POLISH GREATNESS TRAFFIC

February 28, 2018

FEBRUARY 28 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 28

1933

Reichstag Fire Decree, also known as the "Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State" was issued by German President Paul von Hindenburg on the advice of Chancellor Adolf Hitler on February 28, 1933, immediately following the Reichstag fire. The Decree nullified many of the key civil liberties of German citizens, and the Nazi regime used it as a legal basis to arrest and imprison anyone suspected of opposing Nazi rule.  Article 48 translated to English as follows:  "Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. It is therefore permissible to restrict the rights of personal freedom [habeas corpus], freedom of (opinion) expression, including the freedom of the press, the freedom to organize and assemble, the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications. Warrants for House searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed."  The Decree was issued as a result of the Reichstag Fire, which occurred the previous day (See February 27, 1933)


1934

The German Army ordered the dismissal of all  "non-Aryans", that is, Jews, from military service. (Note: After the Nazis rose to power in 1933, Jewish veterans were briefly protected from dismissal due to the  intervention of German President Paul von Hindenburg, but this changed in 1935 after his death. Following the upheaval of Kristallnacht in 1938,  German Jewish veterans were  forced to emigrate, or were deported to concentration camps and murdered along with other German Jews.  During World War I, there were about 100,000 German Jewish military personnel serving n the German Army, 12,000 of whom were killed in action.  Weimar Germany awarded the Iron Cross to 18,000 German Jews during the World War I.. Even in WW2, there were many German Jewish soldiers, and some Generals. Regardless, Hitler tried to erase the Jewish contribution and blame them for Germany's defeat in WW1, perpetrating the myth of them stabbing Germany in the back.  But today there is renewed interest in and recognition of the German Jews who served in the German Army.)


1944

Huta Pieniacka massacre:  According to the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, the massacre was committed by the 14th subunit of the '1st Ukrainian' Grenadier Division of the Waffen-SS. Testimonies had been given by Polish witnesses that orders were given by German officers. Ukrainian sources, claim it was ordered by the German police battalions.  According to other accounts, the  SS Galizien were accompanied by a paramilitary unit of Ukrainian nationalists under Włodzimierz (Vladimir) Czerniawski's command. The unit included members of the UPA and local villagers who sought to seize the property of Polish people they murdered. Casualties amounted to 500 to 1,200 people killed.



February 27, 2018

FEBRUARY 27 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 27

1933

Reichstag Fire:  On the evening of February 27, 1933, fire broke out in the Reichstag chamber, just six days before the parliamentary election. To this day, the cause of the fire is still unclear. But it was evident that Hitler and his supporters immediately capitalized on the occasion to consolidate their absolute power. Hitler blamed the Communist Party of Germany for setting the fire, and believed that it would gain the trust and support of Germans.  According to Rudolf Diels, head of the Gestapo, Hitler was heard shouting through the fire "these sub-humans do not understand how the people stand at our side. In their mouse-holes, out of which they now want to come, of course they hear nothing of the cheering of the masses." Hitler was able to instill fear in the minds of millions of Germans that a communist terror threat was imminent.


1943

Jewish prisoners were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp, and forced to work in the Berlin armaments industry.  There were numerous sub-camps attached to Auschwitz based on Nazi German industrial enterprises. German companies such as Krupp and Siemens-Schuckert built factories with their own sub-camps. There were 45 such satellite camps, 28 of which served corporations involved in the armaments industry, using concentration camp prisoners as forced labor, from several dozens inmates to several thousand.  Sub-camps were built at Blechhammer, Jawiszowice, Jaworzno, Lagisze, Mysłowice, Trzebinia, and also as far as the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Industries included coal mines, foundries and other metal works, chemical plants, as well as forestry and mining.


The Rosenstrasse protest was a collective street protest on Rosenstraße ("Rose street") in Berlin during February and March 1943. It was initiated and sustained by the non-Jewish ("Aryan") wives and relatives of Jewish men who had been arrested for deportation. The protests by these intermarried German women continued until the men were released. It was the only continuous street demonstration by Germans against the deportation of the Jews. Several hundred German women gathered outside of Rosenstrasse 2-4 had announced that they would not leave until their husbands had been released.  They refused to obey orders by the SS to disperse.


1945

German submarines U-327 and U-1018 were both depth charged and sunk in the Western Approaches by British warships.





February 26, 2018

FEBRUARY 26 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 26

1935

The Luftwaffe was established on February 26, 1935 in Weimar Germany,  in violation of the terms of the Versailles Treaty. With the rise in power of the Nazi Party, German servicemen were secretly trained at the Lipetsk Air Base, in Russia. The Condor Legion, a division of the Luftwaffe fleet was dispatched to aid Nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War which served as a valuable testing ground for German aircraft. By the summer of 1939, the Luftwaffe had ready for combat nine Jagdgeschwader ("fighter wings") mostly equipped with the Messerschmitt Bf 109E, four 'Zerstörergeschwader ("destroyer wings") equipped with the Messerschmitt Bf 110 heavy fighter, 11 Kampfgeschwader (bomber wings) equipped mainly with the Heinkel He 111 and the Dornier Do 17Z, and four Sturzkampfgeschwader ("dive bomber wings") primarily armed with the iconic Junkers Ju 87B Stuka. The Luftwaffe had just started to accept the Junkers Ju 88A for service, when it encountered design problems, consequently only a dozen aircraft was combat-ready. The Luftwaffe's strength at this time stood at 373,000 personnel (208,000 flying troops, 107,000 in the Flak Corps and 58,000 in the Signals Corps). Aircraft strength was 4,201 operational aircraft: 1,191 bombers, 361 dive bombers, 788 fighters, 431 heavy fighters, and 488 transports.


1939

Galeazzo Ciano, Foreign Minister of Fascist Italy, unveiled a monument to Francesco Nullo in Warsaw. Nullo died on May 5, 1863. He was an Italian patriot, military officer, merchant, and close friend and confidant of Giuseppe Garibaldi. Nullo supported independence movements in Italy and Poland and participated in various revolutions, including the Polish Uprising in 1863. At the end of his career Nullo was appointed the rank of General in Poland, in the Battle of Krzykawka.


1944

The Polish Government-in-Exile defied the British government's wishes and rejected the recognition of the Curzon Line as Poland's eastern frontier.  When the Soviet forces recaptured eastern Poland from the Germans, Stalin unilaterally declared a new frontier between the Soviet Union and Poland (roughlyfollowing the Curzon line). The Polish Government-in-Exile in London bitterly opposed this and at the Tehran and Yalta conferences, Roosevelt and Churchill asked Stalin to reconsider, particularly over Lwów, but he refused. During the negotiations at Yalta, Stalin posed the question "Do you want me to tell the Russian people that I am less Russian than Lord Curzon?" The altered Curzon Line thus became the permanent eastern border of Poland and was recognized by the western Allies in July 1945. (Since then the border was adjusted several times, the biggest revision in 1951. (read February 11, 1945)


February 25, 2018

FEBRUARY 25 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 25

1956

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave a speech that was vehemently critical of the dictatorship of the late Premier Joseph Stalin. Entitled "On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences" Khrushchev spoke at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and railed against the legacy of Stalin, in particular the great purges he decreed, and his cultivation of a leadership based on personality cult, despite supporting communist ideals. It created an uproar and shock among the audience, ending with thunderous applause.  Here are excerpts of his speech: " .......After Stalin’s death, the Central Committee began to implement a policy of explaining concisely and consistently that it is impermissible and foreign to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism to elevate one person, to transform him into a superman possessing supernatural characteristics, akin to those of a god. Such a man supposedly knows everything, sees everything, thinks for everyone, can do anything, is infallible in his behavior.........Because not all as yet realize fully the practical consequences resulting from the cult of the individual, [or] the great harm caused by violation of the principle of collective Party direction and by the accumulation of immense and limitless power in the hands of one person, the Central Committee considers it absolutely necessary to make material pertaining to this matter available to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union......the classics of Marxism-Leninism denounced every manifestation of the cult of the individual.......Facts prove that many abuses were made on Stalin’s orders without reckoning with any norms of Party and Soviet legality. Stalin was a very distrustful man, sickly suspicious. We know this from our work with him. He could look at a man and say: “Why are your eyes so shifty today?” or “Why are you turning so much today and avoiding to look me directly in the eyes?” The sickly suspicion created in him a general distrust even toward eminent Party workers whom he had known for years. Everywhere and in everything he saw “enemies,” “two-facers” and “spies.” Possessing unlimited power, he indulged in great willfulness and stifled people morally as well as physically. A situation was created where one could not express one’s own volition........When Stalin said that one or another should be arrested, it was necessary to accept on faith that he was an “enemy of the people.” Meanwhile, Beria’s gang, which ran the organs of state security, outdid itself in proving the guilt of the arrested and the truth of materials which it falsified. And what proofs were offered? The confessions of the arrested, and the investigative judges accepted these “confessions.” And how is it possible that a person confesses to crimes which he has not committed? Only in one way –because of the application of physical methods of pressuring him, tortures, bringing him to a state of unconsciousness, deprivation of his judgment, taking away of his human dignity. In this manner were “confessions” acquired......"
(Source:  Speech to 20th Congress of the C.P.S.U. February 24, 1956  https://www.marxists.org/archive/khrushchev/1956/02/24.htm


1991

A meeting of defence and foreign ministers of the Warsaw Pact met in Hungary, and declared that the Warsaw Pact would be disbanded after 36 years of military alliance between the USSR and its satellite states. Its formal dissolution was declared by President Vaclav Havel, the Czechoslovak President, on July 1st, 1991, in Prague. Five months later, in December,  the USSR disestablished itself.





