Monday, June 30, 2008

Polish ZEGOTA was the only one organization to save Jews, saved 50000 Jews from Holocaust

Polish ZEGOTA was the only one organization to save Jews, saved 50000 Jews from Holocaust
Czyj jest ten strach? część Polskie obozy koncentracyjne? "Upside Down"

Czyj jest ten strach? część 2 / 2

Polskie obozy koncentracyjne? "Upside Down"

Polish Pilots of the RAF

A real hero - Witold Pilecki - A Volunteer for Auschwitz

Encouraged by Rabbi Israel Singer's, the General Secretary of the World Jewish Congress, statements in 1996 such as " If Poland does not satisfy Jewish claims, it will be publicly attacked and humiliated in the international forum." So it is a plan to deliberately slander Poland's name and manipulate the American public's opinion against Poles. It was permitted to slander Poles now.
Very beautiful. A GREAT HERO overlooked in the post War history.
Irena Sendler

Irena Sendler, a Catholic hero
ZEGOTA saved 50000 Jews from Holocaust 2/3
Polish ZEGOTA saved 50000 Jews from Holocaust 3/3

Would you risk your own life and your family's to save another human being ? Brave people. Thanks. ZEGOTA was the cryptonym for the clandestine underground organization in German-Nazi- occupied Poland(1939-1945) that provide assistance to the Jewish people. Irena Sendler(Irena Krzyzanowska,Irena Sendlerowa),Zofia Kossak,Wanda Krahelska, Julian Grobelny, Dobrowolski, Tadeusz Rek, Ferdynand Arczynski, Ignacy Barski, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, Ewa Brzuska,(Granny) and many others brave people.Splendid

Irena Sendler: A Tribute

enigma code breakers

ZEGOTA saved 50000 Jews from Holocaust 1/3

Polish ZEGOTA saved 50000 Jews from Holocaust 3/3

Żegota" ([ʐε'gɔt̪a] (help·info)), also known as the "Konrad Żegota Committee,"[1] was a codename for the Council to Aid Jews (Rada Pomocy Żydom), an underground organization in German-occupied Poland from 1942 to 1945. It operated under the auspices of the Polish Government in Exile through the Government Delegation for Poland, in Warsaw. Żegota's express purpose was to aid the country's Jews and find places of safety for them in occupied Poland. Poland was the only country in occupied Europe where, throughout the war, there existed such a dedicated secret organization.[2]

[edit] Composition
The Council to Aid Jews, Żegota, was the continuation of an earlier secret organization set up for this purpose, called the Provisional Committee to Aid Jews (Tymczasowy Komitet Pomocy Żydom), founded in September 1942 by Zofia Kossak-Szczucka and Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz ("Alinka") and made up of democratic as well as Catholic activists. Its members included Władysław Bartoszewski, later Polish Foreign Minister (1995, 2000). Within a short time, the Provisional Committee had 180 persons under its care, but was dissolved for political and financial reasons.[1]

Founded soon after, in October 1942, Żegota was the brainchild of Henryk Woliński of the Home Army (AK). From its inception, the elected General Secretary of Żegota was Julian Grobelny, an activist in prewar Polish Socialist Party. Its Treasurer, Ferdynand Arczyński, was a member of the Polish Democratic Party. They were also the two of its most active workers. Żegota was the only Polish organization in World War II run jointly by Jews and non-Jews from a wide range of political movements. Politically, the organization was formed by Polish and Jewish underground political parties.

Jewish organizations were represented on the central committee by Adolf Bermann and Leon Feiner. The member organizations were the Jewish National Committee (an umbrella group representing the Zionist parties) and the socialist General Jewish Labor Union. Both Jewish parties operated independently also, using money from Jewish organizations abroad channelled to them by the Polish underground. They helped to subsidize the Polish branch of the organization, whose funding from the Polish Government-in-Exile reached significant proportions only in the spring of 1944. On the Polish side, political participation included the Polish Socialist Party as well as Democratic Party (Stronnictwo Demokratyczne) and a small rightist Front Odrodzenia Polski. Notably, the main right-wing party, the National Party (Stronnictwo Narodowe) refused to participate.

Kossack-Szczucka withdrew from participation from the onset. She had wanted Żegota to become an example of pure Christian charity and argued that the Jews had their own international charity organizations. She went on to act in the Social Self-Help Organization (Społeczna Organizacja Samopomocy - SOS) as a liaison between Żegota and Catholic convents and orphanages, where Catholic clergy hid many Jews.[3]

Żegota had around one hundred (100) sections. According to a letter by Adolf Berman, the Jewish Secretary of Żegota, dated February 26, 1977, there were other activists especially meritorious. He mentioned theatre artist Prof. Maria Grzegorzewski, psychologist Irena Solski, Janina Buchholtz-Bukolski*, educator Irena Sawicki*, scouting activist Dr. Ewa Rybicki, school principal Irena Kurowski, Prof. Stanislaw Ossowski and Prof. Maria Ossowski, zoo director Dr. Jan Zabinski* and his wife Antonina*, a writer, the unforgettable director of children's theatres Stefania Sempolowski, Jan Wesolowski*, Sylwia Rzeczycki*, Maria Laski, Maria Derwisz-Parnowski. Great merits had former Senator Zofia Rodziewicz, Zofia Latallo, Dr. Regina Fleszar and others. Beside the university educated people there were commoners like Waleria Malaczewski, Antonina Roguski, Jadwiga Leszczanin, Zofia Debicki*, tailor Stanislaw Michalski, farmers Kajszczak from Lomianki and Pawel Harmuszko, laborer Kazimierz Kuc and many others. – Those with the asterix (*) after their name have been recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations up to the end of 1999.[4]

[edit] Activities
Żegota helped save some 4,000 Polish Jews by providing food, medical care, relief money and false identity documents for those hiding on the so-called "Aryan" side of German-occupied Poland. Most of its activity took place in Warsaw. The Jewish National Committee had some 5,600 Jews under its care, and the Bund an additional 1,500, but the activities of the three organizations overlapped to a considerable degree. Between them, they were able to reach some 8,500 of the 28,000 Jews hiding in Warsaw, as well as perhaps 1,000 elsewhere in Poland.

Help in the form of money, food and medicines was organised by Żegota for the Jews in several forced labour camps in Poland as well.[2] Forged identity documents were procured for those hiding on the 'Aryan side' including financial aid. The escape of Jews from ghettos, camps and deportation trains occurred mostly spontaneously through personal contacts, and most of the help that was extended to Jews in the country was similarly personal in nature. Since Jews in hiding preferred to remain well-concealed, Żegota had trouble finding them. Its activities therefore did not develop on a larger scale until late in 1943.

The German occupying forces made concealing Jews a crime punishable by death for everyone living in a house where Jews were discovered. Over 700 Poles murdered by Germans as a result of helping and sheltering their Jewish neighbors were posthumously awarded the title Righteous Among the Nations.[5] They were only a small part of several thousand Poles reportedly executed by the Nazis for aiding Jews.[6] It is estimated that some 200,000 Poles were engaged in helping Jews even though the threat of death did act as a deterrent.

Żegota did play a large part in placing Jewish children with foster families, public orphanages and church institutions (orphanages and convents). The foster families had to be told that the children were Jewish, so that they could take appropriate precautions, especially in the case of boys. (Jewish boys, unlike Poles, were circumcised.) Żegota sometimes paid for the children's care. In Warsaw, Żegota's children department, headed by Irena Sendler, cared for 2,500 of the 9,000 Jewish children smuggled from the Warsaw Ghetto.

Medical attention for the Jews in hiding was also made available through the Committee of Democratic and Socialist Physicians. Żegota had ties with many ghettos and camps. It also made numerous efforts to induce the Polish Government in Exile and the Delegatura to appeal to the Polish population to help the persecuted Jews.[7]

Postwar recognition
Many members of Żegota were memorialised in Israel in 1963 with a planting of a tree in the Avenue of the Righteous at Yad Vashem. Władysław Bartoszewski was present at the event.

“Żegota is the story of extraordinary heroism amidst unique depravity – compelling in its human as well as historical dimensions. It is a particularly valuable addition to our understanding of the many facets of the Holocaust because Żegota as an organized effort was tantamount to ‘Schindler’s List’ multiplied a hundredfold.” ― Zbigniew Brzeziński

Polish Underground State

History of Poland
^ a b Yad Vashem Shoa Resource Center, Zegota, page 4/34 of the Report.
^ a b Andrzej Sławiński, Those who helped Polish Jews during WWII. Translated from Polish by Antoni Bohdanowicz. Article on the pages of the London Branch of the Polish Home Army Ex-Servicemen Association. Last accessed on March 14 2008.
^ Gunnar S. Paulsson Secret City: The Hidden Jews of Warsaw, 1940-1945 Published 2003 Yale University Press ISBN 0300095465
^ Anna Poraj, Polish Righteous, Those Who Risked Their Lives; see: Rajszczak family, 2004.
^ Chaim Chefer, Righteous of the World: Polish citizens killed while helping Jews During the Holocaust
^ Ron Riesenbach, The Story of the Survival of the Riesenbach Family
^ Paulsson (2002)
(Polish) various authors. in Andrzej Krzysztof Kunert, Andrzej Friszke: „Żegota” Rada Pomocy Żydom 1942–1945. Warsaw: Rada Ochrony Pamięci Walk i Męczeństwa. ISBN 83-91666-6-0.
(English) various authors (2003). in Joshua D. Zimmerman: Contested Memories: Poles and Jews During the Holocaust and Its Aftermath. Rutgers University Press, 336. ISBN 0813531586.
(English) MS Nechama Tec (1986). When Light Pierced the Darkness: Christian Rescue of Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195051947.
(English) Tadeusz Piotrowski (1997). Poland's Holocaust. McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-7864-0371-3.
(English) Gunnar S. Paulsson. Secret City: The Hidden Jews of Warsaw, 1940-1945. Yale: Yale University Press, 2002. ISBN 0300095465.
(English) Irene Tomaszewski; Tecia Werbowski (1994). Zegota: The Rescue of Jews in Wartime Poland. Montreal: Price-Patterson.
(English) Irene Tomaszewski; Tecia Werbowski (1994). Zegota: The Council to Aid Jews in Occupied Poland 1942-1945. Price-Patterson. ISBN 1896881157.

To Israeli Young Tourists Please change your behavior when coming to Poland or do not come.

To Israeli Young Tourists Please change your behavior when coming to Poland or do not come.

Israeli Tourists with an angry streak

AMONGST some of Israeli Jewish tourists who come to Poland lurk a terrible bunch 'the angry ones'.

There are many 'angry ones' coming ‘back’ to Poland. I don’t have a number, but I know -– I meet them.

