The Article printed below is a resource text designed to expose you to all the difficulties that the Poles faced from September 1, 1939 until 1945 and beyond.
The betrayal trail is long and the Polish suffering is even more intense than all of the scholars of WWII have determined.
Hopefully these dimensions will become obvious to you!
Poland's Place in the Sun.
Poland is the sixth country in Europe both as regards area (150,470 square miles) and population (35,500,000). Among all the nations of the world, Poland ranks eleventh in population and twenty-sixth in area.
Poland's frontier is 2,250 miles long. Of this only forty-five miles is Baltic sea coast. This 2 % gateway to the world is totally inadequate for Poland's needs, compared to Germany's 2l%, France's 60%, Spain's 65%, America's 71%, Great Britain's 100%.
In the 15th Century, Poland was the largest state in Europe, as the following table shows:
In the 11th Cent., Poland's area was 130,888 s.m.
In the 15th Cent., Poland's area was 430,502 "
In the 18th Cent., before the 1st partition 392,664 "
In the 18th Cent., before the 2nd partition 200,772 "
Contemporary Poland 150,470 "
2. Poland, a Democracy.
After regaining her independence in 1918, Poland adopted a parliamentary form of Government. The first parliament of reborn Poland, elected by universal suffrage of both sexes, established the Constitution in 1921. This Constitution made the Government and the President of the Republic responsible to parliament as the predominant power. In 1935, the Constitution of Poland was amended by a small majority, the power of the executive strengthened, that of parliament restricted. Even so the President of Poland had far less power than the President of the United States. Freedom of Religion, of Press and Speech was granted and even in the days of greatest State interference with individual initiative, more than half the Polish press openly criticized the Polish Government, showing that constitutional rights were not impaired. Universal suffrage gave men and women over 21 the right to vote in secret ballot irrespective of race and creed.
3. Government of Poland
After the invasion of Poland by Germany and Russia, President Moscicki, in accordance with the Constitution, transmitted his powers to Wladyslaw Raczkiewicz, then in Paris. In September, 1939, President Raczkiewicz took the oath of office at the Polish Embassy there, and appointed General Sikorski to be the Prime Minister and Commander-in Chief. In December 1939, the Polish National Council, an advisory body acting in the absence of an electoral parliament, was appointed and Ignacy Paderewski elected as its chairman. When France collapsed in 1940, the Polish government was transferred from angers to London. the following year the Polish National Council was expanded to include representatives of all Polish political parties. The Government submits its budget to the National Council and consults it on all major policies. The National Council has the rights to make representations to the Government on all matters affecting the welfare of the Polish nation.
4. Composition of the Polish Government.
After General Sikorskis tragic death on July 4, 1943 President Raczkiewicz called upon Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, who had been acting as Prime Minsiter in General Sikorskis absence, to form a Government. Prime Minster Mikolajczyks cabinet consists of Jan Kwapinski, deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry, Commerce and Shipping; Tadeusz Romer, Minister of Foreign Affairs; General Marian Kukiel, Minister of National Defense; Wladyslaw Banaczyk, Minister of Home Affairs; Stanislaw Kot, Minister of Information; Ludwik Grosfeld, Minister of Finance; Jan Stanczyk, Minister of Labor and Social Welfare; Waclaw Komarnicki, Minister of Justice: Marian Seyda, Minister of State (Peace Conference Planning); Karol Popiel, Minister of State (Polish Administrative Planning); The Rev. Zygmunt Kaczynski, Minister of Education; Henryk Strassburger, Polish Minister in the Middle East.
The Peasant and Labor parties each have one more member in this Government than they had in that of General Sikorski. The Peasant Party is represented by three members. Mikolajczyk, Banaczyk and Kot; the Polish Labor party by three members: Kwapinski, Stanczyk and Grosfeld; the National Liberal Party by two members: Kaczynski and Popiel; The National Democratic Party by two members: Komarnicki and Seyda; three members belong to no party: Romer, Kukiel and Strasburger.
Of the thirteen members of the Government, two are peasants, two are labor men, three are teachers, three are newspapermen: one is a lawyer, one is a soldier and one is a career diplomat as follows:
Prime Minister Mikolajczyk, the son of a small farmer, organizer of rural cooperatives and a prominent leader of agrucultural labor; Minister of the Interior Banaczyk is a small farmer.
