Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union . (23rd August 1939) A secret protocol dividing Northern and Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence ( anticipating potential "territorial and political rearrangements" of these countries ).
On the 1st of September 1939 who attacked whom and why?
Germany starts „Blitzkrieg” on Poland (Wieluń)
- Nazi Ideology: Supremacy of the German race; Hegemony (dominance over Europe); elimination of Untermensch
The map of Poland just before WW2
O n September 3 : t he United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, France, South Africa and Canada, declared war on Germany => the „Phoney War” 6th September - Germany and the Soviet Union occupy most of Poland 1st October – complete ocupation The Polish keep fighting; but stand no chance in the massive attack from both sides, so the Government evacuates to neautral Romania and Hungary. The Polish NEVER surrendered, continued fighting abroad by joinging the French and English Armies.
Polish Military Transit Depot (88 soldiers -> Sept.1939: 182 soldiers; push back attack for 12 hrs to be saved by the Polish army, fought 7 days! Major Sucharski)
1932 – Polish-Soviet Pact of non-aggression – not respected, confusion among Polish Soldiers 250,000 soldiers and officers become POW Retrieting to neutral Romania did not help, as was influenced by Germany and the Soviets and the Pl.government got interned. Pl president (Mościcki) passes on his power to successor in England (Raczkiewicz).
Target: Eliminate the Polish and introduce sovietization
Mass murder of Polish nationals, done by Soviet secret police (NKVD) in April-May 1940 (Execution of all members of the Polish Officer Corps)
22,000 officers murdered
Polish doctors, professors, lawmakers, police officers, public servantslawyers, priests
In PL law: every university graduate is obliged to become a reserve officer -> extermination of Polish intelligentsia
Nazis discovered the massacre in 1943
Russia denied responsibility until 1990
Mass public executions, prison,
Kidnapping of Polish children (Aryan race 200,000)
Germanisation, deportation, Elimination of the Jewish race, transformation of the Polish into Slaves
Forced labour in Germany for the Reich
Creating Ghettos ( excess numbers, unsanitary conditions and lack of food create a high death rate )
Concentration and extermination camps
Prison within prison
S pend the nights in "standing-cells„ ; 1.5 m 2 ( four men would be placed in them; they could do nothing but stand, and were forced during the day to work with the other prisoners ) .
In the basement were located the "starvation cells"; prisoners incarcerated here were given neither food nor water until they were dead.
In the basement were the "dark cells"; these cells had only a very tiny window, and a solid door. Prisoners placed in these cells would gradually suffocate as they used up all of the oxygen in the cell;
Prisoners died of starvation, forced labor, lack of disease control, individual executions, and medical experiments , łapanki (St. Maksymilian Kolbe)
1942-45 1.6 million ppl murdered (90% Jews, 10% Poles, Soviet Prisoners of War, Sinti Roma, Jehovah Witnesses, homosexuals and others
Polish Home Army Attempts to liberate Warsaw from the Nazis.
The Soviets were supposed to help and this uprising was to last only a few days…it lasted 2 months.
16,000 members of the Polish resistance were killed and about 6,000 badly wounded ; between 150,000 and 200,000 civilians died . German casualties totaled over 16,000 soldiers killed and 9,000 wounded. 85% of the city was destroyed by January 1945
Nearly 6 000 000 Polish citizens perished in WW2 (Jewish and non-Jewish)
In total 90 percent of the Jewish population in Poland died --some 2.8 million people.
More people died in Auschwitz than the British and American losses of World War Two combined.
Some Holocaust researchers fault the wartime allies for not bombing the railway tracks that brought Jews from across Europe to the camps. Survivors lament what Nobel prize-winning author Elie Wiesel describes as shameful indifference to mass murder.