World War II in the News is a review of WWII articles providing thought-provoking collection of hand-picked WW2 information.

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If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series.

German POWs

German World War II POWs (Prisoners of War) and POW camps in US, UK.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.

The Great German Escape: Network of tunnels dug by 84 Nazis who escaped from a WWII Welsh PoW camp
Seven decades ago a whole hut of captured Axis officers descended underground during the Second World War and executed a brazen getaway in a scene reminiscent of The Great Escape. Now the incredible story of the 84 Germans who escaped from the prisoner of war camp in Bridgend, South Wales, on March 10, 1945 has been retold after their hidden tunnel was discovered and excavated. Scientists and historians have entered the deserted Camp 198 `Island Farm` to examine the only remnant of it, Hut 9, where the cunning plan was hatched - and a false wall was built to hide the soil they dug to form the tunnel.
(dailymail.co.uk)

Classic turn-based strategy games: Conflict-Series
If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include Axis Balkan Campaign, D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, and the Battle of Bulge. In addition to WWII some other time periods include Korean War, American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War. The more complex campaigns like Operation Sea Lion, Invasion of Norway, and Invasion of Japan 1945, include Naval element and handling logistics of supply flow.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store since 2011)

German WWII PoW leaves 384,000 Pounds to Perthshire village
A German soldier has left £384,000 in his will to the Perthshire village where he was held as a WWII POW. Heinrich Steinmeyer was 19 when he was captured in France and held in the PoW camp at Cultybraggan by Comrie. Steinmeyer left the money in return for the kindness he was shown there. His will reads: "Herewith, I would like to express my gratitude to the people of Scotland for the kindness and generosity that I have experienced in Scotland during my imprisonment of war and hereafter." Comrie Development Trust has launched a consultation on how the money should be used. Andrew Reid said: "Throughout his captivity, Heinrich Steinmeyer was very struck by the kindness shown to him Scottish people, which he had not expected. After the war, he visited Comrie and made lasting friendships in the village."
(bbc.com)

German soldier escaped from a US POW, took on a new identity, and was never caught
Georg Gärtner was a German soldier of World War II who escaped from a prisoner of war camp in the United States, took on a new identity, and was never recaptured, though he did reveal his true identity some 40 years later. Gärtner was never caught by the authorities, but came forward 40 years later in 1985, "surrendering" to Bryant Gumbel on the Today Show. He effectively became the last World War II German prisoner of war in America.
(wikipedia.org)

Daring Escape of Two German POWs Down The Mississippi River During WWII
The story of two World War Two German POW escaping in Minnesota has been uncovered more than 70 years later. Prison camps had been established across the US to house German and Axis POWs during World War Two. In Minnesota a prison work camp had been established as a lumber camp on the banks of Lake Winnibigoshish, holding just over 200 prisoners. It was during the night of Sunday, 29th October 1944, when a regular evening bed check was being conducted, that prison guards realized two German prisoners were missing. German prisoners Corporal Heinz Schymalla, 22, and Walter Mai, 21 had escaped.
(warhistoryonline.com)

The German POWs Who Lived, Worked, and Loved in Texas
Some went to work as hospital orderlies. Others picked cotton, baled hay, or tilled soil, living in accommodations near farmland. They ate dinner with families and caught the eyes of single women, running off with them whenever and however they could. The only thing separating the visitors from the locals of Hearne, Texas was the `PW` insignia stitched into their clothing—that, and the fact many couldn`t speak English. The men were Germans who had been captured by Allied forces, and from 1943 through 1945, more than 400,000 of them were sent to the US for detention in barracks. Between 500 and 600 centers were set up across the country, but many of the prisoners wound up in Texas because of the available space and warm climate. Almost overnight, the people experienced a kind of cruel magic trick. Their loved ones had disappeared while captured Germans materialized in their place, taking on the role of laborer.
(mentalfloss.com)

How many of German POWs became a welcome part of British society and had the time of their lives
Hitler may never have invaded Britain, yet 1939-1945, Essex was occupied by thousands of German and Italian soldiers. Soldiers in what became known as `Hitler`s last army`, they were the prisoners-of-war, who lived in camps scattered round the county, often working on local farms or or in factories. They were the enemy, yet they became part of the scenery, and in many cases they were friends to the communities where they were imprisoned. A new book, Hitler`s Last Army, provides a comprehensive survey of the POW camps in Essex and elsewhere. Overall, testimonies by POWs build up into a heartwarming tale.
(halsteadgazette.co.uk)

