POLISH GREATNESS TRAFFIC

January 31, 2018

JANUARY 31 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 31

1887

Piotr Wilniewczyc (dob) was a Polish engineer and arms designer. Among his most successful designs were the Vis-35 pistol, commonly known as the Radom for the arsenal in which it was produced, and the Mors sub-machine gun. During the war, Wilniewczyc worked with the Home Army in Warsaw, developing a silencer for the Sten gun.


1942

SS Einsatzgruppe A reported a tally of 229,052 Jews killed (location unknown). Einsatzgruppen were squads composed primarily of German SS and police personnel. Under the command of the German Security Police (Sicherheitspolizei; Sipo) and Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst; SD) officers, the Einsatzgruppen had among their tasks the murder of those perceived to be racial or political enemies found behind German combat lines in the occupied Soviet Union. Victims included Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and officials of the Soviet state and the Soviet Communist party. The Einsatzgruppen also murdered thousands of residents of institutions for the mentally and physically disabled. At first the Einsatzgruppen shot primarily Jewish men. By late summer 1941, however, wherever the Einsatzgruppen went, they shot Jewish men, women, and children without regard for age or sex, and buried them in mass graves. Often with the help of local informants and interpreters, Jews in a given locality were identified and taken to collection points. Thereafter they were marched or transported by truck to the execution site, where trenches had been prepared. In some cases the captive victims had to dig their own graves. After the victims had handed over their valuables and undressed, men, women, and children were shot, either standing before the open trench, or lying face down in the prepared pit.



January 30, 2018

JANUARY 30 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 30

1018

The Holy Roman Empire and Poland concluded the Peace of Bautzen. It was a treaty between the Ottonian Holy Roman Emperor Henry II and the Piast duke of the Polans Bolesław I Chrobry which ended a series of Polish-German wars over the control of Lusatia and Upper Lusatia (Milzenerland or Milsko, the eastern part of the margraviate of Meissen (Miśnia)) as well as Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia.


1667

Treaty or Truce of Andrusovo was signed between Tsardom of Russia & Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth


1909

Henryk Władysław Magnuski (dob) was a Polish telecommunications engineer who worked for Motorola in Chicago. He was the inventor of the first Walkie-Talkies and one of the authors of his company success in the fields of radio communication.


1933

President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler as Chancellor of Germany.


1938

General Felicjan Slawoj-Skladkowski toured northeastern Poland – counties of Braslaw, Swieciany, Dzisna, and Postawy. concentrated his efforts on improving the state administration, especially police force and civil services. He frequently toured Poland, visiting schools, police stations, manufacturing plants and farm estates.


1939

Hitler made a speech to the Reichstag on the sixth anniversary of the Nazis' coming to power, warning that if "Jewish financiers" started a war, the result would be "the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe."


1945

On the twelfth anniversary of the Nazis coming to power, a speech by Adolf Hitler was broadcast wearily appealing once again for the German people to keep up a spirit of resistance. It was the last speech Hitler ever made.


While evacuating German civilians, Nazi officials and military personnel from Gdynia, the German military transport ship Wilhelm Gustloff was torpedoed and sunk by the Soviet submarine S-13. 9,400 people died, making it the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking in history.


President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met at Malta for four day discussions preparatory to next week's Yalta Conference.


The German historical film Kolberg premiered in Berlin. The film told the story of the Prussian city of Kolberg successfully holding out against a siege by the French during the Napoleonic Wars. It was intended as Nazi propaganda to encourage the German population to continue the fight against the Allies.


January 29, 2018

JANUARY 29 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 29

1919

Roman Dmowski made a concerted bid at the Peace Conference for the restoration of Poland's pre-partition boundaries. As a Polish delegate at the Paris Peace Conference and a signatory of the Versailles Treaty, Dmowski wielded considerable influence. At the meeting, Dmowski stated that he had little interest in laying claim to areas of Ukraine and Lithuania that were formerly part of Poland, but no longer had a Polish majority. But he pressed for the return of Polish territories , ie those with Polish-speaking majorities taken by Prussia from Poland in 1790s. Dmowski was disappointed with the Treaty of Versailles partly because he was strongly opposed to the Minority Rights Treaty imposed on Poland and partly because he wanted the German-Polish border to be somewhat farther to the west than what the Versailles had allowed.


1940

Germany renamed Reichsgau Posen, in occupied Poland, to Reichsgau Wartheland.  It comprised the region of Greater Poland and adjacent areas. Parts of Warthegau matched the similarly named pre-Versailles Prussian province of Posen. The name was initially derived from the capital city, Posen (Poznań), and later from the main river, Warthe (Warta). The Governor of Reichsgau Wartheland, Arthur Greiser, embarked on a program of complete removal of the formerly Polish citizenry upon his nomination by Heinrich Himmler. The plan also entailed the re-settling of ethnic Germans from the Baltic and other regions into farms and homes formerly owned by Poles and Jews. He also authorized the clandestine operation of exterminating 100,000 Polish Jews (about one-third of the total Jewish population of Wartheland), in the process of the region's complete "Germanization.


1942

Heinrich Himmler issued a directive that established the SS Sonderkommando Dirlewanger as a volunteer formation of the SS. This formation, which drew its personnel from concentration camps and hardened criminals, would become notorious for its war crimes against civilians in Poland. (Note: They were referred to as the Dirlewanger Brigade. On August 5, 1944, they killed 35,000 Polish men, women, and children. The commander of the unit, Oskar Dirlewanger. Historians have described him as "a psychopathic killer and child molester" by Steven Zaloga, "violently sadistic" by Richard Rhodes, "an expert in extermination and a devotee of sadism and necrophilia" by J. Bowyer Bell, and "a sadist and necrophiliac" by Bryan Mark Rigg.According to Timothy Snyder, "in all the theaters of the Second World War, few could compete in cruelty" with Dirlewanger.


1943

Nazis ordered all Gypsies arrested and sent to extermination camps. The Nazis referred to the Romani people as "a-socials" or "habitual criminals" and sent them to concentration camps. Nearly every concentration camp in Germany had Romani prisoners. In the camps, all prisoners were forced to wear markings of various shapes and colors, which identified them by category of prisoner. Roma wore black triangular patches, the symbol for "a-socials," or green ones, the symbol for "professional" criminals.


1944

Koniuchy Massacre was perpetrated by Soviet partisan units under the command of the Central Partisan Command in Moscow. The raid was carried out by over 100 partisans from various units, which included 30 Jewish partisans from the "Avengers" and "To Victory" units (under the command of Jacob (Yaakov) Prenner.  According to the findings of the Institute of National Remembrance, at least 38 Polish men, women and children were murdered indiscriminately and homes destroyed. (Note: There remains controversies about the Koniuchy Massacre, that is, some historians believe that Koniuchy was a "pro-German" town that was used as a staging ground for German attacks against the partisans.)


1945

German submarine U-763 was scuttled in the Schichau-Werke shipyard in Königsberg after being damaged in a Soviet air raid. ( On February 4, 1944, U-763 shot down a RAF Liberator bomber of 53 Squadron in the Bay of Biscay. The next day, she successfully warded off three separate air attacks by the RAF, resulting in damage to a Liberator of 53 Squadron, a Wellington bomber of 172 Squadron and the loss of a Halifax bomber from 502 Squadron. She was also part of the wolf pack (Rugen 3)



January 28, 2018

JANUARY 28 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 28

1573

Articles of Warsaw Confederation were signed, ushering in freedom of religion in Poland. It was an important development in the history of Poland and Lithuania that extended religious tolerance to nobility and free persons within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and is considered the formal beginning of religious freedom in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. While it did not prevent all conflict based on religion, it did make the Commonwealth a much safer and more tolerant place than most of contemporaneous Europe, especially during the subsequent Thirty Years' War.


1937

Anti-Semitic riots at University of Warsaw and Warsaw University of Technology.


