the constant progress in Britain’s military preparations and to the continuous increase in the strength of the Allies, London, Paris and Warsaw are making ready an armed might which will be capable of offering victorious resistance to every aggression”...." (In his 2012 book, " Pact Ribbentrop-Beck",  Mr. Piotr Zychowicz, wrote that during the July 1939 visit, Ironside told the Polish officers and politicians absurd promises that the RAF would be sent to Poland, and a British aircraft carrier would anchor at Gdynia, among other falsehoods.)


Friction between Danzig and Polish authorities increased tonight following the arrest of 20 persons charged with a “Marxist" dynamite plot against Nazis and the arrival of a Polish navy motor boat in Danzig harbor.


1940

Battle of Britain: Flying Officer Antoni Ostowicz scored the first Polish kill in the Battle by sharing a He 111 over Brighton. Tragically, Ostowicz was also the first Polish pilot to die in the Battle. He was shot down by Messerschmitt Bf 109s south of Swanage. The day also marked the moment that the British RAF finally acknowledged that the Polish pilots were hard-driven aces, and capable of fighting the Germans on equal terms. (Previously, British command did not believe that Polish pilots were experienced, and wasted a lot of time training them on bicycles.)



1989

Wojciech Jaruzelski was President of the Peoples Republic of Poland from 1989 to 1990.  He was notorious for the imposition of martial law against Solidarity. It had always been his intention to crack down on pro-democracy movement.  In 1981, when he became  the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party, he met with the leader of Solidarity, and Jozef Glemp, the Catholic primate,  to discuss the possibility of forming a "coalition" with the Soviet-backed government, which was nonsense, because his objective was to politically crush them.  His subsequent actions spoke louder than words.  He censured, persecuted, arrested, and jailed thousands of Polish journalists, and pro-democracy protesters, without charge. Many Polish protesters were killed in the violence.  This resulted in a socio-economic crisis.  Median income fell by 40 %.  About 700,000 people fled the country.  Jaruzelski's legacy is that of a traitor to Poland.



July 18, 2018

JULY 18 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 18

1944

Polish Troops occupied Ancona: The Battle involving Polish forces serving as part of the British Army (June 16 to July 18, 1944) during the Italian Campaign in World War II. The Battle was the result of an Allied plan to capture the city of Ancona in Italy in order to gain possession of a seaport closer to the fighting so that they could shorten their lines of communication.  On June 16, 1944, the Polish 2nd Corps was given the mission to capture the city from German forces, and accomplished its objectives about a month later on July 18, 1944.


Lublin-Brest Offensive (part of Operation Bagration): Five armies of the 1st Belorussian Front (including one Polish army, the Polish First Army) deployed on the front’s left wing south of the Pinsk Marshes, struck and shattered the defenses of Army Group North Ukraine 4th Panzer Army west of Kovel. Within hours, the front’s 2nd Tank Army and several mobile corps began exploiting success to the west with the infantry following in their wake.  Lieutenant General Nikolai Gusev's 47th Army and Colonel General Vasily Chuikov's 8th Guards Army broke through the German defenses, and by July 21 they had reached the eastern banks of the Bug River.


2nd Bombing of Peenemunde:  Allied aircraft bombed the Nazi rocket test center at Peenemunde.  377 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses bombed the Peenemünde experimental establishment, the scientific HQ at Zinnowitz, and the marshalling yards at Stralsund. Three B-17s were lost and 64 were damaged. Escort was provided by 297 P-38 Lightnings and P-51 Mustangs; they claimed 21-0-12 Luftwaffe aircraft; three P-51s were lost and one was damaged beyond repair.  A Peenemünde test launch planned that day was scrapped when Test Stand VII was heavily damaged. The P-11 production calibration firing stand near Werke Süd was a complete loss, and 50 enemy soldiers were killed, including anti-aircraft soldiers.



July 17, 2018

JULY 17 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 17

1399

Saint Queen Jadwiga of Poland Died:  Jadwiga, the first female monarch of the Kingdom of Poland reigned from October 16, 1384 until her death on July 17, 1399. She was the youngest daughter of Louis the Great, King of Hungary and Poland, and his wife Elizabeth of Bosnia. Jadwiga was a member of the Capetian House of Anjou, but she had more close forebears among the Polish Piasts. Jadwiga was crowned "King" October 16, 1384. Her coronation either signified that the Polish nobility's was opposed to her intended husband, William becoming king, or just emphasized her status as queen regnant. In 1997 she was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.  Numerous legends about miracles were recounted to justify her sainthood. One of them is about "Jadwiga's cross" Jadwiga often prayed before a large black crucifix hanging in the north aisle of Wawel Cathedral. During one of these prayers, the Christ on the cross is said to have spoken to her. The crucifix, "Saint Jadwiga's cross" is still there, with her relics beneath it. Because of this event, she is considered a medieval mystic.


1918

Execution of the Romanov family: By order of the Bolshevik Party and carried out by the Cheka, former emperor Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra Feodorovna, their children, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei, and retainers were shot at the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Their remains were found by an amateur sleuth in 1979 but their existence was kept secret until 1989 during the glasnost period. In 2008, after lengthy legal wrangling, the Russian Prosecutor General's office rehabilitated the Romanov family as "victims of political repressions".  A criminal case was opened by the post-Soviet government in 1993, but nobody was prosecuted on the basis that the perpetrators were dead.


1941

Nazi racial 'philosopher' Alfred Rosenberg was appointed Reich Minister for the Eastern Occupied Territories following the German invasion of Russia. Rosenberg was charged with the duty to administer territories seized from the Soviet Union and to replace the previously Soviet-controlled territories with new Reichskommissariats. He was one of the main authors of key National Socialist ideological creeds, including its racial theory, persecution of the Jews, Lebensraum, abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, and opposition to degenerate modern art. He is known for his rejection of and hatred for Christianity and played an important role in the development of German Nationalist Positive Christianity. After the end of the war he was tried at Nuremberg, and sentenced to death by hanging for war crimes and crimes against humanity.


