• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every persons position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Polish Pilots win Battle of Britain

alexa

DP Veteran
Joined
May 14, 2009
Messages
4,684
Reaction score
1,340
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Did anyone see that program last night about the Polish Pilots who arguably made the difference that allowed us to win the Battle of Britain.

I know before I had seen Churchill on the History Channel arguing with the US President and being genuinely concerned about his insistence to give Poland to Stalin and Russia.

I could see we had done them wrong. I knew before Polish Pilots volunteered and went to Poland to drop food on missions which were almost suicidal but until last night I had not realised how much they had helped us in defending this Island.

I think it was one of the biggest betrayals I know of. Makes me feel quite ashamed.
 

PeteEU

DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2006
Messages
35,109
Reaction score
12,028
Location
Denmark
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Centrist
I did.. was fascinating.. I did know about their kill record beforehand though, but not what happened to them..

as for one of the biggest betrayals.. yea but I rank a few higher personally. For example the people of Diego Garcia.
 

alexa

DP Veteran
Joined
May 14, 2009
Messages
4,684
Reaction score
1,340
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
I did.. was fascinating.. I did know about their kill record beforehand though, but not what happened to them..

as for one of the biggest betrayals.. yea but I rank a few higher personally. For example the people of Diego Garcia.
right, i was interested in possiblt talking about a particular people and incident. Seems this has opened a 'have a go at the uk'. I'll leave all interested to get on with it. That was not what I startred the thread for.
 

PeteEU

DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2006
Messages
35,109
Reaction score
12,028
Location
Denmark
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Centrist
right, i was interested in possiblt talking about a particular people and incident. Seems this has opened a 'have a go at the uk'. I'll leave all interested to get on with it. That was not what I startred the thread for.
And my response was not a go at the UK in any way hehe.. just pointed a fact out that I thought there were a few points in history that were just as big an injustice if not bigger.

Personally I think these Poles and the 100k+ who fought with the allies are very under appreciated for their contribution. That goes for all the minor countries involved.
 

bub

R.I.P. Léo
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 2, 2006
Messages
9,649
Reaction score
2,173
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Independent
Did anyone see that program last night about the Polish Pilots who arguably made the difference that allowed us to win the Battle of Britain.

I know before I had seen Churchill on the History Channel arguing with the US President and being genuinely concerned about his insistence to give Poland to Stalin and Russia.

I could see we had done them wrong. I knew before Polish Pilots volunteered and went to Poland to drop food on missions which were almost suicidal but until last night I had not realised how much they had helped us in defending this Island.

I think it was one of the biggest betrayals I know of. Makes me feel quite ashamed.
If you want to talk about a big betrayal, it's about the cossacks who were given back to USSR in 1945.

But if a country can be proud of its role during WWII, it's probably UK, which resisted against Germany while they could have surrendered or stayed neutral.
 
Last edited:

alexa

DP Veteran
Joined
May 14, 2009
Messages
4,684
Reaction score
1,340
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
I think I would like to see Polish people recognised for their bravery in WW2, something which the film pointed out they, who possibly gave us in our hour of need our greatest help, were even left out of victory celebrations for fear it would hurt Stalin's feelings.

Since I have started coming in contact with Poland's position during WW2 I have gained a deep respect for them.

Yes I know, in some parts of Poland there was deep antisemitism but I think this was largely due to Russian immigrants and though there was deep antisemitism, there was also a very strong resistance to antisemitism and the work of the Nazi's against the Jews in Poland. I think more Polish lost their lives working to save Jews than in any other country.

Then the giving over of Poland to Stalin and Russia. This was disgusting. The UK went into the war because it had a deal to protect Poland so to then agree to hand it over to Stalin to deal with.....it seems this was decided by the US President in order to 'pacify' Stalin.

And so what happened. A deal was agreed that the resistance would put up a big fight against the German's on the word that the Russian's were coming in. Word was given that the Russian's were coming in and the brave Poles revolted. Only thing was, Stalin was just playing a game wanting the resistance destroyed. He waited I think a month till he came in by which time most of the resistance had been destroyed. Then he rounded up the rest and shot them on some pretext.

While all this was going on the people of Poland were starving. Brave Polish Pilots living in the UK volunteered to fly planes and drop food for them even though the likelihood of their return was negligible.

And of course there was that massacre of the Poles by the Russians originally blamed on the Germans.

