September 30, 2011

Warsaw Uprising 1944: September 30 ZOLIBORZ SURRENDERS!



Powstanie warszawskie - "Ludzie Wschodu" Lao Che (00:03:19m)

At dawn today, without preliminary artillery fire, German troops made a surprise attack on Polish positions located in Zoliborz, and have seized the "Zgoda", a large housing cooperative situated on Slowackiego Street. The attacks were followed by another barrage of strong artillery fire against Gdanska Street and Wilsona Square. Amid the maelstorm insurgents managed to establish contact with members of the 1st Army of the Polish Armed Forces.  By midday fierce battles ensued for control of individual houses along the lower part of Mickiewicza and Krasinskiego Streets.

Meanwhile several Polish troops were scheduled to evacuate to the right bank of the Vistula in the afternoon and had begun their retreat upon the orders of their commander, Lt. Col. Mieczyslaw Niedzielski "Zywiciel". However bad weather has made it impossible for them to make the crossing. Some Polish troops attempted to force their way through but were stopped.




Col. "Wachnowski"
Amid the fighting negotations have been underway since early this morning for a cease-fire and the evacuation of civilians. Upon the orders of General Komorowski "Bor",  Col. Karol Ziemski “Wachnowski” and Lt. Jerzy Kaminski “Scibor” have been appointed to negotiate with General Erich von dem Bach, and General Kaellner, the commander of the 19th armored division regarding the cessation of operations in Zoliborz.

At 5:00 p.m. Col. “Wachnowski” relayed the terms of capitulation to Lt. Col. “Zywiciel” and at around 6 p.m. the district of Zoliborz surrendered. For the next five hours members of the Armia Krajowa (Home Army) troops have laid down their weapons, and marched to Pionier Park in Powazki under German escort.


Polish emissaries have been negotiating with General Bach in his headquarters in Ozarow for the past couple of days concerning the terms of capitulation and the issue of evacuation of civilians from Srodmiescie. The Polish delegation was able to obtain consent for a cease-fire between 5:00 am and 7:00 pm on October 1st and 2nd during which over 200,000 Polish civilians will be evacuated. The Germans have established five specific points as the evacuation routes - at the western entries of Grzybowska, Panska, Piusa and Sniadeckich Streets at the Institute of Technology, and also in Aleje Jerozolimskie Street.


Since the Uprising began, General von dem Bach Zelewski had approached the Poles on three occasions with surrender proposals, terms which included guarantees and assurances of formal status of combattant rights to the insurgents. Despite the agreement, about 150 insurgents were shot today when they emerged from the sewers. They had been travelling underneath Warsaw and as fate would have it mistakenly merged in the district of Mokotow Sector, which is now in German hands.

Eric von dem Bach
Throughout the Uprising, hundreds of thousands of Poles have been killed, many of them civilians. Upon Himmlers orders, General Geibel had carried out mass murder of countless men, women and children. German soldiers of the Kampfgruppe Reinefarth would routinely surround houses, blocks and streets with the objective of killing as many people as possible. They shot through windows, entrances to houses, and threw grenades. Nobody was spared, all the young, the old, the sick and wounded were massacred on the spot. Houses were set on fire and people were burned alive in their own homes. Gasoline was poured on piles of corpses in the streets and set on fire. In one area, 18 women, all of whom were nurses, were taken and shot. One woman who had just given birth to her child was raped by 8 SS men. She died from the brutal trauma.

Polish Intelligentsia Rounded Up and  Blindfolded by Nazis before Execution 1940
Photo taken secretly by Polish Underground (in Palmiry)
Insurgents Executed - Warsaw Uprising


German soldiers conducted mass execution of Polish hostages in Palmiry in retaliation for an attack on a Nazi police station by the underground organization "White Eagle"
Today, SS Senior Colonel Dirlewanger was awarded the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross for his action against Warsaw, in particular for horrendous massacre of Poles in the districts of Wola and Ochota on August 4th. In the span of a few days the infamous SS Dirlewanger troops and SS RONA brigade slaughtered from 40,000 to 100,000 civilians and POWs, many of them women and children. Although German Command publicly disapproved of the barbaric methods used by Dirlewanger and his troops, he was nevertheless awarded with the highest of honours.  German Command also bestowed honours  to SS Heinz Reinefarth who received oak leaves to his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Reinfarth participated in the Wola Massacres and has been responsible for many other atrocities recently committed in the districts of Powisle and Czerniakow including the murder of POWs and wounded insurgents in hospital.

General "Bor"
At the end of September General Bor sent this message simultaneously to the Polish Prime Minister and the Commander in Chief in London,  “The food situation for the army and civilian population is catastrophic. For some time we have not been eating enough, and within a few days the rest of the stock will be exhausted. We are facing famine, complete exhaustion, and epidemic. Mortality among the children is still on the upswing, case of death from starvation are occurring among adults. The Uprising will collapse for lack of food...”

