December 4, 2018

DECEMBER 4 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

DECEMBER 4

1938

Sudetenland Elections: There were elections in Reichsgau Sudetenland, in which 97.32% of the adult population voted for the National Socialist Party. About 500,000 Sudeten Germans joined the National Socialist Party, which was 17.34% of the German population in Sudetenland (the average National Socialist Party participation in Nazi Germany was 7.85%).  This means the Sudetenland was the most pro-Nazi region in the Third Reich. Because of their knowledge of the Czech language, many Sudeten Germans were employed in the administration of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and in Nazi organizations (Gestapo, etc.) The most notable was Karl Hermann Frank, the SS and police general and Secretary of State in the Protectorate.  Nazi German policy was more lenient of the Czechs who had German ancestry, considering them capable of "Aryianization", but it was the exception rather than the rule.  The Nazis classified most Czechs as a mixture of races including that of Jewish ancestry.


1942

Secret Polish Organizations Helped the Jews:  Zegota was created to replace the defunct organization "Council to Aid the Jews" which was dissolved for political and financial reasons. Zegota, supported by the Polish Home Army, operated about 100 secret cells situated mainly throughout Warsaw, though there were smaller branches in Krakow, Vilnius, and Lwow..  Zegota provided the Jews with shelter and hiding places, relief provisions, and fake documents and passports to help them escape.  Approximately 50,000 Jews were saved because of the work of Zegota.  Operatives of ┼╗egota frequently put themselves at risk of arrest, or execution by Nazi authorities. (The Nazis distributed pamphlets in Polish and German warning Polish citizens that helping the Jews would be punishable by instant death. Many Polish people ignored the warning and did what they could to help Jewish people. Often entire Polish families and even neighbors were dragged into the street and shot. The Nazis believed that any Jews hidden by the Poles, had to have considerable collaboration from among friends, family and neighbours. ) Many Polish men, women, and even children went to extraordinary lengths to help the Jews.  Their names have been added to the Righteous Among Nations,, and will forever be remembered for their great courage and sacrifices.  No other nation in Nazi-occupied Europe struggled so diligently to try to save as many Jews as did the valiant Polish people.


1944

Heilbrunn Was Bombed.  The largest air-raid during WWII was launched over Heilbrunn on December 4, 1944 by the British Royal Force and the United States Army Air Forces.  About 280 Lancaster bombers of 627 Squadron, accompanied by ten fighter planes flew over the city in loose formation. Despite a cloudy night, the planes dropped flare markers on the city to facilitate accurate bombing.  A flashlight bomb was dropped, exploding at 600 feet, followed by numerous flares, which illuminated the sky bright as day. Numerous incendiary bombs were dropped on the city and fires burned throughout the night.  Within a period of half an hour, over 6,500 people, including 1,000 children under 10 years of age, perished in the raid.  Historical records do not give an exact number of casualties because many corpses were burned beyond recognition. Heilbrunn had been bombed numerous times throughout the war.


1985

French President Mitterrand met with Polish leader Jaruzelski on December 4, 1985 amid a storm of protest. It was Jaruzelski's first visit to the West, and Mitterrand was the first Western leader to receive Jaruzelski.  In an interview conducted by Le Matin, Mitterrand said that he met with Jaruzelski because France had to express its opinions "....on the serious questions between East and West and between Europeans. I add, that all that touches the Polish nation is dear to us...." The French Senate protested the meeting by suspending its session. More than five hundred demonstrators rallied in front of the Polish Embassy, shouting: ″Jaruzelski, Assassin″ and ″Solidarity will live 3/8″ .  The Bateaux Mouches, (the famous tourist boats on the River Seine), refused to allow Jaruzelski aboard for a city cruise.  All France"s largest unions (except the Communist affiliations) issued a joint statement that ″....reaffirmed their entire solidarity with Solidarity and all of the Polish people.....″ and demanded that ″.....All normalization of relations with Poland must be conditional on the respect for human rights, the liberation of detained people and the recognition of union rights and freedoms allowing the exercise of Solidarity’s rights,″.   (NB:  In December 1981, Jaruzelski declared martial law and dealt brutal suppression of the free trade union movement.  The French people believed that the meeting between Mitterrand and Jaruzelski was a betrayal of French support for the Solidarity movement in Poland, and of the Polish people.)


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