The absurdity of Poland`s Holocaust law
Poland to criminalize the term "Polish death camps" and other expressions implying that the Polish nation was responsible for Auschwitz and other camps built by German Nazis. There were individual Poles who did terrible things to Jews during the war and afterward, just as there were individual Poles who did heroic things. The debate about how much Poland, as a nation, bears responsibility for these individual crimes has gone on for a long time and has had depressing, as well as uplifting, aspects.
200,000 Polish children abducted during World War II still seeking truth
Up to 200,000 Polish children were kidnapped from orphanages or snatched from their parents and then forcibly Germanized during World War II.
Polish resistance fighter battled Nazis from cover of forest
"There were three German divisions, 30,000 soldiers, and 3,000 partisans. The Germans had support from artillery and its air force. We had no heavy equipment," Jozef Zawitkowski recalled. At one point, he captured a German who revealed how Luftwaffe pilots knew where to drop bombs on the partisan units, despite the cover of the forest canopy. "The German ground forces shot rocket pistols that exploded in different colors. The color red identified the position of the partisans below. The color green warned the pilots that they were approaching German units." With that knowledge, the resistance started shooting rocket pistols that exploded in the color green. But despite the ruse, the enemy`s overwhelming numbers succeeded in encircling the partisans, whose forces included Russian units that by 1944 had also infiltrated the region.
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)
Polish historian presented evidence about Polish villagers` widespread killing of Jews fleeing Nazis
A Polish historian presented evidence about Polish villagers` widespread killing of Jews fleeing Nazis, touching a raw nerve in a country still grappling with its role during the Holocaust. The research is likely to irk the nationalist Polish government, which has taken aim at those seeking to undermine its official stance that Poles were only heroes in the war, not collaborators who committed heinous crimes. In launching the English-language version of her book, "Such a Beautiful Sunny Day," Barbara Engelking details dozens of cases of Poles raping Jewish women and bludgeoning Jews to death with axes, shovels and rocks
Officers who saved 75 tons of Polish gold in WWII buried in Warsaw
Two Polish army officers who saved 75 tonnes of gold from being seized by enemy forces in World War II. Government officials and members of the public turned out to pay their respects to the men, Colonel Ignacy Matuszewski and Major Henryk Floyar-Rajchman. Their remains were transported to Poland from the US. In 1939, the year Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, the two officers carried out a successful operation to save gold from the Polish central bank. They transported it through Romania, Turkey and Syria to France, where the Polish government-in-exile was based at the time.
Battle of Wizna: 800 Polish soldiers held off 42,000 Nazi soldiers for three days
The Battle of Wizna was fought between September 7 and September 10. It is often known as `the Polish Thermopylae` – a reference to the 300 Spartans who bravely held off an enormous Persian army in Ancient Greece. According to Polish historian Leszek Moczulski, between 350 and 720 Poles defended a fortified line for three days against more than 40,000 Germans. Although defeat was inevitable, the Polish defense stalled the attacking forces for days and postponed the encirclement of Independent Operational Group Narew, which was fighting nearby.
Soviet troop monuments in Poland to be relocated to new museum in s small town
More than 200 monuments marking the Soviet army`s liberation of Poland at the end of WW2 are to be moved to an open-air museum. They were erected to glorify the Red Army`s role in ousting the Nazis. But many Poles say it also ushered in four decades of Soviet-inspired communism, and want the monuments to be displayed in historical context. The plan could anger Russia, which has not been consulted. The Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) proposes to house the monuments in a park in the former Soviet base at Borne Sulinowo, a small town north-west of Warsaw, where they will be used for the purpose of teaching history.
Intact V2 Rocket Head Found in Poland
In Dobryninie in South East Poland a valuable discovery has been made, the remains of a V2 Rocket that crashed there in 1944 has been found! They were able to locate it thanks to Roman Rusin who, after keeping it quiet for years, decided to reveal the secret that his father, Colonel of the Home Army – Alexander Rusin, guarded for over 70 years. Rusin, being with the partisans in the surrounding forests, noted how the launched rocket broke into two parts. One part fell a kilometer away in so-called Węgliskach, while the front part of the crashed here. The first part of the rocket was hidden by partisans in the fall of 1944, the head of the V2 Rocket lay here for over 70 years.