How Britain tortured German POWs until they signed sign a confession for use in war crimes prosecutions
The German SS officer was fighting to save himself from the gallows for a war crime and might say anything to escape the noose. But Fritz Knöchlein was not lying in 1946 when he claimed that, in captivity in London, he had been tortured by British soldiers to force a confession out of him. It was in 2005 during my work as a reporter that I came across a mention of a WWII detention centre known as the London Cage. It took a number of Freedom Of Information requests before government files were handed over. From these, a sinister world unfolded — of a torture centre that the British military operated throughout the Forties, in complete secrecy, in the heart of one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in the capital.
(dailymail.co.uk)

Darkest atrocities of the Nazis laid bare in the secretly recorded conversations of German POWs
Some of the most brutal atrocities of the Nazis at war are laid bare in secretly recorded conversations of captured German soldiers published in Britain for the first. The POWs, mostly ordinary soldiers, sailors and airmen (as opposed to SS hardliners), are overheard bragging about shooting women and children for sport as well as violating and slaughtering civilians. But unbeknown to them, British and U.S. intelligence were eavesdropping on them. Transcripts made from the candid recordings sat gathering dust on the shelves of the National Archives in Kew, until they were picked up by historian Sönke Neitzel in 2001. His book "Soldiers; diaries of fighting, killing and dying", caused a sensation when it was published in Germany, and now it will be published in English for the first time.
(dailymail.co.uk)

380,000 WWII German POWs in the USA were well fed and looked after so as to illustrate democracy
380,000 WWII German POWs in the USA were well fed and looked after so as to illustrate democracy, is one of the claims that has been made by numerous historians and it now appears as though Hitler acknowledged this. Many of Hitler`s conversations were recorded in short hand by his personal secretary Martin Bormann. Führer commented that Rommel should be thankful that the Africa Corp became POWs of the Americans and not the Russians. Hitler went on, that the Africa Corp will grow fat on rich American rations and implies they would be in danger of losing the National Socialist ardour.
(christiantoday.com)

WWII veteran Ted Lesniak recalls guarding German Afrika Korps POWs
When Ted Lesniak arrived at Camp Wheeler, Ga., he initially had more than a few misgivings about guarding the 2,000 German Afrika Korps soldiers. Actually, a more accurate description of his role was protecting, rather than guarding: "You were there to protect them from crazy civilians if somebody wanted to come and kill a Nazi." Most of his job involved watching over POWs who`d volunteered to work in local farm fields: "The farmers just loved them to death, they were such good workers. The remarkable thing was that they all knew what to do. I didn`t have to do anything. Just stay out of the way." Lesniak recalled spending much of his supervision time in a truck cab (reading, writing letters or sleeping) as the POWs worked. He stuck his carbine ammo in his pocket and left instructions to be awakened if anyone saw another Army vehicle approaching.
(cleveland.com)

Tunnel, used by German WWII POWs to escape, is still intact in Swanwick, UK
Five German POWs spent weeks tunnelling out of the place, leading to a film being made about their exploits. But many people do not know the history behind Hayes Conference Centre, near Swanwick, which was turned into a makeshift POW camp during WWII. Now, as the venue celebrates its 100th anniversary, it has emerged that the tunnel the Germans used to escape is still intact. Tony Travis explained: "Considering how old it is it`s in quite good condition. There are a few tree roots poking through and it can be a bit claustrophobic but it`s holding up well." Brian Cupples added: "Few know the place was requisitioned as a major PoW camp in WWII. All five were recaptured, but Luftwaffe fighter pilot Franz von Werra escaped again, from Canada, and made it back to Germany."
(thisisderbyshire.co.uk)

60-min radio documentary "Enemy Lines: The Story of German POWs in America" planned
"Enemy Lines: The Story of German POWs in America" - a 60-minute radio documentary which aims to bring to life a moment in history when 400,000 German soldiers landed on American shores - is in its earliest stages. The documentary will consist of two 30-minute segments. The first part focuses on the experience of German POWs in South Carolina at the height of wartime. The second part takes place in Texas and concerns the German POW camp at Hearne, Texas, which was one of the largest in the country.
(scnow.com)

