Author’s Notes: I am referencing primarily the excellent (2016) book entitled ‘Hitler’s Hangman – The Life of Heydrich’ by Robert Gerwarth. He accesses original records that reveal the appalling ethnic killing that happened within West Poland between September and December – 1939. The Nazi German Regular Army, the SS and Special Extermination Units joined forces with ethnic Germans in West Poland to murder upwards of 40,000 Polish people between September and December. During September alone in 1939 – Nazi German records state that 12,000 Polish people (including priests, Jews and children) were ‘put to death’. Ethnic Germans born in Poland were usually treated with contempt by the ethnic Poles and because of this fact many took advantage of the Nazi German invasion to take revenge. Ethnic Germans were arranged into heavily armed para-military groups empowered to carry-out instant executions by their Nazi paymasters. Anyone believed to be a ‘Jew’ was immediately ‘hanged’ from the nearest lamp-post, or strung-up on specially constructed gallows for all to see. At one point in this madness, the ethnic Poles attempted to capture all the ethnic Germans and march them East (as a means to prevent this violence) – but this effort ended-up with just more killing (with the Germans taking the brunt). My point is that the Nazi Germans had the habit of taking groups of designated ‘enemies’ into the remote areas of nearby forests and woods in West Poland. A long trench would be dug by the victims before they were made to kneel on the edge and await to be ‘shot’ in the back of the head! This Nazi German Modus Operandi is exactly what happened at Katyn in West Russia in 1941! The Nazi Germans only started to attempt to ‘hide’ their criminality when the war was obviously turning against them and they were in full retreat. They never had time to hide their crime in 1941, and were pre-prepared to use the grave-site for propaganda purposes as they headed back the other way in 1943! I suspect the Poles are being dishonest about all this because they are pathologically ‘anti-Communist’. Certainly, the Poles have never fully paid the price for the War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity they committed before and during WWII! This is partly to do with the influence of the Roman Catholic Church which embraced and endorsed fascism before, during and after WWII! When the Soviet Red Army entered East Poland in mid-September, 1939 – its presence stopped much of the killing from spreading and gave an oasis of ‘safety’ for all those seeking escape from Nazi German racism and violence! As a consequence, not one atrocity is ascribed or associated with the impeccably behaved Red Army! ACW (29.10.2020)
Historical revisionism in the West presents a pre-WWII Poland as being a quiet and almost ‘quaint’ recipient of unjustified Nazi German military attention in 1939. When the Forces of Nazi Germany invaded West Poland on September 1st, 1939, a pogrom of destruction began straightaway. This pogrom aimed at the destruction of the ethnic Poles and the Jews – although Communists and Social Democrats were the first populations to be rounded-up and shot. Those not killed were loaded onto trains and deported to Nazi German Concentration Camps (for later ‘processing’). This was considered an unexpected turn of events by virtually every ethnic Pole at the time – who generally considered themselves a ‘good fascists’. The ‘Trotskyite’ Polish Socialist Party (PPS) had produced the far-right politician Jozef Pilsudski who became Prime Minister of Poland in 1930 – aligning the Polish government with Fascist Italy. When Hitler came to power in 1933, Pilsudski immediately greeted this event with great enthusiasm – signing a Non-Aggression Pact with Nazi Germany in 1934 – and constructing Concentration Camps in the Bereza area of East Poland (designed to ‘process’ the Jewish and Russian populations when the time was ‘right’). Even when Jozef Pilsudski died in 1935, the Polish government continued to build political and military ties with Nazi Germany, and sent troops to occupy Czechoslovakia in 1938. As a consequence, Polish Infantry Regiments wore military uniforms ‘identical’ or very ‘similar’ to their Nazi German counter-parts to the extent that a casual observer could not distinguish between the two armies. These ‘Infantry’ uniforms were different to the more traditional Polish ‘Cavalry’ uniforms that became well-known following the media coverage of the ‘Katyn Massacre’.