1944

Message from Churchill to Roosevelt:  " London, 28 January 1944  no. 557  "  After much thought and talk I have sent the following signal to U. J. (U.J. referred to Uncle Joe, nickname for Stalin)  (1) ....... I saw representatives of the Polish Government in London...(and)....informed them that the security of the Russian frontiers against Germany was a matter of high consequence...... and that we should certainly support the Soviet Union in all measures we considered necessary......  I said that although we had gone to war for the sake of Poland, we had not gone to war for any particular frontier line but for the existence of a strong free, independent Poland, which Marshal Stalin had also declared himself supporting. ....... (T)he liberation of Poland....is being achieved... by the enormous sacrifices and achievements of the Russian armies. Therefore Russia and her Allies had a right to ask that Poland should be guided....about the frontiers of the territory she would have.  (2) ........ I made it clear that the Polish Government would not be committed to the acceptance of the Curzon line as a basis of examination except as part of the arrangement which gave them the fine compensations to the North (East Prussia) and to the West (Oder Line) which I had mentioned.  (4) The Polish ministers were very far from rejecting the prospects...... but...they have asked a number of questions...... in particular they wish to be assured that Poland would be free and independent.....that she would receive the guarantee of the Great Powers against German revenge effectively..... that these Great Powers would also assist in expelling the Germans from the new territories to be assigned to Poland.... that in regions to be incorporated in Soviet Russia such Poles....would be assisted to depart from their new abodes......what (would) their position... be if a large part of Poland West of the Curzon line is soon occupied by the advancing Soviet armies.... Will they be allowed to go back and form a more broad based government in accordance with the popular wish and allowed to function administratively in the liberated areas in the same way as other governments who have been overrun? ......they are.....deeply concerned about relations between the Polish underground movement and the advancing Soviet forces,..... (7)........the Soviet Russia has the right to recognize or refuse recognition to any foreign government, (but) do you not agree that to advocate changes within a foreign government comes near to that interference with internal sovereignty to which you and I have expressed ourselves as opposed? .........(8). I now report this conversation which expresses the policy of His Majesty’s Government....to my friend and comrade, Marshal Stalin.........a good relationship will be absolutely necessary between .....Poland and the Soviet Union. The creation in Warsaw of another Polish government different from the one we have recognized up to the present, together with disturbances in Poland, would raise issues in Great Britain and the United States detrimental to that close accord between the Three Great Powers upon which the future of the world depends..... "


2006

Katowice Trade Hall roof collapsed at Chorzów, 65 killed. At 16:15 GMT (17:15 local time), the central section of the roof of the hall collapsed, possibly due to the weight of snow on the building. According to the police there were roughly 700 people in the hall at the time of the collapse. A further collapse occurred 90 minutes later during rescue operations. Polish government spokesman Krzysztof Mejer confirmed that there had been 65 dead as well as more than 170 injured, including 13 foreigners. There are confirmed deaths of ten foreign tourists – one from Belgium, one from Germany, three from Slovakia, one from the Netherlands, one from Hungary and three from the Czech Republic. . Poland was at that time experiencing very cold weather with heavy snow. This meant that the rescue operation was undertaken in sub-zero temperatures, putting the survivors inside the building at risk of exposure.



January 27, 2018

JANUARY 27 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 27

1868

Walerian Łukasiński, (15 April 1786 in Warsaw – 27 January 1868 in Shlisselburg) was a Polish officer and political activist. The Russian Imperial authorities denounced him as a traitor for his involvement with secret conspirational organizations, and he was arrested by the Russian authorities and sentenced to 7 years of hard labour in Zamość. For participation in the prisoners revolt against inhumane conditions, he was accused of being one of the ringleaders (without much proof) and his sentence was doubled to 14 years. Though he served his time, he was never released and remained incarcerated. He died after 46 years of solitary confinement and became a symbol of the Polish struggle for independence.


1888

Jan Nagórski (dob) was a Polish engineer and pioneer of aviation, the first person to fly an airplane in the Arctic and the first aviator to perform a loop with a flying boat. His achievements proved that the North Pole could be reached by airplane. In 1955, Naorski attended one of the lectures of Czesław Centkiewicz, a renowned Polish polar explorer and author. Centkiewicz gave the audience a short biographical note of a "long-forgotten pioneer of aviation, pilot Jan Nagórski who died in 1917". Nagórski, who was seated in the audience, stood up and announced that he was not Russian and definitely not dead.


1940

The German government demanded at least 1 million industrial and rural workers be provided from Nazi-occupied Poland to work assignments in the Reich.


1945

Red Army liberated Auschwitz and Birkenau.Only 7,500 of the camp's inmates were found alive. By this time, an estimated 2,000,000 persons, including 1,500,000 Jews, had been murdered there.


German submarine U-1172 was sunk in St Georges Channel by depth charges from British frigates HMS Tyler, HMS Keats and HMS Bligh at 52°24′N 05°42′W.


The Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front captured Katowice and Leszno.


January 26, 2018

JANUARY 26 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 26

1699

Venice, Poland and Austria signed the Treaty of Carlowitz with Ottoman Empire. It marked the end of Ottoman control in much of Central Europe, with their first major territorial losses after centuries of expansion, and established the Habsburg Monarchy as the dominant power in Central and southeast Europe. The Austrian Empire acquired about 60,000 square miles (160,000 km2) of Hungarian territories at Karlowitz and of the Banat of Temesvár 18 years later, at Passarowitz, thus cementing Austria as a dominant regional power. (Note: Today Austria has 32,386 sq mi or 83,879 km2)


1736

Stanislaw I of Poland abdicated his throne. In compensation, he received the Duchy of Lorraine and of Bar, which was to revert to France on his death. In 1738, he sold his estates of Rydzyna and Leszno to Count (later Prince) Alexander Joseph Sułkowski. He settled at Lunéville, founded there in 1750 both the Académie de Stanislas and Bibliothèque municipale de Nancy, and devoted himself for the rest of his life to science and philanthropy, engaging most notably in controversy with Rousseau. He also published Głos wolny wolność ubezpieczający, one of the most important political treatises of the Polish Enlightenment.


1919

First Sejm Election of the Second Polish Republic: The elections, based on universal suffrage and proportional representation, was the first free election of Poland (after 123 years of oblivion). It produced a parliament balanced between the right, left and center, although the elections were boycotted by the Polish communists and the Jewish Bund. In the territories where the election took place, voter turnout was from 70% to 90%. Right-wing parties won 50% of votes, left-wing parties around 30%, and Jewish organizations more than 10%.


1934

The German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact was signed between Nazi Germany and the Second Polish Republic.  According to the pact, both countries pledged to resolve their problems through bilateral negotiations and to forgo armed conflict for a period of ten years. It effectively normalized relations between Poland and Germany, which were previously strained by border disputes arising from the territorial settlement in the Treaty of Versailles. As a consequence of the treaty, Germany agreed to recognize Poland's borders, and moved to end an economically damaging customs war which existed between the two countries during the previous decade. On April 28, 1939, Hitler unilaterally abrogated the pact, and invaded Poland on September 1, 1939.


1938


General Tadeusz Kutrzeba, while presenting a plan of possible military conflict with Nazi Germany, emphasized that the Wehrmacht was three times stronger than the Polish Army. During the invasion of Poland in September 1939, General Kutrzeba commanded the Poznań Army,devised the Polish counterattack plan of the battle of Bzura and commanded the Poznań and Pomorze Armies during the battle. In the aftermath, at the behest of major general Juliusz Rómmel (commander of the Warsaw Army), Kutrzeba began capitulation negotiations with the German 8th Army and signed the surrender documents on September 28. He spent the rest of the war in German concentration camps, until the American forces liberated him. In April 1945 he turned down the position of Minister of Defense in the Government-in-Exile. He chose instead to head a commission which focused on the history of the Polish Army’s military campaign in September 1939, and the contributions of Polish soldiers fighting in the West from 1939 to 1945.


 1945

Przyszowice Massacre was perpetrated by the Red Army against civilians of the Polish village of Przyszowice in Upper Silesia (from January 26 to January 28, 1945.) The Soviet soldiers set several dozen houses on fire, looting the village and raping women. They began shooting at the civilians who were trying to extinguish the flames. Over 60 civilians were brutally murdered. Among the victims were four former prisoners of the Auschwitz concentration camp who had escaped from a death march the previous day. With the exception of an Italian and Hungarian, the remainder of the victims were Polish civilians, including two former soldiers of the Polish Army, who had recently been freed by the Soviets from a POW camp.


January 25, 2018

JANUARY 25 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 25

1913

Witold Roman Lutosławski (dob) was a Polish composer and orchestral conductor. He was one of the major European composers of the 20th century, and one of the preeminent Polish musicians during his last three decades. He earned many international awards and prizes. His compositions (of which he was a notable conductor) include four symphonies, a Concerto for Orchestra, a string quartet, instrumental works, concertos, and orchestral song cycles.


1919

Czechoslovak government ordered its troops to seize key industrial areas of Cieszyn.


1932

Poland signed the Treaty of Non-aggression with the Soviet Union. The Treaty was intended to normalize the bilateral contacts with the Soviet Union, and fortify the Polish gains of the Peace of Riga. It was to be balanced by a similar pact signed with Germany.


1940

Nazi decrees established Jewish ghetto in Lodz Poland. About 160,000 Jews, more than a third of the city's population, were forced into a small area. The ghetto was sealed with barbed wire fences. Special Nazi police guarded the perimeter, while the interior was guarded by the notorious Jewish Ghetto Police.


