POLISH GREATNESS TRAFFIC

August 31, 2018

AUGUST 31 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 31

1939

On the night of August 30-31, German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop read a 16-point German proposal to the British ambassador. When the ambassador requested a copy of the proposals for transmission to the Polish Government in Exile, Ribbentrop refused, on the grounds that the requested Polish representative had failed to arrive by midnight. Later on August 31, Polish Ambassador Lipski went to see Ribbentrop  to confirm that Poland was willing to enter negotiations, but that he did not have the full power to sign, Ribbentrop summarily dismissed him. Germany then broadcast that Poland had rejected Germany's "offer" for negotiations, and talks came to an abrupt end. Hitler issued orders for the invasion of Poland the next day.


Hitler issued Directive No. 1, ordering an attack on Poland to begin September 1: He declared  "Since the situation on Germany's Eastern frontier has become intolerable and all political possibilities of peaceful settlement have been exhausted, I have decided upon a solution by force.  The attack on Poland will be undertaken in accordance with the preparations made for 'Case White', with such variations as may be necessitated by the build-up of the Army which is now virtually complete.  The allocation of tanks and the purpose of the operation remain unchanged.  Date of attack 1st September 1939.   This time also applies to operations at Gdynia, in the Bay of Danzig, and at the Dirschau bridge..... "


Nazi Propaganda at Gleiwitz: Sturmbanfuehrer Alfred Naujocks of the SD led a party of German convicts dressed in Polish uniforms, staging a fake attack on the German radio station at Gleiwitz. The so-called "raiders" burst into the studios, broadcast a patriotic announcement in Polish, fired a few shots and left. Once outside the convicts were executed by the SS and their bodies left there for the local police to find.  Within hours, other German radio stations broadcast the news of the "unprovoked attack on the Reich and falsely accused the Polish Army of the attack. The incident was staged by the Nazis as a pretext for invading Poland. In his testimony at the Nuremberg Trials, Naujocks stated that he organized the incident under orders from Reinhard Heydrich and Heinrich Muller, chief of the Gestapo.


1940

Polish fought in the Battle of Britain:   The No. 303 ("Kościuszko") Polish Fighter Squadron was formed on August 1, 1940 and became operational on August 31, 1940.  The 303 was one of 16 Polish squadrons in the British Royal Air Force (RAF). The PAF in Britain consisted of about 8,000 Polish airmen. The Polish pilots were among the aces in the Battle of Britain, and gained enormous prestige in their valor and skill in aerial combat. Their experience and skill was superior to that of the British pilots, as the Poles were constantly "scanning the skies" for enemy aircraft, and relied on their own quick instincts in battle.  Not only did they hold the highest scores of the Hurricane squadrons during the Battle of Britain, but they achieved the highest ratio of enemy aircraft destroyed and damaged. The Kosciszko squadron was named after General Tadeusz Kosciuszko,  the Polish and United States hero, (who fought in the American War of Independence) and the Polish 7th Air Escadrille founded by Merian C. Cooper, that served Poland in the 1919–1921 Polish-Soviet War.  Sir Archibald Sinclair,  British Air Minister sent a letter to the Polish airmen after WWII, in which he said, "... Our shortage of trained pilots would have made it impossible to defeat the German air force and so win the Battle of Britain if the...airmen of Poland had not leapt into the breach.......[We] do not forget that you were the first to resist the aggressor....neither do...[we] forget that you came after manifold trials to our aid when we most needed your help.  Your valiant squadrons fighting alongside our own were in the forefront in the Battle of Britain and so helped to restore the fortunes of the Allies throughout the years of struggle.  In good times and bad you have stood by us and shared with the RAF their losses and their victories......"


1944

Polish Insurgents Escaped Through Sewers:  Since the beginning of the Warsaw Uprising, Polish insurgents relied heavily on Warsaw's extensive network of sewers as a vital link of communication, and transport between Polish units throughout the city center.  By the end of August, the sewers were used by Polish Home Army soldiers and Polish citizens in an emergency evacuation to flee the increasing German onslaught. The most successful evacuation was of over 5,000 Polish soldiers and citizens from the Old Town district to the City Center and Zoliborz areas. It was only by the end of August that Germans discovered the sewer network and  attempted to destroy the operation by pouring gasoline into the sewers and igniting it, or laying mines and building obstacles.  Despite the horrific dangers, the Poles continued the evacuation until the end of September.


1980

Gdansk Agreement:  The agreement was the direct result of the 21 demands of the Interfactory Strike Committee (MKS),  resulting from the Gdansk strikes.  With wide support of other striking groups, and the citizens, the communist-controlled Polish government finally gave in to their demands. This ushered in democratic changes within a communist political system.  Among their demands were the formation of independent trade unions,  the right to strike, economic decentralisation, freedom of speech and of the press, fair workers compensation and working conditions, among others.  These developments led to the creation and rise of Solidarność (Solidarity), the independent trade union that emerged from the Lenin Shipyard strike, led by Lech Walesa.  It achieved unparalleled power and success of over 10 million Poles across the country.  Solidarosc negotiated for Poland's interests, and led the way to a free, and independent Poland again. (see August 17, 1980)


1982

Solidarity National Wide Demonstrations:  Solidarnosc, organized anti-government street demonstrations to commemorate the second anniversary of the Gdańsk Agreement. The bloodiest protest occurred in southwestern Poland, in the town of Lubin in which three protesters were killed by Communists and an unspecified number of wounded. On the same day, rallies and demonstrations took place in 66 cities across the country.  Street fights were a common sight not only in major urban centers, such as Warsaw, Kraków, Szczecin, Wrocław, Łódź, and Gdańsk, but also in provincial cities (Rzeszów, Koszalin, Kielce, Przemyśl, Częstochowa, Bielsko-Biała, Gorzów Wielkopolski), and towns (Starachowice, Lubin, Konin). In Wrocław, which was one of main centers of underground Solidarity, several thousand people fought against riot police and soldiers for many hours.  One demonstrator, 27-year-old Kazimierz Michałczyk, was killed by a bullet.   Other victims of police brutality were: 32-year-old Piotr Sadowski from Gdańsk, Mieczysław Joniec from Nowa Huta, and Jacek Osmański from Toruń. Stanisław Raczek was severely beaten during a protest in Kielce, and died on September 7. He was 35.



August 30, 2018

AUGUST 30 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 30

1940

RAF 303rd Kosciuszko Squadron began air operations. The pilots had been waiting for weeks and desperate to get into the action. Most of them were veterans and experienced in the strategies of aerial battle.  They had to endure weeks of being trained on bicycles by the British commanders at RAF Northolt. Finally the Polish aces had the chance to fly in combat. They scored their first victory (though officially still non-operational) by shooting down a German Messerschmitt Bf 110 of 4./ZG 76 (initially incorrectly recorded as a Dornier Do 17). The wreck was excavated in 1982. Polish pilot F/O Ludwik Paszkiewicz scored the kill during a so-called training flight. He was already an skilled and accomplished pilot.  After Squadron Leader Kellet's personal recommendation, the squadron was declared officially operational next day by No. 11 Group RAF.


Battle of Britain:  Six of the squadron units Hurricanes took off to carry out a mock attack on 6 Blenheim bombers in the St. Albans area. Polish Officer Ludwik Paskiewicz, described the attack in his official report as follows, "After a while we noticed ahead a number of aircraft carrying out various evaluations… I reported it the Commanding Officer, S/Ldr [Squadron Leader] Kellett, by the R/T (radio-telephone), and, as he did not seem to reply, I opened up the throttle and went in the direction of the enemy…Then I noticed, at my own altitude, a bomber with twin rudders – probably a Dornier – turning in my direction…Then I aimed at the fuselage and opened fire from about 200 yards, later transferring it to the port engine, which I set on fire…The Dornier…dived and then hit the ground without pulling out of the dive and burst into flames. I have been firing at an enemy aircraft for the first time in my life." When he returned to base, Paszkiewicz was reprimanded for disobeying orders, but also congratulated for making the squadrons first kill.  (Note:  Paskiewicz'  aerial attack was immortalised in the famous classic scene, "Repeat, please" scene in the film the Battle of Britain.)


1978

Henryk Zygalski died on August 30, 1978. He was a civilian cryptologist with the Polish General Staff's Biuro Szyfrów (Cipher Bureau), housed in the Saxon Palace in Warsaw. He worked there with fellow Poznań University alumni and Cipher Bureau cryptology-course graduates Marian Rejewski and Jerzy Różycki. Together they developed methods and equipment for breaking Enigma messages.  The Polish Underground captured a German Engima machine, which Rejewski and his colleagues worked on breaking the Enigma Code. Before World War Two broke out the Polish mathematicians had already constructed working replicas of the Enigma machine and gave one each to the authorities in England and France.



August 29, 2018

AUGUST 29 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 29

1755

Jan Henryk Dąbrowski (dob) was a Polish general, widely respected after his death for his patriotic fervor, and praised as a national hero.  He served in the Saxon Army and joined the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Army in 1792, shortly before the Second Partition of Poland. He was promoted to the rank of general in the Kościuszko Uprising of 1794. After the final Third Partition of Poland, which ended the existence of Poland as independent country, he became actively involved in promoting the cause of Polish independence abroad. He was the founder of the Polish Legions in Italy serving under Napoleon since 1797. And as a general in Italian and French service he contributed to the brief restoration of the Polish state during the Greater Poland Uprising of 1806. He participated in Napoleonic Wars, taking part in the Polish-Austrian war and the French invasion of Russia until 1813.


1939

Prompted by the British, Germany issued one last diplomatic offer to Poland, with Fall Weiss yet to be rescheduled. The German government replied that it sought the restoration of Danzig but also demanded the Polish Corridor (which had not previously been part of Hitler’s demands). Hitler claimed that these demands were intended to safeguard the German minority in Poland.  However, Hitler gave an ultimatum that he was willing to begin negotiations on the condition that a Polish representative, with signatory powers, would arrive in Berlin the next day.