German POW letters recall good times in England, starvation in post-war Germany, food parcels sent by a British farmer
Over 4,000 German officers were held at Camp 18 at Featherstone, and the POWs often worked on local farms. Thomas Moore has discovered letters the POWs sent to his father after they had returned home. In one letter, Hans Taubert tells how he had a "lovely time" on the farm and that he would "like to be in merry old England once more" because of the terrible conditions in Germany. He writes that food is scarce and asks if Archie Moore could send a parcel. A second letter thanks Moore for a parcel and says his wife wept when it arrived.
(journallive.co.uk)

Wehrmacht POW, who stayed in Britain after the war ended, reunites with sister after 80 years
When Heinz Roestel was separated from his sister Edith, he little thought it would be almost 80 years before he saw her again. Nor did the German soldier expect that when he did, he would be using an interpreter because he had forgotten his native tongue. Separated when their mother died, Heinz lost all contact with Edith after he joined the Wehrmacht, ending up in a POW camp in Scotland in 1945. Thousands of POWs stayed in Britain after the war because Germany`s eastern border was shifted west. "I didn`t have a place to stay in Germany. I would have had to go back to the Russian sector, so I decided to remain here."
(reuters.com)

Man unearths WWII POW camp - and 2,000 items like German dog tags - in his back garden in Hertfordshire, UK
Turning over the soil in his back garden, David Murray saw something shiny: a World War II dog tag from a German POW. Digging a little deeper he discovered a treasure trove of WWII memorabilia. The 2,000 items include coins featuring Nazi emblems, dog tags, uniform buttons and even a live grenade. The edge of his rented bungalow is on the site of a WWII POW camp that once contained 10,000 people. The Wynches Camp opened in 1939 and held Italian POWs, but later took Germans. It was also used for Allied training and housed American soldiers and Gurkha units as they prepared for war.
(dailymail.co.uk)

Canadian Escapades - Klaus Conrad escaped from 3 different Allied POW camps
On April 10th, 1941 German Air Force officer Klaus Conrad was shot down in his plane over England and captured as a POW - and sent to Canada in 1942. In "Canadian Escapades: The true story of the author`s 3 escapes from WW2 POW camps" he tells the story of his three different escapes, each from a different Allied POW camp using different tricks. His third escape takes him 2,000 miles across Canada and into the US - Battling the elements and facing injury, cold, hunger and thirst.
(can-esc.com)

Wiltshire Heritage Museum in public appeal to collect funds to buy German POW diary
Wiltshire Heritage Museum has launched a public appeal in a bid to buy a diary full of watercolour drawings and recollections from a German WWII POW. The unknown captive created the 56-page memoir while being held at Le Marchant Camp in Devizes 1944-1946. It includes a map of the 7,500-man camp, and translators are interpreting the text as organisers aim to id the author and raise the 900 pounds asking price to keep it. Unprecedented and often funny revelations on life inside Le Marchant feature, including stories of the terrible food on offer and transactions between inmates using cigarettes as currency.
(culture24.org.uk)

How German POWs got crafty, making toys for children of their captors
Locked up in a foreign country, faraway from home, German soldiers would whittle away at wood making unique toys to pass the time. Now these WWII toys, made at East Cams POW camp in Portchester have gone on display at a museum in Fareham. The toys are part of the Hampshire Hidden Treasures display at Westbury Manor Museum. Some of the toys were made as gifts for the employees, while other, much older ones were sold as gifts to members of the public. Curator Tom de Wit said: "These are very personal items and full of character. Think about a prisoner - an enemy soldier ... making these wonderful objects for the children of their captors."
(portsmouth.co.uk)