I hear them in their noisy groups when they flood the small peaceful streets of Kazimierz, talking as if they forgot to pack any sense of volume control and singing like drunk football fans returning from a soccer match.

I see them obnoxiously draped in Israeli flags which appear as essential to their outfit as their underwear.

Each group that comes 'back' come for its own reasons.

I met a group who, in my opinion, did not come for the right reason.

This group came in order to vent their anger they came to be angry.

One of them suggested that the Jewish community in Poland has been unfairly making money off the tourists that visit.

She further complained (to me and several non-Jewish members of the museum’s staff) of her disappointment and disgust that none of their guides had been Jewish.

When a young member of the Polish Jewish community joined the discussion, she said that she knew how the Jewish community here should be organized.

And she was dumbfounded to hear that the regular Jewish organizations which existed in her own community had not been installed here.

“But why don’t the young Jews of Poland join the lone-soldiers’ program in Israel?” she asked in shock.

“Their parents will be provided with a free ticket to visit their children at the end of the course!”

As if this incentive alone should be enough to convince these young Poles that their only option in life is to join the Israeli army.

It is most definitely important for those Jews who feel the interest to visit Poland to do so.

I urge them to come and see the traces of the vibrant prewar Jewish life in Poland which can still be found.

I wholly support that they visit as a means to pay respect to those who were murdered in the Shoah.

But I beg that each travelers asks himself first -– why am I coming?

Please don’t come as a way of releasing your anger on the Polish population.

Yes, the vast majority of Jews who were killed in the Shoah were done so on Polish soil.

But it was the Nazis who perpetrated this act, and even if some Poles supported their actions, it was not the Poles who committed the Holocaust.

Please don’t come to draw inappropriate levels of attention toward yourself as a way of proving to the Poles that the Jewish nation is still alive.

It is unfair on today’s Poles, the vast majority of whom are completely innocent.

It is also an inappropriate expression of nationalism in a foreign country.

The "angry" jews have no idea about the polish-jewish history.

They have no idea who Irena Sendler was or who Jan Karski was and how Poland looked like between 1939-45.

They have no idea how many Polish families helped Jews during the war and how many Poles were killed instantly because of that by the German nazis.

Kasia in Kazimierz asks Jewish tourists to not come to Poland “to be angry”: “Rather, come to learn about the past and perhaps about your family’s heritage. Come to learn from Poland’s diverse Jewish community, a community who really understands what it means to look after one another. Come to meet with non-Jewish Poles who really do care about restoring the memory of the Jewish community which was wiped off their map. Come to understand the true complexities of Polish-Jewish relations.”

Śmiechy i dowcipy podczas uroczystości
piątek 25 kwietnia 2008 18:20

Oburzające zachowanie młodych Żydów w getcie
» Oburzające zachowanie młodych Żydów w getcie Zamknij X

zobacz galerię fot. Michał Rozbicki Opowiadali sobie dowcipy, grali w berka, drzemali na trawie... Uczniowie z Izraela nie potrafili zachować się podczas niedawnych obchodów 65. rocznicy powstania w warszawskim getcie. Zwrócił na to uwagę izraelski portal "Ynetnews". Autor informacji nie kryje oburzenia.

Attila Somfalwi jest zażenowany zachowaniem izraelskiej młodzieży, która przyjechała na uroczystości w Warszawie. Podczas gdy setki uczestników obchodów rocznicowych, w obecności prezydentów Polski i Izraela, w wielkim skupieniu słuchało przemówień, uczniowie zorganizowali sobie coś w rodzaju równoległego "festynu" - ubolewa.

Somfalwi nie szczędzi też krytyki nauczycielom, którzy powinni byli uspokoić swoich podopiecznych. Jego zdaniem, zamiast to zrobić, obojętnie przypatrywali się ekscesom bądź nawet próbowali tłumaczyć zachowanie uczniów.

Dziennikarz wylicza: głośne śmiechy, krótkie drzemki na trawie, słuchanie muzyki, opowiadanie dowcipów, palenie, jedzenie, chichoty, krzyki, zabawy w "berka". I podsumowuje, że w Izraelu zapomniano o wpojeniu młodym ludziom zasad moralnych.

"Nie wspomnę o postawie uczniów podczas polskiego hymnu, bo mi po prostu wstyd" - dodaje Somfalwi.

The list of losses Israeli teenagers’ visits leave behind is long and costly. It begins with burned carpets in Polish hotels, and ends with Jewish teenagers’ trauma. But more and more often with local residents’ trauma too.

Roberto Lucchesini, originally from Tuscany, for several years now a resident of Krakow, hasn’t been sleeping well recently. Before he will be able to move his arms normally again, he will have to go through long rehab. All this because of how he was treated, in broad daylight in front of passers-by and several teenagers who were hermetically closed in their coach-buses. Israeli bodyguards, equipped with firearms, binded his arms behind his back over his head with handcuffs. In Krakow, in the middle of the street. A moment before, the Italian was trying to make coach drivers parking in front of his house turn their engines off. - ‘Israelis handcuffed me, threw me on the ground, my face landed in dog excrement, and then they were kicking me’. After that the perpetrators were gone. Italian had to be freed by the Polish police.

Lucchesini moved to Kazimierz, a district of Kraków, that used to be a Jewish commune of which the only things left now are synagogues and memories, often painful. He found an apartment with a view on the synagogue. - ‘Back then I had thought this was the most beautiful place on Earth’ - he says - ‘after some time I understood that the place is indeed beautiful, but not for its today’s residents’.

Kicking instead of answers

Jews search tourist

Other resident of Kazimierz, Beata W., office worker is of similar opinion. Israeli security searched her handbag on one of the streets, without telling her why.
- ‘When I asked what was this all about, they told me to shut up. I listened, I stopped talking, I was afraid they’d tell me to get undressed next’ - she says annoyed.
A young polish Jew, who as usual in Sabbath, went to pray in his synagogue couple months ago, also didn’t get his answer. He only asked, why can’t he enter the temple. Instead of an answer, he got kicked.
- ‘I saw this with my own eyes’ - says Mike Urbaniak, the editor of Forum Of Polish Jews and correspondent of European Jewish Press in Poland. - ‘I saw how my friend is being brutally attacked by security agents from Israel, without any reason.’

All this apparently in sake of Israeli childrens’ safety.
- ‘For Poles it may be difficult to understand, but security agents accompany Israelis at all times, both in Israel and abroad’ - explains Michał Sobelman, a spokesman for Israeli embassy in Poland. - ‘This is a parents’ demand, otherwise they wouldn’t agree for any kind of trip. Poland is no exception.’

But it was in Poland, as Mike Urbaniak reports, where Jews from Israel brutally kicked a Polish Jew in front of a synagogue, and then threatened him with prison. In plain view of the Israeli teenagers.

- ‘We are very sorry when we hear about such incidents’ - Sobelman admits - ‘Detailed analysis is carried out in each case. We will do everything we can, to prevent such situations in the future. Maybe we will have to change training methods of our security agents, so that they would know Poland is not like Israel, that the scale of threats here is insignificant?

Professor Moshe Zimmermann, head of German History Institute at Hebrew University in Jerusalem thinks however, that the problem is not only in the security agents’ behaviour. He thinks Israelis basically think that Poles aren’t equal partners for them. And it’s not only that they think Poles can’t ensure their children’s safety.

- ‘They are not equal partners to any kind of discussion. It applies also to our common history, contemporary history and politics. In result Israeli youth see Poles as second category people, as potential enemies’ - he explains bluntly.

An instruction on conduct with the local inhabitants given away to Israeli teenagers coming to Poland couple years ago may confirm professor’s opinion. It contained such a paragraph: ‘Everywhere we will be surrounded by Poles. We will hate them because of their participation in Holocaust’.

Jews hate Poles

- ‘Agendas of our teenagers’ trips to Poland are set in advance by the Israeli government, and are not flexible’ - says Ilona Dworak-Cousin, the chairwoman of the Polish-Israeli Friendship Association in Israel. - ‘Those trips basically come down to visiting, one by one, the places of extermination of Jews. From that perspective Poland is just a huge Jewish graveyard. And nothing more. Meeting living people, for those who organise these trips, is meaningless.’

A resident of Kraków’s Kazimierz district, who is of Jewish descent, says that there is nothing wrong with that: - ‘Israelis don’t come to Poland for holiday. Their aim is to see the sites of Shoah and listen to the terrifying history of their families, history that often is not told to them by their grandparents, because of its emotional weight. Often young people who are leaving, cry, phone their parents and say “why didn’t you tell me it was that horrible?”. To be frank, I am not surprised they have no interest in talking about Lajkonik‘.

However according to Ilona Dworak-Cousin the lack of contact with Poles, causes Israeli youth to confuse victims with the perpetrators. - ‘They start to think it were the Poles who created concentration camps for Jews, that it is the Polish who were and still are the biggest anti-Semites in the world’ - adds Dworak-Cousin, who is Jewish herself.

The above mentioned Kraków resident has a different opinion. - ‘I don’t believe anyone was telling them that the Poles had been doing this. That’s why there is no need for discussing anything with the Poles’.

Teenagers behaving badly

However, many Israelis say that although the instruction was eventually changed, the attitude to Poles has not changed at all.
- ‘Someone in Israel some day decided, that our children going to Poland have to be hermetically surrounded by security’ - says Lili Haber president of Cracovians Association in Israel. - ‘Someone decided that young Israelis cannot meet young Poles, and cannot walk the streets. Basically these visits aren’t anything else but a several-day-long voluntary prison.’

RIch brat jews

Voluntary, but also very expensive: 1400 USD per person. Not every Israeli parent can afford such a trip.

- ‘Moreover, as it turns out, the children are too young, to visit sites of mass murders’ - adds dr Ilona Dworak-Cousin. Traumatic experiences that accompany visits in death camps have its consequences. Kids become aggressive. And instead of getting to know the country of their ancestors, in which Jews and Poles lived in symbiosis for over 1000 years, Israeli teenagers cause one scandal after another.

Shitting in beds

It happens sometimes, that somewhere between Majdanek and Treblinka, young Israelis spend their time on striptease ordered via the hotel telephone. It happens sometimes, that the hotel service has to collect human excrement from hotel beds and washbasins. It happens sometimes, that hotels have to give money back to other tourists, who cannot sleep because Israeli kids decided to play football in hotel corridor. In the middle of the night.

Jews block streets

6-year-old Krzys from Kazimierz played football too. On Sunday night on 15th April, after shooting two goals, he wanted to go home, as usual. He lives near a synagogue, in front of which hundreds of young Israelis have gathered on celebrations preceding March of Living. Just before Szeroka street he was stopped by some not-so-nice men. - ‘This is a semi-private area today. There is no entry’ - he was told. It didn’t help, when he told them, his mum will get upset if he won’t be home on time.