Despite appeals for assistance, and the frequency of urgent radio message, there was no action taken by Britain or United States.  Throughout the Uprising, there have been over 6,600 messages either received or transmitted. It amounts to 104 messages per day. Most of the demands have been for allied air assistance. However, sources indicate that a second relief flight coded Operation Frantic 8 is being planned by the Americans. Clearance was received just today from the Russian authorities, and cargo is in its last stages of preparation. The flight is scheduled for October.

General Bor, as the commander of the Armia Krajowa has fought tirelessly to defend Warsaw and Poland from the German onslaught, but with the battle now having been lost, the next most grave concern is the future of Poland's independence and sovereignty. It will be a fight to the very last hour.  Bor also stated his message that  “The fighting insurgents and the community expect concrete decisions; not only assistance for Warsaw, but also a clear statement on ways of recovering Poland’s independent existence and sovereignty threatened by the aggressive policy of the Soviet Union...” There has been no comment by either American or British officials.

The BBC in London has reported that Gen. Kazimierz Sosnkowski has resigned, and that the Polish President Wladyslaw Raczkiewicz has appointed General Tadeusz Komorowski “Bor” Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces.



September 29, 2011

Warsaw Uprising 1944: September 29 Germans Defeat Famous Kampinos



Rota (Polish anthem - English subtitles)   (00:03:20m)

Since early morning, German troops positioned from the south and the west have been launching massive, general attacks on the district of Zoliborz. Insurgent positions are being hit hard by the German troops of the 19th infantry armored division, supported by strong firepower from several dozen tanks and artillery guns.


Mieczyslaw Niedzielsi
For an entire week a group of AK soliders (Armia Krajowa) in Zoliborz Sector, under the command of Colonel Mieczyslaw Niedzielsi "Zywicel" have been holding off attacks from the 19th Panzer Division and other German units. They have been stranded, hemmed in on all four sides by enemy fire. General Berling had offered to provide assistance to the AK unit in crossing the Vistula to the eastern shore. However, Colonel Niedzielsi refused to evacuate the area or surrender until he finally received orders to do so by General Monter.

After a fierce battle, Polish units of the “Zniwiarz” group have retreated from the “Opel” factory and a covered market on Slowackiego Street. Units of the “Zyrafa” group have left the ruins of the Sisters of the Order of the Resurrection convent on Krasinskiego Street.

German attacks from the Citadel and Gdanski Railway Station have forced insurgents of the “Zaglowiec” group to retreat towards Inwalidow Square. Meanwhile in the sector of Marymont defense, insurgents from the “Zubr” group have been able to hold all their positions.  And to the east, the “Zbik” group is maintaining control of Bohomolca Street. City Centre Sector remains under Polish control. In Srodmiescie, upon German request, a local truce started around 1:00 p.m. in the area of BGK Bank.

The Kampinos Group was defeated in battle near Jaktorow. Massive German assault troops managed to encircle the Polish units killing over 170 partisan fighters and taking about 150 prisoners.  But casualties are much higher as the SS and Gestapo executed many of the prisoners on the spot. 

The Polish fighters didn't have a chance. German Command had been organizing the Sternschnuppe campaign (Star Operation) for a week,with the objective of driving the Kampinos Group out of the forest. Over the past two days heavy enemy artillery, and dive bombers has virtually obliterated partisan camps in the area of the villages of Wiersze, Brzozowska, Truskawka and Janowek.


Kampinos Group - Map - September 27-29, 1944 Warsaw Uprising


Under cover of night partisan detachments began heading in the direction of Marianska Forest in an attempt to break out of the German encirclement but to no avail. Enemy fire has destroyed nearby villages. Despite overwhelming German firepower, the partisans managed to inflict severe casualties on the enemy's camp. Several German tanks were destroyed and one plane shot down. One of the battalions succeeded in killing German troops and destroying their trucks. However further resistance appears futile. Polish troops are suffering from complete exhaustion, lack of sleep and no food yet they continue to battle the enemy.


The partisan groups emerged from the forest in the area of Wiejca and Kampinos with the enemy in close pursuit. After having passed Baranow, Polish troops stopped in Budy Zosine, not far from Jaktorow but instead of crossing the nearby rails, the commanding officer "Okon' ordered the troops to stop. It was a fatal decision. It was not until daybreak that the partisans finally resumed their march and crossed the rails. But by then it was too late. Though they managed to fight off German attacks, a German armoured train arrived in the area - followed by another one.

The armored train launched a torrent of artillery fire at the partisana; tanks were closing in from the other side, and infantry attacking from the flanks. The situation was hopeless but the partisans fought on. They formed themselves into the shape of a quadrangle in preparation for the worst yet to come. Fighting went on, until ammunition eventually ran out.




German Armored Train (Oct 1943) (00:01:52m)

The partisans were encircled, yet they were still able to fight off repeated attacks, even without ammunition. The men of the Kampinos Groups showed the most astounding example of courage and nerves of steel.  As SS detachments started to make their approach, and just as they came closer, Polish units charged towards them with bayonets. The SS - elite German detachments were completely unnerved by the attack and fled, dropping their weapons.