1942

Himmler watched the gassing of Jews:  On July 17 and 18 Himmler visited Auschwitz-Birkenau to inspect construction and expansion of the crematories. He then observed the extermination process from start to finish of Jews who had arrived on two trainloads from Holland. Kommandant Höss was then promoted.  (After the end of World War II,  on March 11, 1946, British Intelligence captured and arrested Hoss near a farm in Flensburg, Germany. He confessed to his role in the mass killings at Auschwitz in his memoirs and in his trial before the Supreme National Tribunal in Warsaw, Poland.  He was convicted of murder, returned to Auschwitz and hanged on April 16, 1947 at the site of his crimes. Himmler went into hiding after the war, but was captured and interrogated. In May 1945, he committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide pill. He was dead in 15 minutes.)


1945

The Potsdam Conference, was held from July 17 to August 2, 1945 among the three great powers, USSR, U.S.A. and the UK, represented by Stalin, Harry Truman, and Britain's new Prime Minister, Clement Atlee.  The conference was convened to discuss the administration of the defeated Nazi Germany, (which had agreed to an unconditional surrender just nine weeks earlier) as well as to establish post-war order, make peace treaties, and counter the effects of the war. Unlike the late President Franklin Roosevelt, U.S. President Harry Truman was suspicious of Stalin's intentions, and recognized that Stalin was pursuing communist expansion throughout eastern Europe, which was in contradiction to the terms of the Yalta Agreement. Among the decisions made  at Potsdam, were first and foremost the demilitarization, denazification, democratization, decentralization, dismantling and decartelization of Nazi Germany;  that Germany and Austria would have to be divided into four occupation zones (as per the Yalta Agreement), and that the capital cities, Berlin and Vienna, would likewise be divided into four zones; all Nazi criminals would be put on trial (i.e. Nuremberg Trials);  all Nazi German annexations to be reversed;  that Germany's eastern border would be shifted westwards to the Oder–Neisse line, thereby reducing the territorial area of Germany by approximately 25% compared to its 1937 borders. Consequently, the provisional western border for Poland would be the Oder–Neisse line (delineated by the Oder and Neisse rivers), and that Silesia, Pomerania, the southern part of East Prussia and the former Free City of Danzig should be under Polish administration.   It was decided to place severe restrictions on Germany's manufacturing and industrial capacity, among other issues.  Since the fate of Poland had already been agreed to by the Big Three at Yalta, the three representatives at Potsdam agreed to recognize the Soviet-controlled Provisional Government of National Unity (known as the Lublin Poles) and at the same time, it signified the end of allied recognition to the legitimate Polish Government in Exile in London.   Polish nationals and military were permitted to return to Poland, but "without guarantee" for their safety. (Editors note: many Polish military who returned to Poland after the end of the war were arrested and imprisoned by the Soviet NKVD, and many were murdered.)


1947

Raoul Wallenberg died (date unknown):   Raoul Wallenberg  was a Swedish diplomat and humanitarian.  During World War II, he rescued tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary from the German Nazis and Hungarian Fascists.  Wallenberg issued protective passports and sheltered Jews in buildings which were designated as Swedish territory - thus providing diplomatic immunity to them.  In one of his missions he raised enough money to rent  32 buildings in Budapest,declared them protected by diplomatic immunity and put up signs such as "The Swedish Library" and "The Swedish Research Institute"and hung huge Swedish flags on the front of the buildings to complete the facade. Wallenberg succeeded in housing almost 10,000 people.  The last time Wallenberg was seen alive was on January 17, 1945, during the Siege of Budapest by the Red Army. He was arrested by SMERSH and charged with espionage and taken away.  According to a Soviet document of February 6, 1957, officials claim that Wallenberg died on July 17, 1947. Here is an excerpt of the report:  "...I report that the prisoner Wallenberg who is well-known to you, died suddenly in his cell this night, probably as a result of a heart attack or heart failure. Pursuant to the instructions given by you that I personally have Wallenberg under my care, I request approval to make an autopsy with a view to establishing cause of death.... I have personally notified the minister and it has been ordered that the body be cremated without autopsy."   Questions surrounding the circumstances of his death remain a mystery and the basis of numerous theories. Raoul Wallenberg has received countless international awards and monuments erected in his memory, such as Honorary Citizen of the United States, of Canada, of Hungary, of Australia, and of Israel. Yad Vashem has designated Wallenberg as Righteous Among Nations.


July 16, 2018

JULY 16 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 16

1942

Jews of Paris were rounded up:  Following the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup on July 16 and 17, 1942, more than 4,900 of the 13,152 victims, including more than 4,000 children, were arrested and sent directly to the camp at Drancy, from where they were deported in rail cattle cars to Auschwitz for exterminated. The raid was directed by Nazis and French police to eradicate the Jewish population in France, both in the occupied zone and in the free zone.  ( In 1995, French President Jacques Chirac apologized for the complicit role that French policemen and civil servants served in the raid.  And in 2017, President Emmanuel Macron admitted the responsibility of the French State in the roundup and hence, in the Holocaust.)


1945

Three components of the atom bomb, code-named "Little Boy" left Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, California, aboard the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis.  Specifications for building each component was given to three different plants, to ensure that no one had the complete design.  The Naval Gun Factory in Washington, D.C made the gun and breech.;  the Naval Ordnance Plant in Center Line, Michigan, made the target case and other components;  the Expert Tool and Die Company in Detroit, Michigan, made the tail fairing and mounting brackets ( without the fissile components.). There was the concern that an accidental detonation during transport might occur, despite the safety-mechanisms incorporated into the design of the "Little Boy".  Tests were conducted to determine, in the event of a crash, if the hollow "bullet" would be driven onto the "target" cylinder, which would result in a massive release of radiation, or possibly nuclear detonation. But neither possibility was likely since the impact would require 500 times the force of gravity.  In the event of a crash and fire, there was concern that it could trigger the explosives. Or, if it immersed in water, there would be a neutron moderator effect (which would result in massive radioactive contamination of the water.)  Therefore, pilots were instructed on the emergency procedure, that is, to crash on land, rather than at sea.  The "Little Boy" was dropped on Hiroshima, on August 6, 1945.



