July 28, 2018




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.


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.


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.


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 )

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