POLAND -WE REMEMBER YOU -
WE JOINED THE FIGHT FOR YOUR FREEDOM ON SEPTEMBER 3-1939
WOUNDS THAT STILL FESTER
[Daily Mail-Saturday-June 23rd 2007]
As the Polish premier inflames the EU SUMMIT with his attack on Germans for their terrible crimes against his country, a top historian says it's difficult not to sympathise with him
On the eve of World War II soldiers in Polish uniform stormed a radio station at Gleiwitz, just inside the German border with Poland. Shocked listeners heard shots echo over the airwaves, then Polish voices proclaiming the hour had come to invade Germany. It was August 31,1939.
Here was the immediate pretext for 'retaliation'. Hitler's invasion of Poland, which began a few hours later.
The Nazis had started the assault in the spirit of absolute ruthlessness which was to characterise everything which they did thereafter to the Polish people. The 'Polish' soldiers responsible for the Gleiwitz attack were actually SS troops commanded by Sturmbannfuhrer Alfred Naujocks.
The radio station charade was devised by Himmler's lieutenant Reinhard Heydrich. who even supplied a 'Polish' corpse (in reality a concentration camp prisoner) shown to neutral correspondents.
In the six years that followed, more than 6,000,000 Poles died, 15 times Britain's war losses, from a nation of only 35 million. Poland suffered a tragedy rendered all the more terrible because the Russians joined the Germans in the great killing, and continued it long after Hitler was dead.
Today, it is hard to say which country commands a deeper historic hate among the Poles - Germany or Russia. The wounds which caused Thursday's astonishing eruption at the EU Summit by Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski are still at the heart of Poland almost 70 years later. kaczynski caused an uproar by accusing Germany of 'incomprehensible crimes' against his nation. He spoke of events which still dominate the folk memory of every Pole.
The German troops which poured through Poland in September 1939 swept aside gallant but hopelessly outgunned defenders, with their ancient aircraft and horsed cavalry.
Hitler's intention from the outset was to incorporate a large part of Poland which contained a German-speaking minority, into the THIRD REICH.
In the wake of the Panzer spearheads, German troops started readying these Poles, some 9.5 million of them, for their place in Greater Germany. In the first weeks, 531 towns and villages were systematically burned. Some 16,376 people were executed, most of them prominent citizens or intellectuals.
All traces of Polish culture were obliterated. Universities and schools were closed. libraries leveled, national monuments destroyed. The playing of music by Polish composers was banned.
A million people deemed unfit to become citizens of the new part of Germany were stripped of their homes and possessions and herded eastwards to survive however they might - thousands died as starving refugees.
Meanwhile, Nazi bombers and tanks completed the capture of most of the country. Jadwiga Soskowska, a nurse at Warsaw's main hospital described the city's confrontation with BLITZKRIEG:
The procession of wounded from the city was an unending
MARCH OF DEATH
AS THE OPERATING THEATRES AND DRESSING STATIONS WERE DESTROYED THE WORK WAS DONE IN LECTURE ROOMS ON ORDINARY DEAL TABLES AND OWING TO LACK OF WATER, THE INSTRUMENTS HAD TO BE CLEANED WITH ALCOHOL.
'I shall remember for ever the dreadful night of September 25, when, with one hand, I helped to give anesthetics, holding a candle in the other, while the surgeon amputated arms and legs,
WARSAW WAS BURNING -WE LOST ALL SENSE OF TIME
'I saw a river of blood flowing down the corridor, washing the bodies of the dead, dying and still living martyrs. here lay a little girl beside an aged, white-haired women; there a soldier beside an old workman.
OLD AND YOUNG -ALL MERCILESSLY MURDERED.'
The Poles ordeal at German hands was rendered vastly worse by the simultaneous invasion which began in the east. by the terms of Stalin's secret bargain with Hitler, Soviet troops stormed over the frontier to seize 77,000 square miles of territory allocated to Moscow.
In the wake of this occupation, every Polish officer and prominent citizen identified by the Russians was taken to the forest at Katyn. There:
,some 7000 were murdered by one of Stalin's most experienced executioners who shot each one himself with a bullet in the back in the neck.
The first 4,000 bodies were found in 1943, by the Germans. Further corpses are still being disinterred to this very day [-2007]
In Nazi-occupied Poland, the Jewish population was herded into ghettoes in major cities where they were held until their systematic annihilation began in 1942
The greatest extermination camps in Hitler's empire were established on
-at Auschwitz-Birkenau and Maidenek
A host of ordinary Poles were conscripted for forced labour in the factories of Germany. the remainder were reduced to a life of oppression and near starvation which continued through the years that followed. A cavalry officer captured by the Germans, Colonel K.S Rudnicki, asked the German escort where he and his companions were to be taken.
'have you heard about the Volga-Don canal? the soldier answered contemptuously. 'You'll be sent there to dig. After two years if you are still alive, your wife will join you and you'll settle down and live there. If you die a band will play at your funeral.'