July 15, 2018

JULY 15 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 15

1410

Battle of Grunwald (2nd Battle of Tannenburg) was fought on July 15, 1410 led by Polish King Władysław Jagiełło and Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas who defeated the Teutonic Ulrich von Jungingen. The Teutonics were virtually decimated, either killed or taken prisoner. Despite their defeat, the Teutonic Knights withstood the siege of their fortress in Marienburg (Malbork) and suffered minimal territorial losses at the Peace of Thorn (1411) (Toruń), with other territorial disputes continuing until the Peace of Melno in 1422. However, they would never recover their former power. War reparations became a financial burden, and inflamed internal conflicts, precipitating an economic downturn in the lands under their control. The Battle of Grunwald shifted the balance of power in Central and Eastern Europe and marked the rise of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth as the dominant political and military force in the region. The battle was one of the largest in Medieval Europe and is regarded as the most important victory in the histories of Poland and Lithuania.


1871

Henryk Arctowski, born Henryk Artzt, was a Polish scientist and explorer. Living in exile for a large part of his life, he was one of the first persons to spend the winter in Antarctica and became an internationally renowned meteorologist. He was instrumental in restoring Polish independence after the First World War. Several geographical features, the Henryk Arctowski Polish Antarctic Station and a medal of the National Academy of Sciences are named in his honor.


1908

Henryk Zygalski (dob) was a Polish mathematician and cryptologist who worked at breaking German Enigma ciphers before and during World War II.  He worked with Marian Rejewski and Jerzy Rozycki to develop methods and equipment for decrypting Enigma messages.  In late 1938 he designed the "perforated sheets," also known as "Zygalski sheets," a manual device for finding Enigma settings. These Polish mathematicians were the first to break the Enigma Code and passed on their information to the French and British governments before the outbreak of World War Two.



July 14, 2018

JULY 14 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 14

1920

Soviets refused to transfer Vilnius back to Lithuania:  In the aftermath of the Polish-Lithuanian conflict as Polish troops were retreating from Western Russia, the Bolsheviks had already entered Vilnius before the Lithuanian troops. Despite the Soviet-Lithuanian Peace Treaty, Russia did not hand back Vilnius to Lithuania. The Soviets intended to establish a puppet government with the purpose of fomenting a socialist revolution, and to overthrow the Lithuanian government. However, their plans did not come to fruition, because Poland defeated Soviet forces in the Battle of Warsaw. However, as the Polish Army was approaching the southern boarders of Lithuania, the Soviets transferred Vilnius back to Lithuanian control, and the Red Army retreated.


1933

Nazi Party declared itself the only legal party: Nazis passed the  "Law against the establishment of political parties" in which it declared the Nazi Party to be the country's only legal party, and allowed itself to make numerous laws banning civil liberties of the Jews. On this day Hitler decreed the Denaturalization Law that revoked citizenship of naturalized Jews and “undesirables.”


Nazi Party passed the the Law for the Prevention of Hereditary Diseased Offspring which called for the compulsory sterilization of people with a range of hereditary, physical, and mental illnesses.


1938

Manifesto della razza (Manifesto of Race) was a manifesto prepared on July 14, 1938 were antisemitic laws which stripped the Jews of Italian citizenship and governmental and professional positions. The manifesto formed the basis of the the enactment of the laws in October 1938, and demonstrated the enormous influence Adolf Hitler had over Benito Mussolini since Italy had become allied with Nazi Germany.



July 13, 2018

JULY 13 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 13

1942

Rovno Pogrom:  The majority of the Jews of western Ukraine town of Rovno, around 23,000 people, were murdered shortly after the Germans invaded in June 1941.  About 5,000  to 7,000 Jews were left in the ghetto.  On the night of  July 13, 1942 the Nazis liquidated the Rovno Ghetto. All 5,355 Jews were forced into cattle carriages to Kostopil and shot.


1944

Operation Foxley was a British SOE plan to assassinate Hitler planned for July 13 or 14. The scheme called for the SOE to parachute a German-speaking Pole and a British sniper into Austria. They would be guided to the Berghof residence disguised as German mountain troops.  The basic plan was to assassinate Hitler during his morning exercise, as he was known to take unprotected walks to the Teehaus on the Mooslahnerkopf Hill from the Berghof residence. The sniper practiced by firing at moving dummy targets with an accurized Kar 98k with a Mauser telescopic sight, the standard rifle of the Wehrmacht. Though plans were made for the assassination of Hitler, it was never carried out, either due to inadequate preparation, or a reconsideration of whether the plan was prudent.


1990

GROM, Poland's special elite forces was officially activated on July 13, 1990.  GROM stands for "Grupa Reagowania Operacyjno-Manewrowego" which in English translates to "Group Operational Maneuvering Response" and is part of five special operation forces in the Polish Armed Forces.  The unit was named after the Cichociemni ("The Silent and Unseen") special underground forces that operated with Allied forces during World War Two. After two Polish diplomats were shot in Beirut in March 1990,  Lt. Col. Sławomir Petelicki was sent to Lebanon to secure the transfer of civilians and the Polish diplomatic outposts. When Petelicki returned to Poland, he presented his plan for the creation of a special military unit to the Ministry of Interior, to counter any terrorist actions. (in 1982 General Edwin Rozłubirski made a similar proposal but the Peoples Army of Poland rejected the idea).  Petelicki's ideas were well received, and GROM was established, with Petelicki as its first Commander on June 13, 1990.  Those wishing to serve in JW GROM must pass a grueling gauntlet of psychological and durability tests, along with what is called "the truth test". Many apply, but few are chosen. GROM recruits train with the best special forces units in the world, including the U.S. Navy Seals.