The Nazi Germans chose the site near the village of Oswiecim (Auschwitz) for the construction of a concentration camp.



January 24, 2018

JANUARY 24 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 24

1934

Jews were banned from the German Labor Front. After Hitler's rise to power, the National Socialist trade union organization which replaced the various independent trade unions of the Weimar Republic. Many of the labor union leaders were imprisoned and sent to concentration camps, and the money in union coffers, which were the workers money, was confiscated by the Nazi party. Membership to the German Labor Front was mandatory, and even a patriotic duty. Jews were excluded.


1939

Hermann Goring was instructed to set up an organization in Germany similar to the Zentralstelle in Austria. The German office was called the Reichzentralstelle fuer Juedische Auswanderung, Reich Central Office for Jewish Emigration, to organize and supervise the forced expulsion of Jews from Germany, that is, deportation to concentration camps.


SS leader Reinhard Heydrich was ordered by Hermann Göring to speed up the "emigration "of Jews. Heydrich was second in importance to Heinrich Himmler in the Nazi SS organization and the principle planner of the Final Solution. Goring was one of the most powerful leaders of the Nazi Party and was the C-C of the Luftwaffe, as well as having created the Gestapo.


1944

President Roosevelt issued a statement condemning German and Japanese ongoing "crimes against humanity." In response to political pressure to help Jews under Nazi persecution, President Roosevelt created the War Refugee Board.  Josiah E. DuBois, Jr, Treasury Dept. lawyer of the WRB, found evidence that the U.S. State Department had actively suppressed information about the murder of the Jews from reaching the United States public. To add to the turpitude, in July 1943, the US Treasury had given permission to the World Jewish Congress to send money to Switzerland, but prevented them from doing so for a period of six months. The War Refuge Board was the only major effort undertaken by the US government and had been credited with rescuing tens of thousands of Jews from Nazi-occupied countries.  (Editors note:  The efforts of the WRB however heroic, were been tainted by subterfuge at the highest level of government, and an inexcusable degree of bureaucratic red tape.)


1945

The Battle of Poznań began for the German-occupied stronghold city of Poznań in Poland. It was a massive assault by the Soviet Union's Red Army that had as its objective the elimination of the Nazi German garrison in the stronghold city of Poznań in occupied Poland. The defeat of the German garrison required almost an entire month of painstaking reduction of fortified positions, intense urban combat, and a final assault on the city's citadel by the Red Army.


1982

In his weekly noon blessing in St. Peters Square, Pope John Paul II prayed for an end to martial law in Poland and asked the Catholic faithful to "pray for my fatherland". He read from the pastoral letter which was delivered to Polish churches that ''I want to assure my fellow nationals that their wishes are mine as well.'


1993

Polish ferry boat John Heweliusz sank, 52 killed. The ferry capsized and sank in 27 metres of water off Cape Arcona on the coast of Rügen in the Baltic Sea while sailing toward Ystad. Ten bodies were never found. 9 people were rescued. The sinking of Jan Heweliusz is the most deadly peacetime maritime disaster involving a Polish ship.




January 23, 2018

JANUARY 23 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 23

1793

Second Partition of Poland: Prussia & Russia signed a partition treaty to divide the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and agreed that all Polish reforms would be annulled. In the presence of Russian troops, the Deputies to the Grodno Sejm, the last Sejm of the Commonwealth agreed to the Russian and Prussian territorial demands. The Grodno Sejm became infamous not only as the last Sejm of the Commonwealth, but because its deputies had been bribed and coerced by the Russians (Russia and Prussia wanted legal sanction from Poland for their demands). The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was reduced to a small buffer state headed by a puppet king (Stanisław August Poniatowski) who was powerless to oppose the partitions and save Poland from destruction. Russia took 250,000 square kilometres (97,000 sq mi), while Prussia took 58,000 square kilometres (22,000 sq mi). The Commonwealth lost about 307 000 km², being reduced to 215 000 km².


1919

Polish–Czechoslovak War erupted following border disagreements regarding Cieszyn Silesia. The Czechoslovak government in Prague requested that the Poles cease their preparations for parliamentary elections in the area that had been designated Polish in the interim agreement as no sovereign rule was to be executed in the disputed areas. The Polish government declined and Czechoslovak units attacked the Polish part of Cieszyn Silesia in an effort to prevent the elections in the contested territory. Under pressure by the Entente, the attack was put to a halt, which resulted with a new demarcation line expanding territory controlled by Czechoslovakia. In July 1920, it led to the division of the region of Cieszyn Silesia leaving a large Polish minority in Zaolzie. Disatisfied with the territorial division, Poland annexed Zaolzie in 1938.


1940

Polish Statesman Ignacy Paderewski returned to public life in 1940 when he accepted the position as Head of the National Council of Poland, a Polish parliament in exile in London. He made numerous radio broadcasts, carried by over a hundred radio stations in US and Canada, asking for public protest over German aggression in Poland, and Europe.


1941

Bulgarian Anti-Semitism: The Law for protection of the nation was a Bulgarian law, based on the Nuremberg Laws of Nazi Germany. It was also directed against Jews and others. The laws imposed changes in the names of Jews, rules about place of residence, confiscation of their assets and possessions, exclusion from public service as well as banning them from economic and professional activity. It was in effect from January 23, 1941 to November 27, 1944.





January 22, 2018

JANUARY 22 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 22

1775

Marshal Oscar von Lubomirski expelled Jews from Warsaw, Poland. (Following the first partition of Poland in 1772, a rise in organized street fights against the Jews were occurring. Three years later, there was a partial expulsion of Jews from Warsaw. Many Jews in Warsaw participated in the Polish Uprising against the Russians during the partition period and were killed when Russian troops massacred the Jewish civilian population. In 1796, Warsaw became part of Prussia and Jews were subject to Juden Reglements, which allowed only Jews, living in Warsaw prior to 1796, to remain in the city.)


1863

The January Uprising began. It took place in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (present-day Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Latvia, parts of Ukraine, western Russia) against the Russian Empire. It began on January 22, 1863 and lasted until the last insurgents were captured in 1865.


1945

Four squadrons of RAF Spitfires destroyed a factory in Alblasserdam that manufactured liquid oxygen for German rockets. The reconnaissance squadron attempted to locate other targets, but only two were destroyed. Another installation at Looduinen was attacked several times between February 3 and 9, 1945, and though only a third of the bombs hit the target, the factory was destroyed. Alblasserdam is a town in western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland.





January 21, 2018

JANUARY 21 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 21

1924

Lenin died from a massive stroke:  After Lenin's death, Stalin's administration established the ideology known as Marxism-Leninism, a movement that was interpreted differently by various  factions in the Communist ideology. After being forced into exile by Stalin's administration, Trotsky argued that Stalinism was a debasement of Leninism, which was dominated by bureaucratism and Stalin's own personal dictatorship. After Stalin's death,  Georgy Maximilianovich Malenkov succeeded Stalin as temporary leader of the Soviet Union in 1953. His rapid ascent in Soviet leadership was due to family ties with Stalin. Malenkov was heavily involved in Stalin's purges and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev as leader of the Soviet Union. Khrushchev began a process of de-Stalinisation, citing Lenin's writings, including those on Stalin, to legitimize this process.  When Mikhail Gorbachev took power in 1985 and introduced the policies of glasnost and perestroika, he too cited these actions as a return to Lenin's principles.