Kampinos Group-September 1944

Over 1000 partisans succeeded in breaking out from the encirclement but were not able to
re-establish communication links with each other. Many of them continued to fight in other regions of the country, while some returned to the forests, such as Swietokrzyskie (Holy Cross) mountain.

 
Kampinos Group on September 27, 1944 leaving forest
for the march towards Holy Cross Mountains

The partisan group, under the command of Lt. Adolf Pilch, numbered over 2,600 soldiers strong, and had been based in forests in and around Kampinos. Their reputation as fierce fighters preceded them and their stronghold was nicknamed by the Germans as "the Independent Republic of Kampinos." The Kampinos Group had joined the Uprising in the "W" hour on August 1st, 1944 and 1,000 men were later dispatched to join the fighting in Warsaw upon General Bors' orders.


Kampinos Group during Mass - September 1944 Adolf Pilch is # 3

The Germans lost about 1000 soldiers and about 500 soldiers were wounded in the battles with the Kampinos Group.


Since September 13th, Soviet Command had been providing assistance to the insurgents by artillery fire, though it was sporadic and Soviet fighters were spotted over the Warsaw engaged in dogfights with German planes. Insurgents received supplies from Polish Air Force, which was attached to the First Polish Army and also from Soviet Air Force planes. A total of 589 planes participated and flew 2,243 sorties (accounting for 2,501 flight hours over Warsaw).

Despite Soviet assistance, General Tadeusz Komorowski "Bor" has reported a disturbing trend emerging from a series of radiograms that he has been receiving from Polish Underground sectors in the eastern territories of Poland. The Soviet Red Army has been arresting members of the Armia Krajowa (AK). Moreover, the Soviet government is actively setting up numerous "Committees" as a precursor to seizing political power in Poland.


NKVD prison yard filled with corpses of murdered Polish prisoners July 1941


The situation for the insurgents has reached a crisis point. All reserves of ammunition and food have run out.  Some insurgents and civilians are dying from exhaustion and starvation. General Bor has sent a radiogram to the Polish Commander in Chief in London informing him that the remaining food would last for only three more days. He also informed Marshal Rokossovsky of this and asked him again for assistance. General Bor's message was blunt - if he does not receive substantial help by then, he will be compelled to capitulate. But he added that he would resume fighting "in the case of attack by the Red Army within the next few days."


Lt. John Ward
Lt. John Ward is a British soldier, and member of the Armia Krajowa.  Since the start of the Uprising he has been dispatching secret coded messages to London informing them of developments in Warsaw, and making urgent requests for shipments of ammunition and weapons.  His pleas have fallen on deaf ears. 

The Home Army Staff announced this afternoon that the southern group fighting in Warsaw had been forced to capitulate. This leaves only two Polish islands of resistance in the city, one in the north, the other in the centre. The food situation is most critical and even front line soldiers get next to nothing to eat.  

(Received in London on 1st October, 1944.)



September 28, 2011

Warsaw Uprising 1944: September 28 Negotiations Begin Fighting Continues



Warsaw Uprising (Sep 1944) (00:02:28m)

After the capitulation of Mokotow, German forces have launched a ferocious general attack on the district of Zoliborz. Since the early morning hours there has been very strong artillery fire from the direction of the Warsaw-Gdansk station. Especially hard hit was the area of Krasinski Street and Wilsona Square. Within a couple of hours the German had seized Prince Poniatowski school. German troops have been methodically destroying each building in the district. In addition to tanks they have dispatched the notorious Goliaths, remote controlled demolition vehicles. Each miniature "tank", what the Allies would call beetle tanks, can carry from 75 to 100 kilograms (170-220 lbs) of high explosives - detonating enough power to demolish entire buildings, bridges, and even other tanks.





Goliath tracked mine, German anti-tank weapon (1944) (00:01:19m)


Huge craters mark the places where streets and buildings used to be.  Vast areas have been reduced to rubble. It is a horrifying scene - corpses scattered amid the craters, hanging from balconies, many of them women and children. Meanwhile German troops are conducting pacification on numerous villages in the forest. They have burned down and virtually eradicated the villages of Pociecha, Wiersze, Janowek, Brzozowka, Krogulec, among others. The situation is desperate. Insurgents in City Centre Sector are completely isolated, and the remaining pockets of resistance have been surrendering one after the other.






Zygmunt Dobrowolski
Negotiations began at 8:00 this morning at the Ozarow headquarters of General von dem Bach, attended by a Polish delegation sent by General Tadeusz Komorowski "Bor". Polish emissaries Lt. Col. Zygmunt Dobrowolski “Zyndram”, Captain Alfred Korczynski “Sas” - his legal advisor and interpreter, and Colonel Iranek-Osmecki were present on behalf of Home Army Command. General von dem Bach negotiated on behalf of German Command, and was accompanied by an interpreter and two police officers. Von dem Bach had proposed the terms of capitulation but by evening Home Army Headquarters had come to the decision that negotiations should continue. The Polish delegation have demonstrateed to be highly skilled negotiators. The German general later remarked that "they were extremely tough negotiators - haggling over every word. They wanted to surrender as honorably as possible and obtain all guarantees to ensure their complete recognition as regulars."  