2000

Jan Karski died on July 13, 2000. He was a Polish resistance fighter with the Armia Krajowa (Home Army). Karski was an underground courier who took on the mission of secretly infiltrating a concentration camp. Disguised as an Estonian guard he entered the Belzec death camp on a fact finding mission. What he saw had haunted him for the rest of his life. In 1942 and 1943 Karski reported his findings to the Polish Government in Exile and to Western Allies on the situation in German-occupied Poland - the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto, and what he learned about the secret German-Nazi extermination camps. Karski also personally met with numerous politicians; Polish politicians in exile, members of political parties, and the British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. Then he traveled to the US and on July 28, 1943 met with Franklin Roosevelt telling him about the situation in Poland, and the Holocaust of the Jews.  In 1944, he published "Courier from Poland: The Story of a Secret State". Karski was a professor at Georgetown University where he taught for forty years, in the areas of East European affairs, comparative government and international affairs. In March 2013, the university republished his book, titled, "My Report to the World: The Story of a Secret State".




July 12, 2018

JULY 12 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 12

1704

Stanislaw Leszcynski was King of part of Poland:  When Augustus died in 1733, Stanisław sought to regain the Polish throne with the help of French support for his candidacy. After traveling to Warsaw in disguise, he was elected King of Poland by an overwhelming majority of the Diet. However, before his coronation, Russia and Austria, fearing Stanisław would unite Poland in the Swedish-French alliance, invaded the country to annul his election. Stanisław was once more deposed, and, under Russian pressure, a small minority in the Diet elected the Saxon elector Frederick Augustus II to the Polish throne as Augustus III. Stanisław retreated to the city of Danzig (Gdańsk) to wait for French assistance, which did not come. Fleeing before the city fell to its Russian besiegers, he then journeyed to Königsberg in Prussia, where he directed guerrilla warfare against the new king and his Russian supporters. The Peace of Vienna in 1738 recognized Augustus III as king of Poland but allowed Stanisław to keep his royal titles while granting him the provinces of Lorraine and Bar for life.


1945

The British Army honored the Soviet military in a ceremony under the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Acting as a representative of King George VI, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery awarded Georgy Zhukov with the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. Konstantin Rokossovsky was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath while Vasily Sokolovsky and Mikhail Malinin were made Knight Commanders of the Order of the British Empire.


1993

Polish Spy Michael Goleniewski died on July 12, 1993 having spent the last years of his life in Queens, New York. Goleniewski was an officer at the notorious Ministry of Public Security in the People's Republic of Poland as well as the head of military counterintelligence GZI WP, later head of the technical and scientific section of the Polish intelligence.  In 1959, Goleniewski became a triple-agent, giving Polish and Soviet secrets to the Central Intelligence Agency. His intel resulted in the exposure of George Blake and Harry Houghton.  Goleniewski defected to the United States in 1961.  (Note: Blake was also a former British spy who worked as a double agent for the Soviet Union. He became a Communist and decided to work for the KGB while a prisoner during the Korean War. Discovered in 1961 and sentenced to 42 years in prison, he escaped from Wormwood Scrubs prison in 1966 and fled to the USSR.  Note:  Houghton was a spy for the People's Republic of Poland and the USSR during the Cold War. He was a member of the Portland Spy Ring. He and his accomplice Gee were discovered and on March 22, 1961 they were both sentenced to fifteen years in prison.



July 11, 2018

JULY 11 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 11

1920

East and West Prussia voted in a plebiscite to become part of Germany, though a section of West Prussia would be handed to Poland to provide a 'Polish Corridor':  The East Prussian plebiscite dealt with the issue of self-determination of the regions southern Warmia (Ermland), Masuria (Mazury, Masuren) and Powiśle, which had been in parts of the East Prussian Government Region of Allenstein and of West Prussian Government Region of Marienwerder, and was to be held in accordance with Articles 94 to 97 of the Treaty of Versailles. The German side engaged in mass persecution of Polish activists, their Masurian supporters, hunted them down and murdered them to influence the vote. Poles boycotted the preparations for the plebiscite, which was tampered with by the Germans in an effort to manipulate the results.. The German conducted plebiscite reported a majority of voters selected East Prussia over Poland (over 97% in the Allenstein Plebiscite Area (de) and 92% in the Marienwerder Plebiscite Area (de); most of the territories in question remained in the Free State of Prussia, ie, in Germany.


1939

In Jazłowiec, the 14th Regiment of Jazłowiec Uhlans celebrated its Day.  The Regiment was a cavalry unit of the Polish Army in the Second Polish Republic, and named after the village of Jazlowiec where in July 1919, they fought one of the battles of the Polish-Ukrainian War. They were stationed in Lwow in the interbellum period, and were a unit in the Polish Armed Forces in the West, and the Home Army during WW2.


1943

Bloody Sunday, the beginning of Massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia: OUN-UPA death squads aided by the local Ukrainian peasants simultaneously attacked at least 99 Polish settlements within the Wołyń Voivodeship of the prewar Second Polish Republic under the German occupation. It was an orchestrated attack on people gathered for a Sunday mass at Catholic churches.The towns affected included Kisielin (Kisielin massacre), Poryck (Poryck Massacre), Chrynów (Chrynów massacre), Zabłoćce, Krymn, with dozens of other towns attacked at different dates with tens of churches and chapels burned to the ground. The Volhynian massacres spread over four prewar voivodeships including Wołyń with 60,000 victims, as well as Lwów, Stanisławów and Tarnopol in Lesser Poland with 70,000 Poles murdered for the total of 130,000 Polish victims of UPA terror. The Bloody Sunday of July 11, 1943, is not to be confused with the Stanisławów Ghetto Bloody Sunday massacre of 10,000 to 12,000 Polish Jews on October 12, 1941, before the Stanisławów Ghetto announcement.