I think of all the people of Europe possibly the Poles fought most for their country. I also think that because of our betrayal of them, their bravery has never been recognised. They flew their planes for Britain with amazing skill and with far more fearlessness than our own pilots. They loved their country and they wanted it back. Instead it was given to Stalin. The UK people told the Poles they were no longer wanted and they should go home. Most of the brave Poles who fought for Britain and possibly saved us in our darkest hour who returned to Poland later lost their lives under Stalin's regime.

It is just like any other wrong done. It needs to be recognised so, my little thread in recognition of them.
 

Republic_Of_Public

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
2,922
Reaction score
343
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
The professor Stephen Ambrose put it succinctly when he said that Poland's tragedy was being a sandwiched neighbour of Russia and Germany. Poland's geography had been buffeted east and west between these two monoliths for centuries, swamped by them as each rotated their part as occupier.

The 20th Century saw the greatest hardships and tyranny, hence the Polish government now wanting to ban pubic display of the extremist swastika or hammer and sickle. They desire little else than to look to an optimistic future, inspired by the brief period in which the country was the largest and arguably most peaceful in Europe.


Warsaw central is partially a monument and memorial to its past, through which it had to struggle. And the boards to commemorate the President hammered that point further home when I was there.

The ethnic cleansing of today's Eastern and Western Poland lost my grandmother her old village. Nothing remains of it now. Today Poland still seems torn between mourning its past and wanting to forge ahead to the new secure future it plans for itself. No wonder the prospect of coming here is a great new dawn for the young Poles, largely unadorned by the full depth and feeling of their parents' outlooks on the world.



Popped back over to my mother's country this year:

 
Last edited:

mpwojtowicz

New member
Joined
Jul 1, 2010
Messages
3
Reaction score
3
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
I saw that program just today on 4oD and have to say I'm surprised the pilots received so much praise. I kind of got used to the idea that the Polish contribution to the war effort has been largely ignored by the Allies, especially shortly after the war.

I'm Polish and history is my hobby and I commit huge amounts of time reading through various publications and books, both in Polish and English. If I was to dispense with all the modesty, I'd say I'm probably a bit of an expert when it comes to Polish history.

If anyone wanted to have a chat or has any questions (especially related to how some historical events are perceived by the Polish) then feel free to drop me a line. I don't come here too often so it's probably best to send me an email: mpwojtowicz[at]googlemail[dot]com
 

alexa

DP Veteran
Joined
May 14, 2009
Messages
4,684
Reaction score
1,340
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
I am actually quite surprised, being born just after ww2, how little I know about Poland. All I had mainly heard was that France and the UK had a deal with Poland that if it were attacked we would go to it's aid and so war was declared when Gernany invaded Poland. Nothing about the need to actually go there and physically help the Poles repel the Germans and nothing about the deal between the Russian and Germany to attack Poland at the same time and divide it between them.

I can see there is indeed still plenty to be set straight,

On the Russian side of 1,700,000 Poles deported into Russia it seems only 500,000 survived. Those escaping to Africa and finding their way into British army hands frequently died when they started receiving proper food again, something we also found happened with the inmates of Belsen.

It also appears that the allies were well aware of who were responsible for the massacre of 20,000 Polish officers at Katyn , even before the end of the war and the giving of Poland to Stalin.

YouTube - A Forgotten Odyssey - Poland-USSR WWII (5/5)

As for Poles themselves, seems we have not yet heard their story.

The Genocide of the Poles 1939-48

http://www.piastinstitute.org/assets/library/the_genocide_of_the_poles_1938_1948_radzilowski_t.pdf
 
Last edited:

Glinda

You kids get off my lawn!
DP Veteran
Joined
May 8, 2009
Messages
1,716
Reaction score
790
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
It is just like any other wrong done. It needs to be recognised so, my little thread in recognition of them.
Thank you for this thread.

My family lost many members to brutality and hatred during the Polish Genocide. My grandparents barely got out with their lives. The stories of family bravery and hardship are many, and I'm very proud of my Polish heritage.

While all this was going on the people of Poland were starving. Brave Polish Pilots living in the UK volunteered to fly planes and drop food for them even though the likelihood of their return was negligible.

And of course there was that massacre of the Poles by the Russians originally blamed on the Germans.

I think of all the people of Europe possibly the Poles fought most for their country. I also think that because of our betrayal of them, their bravery has never been recognised. They flew their planes for Britain with amazing skill and with far more fearlessness than our own pilots. They loved their country and they wanted it back. Instead it was given to Stalin. The UK people told the Poles they were no longer wanted and they should go home. Most of the brave Poles who fought for Britain and possibly saved us in our darkest hour who returned to Poland later lost their lives under Stalin's regime.
And yet, all my life, whenever I've tried to bring the Poles' plight and their bravery to others' attention, to describe the horrors visited upon them, it's entirely dismissed. Or worse, derided.