Two Labor Men:
Deputy Prime Minister Kwapinski, Minister of Industryk Cimmerce and Shipping, an agricultural laborer who fought the Czar and was exiled to Siberian; Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Stanczyk, a Miner and labor leader.
Minister of Information Kot, professor of the History of Polish civilization; Minister of Justice Komarnicki, son of a farmer, Professor of Law; Minister of Polish Affairs in the Middle East Strasburger, Professor of Economics and protagonist of parliamentary union with Czechoslovakia.
Minister of State Popiel, son of a working man; Minister of State Seyda, son of a storekeeper, fought German imperialism for 40 years and was exiled by Germany before the last War; Minister of Education, Rev, Kaczynski, head of the Polish Catholic Press Agency, very active in the Polish underground movement in 1939-1940.
Minister of Finance Grosfeld, counsel and financial adviser to Polish labor unions.
Minister of national Defense General Kukiel, Professor of Military Histroy.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Romer, career diplomat , former Ambassador to Japan and Russia.
5. Polands Vitality.
From 1920 to 1937, the average increase in Polands population was 14.7 per thousand, the total increase 26.9 percent. During the same period the population of Germany increased by 13.0 percent. But for the war the population of Poland would have exceeded that of France before 1950 and that of Germany about 1970.
6. Language and Religion in Poland.
Polands Ukrainian 14.1%
Yiddish and Hebrew 8.16%
White Ruthenian 3.9%
Other and not given 3.2%
Roman Catholic 64.8%
Eastern Orthodox 11.8%
Greek Catholic 10.4%
After 1918, in independent Poland, political and civil rights were granted to all national minorities. They had their own representatives in Parliament and in local government, their own educational system and full freedom of cultural and educational development. In 1939 there were in Poland 3,000 Ukrainian schools maintained by the Government. Polish Ukrainians differ greatly as regards religion and language from the Ukrainians in Soviet Russia. Among White Ruthenians, national development is slow, Polish efforts to raise the national culture of White Ruthenia were successful only in part. For instance, a certain number of high schools, organized by Poles for White Ruthenians, had to be closed for lack of pupils.
7. Population of Polish cities.
8. Density of Rural Population In Poland the density of gainfully occupied rural population per 100 acres of farmland compared as follows with other countries:
1,000 acres of
Year Country farmland
1931 Poland 154
1931 Yugoslavia 146
1933 Germany 132
1930 Czechoslovakia 129
1930 Hungary 120
1931 France 89
1931 Great Britain 26
9. Poles Abroad
Some nine million Poles and people of Polish descent are living abroad:
In the United States (approximately) 4,500,000
In Germany (mostly in Silesia and East Prussia) 1,450,000
In Soviet Russia (approximately - not including
1,500,000 Polish citizens deported to Russia in
In France 600,000
In Brazil (some two-thirds in the State of Parana) 300,000
In Lithuania (mostly around Kowno) 200,000
In Canada 150,000
In Rumania 80,000
In Latvia 75,000
In Argentine 70,000
In Paraguay 18,000
10. How the Poles Voted.
In Poland the number of voters had increased from 12,989,000 in 1922 to 14,907,000 in 1925. Then it rose to 15,791,000 out of a population of 35,500,000. This represents an electorate of 44.5%. In the United States with a population of 131,669,275 the vote cast in the last presidential election was 49,815,312 or 37.8% of this total population. The most striking thing about the Polish electorate was the very small number of extremists. The extreme right and communists combined, never amounted to more than 47% of the total votes cast in any election. Nearly half the votes (46.4%) were cast for liberal and progressive candidates. The Center, made up of middle-class democrats, polled 28.6% of the votes and the minorities (Jews, Ukrainian, White Ruthenians, etc.) 21%. In the last election under Marshal Pilsudski's administration the opposition parties polled 53% of the votes, but were so divided among themselves that they never had a working majority in the parliament.
11. First Two Dates in Polish History
Recorded Polish history began with two dates:
963, when German hordes, under Margrave Gero, invaded Poland: Germany's first attempt to get "Lebensraum" by aggression;
966, when Mieszko 1, together with his people, adopted Christianity.
12. Poland-Defender of Christianity
At Lignica in 1241, Polish troops under Duke Henry the Pious stopped the invasion of Western Europe by Tartar hordes. Henry the Pious was killed. In this battle the Tartars used choking vapors that had the same effect as poison gas.