1945

German submarine U-1199 was sunk in the English Channel by depth charges from British destroyer HMS Icarus and British corvette HMS Mignonette at 49°57′N 05°42′W..  The vessel had  forty-seven crew of which only one man, the Chief Petty Officer Navigator, survived by escaping through the conning tower as the submarine flooded.  U 1199 was attempting to enter the Channel on her second patrol when she was attacked and sunk. Following are a few excerpts from a report of the interrogation of survivors of U-1199:   ' This prisoner declared that he had never been allowed to plot their course on the chart, but took his orders from the Commanding Officer, who himself acted as navigator and gave him bearings by observing lights at periscope depth.  He remembered that the Commanding Officer had sighted the Wolf Rock lighthouse from a distance of about 5 miles, half an hour before the engagement. ....On 21st January a convoy was heard and the U-boat came to periscope depth.  The Commanding Officer sighted about sixty ships and a spread of torpedoes was fired.  The prisoner believed that they hit one 10,000 ton and one 8,000 ton ship. ....The U-boat bottomed and shortly afterwards experienced the effects of the first depth charge attack, which caused a small leak in the bow compartment, which subsequently became a large inrush of water; and the main motors were put out of action.  The attack continued for several hours, successive patterns of depth charges causing still further damage; the magnetic compass was smashed, and rotary converters dislodged.  The after control room bulkhead was closed and the prisoner was ignorant of what happened after.  In the forward compartment the water was rising rapidly, and when it had risen three feet above the floor-plates, the Commanding Officer ordered the crew to abandon ship.  The prisoner said that he put the mouthpiece of his life jacket into his mouth and ascribe that the rest of the crew to failed to do this and were suffocated by chlorine gas, which was by this time forming.  He saw men collapsing one by one.'
(Source:   http://www.uboatarchive.net/U-413INT.htm)




January 20, 2018

JANUARY 20 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 20

1320

Duke Wladyslaw Lokietek was crowned King of Poland. He was a Duke until 1300, and Prince of Kraków from 1305. He was nicknamed, "Lokietek" because of his short stature. (Lokietek is a diminutive of the word "lokiec" which means "ell" or "elbow", a medieval measure of length, as in "elbow-high".) For the two hundred years preceding Lokietek's birth, Poland was besieged by dynastic wars (due to infighting among the princes of each of the five provinces). During Wladyslaw's reign, he reunited these disparate provinces and restored order and stability in the Kingdom of Poland.


1667

Treaty of Andrussovo ended the Thirteen Years War (also called the Russo-Polish War) between Tsarist Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Though the Commonwealth initially suffered defeats, it regained strength and won several battles. However, the Commonwealth's economy had been severely plundered by the Russians, so that Poland could not continue to finance a prolonged war - to do so would have incited civil war and unrest. The Commonwealth were forced under these circumstances to sign a truce which gave the Russians the extensive territories of the Left-bank Ukraine, Siever lands, and Smolensk, as well as the city of Kiev, among other terms. It was a truce signed for 13.5 years during which time both states agreed to prepare the conditions for the eternal peace. It marked the beginning of the rise of Russia as a great power in Eastern Europe.


1920

At the end of World War One, the Treaty of Versailles was signed, and imposed several restrictions on the German nation.  As a result of President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, the Treaty also restored the sovereignty and independence of Poland -  after 123 years of oblivion. The Second Republic of Poland (1920–1939) was granted control of 130 km of the Baltic shoreline in the corridor dividing East Prussia from the rest of Germany and the entire Duchy of Posen.


1942

The Wannsee Conference was held in Berlin, led by Reinhard Heydrich,  to coordinate a Europe-wide "Final Solution of the Jewish Question", and to ensure the cooperation of administrative leaders of various government departments in the implementation of the deportation to Poland of European Jewry, their detention in extermination camps located in the General Government (Nazi-occupied Poland),and their systematic murder. Although killing of Jews had already been underway, the persecution and murder of Jews reached unprecedented levels after Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. By the end of World War II, 6 million Jews had been killed through starvation, disease, murder, as well as 4 to 5 million ethnic Poles. Many other victims were non-Jews and including Germans and Soviets. These statistics do not include all the Nazi genocides committed.


1944

Winston Churchill met with representatives of the Polish government-in-exile in an effort to break the diplomatic impasse with the Soviets. Churchill pressured the Poles to accept the Curzon Line as a basis for discussion, explaining that the Soviets' need for security as well as their enormous battlefield sacrifices to liberate Poland from the Germans entitled the Soviets to ask for revision of Polish frontiers. Churchill promised in return to challenge Moscow's demand for changes in the Polish government.


1945

The German Evacuation of East Prussia towards the end of World War Two. It is not to be confused with the expulsion after the war had ended, under Soviet occupation. The evacuation was initiated due to German fears of the advance of the Red Army during the East Prussian Offensive. Some parts of the evacuation were planned as a military necessity, such as that of Operation Hannibal. But many German refugees fled of their own accord due to the reports of Soviet atrocities against Germans still in Soviet-controlled areas.


1957


Wladyslaw Gomulka won Poland's parliamentary election. Gomulka was the de facto leader of post-war Poland until 1948 and again from 1950 to 1970. Initially, his reforms were very popular, ie a "Polish way to socialism" but during the 1960s he became more rigid and authoritarian, unwilling to permit changes, and supported the persecution of the Catholic Church and intellectuals (particularly Leszek Kołakowski, who was forced into exile).



1977

Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Polish-American diplomat served as National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from January 20, 1977 to January 20, 1981. Before that he was a counselor to President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1966 to 1968. Major foreign policy events during his time in office included the normalization of relations with the People's Republic of China (and the severing of ties with the Republic of China on Taiwan); the signing of the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT II); the brokering of the Camp David Accords; the transition of Iran from an important U.S. ally to an anti-Western Islamic Republic; encouraging dissidents in Eastern Europe and emphasizing human rights in order to undermine the influence of the Soviet Union;  the arming of the mujahideen in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; and the signing of the Torrijos–Carter Treaties relinquishing U.S. control of the Panama Canal after 1999.



January 19, 2018

JANUARY 19 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 19

1863

In 1861 Ludwik Mierosławski became a commander of Polish-Italian military school in Genoa. On January 19,1863 he returned to Poland to join the January Uprising, where he became the leader of the Uprising. Eventually after suffering two defeats (Battle of Krzywosądz and Battle of Nowa Wieś), and political conflict with Marian Langiewicz, Mierosławski resigned his position, and returned to Paris. He would be a vocal critic of the preparation and organization of the January Uprising. He continued to take part in politics of Polish emigrants, but he lost popularity.


1945

With German troops mostly driven out of Poland and the entry of Soviet Troops, Home Army (Armia Krajowa) Commander Leopold Okulicki ordered his forces to disband. (Note: Okulicki ordered the disbandment of the Home Army for fear that the presence of an allied force in Poland would only lead to more people being murdered or arrested by the Soviets. Following an NKVD provocation, he was arrested and imprisoned in Moscow. According to Okulicki, “In comparison with the NKVD, the Gestapo methods are child's play."


1947

Rigged Elections: Polish legislative elections were held, the first since World War Two. The elections were marred by violence. Anti-Communist opposition candidates and political activists were harassed and persecuted by 100,000 men of the Volunteer Reserve Militia (ORMO). According to official results, the Democratic Bloc (dominated by the communist Polish Workers Party, Polish Socialist Party (PPS), People's Party (SL), Democratic Party (SD) and non-partisan candidates) gained 80.1% of the vote and 394 of the 444 seats in the Legislative Sejm. The largest opposition party, the Polish People's Party, was officially credited with 28 seats. In a Time Magazine article, "In a spirit of partisan exuberance tempered with terror, Poland approached its first nationwide popular election, ten days hence. By the last week most of the combined opposition (Socialist and Polish Peasant Party) candidates had been jailed, and their supporters more or less completely cowed by the secret police, by striking their names from voting lists and by arrests. The Communist-dominated Government ventured to predict an "overwhelming" victory."


Leszek Balcerowicz (dob) was a Polish professor of economics at the Warsaw School of Economics, the former chairman of the National Bank of Poland and Deputy Prime Minister in Tadeusz Mazowiecki's government. He was famous for implementing the Polish economic transformation program in the 1990s commonly referred to as the Balcerowicz Plan. The Balcerowicz Plan was a series of reforms, which sought to end hyperinflation and balance the national budget. This resulted in a substantial increase in prices and had forced state-owned companies to become competitive. This amounted to a real shock to the Polish economy. He received harsh criticism for his plan, but most economists agree that without introducing such radical changes, Poland's economic success and steady economic growth would not have been possible.





January 18, 2018

JANUARY 18 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 18

1919

Ignacy Jan Paderewski was the Prime Minister of Poland as well as Foreign Minister from January 18 to November 27, 1919 and represented Poland at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. He played an important role in meeting with President Woodrow Wilson and obtained the explicit inclusion of establishing an independent Poland as point 13 in Wilson's peace terms in 1918 (the Fourteen Points). Paderewski was also a renown Polish pianist and composer and fervent spokesman for Polish independence. He was a favorite of concert audiences around the world.


1940

Palmiry Massacre: 255 Jews in Warsaw were arrested at random by the Nazi Germans. Over the next week they would be taken to the Palmiry Forest outside the city and shot dead. (Note: Between December 1939 and July 1941 more than 1700 Poles and Jews – mostly the inmates of Pawiak prison – were executed by the SS and the Ordnungspolizei in the forest glade near Palmiry. The best documented of these massacres took place on 20–21 of June 1940, wherein 358 members of the Polish political, cultural and social elite were murdered in a single operation.)