The response of Rudnicki, like many Polish soldiers, was to throw everything into passionate efforts to escape west and rejoin the armed struggle against the Germans -a quest he was eventually successful.
The first Poles to distinguish themselves in the struggle after the fall of their country were fighter pilots who reached
-and began to fly with the RAF.
Some 154 Polish airmen took part in the
BATTLE of BRITAIN
-of whom 30 were killed between the end of August and October 1940.
THEIR RECORD WAS EXTRAORDINARY
Men such as Czech-born Josef Frantisek (who had joined the Polish Air force), the most famous ace, were the despair of the British commanders and controllers. They ignored all orders and simple hurled themselves at the Luftwaffe formations.
[Well we are sure that this would be the reaction of any who had seen such devastation and destruction and death in their
-their only thought was to get to grips with the enemy if at the loss of their own lives. of course our own boys were protecting their
-and we know what great sacrifice they made to prevent the Nazi invasion of
In the film the
R.J. Mitchell -Spitfire
-in the pre -war 'Gathering Storm' years -our history is told of the magnificent Giant - a product of England who saved
-but only just in the nick of time.]
In the post -war year of 1953 the wartime saviour of our Island Home and guiding force against world tyranny spoke in London in 1953 of our country's need to beware of those who wished for precipitous change -without thought -and the knowledge of the people we were and where we came from and the
In the end, the British decided they had no alternative but to allow the Poles to fight their own way, which they did in two squadrons - 302 and 303.
The memorial to 303 still stands at Northolt outside London, where its Hurricanes were based in 1940. Polish pilots claimed 203 German aircraft during the
BATTLE of BRITAIN
-an extraordinary record.
Around 20,000 Polish troops reached Britain, of whom the most senior was the hugely admired General Wladyslaw Sikorski who later died in an air crash off Gibraltar. These Poles formed corps which fought with distinction in the British Army in North-East.
A second corps was later created from Poles grudgingly released by the Russians through Iran. These men fought in Italy, most famously at Monte Cassino.
Their passion, of course, was to take part in the liberation of their own country. At every turn, the Western Allies soothed and assured them that they would be able to do this.
Yet it proved their tragedy that while they played a noble part in the struggle against the Germans in Western Europe, great power politics would deny them the chance ever to return home.
Many of those rash enough to go back to Poland eventually perished at Russian hands, when Stalin gained control of the country.
Throughout the war, the Nazi lawyer Hans Frank, who served as governor of Poland, sustained a policy of repression and mass murder more ferocious than any which operated in France, Belgium and Holland. The Polish people had been designated as sub-humans ,of slave status. They were thus deemed not to require education or leadership.
Racial testing centres were established to determine the suitability of children for Germanisation. Several thousand Catholic priests were deported to the concentration camp at Dachau.
Some 100,000 people were removed from the port of Gdynia, which was renamed Gotenhafen. German settlers from the Baltic states were imported to occupy Polish lands. Food was rationed by racial categories, the Jews inevitably receiving least.
Resistance spread through Poland far more rapidly than in France. Their leaders established radio contact with the Polish Government -in-exile in London and laboured to sabotage the German railway network to the Russian front.
Partisan groups began to operate from the marshes and forests of the east, but they could not readily be armed, because the country lay so far from British air bases.
In 1943, there were already acute tensions between the mass of Poles who gave their allegiance to London, aspiring to become a free post-war democratic nation, and those who became Communist stooges of Moscow.
One of Stalin's earliest demands from the Western Allies was that Eastern Poland should be recognised as part of the Soviet Union, while the Poles would be compensated with land from Germany.
Nobody liked the deal, but Russian participation in the war against Hitler was thought essential. London and Washington acceded to Stalin's demand. It was one of the great political betrayals of the war.
In August 1944 with the Soviet armies storming westwards and the Germans in full-retreat, the Polish 'Home Army' of resisters under General Tadeusz Bor -Komorowski launched its bravest and most reckless stroke - the Warsaw Rising.
Though feebly armed., and beyond reach of Allied supply, the Poles concluded that their only chance of escaping domination by the approaching Soviets was to liberate themselves.
Through more than two months which followed, they fought a heroic doomed battle in the capital against Hitler's SS.
On the first day, 98 men of the Resistance 'Stag' battalion stormed one German position armed only with revolvers. They succeeded it taking it, but only seven survived.
Large parts of the city were destroyed. Governor of Poland Hans Frank reported to Hitler. Warsaw is in flames. Burning down houses is the most reliable means of liquidating the insurgents.
A quarter of a million Poles died almost all civilians.
The Russians, a few miles away across the Vistula, declined to hasten their advance to help them.
'The Soviet Government do not wish to associate themselves directly or indirectly with the adventure in Warsaw,' a senior Soviet commissar coldly informed the US Ambassador in Moscow.