For the past two weeks Soviet have been flying supply missions over Warsaw though they refused to allow British or American to do likewise.  The Soviets have made many drops from very low altitudes. They are flying biplanes, which are slow but have enabled pilots to pinpoint target zones with greater accuracy and they managed to hit their targets exactly. Reports indicate that the Soviets dropped canisters containing these among other items:



One artillery piece (45mm)
1,378 machine pistols
159 mortars (50mm)
505 anti-armour rifles
170 carbines
522 short carbines
350 German carbines
300 of 45mm shells
37,260 mortar shells (50mm)
57,640 rounds of ammunition for anti-armour rifles,
1,312,600 piece of ammunition for carbines,
1,360,984 rounds of ammunition (type not given)
75,000 rounds of ammunition (7.5 and 7.7 mm)
260,600 rounds of ammunition for Mausers
312,760 piece of parabellum ammunition
18,428 hand-grenades
18,270 German hand-grenades
515 kilograms of medical equipment
10 field telephones
9,600 metres of telephone cables
One field telephone station
10 batteries for field telephone
22 batteries (BAS-AT)
126,681 kil. Of foodstuffs (278,696 lbs)

Soviet supply drops were temporarily interrupted between the 18th and 21st of September. Tragically, by the time supply missions were resumed, the areas originally held by the insurgents had diminished greatly. Polish strongholds still remain but are concentrated in smaller sectors, and are encircled by the Germans who now control most of the city. Every supply mission is extremely dangerous as allied planes are exposed to very strong and relentless German anti-aircraft fire. It is an act of sheer heroism on the part of Polish and Soviet pilots to descend just above the rooftops of the burning city, looking for recognition signals.

Sources indicate that many of the supplies were dropped without benefit of parachutes. The weapons that are so desperately needed, have been smashed to pieces upon hitting the ground.  All the supplies have been rendered useless by the time they were picked up by the insurgents.  To avoid damage, some supplies were packed with bags made of sailcloth, as well as packed with straw, sawdust or wood chips. Some insurgents claim that it is a two-faced plan of the Soviets: to demonstrate that they are helping the insurgents, all the while sabotaging the mission.  


German Anti-Aircraft Artillery - Warsaw Uprising 1944

Warsaw  Burning

Some argue that to have dropped supplies by parachute would have been just as unsuccessful. Wind conditions have caused most containers to drift right into German-held territories. Furthermore, most of the ammunition dropped is Soviet-made and incompatible with the Germans weapons used by the insurgents. Frustration is running very high among the Polish fighters and they are desperate for any help, however slight.  To date a total of 55 tons have been dropped, though much of it has been damaged or lost to the Germans.  Today was the last day of Soviet aid missions to Warsaw.



Lt. John Ward
Lt. John Ward is a British soldier, and the only British member of the Armia Krajowa.  He has been dispatching secret messages to London since the start of the Uprising. His reports have provided the allies with invaluable information yet have incurred little response when it was so desperately needed.

Polish Staff reports growing activity of Ukrainian insurrectionary army in Lvov District against Soviet occupation authorities. Ukrainians there evade conscription to Red Army and join Ukrainian forces in ever greater numbers. They receive arms and ammunition from the Germans by air.



September 27, 2011

Warsaw Uprising 1944: September 27 MOKOTOW SURRENDERS!




WARSAW RISING The forgotten soldiers of WWII part 4 (00:08:05m)


General Antoni Chrusciel “Monter” dispatched an order to Lt. Col. Jozef Rokicki “Karol” to immediately return to Mokotow from Srodmiescie. During the night "Karol” and his men had set out towards Mokotow but it was impossible to go through the sewers.

At 8:00 am this morning the Germans launched a strong attack on Mokotow. Small pockets of resistance are still putting up a strong fight, particularly in the area of Baluckiego, Wiktorska and Belgijska Streets.  Polish Command has sent emissaries to begin negotiations with the Germans for the evacuation of civilians and wounded, and to settle the terms of capitulation of Mokotow.

Mokotow surrendered around noon today, though insurgents continue to battle the Germans in City Centre and Zoliborz. German Command has offered to observe the terms of the Geneva Convention and treat Polish insurgents as POWs, instead of executing them on the spot. However, sources indicate that German officers of the Schutzpolizei have been systematically executing Poles on Dworkowa Street.  Most of the 120 dead were insurgents of the Armia Krajowa (Home Army)  who had lost their way in the sewers and emerged from a manhole in German-controlled territory.  They were shot on the spot by German troops.

Members of the Schutzpolizei after liquidation of Lidice 1942

In this photograph some members of the German Schutzpolizei pose in front of the farmhouse in Lidice (Czechoslovakia) that they destroyed.  In June of 1942, the Germans assassinated almost everyone in the village, and deported many others. The town of Lidice was then razed to the ground.  This was in reprisal for the assassination of the deputy leader of the SS.  Such reprisals have been carried out more fiercely against the Poles since the invasion of Poland in September 1939 and have escalated since the start of the Uprising. For every German officer assassinated, hundreds of Polish civilians, men, women and children, have been rounded up and shot.