February 24, 2018

FEBRUARY 24 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 24

1920

The National Socialist German Workers' Party  (NSDAP) known as the Nazi party, was founded on this day. Its precursor was the German Workers' Party (DAP), which existed from 1919 to 1920.  The NSDAP grew from several small political groups which were strongly nationalistic, and which formed in the last years of World War I.  In 1918, a league called the Free Workers' Committee for a good Peace was founded in Bremen Germany.  Anton Drexler, a fervent German nationalist created a branch of the league in Munich on March 7, 1918.  Drexler was a local locksmith who was a member of the militarist Fatherland Party during World War I,  and was bitterly opposed to the armistice of November 1918 and its aftermath. He followed the views of militant nationalists who opposed the Treaty of Versailles and disseminated antisemitic,  anti-monarchist and anti-Marxist views. He believed in the superiority of Germans, who claimed to be so-called Aryan master race.  He denounced international capitalism as a Jewish-dominated movement, and denounced capitalists for war profiteering in World War I. Drexler saw the political violence and instability in Germany the result of the Weimar Republic being out-of-touch with the masses, especially the lower classes. and emphasized the need for a form of economic socialism, in order to create a popular nationalist-oriented workers' movement that could challenge the rise of Communism and internationalist politics. He received attention and support from influential people who convinced him to form a political party.  In January 5, 1919, he founded the German Workers Party (DAP) and shortly thereafter Hitler (stationed in the Munich army) began its seventh member.  The party gained public attention very quickly and on February 24, 1920 had its largest gathering of 2,000 people, at which Hitler enunciated the twenty-five points of the German Workers' Party manifesto that he drew up with Drexler and Feder. Hitler presented a bolder strategy calling for the abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, expanding German borders, exclusion of Jews from German citizenship, confiscation of war profits, among other objectives.  The manifesto was antisemetic, anti-capitalist, anti-Marxist, and anti-liberal.  The party name changed to  Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei ("National Socialist German Workers' ). The word socialist was added to appeal to a larger segment of the population, that is,  left-wing workers.


1938

The British Labour Party issued a manifesto demanding that Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain call a new general election to assess whether the public supported his appeasement policy.  The manifesto was read in the British House of Commons. Here is an excerpt: "The British Labour movement reaffirms its uncompromising opposition to any agreement with either Fascist Italy or Nazi Germany on the basis indicated by the Prime Minister in his statement to Parliament. This is not the time for concessions to the dictators. We need a clear declaration that Britain stands for the enforcement of treaties against lawless force and against aggressive interference in the internal affairs of independent States. Czechoslovakia in particular should be assured at once that Great Britain and the other League Powers will fulfill their obligations to maintain her integrity and independence." Chamberlain served as Prime Minister from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, which conceded Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Germany. Chamberlain was sure that the Agreement brought in a new era of peace, but then as now, was severely criticized for not preparing Britain for an inevitable war with Germany. On March 15, 1939, Hitler invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia, and on September 1, 1939 invaded Poland.  Three days later, Chamberlain declared war on Germany,  and the ensuing eight months consisted of minimal fighting, aptly termed the Phoney War.   Chamberlain died on November 9, 1940 at the age of 71. A few days before his death, Chamberlain wrote, " So far as my personal reputation is concerned, I am not in the least disturbed about it. The letters which I am still receiving in such vast quantities so unanimously dwell on the same point, namely without Munich the war would have been lost and the Empire destroyed in 1938 ... I do not feel the opposite view ... has a chance of survival. Even if nothing further were to be published giving the true inside story of the past two years I should not fear the historian's verdict."


1945

The Lower Silesian Offensive ended in Soviet victory. Faced with heavy German reinforcement, Konev closed the offensive phase of operations, having secured a small bridgehead across the Neisse near Forst. This effectively defined the start lines in that sector for the Battle of Berlin, or Berlin Offensive, two months later.


1953

Soviets Executed Polish General:  Emil August Fieldorf, code-named"Nil" was a Polish Brigadier General,  and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Armia Krajowa (AK or "Home Army"), after the failure of the Warsaw Uprising. The Soviet NKVD executed Fieldorf on February 24, 1953. (Note: In 1948 the Soviet regime was arresting and persecuting former resistance fighters loyal to the Polish Government in Exile in London and offering them "amnesty".  General Fieldor refused to collaborate with the Communist security services, even under torture.  Fieldorf was accused by prosecutor Helena Wolińska-Brus of being a "fascist-Hitlerite criminal" and for having ordered an execution of Soviet partisans while serving in the Armia Krajowa, AK (Polish Home Army).  Following a kangaroo court trial, he was sentenced to death on April 16, 1952 by the presiding judge Maria Gurowska.  An appeal to a higher court failed, and the family's plea for a pardon was denied by then the communist leader Bolesław Bierut who refused to grant clemency. The sentence was carried out, by hanging, on February 24, 1953 at 3:00 pm in the infamous Mokotów Prison in Warsaw.  General Fieldorf's body was never returned to his family. His remains are buried in a location, still unknown to this day.



February 23, 2018

FEBRUARY 23 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 23

1945

The Battle of Poznań ended in Soviet victory.  It was a massive assault by the Soviet Union's Red Army against the Nazi stronghold in the city of Poznan, in occupied Poland. The battle ensued for almost an entire month as the Soviets painstakingly reduced the German fortified positions, using intense urban combat, leading to a final attack on the city's citadel by the Red Army. The city of Poznań (called Posen in German) lay in the western part of Poland which had been annexed by Nazi Germany following their invasion of Poland in 1939, and was the chief city of Reichsgau Wartheland. The Nazi defenders made use of some of the surviving Festung Posen (strongholds) 19-th century fortifications built during Prussian rule. The Fort Winiary citadel stood on a hill to the north of the city centre. Around the city perimeter were 18 massively-built forts, spaced at intervals of about 2 kilometres in a ring with a radius of about 5 kilometres. General Chuikov described the forts as follows: "....underground structures each with several stories, the whole projecting above the surrounding terrain. Only a mound was visible above ground -- the layer of earth covering the rest. Each fort was ringed by a ditch ten metres wide and eight metres deep, with walls revetted with brickwork. Across the ditch was a bridge, leading to one of the upper stories. Among the forts, to the rear, there were one-storey brick bunkers. These were clad in concrete almost a full metre thick, and were used as stores. The upper works of the forts were sufficiently strong to provide reliable protection against heavy artillery fire. . . . the enemy would be able to direct fire of all kinds against us both on the approaches to the forts and within them, on the rampart. The embrasures were such that flanking fire from rifles and machine-guns could be directed from them."


German Town Annihilated by British Bombers:  The largest attack during World War II was the bombing of the German city of Pforzheim. On the evening of February 23, 1945, RAF bombers carried out a raid with devastating consequences. About 17,600 people perished, almost a third of the towns population and about 83% of the buildings were completely destroyed. The Allies believed that the town was producing  precision instruments for use in the Wehrmacht, and that the town was a central hub of German transports. (In 1944  many of the towns factories had been converted to manufacturing weapons such as anti-aircraft shells, bomb fuses, and suspected to have made parts for the V1 and V2 rockets.)



February 22, 2018

FEBRUARY 22 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 22 

1933

Nazi Germany:  40,000 SS and SA men were sworn in as auxiliary police.  The SS or Schutzstaffel was originally known as Saal-Schutz ("Hall Security") and was made up of NSDAP volunteers to provide security for party meetings in Munich. After Himmler joined the unit in 1925, the SS, under his direction, became one of the most powerful organizations in Nazi Germany and it grew from a small paramilitary formation to one of the most powerful police units.  It consisted of two divisions; the Allgemeine SS (General SS) which was responsible for enforcing the racial policy of Nazi Germany and general policing;  and Waffen-SS (Armed SS) consisted of combat units of troops within Nazi Germany's military. Other units of the SS were the SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV) which ran the concentration camps and extermination camps, and additional subdivisions that included the Gestapo and the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) organizations. They were assigned to detect actual (or potential) enemies of the Nazi state, to destroy all opposition, police the German people in their allegiance to the Nazi ideology and engage in domestic and foreign intelligence.  The Sturmabteilung (SA) called the "brownshirts" were the original paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party (NSDAP). They played an integral role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s.  Among their tasks were providing protection for Nazi rallies, disrupting meetings of opposition parties, and opposing paramilitary units, in particular, the Red Front Fighters League of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). They also intimidated Slavic and Romani people, unionists, and especially the Jews (for example, during the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses.)  In the event called the Night of the Long Knives, the SA became disempowered after Adolf Hitler ordered the "blood purge" of 1934.)


Nazi plans were made for a detention camp in Oranienburg, the first site in Germany. It opened the following March 12.  It was  originally set up as the first detention facilities in the state of Prussia, when the Nazis gained power in 1933.  The camp imprisoned political opponents of the Nazi party from the Berlin region, which consisted primarily of members of the Communist Party of Germany and social-democrats, as well as a number of homosexual men and masses of the so-called undesirables.  The SS took over the prison on July 4, 1034, when they suppressed the SA brownshirts.  The prison was closed and replaced by the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1936.  When it closed,  the prison had held over 3,000 inmates, of whom 16 had died.