Member of the Hitler Youth SS 12th Panzer Division leaves life savings to village where he was kept POW
He was a soldier in one of the most fanatical SS divisions in Adolf Hitler`s war machine: Hitler Youth SS 12th Panzer Division, whose members were recruited from the ranks of the Hitler Youth. So Heinrich Steinmeyer expected little mercy as he was captured by British troops in Caen. But he was treated decently by both the troops and the guards at the Scottish POW camp where he was kept. 65 years later grateful Steinmeyer has promised to leave his life savings (430,000 pounds) to senior residents of Comrie. He was held at Cultybraggan camp - notorious after the inmates (mostly ardent Nazis) hanged one of their own 1944 after accusing him of leaking an escape plot.
(dailymail.co.uk)

P.O. Box 1142: Secret World War II POW interrogation facility at Fort Hunt
The work done at P.O. Box 1142, the codename of a WW2-era POW facility at Fort Hunt speaks volumes today. 1942-1946 military interrogators questioned 3,400 POWs and 500 key Nazi scientists as part of Operation Paperclip. The staff at P.O. Box 1142 learned about German advances in jet engine technology, rocketry and weapons systems. The mostly Jewish-American interrogators got loads of information without any kind of physical damage. "The information that these people... got was invariably reliable because they used professional and psychological techniques... They took long walks with them... and related to them on a personal level," explained Jim Moran.
(alextimes.com)

Top secret POW compound Camp 165 held u-boat ace Otto Kretschmer, Max Wunsche
Camp 165, located in a remote Highlands village, was a place so secret that not even the people living there knew what was happening. The Scottish POW camp held some of the most infamous, top-ranking Nazi officers in high-security confinement long after the Second World War was over. The high-profile German POWs met various fates after the war: Submarine ace Otto Kretschmer (the most successful Ace of the Deep) later became Chief Of Staff of NATO Command for the Baltic Approaches. Max Wunsche, Iron Cross winner who served in Hitler`s personal escort detachament, became the manager of an industrial plant in Wuppertal, Germany.
(thesun.co.uk)

Ernie Ridgway recalls serving as a a guard at the "u-boat hotel", Franz von Werra
Ernie Ridgway recalls his time at Grizedale Hall in Cumbria in UK, where he looked after German officers and soldiers at the place known as Special Camp No.1 - nicknamed the U-Boat Hotel. He was there from 1940 and it was a place filled with stories - especially the attempted escape of Franz von Werra, whose story (he was moved to Canada where he escaped and travelled back to Nazi Germany) was made into the film "The One That Got Away". German officers would be graded white, grey or black. White: the person had no loyalty to the Nazi regime and had no interest in National Socialism. Black meant an ardent Nazi, and most U-Boat officers were graded black.
(nwemail.co.uk)

Wrecker`s ball hovers over WWII POW camp that housed top Nazi officers
In the attic of Building 4 at 2020 Lambs Rd. in Bowmanville, there`s a pile of dirt. Stashed there by POWs of Camp 30 in 1943 and left untouched for 65 years, it`s evidence of how Nazi POWs once attempted to dig their way out. Historian Lynn Philip Hodgson dreads the day that a bulldozer razes Building 4, along with the rest of the only intact camp for German POWs left in the world. Camp 30 is the only one used by the Allies to hold high-ranking Nazi officers. Among them was a top U-boat commander Hitler wanted to rescue by sending an u-boat down the St. Lawrence River. Over 8 months, POWs dug a 90m passage into a field, placing the earth in the attic of "Haus IV."
(thestar.com)

German POW still haunted by World War II memories
When Gerhard Hennes, author of 3 books about his WWII experiences, was moved to a POW camp in Crossville, he had no idea that his view on life would be changed forever. It was in a movie house in 1945 that he first saw what Germans had been doing to the Jews. "We saw the emaciated bodies and the empty eyes of the survivors. We saw the mass graves, we saw the ovens where people had been put to death by the thousands. None of us had been aware of the concentration camps, though many of you may find that hard to believe. On that glorious day... in one profound transformation, I turned from being a hero to being a villain."
(herald-citizen.com)

The French forced German POWs to clear minefields after WWII, killing thousands
For Herbert Flemming, the end of World War II marked the beginning of the most dangerous era of his life. The German POW, an electrician in the Luftwaffe, was put to work clearing mines - regardless of whether the mines had been set up by the Wehrmacht or by the French army. With no proper training and without decent gear, POWs risked their lives with every move. Flemming`s friend Rudi Nohr died during the first mission. "Herbert, stay back where you are, don`t move," Rudi shouted. Then the mine blew up. It`s unknown how many POWs were used to clear minefields 1945-1947, or how many died. Historian Rüdiger Overmans figures that 50,000 POWs were used, and 1,800 died.
(spiegel.de)