Poland may sue Jewish professor over claim Poles killed more Jews than Nazis
Polish prosecutors opened a libel probe against a US historian after he claimed Poles killed more Jews than Germans during WW2. German newspaper Die Welt ran an article by the Polish-born Princeton University professor Jan T Gross in which he sought to explain Poland`s wariness of accepting Syrian migrants by referring to anti-Semitism during the war. `The Poles, for example, were indeed rightfully proud of their society`s resistance against the Nazis, but in fact did kill more Jews than Germans during the war,` wrote the 68-year-old Jewish historian. Warsaw historian Andrzej Paczkowski, a council member of the National Remembrance Institute (IPN), said he `would not be totally surprised if Gross were right. But his vision of things runs counter to the heroic image Poles have of themselves.`
The vast network of 72-year-old bunkers known as Project Riese is located in the Sowie Mountains in Lower Silesia
These images show a series of underground tunnels constructed by the Nazis in Poland during the Second World War. The vast network of tunnels and underground bunkers is located in the Sowie Mountains in Lower Silesia and forms the so-called Project Riese - a top secret operation, the purpose of which is shrouded in ambiguity to this day. Thousands of POWs - including children as young as 10 - were worked to death constructing the tunnels, with many of them surviving little more than a few months as the Nazi officers forced them to work them 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Rare photographs of Nazi-occupied Poland
Rare Pictures of Nazi-occupied Poland during Holocaust.
Poklosie, a film depicting Polish village residents who massacred their Jewish neighbors, touches nerve in Poland
A film about a Polish village whose residents help massacre their Jewish neighbors has forced Poles to confront one of the most troubling episodes of their past. Most historians take the view that during the war the majority of Christian Poles were victims of the Nazi aggression. "Poklosie," or "Aftermath," touches on a subject that many Poles prefer not to discuss - cases where Poles were killing Jews. Jewish groups have joined Poland`s artistic community and many younger, liberal Poles in applauding the film for lifting the lid on a taboo. Others say it is blackening Poland`s name by portraying its people unfairly as Nazi collaborators.
Photographs from the Nazi-occupied Poland, 1939-1940
Why would Hugo Jaeger, a photographer dedicated to lionizing Hitler and the "triumphs" of the Third Reich, choose to immortalize conquered Jews in Warsaw and Kutno (a small town in Poland) in such an uncharacteristic, intimate manner? Most German photographers working in the same era as Jaeger focused on the Wehrmacht; on Nazi leaders; and on the military victories the Reich was enjoying in the earliest days of the World War II. The photographs that Jaeger made in the German ghettos in occupied Poland convey almost nothing of the triumphalism seen in so many of his other photographs. Here there is virtually no German military presence at all. We see the devastation in the landscape of the German invasion of Poland, but very little of the `master race` itself.
Ignacy Skowron, the last known Polish soldier of WWII opening battle, dies at 97
Major Ignacy Skowron, the last known Polish survivor of the opening battle of World War II, has passed away at the age of 97. Skowron, at the time a corporal, was one of some 200 Polish troops guarding a military depot at Westerplatte, near the city of Gdansk, when it came under heavy fire from a German warship, the Schlezwig-Holstein. Cut from any supplies or reinforcements, the Poles held out for seven days in the face of attack by more than 1,500 Nazi German troops from land, sea and air, but were eventually captured as POWs.
Every Polish Town Had Own Holocaust - Teaching the Truth About Destroyed Jewish Communities
Every Polish village had its own Holocaust. That`s what Zuzanna Radzik wants hildren to learn. Her task is not easy. Although Polish children are taught about the Holocaust, they don`t learn what happened in their own towns. The killing did not just happen in the Nazi death camps that they are taught about, it also took place in little known towns like Stoczek Wegrowski where 188 Jews were shot to death on September 22, 1942. Jews comprised as much as 70% of the population in some villages in prewar Poland. "We bring history to children in towns and villages who have never met a Jew or seen a synagogue. When we show them where the ghetto was in their town and that Jews were killed there, it all becomes real."
