September 11, 2018




Franciszek Żwirko and Stanisław Wigura, winners of an international flying competition, were killed in a plane crash on September 11, 1932 when their RWD 6 crashed in the forest at Cierlicko near Cieszyn in Czechoslovakia.  The plane wing broke in a heavy storm.  In December 1931  the famous Polish aviation school in Deblin, chose Zwirko to compete for the Polish team at the International Tourist Plane Competition Challenge held in Berlin on August 20 to 28, 1932. Zwirko selected Wigura as his crewmate, and they won the competition beating the German favorites. The two Polish aviators flew the new RWD-6 plane and were praised as heroes in Poland. 


Siege of Warsaw Continued.  In the midst of the German invasion of Poland, the Polish Commander in Chief ordered that the city of Warsaw had to be defended at all costs, even in the face of possible heavy casualties and civilian losses. The next day, German troops under the command of General Kuchler, broke through Polish defence lines along the Narew river and advanced southwards with the objective of cutting off Warsaw. The Germans were met with heavy attacks by Polish cavalry units under the command of General Wladyslaw Anders. But despite a strong Polish initiative had failed and the Poles had to withdraw to the south.  Other Polish troops fighting near the Narew River also retreated and made their way to Warsaw reaching the capital city by September 14. These troops were incorporated with the main defence forces already present in the Praga district of the city.


RAF bombing of Darmstadt:   The old city centre of Darmstadt was hit by an RAF bombing raid on September 11, 1944 resulting in 11,000 to 12,500 inhabitants burned to death, 66,000 to 70,000 homeless and destroying more than three quarters of the city.  The RAF used the firestorm technique that would also be used against Dresden in February 1945.  The firestorm was created by dropping numerous incendiary bombs around the city, followed by the deployment of explosive blast bombs. It resulted in a combustion process where winds generated by the fire, sustained a continuous firestorm that burned everything to the ground.  The first allied bombing of the city was on July 30, 1940, and it would be followed by 34 air raids until the end of WW2.  Shortly after the Nazi Party took power in 1933, Darmstadt was the first city in Germany to force Jewish store owners to close up shop, for "endangering communal order and tranquility". The order was in effect for one day.  By 1942, more than 3,000 Jews  from the city were rounded up and detained in a collection camp, and later deported to concentration camps.

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