1939

First flights of the Famous Polish PZL.50 Jastrząb. The PZL was Polish pre-war fighter aircraft designed by Wsiewołod Jakimiuk of the PZL works. The single-seat low-wing monoplane was to serve as a multi-purpose fighter and escort to replace all other fighters in the Polish Air Force. Designed after 1936, its prototype first flew in February 1939. A further two prototypes were under construction but never entered mass production because Poland was invaded by Germany on September 1, 1939. Wsiewołod Jakimiuk evacuated to Romania, and then to France, where he became the head of the team of Polish engineers at SNCA-SE (Société Nationale des Constructions Aéronautiques - Sud Est ) in Argentueil near Paris .  Work began on modifying the SE-100 fighter and the Leo-45 bomber. But in 1940, Nazi Germany invaded France, and  Jakimiuk evacuated to England where he contacted the British De Havilland.  He was offered a position in the Canadian branch of De Havilland, and in March 1941, he gathered a team of outstanding Polish engineers to work in the aviation industry in Canada. In Toronto, Jakimiuk became a member of the prestigious Granite Club.  He launched the production of a licensed two-engined training plane Avro Anson (352 units built) then constructed with wooden wings for training NA-66 Harvard II and the development of the Menasco engine for the DH school airplane .82 Tiger Moth. In 1942, he launched the production of the DH.98 Mosquito fighter-bomber plane in Canada. Six years later, Jakimiuk moved to England to continue work at the de Havilland factory in Hatfield , where he developed the on-board jet fighter plane DH-112 Sea Venom.   In 1951 he again worked in France at the SNCA-SE label (Sud Est), where he designed the SE-5000 Baroudeur jet fighter aircraft.  Jakimiuk became one of the five commercial directors in the construction of supersonic Franco-British Concorde aircraft (flown on November 2, 1969, 16 were built)


1944

Churchill gave a speech in the House of Commons aimed at dispelling Soviet distrust. Churchill said he supported the Soviet border demands in Poland as reasonable and stated that Britain had never guaranteed any Polish border. ".... the Foreign Secretary and I together have laboured with the Polish Government in London with the object of establishing a working arrangement upon which the Fighting Forces can act, and upon which, I trust, an increasing structure of good will and comradeship may be built between Russians and Poles. I have an intense sympathy with the Poles, that heroic race whose national spirit centuries of misfortune cannot quench, but I also have sympathy with the Russian stand-point. Twice in our lifetime Russia has been violently assaulted by Germany. Many millions of Russians have been slain and vast tracts of Russian soil devastated as a result of repeated German aggression. Russia has the right of reassurance against future attacks from the West, and we are going all the way with her to see that she gets it, not only by the might of her arms but by the approval and assent of the United Nations. The liberation of Poland may presently be achieved by the Russian Armies after these Armies have suffered millions of casualties in breaking the German military machine. I cannot feel that the Russian demand for a reassurance about her Western frontiers goes beyond limits of what is reasonable or just. Marshal Stalin and I also spoke and agreed upon the need for Poland to obtain compensation at the expense of Germany both in the north and in the west."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd February, 1944; Vol. 397, c. 698.] Hansard, British Parliamentary Debates.


1945

German submarine U-300 was depth charged and sunk west of Cádiz, Spain by British warships:  The U-boat was in position 36°29′N 08°20′W when it was hit by gunfire from the British  HMS Recruit and HMS Pincher, after being badly damaged by depth charges from the British armed yacht HMS Evadne on February 19th. Nine of the crew were lost, there were 41 survivors.



 

February 21, 2018

FEBRUARY 21 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 21

1895

Szmul Zygielbojm (dob) was a Jewish-Polish socialist politician, leader of the Bund, and a member of the National Council of the Polish Government in Exile. He committed suicide to protest the indifference of the Allied governments in the face of the Holocaust.  He submitted a long, detailed "suicide letter", addressed to Polish president Władysław Raczkiewicz and Prime Minister Władysław Sikorski,  Zygielbojm stated that while the Nazis were responsible for the murder of the Polish Jews, the Allies were also culpable (for their inaction).  Here is an excerpt of his letter: "The responsibility for the crime of the murder of the whole Jewish nationality in Poland rests first of all on those who are carrying it out, but indirectly it falls also upon the whole of humanity, on the peoples of the Allied nations and on their governments, who up to this day have not taken any real steps to halt this crime. By looking on passively upon this murder of defenseless millions tortured children, women and men they have become partners to the responsibility.  I am obliged to state that although the Polish Government contributed largely to the arousing of public opinion in the world, it still did not do enough. It did not do anything that was not routine, that might have been appropriate to the dimensions of the tragedy taking place in Poland....  I cannot continue to live and to be silent while the remnants of Polish Jewry, whose representative I am, are being murdered. My comrades in the Warsaw Ghetto fell with arms in their hands in the last heroic battle. I was not permitted to fall like them, together with them, but I belong with them, to their mass grave. By my death, I wish to give expression to my most profound protest against the inaction in which the world watches and permits the destruction of the Jewish people........"


1937

Camp of National Unity (OZN)  was founded by the leadership in the Sanacja movement after the death of Pilsudski. The aim of OZN was to improve Poland's national defense and to safeguard the April 1935 Constitution. OZN was strongly pro-military, and its politicians sought to portray Marshal Rydz-Śmigły as successor to Marshal Józef Piłsudski. The OZN adopted 13 theses on the Jewish question. Modeled after the Nuremberg laws, they labelled Jews as a foreign element that should be deprived of all civil rights and ultimately expelled altogether.


1939

Nazi Germany enacted a barrage of anti-semitic legislation, and  forced Jews to hand over any personal valuable items. Jewish businesses and bank accounts were expropriated. It was Nazi-legalized robbery on a massive scale.  After the Nuremberg Legislation and during 1938  "worse than total expropriation was to follow - economic harassment quickly escalated to violence forcing the Jews to flee the Reich or the newly annexed Austria. Within the second phase 1938 was the fateful turning point." Among the decrees was the decertification of all Jewish physicians, who were no longer allowed to treat German patients; Jewish children were forbidden to attend public school;  Jews were forbidden to attend concerts, theatre or opera, or even have a garden.


1944

Churchill advised Stalin that the Polish Government-in-Exile was ready to accept the Curzon Line as a basis for talks and assured him that by the time they resumed diplomatic relations with the Soviets, their government would only consist of members willing to co-operate with Moscow. Stalin remained unconvinced.  (Note: The Polish Government in Exile never accepted the Curzon Line, and were not willing to "co-operate' with Moscow.)




February 20, 2018

FEBRUARY 20 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 20

1846

Krakow Uprising began, led by Polish insurgents such as Jan Tyssowski and Edward Dembowski. Their objective was to incite an Uprising against the powers that partitioned Poland, in particular the  Austrian Empire.  The fighting lasted for about nine days, and ended with an Austrian victory.  The Austrians then briefly restored the feudal order but ultimately they abolished serfdom two years later. Karl Marx saw the uprising as a "deeply democratic movement that aimed at land reform and other pressing social questions." He and Friedrich Engels praised it for being "the first in Europe to plant the banner of social revolution".


1919

Adoption of the Small Constitution. The Small Constitution declared that Poland has a parliamentary system, although it didn't define Poland as a republic. Executive powers were held by the Chief of State. He could name the ministers (with the consent of the Sejm); he and the ministers were responsible before the Sejm. The Chief of State (previously the Provisional Chief of State) no longer had legislative initiative and could not dismiss the Sejm; all his acts required the signature of the relevant minister.


1943

"The Four Freedoms" refer to four 1943 oil paintings by the iconic American artist Norman Rockwell. The paintings were based on the themes of Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear as outlined by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's in his January 1941 Four Freedoms State of the Union address.  The themes were thereafter incorporated into the Atlantic Charter, and became part of the charter of the United Nations.  In 1941, Roosevelt expounded that the four freedoms should be observed "everywhere in the world"  with the "co-operation of free countries, working together in a friendly civilized society."  When Russia first became an ally, FDR eliminated the first two freedoms from the draft of the Atlantic charter, but the final version of the Charter contained all four freedoms.



February 19, 2018

FEBRUARY 19 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 19

1473

Nicolaus Copernicus (dob) was a Polish mathematician and astronomer who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the center of the universe.  His theory was likely independently of Aristarchus of Samos, who had formulated such a model about eighteen centuries earlier.  From 1491, Copernicus attended the University of Krakow (now Jagiellonian University  ) His studies gave him a thorough grounding in the mathematical astronomy, (arithmetic, geometry, geometric optics, cosmography, theoretical and computational astronomy) and a good knowledge of the philosophical and natural-science writings of Aristotle (De coelo, Metaphysics) and Averroes (which in the future would play an important role in the shaping of Copernicus' theory), It stimulated his interest in learning, making him conversant with humanistic culture as well.  For many years Copernicus was advisor to the Royal Prussian sejmik regarding monetary reform. In 1526 he wrote an analysis on the value of money entitled, "Monetae cudendae ratio". The theory he proposed was created several decades before that of Thomas Gresham. Copernicus also established a quantity theory of money, which is recognized today as the principal concept in economics.  His recommendations on monetary reform were held in the highest regards by political leaders of Prussia and Poland in his time.