In 1410 the united armies of Poland and Lithuania defeated the Teutonic Order of the Knights of the Cross in the Battle of Grunwald. Victory was so complete that the "Drang nach Osten" was stopped and Poland had four hundred years of peace. The lesson should not be forgotten: partial or unexploited victories over the Germans, give only short-lived and precarious peace.
14. Polish-Lithuanian Union and the Polish Commonwealth
In 1413, at Horodlo, Poland united with her eastern neighbor, Lithuania.
The Act of Union concluded at Horodlo, proclaimed:
"Let those be united to us by love and made equal, who are bound to us by common faith and identical laws and privileges. We pledge our immutable and solemn word never to desert them."
In 1569 the complete union of Poland and Lithuania was achieved by the Act of Lublin, and the Commonwealth of Poland came into being. In this Act the union of Poland with Ukraine, Ruthenia, Podolia and Volynia was also achieved. The principles of this union were virtually those of the United States. Under an elected King and one Parliament, local state government existed. Moreover, Poland and Lithuania kept separate armies under separate Commanders-in-Chief. Other provinces of the Polish Commonwealth were East Prussia, Livonia, Courland. They enjoyed wide autonomy. The Ruthenian and Lithuanian upper classes had the same rights as the Polish gentry.
15. Cracow University
Cracow University was founded in 1364 and became the great intellectual center of Central-Eastern Europe. It opened the Golden Age of Polish culture and Polish literature, an era made famous by the father of modern astronomy, Mikolaj Kopernik, by the poet Jan Kochanowski, by the educator Gornicki, the brilliant orator Skarga, and many other great men.
16. Polish "Habeas Corpus"
200 years before the English "Habeas Corpus" Act, Poland guaranteed liberty of the person by the "Neminem Captivabimus" Act of 1430, as well as personal property rights. No one could be arrested without a warrant from legal authority.
17. The Confederation of Warsaw
In 1573, by the Confederation of Warsaw, Poland established freedom of conscience and worship at a time when religious persecution was rife. Ever since, Poland has been the refuge in Europe of oppressed religious minorities. Already in 1264 the Statute of Kalisz had been granted to the Jews in Poland by Boleslaus the Pious. The only document of its kind in all Europe giving them cultural autonomy and their own coinage. From t he 15th Century onward, Jewish religious schools flourished and won world-wide recognition. Rabinical publications in Wilno and Cracow were eagerly read by Jews in the United States.
18. Poland Saves Europe from Islam.
In 1683, the Polish King, Jan Sobieski, ran the risk of Russian aggression to go to the assistance of Vienna, besieged by the Turks. By his victory, one of the world's decisive battles, Poland saved Europe for Christianity. A "Te Deum" was sung in the Cathedral of St. Stephen in Vienna, and these words were uttered from the pulpit: "There was a man sent from God whose name was John." Later, Poland signed a pact of perpetual friendship with Turkey, the only State that never recognized the partitions of Poland, keeping an empty seat at all diplomatic receptions for the "temporarily absent" Polish ambassador. This absence lasted for 122 years.
19. Partitions of Poland.
In 1772 occurred the first partition of Poland, by her three neighbors, Russia, Prussia and Austria: absolute monarchies unwilling to have on their frontiers a free and Democratic Poland. In 1793, Russia and Prussia carried out a second, and in 1795, together with Austria, a third partition of Poland, which for 122 years disappeared from the map of Europe. Jefferson called the partitions of Poland "a crime"; Wilson, one of the great crimes of history. It was also condemned spontaneously by the "Peoples Commissars" of the communist regime in 1919 in Moscow. They termed it: "contemptible imperialism."
20. Constitution of the Third of may.
On the Third of May, 1791, after the first partition, the Polish Parliament passed a Constitution inspired by the ideals of the American Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the Rights of Men. It was the first written democratic Constitution in Europe establishing the rights of the middle classes and of the peasants had also established the first Ministry of Education in Europe. The absolute rulers of Prussia, Austria and Russia regarded this Constitution as a threat to their Divine Right to rule, and hastened to stifle Poland's new born democracy. The partitions of 1793 and 1795 resulted. Thaddeus Kosciuszko, on his return from America in 1794, led the first Polish insurrection which preceded the third partition. He was wounded and captured. Thanks to the rights granted by the Third of May Constitution to Polish peasants, they formed a large proportion of the insurgents.