Goralenvolk: Hitler`s Polish Highland collaborators revealed in new book
Goralenvolk was a concept invented by the occupying Nazi regime just weeks after the invasion of Poland. Nazi authorities persuaded inhabitants of the southern Podhale region that they were not Slavs, but descendants of wandering German tribes. In spite of the fact that the region had been romanticised by artists as a cradle of Polishness. As many as 27,000 highlanders (18%) signed up for identity cards as Goralen (Highlanders). Wojciech Szatkowski, author of "Goralenvolk: Historia Zdrady" (Goralenvolk: A History of Betrayal), first explored the subject in the 1990s as his masters thesis. For him, the theme is more than just history, as his grandfather, Henryk Szatkowski, was one of the ringleaders of the collaborative Highlanders` Committee.
Poland marks the 70th anniversary of a series of massacres committed by Poles against their Jewish neighbors
Ceremonies are taking place in Poland to mark the 70th anniversary of a series of massacres committed by Poles against their Jewish neighbors. Jacob Baker, who survived the massacre which took place in the town of Jedwabne, can still remember the cries of innocent Jewish villagers: "It was the most horrible day, because people were dragged out of their houses: men, women, infants, children. They were beaten and blood was shed. In the barn they were locked up, and they spilled gasoline from the roof. This scream was terrible. This cry should be heard even after their death."
"When we finish, nobody is left alive" - Nazi Germany`s occupation of Poland
Adolf Hitler left no doubt about his goal before he ordered the invasion of Poland. Addressing generals at a reception on August 22, 1939, Hitler said he was not interested "in reaching a specific line or a new border." He wanted "the destruction of the enemy." On September 1, 1939, German soldiers marched across the border. The Wehrmacht advanced so quickly that the Polish government fled to Romania just 16 days later. On September 27, the defenders of Warsaw gave up. 9 days later, the last remaining Polish troops laid down their weapons. The task of carrying out Hitler`s occupation plan fell to Hans Frank, a 39-year-old lawyer, Nazi Party member and keen advocate of the Nazis` vision of racial purity.
WWII Myth: The Polish cavalry charge against German tanks
f you want to wind up a Pole of a certain age, there is no better way than quoting the old WW2 myth about Polish lancers charging at German panzer divisions. The story feeds a stereotype about Polish men being hopelessly romantic idiots who would ride their horses at big steel tanks. The most likely origin of the myth is a skirmish at the village of Krojanty on the first day of the Nazi invasion of Poland. Polish lancers, whose units had still not been motorised, did indeed charge a Wehrmacht infantry battalion but were forced to retreat under heavy machine gun fire. By the time war correspondents got there, some tanks had arrived and they joined the dots themselves.
Huge WWII concrete shelter designed to protect Hitler`s train is a tourist attraction in Poland
Enormous concrete tunnel - build to protect both normal Nazi trains and the special train of Adolf Hitler called "Amerika" - is one of the landmarks of south-eastern Poland. The railway shelter, located in Stepina near Frysztak, is a popular attraction for tourists interested the Nazi-era structures and ruins.
The railway structure is part of Anlage Süd - one of the four Führer Headquarters located in Poland. Hitler and Mussolini met there on 27–28 August 1941 to talk about the war against the Soviet Union.
To get a better idea of its location see this map about Hitler`s Headquaters.
No Greater Ally: The Untold Story of Poland`s Forces in World War II by Kenneth Koskodan
The story of the fourth largest Allied military of the war remains largely untold. "No Greater Ally" tries to increase the awareness of the part Poles had during the Second World War. With unpublished first-hand accounts and rare photographs, Kenneth Koskodan reveals both the devastation the war brought to Poland, and the scale of the final betrayal when Poland was handed to the Soviet Union after six years of combat on many theaters of war.
Poles dug up death camp mass graves for gold claims Jan Gross in his new book Golden Harvest
A book that claims Poles profited from the persecution of the Jews by looting mass graves and turning people over to the Nazis has ignited an international outcry. "Golden Harvest" - by Jan Gross and Irena Grudzinska Gross - claims that Poles dug up human remains at the Treblinka death camp after the World War II in search of gold and diamonds that Nazi executioners might have missed.
Jan Gross` 2001 book "Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland" forced a Polish government commission to admit that Poles - not the Nazis — massacred 1,600 Jewish villagers in Jedwabne. In addition, his 2006 book "Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland after Auschwitz" focused on the 1946 Kielce pogrom, in which up to 40 Jews, who had somehow managed to survive the Second World War, were killed by the local Polish population.
Descendants of Nazi official awarded building he owned in Poland - Who owns buildings on area given from Third Reich to Poland?