I'll never forget the day my sixth-grade teacher went around the classroom, asking each student to tell about their family heritage. When it was my turn, I stood up proudly to tell my family history, but I'd barely finished my first sentence stating my Polish roots when the teacher began laughing.

"You're a dumb POLACK?!@? HAA HAAHAH! I always knew there was something wrong with you!" *

Of course, the other students began laughing as well - not because their minds had been poisoned to equate "Polack" with "stupid/dumb," but because the teacher's mind had, and an adult... a TEACHER would never say anything that wasn't true, right?

I walked out of class that day. Never told my parents how I'd been so gleefully humiliated in front of my schoolmates, and the teacher never apologized. She did, however, use my heritage against me many more times before I escaped her bigoted, hate-filled world.

As an adult, among adults, I am ashamed that the ignorance and blind prejudice against Poles continues unabated. And I thank you again, for bringing the injustices my people did suffer, and continue to suffer, to light.


* As it was, I was the brightest kid in the class. Finished every assignment long before, and better than, all the others did. As my reward, the teacher separated me from the others and assigned additional work that went against my grade if I didn't complete it all to her satisfaction. Oh yeah, she was a gem of a teacher. I've always wondered how many of those kids carried that teacher's ugly bigotry with them into adulthood.
 

mpwojtowicz

New member
Joined
Jul 1, 2010
Messages
3
Reaction score
3
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
All I had mainly heard was that France and the UK had a deal with Poland that if it were attacked we would go to it's aid and so war was declared when Gernany invaded Poland.
History is written by victors - and in case of WWII the Polish lost. Shortly after regaining our independence we, yet again, found ourselves under Russian rule. Poland did not become a socialist country through free elections - everything was rigged and the socialist politicians were quite open about it at the time. 50 years of socialism (no, it was not communism although it is usually referred to as such by the mass media) has done terrible things to the Polish mentality and sense of identity. For 50 years we were taught that we were somehow worse, inferior to the people who lived in the western world. We were almost locked up in our own country - migration was strictly controlled and if anyone managed to leave the country they were sometimes forced to become a secret informant for the state. This feeling still runs deep and affects anyone, who was born during the socialist rule. It seems however that there is a glimmer of hope in the new generations, who are again starting to feel a sense of identity and realize they are no different to the French or Germans of their age.

One thing makes me proud though - we managed to keep our limited independence after the war. even though we did not 'rule' our own country, we still had our own borders, our own flag, own language and a natonal anthem. The likes of Ukraine, Lithuania or Latvia weren't so lucky and were incorporated into the USSR, thus losing their national identity for 50 years. It is often said that Stalin realised he would not be able to annex Poland and that he realized he could not break the Polish spirit. In the end, the Russians have tried it for a 150 years before (partitioning) and never succeeded. They even tried an invasion shortly after the I WW (under bolshevik rule) and failed miserably (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Warsaw_(1920). It is said that the Battle of Warsaw was one of the most important battles in the history of mankind as it stopped the bolsheviks from joining with the German socialists - an event that would probably lead to a worldwide 'red' revolution.


[...] the deal between the Russian and Germany to attack Poland at the same time and divide it between them.
We never knew about Ribbentrop - Molotov during the socialist rule. Same with the Katyn massacre - Germans were always blamed. It wasn't until the transformation (1989) that we learnt the truth.


And yet, all my life, whenever I've tried to bring the Poles' plight and their bravery to others' attention, to describe the horrors visited upon them, it's entirely dismissed. Or worse, derided.
This would be an effect of years of propaganda - we were sold, every single one of us, in exchange for good relations between Stalin and the western world.
The Russians fell victim to propaganda too - if you ask any American or European who won the IIWW they will say it was the Americans, the British and the French. This is not perfectly accurate, since it was the Russians that are responsible for 'liberating' (a most unfortunate word) Europe from Nazism. The Allies only landed in Normandy when the war was more or less won. At the time of landing the Russians were no more that 1000 km from Berlin. Sure, Normandy did speed things up, but certainly was not a tipping point.


She did, however, use my heritage against me many more times before I escaped her bigoted, hate-filled world.
Let me put it this way - your ancestors come from a place, that was the centre of the world in 1600, in military, cultural and political aspects. While Europe was ravaged by absolutist rule and religious wars, the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth was a place, where artists could freely point out the flaws of a monarch (something that has been unheard of anywhere else), where Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Freemasons and Jews lived peacefully with each other, where political and religious freedom was comparable to that of today. Poland was the only country in the world that ever managed to lay a successful siege to Moscow. Napoleon and Hitler tried it - and failed.
 
