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.



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