Security officers, which is interesting, were Polish this time and accompanied by the Polish police. They also denied access to the area to a Dutch couple, who had reserved a table at one of the restaurants on Szeroka street six months ago. - ‘Is this a free country?’ - One of the tourists tried to make sure.

On a normal day you can access Szeroka street from several sides. That evening from none. I tried to get through myself, without any success. Only eventually, the police helped me to pass the security line.

- ‘There are no official restrictions here’ - they were convincing me a moment later, although the “unofficial practice” was different.

- ‘We have only set certain restrictions in movement’ - Sylvia Bober-Jasnoch, a spokeswoman for Malopolska Region Police press service, explained to me later.

The police cannot say anything else. Polish law does not allow residents to be denied access to the streets they live at. Even during the so called mass events (however the celebrations on Szeroka did not have that status) residents have the right to go back to their homes and tourists have the right to dine in a restaurant. Also Israeli security agents have no right to stop or search passers-by.

I tried to find out more on the rights of Israeli security agents in Poland. First at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from where my question was sent to…. the Ministry of Education. I have also sent questions to the Home Office. Although I was promised, I received no answer. Only person eager to talk on that matter was Maciej Kozłowski, former ambassador in Israel, currently the Plenipotentiary of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Polish-Israeli relations.

- ‘Regulations are imprecise’ - admits Kozłowski. ‘Basically bodyguards from a foreign country should not move around Poland armed. However for the government of Israel security matters are a priority. Any convincing that their citizens should use the services of Polish security turned unsuccessful’.

Airplane like battle field

The Polish-Italian couple, Robert Lucchesini, his wife Anna, and their two-year-old daughter, cannot understand Polish government’s attitude. Which contrary to the Israeli government, is not able to ensure the safety of its citizens. Safety is not the only thing among the pair’s priorities, but also peace and quietness. They are however being woken up every morning by the loud noises of engines, of the Polish coach-buses with groups of Israeli youth. Their Polish drivers brake driving regulations all the time. They’re allowed to park at the square near the synagogue (in front of Robert’s house) only for up to 10 minutes. They stay there much longer, even hours. With their engines turned on. Reason? Youth’s safety - they would be able to leave quicker in case of a threat. And because Israeli kids need to be served coffee. Because even though Kazimierz is full of cafes, Israeli teenagers don’t go there. They are being told: no contacts with environment, no talking to passers-by, no smiles nor gestures.

This has been going for years. Israeli groups contact with Poles only there where they have to. First in airplanes.

Slapped stewardess

- ‘A plane after such group has landed, looks like a battle field’ - admits a worker of LOT Polish Airlines asking for his name not to be published. - ‘The worst thing is these kids’ attitude to Polish staff. Recently a stewardess was slapped by a teenager in her face. Because he had been waiting for his coca-cola too long’.

Leszek Chorzewski, LOT spokesman, admits that Israeli youth is a difficult customer. - ‘They demand not only more attention then other passengers, but also more security precautions’ - he adds. These precautions are long aircraft and airport controls conducted by Israeli services. These are also the high demands of the teenagers’ security agents.

Katarzyna Łazuga, student from Poznań, could see that first hand. She participated in a tourist guides’ training on one of Polish airports. ‘Young people from Israel entered the room we were in’, she recalls. - ‘Our group was then made to stop classes and rushed out of the room. Israeli security officers told us to go out, right now and without any talking. Because… we were “staring” at their clients. Yes, we were looking at them. They were catching attention, they were good looking.’

Young Israelis see Poles also there, where they board - in Polish hotels. If any of them still wants to have them. Most of those in Kraków don’t want to any more.

- ‘We have resigned from admitting Israeli youth once and for all’ - admits Agnieszka Tomczyk, assistant manageress in a chain of hotels called System. ‘We could not afford to refund the loses after their stays any more’.

Shiting in beds

These loses being: demolished rooms, broken chairs and tables, human excrements in washbasins or trash bins, or like in Astoria, other hotel in Kraków, burned carpet. Astoria also backs out from having Israeli groups. One of the reasons is that the teenagers’ security agents were ordering other guests, whom they didn’t like, to leave.

- ‘I understand that Israeli security agents are over-sensitive to any disturbing signals. They are coming from a country where bombs explode almost daily, and young people die in terrorist attacks’ - ensures Mike Urbaniak. - ‘But Poland is one of the safest countries in Europe. Here, excluding tiny number of incidents, Jews are not being attacked, and Jewish institutions don’t need security, which is very unusual on a world scale’.

Huge business

Chasidim, travelling in great numbers from Israel, also (surprisingly) don’t need security agents. Including for example many Orthodox Jews, who came to visit our country recently, as they wanted to pray at Tzadik of Lelów’s grave. They came to the market square in Kazimierz without any security assistance and without any fear.

- ‘They chatted eagerly with tourists interested in their outfits, with passers-by who don’t see Jews with side curls every day’ - adds Urbaniak.

In Kazimierz chasidim are nothing unusual. Like groups of Israeli teenagers. This year 30,000 Israeli teenagers are coming to Poland, and they will have 800 security agents to protect them.

Roberto Lucchesini reported to the Polish police that he got beaten by Israeli security. Krakow Prosecution Office is investigating the case, and so is its counterpart in Israel.

- ‘Results of this investigation are of medium importance’ - thinks Ilona Dworak-Cousin. - ‘What matters is if the youth that visits Poland, will still treat it as hostile and completely alien country’.

Polish-Israeli Friendship Association in Israel and Cracovians Association in Israel both try to convince the government of their country, not to send any more teenagers to see only the death camps in Poland. Chances are slim.

- ‘These trips are mostly a huge business for people who organise them’ - says Lili Haber - ‘including Israeli bodyguards’.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Iran to Sign $2bln LNG Contract with Poland

Iran to Sign $2bln LNG Contract with Poland

Iran to Sign $2bln LNG Contract with Poland

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC) and Polish state-owned gas company (PGNiG) are about to sign a $2 billion LNG contract, IOOC's managing director said here on Saturday.

"Poland has recently requested to invest in Lavan gas field where the volume of in-place gas reserves amounts to around 10 trillion cubic feet (TCF)," Mahmoud Zirakchian Zadeh explained, the News Network of Iran's state-run tv reported.

"The Polish side has declared its readiness to invest in the Persian Gulf's Lavan gas field development plan to export the produced LNG gas to Poland," he added.

Zirakchian Zadeh stated that the contract will most probably be finalized.

Poland, which depends on Russia for 48 percent of its gas imports, has made diversification of supply a priority and the deal with Iran could potentially pave the way for such a move.

In recent months, PGNiG signed several deals that could allow it to import gas from countries such as Libya and Denmark, a Tehran Times report said.

Polish festival awards Iranian choir

Polish festival awards Iranian choir
Mon, 16 Jun 2008 17:42:20

An Iranian church from Isfahan Province has won the second award of Poland's International Festival of Orthodox Church Music 'Hajnowka'.

In its first participation in the annual event, the Children's Choir 'Komitas' received the second award of the 'parish choirs' category.

Iran's Armenian Community formed the choir in 2005 and its members were trained by Armen Amirchanian, a graduate of Armenia's National Conservatory.

The international event, which aims to present the artistic and spiritual values of church music, has been organized by the Orthodox Church Music Foundation in Hajnowka, Poland.

The 27th edition of the polish festival was held from May 20 to 25, 2008 in Bialystok, Poland.

Iran stood as a beacon of freedom and hope for almost a million Polish citizens.

Iran stood as a beacon of freedom and hope for almost a million Polish citizens.

A Chapter of Forgotten History -- Polish people
By Ryszard Antolak, Summer 2002

"Exhausted by hard labour, disease and starvation - barely recognizable as
human beings - we disembarked at the port of Pahlevi (Anzali), on the Caspian shore of Northern Iran. There, we knelt down together in our thousands along the sandy shoreline to kiss the soil of Persia. We had escaped Siberia, and were free at last. We had reached our longed-for "Promised Land"." Helena Woloch

In Tehran's Dulab cemetery, situated in a rundown area of the city, are the
graves of thousands of Polish men, women and children. It is not the only
such cemetery in Iran, but it is the largest and most well-known. All of the
gravestones, row upon row of them, bear the same date: 1942.

In that year, Iran stood as a beacon of freedom and hope for almost a
million Polish citizens released from the Soviet labor camps of Siberia and
Kazakhstan. After enduring terrible conditions travelling across Russia,
115,000 of them were eventually allowed to enter Iran. Most of them went on
to join the allied armies in the Middle East. The rest (mostly women and
children) remained guests of Iran for up to three years, their lives totally
transformed in the process. They never forgot the debt they owed to the
country that had so generously opened its doors to them. Their
reminiscences, as well as the many graves left behind in Tehran, Anzali and
Ahvaz, are testimony to a chapter of Iranian history almost erased from the
public memory.

From Poland to Iran

In 1939, the Soviet Union had participated with Nazi Germany in the invasion
and partition of Poland. In the months that followed, the Soviets began a
policy of ethnic cleansing in the area to weed out what they called
"socially dangerous and anti-soviet elements". As a result, an estimated 1.5
million civilians were forcibly expelled from their homes in the course of
four mass deportations. Thrust at gunpoint into cattle trucks, they were
transported to remote labour camps all over Siberia and Kazakhstan. [1]

Their fate was completely changed in June 1941 when Germany unexpectedly
attacked Russia. In need of as many allies it could find, Russia agreed to
release all the Polish citizens it held in captivity. [2] Shortly
afterwards, provision was also made for the creation of an army from these
newly-freed prisoners. It was to be commanded by General Wladyslaw Anders,
recently released from the Lubyanka prison in Moscow. Stalin intended to
mobilize this new army immediately against the Germans in the West; but
Anders persuaded him to hold back until the Poles had recovered their health
and strength after two years of exhaustion in the labour camps.

Swept onwards by the rumours that Stalin was about to allow some of them to
leave his "Soviet Paradise", these former prisoners of the Gulag system
began a desperate journey southwards, some of them on foot, to reach the
reception camps set up for them on the borders of Iran and Afghanistan. They
travelled thousands of miles from their places of exile in the most distant
regions of the Soviet Union. It was an exodus of biblical proportions in
terrible conditions. Many froze to death on the journey or starved. Others
kept themselves alive by selling whatever personal objects they had been
fortunate enough to have brought with them. Exhausted mothers, unable to
walk any further, placed their children into the arms of strangers to save
them from certain death. [3]

Arrived at the army reception camps in Tashkent, Kermine, Samarkand and
Ashkhabad, the refugees attempted to enlist in the Polish army, for which
the Soviets had allocated some food and provisions. There was nothing,
however, for the hundreds of thousands of hungry civilians, mostly women and
children, who were camped outside the military bases. Instead of increasing
provisions to the camps, the Soviets actually cut them. In response, the
Polish army enlisted as many of the civilians as they could into its ranks,
even children (regardless of age or sex) to save them from starvation. In
the baking heat, dysentery, typhus, and scarlet fever became rampant.
Communal graves in Uzbekistan could not keep up with the numbers who were
dying. By 1942, only half of the 1.7 million Polish citizens arrested by the
Soviets at the start of the war were still alive.