Last edited:

alexa

DP Veteran
Joined
May 14, 2009
Messages
4,684
Reaction score
1,340
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Thank you for this thread.

My family lost many members to brutality and hatred during the Polish Genocide. My grandparents barely got out with their lives. The stories of family bravery and hardship are many, and I'm very proud of my Polish heritage.
Yes, according to the link I gave Poles lost 21% of their people, more than any other country.

A higher percentage of Poles died than
in any other country—21 percent, more if one counts fatalities caused by warrelated
diseases. Six million Polish citizens were killed. Of these, 3 million were
Jewish. Poland’s ancient Jewish community with a history stretching back to the
early Middle Ages, was virtually wiped out. The Nazis killed 2 million Polish
Christians, the Soviets perhaps between half a million and a million, and perhaps
100,000 by Ukrainian nationalists. The city of Warsaw alone lost more people than
Britain and the U.S.A. put together. Polish military losses were equally appalling—
an estimated 360,000 died in battle, of wounds, or as prisoners of war, a number
greater than any European country save the USSR and Germany. In addition, a
great number of Poles were scattered to all parts of the world. Poland’s pre-war
population of 35 million dropped to 23 million in 1945.
http://www.piastinstitute.org/assets/library/the_genocide_of_the_poles_1938_1948_radzilowski_t.pdf


And yet, all my life, whenever I've tried to bring the Poles' plight and their bravery to others' attention, to describe the horrors visited upon them, it's entirely dismissed. Or worse, derided.

I'll never forget the day my sixth-grade teacher went around the classroom, asking each student to tell about their family heritage. When it was my turn, I stood up proudly to tell my family history, but I'd barely finished my first sentence stating my Polish roots when the teacher began laughing.

"You're a dumb POLACK?!@? HAA HAAHAH! I always knew there was something wrong with you!" *

Of course, the other students began laughing as well - not because their minds had been poisoned to equate "Polack" with "stupid/dumb," but because the teacher's mind had, and an adult... a TEACHER would never say anything that wasn't true, right?

I walked out of class that day. Never told my parents how I'd been so gleefully humiliated in front of my schoolmates, and the teacher never apologized. She did, however, use my heritage against me many more times before I escaped her bigoted, hate-filled world.

As an adult, among adults, I am ashamed that the ignorance and blind prejudice against Poles continues unabated. And I thank you again, for bringing the injustices my people did suffer, and continue to suffer, to light.


* As it was, I was the brightest kid in the class. Finished every assignment long before, and better than, all the others did. As my reward, the teacher separated me from the others and assigned additional work that went against my grade if I didn't complete it all to her satisfaction. Oh yeah, she was a gem of a teacher. I've always wondered how many of those kids carried that teacher's ugly bigotry with them into adulthood.
I am really sorry to hear of this. I never heard any anti polish stuff here and in my early life only met one Polish person who became a close friend when I was in my late teens. I think her name was something like Kastrovich. For whatever reason she would never talk about her history and would only give one word answers - I was not as good an interrogator in those days. I think though she did say they came here during the war before she was born. She just would go quiet if I asked and clearly didn't want to talk about it.

I didn't really hear much and just thought Poland was a country who had been defeated in the war and taken over by Russia.........
until I started listening to the British History Channel. Then I started hearing of all these brave things Poles did in the war. I wasn't quite sure how until I saw that program last week and realised a lot had escaped Nazi Germany and gone to other countries to fight in the hope of liberating Poland. I've been looking at quite a few YouTube videos as well. Plenty to be proud of. Maybe now that things have changed and Poland is no longer tied to Russia, history will be coming out more in the open and perhaps our program last week is showing that.
 
Last edited:

Glinda

You kids get off my lawn!
DP Veteran
Joined
May 8, 2009
Messages
1,716
Reaction score
790
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Six million Polish citizens were killed. Of these, 3 million were Jewish. Poland’s ancient Jewish community with a history stretching back to the early Middle Ages, was virtually wiped out. The Nazis killed 2 million Polish Christians, the Soviets perhaps between half a million and a million, and perhaps 100,000 by Ukrainian nationalists. The city of Warsaw alone lost more people than Britain and the U.S.A. put together. Polish military losses were equally appalling— an estimated 360,000 died in battle, of wounds, or as prisoners of war, a number greater than any European country save the USSR and Germany. In addition, a great number of Poles were scattered to all parts of the world. Poland’s pre-war population of 35 million dropped to 23 million in 1945.
It amazes me that almost NOBODY gets this right. We always hear "Six million Jews were wiped out!" when Jews made up only about half of the victims of the genocide. So many others suffered the same fate as the Jews, and those victims are all but forgotten and/or ignored.