21. 122-Year Struggle for Freedom
Poland had 12 million inhabitants at the time of the third partition. The country was devastated, the people terrorized by armies of occupation' representing three empires with a total population of 85 million. Despite this enormous disproportion of strength, the Poles time and again rose in arms against their oppressors. Risings took place in 1794, 1830, 1848, 1863, 1905. Through all the 122 years of partition, Poles fought on the battlefront of Liberty all over the world for the freedom of other peoples. In the United States, in Belgium, Italy, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, the Argentine, Bolivia, Peru Poles fought for the cause of human freedom under their war cry "For Your Freedom and For Ours." When Polish patriots put "your" liberty before "ours," it was no mere gesture, but a forceful expression of their conviction that the only guarantee of freedom for any nation is the freedom of all nations.
22. Restoration of Independent Poland in 1918.
After the First World War Poland's independence was restored by the Treaty of Versailles, which defined only the western and southern boundaries of Poland.
23. "Eighteenth Decisive Battle of the World"
In 1920, Russian Red armies attacked Poland and marched as far as the suburbs of Warsaw. Polish armies, without any assistance from the western powers, defeated the Red armies and single handed saved Western En' rope from communism. The importance of that victory was emphasized by Lord D'Abernon, who called the battle of Warsaw "The Eighteenth Decisive Battle of the World." The Polish-Russian war was ended by the Treaty of Riga, signed on March 17, 1921. This treaty definitely established Poland's eastern boundaries. The Treaty of Riga was a compromise between Poland's past and her present. Offered even more territory by Lenin, Poland exercised a statesmanlike restraint and Lenin, the dictator of Russia, called the Treaty of Riga "a voluntary and just agreement to stand for all time." Victorious Poland gave up to Russia nearly two thirds of the pre-partition territories in the east. The frontier included the cities of Wilno (94% of Poles) and LWOW (87.8 % of Poles) but nowhere did it extend to the frontiers of the 18th Century, not to speak of the 14th or 16th Centuries. 1,500,000 Poles were left in Russia and 135,000 Russians were left in Poland. Poland's eastern frontiers are the boundary of Western civilization, as witnessed by architectural styles, peasant costumes, folklore, music, dances, decorative art and literary taste.
24. What Is the Curzon Line?
Some of Poland's enemies claim that ethnographically the so-called "Curzon line" really constitutes Poland's eastern frontier. This line was proposed in 1920 by Lord Curzon, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, as an armistice line in the war with the Russians. When in 1939, the Germans and Russians divided Poland, the frontier established by the two invaders" followed the Curzon line, more or less. The claim that ethnographically this line is Poland's eastern frontier is absurd. The territories between the so-called "Curzon line" and the eastern frontier of Poland are inhabited by 6,396,000 Poles, 4,530,000 Ukrainians, 1,122,000 White Ruthenians, 135,000 Russians, 89,000 Germans and 84,000 Lithuanians.
POLAND'S ECONOMIC PROGRESS
25. After the First World War
Poland was devastated during the First World War. The total number of buildings destroyed in Poland by all sorts of invaders was 1,785,305, including 6,586 schools, 1,969 churches, 40% of all the railway bridges and stations were destroyed. After the war Poland received very little financial assistance from abroad. (About 15 cts. per inhabitant p.a., Germany received $1.10 per inhabitant p.a.) yet during the twenty years between the two wars, she achieved significant progress. Take the soil, a basic factor: 11,362,000 acres of fallow land were brought under cultivation, and 8,027,500 acres of large estates were parcelled into small farms. In 1918, Poland had 1,750 locomotives, 3,043 passenger cars and 30,000 freight cars. In 1939 she had well over 5,500 locomotives, 11,350 passenger cars and 164,000 freight cars. 1,250 miles of new railroad track had been laid. In the same time the length of Polish highways had been increased by 30%. In 1918 Poland did not possess a single ship, in 1939 she had more than 500 merchant and passenger vessels sailing the seven seas.
26. Education in Poland
Between 1918 and 1937 there were opened in Poland 23,604 new primary schools for children from seven to fourteen years of age. All these schools had libraries as well as assembly rooms, lecture and recreation halls. In 1938-9, 5,402,300 children-ninety-one out of every hundred-attended school. Universal and compulsory education had brought illiteracy in the lower age brackets down to a fraction of one per cent. just before the war, Poland had 27 Universities and other academic institutions, 74 teachers training colleges, 2,230 High Schools, 103 technical training schools, 28,722 primary schools and 1,651 kindergartens.