Zagaje massacre:   Troops of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army group "Piwnicz", aided by Ukrainian peasants, massacred ethnic Poles - about 260 to 350 men, women, and children.  The village Zagaje was leveled out and does not exist anymore. It was located in the gmina Podberezie of the Horochów County in the Wołyń Voivodeship of the Second Polish Republic (now, Horokhiv Raion, Ukraine)


Gurów massacre:  The Ukrainian Insurgent Army death squad from Group "Piwnicz"and Ukrainian peasants launched a massacre of the Polish citizens in the town of Gurow. It took place during the Massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia.  Gurów was located in Gmina Grzybowica, Powiat Włodzimierz in the Wołyń Voivodeship of the Second Polish Republic. The town no longer exists. Of the 480 Polish citizens of Gurów about 70 people managed to escape death by hiding from the attackers. Historians Władysław and Ewa Siemaszko have confirmed by name the 200 Poles and 2 Jews murdered in Gurow. The killing spread to other nearby towns -  Wygranka, Zdżary, Zabłoćce, Sądowa, Nowiny, Zagaje (see Zagaje massacre), Poryck (see: Poryck massacre), Oleń, Orzeszyn, Romanówka, Lachów, and Gucin.


1944

Wilhelm Koppe, an SS-Obergruppenführer and head of the Höhere SS und Polizei Führer,  was wounded on July 11, 1944 in Kraków in a plot code-named Operation Heads (Glowki). The Operation consisted of several Nazi officers targeted for assassination, and was carried out by members of the Polish Resistance.  Nazi German officers were sentenced to death by the Special Courts of the Polish Underground for crimes against Polish citizens during the World War II occupation of Poland. The name of the operation, "Operation Heads" was a sarcastic reference to the Totenkopf (Gr. 'skull') 'Death's Head' symbol of SS Nazi German uniforms and headgear.




July 10, 2018

JULY 10 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 10

1940

The Battle of Britain began. It was the first major military campaign fought entirely by the air forces of Britain and its Allies against the German Luftwaffe. The Luftwaffe launched their offensive in conjunction with an air and sea blockade.Their targets were centered on British coastal shipping convoys, ports, and shipping centres such as Portsmouth. By mid-August the Luftwaffe began attacking RAF airfields and infrastructure, as well as factories producing aircraft, and strategic infrastructure.  Eventually the Luftwaffe turned their guns on the British civilians and began a massive bombing campaign (The Blitz) on coastal towns and cities. By early September, the city of London became the target. A great part of the city was bombed and left in a mass of smoldering rubble. The Blitz resulted in 43,000 civilians dead and up to 139,000 injured.  The RAF suffered heavy casualties, a situation which was exacerbated by their inexperienced pilots. To offset these losses, the RAF called in reinforcements from their allies, comprising of 145 Poles, 127 New Zealanders, 112 Canadians, 88 Czechoslovaks, 10 Irish, 32 Australians, 28 Belgians, 25 South Africans, 13 French, 9 Americans, 3 Southern Rhodesians.  Despite being outnumbered, the Royal Air Force and its Allies demonstrated their air superiority over the German air force and won the Battle on October 31, 1940. Victory in the Battle was assured largely due to the participation of the Polish Air Forces, in particular the famous No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron, also called the Kosciuszko Squadron, which contained the largest number of ace pilots in the RAF.  The 303 had the highest RAF kill score in the Battle of Britain.   Commanders Witold Urbanowicz, Jan Zumbach, and Zdzisław Henneberg (just to name a few) were among the many heroic Polish commanders and pilots who fought for Britain.  (Read about the Kosciuszko Squadron)


1941

Jedwabne Pogrom was a massacre of 340 Jews from the village of Jedwabne, Poland.  On this day, a group of at least 40 Polish males were involved, after being summoned in Jedwabne by the order of Mayor Marian Karolak, and German paramilitaries, called Ordnungspolizei. The SS, Gestapo and Einsatzgruppe forces were also complicit. They then rounded up the local Jews as well Jews who sought refuge from the nearby towns of Wizna and Kolno, and took the them to the town square where they were humiliated and beaten. Ultimately, the Jews were forced into a barn, killed and the barn set on fire with them in it. (These are the official findings of the Institute of National Remembrance, which "confirmed by the number of victims in the two graves, according to the estimate of the archeological and anthropological team participating in the exhumation," wrote prosecutor Radosław J. Ignatiew, who headed an investigation in 2000–2003 ordered by the Polish government..)


1942

Himmler gave the order for sterilization experiments at Ravensbrueck:  In a letter from SS-Obersturmbannführer Brandt to Prof. Clauberg, July 10, 1942, read as follows: " Today the Reich Leader SS  (Himmler) charged me with transmitting to you his wish that you go to Ravensbrueck after you have had another talk with SS-Obergruppenführer Pohl and the camp physician of the women's concentration camp Ravensbrueck, in order to perform the sterilization of Jewesses according to your method... (source: Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals - Washington, U.S Govt. Print. Off., 1949-1953, Vol. I, p. 729)


1945

Augustow Roundup:  The Augustów roundup was a military operation against the Polish anti-communist partisans which occurred following the Soviet takeover of Poland. Soviet forces with the assistance of Polish communist units,  conducted the roundup from July 10 to July 25, 1945 in Suwałki and Augustów region (Podlasie) of northern People's Republic of Poland. Out of 2,000 arrested by the Soviet forces, about 600 disappeared.  They were  presumed to have been executed and buried in an unknown location in Russia or Belarus. The Polish Institute of National Remembrance has declared the 1945 Augustów roundup "the largest crime committed by the Soviets on Polish lands after World War II".  The crime has been called "second Katyn", in reference to the Katyn massacre in 1940, when the Soviet NKVD executed over 16,000 Polish officers, soldiers, and intelligentsia.