1594

Having already inherited the throne of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth through his mother, Catherine Jagellonica of Poland, Sigismund III of the House of Vasa was crowned King of Sweden, succeeding his father John III of Sweden. (Note: Sigismund was crowned King of Sweden on the condition that he promise to respect Lutheranism as the official religion of Sweden. Though Sigismund was King of Sweden he remained in Poland, and appointed his uncle Duke Charles to rule on his behalf.  Tensions soon escalated in Sweden about his devout Catholicism. Swedes became suspicious that Sigismund had the goal of ultimately making Sweden Catholic again.  He was deposed from the Swedish throne by his uncle, Charles IX of Sweden, and despite his efforts could not reclaim it. He  invaded Russia, occupying Moscow for two years (1610–12) and followed by Smolensk.  The Polish–Swedish conflict broke out again in 1617, while Sigismund's army was also battling against the Ottomans in Moldavia (1617 to 1621).  In 1621 King Gustavus II Adolphus of Sweden (Charles IX's son) invaded Sigismund's lands, seizing almost all of Polish Livonia, and capturing Riga..


1921

Signing of the Franco-Polish alliance in Paris. It was a political alliance signed by Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Count Eustachy Sapieha and his French counterpart Aristide Briand. They recognized common foreign policies, promotion of bilateral economical contacts,  and agreement to consult on new pacts concerning Central and Eastern Europe (should one of the signatories become the victim of an unprovoked attack.) Two days later a secret pact was included that clarified possible threats from both Germany and the Soviet Union.  In case of aggression on Poland, France would keep the communication lines free and keep Germany in check, but it was not required to send its troops or to declare war.


1922

Władysław Bartoszewski (dob) was a Polish politician, social activist, journalist, writer and historian. A former Auschwitz concentration camp prisoner, he became a soldier in the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa) and fought in the Warsaw Uprising. Bartoszewski worked with the Front for the Rebirth of Poland in the Provisional Committee for Aid to Jews, an organization which was succeeded by the Council for Aid to Jews (code-named Żegota). Its mission was to help save the Jews by sheltering them, or helping them to escape. They operated under the auspices of the Polish Government in Exile through the Delegatura, which was located in Warsaw. In 1945, Bartoszewski embarked on a cooperation with the Institute of National Remembrance at the presidium of the government and the Head Commission of Examination of German Crimes in Poland.  He provided valuable information to the allies regarding the German occupation, the German concentration camps and prisons, and Nazi crimes perpetrated against the Jews.  In 1943, he replaced Witold Bieńkowski in the Jewish Department of the Delegatura. After the war he was persecuted and imprisoned by the communist Polish People's Republic because of his allegiance to the Home Army and his opposition to the Soviet invasion. After the collapse of the communist regime, Bartoszewski served twice as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from March through December 1995 and again from 2000 to 2001. He was also an ambassador and a member of the Polish Senate. Bartoszewski was a close ally and friend of Polish anti-Communist activist and later president, Lech Wałęsa. He has been given honorary citizenship in Israel, and has received numerous international awards including the prestigious Order of the White Double Cross, 2nd class, the highest Polish medal of honor..


1947

Communist controlled government in Poland adopted the Small Constitution of 1947.  The Polish Constitution of 1935 was declared null and void and criticized by the Soviet regime as being fascist.  The small constitution was presented as a temporary constitution issued by the communist-dominated Sejm (Polish parliament) of 1947-1952 which claimed to support the separation of powers of government and a stronger Sejm. The Soviets renewed it in 1949, 1950 and again in 1951. It was eventually replaced in 1952 by the Constitution of the People's Republic of Poland.


1987

US  President Reagan lifted economic sanctions against Poland on this day and referred to his decision as a reward to the Polish government for having released political prisoners, and for other gestures of reconciliation with supporters of the outlawed Solidarnosc trade union (Solidarity)  and the Roman Catholic Church. Reagan's decision was to reduce tariffs on the importation of some Polish goods, and allow Poland to apply for loans from American banks. (The sanctions had been imposed after the imposition of martial law in Poland by Jaruzelski  in 1981 and 1982.)





February 18, 2018

FEBRUARY 18 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 18

1938

Three members of the Wilno branch of the National Party were arrested and sent to the Bereza Kartuska prison.  The National Party was a Polish political party formed on October 7, 1928.  It was comprised of most of the political forces of Poland's National Democracy right-wing political camp, and were one of the main opponents of the Sanacja regime.  It was one of the largest opposition parties with over 200,000 members.(shortly before WW2)


1996

A Double Referendum was held in Poland. One concerned enfranchisement, while the other dealt with state property. The first was ordered by the President, while the other were created on the basis of resolution made by the Sejm. All except one were approved by over 90% of voters. However, voter turnout was just 32%, well below the 50% threshold required to make the referendums valid.





February 17, 2018

FEBRUARY 17 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 17

1945

German scientists evacuated the Peenemünde Army Research Center.  The first train departed from Peenemunde on February 17, 1945 with 525 people en route to Thuringia, Germany, (including Bleicherode, Sangerhausen (district), and Bad Sachsa) By mid-March the evacuation was complete.
The evacuation was called due to increased Allied bombing of the center.  During Operation Crossbow, the British aerial attacks on Peenemunde, began on the night of August 17-18, 1943,  followed a year later by bombing runs on July 18,  August 4, and August 25. They were carried out by the U.S. Eighth Air Force.  Operation Crossbow was possible only due to the work of the Polish underground.  In early 1943, two Polish inmates of Camp Trassenheide located adjacent to Peenemunde,  obtained maps, sketches and reports that they stole and smuggled to Polish Home Army Intelligence, and from there were sent to British intelligence. The Polish underground had provided two such reports which identified the "rocket assembly hall", "experimental pit", and "launching tower". The Allies gave the Polish men advance warning of the attack, but they could not leave due to tight SS security.



German submarine U-425 was depth charged and sunk by the British sloop HMS Lark and the corvette HMS Alnwick Castle near Murmansk. The U-boat had taken part in eight wolf packs throughout 1944.






February 16, 2018

FEBRUARY 16 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 16

1941

Special Polish forces were created in Britain. They were named the Cichociemni ("Silent Unseen", an elite special-operations paratroops of the Polish Army in exile, whose mission was to fight against the Nazis in occupied Poland. A total of 2,613 Polish Army soldiers volunteered for special training under Polish and British SOE operatives. But only 606 Polish men completed the rigorous training. Eventually 316 of them were secretly parachuted into Nazi-occupied Poland. They also operated in German territory covering intelligence, covert operations, partisan warfare, as well as radio operators and emissaries, airmen and airdrop coordinators, and forging documents.  Among the these Polish heroes,  91 operatives fought in the Warsaw Uprising.


1944

Stalin responded to Roosevelt's message of February 7 by saying the Polish government was made up of elements hostile to the Soviet Union and was incapable of friendly relations with the USSR. Stalin advised that "The basic improvement of the Polish government appears to be an urgent task."


1945

German submarine U-309 was depth charged and sunk in the North Sea by Canadian frigate HMCS Saint John. U-309 was shadowing Convoy WN-74 into the Moray Firth when she was detected by the Canadian River-class frigate Saint John with ASDIC (sonar). The first attack on the U-boat produced some oil on the surface. Two further attacks were carried out using the Hedgehog anti-submarine mortar, which produced more oil. The fourth attack using depth charges produced wreckage including charts, signal books and cork insulation material. U-309 sank in position 58°09′N 02°23′  All 47 aboard were lost.



February 15, 2018

FEBRUARY 15 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 15

1910

Irena Sendlerowa (Sendler) (dob) was a Polish nurse, humanitarian, and social worker who served in the Polish Underground during World War II in German-occupied Warsaw. She was head of the children's section of Żegota, the Polish Council to Aid Jews (Polish: Rada Pomocy Żydom), which was active from 1942 to 1945.  With the assistance of two dozen members of Zegota, Sendler saved the lives of 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto, providing them with shelter, and with false documents.  In 1965, Sendler was recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Polish Righteous Among the Nations, and a tree was planted in her honor at the entrance to the Avenue of the Righteous in Jerusalem.  Following the collapse of the Russian regime, and independence of Poland, news about her heroic efforts were realized.  In 1991, Sendler was made an honorary citizen of Israel. On June 12, 1996, she was awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, and the Commander's Cross with Star (even higher honor)  on November 7, 2001. In 2003, Pope John Paul II sent Sendler a personal letter praising her courage and sacrifices during the War.  On November10,  2003, she was awarded the Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest civilian decoration, as well as the Polish-American award, the Jan Karski Award "For Courage and Heart", given by the American Center of Polish Culture in Washington, D.C and many, other awards.



1937

Senators blamed Jews in Polish University Riots. Several senators charged that Jewish students themselves were guilty in the university rioting. Senator Malinowsky alone defended the Jews, placing blame for the riots at the door of some university rectors, whose removal he demanded. Warsaw University announced the dismissal of Joseph Reichman, a lecturer, for having written an article in a Polish Progressive newspaper in which he condemned the anti-Jewish rioting at the university. The action was based on a new ordinance by the Ministry of Education, permitting disciplinary punishment against university lecturers, including reprimands and withdrawal of university titles.


2005

The Wildstein List is an index containing the names of approximately 162,000 individuals who are alleged to have worked for the Polish secret police (the Służba Bezpieczeństwa, or SB) or who were being recruited by, or under investigation.  The SB was a Soviet-backed secret police agency, which operated in Poland during the cold war. The Wildstein List was named after the Polish journalist, Bronislaw Wildstein, who uploaded the list of names to the internet. Apparently, he said that it was not intentional and was done in error.





February 14, 2018

FEBRUARY 14 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 14

1942

The Union of Armed Struggle was transformed into the Home Army, also called Armia Krajowa. The Home Army was the largest underground resistance movement in Poland, fighting both Nazi Germany and the Soviets. Their 1944 strength ranged between 200,000 and 600,000 soldiers,  often cited at 400,000. This latter number would make the Home Army not only the largest Polish underground resistance movement  but one of the three largest in Europe during WW2. The Home Army was disbanded on 19 January 1945, after the Soviet Red Army had largely cleared Polish territory of German forces.