But again, every time I mention this, I'm told I don't have a clue and am a "Jew hater," to boot.

:roll:

Thank you again for pointing these important facts out to the egregiously uninformed masses.
 

Republic_Of_Public

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
2,922
Reaction score
343
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
Indeed. Artur Greiser, Nazi boss of one of occupied Poland's regions, boasted that he'd need a forest to log all the Poles he killed.

That's not to denigrate or minimalise the tragedy of the Jewish holocaust (they were singled out for special hatred after all), but I'm at the point of bemusement and mild annoyance when someone says 'I didn't know you were Jewish' when I mention my Polish background! On the war programmes it's been all Jewish this and Jewish that as if there was nobody else, though finally more varied examinations of other people involved have been broadcast, which is very welcome.

And I shouldn't let the incident with your teachers get to you. They tend to be more ignorant than the kids they teach! For example, I had teachers deriding me in front of the class for sloppy handwriting. They even got my brother in, six years my junior, and compared the two, much to the other kids' amusement. I told them I couldn't do that stupid uniform style, but they had none of that. Other professional inanity included stopping me from reacting to bullies (thus getting me beaten a lot more). Plus telling me not to be so 'stupid' for getting spellings or dictionary definitions wrong when I'd actually look them up and find I was right. (I then wouldn't be allowed to show the others.)

They should be grateful they don't get performance-related pay, as most of them would probably starve and serves them right! People who know how the world is, like captains of industry, should take the tiller.


____________________


PS - You wouldn't happen to have a copy of Katarzyna Gaertner's Msza Beatowa record that you wouldn't mind selling? I'm after a copy and couldn't find a single one in the whole of Warsaw! (Found the cover but that's no good.)
 
Last edited:

alexa

DP Veteran
Joined
May 14, 2009
Messages
4,684
Reaction score
1,340
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
It amazes me that almost NOBODY gets this right. We always hear "Six million Jews were wiped out!" when Jews made up only about half of the victims of the genocide. So many others suffered the same fate as the Jews, and those victims are all but forgotten and/or ignored.

But again, every time I mention this, I'm told I don't have a clue and am a "Jew hater," to boot.
Have I not heard you saying that your great grand parents died saving Jewish people? Yes, an enormous amount of Polish people died both Jews and Christian.

It has occurred to me while on this thread that possibly by implication Poland is blamed psychologically for the holocaust and people do not understand the extent to which the German's saw Poles themselves as similar to how they saw Jews by creating negative stereotypes of them.

I think possibly the difference and the emphasis on Jews was because camps were set up throughout Europe to put all Jews in and send them to places, usually Poland for slave Labour and extermination. All Jews of all Europe were to be killed. Even in Poland the percentage of Jews surviving was tiny compared to the percentage of the general population.

As far as Jews were concerned in Western Europe for a long time Germany seemed happy if Jews would simply leave. Hence in Denmark, due to getting early warning I understand most Jews were safely evacuated to Sweden, but I read Holland lost 70% of her Jews.

However, it is clear the Polish people were stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. Russia on one side attacking and responsible for around one and a half million deaths and Germany on the other.

And Polish people were very brave and fought back, both at the beginning of the war as best they could and throughout. There were I understand more Polish people fighting the war against Germany in France and the UK than from any other country.

I read that in the Warsaw uprising in the hope of securing a victory before the Russians came in, so that Polish people, not the Russians were the victors, almost the whole population of Warsaw rose up, men, women and children.....and with a little help they might well have made it, but the Russians would not advance and possibly more importantly they would not let the US and UK drop food and ammunition to give Poland a chance. Of course during this uprising, Jews were set free and took to fighting alongside the Polish population, or so I have read.....and after the uprising Hitler decided that every man, woman, child and baby in Warsaw should be killed and the whole city flattened and he certainly fulfilled a lot of that.

I think we cannot minimise the German attempt to exterminate all Jews. However I would also agree that possibly it still has not been acknowledged just how closely Hitler saw the Poles to the Jews and from historical differences just how interested both Russian and Germany had to see the end of Poland and also just how prepared Poles were to fight and how many of them were lost.