Their salvation finally came when Stalin was persuaded to evacuate a
fraction of the Polish forces to Iran. A small number of civilians were
allowed to accompany them. The rest had no option but to remain behind and
face their fate as Soviet citizens.

Port of Pahlevi

The evacuation of Polish nationals from the Soviet Union took place by sea
from Krasnovodsk to Pahlevi (Anzali), and (to a lesser extent) overland from
Ashkabad to Mashhad. It was conducted in two phases: between 24 March and 5
April; and between the 10th and 30th of August 1942. In all, 115,000 people
were evacuated, 37,000 of them civilians, 18,000 children (7% of the number
of Polish citizens originally exiled to the Soviet Union).

A makeshift city comprising over 2000 tents (provided by the Iranian army)
was hastily erected along the shoreline of Pahlevi to accommodate the
refugees. It stretched for several miles on either side of the lagoon: a
vast complex of bathhouses, latrines, disinfection booths, laundries,
sleeping quarters, bakeries and a hospital. Every unoccupied house in the
city was requisitioned, every chair appropriated from local cinemas.
Nevertheless, the facilities were still inadequate.

The Iranian and British officials who first watched the Soviet oil tankers
and coal ships list into the harbour at Pahlevi on the 25th March 1942 had
little idea how many people to expect or what physical state they might be
in. Only a few days earlier, they had been alarmed to hear that civilians,
women and children, were to be included among the evacuees, something for
which they were totally unprepared. [4] The ships from Krasnovodsk were
grossly overcrowded. Every available space on board was filled with
passengers. Some of them were little more than walking skeletons covered in
rags and lice. Holding fiercely to their precious bundles of possessions,
they disembarked in their thousands at Pahlevi and kissed the soil of
Persia. Many of them sat down on the shoreline and prayed, or wept for joy.
They were free at last!

They had not quite escaped, however. Weakened by two years of starvation,
hard labour and disease, they were suffering from a variety of conditions
including exhaustion, dysentery, malaria, typhus, skin infections, chicken
blindness and itching scabs. General Esfandiari, appointed by the Iranians
to oversee the evacuation, met with his Polish and British counterparts to
discuss how to tackle the spread of Typhus, the most serious issue facing

It was decided to divide the reception area into two parts: an "infected"
area and a "clean" area, separated from each other by a barbed wire fence.
On arrival, those who were suspected of having infectious diseases were
quarantined in the closed section for four days, or else sent to the camp
hospital. 40% of patients admitted to the hospital were suffering from
typhus. Most of these died within a month or two of arriving. At this time
there were only 10 doctors and 25 nurses in the whole of Pahlevi.

In the clean area, the arrivals were channelled into a series of tents where
their clothes were collected and burned. They were then showered, deloused,
and some of them had their heads shaved in the interests of hygiene. As a
result, women began to wear headscarves to conceal their baldness. Finally,
they were given sheets, blankets and fresh clothes by the Red Cross and
directed to living quarters.

Food provision was inappropriate. Corned beef, fatty soup and lamb,
distributed by the British soldiers, caused havoc with digestions accustomed
only to small pieces of dry bread. They could not tolerate the rich food,
and a large number died purely from the results of over-eating.

Beggarly, unwell and dishevelled, the Polish refugees were nourished more by
the smiles and generosity of the Iranian people than by the food dished out
by British and Indian soldiers. Iran at that time was going through one of
the unhappier episodes of her history. Occupied by the Russians and the
British, her relations with the soldiers of these two countries were
understandably strained and difficult. With the Poles, however, there was an
immediate affinity which was evident from the moment they arrived and which
extended from the lowest to the highest levels of society.

On 11th April 1942 Josef Zajac, chief of Polish forces in the Middle East,
noted in his diary on a visit to Tehran that the Persian population were
better disposed to them than either the British or the White Russian emigres
(who were distinctly hostile). His relationship with the Iranian Minister of
War, Aminollah Jahanbani (released a year earlier from prison for plotting
against Shah Reza Pahlavi), was genuinely friendly and cordial. During the
course of their discussions together on 13th April 1942, they discovered
that they had been students together at the same French military academy.
[5] Personal friendships such as these further smoothed relations between
the two populations. Contacts between Polish and Persian soldiers were
equally cordial. The custom of Polish soldiers saluting Persian officers on
the streets sprang up spontaneously, and did not go unnoticed by the

Isfahan: The City Of Polish Children

Washed up in the detritus of evacuees arriving at Pahlevi had been over
18,000 children of all ages and sexes (mostly girls). [6] Not all of them
were orphans. Some had been separated from their families during the long
journey through Russia. Their condition was especially desperate. Many were
painfully emaciated and malnourished. Orphanages were set up in immediately
in Pahlevi, Tehran and Ahvaz to deal with them as a matter of urgency.

The first major orphanage to be opened was situated in Mashhad, and was run
by an order of Christian nuns. It opened its doors on March 12 1942. The
children at this home were predominantly those transported over the border
from Ashkabad by trucks.

Eventually, however, Isfahan was chosen as the main centre for the care of
Polish orphans, particularly those who were under the age of seven. They
began arriving there on 10th April 1942. It was believed that in the
pleasant surroundings and salutary air of this beautiful city, they would
have a better chance of recovering their physical and mental health.

Iranian civil authorities and certain private individuals vacated premises
to accommodate the children. Schools, hospitals and social organizations
sprang up quickly all over the city to cater for the growing colony. The
young Shah, Mohamed Reza Pahlavi took especial interest in the Polish
children of Isfahan. He allowed them the use of his swimming pool, and
invited groups of them to his palace for dinner. In time, some of the
children began to learn Farsi and were able to recite Persian poems to a
delegation of Iranian officials who visited the city. At its peak,
twenty-four areas of
the city were allocated to the orphans. As a result, Isfahan became known
ever after in Polish emigre circles as "The City of Polish Children".

Exile in Iran

The refugees remained in Pahlevi for a period of a few days to several
months before being transferred to other, more permanent camps in Tehran,
Mashhad, and Ahvaz. Tehran possessed the greatest number of camps. A
constant stream of trucks transported the exiles by awkward twisted roads
from the Caspian to Quazvin, where they were put up for the night on school
floors, before continuing their journey next morning to the capital.

Tehran's five transit camps, one army and four civilian, were situated in
various parts of the metropolitan area. Once again, certain Iranian
authorities and individuals volunteered buildings (even sports stadiums and
swimming baths) for the exclusive use of the refugees. Camp No.2, however,
(the largest) was nothing more than a collection of tents outside the city.
Camp No. 4, was a deserted munitions factory. No. 3 was situated in the
Shah's own garden, surrounded by flowing water and beautiful trees There was
also a Polish hospital in the city, a hostel for the elderly, an orphanage
(run by the Sisters of Nazareth) and a convalescent home for sick children
(Camp No. 5) situated in Shemiran.

Most able-bodied men (and women) of military age enlisted forthwith in the
army and were assigned to military camps. Their stay in Iran was a short
one. The army was quickly evacuated to Lebanon and included in the Polish
forces being reformed there. Their route to Lebanon was either overland from
Kermanshah (6 rest stations were set up for them along the way to Latrun),
or by ship from the southern port of Ahvaz. The remainder - women, children
and men over the age of military service - remained behind in Iran, some of
them for periods up to three years.

Something more than food and clothing are necessary for the human spirit to
survive and grow. Art and Culture are antibodies to feelings of despondency
and decay, and within a few months of their arrival, the exiles had set up
their own theatres, art galleries, study circles, and radio stations all
over the city. Artists and craftsmen began to give exhibitions. Polish
newspapers began to spring up; and restaurants began to display Polish flags
on the streets.

Among the organizations formed to care for the educational and cultural
needs of the exiles was the influential "Institute of Iranian Studies" begun
by a small group of Polish academicians. [7] In three years from 1943 to
1945 this group published three scholarly volumes and scores of other
articles on Polish-Iranian affairs. Most of the material was later
translated into Farsi and published under the title "Lahestan". By 1944,
however, Iran was already emptying of Poles. They were leaving for other D.P
camps in places such as Tanganyika, Mexico, India, New Zealand and the UK.
Their main exit route was Ahvaz, where an area of the city still called
Campolu today, is a distant echo of its original name "Camp Polonia".
Mashhad's last children left on the 10 June 1944. Ahvaz finally closed its
camp doors in June 1945. The last transport of orphans left Isfahan for
Lebanon on the 12 October 1945.

What Remains

The deepest imprint of the Polish sojourn in Iran can be found in the
memoirs and narratives of those who lived through it. The debt and gratitude
felt by the exiles towards their host country echoes warmly throughout all
the literature. The kindness and sympathy of the ordinary Iranian population
towards the Poles is everywhere spoken of. [8]

The Poles took away with them a lasting memory of freedom and friendliness,
something most of them would not know again for a very long time. For few of
the evacuees who passed through Iran during the years 1942 - 1945 would ever
to see their homeland again. By a cruel twist of fate, their political
destiny was sealed in Tehran in 1943. In November of that year, the leaders
of Russia, Britain and the USA met in the Iranian capital to decide the fate
of Post-war Europe. During their discussions (which were held in secret), it
was decided to assign Poland to the zone of influence of the Soviet Union
after the war. It would lose both its independence and its territorial
integrity. The eastern part of the country, from which the exiles to Iran
had been originally expelled, would be incorporated wholesale into the
Soviet Union. The Polish government was not informed of the decision until
years later, and felt understandably betrayed. 48,000 Polish soldiers would
lose their lives fighting for the freedom of the very nations whose
governments had secretly betrayed them in Tehran, and later (in 1945) in
Yalta. [9]