THE TRUTH ABOUT POLAND
27. Poland, a Land of Small Holdings
A. Ownership of land in Poland.
According to the census of 1931 the entire area of cultivated land, orchards and gardens, meadows and pastures was 63,232,145 acres, of which 11,411,281 acres or 18.04% were larger holdings of 123.6 acres (50 hectares ) each and more, and 48,198,207 fares or 76.22% were small holdings of less than 123.6 acres; the remaining 3,585,238 acres or 5.74% were owned by state and local government. Peasant ownership of farm land in 1931 constituted three-fourths of the whole utilized area. However between 1931 and 1938, 1,799,095 acres of large holdings were parcelled, thus increasing the peasant holdings to 50,007,303 acres, or 79.07% of all utilized land in Poland, and decreasing large holdings to 15.21%. In other words five-sixths of all agricultural holdings in Poland are in the hands of peasants and only one sixth in the hands of large landowners. So Poland is predominantly a land of small and not of large holdings. In Great Britain, for instance, large estates of more than 123.6 acres (50ha.) constitute about 68%, and small estates of less than 123.6 acres only about 31% of the utilized land. By 1948 all large estates would have been parcelled.
B. Ownership of livestock by large and small holdings (1937) in thousands of heads: Sheep and
Horses % Cattle % Pigs % Goats %
holdings 396 10.69 736 7.2o 436 5.96 435 12.49
holdings 3,309 89.31 9,491 92.80 6,983 94.04 3,048 87.51
Total 3,705, 100 10,227 100 7,419 100 3,483 100
28. Poland's Share in World Agricultural Production.
Rye and wheat Potatoes Sugar
(millions (millions (thousands Cattle
of tons) of tons) of tons) (millions)
Great Britain 1.5 5 550 8.6
United States 21.5 9.5 1.174 60.8
Poland 815 319 500 10.2
Germany 12,5 45 1,500 20
France 91 15 800 15.7
29. Poland's Industrial Progress.
Despite the world economic crisis Poland's industrial progress was far from negligible. Between 1925 and 1938 the number of electric plants increased almost threefold; the installed power was doubled. Poland occupied 7th place in world coal output and 4th place in world coal exports. In zinc Poland held the 5th place in the world. For her 2,638,000 spindles and 69,000 looms Poland imported 128,000,000 lbs. of cotton and 68,000,000 lbs. of wool yearly. She exported textiles to more than 30 countries. Among Poland's main industrial exports were: weaving and spinning machinery, woolen, linen, cotton textiles, plywood, wood articles, furniture, pianos, glass and china, leather and leather goods, gloves, electric appliances, chemicals, drugs, perfumery, canned meats, seed, medical herbs, liquors, etc. Some of these articles were exported to 42 countries.
30. Labor and Health in Poland.
Assuming per capita production in 1928 as 100, the output rose to 129 in 1937. Polish labor was organized in 298 trade unions which in 1937 concluded 727 collective working agreements with employers. Polish labor managed to maintain the real value of wages, despite the economic crisis. Although in 1937 nominal wages dropped 34 % from 1933 levels, the same period saw a decrease in industrial wholesale prices of 39%, and in agricultural prices of 46%. The general purchasing power of wages rose 6%. The Polish system of social security was based upon compulsory insurance of all working people. Health insurance covered 2,171,000 persons; accident insurance 2,183,000 persons; disability and old age pensions 2,523,000 persons; unemployment insurance 1,690,000 persons. Social insurance provided hospitals, child care, rest-maternity anti-tubercular centers in every city, health control centers, etc. Social legislation restricted the employment of women and minors, and controlled the prevention of accidents, provided paid holidays for workers, etc. This social security legislation was one of the first steps taken by reborn Poland and labor unions were recognized by act of Parliament in 1919. Some of the social measures adopted by the First Polish Parliament in 1921, were voted by the French Parliament in 1935 during the period of social reconstruction under the Premiership of Leon Blum.
Finally the Polish death-rate was steadily decreasing, from 16.7 per 1,000 inhabitants in 1925, it fell to 15.5 in 1930, and to 14.0 in 1937.
31. Poland's Occupational Structure.
Manual and skilled wage earners constitute 28.6% and white collar workers 4.3% of the total population. In the various occupation groups the percentage of non-salaried "independents" is as follows: agriculture, 85.2%; industry 32.7%; commerce 72.8%; communications 15% other occupations 8.3%. This proves that Poland was a land of small and medium individual enterprise, an essential characteristic of liberal economy.