At the same time from somewhere I always had in my childhood the feeling of the Poles as being a very brave people who had fought back against extreme odds and not succeeded and who were for the time being, being held against their will.
 
Last edited:

alexa

DP Veteran
Joined
May 14, 2009
Messages
4,684
Reaction score
1,340
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
History is written by victors - and in case of WWII the Polish lost.
No more than any Western European nation.

Shortly after regaining our independence we, yet again, found ourselves under Russian rule. Poland did not become a socialist country through free elections - everything was rigged and the socialist politicians were quite open about it at the time. 50 years of socialism (no, it was not communism although it is usually referred to as such by the mass media) has done terrible things to the Polish mentality and sense of identity. For 50 years we were taught that we were somehow worse, inferior to the people who lived in the western world.
We were almost locked up in our own country - migration was strictly controlled and if anyone managed to leave the country they were sometimes forced to become a secret informant for the state. This feeling still runs deep and affects anyone, who was born during the socialist rule. It seems however that there is a glimmer of hope in the new generations, who are again starting to feel a sense of identity and realize they are no different to the French or Germans of their age.
Well the negative stereotyping of you seems to have begun with the Nazis. Even during ww2 I have read that Polish resistance took care to make sure that people would not be dehumanised by what they did. Hence no one was allowed to kill more than 3 spy's, collaborators or whatever and this was always done after a proper trial and the people who did the killing given psychological help after. Your history, as you pointed out to Glinda, shows you as being anything but an inferior people. And of course you started solidarity.


One thing makes me proud though - we managed to keep our limited independence after the war. even though we did not 'rule' our own country, we still had our own borders, our own flag, own language and a natonal anthem. The likes of Ukraine, Lithuania or Latvia weren't so lucky and were incorporated into the USSR, thus losing their national identity for 50 years. It is often said that Stalin realised he would not be able to annex Poland and that he realized he could not break the Polish spirit. In the end, the Russians have tried it for a 150 years before (partitioning) and never succeeded. They even tried an invasion shortly after the I WW (under bolshevik rule) and failed miserably (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Warsaw_(1920). It is said that the Battle of Warsaw was one of the most important battles in the history of mankind as it stopped the bolsheviks from joining with the German socialists - an event that would probably lead to a worldwide 'red' revolution.

We never knew about Ribbentrop - Molotov during the socialist rule. Same with the Katyn massacre - Germans were always blamed. It wasn't until the transformation (1989) that we learnt the truth.
I imagine it will take some time to readjust to your 'imprisonment' and having been told so many untruths. Bit like recovering from a trauma. I am sure you will however do it. If my understanding is correct, the Polish people never lacked spirit and like you said that is not lost. Unfortunately a lot of your culture was.

However with the Polish spirit, bit by bit you will get yourselves back.....as possibly the Russians are, glorifying Stalin and rewriting the history books about him again :shock:
 
Last edited:

mpwojtowicz

New member
Joined
Jul 1, 2010
Messages
3
Reaction score
3
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
and with a little help they might well have made it, but the Russians would not advance and possibly more importantly they would not let the US and UK drop food and ammunition to give Poland a chance.
Funny story associated with this event actually. Shortly after overthrowing socialist rule, celebrations of the Warsaw Uprising were set up by the democratic government. Most of the leaders from European countries were invited, including the German chancellor. There was a bit of an issue with inviting the Russian leader (Yeltsin) - some people felt it was not appropriate to invite a representative of a nation that, during the uprising, stood only a few miles away and watched the resistance fighters bleed to death. After a great debate, someone humorously pointed out that Yeltsin should be invited, given binoculars and told to watch the celebrations from the other bank of Vistula.

as possibly the Russians are, glorifying Stalin and rewriting the history books about him again
I've met a couple of Russians in my life and was shocked to find out they had no idea whatsoever what Stalin did to their country. They did not know about the great hunger in Ukraine (engineered by Stalin as punishment), about starving Russians, while all of industry was focusing on feeding the armies, about Ribbentrop - Molotov, the war with Finland or the incorporation on Lithuania, Lativia and Estonia or Katyn. These things are not taught in Russian schools.
 

alexa

DP Veteran
Joined
May 14, 2009
Messages
4,684
Reaction score
1,340
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Funny story associated with this event actually. Shortly after overthrowing socialist rule, celebrations of the Warsaw Uprising were set up by the democratic government. Most of the leaders from European countries were invited, including the German chancellor. There was a bit of an issue with inviting the Russian leader (Yeltsin) - some people felt it was not appropriate to invite a representative of a nation that, during the uprising, stood only a few miles away and watched the resistance fighters bleed to death. After a great debate, someone humorously pointed out that Yeltsin should be invited, given binoculars and told to watch the celebrations from the other bank of Vistula.
That would have sorted him. :mrgreen:

I've met a couple of Russians in my life and was shocked to find out they had no idea whatsoever what Stalin did to their country. They did not know about the great hunger in Ukraine (engineered by Stalin as punishment), about starving Russians, while all of industry was focusing on feeding the armies, about Ribbentrop - Molotov, the war with Finland or the incorporation on Lithuania, Lativia and Estonia or Katyn. These things are not taught in Russian schools.
It is indeed weird. I watched a program on it. They had begun to be a bit more honest in their history but now they are supposedly a democracy have gone way back.

Apparently they were concerned about their children feeling guilt over what had been done, in much the same way as people born in Germany who had nothing to do with WW2 have. However rather than just sitting it out until it passed they decided it was better to give their children a false impression of the past in order to get them to feel better about Russia.

Academics have complained and been sacked if they continue to write the truth.

How they expect to get away with this with the net and worldwide travel is beyond me....

but at the moment it appears Stalin is a cult figure.
 
Last edited:

kaya'08

DP Veteran
Joined
Nov 25, 2008
Messages
6,363
Reaction score
1,318
Location
British Turk
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Centrist
I absolutely adore the Polish. I think there great.
 

Glinda

You kids get off my lawn!
DP Veteran
Joined
May 8, 2009
Messages
1,716
Reaction score
790
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
That's not to denigrate or minimalise the tragedy of the Jewish holocaust (they were singled out for special hatred after all), but I'm at the point of bemusement and mild annoyance when someone says 'I didn't know you were Jewish' when I mention my Polish background!
Isn't it amazing how little the world knows (or cares) about who the Poles are and what we've been through? And the reactions that saying "I'm Polish" will get you... you're lumped in with the Jews and I'm a Jew hater. :screwy

On the war programmes it's been all Jewish this and Jewish that as if there was nobody else
Absolutely true.

though finally more varied examinations of other people involved have been broadcast, which is very welcome.
It's a blessing, but long overdue. I only hope people will listen/view and learn some of these sad truths.

And I shouldn't let the incident with your teachers get to you. They tend to be more ignorant than the kids they teach!
:lol: In my particular case, I suspect that teacher tried to squash me under her thumb for that very reason. I really was a star student, she wasn't a brilliant teacher, and I just don't think she wanted to work that hard (she was well into her 50s at the time). So, rather than encourage a bright kid to excel, she punished me, humiliated me, and turned me into her dog to kick, to make things easier for her (both literally and figuratively). The funny thing is, I learned a lot more that year than she ever would have believed - and it had nothing to do with mathematics or reading. ;)

And I'm not permanently damaged by the experiences I had in her class, but they definitely made an impression, in that I learned exactly how ignorant, how selfishly and/or blindly bigoted people can be. Sadly, the ignorance and bigotry is still out there.

PS - You wouldn't happen to have a copy of Katarzyna Gaertner's Msza Beatowa record that you wouldn't mind selling? I'm after a copy and couldn't find a single one in the whole of Warsaw! (Found the cover but that's no good.)
:) No, I'm sorry, that one isn't in my collection, but I suspect if you can't find in there, you may not find it anywhere! In any case, I'll ask mom and dad - it's a stretch, but they might have it.
 

angrybeaver

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
501
Reaction score
51
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
My Grandparents used to tell me how brave the Poles were during WW2.
When the Poles started coming over the the UK looking for work I hoped to talk to some of them about their parents' lives during the communist regime.
Unfortunately not many of them spoke good enough English at the time.
I did notice that many of their women had lovely arses.
I'll settle for that
 

alexa

DP Veteran
Joined
May 14, 2009
Messages
4,684
Reaction score
1,340
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Ok Non Jewish holocaust sufferers.

Holocaust: Non-Jewish Victims
Newsletter: Volume 1, Issue 1 F
Five Million Often Forgotten

The Holocaust is usually taught as the mass genocide of almost six million Jews in Europe during World War II. But, more than five million others were also persecuted, tortured, tattooed and killed. These five million included innocent citizens - men women and children. The survivors and the families of these five million often feel left out -- overshadowed by the Jewish casualties. Nonetheless, these people need to be recognized and memorialized. Many of these died for their race or their beliefs. Many of these died while helping their Jewish neighbors. They too deserve their place in history.