Peking Plan began.  At precisely 14:15 hours,  Polish destroyers began to sail for British ports, under the command of Komandor porucznik Roman Stankiewicz. The Polish destroyers Błyskawica was commanded by Komandor porucznik Włodzimierz Kodrębski, the Burza by Komandor podporucznik Stanisław Nahorski and the Grom by Komandor porucznik Włodzimierz Hulewicz.  The evacuation had to be conducted in great haste in order to safeguard the Destroyer division of the Polish Navy.  The fleet of the German Kriegsmarine possessed a significant numerical advantage over that of the Polish Navy, and in the event of war, if the Polish vessels remained in the small, landlocked Baltic, they would have been sunk by German attacks.  On August 30, the Germans recalled the tactical unit of three of its cruisers, the Nurnberg, Koln, and Leipzig, from the Baltic Sea,  that were assigned to attack the Polish vessels.  The Polish Destroyers served alongside the Royal Navy for the remainder of the war. ORP Burza and ORP Błyskawica survived the war but ORP Grom was sunk on May 4, 1940 during the Norwegian Campaign, in the Narvik area by a Heinkel He 111 bomber.


Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jozef Beck ordered mobilization, but under the pressure from Great Britain and France, the mobilization was cancelled. When the mobilization finally started, it added to the confusion.



August 28, 2018

AUGUST 28 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 28

1939

The Tarnów train station bombed:   Antoni Guzy, a German agent carried out a bombing attack on a train station in Tarnow, Poland. He left two suitcases loaded with explosives in the luggage hall, and then went to the platform platform to wait for the night train to Krakow which would depart at 23:02. The train was late by eight minutes when the bombs were detonated killing 20 people and wounding 35.  Had the train from Krakow arrived on time, the death toll would have been much higher. Just a few minutes earlier a military transport with many soldiers had left the station.  Guzy was subsequently arrested based on eye-witness reports from passengers who confirmed that he placed the suitcases in the station hall.  There was no further information regarding his fate.


1941

Nazi Germans Massacred Hungarian Jews:   The Kamianets-Podilskyi massacre took place from August 27 to 28, 1941 in the Soviet city of Kamianets-Podilskyi (now Ukraine).  It occurred during the initial stages of the Nazi invasion of Russia in Operation Barbarossa.  Nazi German Order Police Battalion 320  took part in the mobile killing squads, with the Einsatzgruppen under the command of SS General Friedrich Jeckeln, as well as Hungarian soldiers, and the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police.  In Jeckeln's report, a total of 23,600 Jews were massacred. Approximately 14,000 of the Jews had been deported from Hungary into German controlled territories. It was one of the first large-scale mass murder operations conducted by the Nazi Germans in carrying out the Final Solution in Reichskommissariat Ukraine.



August 27, 2018

AUGUST 27 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 27

1914

The Austrian government gave its official approval for the re-organization of the First Cadre Company (which had been established by Josef Pilsudski on August 3, 1914), and thereafter named the Polish Legions.  On August 6, 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on the Russian Empire.  On the same day, the First Cadre set out for the Austro-Hungarian - Russian border and crossed into Tsarist Poland.  In full battalion strength, the First Cadre captured Kielce alongside the Second Company, led by Stanisław Tessaro (pl), and the Third Company, led by Wacław Scaevola-Wieczorkiewicz.  The objective of the First Cadre was to break through Russian lines, continue north, and capture Warsaw. They hoped to set off an uprising in Tsarist Poland against the Russian regime, but the Russians checked the First Cadre just outside Kielce on August 13 resulting in the Cadre's retreat.


1941

The Hungarian Army rounded up Jews at Kamenets-Podolsk.  The city is now located in the western Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union. During WW2 it was occupied by German forces during the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.  On August 27 and 28, detachments of Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units) and troops under the command of the Higher SS and Police Leader for the southern region, SS General Friedrich Jeckeln, carried out mass killings of the Jewish deportees as well as the local Jewish population. A total of 23,600 Jews were massacred.


1942

During the last 15 days in August, 53,750 Warsaw Jews were deported to Treblinka.  Treblinka was a Nazi-German death camp located in a forest north-east of Warsaw. The camp was managed by the Nazi SS and the Trawnikis, also called Hiwi guards, who were the Soviet POWs, enlisted from camps to assist the Germans. Treblinka was composed of two camps; Treblinka I, which was a forced labor camp whose inmates worked the gravel pit or cutting trees in the forest: the other was Treblinka II, the death camp.  The Germans forced a small number of Jewish men to become the Sonderkommandos, slave-labour teams who were forced to bury the victims bodies in mass graves after they had been gassed to death.  In 1943, these bodies were exhumed and cremated on large open-air pyres along with the bodies of new victims.


1947

The I.G. Farben Trial was the sixth  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 August 27, 1947 to July 30, 1948. The accused had all been directors of IG Farben, a German conglomerate of chemical companies.  During World War II, the company Degesch (42.5 per cent  of which was owned by IG Farben) held the trademark of Zyklon B, the poison gas used by the Nazi Germans to exterminate Jews.  The charges included slave labor and plundering.  Of the 24 defendants, 13 were found guilty on one or the other counts, and sentenced to prison terms ranging from one and one half to eight years, including time already served; ten defendants were acquitted of all charges. Max Brüggemann (Farben's chief legal advisor) was excused from the trial and his case discontinued on September 9, 1947 due to medical reasons.



August 26, 2018

AUGUST 26 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 26

1906

Albert Bruce Sabin (dob) was a Polish-born American medical researcher, best known for developing the oral polio vaccine which has played a key role in nearly eradicating the disease. Sabin also developed vaccines against other viral diseases, including encephalitis and dengue. In addition, he investigated possible links between viruses and some forms of cancer.  Sabin refused to patent his vaccine, waiving every commercial exploitation by pharmaceutical industries, so that the low price would guarantee a more extensive distribution of the treatment. From the development of his vaccine Sabin didn't gain a single dollar, continuing to live on his salary as a professor. Among the many awards he received was the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1986), the National Medal of Science (1970) and was elected to the Polio Hall of Fame (1958).  In March 6, 2006, the US Postal Service released a special issue of an 87-cent postage stamp bearing his image, in its Distinguished Americans series.


1938

Adolf Eichmann set up the Vienna office of the Zentralstelle Fuer Juedische Auswanderung, the Central Office for Jewish Emigration. It was established by the Nazis to facilitate to expulsion of Jews from Austria. Their methods were later used as models for the expulsion of European Jewry. Eichmann moved all the Jews of Austria into Vienna and established quotas for the number of Jews who had to emigrate. Then Eichmann made the Jewish community responsible for filling those quotas and for paying for the expulsion  themselves. Jews with more money were compelled to pay for Jews who could not finance themselves.



August 25, 2018

AUGUST 25 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 25

1919

Matt Louis Urban, was a United States Army lieutenant colonel who was one of the most decorated American infantry officers of World War II. He performed valiantly in combat on many occasions despite being wounded in action several times. Urban received over a dozen personal decorations for combat from the U.S. Army, including seven Purple Hearts. In 1980, he received the Medal of Honor and four other personal decorations for combat belatedly for his actions in France and Belgium in 1944.


1937

The Polish Operation was a Soviet campaign of state-sponsored murder of Poles that began on August 25, 1937 and lasted until November 15, 1938.  It was the largest ethnic execution and deportation campaign conducted during Stalin's Great Terror against political prisoners in the Soviet Union. It was orchestrated by Nikolai Yezho, head of the NKVD (secret Soviet police). Though Yezho was Stalin's right-hand man, he was eventually arrested and tortured into confessing anti-Soviet activities. Yezho was executed on February 4, 1940.  The NKVD archives documented a total of 139,835 Polish victims. Of this total 111,091 Polish people, and even people accused of having ties with Poland were sentenced to death; the remaining 28,744 Poles were sentenced to Soviet labor camps, called "the dry guillotine" where they perished in a slow and agonizing death due to exposure, malnutrition, and overwork. The Polish Operation marked the peak of persecution of the Poles, which had been ongoing for about a decade.


1938

MS Sobieski was launched in Newcastle. The Sobieski was a Polish passenger ship named in honour of the Polish King Jan III Sobieski.  The vessel was used in the Allied evacuation of western France in 1940 (Operation Ariel), the Battle of Dakar and the campaign in Madagascar. She was also used to transport the British 18th Division to the defence of Singapore.


1939

Poland and Britain signed the Agreement of Mutual Assistance, formalizing Britain's March 31 declaration of support for Poland.  The agreement promised mutual military assistance between the nations in the event either was attacked by a "European country".  In a secret protocol of the pact, Britain offered assistance if Poland were attacked, specifically by Germany. Both the Britain and Poland were bound not to enter agreements with any other third countries which were a threat to the other. On the same day that the agreement was signed, Lord Halifax (British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs) stated: "We do not think this guarantee will be binding".  A British diplomat, Alexander Cadogan wrote in his diary: "Naturally, our guarantee does not give any help to Poland. It can be said that it was cruel to Poland, even cynical".  When news of this Agreement filtered to Berlin,  Hitler cancelled the invasion of Poland planned for August 26 and moved it up to September 1,  in order to give Germany time to break up the unfavourable international alignment.