Mirosław Ferić died on this day. He was a Polish fighter pilot serving under the RAF and a flying ace of World War II.  He was killed at RAF Northolt after his Spitfire (BL432) broke up at 3,000 feet (910 m). The resulting G-forces as the aircraft corkscrewed held him inside the cockpit and prevented him from bailing out.  During the Invasion of Poland in 1939, he served with Escadre No. 111, assigned to the Pursuit Brigade and defended Warsaw.  His PZL P.11c fighter was damaged in combat but he successfully bailed. He evacuated to Romania where he was arrested and interned but was able to escape and went to France. He flew Morane MS-406 fighters protecting aircraft works around Nantes. When France fell, he evacuated to English in June 1940.  He was assigned to the famous No. 303 Polish Fighter "Kosciuszko"  Squadron with the RAF  and flew Hawker Hurricanes. Feric entered service in the Battle of Britain on August 31, 1940.  He was the 11th ranked Polish fighter ace with 8 and 2/3 confirmed kills and 1 probable kill. From September 1939 he had kept a personal diary, which became No.303 Squadron's unit history. He was 27.


1946

Polish and British representatives agreed on conditions and schedule for the expulsion of Germans from territories ceded to Poland to the British occupation zone at meeting of the Combined Repatriation Executive in Berlin. In accordance with the Potsdam Agreement, at the end of 1945 according to writings by Hahn & Hahn, 4.5 million Germans who had fled or been expelled were under the control of the Allied governments. From 1946–1950 around 4.5 million people were brought to Germany in organized mass transports from Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. An additional 2.6 million released POWs were listed as expellees.



February 13, 2018

FEBRUARY 13 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 13

1945

Bombing of Dresden:  In one of the more controversial events of the war, the bombing of Dresden began on February 13, 1945. Over a period of three days a total of 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices were dropped on the city.  British RAF Bomber Command decided to carry out the first raid and that it would be a double strike.  The second wave would attack three hours after the first contingent, and were done just as rescue teams were trying to put out the fires in the city. Multiple raids were launched during the night to confuse German air defenses. Three hundred and sixty heavy bombers (Lancasters and Halifaxes) bombed a synthetic oil plant in Böhlen, 60 miles (97 km) from Dresden, while de Havilland Mosquito medium bombers attacked Magdeburg, Bonn, Misburg near Hanover and Nuremberg. Polish pilot squadrons, attached to the RAF, participated in the raid.  Just as the Poles were preparing for the mission, the terms of the Yalta agreement were made known to them.  There was a huge uproar, since Churchill and Roosevelt at Yalta agreement bi-laterally handed parts of Polish territory over to Stalin.  The situation because extremely tense and hostile as there was talk of mutiny among the Polish pilots, and their British officers removed their side arms. The protest subsided when the Polish Government in Exile in London ordered the Polish pilots to follow orders and fly their missions over Dresden.  The destruction of the city provoked unease in some intellectual circles in Britain. Howard Cowan, an Associated Press war correspondent, subsequently filed a story saying that the Allies had resorted to terror bombing. British Air Commodore Colin McKay Grierson answered the accusation that the primary aim was to attack communications to prevent the Germans from moving military supplies, and to stop movement in all directions if possible. He then added in an offhand remark that the raid also helped destroy "what is left of German morale."


 1980

Marian Rejewski died. He was a Polish mathematician and cryptologist who in 1932, (along with his colleagues Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski) discovered the key to breaking the Enigma code, and constructed working copies of the Enigma machine. Seven years later at the outbreak of World War II, the Polish team gave the information to the British and French along with working copies of the Enigma machine. It gave the British SOE, the means with which to read the encrypted messages. The intelligence that was gained from it formed the basis of Ultra, (British espionage unit) and contributed to the defeat of Germany.


1985

Solidarity activists Adam Michnik, Bogdan Lis, and Wladyslaw Frasyniuk were arrested on February 13, 1985 during a clandestine meeting headed by Lech Walesa, in which they were discussing plans for a work stoppage to protest against the government's  announcement of a 13% increase in food prices. They planned for a symbolic 15 minute strike slated for February 28, and Walesa was defiant to go ahead with plans despite the government threats. Walesa was charged with inciting public unrest and organizing illegal protests and was threatened with five year imprisonment.  He addressed more than 1,000 supporters who packed a courtyard outside St. Brigida's Church, telling them that  "The best sons of our land are being imprisoned and that is why this (strike) has to succeed,"   Walesa was joined by more than 5,000 worshipers for a Mass as a show of support for the three Solidarity activists arrested.



February 12, 2018

FEBRUARY 12 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 12

1940

Nazis began deportation of German Jews to Poland. (Note: Approximately 100,000 German Jews were deported from the District Wartheland, Danzig-West Prussia, and East Upper Silesia since the latter part of 1939 until early 1940.) The deportations continued until May of 1943 when the Nazi regime declared that Germany was free of Jews. However, there remained fewer than 20,000 German Jews. They survived probably because they were half-Jewish, or because they found sanctuary with non-Jewish people.


 1941

Rommel in Africa:   German General Erwin Rommel arrived in Tripoli, Libya, with the newly formed Afrika Korps, to reinforce the beleaguered Italians’ position.  The fighting began in North Africa with the Italian declaration of war June 10, 1940. Four days later, the British Army's 11th Hussars (assisted by elements of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment, 1st RTR) crossed the border from Egypt into Libya and captured the Italian Fort Capuzzo.  This was followed by an Italian counter-offensive into Egypt and the capture of Sidi Barrani in September 1940 and again in December 1940 following a British Commonwealth counteroffensive, Operation Compass. During Operation Compass, the Italian 10th Army was destroyed and the German Afrika Korps, under the command of Rommel, earned the nickname, "The Desert Fox" was dispatched to North Africa in February 1941 during Operation Sonnenblume. Its mission was to reinforce Italian forces in order to prevent a complete Axis defeat. A series of battles ensued for control of Libya and regions of Egypt, and reached a climax in the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942 when British Commonwealth forces under the command of Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery inflicted a decisive defeat on Rommel's Afrika Korps and forced its remnants into Tunisia. After the Anglo-American landings (Operation Torch) in North-West Africa in November 1942, and subsequent battles against the armed forces of Vichy France forces (who then changed sides), the Allies encircled several thousand German and Italian personnel in northern Tunisia and finally forced their surrender in May 1943.


February 11, 2018

FEBRUARY 11 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 11

1945

The Yalta Conference concluded. The "Big Three", Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin signed a joint declaration affirming guidelines for the end of the war and maintaining international security. Among the terms agreed upon were the unconditional surrender of Germany, followed by its demilitarization, and denazification,  as well as reparations.  Regarding the status of Poland, they agreed that its eastern border would be based on the Curzon Line, that the legitimate authority in Poland would be the communist Provisional Government( installed by the Soviet Union "on a broader democratic basis."), and that free elections would be held, according to Stalins' promises.


German submarine U-869 was depth charged and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean by U.S. destroyer escorts Howard D. Crow and Koiner.  It wasn't until September 2, 1991, that an unidentified U-boat wreck was discovered 73 meters (240 feet) deep off the coast of New Jersey.  The discoverers of the U-boat, John Chatterton, Richie Kohler, and Kevin Brennan, spent the next several years diving the wreck. Three divers, Steve Feldman, Chris Rouse and Chris Rouse, Jr., died while exploring during the expedition.  A few years later, they found part of the UZO torpedo aiming device, and spare parts from the motor room engraved with serial and other identifying numbers and on August 31, 1997 were able to conclude that the boat they found was U-869. The wreck lies just off the coast of New Jersey at the approximate coordinates of 39°32′56″N 73°19′56″W


1946

Operation Deadlight was the code name for the Royal Navy operation to scuttle German U-boats surrendered to the Allies after the defeat of Germany near the end of World War II. Of the 156 U-boats that surrendered, 116 were scuttled as part of Operation Deadlight. The operation was carried out by the Royal Navy and it was planned to tow the submarines to three areas about 100 miles north-west of Ireland and sink them.  But by the time that the Operation got underway, many of the U-boats were in extremely deteriorated condition having been moored in exposed harbors while awaiting disposal. Consequently 56 of the boats sank before reaching the designated scuttling areas, and those which did, were generally sunk by gunfire rather than explosive charges.  The first sinking took place on  November 17, 1945 and the last on February 11, 1946.


1981

As the result of a meeting of the Central Committee of the Polish Communist Party,  Polish Prime Minister Jozef Pinkowski was dismissed and replaced by General Wojciech Jaruzelski,  the Minister of Defense.  He was First Secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party from 1981 to 1989, making him the last leader of the People's Republic of Poland. He served as Prime Minister from 1981 to 1985 and the country's head of state from 1985 to 1990 and as President from 1989 to 1990. He was also the last commander-in-chief of the Polish People's Army (LWP). He resigned after the Polish Round Table Agreement with Solidarity in 1989, which led to democratic elections in Poland.



February 10, 2018

FEBRUARY 10 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 10

1920

Jozef Haller von Hallenburg performed a symbolic Wedding of Poland to the Sea, celebrating restitution of Polish access to open sea.  Present were the Minister of Internal Affairs, Stanisław Wojciechowski, and the new administration of the Pomeranian Province also came to Puck.  General Haller, at the ceremony, said, " As Venice so symbolized its marriage with the Adriatic so we Poles symbolize our marriage with our dear Baltic Sea." (Note: Haller was given command over the territory of Pomerania, which had been restored to Poland according to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. Despite incidences of armed resistance and sabotage, the transfer of territory was achieved as planned.)