A German family has laid claim to a building in Opole, which until 1945 was part of the Third Reich. The Polish tenants in the building have disputed the claim, resulting a bitter battle both in and out of the courts. The tenants have launched an appeal against a court decision to award German Max Merkel, whose family owned the building before parts of Germany were given to Poland in 1945.
Polish pilots were by far the most successful RAF element during the Battle of Britain
A small group of Polish pilots and their mechanics joined the RAF to stop the Nazi onslaught, and a new book - 303 Squadron: The Legendary Battle of Britain Fighter Squadron by Arkady Fiedler and Jarek Garlinski - claims that pilot for pilot, aircraft for aircraft, they were by far the most efficient element of the British airforce.
Book claims Wladyslaw Szpilman - whose story is the basis of the film Pianist - was Nazi collaborator
Wladyslaw Szpilman became a hero in Poland after his survival story in the Warsaw ghetto was told in the film Pianist. But a new book - Accused: Wiera Gran by Agata Tuszynska - cites Wiera Gran`s notes which refer Szpilman as a "Gestapo man."
Polish patriot Zofia Korbonski sent WWII radio dispatches from Warsaw
After the Third Reich invaded Poland in 1939, many of Polish leaders left to set up a shadow government abroad. Zofia and Stefan Korbonski, stayed in Warsaw, where Stefan was the chief of civil resistance, directing sabotage operations, while Zofia was in charge of sending coded short-wave radio messages to the world. Poles were forbidden to own or listen to radios, and special Nazi trucks searched for radio signals. "We had 12 radio transmitters. We transmitted from different places throughout the war. I was in charge of organizing the watchers (mostly women) to guard these radio stations," Zofia recalled in 1993.
Poland cuts pensions for Communist-era officials: criminals got higher pensions than their victims
Poland has cut the pensions of 24,000 communist-era officials and secret-police officers because they violated human rights. Their payments are cut by 50%. Poland`s center-right parties have sought to punish communist-era officials for their role in the communist system imposed on Poland. Janusz Kochanowski praised the law, saying it follows "the principles of decency and justice. It cannot be that criminals receive higher pensions... while... their victims are living in poverty." In the 1940s and 1950s, the communist regime tortured and killed thousands of its opponents.
Polish resolution: Soviet invasion was tyrannical - Sets record straight in the face of Russian denials
Poland passed a resolution to officially set the record straight about the start of World War II. "On 17th September, 1939, the army of the USSR commenced hostilities within the territory of the Poland, without formal declaration of war... The basis for the Red Army`s invasion was the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact." Nazi Germany`s blitzkrieg invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939 has never been contested by the German government as an act of aggression that started WW2, but Russia has never officially admitted that the Soviet Union`s invasion of Poland was an act of aggression. The Russians say that it was "liberating" the locals.
Polish soldier Ignacy Skowron recalls the first battle of the Second World War
Few are alive to tell how the German cruiser Schleswig-Holstein bombarded 280mm and 170mm shells at a Polish fort over the Westerplatte peninsula on 1 Sept 1939. Ignacy Skowron, one of the 182 Polish soldiers at the military depot, recalls: "I took the telescope and looked out at the cruiser... At that moment I saw a flash of red and the first shell hit the gate. I grabbed a machine gun. We got the order and we started to fight back... They started to dive-bomb us." After the 7-day battle the German commander Gen Friedrich Eberhardt allowed the Polish commander Maj Sucharski to keep his sabre, saying that "If he had such an army he could fight the whole world."
World War II myth: Polish cavalry versus German tanks
Polish cavalrymen saddle up with lances and sabres, and charge into the Nazi tanks... Hapless Poles facing the invincible Wehtmacht at the start of World War II. It`s a Nazi propaganda myth. Like many WW2 legends, it has basis on a real event, says Christoph Mick. On Sept 1, 1939, 250 Polish cavalrymen charged a German infantry unit at Krojanty. After beating the infantry, they were surprised by German panzers. "When... journalists arrived on the battlefield they were shown the dead horses and cavalrymen and 2 German tanks. The story was made up by Nazi propaganda to show the backwardness of the Polish army."