The Germans have  launched Sternschnuppe (Falling Star Operation) whose objective is the liquidation of the Kampinos Group. The Operation had been in the planning stages for a week.  
Kampinos Headquarters, located in the village of Wiersze, about 27 kilometers (17 miles) north-west of Warsaw was heavily bombed by German Stuka planes around 13:00 hours. It was followed by another air raid on the village of Brzozowske at 15:45 hours.  The  combined casualties are 5 soldiers dead and 33 injured.  Polish troops have attempted to hold their positions but were unable to do so.  During the night Major Alfos Kotowski "Perch" has given the order for Kampinos Group to leave the forest. They have repositioned in the area of Roztoka.


Kampinos Headquarters - Warsaw Uprising 1944

Kampinos Group - September 1944

German JU-87 Stuka bombing Kampinos HQ in Wiersze Sept 27, 1944

Kampinos HQ in ruins destroyed by German bombing Sept 27, 1944

German command has proposed surrender of the Zoliborz Sector, but Poles have not responded.  Insurgent groups are literally fighting for every inch of ground and refuse to relent.

Polish and German emissaries have met today around 4:00 pm in the district of Srodmiescie, in the middle of Aleje Jerozolimskie Street near Starynkiewicza Square. A second meeting took place at 5:30 p.m. during which Polish emissaries were escorted far into German positions.

Churchill telephoned USSTAF (United States Strategic Air Force) today to endorse the Poles message and to add his own request for another supply mission “a noble deed” as he called it. President Roosevelt also called upon another mission to Warsaw, but it is unlikely that the United States would undertake a second supply drop. On September 18 the American Air Force had sent 107 Flying Fortresses on a supply mission to Warsaw. It was a mission that went horribly wrong.

Despite allied betrayal, there are however, "men of conscience" in the British Parliament who have spoken out against the ruthless injustice of their own government for appeasing Stalin, as it had once appeased Hitler.

PRIME MINISTER CHAMBERLAIN AND HITLER


PRIME MINISTER CHURCHILL AND STALIN

Mr. McGovern, MP, asked Eden, "Does the Right Honourable gentleman think that there is anything to be gained by covering up the fact that an Ally of ours is both deporting and shooting Nationalists and Socialists in Poland?"


Mr. Eden: "The Honourable Gentleman talks about covering up matters, but I must tell the House that not only are these affairs of delicacy between Allies, but also that there is some difficulty in ascertaining the facts. Therefore we should treat these matters with caution and with reserve at the present time."


Earl Winterton: "Could my Right Honorable friend not make it clear, in reply to my question that His Majesty’s Government can be responsible for the conduct of His Majestys government and cannot be responsible for the conduct of other nations?"


Mr. Eden: "My Right Honourable friend is absolutely correct. That is why I explained that I was asked a question about affairs which concern two of our Allies, for which my responsibility is not direct."


Commander Sir Archibald Southby: "While it is true that these are matters of delicacy, are not matters concerning our responsibility to our Ally, Poland, also matters of principle?"


Mr. Eden: "Yes, Sir and our responsibility has been fully, and I might add gallantly, discharged."


George Orwell
George Orwell, notable English author and journalist published an article in The Tribune condemning the British intelligentsia for the "cowardly" manner in which it has conducted policy concerning Poland.  The following is an excerpt:

It is not my primary job to discuss the details of contemporary politics, but this week there is something that cries out to be said. Since, it seems, nobody else will do so, I want to protest against the mean and cowardly attitude adopted by the British press towards the recent rising in Warsaw.


The Russians are powerful in eastern Europe, we are not: therefore we must not oppose them. This involves the principle, of its nature alien to Socialism, that you must not protest against an evil which you cannot prevent. I cannot discuss here why it is that the British intelligentsia, with few exceptions, have developed a nationalistic loyalty towards the U.S.S.R. and are dishonestly uncritical of its policies. In any case, I have discussed it elsewhere. But I would like to close with two considerations which are worth thinking over. First of all, a message to English left-wing journalists and intellectuals generally: ‘Do remember that dishonesty and cowardice always have to be paid for. Don’t imagine that for years on end you can make yourself the boot-licking propagandist of the Soviet régime, or any other régime, and then suddenly return to mental decency. Once a whore, always a whore.’