At 5:30 p.m. on August 25, 1939, Hitler met with the French Ambassador to Berlin, Robert Coulondre.  In a report to Georges Bonnet, Minister of Foreign Affairs,  Coulonre wrote, "…... Under the circumstances I could make only a brief reply. I told him [Hitler|, first of all, that I knew that all misunderstanding had now been removed; yet that, in a moment as grave as this, I emphatically gave him my word of honour as a soldier that I had no doubt whatever that in the event of Poland's being attacked, France would assist her with all the forces at her command....." Hitler replied, "..... "It is very painful for me to think I might have to fight your country; but the decision does not rest with me. Please tell this to M. Daladier."......  Coulondre stated that he "was unable to prolong the interview any further, and after these remarks I took my leave."  (no.242)


Jabłonków Incident refers to the events that took place on the night of August 25-26, 1939, along the Polish-Slovak border. A group of German Abwehr agents attacked a rail station in Mosty with the objective of capturing the Jablunkov Pass, and its strategic railroad tunnel, until the arrival of the German armed forces.  But the Germans were repelled by units of the Polish Army. The incident is regarded as the prelude to the German invasion of Poland. The Jabłonków Incident has been named the first commando operation of the Second World War.


1941

Tykocin Pogrom:  On the morning of August 25, 1941 the Nazi Germans ordered all Tykocin Jews to assemble in the market square for the purpose of "resettlement" to a ghetto at Czerwony Bór. About 1,400–1,700 people were taken from the square to a killing site in the nearby Łopuchowo forest. The Jewish men were marched on foot, while the women and children were transported by truck. Some local Jews managed to escape and went into hiding, however very few managed to survive.  The SS Einsatzkommando firing squad under the command of SS-Obersturmführer Hermann Schaper, executed the prisoners systematically in wave after wave; the victims, including women, children and the elderly, fell into the execution pits as they were shot.  The executions were carried out throughout the many towns and villages in the Bialystok region,  including Radziłów, Jedwabne, Łomża, Rutki, Wizna, Piątnica, and Zambrów. (Decades after the war, Schaper was brought to justice by German authorities, though initially he was able to deceive them at his first trial in Ludwigsburg.)


1943

Witold Pilecki, a member of the Polish underground resistance, reached Warsaw to report to Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK)  Headquarters.  He had escaped from Auschwitz on April 26-27, 1943 after two years of imprisonment, and gave his eye-witness reports to Section II (intelligence and counter-intelligence) of the Armia Krajowa (Home Army) regional headquarters.  He had hoped that the AK, backed by the Allies would launch an attack in order to free the camp prisoners. The AK had already suffered the loss of several underground operatives, including a Cichociemny, Stefan Jasieński.  Ultimately it was decided that the AK did not have sufficient strength to capture Auschwitz without Allied help. And the Allies were not receptive to the idea. According to Pilecki's detailed report, (Raport Witolda – Witold's Report) he estimated that "By March 1943 the number of people gassed on arrival reached 1.5 million."  This report, over 100 pages in length, included details about the gas chambers,  the "selektion", and the sterilization experiments conducted on prisoners and documented that Birkenau had three crematoria cremating  8,000 bodies every single day.  Unfortunately, the Office of Strategic Services in London, which received this report, filed it away with a note that the information was considered unreliable. Pilecki's report was later supplemented by another eye-witness account by Jerzy Tabeau (in his "Polish Major's Report"). Tabeau had escaped with Roman Cieliczko on November 19, 1943. These three eye-witness accounts are known as the Auschwitz Protocols, the earliest warnings about the atrocities and mass extermination that took place at the death camp. (Information about Pilecki's underground activities and his persecution by the Soviet NKVD had been suppressed by the communist government after the war. It was only in 1989 that the truth was revealed.)  Witold Pilecki is considered to be one of the greatest war time heroes.  In the foreword to the book "The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery",  the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, wrote the following: "When God created the human being, God had in mind that we should all be like Captain Witold Pilecki, of blessed memory."


1944

Warsaw under Siege while Paris was Liberated:  The liberation of Paris was launched by the French Resistance upon the advance of the US Third Army, led by General Patton.  On the night of August 24,  troops of General Leclerc's 2nd French Armored Division entered Paris and reached the Hôtel de Ville just before midnight, followed by the bulk of allied divisions on the morning of August 25. The German garrisons surrendered after four years of occupation. While Paris was liberated, Warsaw  was in flames, and under siege by the Germans. News of the liberation of Paris encouraged the Poles to keep fighting, in the hope that Warsaw would also be liberated.  After Stalin's refusal to support the Warsaw Uprising, Churchill telegrammed Roosevelt to propose sending planes in defiance of Stalin and  'see what happens'.  On August 26, Roosevelt replied, "I do not consider it advantageous to the long-range general war prospect for me to join you in the proposed message to Uncle Joe."  (note: Uncle Joe was their nickname for Stalin)


4th Bombing of Peenemunde:   376 B-17s against the Peenemünde Experimental Station (146), Neubrandenburg Airfield (108) and Anklam Airfield (73); 21 others hit Parow Airfield and 5 hit targets of opportunity; 5 B-17s were lost and 75 damaged; 1 airman was KIA, 9 WIA and 45 MIA. Escort was provided by 171 P-47s and P-51s; they claimed 36-0-28 aircraft on the ground; 2 P-51s were lost. Repairs to Peenemünde Test Stand VII allowed launchings to resume just six weeks after the daylight raid. (Peenemunde was the located of the Nazis V-2 manufacturing and testing center.)


2002

Countess Karolina Maria Adelajda Franciszka Ksawera Małgorzata Edina Lanckorońska was a Polish noble, World War II resistance fighter, and historian. Lanckorońska was active in the Polish resistance and was arrested, interrogated, tortured, tried and sentenced to death at Stanisławów prison. During her incarceration, the local Gestapo chief Hans Krueger confided to her that he had murdered 23 Lwów University professors. She made it her mission to make this confession public knowledge. Because of her family connections, Lanckorońska was spared from execution, but instead was sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp for women. She survived and, immediately after release in 1945, wrote her war memoirs.  After the war, she left Poland and lived in Switzerland, and later, until her death, in Rome on August 25, 2002.  She was 104.  She never returned to Poland. In her last will and testament, Countess Lanckorońska bequeathed her family's enormous art collection to Poland only after her homeland became free again. The Lanckoronski Collection may now for the most part be seen in Warsaw's Royal Castle and Kraków's Wawel Castle. Her book has been published in English, "Those Who Trespass against Us: One Woman's War against the Nazis.".


August 24, 2018

AUGUST 24 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 24

1940

Battle of Britain: Polish Sergeant Antoni Glowacki of the 501 Squadron in the RAF, accomplished one of the most remarkable feats in air battle ever seen. On this day, Glowacki claimed five enemy bombers, which  he shot shot down in three sorties over the course of one day. Glowacki was only one of three pilots honored with the "Ace In A Day" status.  In his memoirs, Glowacki wrote, "Suddenly a Defiant with a Messerschmitt 109 on its tail flashed across my path between me and the Junkers. I am now firing at the Messerschmitt and see my bursts sink into its fuselage and wings. He is hit and goes down closely behind the Defiant, which trials black smoke. Both aircraft crash into the sea below."


1944

Message from Delegatura in Poland to British government:   “For the second time we are appealing to you. It is already for 3 weeks that we are carrying on our bloody struggle left to rely upon our own strength only, insufficiently supplied with weapons and ammunition and without air support. At the same time reports from all Polish territories occupied by the Soviets, whether disputed or not, show that the civil administration and home forces coming out into the open, are being interned, arrested or imprisoned by the Soviets in the ill famed concentration camp of Majdanek.20 This applies to the same home forces which have so effectively assisted in fighting the Germans. In this way after 5 years of unrelenting resistance against the Germans, for which we pay with our blood, the Polish nation is coming under the no less cruel slavery of one of the Allies. Can the great peoples of the United States of America and of Great Britain watch passively this new hecatomb of friendly Poland? Is not even the Polish Air Force allowed to come to assistance of succumbing Warsaw? Is Poland to become victim to some division of spheres of interest?


1989

Tadeusz Mazowiecki became the 1st non-communist Prime Minister of Poland:  Tadeusz Mazowiecki won a vote of confidence in the Sejm, making him the first non-communist Polish prime minister in 43 years, (and first non-communist Prime Minister of an Eastern European country in over 40 years). In December 1981 he was arrested by the communist-Polish regime during martial law and imprisoned but released in the same month.  Mazowiecki held a key role in the Polish Round Table Talks, thus becoming one of the most important architects of the agreement by which partially free elections in Poland were held on June 4, 1989. While the Communists and their satellites were guaranteed a majority in the legislature, Solidarity won all of the contested seats in a historic landslide. Mazowiecki  channeled the enormous popularity and credibility of the Solidarity movement into re-shaping the Polish economy, through the Balcerowicz Plan. Named after the Minister of Finance, Leszek Balcerowicz, the plan comprised of a series of extensive political and economic reforms that transformed the Polish economy from a centrally planned shortage economy to a democratic free-market economy.  In his first parliamentary speech, Mazowiecki referred to "gruba linia" (thick line):   " ...We draw a thick line on what has happened in the past. We will answer for only what we have done to help Poland to rescue her from this crisis from now on....."  He explained that it meant his government was not liable for any damages to the national economy done by previous governments.


August 23, 2018

AUGUST 23 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 23

1939

Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, a mutual non-aggression agreement, was signed between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in Moscow by foreign ministers Joachim von Ribbentrop and Vyacheslav Molotov.  The pact also contained a secret clause of establishing "spheres of influence".  It resulted in the outbreak of World War II, when Germany invaded and occupied western Poland on September 1, 1919, and when the Russians invaded and occupied eastern Poland on September 17, 1939.  A secret meeting took place on this day at Berghof, where Hitler assumed that neither Britain nor France would go to war for Poland without the Soviet Union. He established August 26 as the date for the invasion of Poland, but feared that at the last moment, somebody would make "a proposal for mediation".