Although Hitler gave the impression that his regime accepted the ethnic Poles as racially ‘equal’, behind the scenes he viewed these people as racially ‘inferior’ Slavs who fell into the category of his distorted racialist thinking as being ‘life not worthy of life’. Poles thought that Hitler would make an ‘exception’ in their case, obviously had not read his book ‘Mein Kampf’, or not fully understood his racial theory. Whatever the case, Hitler was notorious for never changing his mind or not compromising his ideological direction. To this end, he instructed the SS to fabricate a ‘Polish attack’ on a Nazi German wireless station situated on the German-Polish Border. Dead Concentration Camp victims were dressed in Polish uniforms as the Nazi German State Media broadcast the false propaganda message that ‘Poland had launched aggressive and intolerable attacks’ on the German nation! Just ‘why’ Poland would have done this to an ‘ally’ was not discussed, but the situation served as the justification for Nazi German Forces to cross over the Border and into Polish territory. This was all very suspect – as Poles and Germans had been moving in and out of one another’s country’s quite freely since Goebbels had visited Warsaw in 1934!
Contrary to popular belief, the Soviet Red Army did not enter East Poland on September 1st, 1939 – when the Nazi Germans annexed West Poland. Instead, for seventeen days the Soviet media published regular reports about what was happening in Poland. Russian news sources on the ground reported mass killings carried-out by Nazi German Forces. The situation was confused, with certain Polish military units ‘greeting’ the Nazi Germans – whilst other Polish military units treating the Nazi Germans as ‘invaders’ and going on the attack – often suffering terrible casualties in the process! The Nazi Germans were destroying shops and blowing-up civilian housing with impunity! This widespread abuse and military aggression eventually led to co-ordinated operation (controlled by a band of heavily armed Polish citizens and military men) who rounded-up around 15,000 ethnic Germans living in West Poland – and marched this group Eastward (toward the Polish Concentration Camps at Bereza). As this column was on the march, however, it came under fire from snipers, the Nazi German military and the Polish Resistance. It is estimated that around 5,000 of these ethnic Germans were ‘murdered’ during this pogrom.
It is believed that because of the treatment of ethnic Germans by ethnic Poles, the Nazi Germans had no qualms murdering around 11,000 Polish Cavalry Officers that were originally held captive by the Soviets (following the Red Army entering East Poland on September 17th, 1939). In fact, there were probably about 80,000 Polish soldiers captured by the USSR. All records indicate that they were treated very well with the ordinary soldiers de-mobilised and allowed to go home – or asked if they would Join the Soviet Red Army – which tens of thousands of Poles eventually did. The German attack on the USSR in 1941, however, was so initially ‘quick’ that the Red Army was forced to leave the ‘Katyn’ area of West Russia in a hurry – leaving 11,000 Polish Cavalry Officers to fend for themselves. Unfortunately, they appear to have run into a Brutal Nazi German ‘Extermination’ Unit tasked with eradicating the ill, disabled, the elderly, the pregnant, the young, Communists, homosexuals and the racially ‘inferior’. This Nazi German Unit took the opportunity to take ‘revenge’ for the what they viewed as the ‘Polish’ massacre of ethnic Germans in Poland in late 1939. When the Soviet Red Army entered East Poland – they immediately ‘liberated’ the Polish Concentration Camps at Bereza – and started taking care of the Polish population. The Border with West Poland was ‘sealed’ as ALL Nazi Germans were ‘expelled’ to the West-side of the partition. Admittedly, most people living in East Poland were Ukrainian and Belorussian, but peace was re-established and all prejudice stopped. The ethnic Poles, ethnic Germans and the Jews were reconciled as Socialism replaced Fascism.
Alexander Werth: Russia at War (1941-1945), Barrie Books Ltd, (1964)
EH Carr: The Twilight of Comintern 1930-1935, MacMillan, (1978)
Robert Gerwarth: Hitler’s Hangman – The Life of Heydrich Tantor Audio, (2016)