Secondly, a wider consideration. Nothing is more important in the world today than Anglo-Russian friendship and co-operation, and that will not be attained without plain speaking. The best way to come to an agreement with a foreign nation is not to refrain from  criticizing its policies, even to the extent of leaving your own people in the dark about them. At present, so slavish is the attitude of nearly the whole British press that ordinary people have very little idea of what is happening, and may well be committed to policies which they will repudiate in five years’ time. In a shadowy sort of way we have been told that the Russian peace terms are a super-Versailles, with partition of Germany, astronomical reparations, and forced labour on a huge scale. These proposals go practically uncriticized, while in much of the left-wing press hack writers are even hired to extol them. The result is that the average man has no notion of the enormity of what is proposed. I don’t know whether, when the time comes, the Russians will really want to put such terms into operation. My guess is that they won’t. But what I do know is that if any such thing were done, the British and probably the American public would never support it when the passion of war had died down. Any flagrantly unjust peace settlement will simply have the result, as it did last time, of making the British people unreasonably sympathetic with the victims. Anglo-Russian friendship depends upon there being a policy which both countries can agree upon, and this is impossible without free discussion and genuine criticism now. There can be no real alliance on the basis of ‘Stalin is always right’. The first step towards a real alliance is the dropping of illusions.

(George Orwell, The Tribune, September 1, 1944)



September 26, 2011

Warsaw Uprising 1944: September 26 Warsaw Beleagured and Bleeding to Death

Polish Insurgent Surrenders - Mokotow 1944
Mokotow remains the target of incessant, mass enemy attacks. After a feriocious, bloody all-day battle, the Germans have pushed the Mokotow defenders into a small area hemmed in by Rozana, Kazimierzowska, Ursynowska and Pulawska Streets.

On the fifty-sixth day of the Uprising, the Commanders of the Mokotow Sector are "beleaguered and bleeding to death"  but General Monter has forbidden the insurgents to retreat and commanded that fighting continue. In a radio message to Colonel Karol he ordered "You are forbidden to withdraw!!"  

But the orders did not arrive in time. At 4:00 a.m. Lt. Col. Josez Rokicki “Karol” and the men and women of the 10th infantry regiment began their retreat to Srodmiescie through the sewers. Ten feet below the surface in pitch darkness, evacuees have had to navigate through tunnels no wider than five feet, with barely enough oxygen to breathe. Sources indicate that the evacuation has suddenly been suspended until a new route could be found. The Germans have been throwing sandbags down the manholes to dam sections of the sewer system in an effort to block insurgents' routes, and to raise the level of the water in the tunnels.  In some cases, groups of insurgents have been able to clear obstacles rather quickly. 


Polish Insurgents after travelling through sewers - Warsaw Uprising

Warsaw's sewer system has played a vital part in the Uprising.  It is the focal point of
underground transportation of men and materiel through enemy lines and has helped maintain communication links between isolated and besieged parts of the city.  But more than that - the sewers have been a battleground from which insurgents could easily attack German positions. It has given the insurgents a degree of invincibility since the Germans are wary of venturing into this dark uncharted network of tunnels. General von dem Bach has not been able to convince his soldiers to carry on the battle in the sewers.  Instead they have resorted to tossing grenades down the manholes. as well as carbide producing deadly poisonous gasses - and even lighted kerosene. Hundreds of insurgents have perished in this hellish underground trap, their bodies filling the narrow canal route, trapping countless more behind them.


In some areas the carbide gas was so intense, it's effects could be felt in other districts. Many of the insurgents navigating the sewers carried candles to check the relative purity of the air. In many cases, the candle would not burn for several hours.


 
German command has proposed surrender to the AK commander of Centre City Sector. Polish Command has not given any reply. Insurgents there too continue battling the Germans.  However a meeting with German representatives is underway in Srodmiescie, on Lucka Street.


Many of Warsaw's Jews escaped the German occupation by descending into the sewers. They know the tunnels very well. Two of them, Heniek, and Gutek were instrumental in assisting the Polish insurgents of the Zoska Battalion.They cleared the path and returned to announce that the way was free. Polish patrols were able to travel more easily through the tunnels transporting ammunition to battle zones.



Sabaton- Uprising (Polskie napisy) (00:04:56m)
Film footage from the classic Polish film "Kanał" directed by famous Andrzej Wajda
(Editors comment: Great Song, Great Film)



Lt. John Ward
Lt. John Ward is a British soldier, and member of Armia Krajowa. Since the start of the Uprising, Ward has been dispatching secret coded messages to London. Despite many promises, the help provided by the Allies has been negligible to nothing. 


Referring to my yesterday's dispatch news has now been received that the tens of thousands of prisoners of many nationalities in Oswiecim and Buchenwald concentration camps have smuggled out messages that they are being threatened by their guards daily that they will be massacred. They appeal for help.


The Polish Underground had been dispatching reports to London about Nazi German concentration camps and death camps since 1940. Witold Pilecki, a Polish officer, allowed himself to be arrested during one of the infamous street lapanka (roundups) on September 19, 1940 and was sent to Auschwitz.  From inside the notorious camp he witnessed first-hand the beastial treatment of the Jews, and reported it to London. Many dispatches were sent through members of the Polish Resistance waiting on the outside.  Witold Pilecki escaped on April 26, 1943, taking with him secret documents stolen from the Germans. Despite all the reports, and evidence, the Allies refused to provide air support to help the Polish Home Army rescue the inmates.

