January 18, 2018




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.


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.)


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.


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




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.


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.)


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.


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.


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.


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




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.


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.


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




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.


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.


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.


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.


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




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.


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."


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




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.


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.  


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




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.


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.


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




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.


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".)


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.


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




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.


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




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" .


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.


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.


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



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.


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




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.


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




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. " 


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.


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.


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.

(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




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.


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)


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


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.


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




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. 


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




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.)


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




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.)


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.


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.


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.

(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.

January 1, 2018




The First Polish Stamp:  The first Polish stamp was issued for the Congress Kingdom on  January 1, 1860 as per the Gregorian calendar. (However, since the 1st fell on a Sunday, the stamp did not become available until the next day.) The engraving was done by Henryk Meyer, a Polish banker, based on drawings he found in the archives at St. Petersburg. The design was typical of Russian stamps, bearing the arms of the Congress of the Kingdom. The stamps were printed by the government printers in Warsaw, using a letterpress machine that printed in two colours, was capable of printing 1,000 sheets per hour, and had a counting device. The printing began without the prior knowledge or consent of the Russian postal service, but was approved a couple of months later. Restrictions on the use of the stamps meant that it could only be used within the Congress Kingdom and to Russia. Letters bound for other countries had to be paid for in cash and unstamped. About three million stamps had been printed before the authorities discontinued its use on April 1, 1865.  Subsequently 208,515 stamps were destroyed and Russian stamps were introduced from that day on. In 1915 the Congress Kingdom was occupied by the Central Powers. The Congress of the Kingdom (also known as the Kingdom of Poland, or Russian Poland) was established as a sovereign state in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna and connected the Russian part of the Russian Empire, under the Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland. By 1832, the Congress Kingdom gradually integrated into Russia, and by 1867 officially became part of the Russian Empire.   In 1915 the Congress Kingdom was occupied by the Central Powers. 


Stalin's assistant defected to France:  Boris Bazhanov was the only assistant of Stalin's secretariat to have defected from the Soviet Union. From 1923 to 1924 he attended all the meetings of the Politburo, working in Stalin's Secretariat of the Central Committee and for the Politburo.   He had the responsibility to take notes of these meetings, putting him in the inner sanctum of the Russian regime. On October 26, 1923, Bazhanov took notes at a meeting attended by Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, and Leon Trotsky.  Lenin was very ill at the time, and it would be three months before he died. According to his notes, Lenin offered to appoint Trotsky as his "heir" but Trotsky turned the job down because he was Jewish, replying that "We should not give our enemies the opportunity to say that our country was being ruled by a Jew. ... It would be far better if there was not a single Jew in the first Soviet revolutionary government." Bazhanov defected from Russia because, as the story goes, he was "dissatisfied" working under Stalin. He escaped to Iran, and was granted asylum in France.  Stalin called him an "enemy of the state" and ordered a massive manhunt, which was led by Georges Agebekov, (chief Soviet spy ) who ironically also defected to France.  In October 1929, Stalin sent Yakov Blumkin, an assassin, to pursue and kill Bazhanov, and then to travel to Istanbul, Turkey to assassinate Leon Trotsky (who had been deported there by the Soviet Union, in February 1929). Blumkin, with the collaboration of his cousin and GPU informer Arkady Maximov, attempted to stage a car accident to kill Bazhanov, but the plot failed. Bazhanov published his memoirs in France in 1980, entitled 'Memoirs of a Secretary of Stalin's'. Bazhanov died in Paris in 1982.


Polish Senate Passed Shechita Bill, in effect on January 1, 1937: The bill, introduced Deputy Janina Prystor, wife of the Senate’s president, originally provided for a complete ban on kosher slaughtering. However after warnings from the Government spokesmen that the complete ban would violate constitutional rights of religious practice, the Sejm added an amendment to permit sufficient kosher slaughtering to meet religious requirements under a system of Government concessions. Nevertheless, Jewish communities opposed the measure on the grounds that it would deprive Jewish communities of the revenue, and put thousands of persons engaged in slaughtering and retailing the kosher meat out of work. 


Stalin's Polish Government:  The Soviet-controlled, Polish Committee of National Liberation became the Provisional Government of Republic of Poland. In London, the Polish Government-in-Exile protested and issued a declaration that the Soviet Union had "taken over the sovereign political rights of the Polish nation." The governments of Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt also issued formal protests, but they took no further action. 

Polish prisoners of Auschwitz:  100 male and 100 female Polish prisoners of the Gestapo from block 11 in Auschwitz I camp were transferred by SS doctor Fritz Klein to Erich Muhsfeldt, the chief of Auschwitz II-Birkenau Crematorium V. Muhsfeldt's men executed the prisoners by firing squad. (Note: Auschwitz I was first constructed to imprison Polish Christian political prisoners, who began to arrive in May 1940. The first extermination of prisoners took place in September 1941. (Recommended reading: The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation, 1939-1944 by Richard C. Lukas. A forward by Norman Davies stated as follows, " Dr. Richard Lukas has rendered a valuable service, by showing that no one can properly analyze the fate of one ethnic community in occupied Poland without referring to the fates of others. In this sense, The Forgotten Holocaust is a powerful corrective. )

US Troops Killed German POWs:  The Chenogne Massacre (in Belgium) was the killing of  Wehrmacht prisoners by American troops in retaliation for the Malmedy massacre on December 17, 1944, in which members of the Kampfgruppe Peiper (part of the 1st SS Panzer Division) executed 84 American prisoners of war. One American unit issued orders: "No SS troops or paratroopers will be taken prisoners but will be shot on sight." The events were covered up at the time and none of the American soldiers were punished. Post war historians believe the killings were ordered from top level senior commanders. Following the end of World War Two, the U.S. government stated that  "it is probable that Germans who attempted to surrender in the days immediately after the 17th ran a greater risk" of being killed than earlier in the year, nevertheless,  "there is no evidence... that American troops took advantage of orders, implicit or explicit, to kill their SS prisoners."

Britain refused to recognize the Polish Committee of National Liberation. (or Lublin Committee). The Polish Committee of National Liberation was a puppet government established by Stalin to control Polish territory that was seized from Nazi Germany. The objective was to discredit and eventually remove all power from the legitimate Polish Government in Exile in London. The pervasive development of the Soviet regime led to the tensions between the Soviet Union and the other members of the United Nations which would eventually lead to the Cold War.