How SS men staged Gliwice radio station attack to get an excuse to invade Poland
On August 31, 1939, seven SS officers, posing as Polish partisans, attacked the German radio station in Gliwice (Gleiwitz). After the SS team seized the station, SS man Karl Hornack took the microphone and shouted: "Attention! This is Gliwice. The broadcasting station is in Polish hands." Then SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Alfred Naujocks, who set up the operation under orders from Reinhard Heydrich and Heinrich Müller, shot farmer Franz Honiok (dressed in Polish army uniform). The historical events - which gave Nazi leaders the excuse to invade Poland - have mostly been neglected by historians. Even relatives of Franz Honiok have only spoken of the incident in family meetings.
Reporter on her first assigment saw German Panzer Corps preparing to attack Poland
Just days before the start of World War II, a car crossed the border of Poland and Nazi Germany. Inside was a 26-year-old reporter who was about to break the scoop of the century - on her first assignment. All of a sudden Claire Hollingworth saw 65 German motorcycle dispatch riders, who overtook her car. Then she saw hundreds of battle tanks, armoured cars and field artillery – von Rundstedt`s 10th Army and its Panzer Corps – in the valley below, waiting to attack Poland. She filed the story, that appeared on August 29, on The Daily Telegraph`s front page, with headline: "1,000 tanks massed on Polish border. Ten divisions reported ready for swift stroke."
Eva Konopacki, Polish underground member and Order of Virtuti Militari winner, travels back to Warsaw
Eva Konopacki`s voice breaks as she speaks by phone from a luxury hotel in Warsaw - recalling fighting the Nazis in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. As an 18yo soldier she fixed army telephone lines. Shrapnel tore the lines and repair workers were sitting ducks, so Konopacki became a courier instead, earning the highest military honour in Poland, the Order of Virtuti Militari. Polish soldiers defending a convent had lost contact with those inside as German panzers and flame-throwers advanced. Konopacki could see a hole in the convent wall, but the largest of the German tanks, a Tiger, faced the hole, but the heavy cannon couldn`t fire as rapidly as a machine gun.
World War II began when German Luftwaffe bombed Wielun in Poland
World War II began when a German battleship fired a Polish base on the Baltic coast on September 1, 1939. Wrong. On the road into Wielun, a "Welcome to Wielun" sign includes 3 numbers: "4:40". That was the time Luftwaffe attacked, 5 minutes before the battleship Schleswig-Holstein fired a Polish garrison in Danzig, triggering the war. Further raids hit 7:00 am, 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. 75% of the buildings in Wielun were wiped out, and 1,200 inhabitants (of 15,000) were killed. But Wielun`s story is not known outside Poland. It lay 21km from the then Polish-German border, and other than that the reason the Luftwaffe chose it as a target is unclear.
After the war the contributions of Polish cipher experts to the Allied victory went unrecognised
British code-breaker Dillwyn "Dilly" Knox was greatly pleased with the Polish copy of an Enigma - a top secret Nazi military cipher machine. But his meeting with code breakers in Poland in July 1939 - just weeks before Adolf Hitler attacked - had put him in a sour mood. He had been struggling to work out the machine`s wiring. Polish mathematician Marian Rejewski had guessed, correctly, that the wiring between the machine`s keyboard and encoding mechanism were simply in alphabetical order. Of course, there were numerous other problems to solve, but Rejewski had made a major breakthrough, by formulating equations to match permutations in the machine`s settings.
Russian military historian blames Poland for start of the Second World War
A Russian historian blamed Poland for the start of WW2 in 1939 when Warsaw turned down Adolf Hitler`s territorial claims. Military historian Colonel Sergey Kovalov, in an article on the Russian Defense Ministry`s site, said Poland refused to meet Hitler`s moderate claims to incorporate the city of Danzig into Nazi Germany and build the ex-territorial motorway and railway through Poland, adding that it is "hard to regard these claims as unjustified." Kovalov explained that the attack by Soviet Red Army on Poland in September 1939 was acceptable because Josef Stalin had to sign a non-aggression deal with Hitler to delay war with Nazi Germany.
Poland launches Second World War victims database
70 years after the start of the Second World War, Poland will set up a database of 2 million victims of the fighting. The database will be available soon on straty.pl, and will include the location and circumstances of the victims` death. Families will have the possibility to add to the list of victims. Officials hope that the database will expand to 4 million names within a year or two.