1. There were four mass deportations of the civilian population of eastern
Poland in 1940/41 alone:
a) 10 Feb 1940. 250,000 from rural areas sent to Siberia in 110 cattle
b) 13 April 1940. 300,000, mostly women & children 160 trains) mostly to
Kazakhstan and Altai Kraj.
c) June/July 1940. 400,000 to Archangielsk, Sverdlovsk, Novosibirsk etc.
d) June 1941. 280,000 to various part of USSR. Some 500,000 Poles had also
been arrested by the Soviets between 1939 and 1941, mostly the government
officials, judges teachers lawyers, intellectuals, writers etc. So the total
of 1.7 million Poles were in captivity in the Soviet Union.
2. Under an agreement signed on 30th July 1941 by the Polish premier,
General Sikorski and the Russian representative I. Mayski, Russia agreed to
release all the Poles who had been arrested under what was termed an
"amnesty". The word "amnesty" was extremely ill-chosen. The amnesty was
signed in London in the presence of Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden.
3. Although the "amnesty" was announced in July, the news did not filter
through to many of the remoter camps of eastern Siberia until December. For
others, the news never reached them at all, and they remained in Russia.
4. General Anders himself took the responsibility to evacuate the civilians
before he had even discussed it with the British.
5. They had studied at the Ecole Superieure de Guerre in Paris. General
Anders, who visited Jahanbani in Teheran a few months later, was also a
graduate of this school.
6. On Jan 6 1943, the Polish embassy was told to close all 400 of its
welfare agencies on Russian soil (including orphanages and hospitals). Two
months later, all Polish citizens remaining on Russian soil were deemed to
be Soviet citizens.
7. The president was Stanislaw Koscialkowski
8 The word "kish-mish" passed into the vocabulary of the survivors. Many
Polish boys were named Dariusz, still extremely popular as a boy's name in
Poland today.
9. Polish soldiers were not even allowed to participate in the Victory
parade in London in 1945

Faruqi, Anwar. Forgotten Polish Exodus to Iran. Washington Post. 23 Nov 2000
Kunert, Andrzej. K., Polacy w Iranie 1942-45. Vol I. R.O.P.W.i M. Warsawa.
Mironowicz, Anna, Od Hajnowki do Pahlewi. Editions Spotkania. Paris 1986
Woloch, Helena, Moje Wspomnienia. Sovest. Kotlas 1998

Not everybody know that first oil field was located in Poland (Central Europe)!

Not everybody know that first oil field was located in Poland (Central Europe)!

Not everybody know that first oil field was located in Poland (Central Europe)!

In the Podkarpacie region, 15 kilometers from Krosno and 6 kilometers from Dukla, a village of Bobrka is located. It was established by Paszko of Skotniki, in 1397. Its history, over the several hundred years, was similar to that of the other poor piedmont settlements. It was not before the middle of the 19th century that Bobrka became something extraordinary, with a special appeal to people of energy and determination. From the times immemorial, natural springs of thick black liquid were seen all over the area.
It was not before 1854 that Tytus Trzecieski, a philosopher, farmer and a miner by profession - owner of the Polanka estate - got in contact with Ignacy Lukasiewicz. He presented Lukasiewicz a sample of oil from Bobrka and was assured of its value. A company set up by both men, the first in the history of the Polish petroleum industry, started to develop the oil field. The place, nowadays, is commemorated with an obelisk. The inscription on the plaque attached to the obelisk is concise but meaningful: "To commemorate the founding of the rock oil mine in Bobrka, 1854 - I. Lukasiewicz".
According to Szczesny Morawski, the world's first oil field in Bobrka, "... awakened life hitherto unknown, and opened a little God's world that was never before, the little world of miner's toil". The wells were sunk manually, with shovel and pick. The cross-section of such hand-dug well was a square, usually 1.2 × 1.2 meters, and its walls were lined with beams. It was equipped with a winch to lower the diggers and remove the soil. Some inventive fans were used to supply the fresh air and prevent the action of toxic gases. Initially, such wells were sunk up to 15 meters, then 60 meters. One of them, named Izydor, reached astounding 150 meters. Until year 1868, Bobrka had 60 hand-dug wells - two of them Franek and Janina, still exist.
Ignacy Lukasiewicz managed the oil field in such a way that any innovation was welcome. It was not long before the spade and the pickaxe were substituted with a drill bit on rods and a free-fall drilling apparatus. It was a manually operated percussion-type drilling device, brought by Lukasiewicz from Austria. Further improvements by Henryk Walter made possible the drillings as deep as 200-250 meters and to contain the down-hole water. The production was booming. In 1870, Albert Fauck arrived to Bobrka and introduced the cable drilling. In 1872 the manual drill force was superseded by the steam engine.
However, the time had come when Lukasiewicz - the founder of the Bobrka oil field and the nearby refinery in Chorkowka (1873) - had to retire, and to hand his duties over to someone else. And again, both the way he did it and the man he chosen as his successor, tell us much about his wisdom and character. In 1879, Lukasiewicz hired a pharmacist, Adolf Jablonski, and after two-year practical experience, sent him to the United States to study geology, physics and chemistry. Jabtonski - then a high class specialist - returned home, and until his death in 1887, was busy with implementing in Bobrka his overseas know how. He also published a book Oil Drilling and Production and other papers. The premature death (1882) of Lukasiewicz was a great loss to Polish oil industry. Yet, the oil field he had created was vibrant with oilmen's activity and the country was receiving an ample stream of oil, as he had intended. Following Adolf Jablonski, eng. Zenon Suszycki took over as the director of Bobrka oil field. He introduced the Canadian drilling method and a waterproof casing to cope with water.
In 1893, the field became the property of W. H. MacGarvey and later on of the Galician-Carpathian Petroleum Society. Until the World War One, the managing directors were, consecutively, Charles Nicklas, Jozef Kwapinski, Jakub Perkins and Roman Klein. Klein is also known as the author of a valuable publication The First Rock Oil Field of Bobrka (1912).
During the World War One, Bobrka was supervised by Wtodzimierz Bukojemski and in the inter-war period the director's post was occupied by Wladyslaw Henning, Eugeniusz Parski, Stanislaw Parski, Stanislaw Bielewicz, Kazimierz Szczepanski, Jan Niesiolowski and Stanislaw Szumanski. Jan Schwarzenberg-Czerny, Marian Ptak, Leon Mercik and Zenon Lenduszko, worked as directors during World War Two, and Kazimierz Szczepanski, Jan Wegrzyn, Jozef Zuzak, Eugeniusz Kalisz, Stanislaw Kondera, Ludwik Borek and Zbigniew Nowak, during the 1945-1995 period.
Bobrka oil field is still at work, nowadays. In the fifties, the field even saw its revival; on the southern arm of the anticline new reservoirs were discovered. The total commercial reserves of the field have been estimated at 1.237 thousand ton. Since its birth, 140 years ago, the gave a total of 1.190 thousand ton. Oil production in Bobrka continues and some of the active wells date back to the times of Ignacy Lukasiewicz.

Sy Hersh: US Already Attacking Iran 6/29/08

Sy Hersh: US Already Attacking Iran 6/29/08

Polish contribution to the Allied victory in World War 2 (1939-1945)

Poland was the only country to fight in the European theatre of war from the first to the last day of the greatest armed conflict in the history of mankind. The war began with invading Poland: first, on September 1st, 1939, by the Nazi Germany, soon after, on September 17th, by the Soviet Union. Both invaders acted in concert, upon the Ribbentrop - Molotov Treaty (concluded on August 23rd). The allies of Poland - Great Britain and France - declared war upon Germany on September 3rd, but did not undertake any efficient military actions (the so-called "Phony War"). The Soviet Union joined the anti-Nazi alliance only in the summer of 1941, when invaded by Germany. The United States, although they gave a lot of significant material aid, joined the military actions within the frames of the coalition in December 1941 when assaulted by Japan and when Germany declared war upon them.

In the Polish contribution to the defeat of Germany in the first place we notice determination and perseverance: despite the severe defeat in 1939, the Poles formed armies five more times, including four outside of their country: in France in 1939, in the United Kingdom in the summer of 1940 (after the defeat and capitulation of France), in the USSR in 1941 (the army of Gen. Anders that fought later in the South of Europe), and then again in the Soviet Union in 1943 there emerged the one that later fought at the Red Army's side. The fifth Polish army, created at the end of September of 1939 was the conspiratorial armed force in the occupied territory. For the entire period of the war there also existed the very important "silent front" - the intelligence. Probably up to 2 millions Poles served since September 1st, 1939 to May 8th, 1945 in all the Polish military formations - regular armies, partisan troops and underground forces. In the final stage of war the Polish troops on all the European fronts amounted to some 600 thousands soldiers (infantry, armored troops, aircraft and navy), and in the summer of 1944 while entering the open fight with the retreating Germans, the armed underground numbered more than 300 thousands sworn soldiers. It can be concluded that Poland put in the field the fourth greatest Allied army.

Basic bibliography:

Józef Garliński, Poland in the Second World War, 1939-1945, London 1985

ed. Edward Pawłowski, Wojsko Polskie w II Wojnie Światowej, Warszawa 1995.

The 1939 Campaign
At the outbreak of the war, Polish army was able to put in the field almost one million soldiers, 2800 guns, 500 tanks and 400 aircraft. On the September 1st, the German forces set to war against Poland amounted to more than 1.5 million solders, 9000 guns, 2500 tanks and almost 2000 aircraft. The Red Army began the invasion sending in the first lot more than 620 000 soldiers, 4700 tanks and 3200 aircraft. Despite the overwhelming odds and the necessity of defense against the offensive in all directions, the Polish army fought for 35 days. Warsaw held until September 28th, the Polish garrison of Hel Peninsula for more than a month. The last battle against German troops took place on October 5th.

Polish losses in combat against Germans (killed and missing in action) amounted to ca. 70 000. 420 000 were taken prisoners. Losses against the Red Army added up to 6000 to 7000 of casualties and MIA, 250 000 were taken prisoners. Of these, almost all of the officers were murdered in the spring on 1940 in Katyn, Kharkiv and Tver upon Stalin's decision. Although the Polish army - considering the inactivity of the Allies - was in an unfavorable position - it managed to inflict serious losses to the enemies: 14 000 German soldiers were killed or MIA, 674 tanks and 319 armored vehicles destroyed or badly damaged, 230 aircraft shot down; the Red Army lost (killed and MIA) about 2500 soldiers, 150 combat vehicles and 20 aircraft. For many weeks Poland contained significant German forces, no advantage of this was taken by the Allies. Besides that, the necessity to reinforce the destroyed in Poland German military forces gave France and Great Britain more time to prepare to repulse invasion.

Basic bibliography:

Paweł Wieczorkiewicz, Kampania 1939 roku, Warszawa 2001;

Steven J. Zaloga, Poland 1939. The Birth of Blitzkrieg, London 2002;

Alexander B. Rossion, Hitler Strikes Poland. Blitzkrieg, Ideology, and Atrocity, Kansas 2003.