July 9, 2018

JULY 9 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 9

1937

Construction of Piłsudski's Mound was completed in Kraków:   In 1934 the Polish Legionists, and their associations, proposed to build a monument commemorating the re-establishment of Poland's independence. The Committee to oversee construction was created in Warsaw, and was chaired by Walery Sławek. Construction began on August 6, 1934, the 20th anniversary of the departure of First Cadre Company from Kraków at the beginning of World War I. After the death of Marshal Józef Piłsudski on May 12, 1935, the Legionists - former subordinates of Piłsudski, the creator of the Legions - decided to change the name of the mound after their leader. The mound was completed on July 9, 1937. Soil from every World War I battlefield in which Poles fought was placed into the mound.


1943

Allies invaded Sicily:  The invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky, began with a large amphibious and airborne operation, to capture the island of Sicily from German forces.  Just after midnight on July 9 to 10, 1943,  two American and two British airborne troops were dispatched, but due to strong winds of 45 miles per hour (72 km/h) the aircraft was blown off course and the American parachutists landed over a large area in south-east Sicily.  Four days later, only half the US troops reached their rallying points. The British however, experienced a better landing. The seaborne invasion was successful as German troops were not expecting this line of attack under difficult conditions. The key to the successful incursion was to capture the ports in order to facilitate the buildup of Allied forces and capture German airfields.   General Montgomery's British Eighth Army was, therefore, to capture the Pachino airfield on Cape Passero and the port of Syracuse before moving northwards to take the ports of Augusta and Catania. Their objectives also included the landing fields around Gerbini, on the Catania plain. The objectives of Lieutenant General Patton's U.S. Seventh Army included capturing the port of Licata and the airfields of Ponte Olivo, Biscari and Comiso. It was then to prevent the enemy reserves from moving eastward against the Eighth Army's left flank. In the ensuing weeks, the Allied push inland was met with fierce Axis resistance, as the inclusion of Italian armour posed a veritable threat to Allied advances.  But by July 27, the German commanders realized that the campaign had swung in favor of the Allies, and the Germans began planning for evacuation of Messina.  Two days later Kesselring reported to Hitler that an evacuation could be accomplished in three days and presented initial written plans, dated August 1st. Over the next several days, the Germans commenced evacuation without approval, and transferred 12,000 men, 4,500 vehicles and 5,000 tons of equipment. Casualties were high on all sides.  Operation Husky was concluded on August 17.  Mussolini was toppled from power, and the way was opened for the Allied invasion of Italy, the beginning of the Italian Campaign, and the most ferocious battle of all - the Battle of Monte Cassino.



July 8, 2018

JULY 8 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 8

1947

The Hostages Trial was the seventh of 12 trials of the United States Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (not to be confused with the Nuremberg Trials). It was also called the "Subsequent Nuremberg Trials". The trial was held from July 8, 1947 to February 19, 1948. This case was also referred to as the "Southeast Case" because the defendants were Nazi German generals who commanded their troops in south-eastern Europe during the Balkans Campaign ( in Greece, Albania and Yugoslavia). The accused were charged for taking civilians as hostages, the murder of hundreds of thousands of civilians and "partisans", the plundering and destruction of villages, torture of prisoners and their deportation to concentration camps. Of the 12 defendants indicted, Franz Böhme committed suicide before the arraignment, Maximilian von Weichs was excused from the trial due to alleged medical reasons. Of the remainder two were acquitted and the rest of them received sentences ranging from seven years to lifetime imprisonment. 

1980

The first strike in Poland started on July 8, 1980 in the State Aviation Works in Świdnik. Though they lacked any coordinating center, the workers were still able to spread their news through an information network.  The Workers Defence Committee, (a dissident group set up in 1976 to provide aid to victimized workers) attracted the support of many small groups of workers from industrial centers.  At the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, the firing of Anna Walentynowicz, a popular crane operator and activist, galvanized the enraged workers to take action.


1997

NATO invited Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic to join. NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana extended the official invitation following a three-hour meeting where NATO chiefs debated how far and how fast to expand the organization..  "The day when Poland is invited to negotiations on NATO membership has a chance of going down in history as the end of the Yalta order in Europe," PAP news agency quoted Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz as saying.



July 7, 2018

JULY 7 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 7

1943

The Polish Underground State imposed severe punishment to anyone found guilty of  collaborating with the Nazis,blackmailing Jews, or handing Jews over to the Germans.  The Polish Directorate for Civil Action printed these warnings and distributed them throughout Poland in their underground newspapers.  On this day, the underground Polish Court handed down sentence to a Polish man guilty of the crime of treason.  The Court Sentence read as follow: " By sentence of the special court in Warsaw, on July 7, 1943, Borys, alias Boguslaw, alias Boguslaw Jan Pilnik, born on May 5, 1912, son of Aleksander and Felicjy Szolkowska, domiciled in Warsaw, ulica Pierackiego 17, was sentenced to death and the loss of civic and public rights for collaborating with Nazi authorities to the detriment of the Polish community and for denouncing to German authorities, Polish citizens of Jewish nationality who were hiding from the Germans;  also for extorting from his victims large sums of money under pretext of needing this money to protect the persons hiding;  subsequently, after betraying them to the Germans, they extorted from the families of his victims various possessions - allegedly to supply them to the arrested person but which he appropriated to himself.  (Directorate for Civil Action)  The sentence was carried out August 25, 1943.


 1944

The Polish Home Army began Operation Ostra Brama, an armed uprising against Nazi occupiers in Wilno as part of Operation Tempest. Although the the Polish army were able to defeat the Germans, the following day the Soviet Red Army entered the city and the Soviet NKVD proceeded to intern and arrest Polish soldiers and their officers. Several days later, the Soviets took control of Wilno, while the remaining Polish troops retreated into the surrounding forests.  Gradually, the Soviets encircled the area and captured them.  The West did not know about this situation. The British media was censored, by decree of the Minister of Information, Brendan Bracken, so that news about Soviet actions would not leak to the West.  Britain, and the US did not want to sully the image of the Soviet Union as the "liberator" of Europe from Nazi evil.  And Poland had already lost its eastern territories to Stalin at the Tehran Conference, but none of the Polish soldiers fighting in the Battle of Wilno knew about it at the time.