Polish World War II veteran, once besieged by Soviets and Nazis, looks back
Aleksander Szekal was tortured by Stalin`s henchmen and attacked by Hitler`s forces. But he pulled through the Soviet Gulags and a battle against the Nazis, and was honoured on his 103d birthday as the oldest living veteran of a Polish unit that helped defeat Wehrmacht in Italy. "Both of these 20th-century ideologies became hell for me," Szekal explained. He lived a life as a lumberjack until 1939, when Hitler and Stalin split eastern Europe with a nonaggression pact and the Soviet Union seized his homeland. Szekal, who had served in the Polish army, was torn from his wife, jailed by Stalin`s secret police and tortured until he admitted "anti-Soviet activity."
Poles demand Britain hands over secret papers on war leader`s death
The Polish government demands access to secret British documents as part of probe into the death of the country`s wartime leader Wladyslaw Sikorski, who died when his RAF Liberator crashed into the sea after taking off from Gibraltar in July 1943. The conspiracy theories have been stimulated by certain British files remaining top-secret, although 65 years have passed. Sikorski had been the target of two assassination attempts, both involving his aircraft. The Czech pilot, the only survivor, was found wearing his lifejacket (he habitually never wore one) and the plane had waited an unusual length of time before it began its take off.
Polish team seeks remains of long-lost Nazi German troops with metal detectors
The skulls emerged as the diggers worked knee-deep in the white sand of a pine forest on Poland`s Baltic Sea coast. "It`s time for these soldiers to rest in peace, with dignity," said Jerzy Romel, a Pole who has put aside the deep-rooted hatred caused by the Nazi occupation. Along with volunteers who have answered the call of the Pamiec (Memory) foundation, he is trying to locate, id and rebury some of the fallen German troops. His team expected to find 270 bodies at Hel, but the total was closer to 1,000. History student Tomasz Loz was combing the site with a metal detector: "It`s crucial to find dog-tags with the soldier`s id number."
Last Great Charge of the Polish Cavalry
The attack by a Polish mounted brigade against a column of german infantry and motors was carried out in the tradition of the horse cavalry`s saber-wielding charge. The account I am going to give you is of a cavalry charge in which I participated at the beginning of World War II in September, 1939, in Poland. It may well be that this attack will rank in the military history as the last great charge of cavalry. Is there another case of the whole cavalry brigade, sword in hand, obeying the order "Gallop, march!"? The advantage was with the Wehrmacht: All we could throw in against their hundreds of battle tanks were 20 light armored scout cars and two dozen antitank guns.
Soviet invasion of Poland: Red Army attacked to "protect" the Ukrainians and Byelorussians (Article no longer available from the original source)
On 17 Sept. 1939, the Soviet Union`s Red Army attacked Poland without declaration of war, in accordance with the secret pre-war Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany. The Red Army attacked Poland with 4,000 of battle tanks, 1,800 planes and nearly 2 million soldiers against whom Poland, already fightingh the Nazis in the west, could only rally 300,000 troops. Soviet propaganda explained that it was acting to protect the Ukrainians and Byelorussians who lived in the eastern part of Poland. The attack was followed by Soviet occupation and massive deportations, which involved up to a million poles.
Baltic Sea port city of Gdynia uses Internet site to search for pre-WWII residents
Polish city of Gdynia has set up an Internet site hoping to find out the fate of its 120,000 pre-World War II residents, the majority of whom were expelled or killed under Nazi occupation. "The goal of the program is to discover what happened, name by name, to the pre-war citizens. We have a list of 3,000 people who died. Otherwise we don`t have accurate and complete data. The data is indispensable, in order to avoid attributing too many crimes to the Nazis," explained Ryszard Toczek. On the website (2wojna.gdynia.pl) the city has published a list of residents by name/address from a 1937 city address book.
Poland is the biggest producer and exporter of Nazi memorabilia (Article no longer available from the original source)
Poland is Europe`s biggest producer and exporter of Nazi memorabilia, Polska daily reported. Buying Nazi signs, symbols and militaria is against the law in many countries, but allowed in Poland - as law forbids promoting Nazi ideology, but not selling historic mementos, replicas or reproductions. SS emblems and swastika armbands can be purchased at markets in Polish cities. The online business is also flourishing, with one Polish auction website selling 600 items. A complete SS officer`s uniform goes for 1,400 dollars, while iron cross medals cost 7 dollars and are in many cases sold in bulk.
