September 6, 2018




The German Army occupied Kraków. As German forces entered into Krakow on September 6, 1939,  Stanislaw Klimecki, the city's Mayor was there to save the city from attack. Because of his courageous appeals to the Germans that the city was defenseless, the Wehrmacht spared the city of Krakow from attacks and destruction. The Germans made Krakow the capital city of the new German administrative district of the General Gouvernment, under the leadership of Hans Frank. Despite their immediate surrender, the people of Krakow suffered greatly under the totalitarian regime; in the Sonderaktion, 184 Polish professors of the Jagiellonian University including Rector Lehr-Splawinski, were arrested by the Germans during a meeting ordered by the Gestapo Chief Muller. On the same evening, Klimecki was taken from his home and sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, then later to Dachau. Three years later he was executed by the Gestapo in the Niepołomice Forest. The Germans pillaged the medieval city of Krakow of its priceless treasures, and destroyed many relics and monuments of historical value. (the bronze statue of Adam Mickiewicz was stolen for scrap) The Jews of Krakow were confined to ghettos, and later deported to Plaszow and Auschwitz death camps. Many Poles were among the inmates. (note: several specific events which occurred in the Krakow ghetto were portrayed in the film, "Schinlder's List".)

Warsaw Fought Back:  The Polish Pursuit Brigade initially had great success in the defense of Warsaw. On September 6, 1939, Polish pilots successfully shot down 43 German aircraft, and Polish anti-aircraft artillery shot down an equal number of enemy bombers. Despite these victories, the Polish Brigade suffered heavy casualties. By the next day, the Poles lost more than 38 pieces of war materiel, consisting of about 70% of its overall strength. The Polish Air Force flew the famous PZL fighter planes which matched maneuverability of the German planes, but were not as fast. However, they were greatly outnumbered by the Germans. Many PZL fighters were destroyed, but others were withdrawn and taken to Romania. The Germans also captured a few of the Polish planes to use as trainers.  Warsaw capitulated on September 28, 1939. (Editors note:  Nazi German war propaganda claimed that they had destroyed all Polish aircraft while the planes were still on the ground. This is not obviously not true.)


The National Legionary State was a totalitarian dictatorship of the Romanian government. It was controlled by Prime Minister Ion Antonescu and his fascist Iron guard. The Romanian government passed 70 laws imposing anti-Jewish regulations, and by the end of October 1940, the Iron Guard had launched a massive anti-semitic campaign consisting of brutal beatings and torture of Jews, looting their shops, and a pogrom in which 125 Jews were murdered.


Vilna Ghetto:  Nazi Germans forced Jews out of their homes and herded them into two ghettos. Of the 20,000 Jews arrested,  3,700 were murdered.  Half-Jews, spouses of Jews, and even converts were subjected to arrest and imprisonment.  From September 6 to 7, the German action was conducted very quickly, and prevented the Jews from using any transportation. They were permitted to take only what they could physically carry.  The location chosen by the Nazis for the ghetto was in the center of Vilna, traditionally a Jewish center.  The Ghetto was split into two sections, the Large Ghetto and the Small Ghetto, with a corridor running through both sectors, which allowed the Nazis to continually survey any activity going on.


Martyr of the Warsaw Uprising:   Jan Franciszek Czartoryski was among the Catholic religious, executed by the Nazi Germans during World War two. He was a Polish noble and military chaplain.  Czartoryski is among the list of 108 Blessed Polish Martyrs of World War II beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 13, 1999.  Among them were 3 bishops, 52 priests and 26 members of male religious, 3 seminarians, 8 female religious, and 9 lay people.  The liturgical feast day is observed on June 12th. Two parishes  have been named for the 108 Martyrs of World War II  (in Powiercie in Koło County, and in Malbork, Poland)


Polish dissidents seized Polish Embassy in Switzerland:  Four gunmen of Polish nationality stormed the Polish Embassy on September 6, 1982,    (Marek Michalski, 20; Miroslaw Plewinski, 23; and Krysztof Wasilewski, 33, lead by Florian Kruszyk, 42 who was a Polish spy) They threatened to blow up the Embassy unless martial law was lifted in Poland within 48 hours. It was later discovered that they had no explosives and that their only weapons were 4 Remington 870 repeating rifles, 4 bayonets and gas masks. Swiss police charged into the embassy amidst a barrage of stun grenades and tear gas, rescuing the hostages and capturing the gunman. The operation was conducted with "clockwork" precision and was completed in twelve minutes. Swiss officials refused to agree to the extradition of the four men. According to Swiss Justice Minister, the gunmen would be tried in a Swiss court rather than be subjected to the Soviet brand of "justice."


The Minister of National Defence of the Republic of Poland has posthumously promoted Witold Pilecki to the rank of Colonel.  Pilecki was  awarded the Order of Polonia Restituta in 1994, and the Order of the White Eagle in 2006 (the highest Polish decoration.) Witold Pilecki led the Polish underground resistance movement, and fought in the Warsaw Uprising. He was one of the greatest heroes of World War Two.  He allowed himself to be arrested by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz concentration camp, where he observed first hand the Nazi German atrocities against the Jews.  When he escaped two years later, he submitted his report to Polish Intelligence. The allies were informed of the horrific details of the camp, but did not believe him.

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