1942

Nazis Began the attack on Stalingrad:  The German 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army began their attack on Stalingrad, supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing. Much of the city was reduced to rubble as fighting on the ground ensued into a house-to-house assault, with both sides receiving a stream of reinforcements. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had succeeded in pushing the Soviets,  at great cost, into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. The Axis forces were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area.  Hitler ordered that the army to stay in Stalingrad and make no attempt to break out. Instead, attempts were made to supply the army by air and to break the encirclement from the outside. The Battle ensued for another two months, and by the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces had exhausted their supply of food and ammunition. The remnants of the 6th Army surrendered.


1944

Henryk Slawik (the Polish Wallenberg)  was a Polish politician in the interwar period, social worker, activist, and diplomat, who during World War II helped save over 30,000 Polish refugees, including 5,000 Polish Jews in Budapest, Hungary by giving them false Polish passports with Catholic designation.  Among his covert activities was the creation of an orphanage for Jewish children (the "School for Children of Polish Officers") located in Vác. In an effort to disguise the true nature of the orphanage, the children were visited by Catholic Church authorities, most notably by Nuncio Angelo Rotta. After the Nazis seized Hungary in March 1944, Sławik had appointed a new commanding officer for the camp for Polish Jews,and all of them were able to escape and leave Hungary, including the Jewish children of the orphanage. Sławik was arrested by the Germans on March 19, 1944 and sent to Gusen concentration camp. The Nazis brutally tortured him but he did not reveal the identities of his Hungarian colleagues. He was executed with some of his fellow Polish activists on order of Reichsführer SS on August 23, 1944.  Sławik's place of burial remains unknown.  His wife survived the Ravensbrück concentration camp and after the war found their daughter hidden in Hungary by the Antall family. In 1997 Slawik was posthumously awarded Righteous Among Nations, by Yad Vashem.



After the liberation of Majdanek camp by Soviet forces in July 1944, the camp became a detention centre for Polish prisoners of the Soviet NKVD. Among the prisoners were Volhynian members of the AK, and soldiers of the AK units which had been moving toward Warsaw to join in the Warsaw Uprising when they were captured and imprisoned.  On August 23, 1944, about 250 Polish inmates from Majdanek were transported to the rail station Lublin Tatary. From there, they were forced onto cattle cars and deported to camps in Siberia and other parts of the Soviet Union.


2011

The European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Totalitarian Regime:   The first time this Remembrance was celebrated was on August 23, 2011. The commemoration was organized by the Polish Ministry of Justice and the Institute of National Remembrance, and were held in Warsaw Rising Museum, under the auspices of the Polish Presidency. The President of the Institute of National Remembrance, Dr. Łukasz Kamiński, in his speech made the following comments, ".....the 20th century was a time of mass murder, carried out on unprecedented scale. Most of the crimes, yet not all of them, were committed by the perpetrators adherent to one of the two totalitarian ideologies – Nazism or Communism. This period should not, however, be remembered as an era of criminals. The 20th century was the time of victims – millions of murdered and millions of those who managed to survive, yet their suffering have marked them forever......we owe it to the future generations so that they can understand what seems incomprehensible and learn from the bitter legacy of the 20th century....."


August 22, 2018

AUGUST 22 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 22

1939

Hitlers Obersalzberg Speech: A week before Germany invaded Poland, Hitler gave this speech to the commanders of the Wehrmacht. He included details of the invasion and the planned, systematic extermination of the Polish people.  The content and precision of these plans indicated his knowledge of the methods of extermination, and his intention of carrying out this genocide.  Nazi documents provided as evidence at the Nuremberg Trials (Nov 20, 1945 – Oct 1, 1946) included the Hitler's Obersalzberg speech. Here is an excerpt, translated to English: ".....Our strength consists in our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter – with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It’s a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me. I have issued the command – and I’ll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad – that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness – for the present only in the East – with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (Lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?....."


1944

SECRET AND PERSONAL FROM PREMIER J. V. STALIN TO THE PRIME MINISTER, Mr W. CHURCHILL AND THE PRESIDENT, Mr F. ROOSEVELT (no.323)  "The message from you and Mr Roosevelt about Warsaw has reached me. I should like to state my views.  Sooner or later the truth about the handful of power-seeking criminals who launched the Warsaw adventure will out. Those elements, playing on the credulity of the inhabitants of Warsaw, exposed practically unarmed people to German guns, armour and aircraft. The result is a situation in which every day is used, not by the Poles for freeing Warsaw, but by the Hitlerites, who are cruelly exterminating the civil population.   From the military point of view the situation, which keeps German attention riveted to Warsaw, is highly unfavourable both to the Red Army and to the Poles. Nevertheless, the Soviet troops, who of late have had to face renewed German counterattacks, are doing all they can to repulse the Hitlerite sallies and go over to a new large-scale offensive near Warsaw. I can assure you that the Red Army will stint no effort to crush the Germans at Warsaw and liberate it for the Poles. That will be the best, really effective, help to the anti-Nazi Poles." (August 22, 1944)


Stalin did not give the Allies permission to use Soviet airports as a base in flying emergency airdrops of supplies to the Poles in the Warsaw Uprising.  American pilots were forced to use air bases in the UK and Italy at a great distance, and made it necessary to reduce their carrying weight, and limit the number of sorties. The Allies made the request on August 20, but Stalin waited two days before refusing their request. He refered to the Polish insurgents as " a handful of criminals" and was clearly opposed to a free and independent Poland.



August 21, 2018

AUGUST 21 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 21

1941

French Resistance Assassinated a German Soldier:   At a secret meeting from August 15 to 17, members of the French resistance movement called, Jeunesse Communistes (JC), agreed to obtain weapons and begin training for armed underground attacks against the Germans. The recent news of the execution of Gautherot and Tyszelman, compelled the members of the group to take action.  (Previously, the JC  dealt only with propaganda.)   Of the JC leaders, Pierre Georges became primarily involved in military operations in the Paris region, while Albert Ouzoulias was more concerned with recruitment and liaison between the regions.   On August 21, Pierre Georges and three companions carried out a revenge killing of a German soldier named Alfons Moser when he was boarding a train at the Barbès metro station at eight in the morning. When Adolf Hitler heard of Moser's execution, he ordered the immediate execution of one hundred hostages. Contrary to Hitlers order, Otto von Stulpnagel, the German military commander in France, ordered the number to be reduced to 10 hostages On August 27, August 1941 three Communists were sentenced to death by guillotine, and were executed the following day. Over the next few days five more communists more shot.  Over the next several months, a series of assassinations and reprisals were conducted which resulted in the execution of five hundred French hostages.


1968

Invasion of Czechoslovakia: The Prague Spring  was a period  in which attempts were made to introduce political liberalization  in Czechoslovakia during a period of draconian political and military domination under the Soviet Union.  On January 5, 1968, reformist Alexander Dubcek was elected First Secretary of the Communist Party, and attempted to usher in economic decentralization, democratization and basic human rights. On August 21, 1968, the Soviet Union sent half a million troops with tanks in the invasion of Czechoslovakia, to quash attempts at reforms.



August 20, 2018

AUGUST 20 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 20

1794

Greater Poland Uprising began:  (Powstanie Wielkopolskie) It was a military insurrection by Polish troops against the Kingdom of Prussia, which had seized the territory of Greater Poland after the 1793 Second Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Kościuszko Uprising in central Poland broke out in March 1794 and provided the catalyst for the formation of Polish military units. Initially Tadeusz Kościuszko hoped to avoid a two front war, as he had already initiated the fight against Russians in central Poland. But in June 1794, the situation changed when the Prussians (originally allied with Poland) switched alliances to support Tsarist Russia in suppressing Kosciuszko. The Supreme National Council issued a proclamation to the Citizens of Greater Poland calling them to arms. (Note:  The Supreme National Council was the central civil government of Poland loyal to the Kościuszko Insurrection.)


1939

In Katowice, funeral of Wojciech Korfanty took place.  Korfanty was a Polish activist, journalist and politician, who served as a member of the German parliaments, the Reichstag and the Prussian Landtag. But later, he became a member in the Polish Sejm.  He organized the Polish Silesian Uprisings, and hoped to join Silesia to Poland after Poland regained its independence.  He fought to protect Poles from discrimination and from the policies of Germanisation in Upper Silesia before the war. (during the interbellum period).  In 1930 he was arrested and imprisoned for his opposition to the May Coup of Jozef Pilsudski, and in 1935 forced to leave Poland.  While in Czechoslovakia, he joined Ignacy Paderewski and Wladylsaw Sikorski in forming the center-right movement of Morges Front.  He returned to Poland in April 1939 and was arrested upon arrival and imprisoned.  He died in prison on August 17, 1939, though the circumstances of his death could not be determined. Rumours of conspiracy allude to the possibility that he was poisoned by arsenic vapors soaked in the walls of his cell. Wojciech Korfanty was a member of the Polish Senate (1930-35), Member of the Sejm (1922-1930), and Deputy Prime Minister from October 1923 to December 1923).


1940

"The Few":  Winston Churchill spoke in the House of Common in which he praised the pilots of the RAF, of which Polish pilots were an integral part.  In his speech, Church included these words, "......Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. All hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day; but we must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month, our bomber squadrons travel far into Germany, find their targets in the darkness by the highest navigational skill, aim their attacks, often under the heaviest fire, often with serious loss, with deliberate careful discrimination, and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the technical and war-making structure of the Nazi power. On no part of the Royal Air Force does the weight of the war fall more heavily than on the daylight bombers, who will play an invaluable part in the case of invasion and whose unflinching zeal it has been necessary in the meanwhile on numerous occasions to restrain......"