1943

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising:  The Nazi Germans began their second deportation of the Jews, which set off a violent armed uprising by the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.  Jewish fighters of the ŻZW, joined by elements of the ŻOB, put up an armed resistance, engaging the Germans in direct exchanges of gunfire. Though the ŻZW and ŻOB suffered heavy losses (including some of their leaders), the Germans also took casualties, and within a few days the Germans halted the deportation. Only 5,000 Jews were removed, instead of the 8,000 planned by SS Globocnik. Hundreds of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto were ready to fight, adults and children, though sparsely armed with handguns, homemade molotov cocktails, and a few weapons that were smuggled into the Ghetto by the Polish underground. Many of the Jewish insurgents knew that their actions was a futile effort to save themselves, but that they fought the battle for the honour of the Jewish people, and a protest against the silence and apathy of its allies. The ZZW and ZOB were Jewish resistance organizations. The former had close ties to Armia Krajowa.


1945

The Germans ordered the evacuation of the remaining 60,000 inmates of Auschwitz concentration camp ahead of the advancing Soviets. Some were deported by rail while others were forced to march in freezing temperatures.


The Soviet-controlled Polish Committee of National Liberation moved from Lublin to Warsaw.


Soviet troops captured Krakow, Poland






January 17, 2018

JANUARY 17 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 17

1732

Stanisław II Augustus (dob) was the last King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania and the last monarch of the united Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1764–95). He remains a controversial figure in Polish history. Recognized as a great patron of the arts and sciences and an initiator and firm supporter of progressive reforms, he is also remembered as the last king of the Commonwealth whose election was marred by Russian involvement. He is criticized primarily for his failure to stand against the partitions, and thus to prevent the destruction of Poland.


1937

The People's Party (SL) voted in favour of a general peasant strike. The SL decided that if the Polish government did not meet their demands a general peasant strike would be introduced. Participants in the Congress signed an appeal which demanded democratization of the country, amnesty for politicians sentenced in the Brest trials, and changes in the Constitution. The strike was prepared by Stanisław Mikołajczyk, and by Wincenty Witos, who dispatched his advice and instructions from Czechoslovakia. (Note: In 1926 Witos' government was overthrown by a coup d'etat by Marshal Pulsudski. Witos was arrested and imprisoned, and then lived in exile in Czechoslovakia until 1939.)


1944

The Battle of Monte Cassino began in Italy: Also known as the Battle for Rome, it was a disastrous series of four assaults by the Allies against the Winter Line in Italy held by Axis forces during the Italian Campaign. The intention was to break through to Rome. From January 17 to May 18, multi-national Allied forces launched four offenses in the attempt to break through the impenetrable Nazi defences. The Germans held positions at the Rapido-Gari, Liri and Garigliano valleys and some of the surrounding peaks and ridges, forming the Gustav Line and the Monte Cassino Line. In the last phase of the battle, Allied troops consisting of twenty divisions (including Polish troops of the 2nd Polish Corp) attacked along a twenty mile front. Though the Germans were finally driven from their positions, the Allied victory came with devastating casualties of over 55,000 men, while Germans troops suffered about 20,000 killed and wounded.


 1945

Warsaw was so-called "liberated" by the Soviets: Over 200,000 Poles had died during the Warsaw Uprising and 800,000 had been deported to the General Government, the Reich or to the Nazi German concentration camps. According to Polish statistics, approximately 174,000 people remained hiding in the rubble.


Russian army liberated Budapest: From occupation to liberation the Jewish population of Budapest was reduced from 200,000 to 70,000 in the ghetto, and about 20,000 housed in specially marked houses outside the ghetto having been granted diplomatic protection by neutral politicians, including Raoul Wallenberg, who issued Protective Passports on behalf of the Swedish Legation, and Carl Lutz, who did the same via the Swiss Government. Of those that were deported (most of them to a concentration camp on the Austrian border), the vast majority were liberated by the advancing Red Army.


1983

Pope John Paul II prayed for end to martial law in Poland: In his second trip to Poland, Pope John Paul met with the communist leaders and bluntly told them to end martial law and restore Solidarity. In a 15 minute speech broadcast live throughout Poland, the Pope urged Jaruzelski to resume good relations with the West, and above all with the US where so many Poles live. The Pope added that such a renewal " is indispensable for maintaining the good name of Poland to the world, as well as finding a way out of the internal crisis and sparing the sufferings of so many sons and daughters of the nation, my compatriots." On the second day of the Pontif's visit, he visited Krakow where he prayed at the Wawel Cathedral, where the heart of King Jan Sobieski is enshrined.


1985

Mother Superior Matylda Getter was recognized on this day as Righteous Among Nations, by Yad Vashem. Getter was a Catholic nun in the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary in Warsaw and social worker in pre-war Poland. When the Nazis occupied Poland during WW2, she cooperated with the famous Irena Sendler and the Żegota resistance organization in saving the lives of hundreds of Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto (between 250 and 550 children). She risked her life and the lives of her Sisters by sheltering the children in her orphanages. She hired adults to work with them, cared for the children, and hid them in the Order's various educational institutions.



January 16, 2018

JANUARY 16 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 16

 1920

The League of Nations held its first council meeting in Paris on January 16,  1920, six days after the Versailles Treaty and the Covenant of the League of Nations came into effect.  The headquarters of the League was moved from London to Geneva on November 1, 1920, where the first General Assembly was held two weeks later. The Palais Wilson, named after US President Wilson's efforts to establish the League, was located on Geneva's western lake shore. The League of Nations was created as a result of the Paris Peace Conference which ended World War I. It was the first international organization professing the principal mission was to maintain world peace.  Among its goals, as stipulated in its Covenant, was the prevention of wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration.


1945

Hitler Took Refuge in Bunker:  Hitler moved into the Führerbunker joined by his senior staff, including Martin Bormann. (In April 1945, Eva Braun and Joseph Goebbels moved into the Führerbunker while Magda Goebbels and their six children took residence in the upper Vorbunker. Two or three dozen support, medical, and administrative staff were also sheltered there. These included Hitler's secretaries (including Traudl Junge), a nurse named Erna Flegel, and telephone switchboard operator Sergeant Rochus Misch. The Fuhrerbunker was an air-raid shelter located near the Reich Chancellery in Berlin and part of a wider network of subterranean bunker complex constructed in two phases, completed in 1936 and 1944. It was the last of the Führer Headquarters used by Adolf Hitler during World War II.



2015

Miriam Akavia (nee Matylda Weinfeld) died on this day. She was the President of the organization called Platform for Jewish-Polish Dialogue. She organized meetings between teenagers of Poland and Israel. She struggled to dispel the stereotypes which had long separated Poles and Jews, and which had obscured understanding of each other. She was born in 1927 in Krakow. She was a Holocaust survivor, and after the war became a writer and translator. She received many honours from Poland, Israel, and Germany.




January 15, 2018

JANUARY 15 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 15

1582

The Truce or Treaty of Yam-Zapolsky was signed between the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Tsardom of Russia, was one of the treaties that ended the Livonian War. Russia ceded Livonia & Estonia to Poland, and lost access to Baltic.


1937

Construction of Polish Radio Baranowicze station was announced by the press. The station was opened on July 1, 1938. Its frequency was 520 kHz and range - 120 kilometers, which covered most of the Nowogrodek Voivodeship and northern part of the Polesie Voivodeship. Main office was located in a building at Narutowicza Street 72, in the outskirts of the city. Currently, the 1938 office of the radio is used by the Belarusian TV.


1938

The Polish submarine, ORP Orzel was launched in the Dutch port of Vlissingen. The name means "eagle" in Polish. She was a modern design (designed by the joint venture of Polish and Dutch engineers), albeit quite large for the shallow waters of the Baltic Sea.  Orzel specifications were as follows:  Length:  84.00 m (275 ft 7 in);  Surface speed:   19.4 knots (35.9 km/h; 22.3 mph); Submerged Speed: 9 kn (17 km/h; 10 mph);  Armaments: 1 × Bofors wz.25 105 mm (4.1 in) gun, 1 × double Bofors wz.36 40 mm (1.6 in) AA gun,  1 × Hotchkiss 13.2 mm (0.52 in) HMG,  12 × 533 mm (21.0 in) / 550 mm 22 in) torpedo launchers (4 aft, 4 rudder, 4 waist),  and 20 torpedoes.


1945

In Poland, the 1st Ukrainian Front took Kielce while the 2nd Belorussian Front crossed the Pilica in Poland and attacked toward Radom, Łódź and Posen.  It was part of the Vistula–Oder Offensive, a successful Red Army operation on the Eastern Front. It saw the fall of Kraków, Warsaw and Poznań. Within a matter of days the Soviet troops advanced hundreds of kilometers, taking much of Poland and striking deep within the pre-war borders of the Reich. The Offensive defeated Army Group A, which left remaining German forces with weakened military resistance.