For the past week the allies conducted one of the largest military airborne operation called Operation Market Garden. Their objective was to secure a series of bridges crossing the main rivers of German-occupied Holland and thus allowing an armoured advance into northern Germany. The plan went horribly wrong.  British troops were met with much stronger enemy resistance than expected.  A small force was able to hold control of one end of the Arnhem road bridge, but were overrun on September 21st when ground forces failed to relieve them.




1. Independent Polish Parachute Brigade. (1.Polska Samodzielna Brygada Spadochronowa) (00:08:05m)


On September 18th, the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade landed in Holland, initially by glider and subsequently on September 21st with scheduled jumps over Driel. In the days that followed Polish casualties were extremely high.

(Suggested Link: Remembrance: Battle of Arnhem)

The 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade, created under the command of Major General Stanislaw Sosabowski in September 1941 had as its objective the mission to drop into occupied Poland to help liberate their country.  However, the British government placed considerable pressure on the Poles to allow the Brigade to be used in the Western theater, as support to the British 1st Airborne Division in Operation Market Garden.   The news comes as a bitter blow to Poles who are still fighting in Warsaw and waiting for allied help.  They had hoped that at least their own army would be able to come to their rescue.




September 25, 2011

Warsaw Uprising 1944: September 25 NO SURRENDER! Polish Insurgents Die Fighting!



Polish Patriotic Songs: Lao Che - 1939/Przed Burzą (English lyrics) (00:05:45m)

During the night German attacks on Mokotow have escalated. Polish-controlled areas of the district have sharply diminished. With Polish casualties mounting, Lieutenant Colonel "Karol" has ordered an immediate retreat. German command has again proposed  surrender to AK commander of Mokotow Sector but the Poles do not respond.

Since early morning the enemy has continued its attack on Mokotow from the south and west. There is fierce fighting in the southern sector. A school on Woronicza Street has changed hands seven times. Meanwhile in the western sector the “Olza” battalion was forced to retreat under heavy German fire, from the line of Aleje Niepodleglosci Street along Goszczynskiego and Odynca towards Krasickiego Street. The insurgents have lost an important point of resistance – the “Alkazar Redoubt” on the corner of Aleje Niepodleglosci and Odynca Streets. Home Army troops fighting south of Malczewskiego Street are also in danger of being cut off. German forces have advanced from Malczewskiego Street towards Pulawska Street, resulting in severe Polish losses. Areas seized by German troops have been subjected to plunder, arson and killing. Conversely, the situation in Zoliborz and Srodmiescie is relatively calm.

Sturmpanzer IV z 218.Sturmpanzer-Kompanie z.B.V., Mokotow September 25, 1944

Despite overwhelming enemy fire, General Monter has issued an order today. He stated that “Today we are standing on the threshold of victory. Because of your heroic sacrifices, tenacity, discipline, and perseverance, Warsaw has received assistance and succour. The moment is approaching when the victorious and heroic Red Army will come to give the last blow to the German barbarians.”  It is more than a call to arms. It is the hope that with persistent and unrelenting pressure, Warsaw may finally receive promised allied assistance. After 50 days of fighting, the rank and file of insurgents are convinced that the Soviet Red Army will soon arrive.

Polish Insurgents - Warsaw Uprising 1944

The British War Cabinet convened today, at which Anthony Eden proclaimed that in his judgement Marshall Stalin now has a more favourable attitude toward Poles. He also noticed that “the population of Warsaw was in sore straits and very short of food.” So, the War Cabinet requested that the Chiefs of Staff “suggest to the United States Air Command that they should consider undertaking a further flight to Warsaw, dropping mainly food supplies.”  The British Cabinet seems to share the opinion that such additional assistance rendered to Warsaw might "soften" the attitude of the Polish government towards Stalins' demands.

British War Cabinet
Back row – Arthur Greenwood; Ernest Bevin; Lord Beaverbrook; Sir Kingsley Woods
Front row – Sir John Anderson; Winston Churchill; Clement Attlee; Anthony Eden

Also at the forefront of British politics is mounting pressure from within to remove General Kazimierz Sosnkopwski from his post as Polish Commander in Chief.  Apparently, they have been able to persuade the Polish Cabinet, Prime Minister Mikolajczyk and even General Wladyslaw Anders (the leader of the Polish victory in the Battle of Monte Cassino) to support the decision.  In Eden's report to the War Cabinet, Sosnowski was described as "a matter of indifference to the Polish Army". 

(For more on General Sosnowkowski click here.)

The civilian population of Warsaw is dying from malnutrition. The Warsaw civilian administration has organized a mass collection of clothing and foodstuffs for the AK units that are still alive. They have managed to gather about 3,500 pieces of clothing and 2,391 kilograms (5,260 pounds) of food. The people of Warsaw have put up a tremendous fight - not merely resistance to the enemy.  During the first three weeks of the Uprising, more than 4,000 lbs of bread were baked under the auspices of the civilian administration. Each district in Warsaw had appointed a quartermaster who was charged with the duty of assessing the amount of rations available per person, a list of food supplies as well as a list of bakeries with supplies of flour.