1936

Hitler placed the Gestapo above the law. This meant that the Gestapo had full authority to investigate cases of treason, espionage, sabotage and criminal attacks on the Nazi Party and Germany. In effect these powers placed the Gestapo above the law.  According to Werner Best, an SS officer of the Gestapo, said, "As long as the police carries out the will of the leadership, it is acting legally."  Following Hitlers seizure of power, the SA and Gestapo went from door to door hunting for socialists, communists, trade union leaders, and anyone opposed the Nazi party. Many were arrested - some were killed. By the middle of 1933, the Nazi party was the only political party, and nearly all organized opposition to the regime was eliminated. Democracy was dead in Germany.


1945

The German passenger liner SS General von Steuben was torpedoed and sunk in the Baltic Sea by Soviet submarine S-13, under the command of Alexander Marinesko, resulting in the loss of over 4,000 passengers. During World War II, she served as a troop accommodation ship, and since 1944 as an armed transport.  In the winter of 1945, East Prussian refugees fled from Konigsberg, heading west, and away the advancing Soviet troops. Thousands of Germans converged at the Baltic seaport of Pillau (now Baltiysk, Russia) trying to boards ships which would carry them to the relative safety to Western Germany. Steuben was among the fleet of ships sent to carry out this evacuation. On February  9, 1945,  the von Stuben sailed from Pillau for Swinemünde (now Świnoujście, Poland). According to official reports there were 2,800 wounded German soldiers; 800 civilians; 100 returning soldiers; 270 navy medical personnel (including doctors, nurses and auxiliaries); 12 nurses from Pillau; 64 crew for the ship's anti-aircraft guns, 61 naval personnel, radio operators, signal men, machine operators and administrators, plus 160 merchant navy crewmen: a total of 4,267 people on board. The total amount might easily have been around 5,200, because due to the rapid evacuation, many East German and Baltic refugees boarded the vessel without being recorded.  Moments before midnight of February 9th, Alexander Marinesko, captain of the Soviet submarine S-13, fired two torpedoes with a 14 second interval.  Both torpedoes hit Steuben in the Starboard bow, just below the bridge where many of the crew were sleeping. Most were killed by the impact of the torpedoes.  The Steuben sank by the bow and listed severely to starboard and within 20 minutes took the final plunge.  About 4,500 people died.  About 650 people were rescued by torpedo boat T-196 before the vessel disappeared.


1983

Tadeusz Pankiewicz was awarded recognition as a "Righteous Among the Nations" for his wartime activities in rescuing Jews.  Under the German Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II, Podgórze district was closed off in March 1941 as a ghetto for local area Jewry. Within the walls of the Kraków Ghetto there were four prewar pharmacies owned by non-Jews. Pankiewicz was the only proprietor to decline the German offer of relocating to the gentile (non-Jewish) side of the city. He was given permission to continue operating his establishment as the only pharmacy in the Ghetto, and reside on the premises. Even though medicine was in short supply, Mr. Pankiewicz provided them to the Jews in the Krakow Ghetto (often free of charge) and together with his staff, risked their lives to shelter the Jews facing deportation to the camps.  The pharmacy was a hub of activity for clandestine operations and meeting place for the intelligentsia.



February 9, 2018

FEBRUARY 9 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 9

1929

USSR, Estonia, Latvia, Poland & Romania signed Litvinov's Pact, providing for the immediate implementation of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, thus formally renouncing war as a part of national policy among its signatories. Four other countries later formally adhered to the protocol: Lithuania, Finland, Persia, and Turkey. The pact was concluded in Moscow, named after its chief negotiator, Maxim Litvinov. (Note: The Kellogg-Briand Pact was an international agreement signed on August 27, 1928 in which signatory states promised not to use war to resolve "disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them". Parties failing to abide by this promise "should be denied of the benefits furnished by this treaty". Its primary signatories were Germany, France and the United States, later followed by most other nations.


1940

Beginning of Mass Deportations of Polish citizens:  Following the Soviet invasion of Poland on September 17, 1939, as per the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviet Union occupied over half of the territory of the Second Polish Republic (roughly 201,000 square kilometres (78,000 sq mi) inhabited by over 13,200,000 people). In the next few months, the Soviet NKVD rounded up and deported over 1 million Polish citizens.  There were four waves of deportations: on February 10  of more than 220,000 people who were deported to the far north and east in Russia, including Siberia and Khabarovsk Krai; on April 13, 1940, more than 320,000 people were deported to Kazakhstan;  the third wave in June to July 1940, resulted in deportation of more than 240,000 people; and the fourth and last wave occurred in June 1941 where more than 300,000 people were deported.


1945

Black Friday: A force of Allied Bristol Beaufighter aircraft suffered heavy casualties during an unsuccessful attack on the German destroyer Z33 and its escorting vessels. The German ships were sheltered in a strong defensive position in Førde Fjord, Norway, forcing the Allied aircraft to attack through heavy anti-aircraft fire. The Allied fighter aircraft were intercepted by twelve German Focke-Wulf Fw 190. While the Allies were able to damage at least two of the German ships, they lost a total of nine Beaufighters shot down by enemy guns. Four or five German fighters were shot down by the Allied aircraft, including one flown by German Ace Rudi Linz.


Action of 9 February 1945:  The German U-864 submarine was detected and sunk west off the cost of Bergen, Norway by the British submarine HMS Venturer. To date this event remains the only time in history when one submarine has intentionally sunk another submarine while both were fully submerged. The battle ensued for a long period of time, and amidst unfamiliar circumstances. Allied Commander James Launders waited three quarters of an hour after first contact with the enemy vessel before taking battle stations. He anticipated that U-864 would surface and present itself as an easier target. But the enemy began evasive maneuvers. The Venturer was carrying only eight torpedoes while the U-864 had a total of 22.  After three hours, Launders gave the order to fire a spread of torpedos released at 12:12 followed by 17 second intervals and dove immediately to avoid any retaliatory hits. The U-864 dove even deeper upon hearing the torpedoes and was able to avoid the first three, but unknowingly came into the path of the forth torpedo. The enemy vessel split into two, and sank west of the island of Fedje. All 73 on board died. (PS: A Norwegian minesweeper discovered the wreck in October 2003. The vessel has been steadily leaking mercury into the water for decades contaminating the water and fisheries. When it sank, the U-864 had been transporting almost two thousand containers of mercury, intended for weapons production. Discussions are still continuing on the best way to entomb the vessel, rather than attempt a very dangerous salvage operation. It's not due only to the containers, but there may be live torpedoes in the wreck.)



February 8, 2018

FEBRUARY 8 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 8

1940

Lodz, 1st large ghetto established by Nazis in Poland.(Note: It was the second-largest ghetto in all of German-occupied Europe after the Warsaw Ghetto). The ghetto was originally intended as a preliminary step towards the more extensive plan of creating the Judenfrei (free of Jews) province of Warthegau, but was transformed into a major industrial centre, using the prisoners as slave labor to manufacture war supplies for Nazi Germany. A total of 204,000 Jews passed through it but only 877 remained when the Soviets liberated it.


1942

Demyansk Pocket was a pyrrhic victory for the Germans:  German troops were encircled by the Red Army in what was called the Demyansk Pocket, near Demyansk, Leningrad. The pocket existed between February 8 to 21 April 1942.  In March, German forces tried to maneuver through the "Ramushevo corridor". Soviet resistance on the Lovat River delayed II Corps' attack until April 14 but the corridor was widened over the next few weeks. On April 22, a battle group broke through the siege, resulting in very high casualties: Out of the approximately 100,000 men trapped, 10,000 were wounded and 3,335 missing.  Throughout the battle, the two pockets (including Kholm) received 65,000 short tons (59,000 t) of supplies (both through ground and aerial delivery), 31,000 replacement troops, and 36,000 wounded were evacuated. Supplies were delivered on a daily basis by over 100 flights of whitewashed Junkers Ju 52 transport aircraft at great cost. The Luftwaffe lost 265 aircraft, including 106 Junkers Ju 52, 17 Heinkel He 111 and two Junkers Ju 86 aircraft, and the loss of 387 airmen. (Fighting in the area continued until 28 February 1943. The Soviets did not liberate Demyansk until 1 March 1943, with the retreat of the German troops.)


1944

SS Petrella was a German merchant ship, which was torpedoed and sunk on February 8,  1944, north of Souda Bay, Crete, killing about 2,670 of the Italian POWs aboard:  Crete was under occupation of German-Italian forces since since May 1941. About 21,000 troops of the Italian 51st Infantry Division Siena occupied the easternmost prefecture of Lasithi.  Following the armistice of September 1943 the Italians in Crete were disarmed, but were given the choice to remain allies with Germany, or be sent to the Reich as internees as forced labor.  The few who chose the former, formed the Legione Italiana Volontari Creta. Under Hitlers orders, the remaining Italian internees were shipped back to Germany in un-seaworthy vessels.  On February 8, 1944 3,173 prisoners had been crammed into the hull of the Petrella. The British submarine HMS Sportsman detected the ship and launched a torpedo, sinking the ship taking the lives of 2,670 prisoners. The high death toll was due to the fact that the guards did not open the holds where the POWs were contained, and that they fired on those trying to get out.