An expedition of divers and historians to search for the legendary Polish Navy sub Orzel
An expedition of divers, maritime historians and scientists has set out to seek for the legendary Polish Navy submarine Orzel (The Eagle), which went missing in the North Sea during World War II. The expedition will try to pinpoint the place where the ship might have sunk. Several locations must be checked as there have been various theories about the Orzel`s disappearance in North Sea waters in the last days of May 1940. Most likely the ship ran into a mine field, says Krzysztof Piwnicki, head of the expedition. Another possibility is that Orzel faced "friendly fire": torpedoes fired from a Dutch submarine.
Polish ace pilot Witold Urbanowiczs WWII militaria given to Warsaw Army Museum
The Polish Army Museum has been given a collection of militaria medals (Poland`s highest decoration for valour the Order of Virtuti Militari, the British Order of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross) and other memorabilia of Poland`s best WW2 fighter ace Witold Urbanowicz. He fought on 3 fronts: Poland, the Battle of Britain and in China with the Flying Tigers. He downed 28 German and Japanese aircrafts. In the Battle of Britain he had 15 kills, which put him in the top ten of Allied aces of the battle. After the war he traveled back to Poland, but was arrested by the Communist secret police as a spy.
Lost world: Roman Vishniac`s images of Jewish life in Eastern Europe
Roman Vishniac is a man much honoured for his documentary photos of traditional Jewish life in Eastern Europe on the eve of World War Two. On the walls of McMaster Museum of Art are 70 of the photos that made his reputation: images of Jewish families, children, rabbis and students and labourers, in places such as Berlin, Warsaw, Lublin, Bratislava, Vilna and Mukachevo - all cities he saw in 1936-1938 photographic expeditions. In those days the Polish government was anti-Semitic and they were not happy about someone photographing these poor communities. He had to be careful: concealing the camera within his overcoat, taking pics through an enlarged button hole.
Polish women jailed under Stalin recall horrors of torture
Janina Wojnarowska lifts her blouse to show the thin white scar where part of her breast used to be: before her time in a Stalin-era prison. "I could not feed my son during ... the interrogation, they kept us by open windows in winter, and the breast got black and then hard as stone." A doctor had to partly amputate it. She went on caring for her son in a cell where she was fed rotten cabbage. 5,000 women were jailed 1944-1958 under the communist regime enforced by the Soviet Union after Josef Stalin`s troops invaded Poland. The women had lasted a 6-year occupation by Nazi Germany, only to be subjected to investigations on charges of spying for the West.
World War II survivors travel back to Poland with new world fortunes (Article no longer available from the original source)
They spent their childhoods in the rich, layered life of prewar Poland, then survived Adolf Hitler`s mission to wipe out Jewry in the ghettos and gas chambers. Many later fled in reaction to anti-Semitic violence under communism. Now, men such as Tad Taube, Sigmund Rolat and Severyn Ashkenazy have traveled back to Poland as philanthropists, after making fortunes in the US, to nurture a grass-roots revival of Jewish life in their homeland. And while some cannot comprehend why the philanthropists choose to return to a land where their ancestors suffered such pain, Poland`s Jewish community praise the help as crucial to the small renaissance now under way.
Poles furious at German `war booty` claim, demanding 20 billion euros
Poland is demanding billions in compensation from Germany for cultural artefacts which were stolen or destroyed during WWII. The foreign minister Anna Fotyga said a list was being prepared of the cultural treasures Poland lost to Germany, in a riposte to a call from Berlin for Poland to return "war booty" stolen from Germany. Fotyga said Poland had stolen nothing, rather the German cultural treasures in Poland were "left behind by fleeing Nazis." The items Germany wants to see returned include rare maps, letters from Goethe, Schiller and Luther, music by Mozart, Bach and Beethoven and Berlinka collection.
Poland Youth gave Nazi salutes, burned swastikas - roots in 1920s
A Polish political party LPF is breaking up all ties with its youth wing after members burned swastika torches and given Nazi-style salutes. Promotion of fascism is a crime punishable by up to two years in prison in Poland which suffered heavily at the hands of the Nazi Germany in World War II. All Poland Youth’s roots go back to the 1920s when its members attacked Jewish students and called for them to be banned from public universities.