Under artillery fire, civilians have been carrying food supplies to the kitchens, having them cooked, and distributing the food to Polish families.  An AK soldier has been seen repeatedly delivering powdered milk to Polish families in German-controlled areas.

Lt. John Ward
Lt. John Ward, a British soldier, is also a member of Armia Krajowa. Since the start of the Uprising he has been dispatching secret radio messages to London, England in the hopes that the British allies would help the Polish insurgents.  His messages no longer plead for allied intervention, but serve as a testament to the horrific slaughter of Polish insurgents and civilians at the hands of the enemy.

The south sector of the Warsaw front of the Polish Home Army has been heavily bombed by the Germans and subjected to heavy artillery fire. This is the first time since last week that German bombers have been in action here. There has been no fundamental change on any of the three Warsaw sectors during the past 24 hours. The Germans are determined to stop the Poles re-occupying the west bank of the Vistula in order to prevent them preparing bridgeheads for Soviet landing in force.


The Polish Staff officially announced the following information received from Cracow: The Germans intend completely to liquidate the internment camps at Oswiecim and Buchenwald. The S.S. commandant of the Oswiecim camp sent out an S.S. Fuhrer asking for an efficient plan to liquidate the camp and the prisoners still living. A certain Moll, Commander of Birkenau camp, a branch of Oswiecim camp, submitted a plan for which he would need several S.S. detachments, six aircraft and some artillery, also a number of workers. Over ruins cremated bodies were to level up the site and it was to be planted with young trees.


There are 16,727 men and 39,125 women prisoners at Birkenau, whilst the figure for Oswiecim and Buchenwald must be near the hundred thousand mark. It is feared the Germans will carry out this massacre and try to throw the blame on Allied bombers. The Polish authorities are issuing an appeal to the whole world in the hope that this new crime will be thereby averted.

Eugeniusz Lokajski
Most people have never heard of him but his photographs have attained world-wide attention. His name is Eugeniusz Lokajski. He has taken over 1,000 photograph during the Warsaw Uprising documenting every facet of the battle. His photos have shown us rare glimpses of the struggle of Polish insurgents and civilians against the overwhelming German war machine. Lokajski served as a platoon commander during the Invasion of Poland in 1939 in the Polish 35th Infantry Division and was arrested by Soviet troops after the Battle of Brzesc. He managed to escape captivity, and fate. Shortly thereafter the other Polish officers with whom he was imprisoned were executed by the Soviet NKVD. It was the Katyn Massacre.

During the German occupation of Poland, Lokajski was a member of the Polish underground, working as a university teacher, and operating a photographic shop. When Lokajski`s brother Jozef died, Eugeniusz took over his duties in the Armia Krajowa, in charge of arms and munitions transport. He served with distinction as Lieutenant "Brok".

When the Uprising broke out, Eugeniusz and his sister enlisted in the Koszta Company, defending the Srodmiescie area of Warsaw. Commander Stefan Mich decided to use Lokajski`s photographic talents and gave him a camera. The photographic contributions of Eugeniusz Lokajski has become a priceless treasure to the city of Warsaw, to Poland, and the world. 

By the end of August, Polish forces were short of officers and Lokajski was attached to the 2nd Platoon of the Koszta Company as a commanding officer. His unit had taken part in the skirmishes in the attempt to linkforces in Warsaw's Old Town with that of City Centre. Although his unit successfully reached its target, they had to withdraw because other Polish units were unsuccessful in their attempts.

After the failed action his unit was withdrawn and placed at the rear becoming the tactical reserve, filling in gaps in Polish lines. Lokajski's unit took part in major struggles, for control of the barricades on Chmielna Street. And the battle for the Main Post Office resulted in a Polish victory, where his troops retook the building and captured 18 German soldiers. Despite this victory, Lokajski's unit was decimated and stranded without supplies food, and ammunition. But they managed to survive until a relief force arrived 48 hours later.

Lieutenant Eugeniusz Lokajski "Brok", liaison officer of the "Koszta" Company, was caught in an artillery barrage and died today.  He had gone to a photographic shop on 129 Marszalkowska Street to prepare photos of important AK soldiers for fake German documents. (The plan was to help Polish soldiers evade captivity and continue the struggle.) His body lies under the ruins of 129 Marszalkowska Street.(Editors note: His remains were not exhumed until May1945 after which he was buried at Powazki cemetery.)

The following are just a few of his photographs:


Home Army Soldiers Preparing for an Assault - Warsaw Uprising

Home Army Launches Assault - Warsaw Uprising

Polish soldiers reading a German leaflet during the Warsaw Uprising

Barricade at Marszałkowska Street

After the Battle - Warsaw Uprising

Wedding Ceremony - Warsaw Uprising

Portrait of Jerzy Tyczyński
Jerzy Tyczynski was a Polish platoon cadet in the Home Army and took part in the successful capture of the insurgent's Police Headquarters in Krakow suburb. He also participated in the capture of the PAST building. Jerzy died on September 3, 1944 under the rubble of building bombed by a German plane. In November 1944 he would have turned 21 years old.