1945

In the last stages of World War II, the Allies launched Operation Veritable:  The Operation was the northern part of an Allied pincer movement under the command of Montgomery's Anglo-Canadian 21st Army Group (First Canadian Army under Crerar) and the British XXX Corps under  Horrocks, and included the U.S. Ninth Army.  Their mission was to clear German forces from the area between the Rhine and Maas rivers, east of the German/Dutch frontier, in the Rhineland. The plan was part of General Eisenhower's "broad front" strategy to occupy the entire west bank of the Rhine before crossing it. Initially the Operation was slated for early January 1945, when the ground was frozen and advantageous to the Allies. The Operation faced a number of obstacles which impeded troops and armour, that is, the thick forested terrain, exacerbated by muddy ground which had thawed. Added to the difficulties was the deliberate flooding of the adjacent Rhine flood plain by the Germans.  Secondly, Veritable was the northern arm of a pincer movement. The southern pincer arm, Operation Grenade, commanded by Hood Simpson's U.S. Ninth Army, was postponed for two weeks as a result of the higher river levels (the Germans released the waters from the Roer dams). Allied military action came to a virtual halt until the water subsided.


February 7, 2018

FEBRUARY 7 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 7

1944

President Roosevelt asked Stalin not to allow the Polish border issue to undermine future international co-operation. Roosevelt proposed that the Polish Prime Minister Stanislaw Mikołajczk accept the desired territorial changes and then be allowed to alter the makeup of his government without any evidence of foreign pressure. (Note:  Winston Churchill also intensely pressured the Polish Prime Minister to resume talks with Stalin,, but Mikolajczk refused to comply due to several issues regarding the Katyn Massacre,  Poland's postwar borders, and most particularly opposition to Stalin's plan for a communist government in postwar Poland.


Telegram (no. 236) Feb 7, 1944 7pm:  From President Roosevelt to the Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union ( Stalin )  " I have followed with the closest attention the recent developments in your relations with Poland. I feel that I am fully aware of your views on the subject and am therefore taking this opportunity of communicating with you on the basis of our conversations at Tehran.  First of all, let me make it plain that I neither desire nor intend to attempt to suggest much less to advise you in any way as to where the interests of Russia lie in this matter since I realize to the full that the future security of your country is rightly your primary concern. The observations which I am about to make are prompted solely by the larger issues which affect the common goal towards which we are both working.       The overwhelming majority of our people and Congress, as you know, welcomed with enthusiasm the broad principles subscribed to at the Moscow and Tehran Conferences........ I am sure that a solution can be found which would fully protect the interests of Russia and satisfy your desire to see a friendly, independent Poland, and at the same time not adversely affect the cooperation so splendidly established at Moscow and Tehran......... I have given careful consideration to the views of your Government as outlined by Mr. Molotov to Mr. Harriman on January 18, regarding the impossibility from the Soviet point of view of having any dealings with the Polish Government-in-exile in its present form and Mr. Molotov’s suggestion that the Polish Government should be reconstituted by the inclusion of Polish elements at present in the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union. I fully appreciate your desire to deal only with a Polish Government......(that would) establish permanent friendly relations with the Soviet Union, but it is my earnest hope that while this problem remains unsolved neither party shall by hasty word or unilateral act transform this special question into one adversely affecting the larger issues of future international collaboration......... Prime Minister Churchill tells me that he is endeavoring to persuade the Polish Prime Minister to make a clean-cut acceptance as a basis for negotiation of the territorial changes which have been proposed by your Government. Is it not possible on that basis to arrive at some answer to the question of the composition of the Polish Government which would leave it to the Polish Prime Minister himself to make such changes in his Government as may be necessary without any evidence of pressure or dictation from a foreign country?   As a matter of timing it seems to me that the first consideration at this time should be that Polish guerillas should work with and not against your advancing troops. That is of current importance and some assurance on the part of all Poles would be of great advantage as a first step. "  Roosevelt


1979

The "Angel of Death" died.   Josef Mengele, the infamous Nazi doctor who performed medical experiments at the Auschwitz death camps, died of a stroke while swimming in Brazil, however, the death was not verified until 1985.  During World War II he was the physician in Auschwitz concentration camp and part of a team of doctors in charge of selecting prisoners to be killed in the gas chambers and for performing deadly human experiments on prisoners.  Arrivals who were deemed unfit for labor were immediately killed in the gas chambers. Mengele escaped Auschwitz on January 17, 1945, shortly before the arrival of the liberating Soviet troops. He fled to South America where he evaded capture for the rest of his life. Mengele's experiments with eyes included attempts to change eye color by injecting chemicals into the eyes of living subjects and killing people with heterochromatic eyes so that the eyes could be removed and sent to Berlin for study.  His experiments on dwarfs and people with physical abnormalities included taking physical measurements, drawing blood, extracting healthy teeth, and treatment with unnecessary drugs and X-rays. Many of the victims were sent to the gas chambers after about two weeks, and their skeletons were sent to Berlin for further study. Mengele sought out pregnant women, on whom he would perform experiments before sending them to the gas chambers. Witness Vera Alexander described how he sewed two Romani twins together back to back in an attempt to create conjoined twins. The children died of gangrene after several days of suffering.  (Note:  He is buried in Embu das Artes under the name "Wolfgang Gerhard", whose identification card he had been using since 1971.)


1990

The Central Committee of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party agreed to endorse President Mikhail Gorbachev’s recommendation that the party give up its 70-year long monopoly of political power.  The move signaled the imminent demise of the Soviet Union. The February Central Committee Plenum advocated multi-party elections; local elections held between February and March returned a large number of pro-independence candidates. The Congress of People's Deputies then amended the Soviet Constitution in March, removing Article 6, which guaranteed the monopoly of the CPSU.  One State Department official commented that, “The whole Soviet world is going down the drainpipe with astonishing speed. It’s mind-boggling.” Former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger commented that he was “personally gratified and astonished that anyone would have the chance to say such things in Moscow without being shot.”



February 6, 2018

FEBRUARY 6 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 6

1633

Coronation of King Wladyslaw IV Vasa on February 6, 1633. Władysław was successful in defending the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth against invasion, most notably in the Smolensk War of 1632–34, in which he participated personally. He supported religious tolerance and carried out military reforms, such as the founding of the Commonwealth Navy. He was also a renowned patron of the arts and music. He failed, however, to realize his dreams of regaining the Swedish crown,  and gained fame by defeating the Ottoman Empire, strengthened royal power, and reformed the Commonwealth.


1910

Roman Czerniawski (dob) was a Polish Air Force Captain and Allied double agent during World War II, using the code name Brutus.  In 1940 he volunteered to create an allied espionage network in France. He established it with Mathilde Carré who recruited the agents as some French declined to work for a Pole. This network was code-named Interallie. After the Fall of France, he evacuated to England where he met General Sikorski, who decorated him with Poland's highest award, the Virtuti Militari. But on November 17, 1941, Czerniawski parachuted back into France. He was immediately arrested by the Nazi Germans, and imprisoned along with others. Apparently, Mathilde had been captured and agreed to cooperate with the Nazis, in order that her life be spared. Subsequently, the Germans offered him safety and sent him to England as an agent. MI5 took him into employ as a Double Agent using the code name "Brutus".  He was arrested again for an act of mutiny against Polish authority, and imprisoned for a couple of months.


1945

Only 800 Jews Survived in Lodz; 70,000 were killed by Germans since Russian Offensive:  Journalists description of events: " ...Of the 250,000 Jews who resided in Lodz before the war, and the tens of thousands who were here there from all parts of occupied Europe, only 800 survived, the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency found upon arriving in this industrial center...  From survivors, the correspondent learned that the Germans had sent almost 70,000 Jews from Lodz to the death camp of Oswiecim since last August, when the Red Army broke through to the Vistula River. When deportations were no longer possible, the Gestapo murdered Jews in the ghetto itself. As late as January 16, when Russian tanks were already breaking into the outskirts of the city, the last batch of victims were machine gunned in the Jewish cemetery after being forced to dig their own graves. As this correspondent walked through the vast barbed-wire-enclosed slum area which constituted the ghetto he found many empty house in which tables were set for dinner, with the food untouched. The inhabitants had been dragged to their death in the last minute frenzied massacres that preceded the fall of the city..."


1989

The Round Table Talks began on February 6, 1989 at 2:23 pm CET.   The Solidarity opposition delegation negotiated with officials of the communist Polish government, in the Council of Ministers Office. The meetings, co-chaired by Lech Wałęsa and Kiszczak, resulted in radical changes in the shape of Polish government and society, establishing semi-free elections in 1989. By the end of August 1989 a Solidarity-led coalition government was formed, and in December 1990 Walesa was elected President.  It gave momentum to events in Poland which led to the fall of the European communist bloc. The communist governmental system was dismantled, and Poland emerged into a modern, and independent democratic nation state.  Consequently, the Yalta accords from World War Two, became null and void. 



February 5, 2018

FEBRUARY 5 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 5

1937

Polish government announced the creation of the Central Industrial Region. (Note: The Central Industrial District (COP) was an industrial region in Poland and one of the largest economic projects of the Second Polish Republic. The project was initiated by Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski, a brilliant economist, who was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Treasury.  He planned a heavy industrial center in the very center of the country to strengthen the Polish economy and reduce unemployment.  The development was scheduled to commence September 1, 1936 and be completed by July 30, 1940. But it was interrupted by the German invasion of Poland on September 1st, 1939, starting World War Two. At the end of the war in 1945,  the COP project resumed and was expanded under the Soviet-controlled People's Republic of Poland.


1938

Nazi Germany passed The Law on the Profession of Auctioneer which excluded Jews from the profession.