The underground army home
Home Army

In the night from September 26th to 27th, 1939, a day before Warsaw's capitulation, General Michał Karaszewicz-Tokarzewski received from the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish army (at the time interned in Romania) an order to create a military conspiracy. Over a few weeks he summoned up a group of officers who avoided captivity and from the scratch they built the most powerful underground army in the occupied Europe. The first name of it was Służba Zwycięstwu Polski (SZP - Polish Victory Service), later Związek Walki Zbrojnej (ZWZ - Union for Armed Struggle), and from February 1942 - Armia Krajowa (AK - Home Army). This resistance is widely known under this last name. The actual creator of the Home Army was Gen. Stefan Rowecki (also known as "Grot") who was the chief of staff first, and from June 1940 to June 1943 - the Commanding Officer. After his seizure by Gestapo, this post was taken by Gen. Tadeusz Komorowski (aka Bór). The Home Army, being a voluntary force, in the same time was both a part of Polskie Siły Zbrojne (PSZ - or PAF - Polish Armed Forces) whose high command was located in exile, and the most important element of the Polish Underground State. The main goal of the AK was preparation and conducting the national uprising in case of advancing frontlines or general collapse of the German armed forces. There were created suitable structures - staff, high commands of arms and services, territorial commands (regions, and on lower level - districts), weapons were collected, officers and soldiers trained, information about enemy gathered. However, because of the atrocious nature of the German occupation, public feelings and attitude, it was necessary to undertake daily struggle. Therefore the AK activities consisted of two strictly connected to each other parts: 1. the daily conspiratorial struggle, 2. the national uprising (during which the Home Army was supposed to recreate the full structure of armed forces).

Parallel to the official army there emerged military units of political parties, conspiracies based upon social organizations (e.g. upon the Fire Brigades emerged Skała, or "the Rock") and youth associations (e.g. Szare Szeregi, or "the Grey Ranks", based upon the Związek Harcerstwa Polskiego, or the "Polish Scouting Association"). They emerged thanks to the sabotage groups prepared by the General Staff before the war's outbreak. One of the tasks of the AK Commanding Officer was uniting them into one force. This took quite a lot of time. Eventually, only a part of radical nationalists (NSZ - Narodowe Siły Zbrojne - National Armed Forces) and, emerging up from the summer 1942 - military units of communist party remained out of the AK structures. In the spring of 1944, when the process of unification was ended, the Home Army numbered more than 300 thousand sworn soldiers.

Apart from the staff and territorial structures there existed special units dealing among others with subversion and sabotage. In April 1940 the Związek Odwetu emerged (ZO - Retaliation Union), later transformed into the Kierownictwo Dywersji (Kedyw - Subversion Command) which acted on central level and in each region. In September 1941, because of the change in the Polish-Soviet relations the organization "Wachlarz" (or the "Fan") was created. It dealt with intelligence and sabotage closely behind the German-Soviet frontlines. From January 1st 1941 to June 30th, 1944 within the frames of daily struggle the AK and subordinate units ditched among others 732 trains, set fire to 443 transports, destroyed about 4300 vehicles, burnt 130 magazines of weapons and equipments, damaged 19 000 train carriages and 6900 engines, set fire to 1200 gasoline tanks, blew up 40 railway bridges, destroyed 5 oil shafts, froze 3 blast-furnaces, conducted about 25 sabotage acts in war factories, 5700 attempts on officers of different police formations, soldiers and volksdeutschs (Polish citizens of German origin that volunteered to quisle with Germans), set free prisoners of 16 prisons. The partisan troops - active from 1943 - fought more than 170 combats, killing more than 1000 Germans. At the beginning of 1944 there were about 60 active AK partisan troops (some numbered up to a few hundred soldiers) and about 200 sabotage squads. The AK organized a few conspiratorial groups in some of the concentration camp (e.g. in Auschwitz) and among Poles sent to Germany for slave work. The runaway allied prisoners of war were also helped. A contact by radio and couriers with the Polish government in exile and the Commander-in-Chief staff was also maintained. There functioned permanent transfer bases (the most important one in Budapest) and courier routes (e.g. to Sweden). Since February 1942 began to arrive the trained in England Polish sabotage and intelligence officers (the so called "cichociemni" - literally the "silent and dark ones"). In total 316 of them were parachuted in Poland. There also was a subversion propaganda action going on, addressed to German soldiers (the so called Action "N"). The AK conducted some large publishing activities: there were about 250 newspapers edited, including the largest resistance title - "Biuletyn Informacyjny" (Information Bulletin), which was published from November 5th, 1939 up to January, 1945. Besides the "Biuletyn" there were also issued military books of rules, handbooks and manuals for the cadets of the underground military schools (some 8600 soldiers graduated from them). As it can be seen, there were many various activities going on. Their own contribution to fight against the occupation regime paid Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa (ŻOB - Jewish Fighting Organization) and the supported directly by the AK Żydowski Związek Wojskowy (ŻZW - Jewish Military Union) - mainly in the form of the heroic and desperate Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (April 19th - May 16th 1943).

To the most spectacular actions of the Home Army belong: paralyzing the railway junction in Warsaw (night from October 7th to 8th , 1942), recapturing the prisoners in Pińsk (January 18th, 1943), bomb assault in a city railway station in Berlin (February 15th, 1943), recapturing the prisoners in downtown Warsaw (the so-called Arsenal action, March 26th, 1943), assassination of Franz Kutschera, the SS and Police Commander for the District of Warsaw (February 1st, 1994).

It is estimated that until July, 1944 about 34 thousand soldiers of the Home Army and subordinate units were killed- some in combat but mostly they were executed or tortured to death in prisons - more or less 10% of the ranks. Among the "cichociemni" the losses added up to 1/3 of the ranks.

The Underground State
It was possible to build up the conspiratorial army to such a great size and manage for it to be so active only because it was closely connected with the Polskie Państwo Podziemne (PPP - the Polish Underground State) and civil resistance. The PPP was a unique phenomenon: in none of the European states there existed such a vast and differentiated structure. Besides the AK the main component of the PPP was Delegatura Rządu na Kraj (Government Delegate's Office at Home) which created a network of underground administration of all levels. The Kierownictwo Walki Cywilnej (Civil Fighting Executive) coordinated the activities of the so-called "little sabotage", undertook propaganda actions and activities aiming at maintaining the morale and spirit of resistance against Germany. A daily set of news was prepared for the Polish radio "Świt" (or the"Dawn") which broadcast from England but pretended to exist in Poland. The Kierownictwo also conducted secret education (including university level), helped the families of the victims of the invader and ran a separate action aiding the Jews ("Żegota"). It had its sections in prisons, by the post offices employees blocked the denunciations sent to German authorities, prepared plans for the after-war period and projects of running the territories that were expected to be captured on Germany (Biuro Ziem Nowych - the New Lands Office).

There existed secret courts (civil and military ones), which sentenced the traitors and punished Nazi collaborators with infamy. Another part of the PPP was the existing from 1940 representation of political parties which eventually was named Rada Jedności Narodowej (RJN, the Council for National Unity) and was a substitute of the parliament. The RJN published proclamations and program declarations (e.g. about the goals of war and future political system of the country). Besides the PPP there functioned hundreds of social, political and cultural associations, there were published more than two thousand books and brochures and more than 1.8 thousand different periodicals. Within the resistance but outside of the PPP were situated only extreme organizations: the NSZ on the right side and the communists on the left. Both these formations tried to create their own substitute of quasi-state structures.

"Burza" (the "Tempest")

The plans of national uprising, which was the main goal of the AK, were changed a few times. The first one emerged when there still existed the Soviet-German alliance, the second one when the Soviet Union joined the anti-Nazi coalition. The last one was elaborated in the autumn of 1943 after breaking off by Moscow the diplomatic relations with Poland and when it turned out for sure that the Polish territory would be first entered by the Red Army. In this plan the uprising received the codename "Burza" (the "Tempest"). It assumed that the very moment when the frontlines would advance close to Poland, all the troops and structures of the AK would be called up to arms under the names of the pre-war Polish Army units (divisions and regiments), and increase sabotage actions. But first of all, they would begin to fight openly the retreating German troops, trying to get in touch at tactical level with the Red Army. In captured cities the underground authorities would come to light (the region and district delegate offices), take over the power and welcome as hosts the entering Soviet troops. Thus the uprising was to be a successive action and not just a one-time appearance in the entire country.

"Burza" began on January 15th, 1944 with mobilization in Volhynia (the so-called "Polskie Kresy Wschodnie" - the Polish Eastern Borderlands) where local troops - transform into the 27th Volhynian Infantry Division of the AK - began actions against the Germans. However, when during the fights the AK units had to cross the frontlines, they were disarmed by NKVD (the Peoples Commissariat for Internal Affairs - Soviet secret political police). Despite the negative turnout, the AK High Command decided to continue the "Burza". More and more mobilized units entered the combat, and the greatest concentration of troops fought together with the Red Army in the battle of Vilnius (July 6th and 7th, 1944). A few days later the NKVD troops surrounded the Poles, disarmed them and interned. A part of them were able to manoeuvre out of encirclement. Again, the AK continued the insurgent action and its troops participated in capturing the subsequent cities and town: together with the Red Army in case of the big cities (like Lviv or Vilnius), or often on their own, in case of attacking some smaller German garrisons. For instance, in the region of Lublin, the AK units captured 7 cities on their own and 11 more together with the Soviets. The "Burza" covered a large territory from the Carpathians to Vilnius and the Lower Bug River, some 120 thousand soldiers fighting. On July 30th, 1944, Stalin ordered to disarm the AK, and the representatives of the Underground State that came out of the hiding and took over the offices were arrested. At least 20 to 30 thousand people were deported to penal colonies in the interior of the Soviet Union, most of them have never returned.

The Warsaw Uprising

Because of the experiences from the East and fears that fights in Warsaw would cause the destruction of the city and losses among the civil population, the opinions whether the "Burza" should take place varied. Eventually, it was decided that the battle of Warsaw would have not only the military significance but also political one. The emotional tension among the citizens and a hearty will to fight expressed by the AK soldiers were also taken into consideration. Finally the decision about starting the uprising in Warsaw was made (with participation of the Government Delegate Home and the head of RJN) on July 31st, when the advancing Red Army units were coming close to the lying on the eastern bank of the Vistula River city district of Praga. Some 23 000 of the AK soldiers started the uprising in the afternoon of August 1st, 1944, under the Warsaw Region Commanding Officer, colonel Antoni Chruściel (aka "Monter"). Although during the first few days of combat the insurgents captured a lot of strategic objects, and as the days went by the ranks were increasing (together there fought some 34 thousands of soldiers), the Home Army was unable to fully drive the Germans out of the downtown, nor to seize the main communication routes and bridges. The 16-thousand-strong German garrison was significantly reinforced (including the troops specializing in fighting partisans) and on August 5th, 1944, the Germans began to counter-strike, using tanks, heavy artillery and assault aircraft. In the first of recaptured districts (Wola), the German troops committed a mass slaughter of civilians. This was to happen again later a few times. The attacking German columns split Warsaw into the "insurgent islands", the contact between which was managed by secret passages through cellars and sewers. In these areas the authority was taken over by Polish administration, newspapers were published, a radio station broadcast ("Błyskawica", or the "Lightning"), municipal services worked.