The 1944 agony of Warsaw became the Western world's most vivid memory of wartime Poland
The combination of Polish suicidally courageous emotionalism, german savagery and Soviet ruthlessness set the seal on six years of slaughter and misery.
Polish behaviour was characterised by their heroic spirit of self-immolation which has displayed itself throughout the nation's history.
The Soviets told General Bor-Komorowski that if the red Army was to help, the Home Army must recognise Moscow's Polish puppet government, along with Russia's claim to eastern Poland, and declare publicly that the
was the work of the Germans , not Russians.
The Polish proudly refused. Their general signalled to London on August 26:
'Poland has not been fighting the Germans for five years just to capitulate to Russia. Our fight against the |Germans has shown that we love
FREEDOM MORE THAN LIFE.'
Here, indeed reality matched rhetoric in the most terrible fashion.
When the surviving resisters capitulated on October 2, 1944, a Polish officer said bitterly to general Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, the Nazi HIGH PRIEST at Poland's sacrifice:
'You, the nation , which gave Goethe and Schiller to the world, have tried through
-to take the rights of
FREEDOM AND EXISTENCE
The Germans shrugged:
'This is war'
Hitler knew his armies could no longer hold Warsaw against the Russians. yet he ordered his engineers to conduct a last act of vengeance against the Poles whom he hated and despised. Every public building in Warsaw was systematically destroyed before the Germans evacuated the city. A few weeks later, the Red Army occupied the rubble.
The Russians continued shooting
-those who refused to give their allegiance to the new Communist regime which Moscow established - long after the end of World War II and after the defeat of Hitler.
K.S. Rudnicki, the cavary officer who by 1945 was a general commanding a Polish division in North-west Europe, told Montgomery that his men felt utterly betrayed.
The general died an exile in Britain, along with many other wartime Poles, the colours of whose regiments still hang in the tragic rendezvous of lost souls:
THE POLISH HEARTH CLUB
He wrote in his old age 'We are still on the path of destiny, and I am deeply convinced that that path will lead us expatriate Poles back to a
His hopes have been triumphantly fulfilled long after his death, by the collapse of the Soviet Union, the coming of
DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM
to his country. But the descendents of the wartime generation, who suffered so terribly at the hands of both the
GERMANS and RUSSIANS
The Germans may today have become their partners in the European Union, but in the eyes of men such as Poland's prime minister, they are still the architects of the nation's 20th century tragedy.
For all the courtesies of modern commerce and diplomacy, for years to come there will still be moments such as that which took place on Thursday when old Polish passions break loose and history is hurled back into the face of the
* * *
[Font Altered-Bolding &Underlining Used-Comments in Brackets]
is on show in cinemas across the country.
[Font Altered-Bolding & Underlining Used-Comments in Brackets]
* * *
So You Want Out Of The EU
THEN WHY NOT SIGN THE
RENUNCIATION of EU CITIZENSHIPhttp://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Optout
Details from petition creator
With the signing of the Maastricht Treaty the people of Britain were given
EUROPEAN and BRITISH
The extra tier of citizenship was thrust upon the people without their consent -and in many cases knowledge.
The PEOPLE of GREAT BRITAIN should be allowed the option of opting out of the EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP if they so wish. The GOVERNMENT will then be able to provide those who have opted out with
-only such as British (not EU) passports, driving licences and other national documents.
EU laws will also NOT APPLY to those who
HAVE OPTED OUT OF EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP
[PETITION OPEN UNTIL OCTOBER 08]
Daniel Hannan - Forming an OPPOSITION to the EU
SIGN TODAY ON LINE
* July 18-2007
JOIN THE 10 DOWNING STREET PROTEST
Readers can add their support to the growing clamour for a REFERENDUM on the '"REFORM TREATY" by signing up to a 10 Downing Street 0n-line petition
The Petition reads as follows:
"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to guarantee that the British people will be permitted a binding REFERENDUM on any and all attempts to resurrect the EU " CONSTITUTION" (and any or all of its content) regardless of nomenclature."
Deadline for the PETITION is 31st January,2008
Eurofacts 27th July 2007.
'The Spirit of England'
In London on St.George's Day -1953
WITH THE ONLY PARTY WITH A MANDATE
TO SET YOU
UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY
THE QUESTION THAT THE VOTER MUST ANSWER
‘DO YOU WISH TO BE GOVERNED BY YOUR OWN PEOPLE, LAW AND CUSTOM OR BY THE CORRUPT ,EXPENSIVE UNACCOUNTABLE AND CORRUPT ALIEN BUSYBODY BRUSSELS’
-SIMPLE IS IT NOT?
TO RECLAIM YOUR DEMOCRACY DON'T VOTE FOR THE TRIPARTITE PARTIES IN WESTMINSTER
SMALL PARTIES THAT SPEAK THEIR MINDS WITHOUT SPIN AND LIES.
[All underlined words have a separate bulletin