1943

Operation Belt was a large-scale anti-Nazi operation conducted by the Polish Underground to attack German border guarding stations between the General Gouvernment and territories annexed by the Third Reich. In two nights the Polish underground destroyed 7 of these stations.  Though the Polish side had few losses, they lost a beloved member of their unit, Tadeusz Zawadzki, who was killed during the Operation. Zawadzki was second lieutenant of the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa, or AK), and a scouting resistance fighter. He was only 22.  Soon after his death,  the Home Army created a battalion in his memory, after his code-name, Battalion Zoska.


1944

Polish fighters captured 115 German prisoners:  Polish troops under the command of Cavalry Captain Henryk Roycewicz "Leliwa" launched an attack on Warsaw's tallest structure, a nine-story building of the Polish Telephone Company, named PAST (Polska Akcyuna Spolka Telefoniczna) located at 37-39 Zielna Street. Among the troops of Captain "Leliwa" were a shock platoon of "Koszta" Company, two engineer patrols, a women's sapper patrol, two flamethrower patrols, and a special fire brigade. Previous attempts to take the PAST building had failed resulting in very heavy losses to Polish troops. Despite the superior firepower of the Germans and their fortified positions, the Polish insurgents fought on for over 12 hours. The Poles succeeded in capturing the PAST building killing 38 enemy soldiers and taking over 115 German prisoners. The Poles also succeeded in capturing a considerable cache of weapons and ammunition.


URGENT AND MOST SECRET MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT AND Mr CHURCHILL TO MARSHAL STALIN  (no.322)  "We are thinking of world opinion if anti-Nazis in Warsaw are in effect abandoned. We believe that all three of us should do the utmost to save as many of the patriots there as possible. We hope that you will drop immediate supplies and munitions to the patriot Poles of Warsaw, or will you agree to help our planes in doing it very quickly? We hope you will approve. The time element is of extreme importance."  ROOSEVELT    CHURCHILL   (August 20th, 1944 )



August 19, 2018

AUGUST 19 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 19

1587

Sigismund III was elected King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, backed by strong supporters, and with the blessings of the primate of Poland Stanisław Karnkowski.  His new official name and title became, " By the Grace of God, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, Ruthenia, Prussia, Masovia, Samogitia, Livonia and also Hereditary King of the Swedes, Goths and Wends"  The latter part was reference to the fact that he was Crown Prince of Sweden and would succeed to the Throne of Sweden upon the death of his father.


1920

Second Silesian Uprising began.  Pro-German activists organized a march to celebrate what they thought was the end of independent Poland. A German newspaper in Upper Silesia published a fake announcement that Warsaw was defeated in the Polish-Soviet war. When it became apparent that Warsaw had not fallen, the demonstration escalated into violence and looting of Polish stores. Consequently,  a Polish uprising took control of government offices in the districts of Kattowitz (Katowice), Pless (Pszczyna), Beuthen (Bytom). Between August 20 and 25, the rebellion spread to Königshütte (Chorzów), Tarnowitz (Tarnowskie Góry), Rybnik, Lublinitz (Lubliniec) and Gross Strehlitz (Strzelce Opolskie).


1934

Hitler received 88.1%  'Yes' vote in the referendum. The vast majority of Germans approved of his new powers, while 9.9% were against and 2.0% not valid or blank votes. Over 38 million Germans agreed to the merging of the titles "Fuhrer" and "Reichskanzler" (Chancellor) making Hitler the de facto dictator of the Third Reich. The referendum was fraught with voter tampering, intimidation, and electoral fraud. In many places, voting booths were removed entirely, and signs placed, "only traitors enter here" to discourage those who wanted secret ballot.  In many instances, the ballot was already marked "Yes", whereas  the"No" ballots, or spoiled ballots were counted as a "yes". Hitler had already assumed power, but used the referendum to legitimize his role in the eyes of the world.


1939

Stalin addressed the Politburo about upcoming war. He discussed Soviet policy and strategies that would empower the Soviet Union.  "….On the other hand if we accept Germany's proposal,  that you know and conclude a non-aggression pact with her, she will certainly invade Poland, and the intervention of France and England is then unavoidable. Western Europe would be subjected to serious upheavals and disorder. In this case we will have a great opportunity to stay out of the conflict, and we could plan the opportune time for us to enter the war....."


1941

Execution of French Resistance Fighter:   Samuel Tyszelman, a Polish-born Jewish Communist, was an active member of the French Resistance movement in Paris. On August 19, 1941, Tyszelman was among a crowd of  100 young men and women who emerged from the Strasbourg – Saint-Denis metro station waving the tri-color flag of France, singing La Marseillaise and shouting "Down with Hitler! Vive La France!" French and German police intervened.   Germans soldiers opened fire and Tyzelman was hit in the leg.  Henri Gautherot fled but a German civilian pursued him and caught him in a porter's lodge at 37 Boulevard Saint-Martin. Tyszelman took refuge in the cellar of 29 Boulevard Magenta (19th arrondissement), but German soldiers arrested him with the assistance of the Emergency Police. Following a German military tribunal, Syszelman and Gautherot were sentenced to death by firing squad at the Vallée-aux-Loups in Châtenay-Malabry, Hauts-de-Seine.  On the same day the Germans posted notices in black lettering on red paper, announcing the sentence and execution. He was 20 years old.


1942

The Battle of Dieppe (or Dieppe Raid), on August 19, 1942, was an Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe.  The raid took place on the northern coast of France at 5:00 am and  involved 5,000 Canadian troops, 1,000 British troops and 50 United States Army Rangers. By 10:50 a.m.  Allied commanders were forced to call a retreat.  They failed in all their objectives, and worse still was being trapped on the beach between obstacles and heavy German fire power. Less than ten hours since the beginning of the raid, the last Allied troops had all been either killed, evacuated, or left behind to be captured by the Germans.  Captain Romuald Nalecz-Tyminski of the Polish Destroyer,  ORP Slazak was honored for saving the lives of 85 Canadians during the Dieppe Raid. "With guns blazing he led the rescue..." He was hailed as a hero in both Canada and Poland.


1944

Soviets Massacred Polish Soldiers. On August 19, 1944, in a report to the Polish Government-in-Exile, the Lublin District of the Home Army (AK) wrote: "Mass arrests of the AK soldiers are being carried out by the NKVD all over the region. These arrests are tolerated by the Polish Committee of National Liberation, and AK soldiers are incarcerated in the Majdanek Camp. Losses of our nation and the Home Army are equal to the losses which we suffered during the German occupation. We are paying with our blood."  (Editors note:  Stalin commissioned the NKVD to kill members of the Polish Home Army, because they were seen as threats to Soviet supremacy. The Soviet intention had always been to conquer and occupy Poland and destroy any opposition.  After the end of the war, many Polish soldiers who returned to Poland were arrested and murdered.)


August 18, 2018

AUGUST 18 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 18

1943

RAF attacked German V-2 Center:  RAF pilots launched Operation Hydra during the night on August 17-18, 1943 in a massive attack on Peenemunde Army Research Center, Germany's V-2 rocket manufacturing and test center. It was the first time a master bomber was used for the main force. Group Captain John Searby, CO of 83 Squadron, commanded the operation. 596 allied aircraft were deployed in the mission ( 324 Lancasters, 218 Halifaxes, 54 Stirlings) The air raid killed two V-2 rocket scientists and delayed V-2 rocket test launches for seven  weeks.  Allied casualties were 215 British aircrew members and 40 bombers lost, and hundreds of civilians were killed in a nearby concentration camp.


1944

American, Canadian and Polish Armed Divisions closed in on the German 7th Army trapping them in a 6 mile gap in the city of Chambois. The 1st Polish Armoured Division under the command of General Stanislaw Maczek fought  to the east of the Canadian 4th Armoured Division, and took Hill 262, (or the Mace) successfully defeating German counter attacks.  Having the Mace under their control, the Poles could overlook the Chambois-Vimoutiers road, which was the last route out of the pocket, and easily pick off Germans trying to flee.  And though the Germans repeatedly returned fire they could not dislodge the Poles from their position.  In the next couple of days the Germans faced a battle to the break of annihilation as the Allied troops closed in and forced them to surrender. The Germans were killed, wounded or captured by Allied forces. The Allied Victory closed the Falaise Pocket on August 21, 1944.


Churchill to Roosevelt (message no. 767)  "The refusal of the Soviet to allow the U.S. aircraft to bring succor to the heroic insurgents in Warsaw added to their own complete neglect to fly in supplies when only a few score of miles away constitutes an episode of profound and far reaching gravity. If, as is almost certain, the German triumph in Warsaw is followed by a wholesale massacre no measure can be put upon the full consequences that will arise. I am willing to send a personal message to Stalin, if you think this wise and if you will yourself send a separate similar message.   Better far than two separate messages would be a joint message signed by us both.  I have no doubt that we could agree on the wording.   The situation in Europe is being vastly changed  by the glorious and gigantic victories being achieved in France by the U.S.  and British forces and it may well be that our armies will gain a victory in Normandy which far exceeds in scale anything that the Russians have done on any particular occasion.  I am inclined to think therefore, that they will have some respect for what we say so long as it is plain and simple.  It is quite possible that Stalin would not resent it but even if he did  we are nations serving high causes and must give true counsels towards world peace."



August 17, 2018

AUGUST 17 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 17

1629

John III Sobieski (dob) was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1674 until his death in June 1696. He was one of the most notable monarchs of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Sobieski's military skill, demonstrated in wars against the Ottoman Empire, contributed to his prowess as King of Poland. Sobieski's 22-year reign marked a period of the Commonwealth's stabilization, much needed after the turmoil of the Deluge and the Khmelnytsky Uprising. Popular among his subjects, he was an able military commander, most famous for his victory over the Turks at the 1683 Battle of Vienna.  After his victories over them, the Ottomans called him the "Lion of Lechistan"; and the Pope hailed him as the savior of Christendom.