1951

Witch of Buchenwald:  Ilse Koch, wife of the Karl Koch,  commandant of the Buchenwald concentration camp, was sentenced to life imprisonment in a West German court.  The nickname, "Witch of Buchenwald” was an apt name for her extraordinary sadism.  The most horrifying was the collection of lampshades, book covers, and gloves made from the skin of tattooed camp prisoners.  The following testimony was given at the Nuremberg Trials by a German inmate, “All prisoners with tattooing on them were to report to the dispensary… After the prisoners had been examined, the ones with the best and most artistic specimens were killed by injections. The corpses were then turned over to the pathological department, where the desired pieces of tattooed skin were detached from the bodies and treated further.”





January 14, 2018

JANUARY 14 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 14

1943

Roosevelt and Churchill attended the Casablanca Conference in Casablanca, French Morocco, to plan the Allied European strategy for the next phase of the war. Also present was General Charles de Gaulle, representing the Free French forces and Henri Giraud. Stalin declined to attend due to the ongoing Battle of Stalingrad. Various strategies were considered:   Roosevelt, with advice from General George C. Marshall, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, lobbied for a cross-channel invasion of Europe.  Churchill, in consultation with his Chiefs of Staff, felt the time was not opportune, and favored an Allied assault on the island of Sicily followed by an invasion of mainland Italy. The British argument was based on the need to pull German reserves down into Italy where due to the relatively poor north-south lines of communication they could not be easily extracted to defend against a later invasion of North-West Europe. Additionally, by delaying the cross Channel landing, it would mean that any invasion would be against a German army further weakened by many more months fighting on the Eastern Front against the Red Army.


1944

The Polish Government-in-Exile reiterated its refusal to accept unilateral decisions made about Polish territory, but said it was approaching the British and U.S. governments to intermediate "all outstanding questions, the settlement of which should lead to friendly and permanent co-operation between Poland and the Soviet Union. The Polish Government believes this to be desirable in the interest of the victory of the United Nations and harmonious relations in post-war Europe."


1993

Poland's Worst Peacetime Maritime Disaster:  Polish ferry boat capsized on the high seas in 100 mile-an hour winds in the Baltic Sea. 54 people drowned. Only nine people, all Polish survived. The 3,015-ton vessel was upside down in waters about 60 feet deep, but may have been stuck atop a sandbar. The Associated Press reported, adding that the police in Stralsund said the ship had overturned about 20 miles east of the German island of Rugen.




January 13, 2018

JANUARY 13 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 13

1937

The University of Wilno was closed after a series of brawls between its Polish and Jewish students. The source of discord was the university's creation of what was referred to as "ghetto benches". This was segregation of the Jewish students, who were ordered to sit on opposite sides of the classroom. Several Polish students as well as Polish professors protested against the university ruling. The Rector of the university, Władysław Marian Jakowicki, resigned his position in protest over the introduction of the ghetto benches.


1953

Nine Jewish Doctors Arrested:  Pravda, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, published on article on January 13, 1953 entitled, "Vicious Spies and Killers under the Mask of Academic Physicians". The CPSU accused prestigious and prominent doctors in the USSR of plotting to poison top members of the Soviet political and military regime. Here is a segment translated to English, "Today the TASS news agency reported the arrest of a group of saboteur-doctors. This terrorist group, uncovered some time ago by organs of state security, had as their goal shortening the lives of leaders of the Soviet Union by means of medical sabotage. Investigation established that participants in the terrorist group, exploiting their position as doctors and abusing the trust of their patients, deliberately and viciously undermined their patients' health by making incorrect diagnoses, and then killed them with bad and incorrect treatments. Covering themselves with the noble and merciful calling of physicians, men of science, these fiends and killers dishonored the holy banner of science. Having taken the path of monstrous crimes, they defiled the honor of scientists......"   Stalin complained that there was no clear picture of the Zionist conspiracy and no solid evidence that specifically the Jewish doctors were guilty.  


1992

Solidarity declared its first strike against the democratically elected government: a one-hour strike against a proposal to raise energy prices. Lech Walesa, once an electrician by trade lamented his new position as President of the Republic of Poland. He complained that  "We made revolution, and it was the West that made profit on this, pushing on us on all this nicely wrapped scrap," Mr. Walesa said. "We have not defended our market at all, and the time has come for reflection......Certain things that are exceptionally drastic have to be closed down, but you cannot just close down all of Poland."  Mr. Walesa alluded to one of the biggest problems facing Eastern Europe and the nations of the former Soviet Union, the transformation from a state-controlled, centralized economy.



January 12, 2018

JANUARY 12 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 12

1945

After reaching the Vistula River August 1944, Soviet troops had slowed its advance, building up men and supplies in eastern Poland before launching the next offensive. On 12 Jan 1945, a large invasion force of 163 divisions with a total of 2,203,000 men, 4,529 tanks, 2,513 self-propelled guns, and 13,763 artillery pieces, supported by about 5,000 aircraft, was launched for the Vistula-Oder Offensive. The attacking force was consisted of Marshal Georgi Zhukov's 1st Byelorussian Front and Marshal Ivan Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front. Facing the attack was Colonel General Josef Harpe's German Army Group A, consisted of three armies (4th Panzer Army, 9th Army, and 17th Army) totaling 400,000 men, 1,150 tanks, and 4,100 artillery pieces. The Vistula–Oder Offensive was a major Soviet victory. The Red Army advanced hundreds of kilometers in a matter of day, striking against German targets. The offensive broke the back of Army Group A, and much of Germany's remaining capacity for military resistance. German forces however continued to resist in Silesia and Pomerania, as well as East Prussia.


1951

United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide:  The term "genocide" was coined by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish jurist. He began lobbying the UN for the the term "genocide" to be included in international law, and was singularly responsible for bringing the matter to the attention of the nascent United Nations. Delegates from many nations debated the term, and finally on December 9, 1948, the final text was adopted by unanimous vote.  The UN Convention came into force on January 12, 1951, ratified by more than 20 nations.


1954

John Foster Dulles, US Secretary of State under the Dwight D. Eisenhower Administration, delivered a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations. Dulles announced that the United States could protect its allies through the “deterrent of massive retaliatory power.” The announcement was a clear signal that President Eisenhower relied heavily on the power of  American nuclear arsenal as defense against communist aggression. Dulles explained that it would be unwise to “become permanently committed to military expenditures so vast that they lead to ‘practical bankruptcy.'” Instead, he believed a new policy of “getting maximum protection at a bearable cost” should be developed. Although Dulles did not directly refer to nuclear weapons, his reference to "massive retaliatory power" made it clear that the new policy was based on such weapons to respond to future acts of war.


January 11, 2018

JANUARY 11 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 11

1924

Władysław Grabski's monetary reform established the Bank of Poland acting as an issuing bank: The Bank of Poland was founded as a joint stock company, which guaranteed its independence from the government and the state treasury. The Act also abolished the Polish National Savings Union which had acted as an issuing bank. Its functions were taken over by the Bank of Poland. Stanisław Karpiński became the first president of the Bank of Poland. On January 14, the organizing committee of the Bank of Poland was established, and on January 26, the sale of the bank's shares began. Payments could only be made in foreign currencies and in gold. On April,15, during the first shareholders' meeting, the Bank of Poland Joint Stock Company was established.


1936

The Executive Order on the Reich Tax Law (Nuremberg laws ) forbade Jews to serve as tax consultants.(The Nazis decreed an overwhelming number of laws to strip Jews of all civil and human rights. It was the first step in carrying out the "Final Solution".)


1938

General Stanislaw Skwarczynski officially became leader of the Camp of National Unity (OZN). The political party was founded by sections in the leadership of the Sanacja movement. This party advocated authoritarian rule, and that national interest superceded parliamentary democracy. The OZN adopted 13 theses on the Jewish question, based on the Nuremberg laws and labelled Jews as a foreign presence that should be deprived of all civil rights and ultimately expelled altogether.


1944

The Soviet Union responded to the Polish declaration of January 5 with a statement through TASS.  "......The Soviet government has repeatedly declared that it stands for a strong independent Poland and.....friendly Polish-Russian relations founded on mutual respect....The Soviet government disputed Polish territorial claims and insisted that the Soviet-Polish border had been determined through "the plebiscite carried out in 1939 on a broad democratic basis".  The statement also accused the Polish government-in-exile of being "incapable of establishing friendly relations with the USSR, and has also shown itself incapable of organizing active resistance against German invaders inside Poland. Moreover, by its erroneous policy it has often played into the hands of German invaders......"