It was expected that the battle would last a few more days, until the Red Army entered the city. Despite many pleas, including the ones from the Polish prime-minister who was paying a visit in Moscow since July 31st, sometime before August 8th, Stalin ordered to delay offensive actions nearby Warsaw. He did not even agree for the allied transport airplanes to land on Soviet airfields which practically precluded helping the uprising by airdropping the supplies, because the nearest airfields were located in England and Italy. Not till the middle of September, when the uprising was already on the verge of disaster, a mass air-drop was possible but the insurgents took over only some 47 tons of it. The battle dragged on, the death toll among the civilians increased, there lacked food, water and medicines. Capturing Praga by the Red Army and unsuccessful attempts of the Polish troops commanded by General Berling to establish a bridge-head in the left-bank Warsaw did not change the situation. On October 2nd, 1944, the insurgents capitulated. Some 150 000 civilians were killed, most of the city was utterly ruined (later on special German squads kept destroying the remaining buildings), 520 000 citizens expelled of the city. 17 000 insurgents were taken prisoners.

The Warsaw Uprising was the greatest battle fought by the Polish army in WW2: 10 000 soldiers were killed, 7 000 more were missing in action. Major losses were inflicted to Germans - 10 000 killed, 6 000 MIA, 300 tanks, guns and armored vehicles lost.

The uprising did not reach its military nor political objectives, yet for the generations of Poles to come it became a symbol of courage and determination in the struggle for independence.

Basic bibliography:

Norman Davies, Rising '44. "The Battle for Warsaw", London 2004;

Stefan Korboński, The Polish Underground State: A Guide to the Underground 1939-1945, Boulder 1979;

Marek Ney-Krwawicz, The Polish Home Army, 1939-1945, London 2001.

Polish Armed Forces in the West
The campaign in Poland had not finished yet when Polish troops abroad started to form. The government of Poland in exile that emerged in Paris adopted as its main goal the fight at the side of the Allies and creating a Polish army in France. This was the beginning of the Polskie Siły Zbrojne (PSZ - Polish Armed Forces) in the West which fought until May 1945 in three war theatres: Western Europe (1940 and 1944-1945), North Europe (1940) and Mediterranean (North Africa in 1940-1942, Italy 1944-1945). The first Commander-in-Chief was General Władysław Sikorski, who also was the Prime Minister of the government in exile. After his death (July 1943), his post was assigned to General Kazimierz Sosnkowski, dismissed in September 1944. After him General Tadeusz Komorowski, the AK Commanding Officer was appointed who after the Warsaw Uprising defeat became a German prisoner of war.

Campaign in France

Polish troops emerged of a stream of soldiers and officers that reached France through Romania, Hungary, Lithuania and Latvia. 43 000 evacuated, the rest of them ran away on their own. Also the Polish immigrants living in France applied to the army. In a few months the Polish Army reached the number of 84 000 soldiers in four infantry divisions and two brigades. There were also formed four air squadrons and units of anti-aircraft artillery that amounted to about 7 000 people. Besides, a part of withdrawing troops found their way to Syria (administrated by the French) where Samodzielna Brygada Strzelców Karpackich emerged (Independent Carpathian Riflemen Brigade).

During the German Blitzkrieg in France in May 1940 the Allied defense broke already after two weeks which was the reason for a hasty withdrawal of the British troops and capitulation of France. Polish units fought in the southern section of the front: the Polish Grenadier Division after one week of fighting was dissolved because of the French-German armistice talks; the soldiers of the Brygada Kawalerii Pancerno-Motorowej (Armoured Cavalry Brigade) after the battles of Champaubert and Montbard upon the order of their commander, General Maczek, destroyed their equipment and withdrew south; 2 Dywizja Strzelców (2nd Riflemen Division) stopped the German attack on the Clos-du-Doubs hills but when on June 19th it turned out that the fight is almost over, it crossed the Swiss border and was interned there. The Samodzielna Brygada Strzelców Podhalańskich (Indipendent Podhalan Riflemen Brigade) was included in Allied forces sent to Norway in May 1940 and participated in the battle of Narvik. Altogether, about 50 000 Polish soldiers fought defending France, 1400 were killed, more than 4500 were wounded. Polish fighter pilots achieved 50 confirmed and 5 probable kills of enemy aircraft. The defeat of France meant the defeat of the Polish troops fighting at the side of the French. Only about 20 000 men were able to withdraw to England. The great organizational effort made since the autumn 1939 was wasted.

Battle of Britain and the Polish Air Force

The Polish pilots stood out during the campaign of 1939 and highlighted during the campaign in France. But the most distinguished role they played in 1940 when the decisive for the fate of the England and the coalition Battle of Britain took place (August 8th - October 31st, 1940). The British industry produced enough aircraft but it was not possible to train enough pilots in such a short time. Therefore the role of foreign airmen, of whom the greatest group formed the 151 Polish pilots, cannot be overemphasized. They fought both in the British and Polish squadrons (302nd and 303rd fighter and 300th and 301st bomber squadrons). During the Battle of Britain the Poles shot down 203 Luftwaffe aircraft which stood for 12% of total German losses in this battle. The success of the Polish pilots inclined the British command to expand the Polish Air Force: until summer 1941 8 fighter and 4 bomber squadrons emerged. Later on new ones were created, including the Polish Fighting Team (commonly called the "Skalski's circus", named derived from its commander's surname) that fought in North Africa. Polish pilots protected England, e.g. by destroying 193 German V1 and V2 missiles, and participated in many operations over the continent, escorting the bombers, bombing different targets (e.g. Ruhr, Hamburg, Brema), provided air support to the landing troops during the invasion in June 1944. In 1944 the Polish air unit operating from Italy airdropped in Poland men and equipment for the AK, and during the Warsaw Uprising the Polish crews flew 91 times with the supplies for the fighting insurgents. From 1940 to 1945 the Polish squadrons and the Polish pilots serving in British units achieved 621 confirmed kills, and together with campaigns of 1939 and France- 900 confirmed and 189 probable.

Basic bibliography:

Lenne Olson, Stanley Cloud, A Question of Honour. The Kosciuszko squadron: forgotten heroes of World War II, New York, 2003;

Adam Zamoyski, The Forgotten Few: The Polish Air Force in the Second World War, New York 1996.

The Battle of Atlantic and the Polish navy

Just before war's outbreak three Polish destroyers (Błyskawica, Burza and Grom) left for Great Britain. Later on they were joined by the submarines Orzeł and Wilk that managed to escape the Germans. The Polish Navy since 1940 was constantly expanded by the ships leased from the Royal Navy and in 1945 it amounted to 4 thousand seamen on 15 ships (1 cruiser, 6 destroyers, 3 submarines and 5 torpedo boats). During the war there served 26 ships (2 cruisers, 9 destroyers, 5 submarines and 11 torpedo boats). At the side of the British and American fleets, the Polish vessels participated in tens of operations: e.g. in May 1940 in Narvik, during the evacuation from Dunkirk, in 1944 during the landing in Normandy (operation "Overlord"), escorting convoys to Murmansk and Malta but most of all in the Battle of the Atlantic which took place from 1940 to 1944, including the famous "hunt for Bismarck", the greatest Kriegsmarine battleship (May 1941). Totally, they participated in 665 battles and escorted 787 convoys, sunk 12 enemy ships (including 5 submarines) and 41 merchant vessels, damaged 24 more (including 8 submarines). Besides that the Allied sea transport was reinforced with 36 Polish merchant vessels which 1939 were abroad, total displacement of 117 thousand tons.

Basic bibliography:

Michael A. Peszke, Poland's Navy 1918-1945, New York 1999;

Jerzy Pertek, Mała flota wielka duchem, Poznań 1989.

Land battles 1941-1945

After the defeat of France, the Carpathian Riflemen Brigade left Syria and joined the British forces in Egypt. It was an excellent unit of 5 000 men, mainly experienced soldiers, the 1939 veterans and volunteers. In August 1941 it moved to Libya where it won fame in the heavy fights during the defense of the besieged Tobruk, and in the spring of 1942 in the Libyan Desert.

About 20 00 men managed to withdraw from France to Great Britain. They formed 1st Polish Corps that was supposed to defend the eastern coast of Scotland, and 1st Independent Parachute Brigade that was supposed to be airdropped in Poland once the national uprising began. In 1941 1st Armored Division was created within the frames of the 1st Corps. However, this army could not develop because the Polish immigration on the British Islands was not very numerous. No Poles were arriving from the conquered by Germany and Italy Europe, and the voluntary recruitment in the United States, Canada and Latin America brought only a few thousand men. Situation changed when after the 3rd Reich's assault on the Soviet Union. The Polish government signed a treaty with the Soviets guaranteeing (among others) releasing the Polish citizens from prisons and camps and creating Polish Army. It was formed under the command of General Władysław Anders. In the spring of 1942 it amounted to more than 70 000 men but it suffered from the lack of officers. The pre-war Polish officers were looked for in vain because it was not known that they were executed two years earlier by NKVD. The Soviet authorities caused more and more trouble in expanding the army, for example by drastically limiting food rations to 40 000 portions a day. In the same time the situation of the Allies in the Middle East was very difficult, the United States had just begun mobilization, and the Great Britain ran out of reserves. In such conditions it was agreed to evacuate the Polish units to Persia, yet with the army some civilians left as well (mainly children and families of soldiers) - altogether some 114 tousand people.

From the forces moved to the Middle East (first to Persia, then to Iraq and Palestine) the 2nd Polish Corps emerged. In December 1943 and January 1944 it was transported to the Italian front. About 50 000 soldiers fought for almost year and a half, distinguishing themselves with glory, especially during the bloody struggle to break the Gustav Line. The key position there was the hill and monastery of Monte Cassino, captured by the Poles on May 18th, 1944. In July the Corps captured the city and port of Ancona, and in August participated in breaking the Gothic Line at the Adriatic Sea. In 1945 it took part in the spring offensive in the North of Italy, in battles of Faenza and Bolonia, which was first entered by the Polish soldiers. During the campaign in Italy some 2600 of them were killed.