July 6, 2018

JULY 6 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 6

1938

Evian Conference:  Representatives from 33 nations convened at Évian-les-Bains, France, to discuss the Jewish refugee problem and the plight of the increasing numbers of Jewish refugees fleeing persecution by Nazi Germany. The conference was organized and led by President Franklin Roosevelt who anticipated that other nations would accept more Jewish refugees . Roosevelt used the conference as a way to deflect attention and criticism away from American policy for its severe quota restrictions of Jewish refugees admitted to the US.  The conference was attended by representatives from 32 countries, and 24 voluntary organizations also attended as observers, presenting plans either orally or in writing. Golda Meir, the attendee from British Mandate Palestine, was not permitted to speak or to participate in the proceedings except as an observer. Some 200 international journalists gathered at Évian to observe and report on the meeting. The conference was ultimately doomed, as delegations from the 32 participating nations refused to come to any agreement about accepting the Jewish refugees fleeing the Third Reich. Only two countries, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, increased their quotas. The result of the failure of the conference was that many of the Jews had no escape and were ultimately the target of Hitler's "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" - the Holocaust.  Two months after Évian, in September 1938, Britain and France granted Hitler the right to occupy the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia and as a result 120,000 Jews became stateless. In November 1938, on Kristallnacht, a massive pogrom across the Third Reich was accompanied by the destruction of over 1,000 synagogues, massacres and the arbitrary arrest of tens of thousands of Jews. In March 1939, Hitler occupied the remainder of Czechoslovakia, which now took in a further 180,000 Jews. In May 1939 the British issued the White Paper which barred Jews from entering Palestine or buying land there.  Following their occupation of Poland in late 1939 and invasion of Soviet Union in 1941, the Germans embarked on a program of systematic deportation, and murder of millions of Jews from throughout Europe.  The only way that Nazis could have accomplished this treachery was with the assistance of local authorities, military and police, who organized the identification and removal of the Jews.


1942

Anne Frank and her family went into hiding. They intentionally left their apartment in disarray to give the impression that they "left in a hurry" and Otto, her father, left a note that they were going to Switzerland. The Frank family had to walk to the their shelter,  a building which housed the Opekta office on Prinsengracht, where they hid inside a three storey space (a few of the employees in the building knew about it) A week later the van Pels family joined them, which created some friction in an already confined space, something that Anne Frank wrote about in her diary. This hiding place became known as the Achterhuis (translated as "Secret Annex" in English editions of the diary). On August 4, 1944, their Achterhuis was stormed by the SS, arrested them and interrogated them at the police headquarters where they were kept overnight. The SS treated them as if they were criminals and they were sent to a work camp to do hard labour.


1950

German Democratic Republic agreed to accept the Oder-Niesse boundary with Poland. (The Treaty of Zgorzelec (Full title The Agreement Concerning the Demarcation of the Established and the Existing Polish-German State Frontier, also known as the Treaty of Görlitz and Treaty of Zgorzelic) The agreement was signed under Soviet pressure by Otto Grotewohl, prime minister of the provisional government of the GDR (East Germany) and Polish premier Józef Cyrankiewicz. It recognized the Oder-Neisse line implemented by the 1945 Potsdam Agreement as the border between the two states. The treaty was worded as a declaration and was not initially recognized by West Germany as a legitimate international treaty.  It wasn't until 1990 when a reunified Germany recognized the Oder-Niesse boundary, in the German-Polish Border Treaty.



July 5, 2018

JULY 5 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 5

1920

Spa Conference in Belgium: The conference convened between the Supreme War Council and the government of the Weimar Republic in Spa, Belgium from July 5 to 16, 1920.  The discussions included disarmament of Germany and war reparations required by the Treaty of Versailles, trial of German war criminals, status of Gdansk, territorial dispute over Cieszyn Silesia (between the Second Polish Republic and Czechoslovakia). Following the conclusion of the conference on July 28, 1920,  the territory was divided between the states leaving Zaolzie with a sizable Polish minority on the Czech side of the border, a decision  which created more conflicts between the two nations.


1944

Karl Freudenthal, a Kreishauptmann, was responsible for the murder of Jews and Poles in Garwolin and for the deportation of Jews to the ghettos. Freudenthal was assassinated in a plot called Operation Heads (Glowki). It  was the code name used by the Polish Resistance for their plan to conduct a series of assassinations of Nazi officers.  Those targeted for assassination had been sentenced to death by the Special Courts of the Polish Underground for crimes against Polish citizens during the World War II occupation of Poland. The name of the operation, "Operation Heads" was a sarcastic reference to the Totenkopf (Gr. 'skull') 'Death's Head' symbol of SS Nazi German uniforms and headgear.


1945

The British and American governments withdrew recognition of the legitimate Polish Government In Exile, and officially recognized Stalin's Provisional Government of National Unity (ie the TRJN). France had already withdrawn its recognition on June 29, 1945, though the Vatican did not recognize the TRJN.  The TRJN was the puppet government Stalin established in Poland, which had been decided at the Yalta Conference between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin (February 4 to 11, 1945) to establish post-war "spheres of influence."  Despite subsequent discussions between the Soviets and Polish Prime Minister Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, the decision was already fait accompli, and Poland had been betrayed into the hands of Stalin by Britain and the United States.   (see January 5, 1945)



July 4, 2018

JULY 4 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 4

1610

The Battle of Klushino, also called the Battle of Kłuszyn, was fought on July 4, 1610, between forces of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, and the Tsardom of Russia during the Polish–Muscovite War, part of Russia's Time of Troubles. It took place near the village of Klushino, near Smolensk. In the battle the outnumbered Polish force secured a decisive victory over Russia, due to the tactical competence of hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski and the military prowess of Polish Winged Hussars,the elite of the army of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland. This battle was among the greatest victories of the Polish cavalry and demonstrated the excellence and supremacy of the Polish military at the time.