January 10, 2018

JANUARY 10 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 10

1892

Melchior Wańkowicz (dob) was a Polish army officer, popular writer, political journalist and publisher. He is most famous for his reporting for the Polish Armed Forces in the West during World War II. He opposed the communist regime, writing and lecturing about the Polish Forces in the West, though the Soviet regime tried to undermine his views. Wankowicz' most famous work was a three tome book about the Battle of Monte Cassino, a tribute to the soldiers of the Anders Army (a book that was published in Poland only in a shortened, censored form until the fall of communism in 1990). After he co-signed a letter in 1964, protesting against the government censorship, he was repressed by the Soviet regime which prevented the publication of his works, arrested him and charged him with "spreading anti-Polish propaganda abroad". But the sentence was never executed.


1920

Treaty Signed: The Free City of Danzig was a self-governing port on the Baltic Sea, and city-state set up by Part III Section XI of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 and under protection of the League of Nations. The Treaty included special rights reserved for Poland which included administrative control of Polish post offices. In that year, the population of the Free City of Danzig was 357,000 (98% were German-speaking.)



January 9, 2018

JANUARY 9 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 9

1797

Creation of the Polish Legions: Napoleon officially signed an agreement which he drafted authorizing Jan Henryk Dąbrowski to form the famous Polish Legions. The Polish Legions were formed after the Third Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Dabrowski was a former high-ranking officer of the army of the Commonwealth and sought Napoleons military assistance. Since Poland had ceased to exist, Dabrowski actively promoted the cause of Polish independence. He participated in the Napoleonic Wars, the Polish-Austrian war and the French invasion of Russia.  Napoleon was reputed to have spoken about the Polish Legion, and praised them saying that 800 Poles were more powerful than 8,000 enemy soldiers.  Jan Dabrowski is a national hero, in Poland, and in France. The lyrics of the Polish national anthem praises Jan Henryk Dąbrowski and the Polish Legions for their fight to liberate Poland, and mentions "the return of the Polish army from Italy to Poland" and that "Poland is not lost as long as we live" .


1942

Jerzy Rozicki perished in the Mediterranean sea on this day in 1942 when the Lamorciere, a passenger ship he was traveling on sank in uncertain circumstances. All 222 passengers drowned. He was en route to return to the Cadix center. In 1932, Marian Rejewski had reconstructed the German military Enigma machine and was joined by his colleagues Jerzy Rozicki and Henryk Zygalski who developed methods of decryption as a source of intelligence. Cadix was a secret intelligence center located at Uzès, southern France, The Polish team of cryptologists, which included Rozicki worked on deciphering German messages during the period from September 1940 to November 1942. Cadix was shut down when Germany occupied southern France.


1944

The Council of National Unity (KRN), a quasi- Parliamentary body, was created by the Polish Underground in response to the rising power of Soviet-controlled governmental institutions in Poland. The KRN was an amalgamation of previous organizations comprising the major Polish political parties.


1966

Polish government denied exit visa to Cardinal Wyszynski. Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski (Primate of the Millennium) was the unquestionable leader of Polish nation (the uncrowned king of Poland), in opposition to the totalitarian regime. He is also credited for the survival of Polish Christianity in the face of its repression and persecution during the reign of the 1945–1989 Communist regime. He had been imprisoned for three years, and is considered by many to be a Polish national hero. When the Solidarity trade union emerged in Poland, he appealed to both sides, the government as well as the striking workers, to be responsible for their actions. The case for his beatification and canonization opened in 1989 (he now has the title of Servant of God) and has many proponents in the Vatican and in his native Poland, where he is well known for his heroic and principled stand against Nazism and Communism.




January 8, 2018

JANUARY 8 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 8

1919
Supreme People's Council declared Poznan independent.  (Note: The Supreme People's Council was a political organization in the Prussian Partition of Poland, which played a major role during the Greater Poland Uprising (1918–19). It was established in 1916 in Poznań as an underground Interparty Committee (also known as the Central Citizen's Committee. After the World War I armistice, the committee renamed itself to the People's Council and later to the Supreme People's Council. The Council self-disbanded on August 19, 1919, when the power in the area was transferred to the re-united Second Polish Republic.

1949

COMECON (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) was instituted by Stalin to offset any influence that the Marshall Plan would exert over the Soviet satellite states, in particular Czechoslovakia and Poland.  Comecon was created to prevent countries in the Soviets' sphere of influence from moving towards that of the Americans and South-East Asia. Comecon was intended to strengthen an economic alliance among socialist countries and was the Eastern Bloc's counterpart to the formation in Western Europe of the Organization for European Economic Co-Operation (OEEC). (The Marshall Plan was implemented by the United States to provide financial assistance to help rebuild Western European economies after the end of World War II.)

January 7, 2018

JANUARY 7 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 7

1939

In Warsaw, the funeral of Roman Dmowski took place. He was a Polish politician, statesman, co-founder and chief ideologue of the right-wing National Democracy ("ND": in Polish, "Endecja") political movement. He knew that the major threat to Polish culture was the aggressive Germanization of Polish territories controlled by the German Empire. He therefore advocated some degree of accommodation with the Russian Empire that also had partitioned Poland. He was committed to the re-establishment of Polish independence but by nonviolent means, and supported policies that were favorable to the Polish middle class.


1945

American Victory Battle of the Bulge:   On January 7, 1945 Hitler agreed to withdraw all forces from the Ardennes, including the SS-Panzerdivisionen, ending all offensive operations. However, fighting continued for another 3 weeks - St. Vith was recaptured by the Americans on January 23rd, and the last German troops did not return to their start line until January 25.  The Battle of the Bulge was the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II and was fought throughout the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in eastern Belgium, in northeast France, and in Luxembourg.  The German surprise attack caught the Allied forces completely off guard and American troops bore the brunt of the attack, suffering the highest casualties of any operation during the war. Germans troops, as well as the Luftwaffe suffered severe casualties, and were unable to replace losses.


January 6, 2018

JANUARY 6 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 6

1937

A riot between Poles and Jews took place at Czyżew, during a village fair.  The report read as follows: "Many Jews were injured today in riots in Czyzew, Bialystok district. Selig Jelin, 36, and Israel Baron, 58, were seriously wounded and taken to a hospital here. Jewish shops were closed and tonight no Jews in the town were venturing out of their homes. At the hospital it was stated Jelin was suffering from a fractured skull and was not expected to live. The disorders were believed to have been an act of revenge by Nationalists because two agitators in Czyzew had been placed in a concentration camp by the Government. " 


1940

Mass executions of Poles were committed by the Nazi Germans in the city of Poznań. Poznan was located in Warthegau, a territory established by the Germans in October 1939 in the western part of Poland. It was incorporated into the Reich.  More than 70,000 ethnic Poles were murdered there, others were sent to forced labor and Concentration Camps, while other Poles were persecuted by confiscation of Polish property, meager food rations, restriction of movement, closure of schools, and a ban on Polish language and culture. Warthegau was run by Arthur Greiser the Reich Governor of the territory. He was one of the Nazis primarily responsible for organizing the Holocaust in occupied Poland and numerous other crimes against humanity. He was arrested by the Americans in 1945, tried, convicted and executed by hanging in Poland in 1946.


1943

Jews in Opoczno, Poland were told by the Nazi Germans that those with family in Palestine would be deported there. 500 Jews came out from hiding to register and were sent to Treblinka Concentration Camp where they were gassed to death.


1944

Soviet Capture Ukraine Town:  Red Army units crossed the original 1939 Polish border, advancing nearly 200 miles in 2 weeks. They captured the town of Rokitno (now located in Western Ukraine.


1948
(additional post for January 6)

The Ministries Trial was the eleventh of 12 trials of the United States Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (not to be confused with the Nuremberg Trials). It was also called the "Subsequent Nuremberg Trials". The trial was held from January 6, 1948 to April 13, 1949 and was the longest of all the trials.  It was also referred to as the Wilhelmstrasse Trial, named after the German Foreign Office at Wilhelmstrasse in Berlin. The accused were officials from various ministries of the Reich. There were various charges against them including their responsibility for countless atrocities committed against civilians throughout German-occupied countries during the war. Of the 21 defendants, two were acquitted. The others were found guilty and received prison sentences from three to 25 years,  including time served.




