September 4, 2018




The German cruiser Emden was bombed while she lay moored at Wilhelmshaven.  Allied forces consisting of fifteen Blenheims and fourteen Wellingtons bombed German warships at Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbuttel. Nazi German AA gunners destroyed four of the five Blenheim bombers, one of which crashed into the ship. Casualties were 29 men killed or wounded. The Emden, accompanied by sixteen other German destroyers, had just completed her first operation having laid a minefield off the German coast in the North Sea.

The Battle of Mława was one of many border battles fought during the Nazi invasion of Poland.   On the first of September,  the Polish 20th Infantry Division was attacked by the German 1st Army Corps but the Germans were repelled by Polish 37mm Armata ppanc. wz. 36 anti-tank guns. After attempting several failed attacks, the Germans were forced to withdraw, albeit temporarily.  The following day, the Germans counter-attacked by launching its heaviest artillery barrage, and after two hours of constant bombardment, the Polish troops began to falter. By the 3rd of September, the Germans managed to cut through the Polish antitank barriers and captured local civilians to use as human shields. It was followed by the capture of several Polish bunkers and eventually allowed the Germans to push forward. By the early morning of the 4th of September, Polish troops had begun their withdrawal.  Although the Germans possessed superior mechanized weapons, they also suffered heavy casualties; 1,800 killed, 3,000 wounded, 1,000 missing and 72 tanks destroyed. Polish casualties 1,200 killed, and 1,500 wounded.

Numerous other border battles ensued, including that of the Battle of Krojanty, the Battle of Pszczyna, the Battle of Rozan, the Battle of Lasy Krolewskie and many others, all of which ended in German victories. Among the Polish victories were the Battle of Hel which lasted for more than a month, and the Battle of Mokra. The rapidity and the number of defeats made it exceedingly difficult for Polish troops to regroup and to establish secondary lines of defences and as a result the Polish forces had to abandon the regions of Pomerania, Greater Poland and Silesia.

The Great Synagogue of Katowice was set on fire by the Nazis during the invasion of Poland. It was the largest synagogue in the city, and could accommodate 1,120 worshipers (670 males and 450 females). Today in the place where this great building once stood there is a square named, Synagogue Square, where there is a moment dedicated to the Jewish inhabitants of the city who perished during the Second World War.

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