German tank commander fell for America during stay in POW camp
Tank Commander Walter Foertsch awoke one morning to see his unit encircled by troops of British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery`s 8th Army. "As far as you could see... there were Allied troops and armor." His commander told to lower tank cannons and prepare to surrender. The war was over for the men of the German Afrika Korps, led by "Desert Fox" Erwin Rommel. Since England was being used as a staging area for the invasion of Europe, U.S. housed POWs captured by the British Army. Michael Waters, a professor and archaeologist has written book "Lone Star Stalag: German prisoners of War At Camp Hearne." "The book is extremely accurate..." said Foertsch.
(ocala.com)

Nazi POWs in the Tar Heel State by Robert D. Billinger
Over 10,000 German POWs were interned in 18 camps in North Carolina during the Second World War. Yet apart from the guards, civilian workers, and FBI and local police who tracked Nazi escapees, most people were unaware of their presence. Using interviews with former prisoners and their guards, U.S. military reports, camp newspapers, local media, letters, memoirs, and other archival sources, Robert Billinger is the first to record in detail the German POW experience in North Carolina. He shows how the stereotype that all Germans were Nazis evolved over time.
(barnesandnoble.com)

English woman and German WWII PoW celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary
An English woman and a German PoW who risked the anger of their friends by falling in love at the end of the WWII are marking their diamond wedding anniversary. Margaret Stratton faced huge controversy when she started going out with captured German soldier Peter Roth, a PoW who was 6 years her junior. The couple met in January 1945 as World War II was still going on, defying public opinion and official resistance to marry. "There is no doubt that the Nazis and the SS committed many atrocities. But I didn`t fight for Hitler, I fought for Germany, my homeland, which had been so badly treated after WW1."
(dailymail)

Former POW and Luftwaffe officer Heinrich Willert travels back to Niagara
Heinrich Willert is fielding questions about his past: his capture as a Luftwaffe officer and how he ended up at Fort Niagara as a POW. He`s talking about his first impressions: "America is a rich land. A very, very rich land in comparison to Germany." And his face-to-face talk with a local farmer, on the day in May 1945 when Nazi Germany ceded. The farmer had told him of the news and added: "You`re all criminals because of the concentration camps." Willert summoned all the English swear words he knew. Then the American took a step back: "I`m sorry. I never meant to hurt you. Come inside and have a meal."
(niagara-gazette)

Former enemies stand together to honor WWII German POWs   (Article no longer available from the original source)
German U-boat commander Werner Henke was shot in an attempt to escape from his American enemies. He was among Axis POWs captured while fighting for the Nazis. But now U.S. and German military officers shook hands over his grave. This tradition has lasted over 3 decades, bringing together members of the German Embassy, the Fort Meade command group and the German Wives Club to remember the 58 POWs who arrived at Fort Meade in 1943, and the 33 who died in captivity. Henke is the only officer among the 33 German soldiers buried in Fort Meade`s Post Cemetery. The ceremony was simultaneous to Germany`s National Day of Mourning, similar to Memorial Day.
(examiner)

German POWs taught Hampshire boy life lessons   (Article no longer available from the original source)
As a young paperboy during the 1940s, 11yo John Fenzel got to mingle with German prisoners of war held at a camp in Hampshire. Since Fenzel delivered newspapers to the camp, it made perfect sense that he would chat up the POWs. "They were a sharp group, believe me, they were sharp." Fenzel told of how one of the prisoners, Hans Finkel, who had been going for a doctorate in English took the youth under his wing and became his English tutor. For 2 hours every night, Finkel tutored Fenzel, and the youngster turned his performance around so dramatically that the nuns questioned whether Fenzel was doing his own homework.
(dailyherald)