POLAND - Hitler's First Target

"All Polish people will disappear from the world….It is essential that the great German people should consider it as its major task to destroy all Poles." H. Himmler

Hitler's first target was Poland, an agricultural country with little military power and Germany's closest neighbor to the east. Hitler invaded Poland from three directions on September 1, 1939. In just over one month, Poland was forced to surrender -- unable to defend itself against the powerful German prowess. Hitler saw Poland as a rich agricultural land populated mostly by modest but strong and healthy farmers. Hitler quickly took control of Poland by specifically wiping the Polish leading class -- the Intelligentsia.

During the next few years, millions of other Polish citizens were rounded up and placed in slave labor for German farmers and factories or taken to concentration camps where many were starved and worked to death or used for scientific experiments. The Jews in Poland were forced inside ghettos, but the non-Jews were made prisoners inside their own country. No one was allowed to leave the country. The Germans took over the ranches, farms and factories. Most healthy citizens were forced into slave labor. Polish men were drafted into the German army. Blond children were "Germanized" and trained from an early age to be Nazi supporters - many taken from their parents to be raised by German families.

Of the 11 million people killed during the Holocaust, six million were Polish citizens. Three million were Polish Jews and another three million were Polish Catholics.
rest here



Holocaust - Non-Jewish Holocaust Victims - Teachers Guide
 

Glinda

You kids get off my lawn!
DP Veteran
Joined
May 8, 2009
Messages
1,716
Reaction score
790
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Have I not heard you saying that your great grand parents died saving Jewish people? Yes, an enormous amount of Polish people died both Jews and Christian.
Yes, my great-grandparents (and other relatives) were involved with the Żegota Polish underground from its earliest days in Warsaw.

However, it is clear the Polish people were stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. Russia on one side attacking and responsible for around one and a half million deaths and Germany on the other.

And Polish people were very brave and fought back, both at the beginning of the war as best they could and throughout.
Poles fought not only for their homeland and for themselves, but also for the Jews who were their neighbors and friends. The numbers are far from exact, but... (from the link above):

The German occupying forces made concealing Jews a crime punishable by death for every Pole living in a house where Jews were discovered. Over 700 Polish heroes, murdered by Germans as a result of helping and sheltering their Jewish neighbors, were posthumously awarded the title Righteous Among the Nations. They were only a small percentage of thousands of Poles reportedly executed by the Nazis for aiding Jews.

According to differing research "the number of Poles who perished at the hands of the Germans for aiding Jews" was as high as fifty thousand. Nonetheless, Władysław Bartoszewski, who worked for Żegota during the war estimates that "at least several hundred thousand Poles... participated in various ways and forms in the rescue action [for Jews]."

Recent research suggests that a million Poles were involved in giving aid, "but some estimates go as high as three million" of those passively protective. More specific estimates indicate that some 100,000 (of those who meet Yad Vashem’s criteria) to 300,000 Poles were directly engaged in rescuing Jews even though the threat of death did act as a deterrent.

I think we cannot minimise the German attempt to exterminate all Jews. However I would also agree that possibly it still has not been acknowledged just how closely Hitler saw the Poles to the Jews and from historical differences just how interested both Russian and Germany had to see the end of Poland and also just how prepared Poles were to fight and how many of them were lost.
I believe you're right about this. Although I haven't spent a great deal of time trying to understand Hitler and what motivated him, I think we can all agree that Hitler had deep social/psychological issues.

Despite the fact that he was the son of a woman who kept house for a Jewish family (my understanding is that his family lived in that house as well), and that his family doctor was Jewish, and that he is known to have had Jewish friends as a young man, Hitler was deeply affected by what he read in The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (a fake document written by the pre-WWI Russian Royal secret police in a cynical attempt to divert public blame of Russia's trouble from the monarchy to the Jews). I haven't read them, but I understand that the Protocols describe an imaginary conspiracy of rich Jews attempting to take over the world by dominating countries like puppets and turning them against each other. Because he was penniless and essentially living on the streets when he read the Protocols, it is perhaps understandable that we would begin to hate the "rich" people, who, according to the Protocols, were Jews. The Jews became his enemy.

I'm also intrigued by the whole blond/blue-eyed "Aryan race" thing that Hitler promoted, and believe this was part and parcel of his psychosis. In Nazism and neo-Nazism, an Aryan was a non-Jewish Caucasian, especially one of Nordic type, supposed to be part of a master race - the "blond/blue-eyed" people. Oddly enough, Hitler was neither blond nor blue-eyed. Did he consider himself a "pure Aryan?" I don't know, but he DID set about eliminating those who looked remarkably like him.

Hmmmmm....
 
Top Bottom