1945

Soviet forces crossed the Oder at Brzeg, causing considerable destruction in its path.   (Note:  In accordance with the Yalta and Potsdam agreements, the area was annexed by Poland.  The town's German population was subsequently resettled , and replaced with Polish settlers from the Eastern Borderlands and Central Poland. Since 1950 the reconstructed town has been a part of the Opole Voivodeship in Poland.)


1947

Communist Boleslaw Bierut was elected President of the Polish Republic and held office from 1947 to 1952.  After the abolition of the Presidency, and the creation of the Peoples Republic of Poland, he served as Prime Minister.  He was also the first Secretary General of the ruling Polish United Workers Party from 1948 to 1956.  But he is most known and hated for his role in the outcome of many trials of Polish wartime military leaders, including General Stanislaw Tator and Brig. General Emil August Fieldorf, as well as 40 members of the Wolnosc i Niezawislosc (Freedom and Independence organization),  numerous church officials, and other opponents of the new regime - including the Hero of Auschwitz, Witold Pilecki.  They were all condemned to death during secret trials - to which Bierut signed many of those death sentences.



February 4, 2018

FEBRUARY 4 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 4

1746

Tadeusz Kościuszko (dob) was a Polish-Lithuanian military engineer and a military leader who became a national hero in Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, and the United States. He fought in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth's uprisings against Russia and Prussia, and on the American side in the American Revolutionary War. As Supreme Commander of the Polish National Armed Forces, he led the 1794 Kościuszko Uprising. The Polish Military divisions have honored his memory by naming their units after him - the Kosciusko Squadron (which participated in the Battle of Britain during WW2),  a Polish Navy ship and a Polish infantry division. There are monuments to Kosciuszko around the world:  the Kosciuszko Mound at Krakow; the Thaddeus Kosciusko Bridge, near Albany, New York; Kosciuszko Bridge in New York City;  a statue of Kościuszko in Washington, D.C.'s Lafayette Square near the White House; Mount Kosciuszko, the tallest mountain in Australia; and numerous statutes of Kosciuszko in Poland, as well as in US cities such as Boston, Chicago, West Point, Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Washington, D.C.


1945

Yalta conference took place at the Livadia Palace near Yalta in Crimea, Soviet Union at which President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Marshal Joseph Stalin presided.  Ideally, Yalta was meant to shape a post-war Europe based on peace and collective security, and self-determination for countries which had been liberated from Nazi occupation.  But Churchill and Roosevelt gave into Stalins' demands for the sake of peace and security.  Consequently, many European nations, including Poland fell under the yoke of Soviet domination and occupation.   The Allies won the war, but one of their greatest allies - Poland - was used as a bargaining chip to placate Stalin.





February 3, 2018

FEBRUARY 3 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 3

1945

Berlin suffered its worst air raid of the war when 1,500 USAAF bombers dropped more than 23,000 tons of bombs on the city.  British bombers dropped 45,517 tons of bombs. The raid was led by USAAF Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Rosenthal,  a highly decorated Jewish-American  of the 100th Bombardment Group, who commanded the entire First Air Division's bomber for the raid. Friedrichstadt (the newspaper district), and Luisenstadt (both divided between the boroughs of Kreuzberg and Mitte, the central area) and some other areas, such as Friedrichshain, were severely damaged. The bombs used in this raid consisted mostly of high explosive ordnance and not incendiary munitions.  The bombing was so dense that it caused a city fire spreading eastwards, driven by the wind, over the south of Friedrichstadt and the northwest of neighboured Luisenstadt. The fire lasted for four days until it had burnt everything combustible in its range to ashes.


The Soviets completed the Sandomierz–Silesian Offensive, which was part of the Soviet Vistula-Oder Offensive. This offensive was initiated on January 12, starting from the Sandomierz Bridgehead led by Konev of the 1st Ukrainian Front. Within 6 days they broke through the German front on the length of 250k and advanced from 120 to 150k; near the end of the offensive the Soviets approached Breslau (Wrocław) and begun crossing of the Oder (Odra) river.



February 2, 2018

FEBRUARY 2 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 2

1896

Kazimierz Kuratowski was born on this day.  He was a Polish mathematician, a logician and a leading representative of the Warsaw School of Mathematics. He made numerous contributions in the field of mathematics. Kuratowski was an active member of many scientific societies and foreign scientific academies, including the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy and the USSR. During World War II, he gave lectures at the underground university in Warsaw, since higher education for Poles was forbidden under German occupation. After World War II, Kuratowski was actively involved in the rebuilding of scientific life in Poland. He helped to establish the State Mathematical Institute, which was incorporated into the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1952. From 1948 until 1967 Kuratowski was director of the Institute of Mathematics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and was also a long-time chairman of the Polish and International Mathematics Societies. He was president of the Scientific Council of the State Institute of Mathematics (1968–1980). From 1948 to 1980 he was the head of the topology section. One of his students was Andrzej Mostowski.


1943

Germans surrendered to Russian troops at Stalingrad in the first big defeat of Hitler's armies. The Battle of Stalingrad was the single largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare.  (2.2 million troops; 1.7 to 2 million killed,wounded or captured.)  The Germans were starving, and running out of ammunition, but continued to resist, in part because they feared that the Soviets would execute any who surrendered. In particular, the so-called HiWis, (Soviet citizens fighting for the Germans), knew their fate if captured. Bloody urban warfare began again in Stalingrad, and the Soviets pushed the Germans back to the banks of the Volga. The Germans adopted a simple defense of fixing wire nets over all windows to protect themselves from grenades. But the Soviets out-witted them by attaching fish hooks to the grenades so they stuck on the nets when thrown. After five months, one week, and three days, the Army High Command had to withdraw vast military forces from the West to replace their losses.


1945

The Vistula–Oder Offensive ended in Soviet victory. The Vistula–Oder Offensive took place on the Eastern Front in the European Theatre and ended with the fall of Krakow, Warsaw and Poznań.  The Soviets had strong positions around several key bridgeheads, with two fronts commanded by Marshal Zhukov and Marshal Konev. The Germans were outnumbered 5 to 1 and, and within days evacuated the concentration camps, forcing prisoners on their death marches toward the west. In less than two weeks, the Russians advanced 300 miles from the Vistula to the Oder. They were only 43 miles from Berlin which was left undefended, but Zhukov called a halt, and delayed the advance until April (due to continued German resistance on his northern flank (Pomerania).



February 1, 2018

FEBRUARY 1 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 1

1940

German soldiers executed Polish patients by firing squad and by revolver.  Victims included were 400 patients of a psychiatric hospital in Chelm and from Owinska. In Pomerania, they were transported to a military fortress in Poznan and gassed with carbon monoxide in the bunkers of Fort VII, including children as well as women whom the authorities classified as Polish prostitutes. Other Owinska hospital patients were gassed in sealed trucks using exhaust fumes. The same method was utilized in the Kochanówka hospital near Lódz, where 840 persons were killed in 1940, totaling 1,126 victims in 286 clinics. This was the first "successful" test of the mass murder of Poles using gas. The Nazis later perfected the technique on many other psychiatric patients in Poland and in Germany. Beginning in 1941, the technique was widely used in the extermination camps. Nazi gas vans were also first used in 1940 to kill Polish mentally ill children.


SS-Reichsführer Himmler ordered inspections of potential sites for a planned concentration camp. Among those inspected was the camp at Oswiecim, Poland, known in German as Auschwitz. By June 1940,  Auschwitz became the main concentration camp for Poles. Himmler declared that "All Polish specialists will be exploited in our military-industrial complex. Later, all Poles will disappear from this world. It is imperative that the great German nation considers the elimination of all Polish people as its chief task."  Hitler confirmed this when he demanded the liquidation of "all leading elements in Poland".


1942

Henryk Wolinski became head of the "Jewish Department" in the Bureau of Information and Propaganda of the AK Home Army (Polish Underground) and provided the Polish Government in Exile with information about the mass deportations from the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka. He received daily reports from Polish men working the railways of the number of trains and people that were deported in them.  Woliński is known to have been a strong voice in the AK command and he supported any action to save the Jews. He headed a Żegota cell that saved almost 300 Jews and he himself harbored in his apartment over 25 Jews for a period from a few days to several weeks.


Vichy France was a Nazi collaborator.  Numerous laws were decreed, along the lines of the Nuremberg laws, to strip all rights from the Jews. In early February 1942,  all telephones and radios were confiscated from Jewish homes, and a curfew on the Jews was enforced by the local police. The Vichy government also enforced the legal requirement that Jews not appear in public places, and ride only on the last car of the Parisian metro.  After the Fall of France in June 1940, the French government agreed to an armistice with Hitler, in which the country was divided between the Nazi-occupied zones in the North and West, and the unoccupied "free zone" to the south under the administrative control of the Vichy government.  They supported the Nazi plan for the "Final Solution" of the Jews, and had deported a total of 75,000 Jews, many of them children, to concentration camps in France and Germany.


1944

Operation Kutschera was the code name used by the Polish Home Army (Underground) for the
assassination of Franz Kutschera, an SS-Brigadeführer and Generalmajor der SS heading the police in the Warsaw district. He was successfully killed by a combat sabotage unit of the Polish underground unit code-named, Kedyw, of the Home Army (predecessor of Battalion Parasol) mainly manned by members of scouting and guiding Gray Ranks. The mission was named Operation Heads (Glowki)


1945

Soviet forces reached Liebenow. Before  World War II, the village was part of Germany. Today it is the administrative district of Gmina Lubiszyn in Gorzow County, Lubusz Voivodeship, in western Poland.