1938

Nazis passed anti-semetic law regarding names:  The Nazi Law on the Alteration of Family and Personal Names, made it obligatory on all German Jews that they adopt the name "Israel" for men, and "Sarah", for women if their birth names were not Jewish in nature. The Nazi regime established this law to facilitate the identification, and thus, separate the Jews from the rest of the population. All German Jews were required to carry identification cards at all times, which clearly specified their ethnic origin. Passports were stamped with a large "J". 


1980

21 Demands of the MKS:   A Mass was celebrated by a priest, Henryk Jankowski,  at which 21 demands of the MKS were read.  The Solidarity movement demanded new, independent trade unions be established, as well as the right to strike, freedom from censorship, rights for the Church,  freeing of political prisoners, and improvements in the national health service. The 21 demands were written on two wooden boards and hung on the gates of the shipyard, and led the way to the Gdansk Agreement by which the Solidarity movement was officially recognized. The complete demands are as follows:  1. Acceptance of free trade unions independent of the Communist Party and of enterprises, in accordance with convention No. 87 of the International Labor Organization concerning the right to form free trade unions.
2. A guarantee of the right to strike and of the security of strikers.
3. Compliance with the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech, the press and publication, including freedom for independent publishers, and the availability of the mass media to representatives of all faiths.
4. A return of former rights to: 1) People dismissed from work after the 1970 and 1976 strikes. 2) Students expelled because of their views. The release of all political prisoners, among them Edmund Zadrozynski, Jan Kozlowski, and Marek Kozlowski. A halt in repression of the individual because of personal conviction.
5. Availability to the mass media of information about the formation of the Inter-factory Strike Committee and publication of its demands.
6. Bringing the country out of its crisis situation by the following means: a) making public complete information about the social-economic situation. b) enabling all social classes to take part in discussion of the reform programme.
7. Compensation of all workers taking part in the strike for the period of the strike.
8. An increase in the pay of each worker by 2,000 złoty a month.
9. Guaranteed automatic increases in pay on the basis of increases in prices and the decline in real income.
10. A full supply of food products for the domestic market, with exports limited to surpluses.
11. The introduction of food coupons for meat and meat products (until the market stabilizes).
12. The abolition of commercial prices and sales for Western currencies in the so-called internal export companies.
13. Selection of management personnel on the basis of qualifications, not party membership, and elimination of privileges for the state police, security service, and party apparatus by equalization of family allowances and elimination of special sales, etc.
14. Reduction in the age for retirement for women to 50 and for men to 55, or (regardless of age) after working for 30 years (for women) or 35 years (for men).
15. Conformity of old-age pensions and annuities with what has actually been paid in.
16. Improvements in the working conditions of the health service.
17. Assurances of a reasonable number of places in day-care centers and kindergartens for the children of working mothers.
18. Paid maternity leave for three years.
19. A decrease in the waiting period for apartments.
20. An increase in the commuter’s allowance to 100 złoty.
21. A day of rest on Saturday. Workers in the brigade system or round-the-clock jobs are to be compensated for the loss of free Saturdays with increased leave or other paid time off.


August 16, 2018

AUGUST 16 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 16

1905

Marian Adam Rejewski (dob) was a Polish mathematician and cryptologist who reconstructed the Nazi German military Enigma cipher machine sight-unseen in 1932. The cryptologic achievements of Rejewski and colleagues Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski enabled the British to begin reading German Enigma-encrypted messages at the start of World War II, seven years after Rejewski's original reconstruction of the machine. The intelligence that was gained by the British from Enigma decrypts later formed part of what was code-named Ultra and contributed to the defeat of Germany. In 1929, while studying mathematics at Poznań University, Rejewski attended a secret cryptology course conducted by the Polish General Staff's Cipher Bureau (Biuro Szyfrów), which he joined in September 1932. The Bureau had had no success in reading Enigma-enciphered messages and set Rejewski to work on the problem in late 1932; he deduced the machine's secret internal wiring after only a few weeks. Rejewski and his two colleagues then developed successive techniques for the regular decryption of Enigma messages. His contributions included the cryptologic card catalog, derived using the cyclometer that he had invented, and the cryptologic bomb.  Five weeks before the German invasion of Poland in 1939, Rejewski and colleagues presented their achievements to French and British intelligence representatives summoned to Warsaw. Shortly after the outbreak of war, the Polish cryptologists were evacuated to France, where they continued breaking Enigma-enciphered messages. After the Fall of France, they and their support staff evacuated,  and they resumed work undercover a few months later in Vichy France. After the French "Free Zone" was occupied by Germany in November 1942, Rejewski and Zygalski fled via Spain, Portugal, and Gibraltar to Britain. There they enlisted in the Polish Armed Forces and were put to work solving German ciphers.


1920

Miracle at the Vistula: Red Army advanced towards Warsaw and nearby Modlin Fortress: It marked the beginning of the Battle of Warsaw.  Poland, on the verge of total defeat, repulsed and defeated the invading Red Army.  On August 16, Polish forces under the command of Józef Piłsudski counterattacked from the south, disrupting the enemy's offensive, and forced the Russian army into a disorganized withdrawal eastward and behind the Neman River.  On August 25, the Battle ended with a decisive Polish victory.  Russian casualties were 10,000 killed, 500 missing, 30,000 wounded, and 66,000 taken prisoner, while Polish losses were 4,500 killed, 10,000 missing, and 22,000 wounded.  Vladimir Lenin, the Bolshevik leader, referred to the Battle as "an enormous defeat" . In the following months, several more Polish follow-up victories saved Poland's independence and led to a peace treaty with Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine later that year, securing the Polish state's eastern frontiers until 1939.


1943

Bialystock Ghetto liquidated:  As part of Aktion Reinhard, the ghetto was raided by regiments of the German SS with Ukrainian, Estonian, Latvian and Belorussian auxiliaries (Hiwis), known as Trawniki-men, aiming at the ghetto's final destruction. Faced with the final deportations, when all hope for survival was abandoned, the ghetto underground staged an uprising against the Nazis. On the night of August 16, 1943, several hundred Polish Jews began an armed insurrection against the troops who were carrying out the liquidation of the Ghetto. The resistance fighters attacked first. It was 10 o'clock in the morning. A fleet of German planes appeared in the sky and flew at a low altitude over the heads of the fighters, and shot at them from above. The courageous fighters split into several units and continued shooting at the Germans. The war was not balanced. About 300 poorly armed Jews, fought against more than 3,000 SS soldiers, armed with mechanized firearms of all types. Helping the Germans were also Ukrainian and Byelorussian criminals. Some of the Jewish resistance escaped into the forest, many others died.  The deportations resumed with the remainder of the Jews sent to death camps in Treblinka, Majdanek, and Auschwitz.


1944

SECRET AND PERSONAL FROM PREMIER J. V. STALIN TO THE PRIME MINISTER, Mr W. CHURCHILL (no.321)  "After a talk with Mr Mikolajczyk I instructed the Red Army Command to drop munitions intensively into the Warsaw area.  A liaison officer was parachuted, but headquarters report that he did not reach his objective, being killed by the Germans. Now, after probing more deeply into the Warsaw affair, I have come to the conclusion that the Warsaw action is a reckless and fearful gamble, taking a heavy toll of the population.  This would not have been the case had Soviet headquarters been informed beforehand about the Warsaw action and had the Poles maintained contact with them.  Things being what they are, Soviet headquarters have decided that they must dissociate themselves from the Warsaw adventure since they cannot assume either direct or indirect responsibility for it....."   (August 16, 1944)



Soviet Tanks Stop at the Vistula:  The Red Army reached the outskirts of Warsaw in the last days of July 1944 (the 1st Belorussian Front had virtually decimated the Germany army during the Lublin-Brest Operation, and Operation Bagration. The Soviets had overwhelming superiority over German sectors), but the Soviets stopped at the Vistula, merely 10 km away from the center of Warsaw, and remained in their fixed positions for the next 45 days.  The Polish fighters had expected that with the Soviet forces to help them , they could recapture control of Praga in a matter of days, which would then free the way to cross to the left bank and engage in the main battle of the Uprising.  As a matter of fact the Soviets had urged the Polish fighters to launch the Warsaw Uprising. (see July 29, 1944)  The inaction of the Red Army virtually guaranteed the destruction of the Polish fighters, and civilians at the hands of the Germans. The sudden halt of the Red Army elicited amazement from the German 9th Army. Their journal entry on August 16, 1944 read as follows: "....Contrary to our expectations, the enemy has halted all of their offensive actions alongside the entire front of the 9th Army...."


1945

Soviet-Polish border agreement:  The Border Agreement was signed in Moscow between the Soviet Union and the communist Polish Provisional Government of National Unity, officially establishing the borders of Poland, and ceding the pre-war eastern territory to Russia, according to the Yalta agreement of February 1945. Poland's eastern border was roughly based along the Curzon Line, an argument which Stalin used to justify his claims to seize eastern Poland.  The treaty also recognised the division of the former German East Prussia and ultimately approved the finalised delimitation line between the Soviet Union and Poland: from the Baltic sea, to the border tripoint with Czechoslovakia in the Carpathians.


2002

Pope John Paul II's ninth visit to Poland. It was a three day pilgrimage to Poland with the high point of the consecration of the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow, and beatification and 400th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska.   In 1600, Mikolaj Zebrzydowski, the Voivode of Krakow, commissioned the construction of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska ,  the first Calvary in Poland ( Way of the Cross) which was based on the topography of Old Jerusalem. The holiest icon in the shrine is the painting of Holy Mother of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska .  On May 3,1641 the image was seen to have tears of blood streaming down her face,  and has since been attributed with many miracles.  The town was erected in 1617 to accommodate the throngs of faithful pilgrims who flocked to the shrine every year .  As a child, Karol Wojtyla often went to the shrine with his father to pray before the image of the Holy Mother.  When he became a seminarian, his devotion to the Blessed Madonna was magnified, entrusting his life to her.