Anniversary of the Salina Tragedy: German POWs killed by US guard
July 8, is the 62nd anniversary of what military historians have called "The Salina Tragedy," when 9 German POWs were killed by a U.S. Army prison guard. The incident happened shortly after midnight, 2 months after the surrender of Nazi Germany, when the prisoners were waiting to be repatriated. Private Clarence Bertucci relieved the guard of a watchtower and proceeded to fire a .30 caliber machine gun into the tents used to accommodate the prisoners. The spray of bullets penetrated 30 tents. He killed 6 men on site, and 3 died later. 20 more were wounded. Fellow guards overpowered Bertucci as he reloaded.
(richfieldreaper)

German POWs and American guards share stories of captivity   (Article no longer available from the original source)
"When you get captured, it`s an awful moment," said Hermann Blumhardt, a first gunner on a heavy machine gun in Nazi Germany’s 10th Panzer Division during World War Two. "I knew that being a POW is the lowest point in a soldier`s life. You`re at the mercy of your captors and you`re cut off from your homeland." During World War II, 6,000 German soldiers, many from the famed Afrika Korps, were imprisoned in the small Aliceville town. Now former POWs and guards travelled back to Aliceville for the annual Camp Aliceville Reunion to visit and swap stories about events that have now become history.
(tuscaloosanews)

Documentary Hitler`s Canadians: Nazi escape from Canada to U.S.
Escape from Canada to the neutral ground of the US was the goal of many imprisoned Nazis during the early years of World War II. A total of 40,000 captured Nazis were dumped into Canadian POW camps, where it was hoped they would be too far away from Europe to cause any real trouble. The presence of Nazis on Canadian soil didn`t get a lot of publicity, since the govt didn`t want to cause a panic. "But once they started escaping, that became a real scandal. ... All the prisoners were perceived as Nazis, and not all of them were, necessarily. But there were some pretty tough characters running around loose. In war time that was a real fear."
(canoe)

German soldier survived eastern front, Russian POW camp   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Ernest Franck grew up in Berlin and joined the German navy in the 1943. He was eventually transferred to the army and the Russian front before winding up in a Russian POW camp. "I still wake up sometimes and get all of those various remembrances of the war. War to me is dumb, in all honesty," he said, noting only four of his 15 schoolmates survived the fighting. In Dec 1944, Mr. Franck was promoted to lieutenant. "Then I got a transferred to the eastern front near Budapest," he said. When he arrived, his company that was supposed to have 300 soldiers had been decimated to 75 people.
(thechronicleherald)

Were Nazis Tortured in World War II?
How one answers the question depends on how one defines torture and a "Nazi." There were 3 main groups under which a "Nazi POW" held by U.S. forces could fall: (1) a National Socialist Party or German-American Bund member living in the US, captured after the attack on Pearl Harbor, (2) a captured Nazi soldier who was sent to PoW camps inside the US, or (3) a Nazi soldier who was held inside Europe after Nazi Germany was occupied. -- Jacques Bacque argued that Eisenhower’s misdeeds led to the starvation of over 800,000 German POWs. He claimed that Einsehower got around the Geneva Conventions by changing the status from PoWs to "Disarmed Enemy Combatant."
(hnn)

Axis soldiers, as PoWs, harvested Minnesota fields   (Article no longer available from the original source)
O.J. Odegard was the first in Minnesota to request the help of Axis prisoners of war when he asked for 100 captured Italians on July 23, 1943. There was a serious labor shortage because of WWII. Odegard paid the going rate for farmhands, $3 per day, but the Italians got only 80 cents a day after the government took its share. By 1945 there were 21 camps in Minnesota holding more than 3,000 POWs, most of them from Nazi Germany. There is a book on this topic: "Swords Into Plowshares: Minnesota`s POW Camps During World War II" by Dean Simmons.
(startribune)

Polish henchmen to lose pension - 1500 German PoWs killed   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Polish Minister of Defence announced steps to deprive perpetrators of the gravest communist period crimes of their pensions, which are five times higher than regular. The action mostly embraces high military intelligence officers. Salomon Morel, the commandant of the camp for German POWs on whose orders over 1500 prisoners perished after the war. Helena Wolinska who passed the death sentence on general August Fieldorf, one of the legends of the anti-Nazi resistance. Witold Kochan, responsible for bestial torture of hundreds of members of the Home Army fighting against the Nazis during World War Two.
(polskieradio)