The Polish forces stationed on the British Islands, reinforced by the soldiers who came from the Soviet Union, prepared to participate in the invasion of the continent. In June 1944, in the operation "Overlord" in Normandy, the Polish Air Force and the navy took part. Then the 1st Armored Division (under the command of Gen. Maczek), total of 16 000 men, 380 tanks and 470 guns was moved to France. It formed a part of the Canadian Corps and won fame in the battles of Falaise and Chambois (August 18th to 22nd, 1944) where it closed the "cauldron", cutting off the retreating German divisions. Later on it liberated the cities of Abeville, St. Omar and Cassel in France, Ypres and Gent in Belgium and Breda (October 28th to 30th, 1944) in the Netherlands, finally capturing the German seaport of Wilhelmshaven. Its combat route amounted to 1800 km, the division destroyed 260 enemy tanks and self-propelled guns, loosing 4600 soldiers, including more than a 1000 of casualties. In September 1944 the 1st Parachute Brigade was airdropped near Arnhem in the Netherlands as a part of the unfortunate "Market-Garden", suffering great losses.

When the war in Europe was coming to an end, the Polish troops fighting at the side of the Western Allies numbered more than 210 thousand soldiers, 1335 tanks, about 4000 of armored vehicles, 2050 guns and mortars, 32 thousand different mechanical vessels.

Basic bibliography:

Witold Biegański, Polskie Siły Zbrojne na Zachodzie, 1939-1945, Warszawa 1990;

Margaret Brodniewicz-Stawicki, For your freedom and ours: the Polish Armed Forces in the Second World War, St. Catharines, Ont, 1999.

Polish Army on the Eastern Front
After bringing into light the Katyn massacre and breaking off the diplomatic relations with Poland (April 1943), Stalin decided to organize Polish armed forces fighting at side of the Red Army. These troops emerged without the approval of the legal authorities of Poland, most of the commanding personnel were Soviet officers, the political officers recruited from the Polish communists but ordinary soldiers were Poles deported in the years 1939-1941 to the interior of the Soviet Union, and from the spring 1944, also the inhabitants of the Polish Kresy Wschodnie (Eastern Borderlands). Though its origin was not legal, and it played a significant role in imposing the communist system in Poland later on, the Polish Army fighting on the Eastern Front contributed a lot to the Polish military effort. From a single division (1st Tadeusz Kościuszko Infantry Division, commanded by colonel Zygmunt Berling) eleven-thousand-people strong, which began to form in May 1943, it expanded to one-hundred-thousand-people-strong army in July 1994, and at the end of the war it amounted to more than 330 thousand soldiers formed in two armies with all land forces arms (infantry, artillery, engineers, tanks and different supporting troops).

This army's baptism of fire took place at the battle of Lenino (Belarus) in October 1943. In July and August 1944 the Polish troops fought at the bridgeheads on the Western Bank of the Vistula River, and in the battle of Studzianki the Polish armored brigade fought its first battle against the Germans. In September 1944 the Polish Army attempted at helping the insurgents in Warsaw - unsuccessfully and with great losses. From January 1945 it participated in the great Soviet offensive: in February and March it fought a dramatic battle to break the Wał Pomorski (Pomeranian Position - the highly fortified German defense line) and capturing Kołobrzeg (Kolberg), a Baltic seaport transformed into a fortress; the Polish troops fought at Gdańsk and Gdynia, and also by Zalew Szczeciński (Bay of Szczecin). The crowning of the combat route was participation in capturing Berlin. In the entire operation took part 180 000 soldiers from the 1st and 2nd Polish Army, and in the assault in the downtown of Berlin an important role played the 1st Tadeusz Kościuszko Division. It was the only military unit besides the Red Army that stuck its national flag over the ruins of the German capital. Polish troops reached the Elba River and got in touch with American units. In April 1945, the 2nd Army forced the Nysa River, then fought in the region of Dresden and Bautzen, suffering great losses. Its combat route it ended in May in Czechoslovakia. In battles against the Germans on the Eastern Front participated also some Polish air units (however, they consisted mainly of Soviet pilots).

From the battle of Lenino till the combat over Elba and in Saxony 17 500 soldiers were killed, almost 10 000 were considered to be MIA. The most casualties cost the fighting in Pomorze (Pomerania - 5400 killed and 2800 MIA) and in the Berlin operation (7200 killed and 3800 MIA). Because of the combined nature of the Soviet and Polish actions it is difficult to estimate how much damage the Poles inflicted to the enemy. Some partial data is available only for a few battles: at Lenino 1800 Germans were killed, wounded or taken prisoner, in the tank battle at Studzianki the Germans lost 20 tanks and self-propelled guns and 1500 soldiers, at Wał Pomorski 2300 killed. In Berlin the soldiers of the Kościuszko Division captured four subway stations and took prisoner 2500 German soldiers.

The Polish Army fighting in the East was the greatest regular military force fighting at the side of the Red Army. Its almost two years long combat route added up to 1000 kilometers. It participated in different and important activities: forcing rivers, capturing cities, attacking fortifications, pursuing enemy troops. Its share in victory was paid dearly.

Basic bibliography:

Czesław Grzelak, Henryk Stańczyk, Stefan Zwoliński, Armia Berlinga i Żymierskiego. Wojsko polskie na froncie wschodnim 1943-1945, Warszawa 2002.

The „Enigma" and Intelligence
On July 25th 1939, before the war began, the Polish intelligence (Section 2 of the General Staff) provided Great Britain and France with one copy each (with necessary documents) of the German coding machine "Enigma" that allowed to read the secret German messages. A team of Polish cryptologists was evacuated to France, later on to England, where a special center for monitoring and decoding was organized in Bletchley Park. The Polish "Enigma" played a significant role, especially during the Battle of Britain, Battle of the Atlantic and the invasion of the continent in 1944. Other evacuated to England Polish scientists and technicians have to be mentioned as well. The electronics specialists helped with creating the submarine detection system (HFDF - High Frequency Direction Finding). The Polish engineers constructed the reversible tank periscope and an anti-aircraft cannon, with tens of thousands of which the British troops were equipped.

The Intelligence

Due to the impossibility of forming regular troops in the occupied Poland, a very important role in the Polish contribution to the anti-Nazi alliance played the intelligence which had a lot of experience in the territory of Germany from before war. During the conflict the Polish intelligence based on two centers: Section 2 of the Commander-in-Chief Staff, operating mainly in Western Europe and North Africa, and Section 2 of the AK Commanding Officer that worked mainly home and in Germany. Section 2 in London was the coordinator of all and had close contacts with correspondent British services, including Special Operations Executive (SOE) that dealt with intelligence and sabotage in occupied Europe. In August 1941 there was an agreement signed with the intelligence of the United States (OCI, later OSS). For some time in 1942 the AK intelligence had direct radio connection with the Red Army. Before that and later on, a lot of information from the Polish intelligence reached Moscow with the help of the British. The relations with the Allies were very important, because the Polish army could not use all the information gathered because of the limited own potential.

The intelligence commanded directly from London created - starting in September 1940 - a lot of posts, a network of which covered practically entire Western and Southern Europe and North Africa. The greatest and the most important was the network in France (Agency "F", later "F2"), that amounted to more than 2500 agents and only in the years 1940-1942 provided the center in London with more than 5200 reports. In 1944 the working in Paris network "Interallie" focused on the issues related to the invasion. There also existed the networks in Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Palestine, Italy, in the Balkans and the Baltic states. Information sent by the network of the Agency "AFR" played an important role in planning the allied attack on the North Africa (Operation "Torch", December 1942). In France the intelligence network was closely related to a wider Polish conspiracy activity that had also subversion and propaganda tasks (Polska Organizacja Walki o Niepodległość - Polish Organization of Fight for Independence, aka "Monika").

The first intelligence structures in the occupied Polish territories emerged in the autumn of 1939, parallel in the framework of the ZWZ staff and upon individual initiatives. Of the latter ones the most important one is the organization "Muszkieterzy" (the Musketeers). The proper development of the intelligence activity began after the fall of France when it was realized that the war was going to last longer than expected. Section 2 was an extended structure with all the departments and services existing in military intelligence, both in the center in Warsaw, and in the AK regions and districts. It is estimated that within their framework some 15 000 people worked, and an important role was played by the employees of the post offices and railways. One of the most important elements were the posts working in Germany (general codename "Stragan" or the "Stall"), located (among other places) in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Wienna, Konigsberg, Wroclaw (Breslau), and Szczecin (Stettin). The offensive intelligence of the "Stragan" (codename "Lombard", or the "Pawnshop") undertook also the sabotage actions, like bomb attempts. After the outbreak of the Soviet-German war, the intelligence in the East expanded (codename "Pralnia" or "Laundry") by organizing posts in Smolensk, Kharkiv, Riga and Daugavpils. In the spring of 1941 the Polish intelligence sent to Moscow via London some comprehensive reports on the German invasion plans.

The most spectacular achievement of the AK intelligence was a thorough study of the research center and factory in Pennemunde, where V1 and V2 missiles were produced. The first information was obtained in the autumn 1942 and in March 1943 a detailed report was sent to London. This allowed the British to conduct a massive bomb attack (night from August 17th to 18th, 1943) which for many months stopped the Wunderwaffe (Wonderful Weapon) construction plans. In 1944 the AK intelligence captured a missile that had not exploded during the drill and sent its parts to London. Quite a role played the data on localization of gasoline factories (operation "Synteza", or the "Syntesis") and the military facilities in Germany and Poland. The information on concentration and death camps was also sent. The materials sent by the Poles were very much appreciated by the partners. In the Intelligence Service evaluations it can be read that "the Polish intelligence provided a lot of very valuable information" (first half-year 1942), the estimations delivered by the AK "belong to the most precious ones that we get" (June 1944).

In total, from the second half of 1940 to the end of 1943 (the data for the later period is missing) from the network of the Polish intelligence more than 26 000 reports and a few thousand decoded German messages were delivered to the Allies.

Basic bibliography:

Władysław Kozaczuk, Jerzy Straszak, Enigma: how the Poles broke the Nazi code, New York 2004;

Piotr Matusak, Wywiad Związku Walki Zbrojnej - Armii Krajowej 1939-1945, Warszawa 2002;

Andrzej Pepłoński, Wywiad Polskich Sił Zbrojnych na Zachodzie, 1939-1945, Warszawa 1995.

A thought for the anniversary

Polish soldiers were not invited to participate in the victory defilades which took place in 1945 in London and Moscow. This meant that the Great Powers treated Poland more like an object of mutual relations than like a partner. However, the Western Allies many times emphasized the heroism and determination of the Polish soldiers and the fact that Poland was a very valuable ally, therefore belonging to the winners of the war. Many Poles thought, and still think, that it was a "bitter victory" because the Polish state that emerged after the war was harmed by subordinating it to the Soviet Union. Despite this no one seems to doubt that it was necessary to fight and the homage to those who fought, is paid by everyone.