August 15, 2018

AUGUST 15 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 15

1919

First Silesian Uprising began on August 15, 1919: German border guards (Grenzschutz) massacred ten Silesian civilians in a labour dispute at the Mysłowice mine (Myslowitzer Grube). The massacre sparked protests from the Silesian Polish miners, including a general strike of about 140,000 workers, and caused the First Silesian Uprising against German control of Upper Silesia. The miners demanded the local government and police become ethnically mixed to include both Germans and Poles. The Silesian Uprisings were a series of three armed uprisings of the Poles and Polish Silesians of Upper Silesia, from 1919 to 1921, against German rule; the resistance hoped to break away from Germany in order to join the Second Polish Republic, which had been established after the end  of World War I. In the latter-day history of Poland after World War II, the insurrections were celebrated as centrepieces of national pride.


1940

The Polish 302nd City of Poznan Squadron, part of 12 Group, began operations in England with the British RAF.  Their mission was to relieve squadrons of 11 Group when necessary.  The 302 Squadron intercepted its first enemy aircraft on August 20th, 1940. A Junkers Ju 88 bomber was shot down by Squadron Leader William Satchell. Other pilots in the squadron served with distinction, particularly in the Battle on September 18th defending the city of  London. Their overall score was 18 enemy planes destroyed, 12 probables and one damaged.


1991

Pope John Paul II celebrated the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa.  The Assumption of Mary, or the Day of Assumption, is an annual public holiday in Poland but it is also Polish Army Day as it is connected with the anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw, which was fought between the Poles and the Bolsheviks from August 12 to 25, 1920.  In Poland people attend Mass on the Day of Assumption and many churches have services to remember Polish soldiers who died fighting for Poland. Gatherings take place at some cemeteries where readings are made in honor of dead soldiers. There is also the Change of Guards near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw. The destination for worshipers is the Sanctuary of Jasna Góra in Czestochowa.  between the Poles and the Bolsheviks. The Battle of Warsaw was considered a breakthrough because it assured Poland’s independence but also blocked the spread of communism and Soviet totalitarianism in Europe during the 1920s. August 15 is a HolyFeast day in the Catholic faith, as the day that God assumed the Virgin Mary into Heaven following her death.



August 14, 2018

AUGUST 14 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 14

1941

Maximilian Kolbe volunteered to die in place of another prisoner in Auschwitz:  Kolbe and several other priests of the monastery organized a temporary hospital, where they provided shelter and assistance to Jews fleeing from Nazi persecution. He hid 2,000 in their friary in Niepokalanów.  The Nazis permitted him to continue publishing religious material, but he secretly issued a number of anti-Nazi German publications. On February 17, 1941, the Nazis shut down the monastery and arrested Kolbe and four others, sending them to Pawiak prison. On May 28, Kolbe was transferred to Auschwitz as prisoner #16670.  When a prisoner escaped from the camp, the Nazis selected ten others to be killed in reprisal. One of them was Franciszek Gajowniczek, who broke down in despair and weeping, " My wife! My children! I will never see them again!" Maximilian Kolbe stepped forward and asked to die in his place. His request was granted ... (PS: After the Germans invaded Poland, Kolbe was arrested and briefly detained by the Gestapo. Kolbe refused to sign the Deutsche Volksliste, which would have given him rights similar to those of German citizens in exchange for recognizing his German ancestry. His father was an ethnic German.)


1944

Operation Tractable, the final phase of the Allied offensive began on August 14, 1944. It was conducted by the 1st Canadian Army and the 1st Armored Polish Division against Army Group B of the Wehrmacht. Their objective was to capture the strategically important French towns of Falaise, and smaller towns of Trun and Chambois  The Polish Division, under the command of General Brygady Stanislaw Maczek in their drive for Chambois, enabled the Falaise Gap to be partially closed by Aug 19, 1944 thus trapping about 150,000 German soldiers in the Falaise Pocket.  Attacks and counter-attacks continued on Hill 262 between the 1st Polish Armoured Division and the II SS Panzer Corp.  Despite the fact that the Gap was narrowed to a distance of only several hundred yards, thousands of German troops were able to escape. For two days of nearly continuous fighting, Polish forces using artillery barrages and close-quarter fighting, managed to hold off seven German divisions. On August 21, elements of the First Canadian Army relieved the Polish survivors and sealed the Falaise Pocket by linking up with the Third US Army. This led to the surrender and capture of the remaining units of the German 7th Army in the pocket.


President Roosevelt sent Stalin a request for US landing facilities in Russia in order to transport supplies to the Poles during the Warsaw Uprising.  The Soviets bluntly replied that they did not object to the British and American supply mission, however they would be refused landing facilities once they had completed the mission over Warsaw.  In the following three weeks both Churchill and Roosevelt engaged in negotiations with Stalin, and finally on September 9, 1944 Stalin sent a message to the British Ambassador in Moscow, stating that the Soviet Union would not take responsibility for what was happening in Warsaw, but that they would begin their own air supply missions, and give American and British planes landing rights according to pre-determined arrangements.


1980

The Rise of Solidarity:  16, 000 workers went on strike at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, marking the beginning of the Solidarity movement (Note: The strike was organized by the Free Trade Unions of the Coast, led by electrician Lech Wałęsa. He was a former shipyard worker who had been dismissed in 1976. The strike committee demanded the rehiring of Walentynowicz and Wałęsa, as well as respect for workers' rights among other issues. Moreover, they demanded that a monument be raised in memory of the shipyard workers who were killed in 1970, and for the legalization of independent trade unions. The Polish government tried to impose censorship by blocking all phone connections between the coast and inland regions. The communist media barely mentioned the strike except to indicate some "sporadic labor disturbances in Gdańsk".  Regardless, the democratic ideals of the emerging Solidarity movement spread rapidly through Radio Free Europe broadcasts, mass circulation of a series of samizdats, including Robotnik (The Worker), and spreading the word through the grapevine.


August 13, 2018

AUGUST 13 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 13

1940

The Battle of Britain:   Hermann Göring launched the Luftwaffe's all-out air assault on Britain on August 13, 1940. Code-named Adlertag ('Eagle Day'), its objective was to destroy the British RAF in order to achieve air superiority over England. This was to be followed by Operation Sea Lion, a massive invasion of England, according to Hitler's Directive No. 16.  Though the German attacks on August 13 inflicted significant damage and casualties on the ground, they ultimatley failed to achieve their primary goals. Hence, Operation Sea Lion was shelved definitely.  Regardless, the Luftwaffe continued in its campaign against the RAF well into September of 1940.  The Luftwaffe, unable to destroy the RAF, adopted a different strategy - strategic bombing of British coastal towns and cities, and then London itself.  It was called the Blitz.


1948

Black Friday in Berlin:  After the end of WW2,  Germany and Berlin were divided into allied occupation zones, but by 1948, the rising Cold War rhetoric became extremely hostile. The Soviets interfered with road and rail traffic in an attempt to dislodge the British and Americans from their zones of occupation in Western Berlin, and halted ground and water travel to western part of Berlin. US and UK responded by conducting continuous and massive air lifts to Berlin, which on August 13, 1948  turned into a deadly mission. On August 13, 1948,  thick cloud cover and heavy rain over Berlin caused very poor visibility. A  C-54 crashed and burned at the end of the runway, and a second one landing behind it burst its tires while trying to avoid it. A third transport ground looped after mistakenly landing on a runway under construction.  According to the standard of procedure at the time, all incoming flights (approaching every three minutes) were stacked above Berlin from 3,000 feet (910 m) to 12,000 feet (3,700 m). During severe weather, it greatly increased the chances of a mid-air collision. To make matters worse, planes on the tarmac which had just been unloaded were denied permission to take off, which created a backup on the ground.  There was no loss of life, but the complete lack of control and coordination, compounded by the ill-fated weather was cause for embarrassment for traffic control personnel.


1961

Berlin Divided:  Just past midnight on August 13, 1961, East German soldiers began laying down a barrier of barbed wire and bricks between Soviet-controlled East Berlin and the western Berlin. Walter Ulbricht, the Communist leader of East Germany,  received approval from Khrushchev to begin blocking all access between East and West Berlin.  From August 12 to 13,  soldiers had laid more than 100 miles of barbed wire just inside the border of East Berlin. Soon afterwards, the barbed wire was replaced by a six-foot-high wall made of concrete blocks which covered a distance of 96 miles.  The construction was completed with guard towers, machine gun posts and search lights, and were patrolled by East German officers night and day.


1991

Pope John Paul II's fifth visit to Poland:  The Pope celebrated World Youth Day in Jasna Gora, Częstochowa. It was the first time that World Youth Day was held in Eastern Europe, and the first time that the youth from eastern countries went to Poland to celebrate. There was a powerful spiritual connection between the Pope and the youth of the world that was very special. Over 1.6 million attended for the final Mass. An anthem was composed by Jan Góra and Jacek Sykulski, entitled, "Abba, Ojcze". In his homily, the Pope stated, "......As theme of the Sixth World Youth Day, I have chosen the words of St Paul: "You have received a spirit of sonship" (Rom 8:15). These words lead us into the deepest mystery of the Christian vocation: in the divine plan, we are indeed called to become sons and daughters of God in Christ, through the Holy Spirit.....To all of you young people, on the occasion of this World Youth Day, I say: Receive the Holy Spirit and be strong in faith! "God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and selfcontrol" (2 Tim 1:7)......"     The Pope also visited Krakow.



