May 23, 2018


MAY 23


Hitler proclaimed his intention to invade Poland during a  military conference at the new Reich Chancellery in Berlin.  Hitler's objective of the conference was to inform the heads of the German armed forces and their staff of his views on the political situation and his future goals.  He professed that his dispute with Poland over Danzig (now Gdansk) was not the reason for the planned attack, but rather that it was a necessity for the German nation to expand its living space (lebensraum) and secure food supplies. He went further to say, "The solution of the problem demands courage. The principle by which one evades solving the problem by adapting oneself to circumstances is inadmissible. Circumstances must rather be adapted to. This is impossible without invasion of foreign states or attacks upon foreign property."


SS-Reichsführer Himmler committed suicide while in British custody.  On May 21, Himmler and two aides tried to go into hiding but were detained at a checkpoint set up by former Soviet POWs. Over the next two days, he was transferred around to several camps and was finally brought to the British 31st Civilian Interrogation Camp near Lüneburg. During a routine interrogation Himmler admitted who he was, and the duty officer had the prisoner searched. Himmler was taken to the HQ of the Second British Army in Lüneburg where Doctor Wells conducted a medical exam on him. The doctor attempted to examine the inside of Himmler's mouth, but the Himmler refused to comply, jerked his head away and bit into a hidden cyanide pill. He collapsed onto the floor and was dead within 15 minutes.

May 22, 2018


MAY 22


Pope John Paul II made his sixth visit to Poland to commemorate John Sarkander, patron saint of Silesia and Moravia. (The Pope visited: Skoczów, Bielsko-Biała, Żywiec.) (Pope John Paul II canonized Sarkander on his visit to the Czech Republic on May 21, 1995.  Sarkander was a Polish Roman Catholic priest who became active in the defense of the Christian faith during a period of hostile anti-Christian sentiment and conflict.  He was arrested on false accusations as a means of silencing him and he refused to give in to his tormentors who tortured him for a month before he died. His captors attempted to obtain secret information that he would not divulge, even under torture, because the seal of confession is sacred to a priest.


Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus' remains were reburied in Archcathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Andrew, located in Frombork, Poland after a 200 year search for his tomb.  After his death on May 24, 1543,  his remains rested in an unmarked grave beneath the floor of the cathedral  but its exact location was unknown. At the urging of a local bishop, scientists began searching in 2004 for the astronomer's remains and eventually turned up the skull and bones of a 70-year-old man, the age Copernicus was when he died. DNA from teeth and bones matched that of hairs found in one of his books, leading the scientists to conclude in all probability that they had finally found Copernicus.  Copernicus worked as a canon in the Basilica  (1512–16 and 1522–43) where he wrote his epochal work, De revolutionibus orbium cœlestium in Frombork.  Shortly after its 1543 publication, Copernicus died and was buried in the Basilica. (read also February 19, 1473)

May 21, 2018


MAY 21


General John Sobieski was elected King of Poland: John III Sobieski was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1674 until his death in 1696, and was one of the most notable monarchs of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Sobieski's leadership prowess was demonstrated in wars in which he defeated the Ottoman Empire. Sobieski's 22-year reign marked a period of stabilization in the Commonwealth, much needed after the upheaval of the Deluge and the Khmelnytsky Uprising. King Sobieski was popular among his subjects. He was an extraordinary military commander, most famous for his victory over the Turks at the 1683 Battle of Vienna. The Ottoman's named him, the "Lion of Lechistan", and the Pope hailed him as the savior of Christendom. John III Sobieski was a hero of Poland.


Nazis banned Jews from serving in the military. The Germans used the word "Mischling" to denote persons of mixed heritage or mixed blood, (those having Aryan and Jewish ancestry) and imposed strict racial tests to determine the degree of a person's "Jewishness".   A person was Jewish if they had two Jewish grandparents, or was married to a Jew, or was the offspring from a mixed marriage with a Jew (in or out of wedlock).   Despite these strident conditions and scrutiny,  Hitler personally approved or denied any request for reclassification of ethnicity. Despite these laws, there were about 100,000 Jewish soldiers (Mischlings) serving in the German armies.  There were many "Mischlings" who attained high rank in Hitlers Reich: 2 Field Marshals, 15 Generals, 2 full Generals, 8 Lieutenant Generals, and 5 Major Generals. Former Mischlings were Nazi party members – 4 were full Jews, 15 were half Jews and 7 were quarter Jews. For example:   Field Marshall Erhard Milch (a half-Jew);  General Helmut Wilberg  (a half-Jew); General Johannes Zuckertort (a half-Jew);  Col. Walter H. Hoellander (a half-Jew);  Commander Paul Ascher (a half-Jew); Admiral Bernhard Rogge, 1st Officer on the Bismarck (a quarter-Jew).


Attack on the NKVD Camp in Rembertów took place on the outskirts of Warsaw. A unit of the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK)  freed all Polish political prisoners from the Soviet NKVD camp.  Hundreds of Polish Citizens had previously been imprisoned at Rembertów and systematically deported to Siberia,  including members of the Home Army and other Polish underground fighters.