January 5, 2018

JANUARY 5 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 5

1818

Ernest Adam Malinowski (dob) was a famous Polish engineer. He designed the worlds first highest railway, the Ferrocarril Central Andino in the Peruvian Andes in 1871–1876.   In 1868, the Peruvian Congress issued a new decree and announced a tender for the construction of a railway line.  A few days later, Henry Meiggs , an American entrepreneur was allowed to conduct preliminary studies of the railway line. He chose Ernest Malinowski to control the project and select his co-workers. On April 3, 1869, Malinowski gave Henry Meiggs a detailed report of the site studies and preliminary calculation of construction costs. Work began on January 1, 1870 and continued for four arduous years in very difficult terrain. In 1874 the financial collapse of the Peruvian economy put a temporary halt to funding, but construction continued through private funding, including Malinkowski's own contributions.  Upon completion the railway line was raised to almost 5000 m above sea level, which was a phenomenon of technology. It attracted interest from professional engineers around the world and Malinowski's accomplishment was written by all major technical magazines around the world.


1925

Gdansk Post Office:  Under Polish control, three post offices were established in the Port of Gdansk: the Maritime (Port), the Railway and the main Polish Post and Telegraph Office. ( Decreed by the Treaty of Versailles 1919)


1938

Nazi Nuremberg Law: The Nazis passed the Law on the Alteration of Family and Personal Names forbidding Jews from changing their names.


1942

The communist Polish Workers Party was founded in Warsaw by Marceli Nowotko, Pawel Finder and Boleslaw Molojec. The old Communist Party of Poland had been liquidated at Stalin's order in 1938-39.


1945

The Soviet Government officially recognized the Polish Committee of National Liberation, also called Lublin Committe (PKWN).  The PKWN was created by Stalin as the foundation of a puppet regime in Poland, under his full control. His objective was to discredit and remove power from the legitimate Polish Government in Exile in London. The allies were greatly disturbed by the outcome, since Stalin had accepted the Atlantic charter and promised to hold democratic elections in countries controlled by the Red Army.  Stalin appointed Nikolai Bulganin to provide support for the PKWN's administration and security apparatus. Bulganin was responsible for destroying any political and military associations representing the Polish Government in Exile. The PKWN claimed to be leftist and represent a broad democratic coalition, but it did not include any of the major Polish political parties. 



January 4, 2018

JANUARY 4 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 4

 1923

Lenin's Testament:  Lenin's letters to Congress, a two part document dictated by Lenin on Dec. 23–26, 1922, and Jan. 4, 1923, was addressed to a future Communist party Congress. It contained proposals for changes to the Soviet political hierarchy and provided concise evaluation of the six party leaders - Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, Grigory Y. Zinovyev, Lev B. Kamenev, Nikolay Bukharin, and Georgy Pyatakov. The testament was written by Lenin while he was recovering from a severe stroke, and the document concluded with a recommendation that Stalin be removed from his position as secretary-general of the party The second part of the letters was a postscript, dictated by Lenin after he became convinced that Stalin was mishandling the suppression of dissent in Georgia, but on a personal level, Lenin was critical of Stalin's abusive behaviour towards his wife, Krupskaya. The addendum described Stalin as "too rude". Several copies were made and sealed with the instruction that they were to be opened by Lenin personally or, in the event of his death, by Krupskaya. 

1991

Most Respected Economist in Poland: Jan Krzystof Bielecki became premier of Poland. Bielecki is a Polish liberal politician and economist. In the early 1990s, Bielecki was leading figure of the Gdańsk-based Liberal Democratic Congress and served as Prime Minister of Poland for most of the 1991. As a member of the Sejm and one of the leaders of the Liberal Democratic Congress, Bielecki continued his support for stronger political and economic integration into Europe. During his post-premier period in the Sejm, Bielecki served in the Committee on Foreign Affairs.  In a speech from the Sejm in May 1992, Bielecki expressed strong support for Poland's entry into the EEC, saying "Here is the strategy, here is a Polish place in uniting Europe, with Poles benefiting from collective security, Poles enjoying the freedom of movement of people, goods and capital. This is an opportunity to participate in the political structures and the global economy." In the 1990s, Bielecki was a strong proponent for greater integration with NATO. In July 1992, Bielecki supported the appointment of Hanna Suchocka as Prime Minister. Later she appointed Bielecki as a Minister without portfolio, responsible for  relations with the EEC under a coalition agreement between Suchocka's Democratic Union and the Liberal Democratic Congress   Following his political service, he was president of Bank Pekao, chairman of the Polish Institute of International Affairs, and since the early 2000s, a member of the Civic Platform party.  The Warsaw Business Journal in its 2010 issue names Bielecki as one of the most respected economists in Poland.



January 3, 2018

JANUARY 3 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 3


1667

Resistance of Andrusovo in Russia-Poland. ( Pursued by the Russian forces, the Polish army retreated to Novhorod-Siverskyi. During the retreat, the Poles executed Ivan Bohun, who was suspected of handing over important information to the Hlukhiv garrison. The defence of Hlukhiv ruined Polish plans of bringing Left-bank Ukraine back under the control of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. In the following years, Poland was plagued with internal conflicts (Lubomirski's Rokosz) and active fighting on the Polish–Russian front came to an end. Finally, the Treaty of Andrusovo was signed in 1667, formally ended the armed conflict.)



1939

Death of a Polish Cardinal: The funeral of Cardinal Aleksander Kakowski  took place in Warsaw on this day. The service was led by primate August Hlond, and by Bishop Antoni Szlagowski.  Kakowski was Cardinal and Archbishop of Warsaw (the last titular Primate of the Kingdom of Poland before Poland regained its independence in 1918). He was also a Polish politician, diplomat, and member of the Regency Council.  Archbishop Kakowski promoted the creation of a strong Catholic press. He was one of the authors of Rycerz Niepokalanej, one of the most popular newspapers in prewar Poland. and was one of the founders of the theological faculty at the Warsaw University and of the Catholic Action movement. Kakowski was awarded with the Order of the White Eagle in 1925, the highest Polish decoration, for his role in liberating Poland from foreign occupation.


 

January 2, 2018

JANUARY 2 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JANUARY 2

1937

Poland received French loan:  French loan was accepted by the budget commission of the Sejm. (Note: In the early 1920s, the Polish government planned the construction of the Polish Coal Trunk-Line, a rail line connecting the Polish part of Upper Silesia with Baltic Sea coast. It was one of the largest investments of the Second Polish Republic, funded by the Polish government, until 1930. With the Great Depression looming over budgetary problems, and doubts over the completion of the project, the Polish government decided upon the French-Polish Rail Association to take over construction of middle sector of the line.)



1939

Father of Polish Nationalism: Roman Dmowski, a Polish politician and statesman died. He was called the "Father of Polish Nationalism". He was a controversial figure during his career, and since his death. He truly believed that only a Polish-speaking, Roman Catholic could be a "good Pole". Dmowski was openly anti-semitic. Dmowski admired Italian fascism. In the summer of 1926 Dmowski wrote a series of articles admiring Mussolini and the Italian fascist model, and helped organize the Camp of Great Poland (OWP), a broad anti-Sanacja front modeled on Italian fascism that was known for its anti-Jewish rhetoric and violence. Later he nonetheless tried to ensure that OWM would not blindly imitate the Italian or German models.



1944

A Soviet "liberation" The 1st Ukrainian Front captured Radovel northwest of Korosten and came within 18 miles of the pre-war Polish border


Operation Tempest was launched:. It consisted of a series of Polish anti-Nazi uprisings launched during World War II by the largest resistance movement in Poland, the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK). Operation Tempest (Polish: akcja „Burza”, sometimes referred in English as Operation Storm) was a series of anti-Nazi uprisings conducted during World War II by the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK), the dominant force in the Polish resistance. The Polish resistance planned on seizing control of Nazi-occupied Polish cities and regions while the German armies were preparing their their defenses against the advancing Soviet Red Army. The civil authorities of the Polish underground anticipated taking back power before the arrival of the Soviets.



1945

Allies Raided Nuremberg: RAF bombers conducted heavy raids on Nuremberg and Ludwigshafen; in both cities over 2,300 tons of bombs were dropped. Some ninety percent of Nuremberg's old medieval town center was destroyed.


1947
(additional entry for January 2)

The Milch Trial was the second of 12 trials of the United States Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (not to be confused with the Nuremberg Trials). It was also called the "Subsequent Nuremberg Trials". In this trial, held from January 2 to April 14, 1947, SS Nazi Field Marshal of the Luftwaffe Erhard Milch was accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Among the charges against Milch was his involvement in the use of prisoners as slave labor in Nazi German enterprises, subjecting prisoners to fatal medical experiments, and forcing prisoners to participate in war operations in violation of the Geneva convention. On April 17, 1947, Milch was sentenced to life imprisonment at Rebdorf Prison, near Munich. However, in 1951 his sentence was commuted to 15 years of imprisonment.  Then, in June 1954 he was paroled and became a free man. He lived the rest of his life n Dusseldorf, and died in 1972.