August 12, 2018

AUGUST 12 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 12

1941

Stalin granted a temporary one-time amnesty for all Polish citizens imprisoned in the Soviet Union.  (Polish Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Jews were excluded because they were considered Soviets).  The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet signed the document on August 12, 1941 which temporarily halted persecutions against Polish civilians under Soviet occupation.  (About two million Polish men, women and children had been deported to Russian camps after the Soviet Union invaded Poland on September 17, 1939) With the outbreak of war with Germany in 1941, Russia was seeking help from other  countries.   On July 5, 1941, Sikorski initiated negotiations with Russia to re-establish diplomatic relations and it culminated in the Sikorski-Maysky Treaty, signed on July 30, 1941, which forged  a military alliance.  At the same time, the previous German-Russian pact (the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact) of August 1939 was nullified, and an agreement was made for the release of some Polish prisoners - but only about 100,000 Polish men, women and children were permitted to leave.   General Wladyslaw Anders ordered an evacuation, the first phase which took place between  March 24 and April 4, 1942 where 33,069 soldiers, 10,789 civilians, and 3,100 children left the Soviet Union for Iran.  (at this point  Polish - Soviet relations deteriorated and the NKVD began arresting Polish officials. ) The second evacuation took place from August 9 to September 1, 1942 consisting of over 43,000 soldiers and about 25,000 civilians. Thousands died along the way.  Only 40,000 Polish men were recruited to a new Polish Army, which became the 2nd Polish Corps, commanded by General  Anders.  The Polish army earned a reputation for being skilled, fierce soldiers in the battlefield.


1944

The Battle of the Falaise (or Falaise Pocket) (Aug 12-21,1944) was the decisive engagement of the Battle of Normandy.  The Western Allies formed a pocket around Falaise, Calvados in which the German Army Group B,  and the 7th Army and the Fifth Panzer Army were encircled.  In the ensuing battle, most of the Army Group B west of the Seine were decimated, thus opening the way to Paris and the Franco-German border for the Allied forces on the Western Front.  The Germans began to withdraw on August 17,  and on August 19 the Allies linked up in Chambois. Gaps were forced in the Allied lines by German counter-attacks, the biggest being a corridor forced past the 1st Polish Armoured Division on Hill 262, a commanding position at the mouth of the pocket. By the evening of August 21, the pocket had been sealed, with approximately 50,000 Germans trapped inside. Though it was a decisive allied victory. Allied troops suffered 5,150 casualties of which 2,300 were the soldiers of the Polish 1st Armoued Division.  Canadian troops suffered 5,679 casualties. German casualties were 60,000 ( 10,000 killed, 50,000 captured)


PERSONAL AND MOST SECRET MESSAGE FROM Mr CHURCHILL TO MARSHAL STALIN (no.317)   "I have seen a distressing message from the Poles in Warsaw, who after ten days are still fighting against considerable German forces which have cut the city into three. They implore machine-guns and ammunition. Can you not give them some further help, as the distance from Italy is so very great?" (August 12th, 1944 )


1945

The Potsdam Agreement was signed on this day in 1945. In connection with this, the Allied leaders planned the new postwar German government, resettled war territory boundaries, de facto annexed a quarter of pre-war Germany situated east of the Oder-Neisse line, and mandated and organized the expulsion of the millions of Germans who remained in the annexed territories and elsewhere in the east. They also ordered German demilitarization, denazification, industrial disarmament and settlements of war reparations.  The Agreement included a Protocol which included administrative and territorial terms for Poland, as follows:  "There should be a Provisional Government of National Unity recognized by all three powers, and that those Poles who were serving in British Army formations should be free to return to Poland. The provisional western border should be the Oder–Neisse line, with territories to the east of this excluded from the Soviet Occupation zone and placed under Polish and Soviet administration. Poland would receive former German territories in the north and west, but the final delimitation of the western frontier of Poland should await the peace settlement; which eventually took place as the Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany in 1990."

August 11, 2018

AUGUST 11 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

AUGUST 11

1892

Wladyslaw Anders (dob) was a General in the Polish Army, and later became a politician and prominent member of the Polish Government-in-Exile in London. When Poland was invaded by Germany on September 1, 1939,  Anders was called into action and commanded the Nowogródzka Cavalry Brigade in the Battle of Mlawa. With the collapse of the Polish Northern Front, the Brigade withdrew towards Warsaw, fighting several battles against the Germans. Following the Soviet attack on September 17, 1939 Anders retreated south in the direction of Lwów in the attempt to reach the Hungarian or Romanian border but was wounded twice and captured by the Red Army. The Soviets transferred Anders to the notorious Lubyanka prison were he was confined until February 29, 1940. During his imprisonment, he was interrogated and tortured by the NKVD who attempted to force him to join the Russian Army. He refused.  But after the Nazis launched Operation Barbarossa, and the signing of the Sikorski-Maisky Agreement, Anders was released, and given the command to form a Polish army which would join the Soviets in the battle against the Nazis. Ander's army, the 2nd Polish Corp were composed of Polish civilians who had been deported to the Russian gulag,  from Soviet-occupied Poland.  The Polish 2nd Corps became a vital tactical and operational unit of the Polish Armed Forces in the West. Anders commanded the Corps throughout the Italian Campaign, capturing Monte Cassino on May 18, 1944, later fighting on the Gothic Line and in the final spring offensive. After the end of World War Two, Anders was prominent in the Polish Government in Exile in London and became inspector-general of the Polish forces-in-exile, as well as working on behalf of various charities and welfare organization. He never returned to Poland.


1939

Ribbentrop met with Ciano, the Italian Ambassador to Germany, and Attolico:  During the meeting, both Ciano and Attolico were horrified to learn from Ribbentrop that Germany planned to attack Poland that summer, and that the Danzig issue was merely a pretext for aggression. When Ciano offered to broker a Polish-German settlement,  Ribbentrop admitted that "We want war!"  Despite Ciano's efforts, the Germans did not want a diplomatic solution, but rather they wanted war only to eradicate Poland from the map.  Ribbentrop was certain that neither Britain nor France would go to war for Poland, claiming that "France and England cannot intervene because they are insufficiently prepared militarily and because they have no means of injuring Germany."


1944

Ochota Massacre:  Germans recaptured the Ochota district of Warsaw from Polish insurgents. (The Polish Underground had launched the Warsaw Uprising on the first of August 1944) By August 11, the Nazis expelled more Polish civilians from their homes and murdered them. Their bodies were placed in piles in the neighboring Hugo Kollajaj Secondary School, doused with alcohol and set on fire. On August 12 a German officer captured three boy scouts of the Gustaw Battalion of the Home Army, and shot them in the backs of their heads as they lowered corpses into an excavated pit.  On August 13, the final evacuation of civilians to the Pruszków transit camp began. This was the Ochota Massacre,  a German orchestrated mass murder of civilians, involving looting, arson, torture and rape. These atrocities continued unabated from August 4 to August 25, 1944 and were carried out by the notorious RONA brigade, commanded by Bronislav Kaminski, of the so-called Russian National "Liberation" Army.   The RONA units withdrew from Ochota in the last week of August 1944, but looting of property continued until the beginning of October. The Nazi Germans organized this campaign of pillaging, and loaded the stolen property on trains and truck convoys headed for Germany. Lastly, units of the Vernichtungskommando were brought into the district where they systematically set street after street on fire, resulting in the total destruction of the Ochota district. More than 40,000 Polish civilians were murdered.


1945

Violent eruption of Krakow Pogrom:  On August 11, 1945, in the Soviet-occupied city of Kraków, Poland,  the pogrom resulted in the shooting death of one person, Róża Berger while she was standing behind closed doors. Five others were wounded.  The prelude to the pogrom occurred on June 27, 1945, when a local Jewish woman, Milicja Obywatelska, was arrested by the police for the alleged abduction of a child. In reality, the mother placed the child in her care. But rumours started to spread like wild fire that the Jewish woman had tried to kill the child and a hysterical mob gathered outside. The militia was brought in to restore peace but the rumours of blood libel continued to spread. By August 11, 1945, the rumours claimed that the number of "victims" had increased to 80. Groups of young hooligans converged at Kleparski Square every week to throw stones at the Kupa Synagogue. On August 11, an attempt was made (by whom?) to seize a thirteen-year-old boy who was vandalizing the synagogue, but the youth managed to escape and ran to the nearby marketplace screaming "Help me, the Jews have tried to kill me!" That's when all hell broke loose. Crowds broke into the syngagogue during Saturday Sabbath service, beating the Jews, and burning the Torah scrolls. Jewish men, women and children were attacked and beaten on the streets, their homes broken into and robbed. Jews wounded during the pogrom were attacked in hospital.  The notorious Soviet NKVD prepared a report for Joseph Stalin, in which they claimed that it was Polish militiamen who sanctioned the violence. (Editors note: In both the Krakow Pogrom and the Kielce Pogrom (July 4 1946) the violence was ignited in the same manner - that of accusations of the abduction of children and blood libel.  Regardless of whether the Polish miltiamen sanctioned the violence,  it can be surmised that the Soviet NKVD were the instigators of the pogrom, and bears their MO.  The NKVD issued a report to Stalin about the event, so their presence at the scene should have raised suspicions.)


1957

Rudolf Stefan Weigl was a Polish biologist and inventor of the first effective vaccine against epidemic typhus. During the Nazi occupation of Poland, Weigl harbored Jews, thereby risking execution by the Germans. His vaccines were also smuggled into the Lwów Ghetto and the Warsaw Ghetto, saving countless additional Jewish lives. Weigl employed and protected Polish intellectuals, Jews and members of the Polish underground. In 1945 Weigl moved to Kraków, Poland. He was appointed Chair of the General Microbiology Institute of Jagiellonian University, and later Chair of Biology of the Poznań Medical Faculty. He died on August 11, 1957 in the Polish mountain resort of Zakopane. In 2003,  Rudolf Weigl was recognized as Righteous Among Nations of the World.