1940

Churchill's Speech on Taking French Fleet:  Winston Churchill addressed the House of Commons regarding the British attack on French ships the previous day. "It is with sincere sorrow that I must now announce to the House the measures which we have felt bound to take in order to prevent the French fleet from falling into German hands.....after all preparation had been made we took the greater part of the French fleet under our control or else called upon them with an adequate force to comply with our requirements.  Two battleships, two light cruisers, some submarines, including a very large one, including the Surcouf - eight destroyers and approximately 200 smaller but extremely useful mine sweeping, and anti-submarine craft which lay for the most part in Portsmouth and Plymouth, were boarded by superior forces after a brief notice had been given......We must of course expect to be attacked, or even invaded....in our own island home before very long.....We are making every preparation in our power to repel the assaults of the enemy....In the fullest harmony with our Dominions we are moving through a period of extreme danger and splendid hope when every virtue in our race will be tested and all that we have and are will be freely staked. This is not a time for doubts or weaknesses. This is the supreme hour to which we are called....."  Churchill was readying the nation for an attack by Germany as France had just fallen to the Germans on June 10, 1940, and signed an armistice with Hitler.  Churchill thus declared that, "The Battle of France is over...the Battle of Britain is about to begin."


1941

25 Polish Professors massacred in Lwow:   The German Gestapo (aided by soldiers of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) systematically executed 25 Polish professors in the town of Lwow (now Lviv, Ukraine).  The names of the professors had been reported to the authorities by the university students affiliated with the OUN.  Among those arrested was Roman Rencki, a director of the Clinic for Internal Diseases at Lwów University, who was kept in NKVD prison and whose name was also on the list of Soviet prisoners sentenced to death. The professors were transported to the Abrahamowicz's dormitory where they were tortured and interrogated. The head of the department in the Jewish hospital, Adam Ruff, was shot during an epileptic attack. On the morning of July 4, 1941,   the professors were shot to death (either in the Wulka hills or in the courtyard of the Bursa Abrahamowiczów building). Many of the people killed were prominent leaders of Polish (and  Polish-Jewish) society: politicians, artists, aristocrats, sportsmen, scientists, priests, rabbis and other members of the intelligentsia.  The massacre and many others like it were attempts by the Nazis to eliminate Polish resistance, and essentially destroy the very fabric of Polish culture and society.


1943

Polish General Died in Suspicious Plane Crash  A plane carrying  General Wladyslaw Sikorski plunged into the sea immediately after takeoff from Gibraltar, killing all on board except the pilot. The exact circumstances of Sikorski's death have been disputed and have given rise to a number of different theories surrounding the crash and his death. Sikorski  had been the most prestigious leader of the Polish exiles, and his death was a severe setback for the Polish cause.  A British Court of Inquiry convened days later to investigate the crash of Sikorski's Liberator II serial AL 523, but was unable to establish  the cause. They concluded that it was "due to jamming of elevator controls",  noting that "it has not been possible to determine how the jamming occurred but it has been established that there was no sabotage." The Polish Government in Exile in London refused to accept this report, due to the contradiction in the Soviet argument - that is, that the cause was "not determined" but sabotage was being ruled out. The controversy exists to this day.


1946

Kielce pogrom broke out on the morning of July 4, 1946 and lasted until mid-afternoon.  Polish soldiers, police officers, and civilians participated in attacking and killing 42 Jews, wounding 40 others. A riot broke out when a young Polish boy, who had disappeared for a couple of days, returned home and claimed that he had been kidnapped by a Jewish man. The police searched the man's home and found nothing, and the kidnapping accusation was quickly retracted. But the police began to spread rumours that the Jews of the house were killing Polish children, it instigated a riot and blood lust that continued from morning until mid-afternoon. None of the authorities would, or could stop it. Mobs of police, army and civilians attacked and killed Jewish men, women and children, at random, wounding many others.  The Kielce pogrom was the deadliest attack against Polish Jews. It took place shortly after the end of World War Two and the Holocaust. The massacre shocked Jews and Poles in Poland, and the international community.  But the violence did not end there. Wounded Jews who were transported to hospital were beaten and robbed by soldiers, while injured Jews were assaulted in the hospital by other patients.   Professor Bozena Szaynok, a famous and respected Polish historian has analyzed the details of the Kielce pogrom based on new information recently released (though the most important documents had been destroyed 1989 concerning the involvement of certain army units).  In an article she posted on the web, entitled, "The Jewish Pogrom in Kielce, July 1946 - New Evidence" she shed more light on the events, asserting that there were underlying political conspiracies committed by the communist Polish Ministry of Public Security.  The Soviet objective was to deflect attention away from the upcoming parliamentary election in Poland, which was preceded by a rigged (Soviet-led) referendum.  Professor Szaynok has written several books about Polish Jewish history and Polish Jewish relations. In 2016, the President of the Republic of Poland honored her with the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for her "merit in investigating and commemorating the truth about tragic events in Kielce on July 4, 1946".


2010

Bronisław Komorowski was elected President. He was the fifth President of Poland. He had served as Minister of Defence from 2000 to 2001 and as Marshal of the Sejm (Speaker of the lower house of Parliament).  Komorowski exercised the powers and duties of Head of State following the tragic death of President Lech Kaczyński in a plane crash on April 10, 2010.  Komorowski was then the governing Civic Platform party's candidate in the resulting presidential election, which he won in the second round of voting on July 4, 2010. He was sworn in as President on August 6, 2010. Komorowski thus became the second person to serve on two occasions as Polish Head of State since 1918, after Maciej Rataj. On May 25, 2015, Komorowski conceded the Presidency of Poland to the rival candidate Andrzej Duda, after the latter gained a 51.5% majority in the second round of the presidential election, the closest election in Polish history.