32. Poland's Cooperative System
Poland had 11,720 cooperative societies with more than 3,000,000 members, divided into Agricultural, Consumers and Credit Unions. During the 20 years of Poland's independent existence the number of cooperatives trebled. In 1928 for instance 24% of cheese exports was handled through cooperatives, in 1938 this percentage had risen to 99.4%.
33. Polish Access to Sea
Poland's most striking achievement was the construction and development of the port of Gdynia on the Baltic Sea. In 1924, the number of incoming and outgoing vessels was 58 with a total tonnage of 10,167. In 1938, it was 12,990 with a total tonnage of 9,174,000 tons. Together with Danzig, which was smaller, the total tonnage exceeded 17,800,000, constituting the 5th port in Europe and the largest on the Baltic. The shift of exports and imports by land to exports and imports
by Sea is most significant. The value of Polish imports by sea increased from 27.4% in 1928 to 65.5% in 1937; similarly the value of Polish exports by sea rose from 25.2% in 1928 to 66.2% in 1937. This was due to the establishment of maritime connections with more than forty countries. Polish merchant vessels called at more than 200 ports.
34. Poland's Contribution to World Culture and Civilization.
Some idea of Poland's contribution to world culture and civilization may be gathered from this much too brief list of famous Poles:
SCIENCE: Mikolaj Kopernik (Copernicus) (1456-1543), the discoverer of the solar system, of earth's rotation about the sun and father of modern relativity; Jan Sniadecki (1756-1830), astronomer and famous mathematician who worked with Oxford University; jozef Hoene-Wronski (1778-1853), philosopher and famous mathematician, discoverer of differential equations; Zygmunt Wroblewski (18451888) and Karol Olszewski (18461915), scientists who first liquefied air; Jan Lukasiewicz (b. 1878), philosopher and mathematician, inventor of the petroleum lamp; Stefan Kopec (murdered by the Nazis), discovered the hormone of insects; Maria SklodowskaCurie (1867-1934), Nobel prize winner, discovered radium and polonium; R. Waigiel, discovered anti-typhoid serum-, Dr. Kazimierz Funk (b. 1884), first introduced the term "Vitamin" (his book on the subject published in New York is a recognized authority); Dr. L. Zamenhof (1859-1917), created Esperanto,
Piotr Michalowski (1802-1855) and Aleksander Orlowski (1777-1832), excellent painters and draughtsmen; Jan Matejko (1839-1893), creator of a series of monumental visions of Poland's glorious past, Artui Grottger (1837-1867), painter of tragic insurrection of 1863 and the Siberian deportees Juliusz Kossak (1824-1899), famous ballet painter; Josef Chelmonski (1850-1914), realist painter; Jacek Malczewski (1855-1929), the Polish Rubens; Stanislaw Wyspianski (18691907), leading painter of "Young Poland"; J. Mehoffer (b.1869), famous painter of stained glass windows; Wladyslaw Skoczylas (b.1883), illustrator of Polish folklore. School of St. Luke, eleven painters under a modernized spell of El Grecco. Jan Rosen (b.1891), the painter of frescos in Poland, Italy and U. S. A., Artur Szyk, famous miniaturist, Feliks Topolski, the Rembrandtian draughtsman.
Wit Stwosz (1438-1533), great master of the XV century, who carved the altar in St. Mary's Church, Cracow, removed by the Germans to Nuremberg; Ksawery Dunikowski (b. 1876) and Edward Witting, whose monuments to aviators stand in Warsaw and Paris; Stanislaw Ostrowski (b.1878), sculptor of the equestrian statue of King Jagiello before his victory over the Prussians at Grunwald, at the World's Fair in New York, 1939.
37. Composers and Musicians
Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849), one of the greatest composers, whose music is essentially Polish; Stanislaw Moniuszko (1819-1872), the father of the Polish opera; Ignacy Paderewski (1860-1941), who earned fame as a pianist before he rose to symbolize Polish patriotism and Statesmanship; Henryk Wieniawski (1835-1880), a d Karol Szymanowski (1883-1937), distinguished composers of modern svmphonies. Barcewicz, Bronislaw Huberman, Pawel Kochanski, Wanda Landowska, Artur Rubinstein, Jozef Hoffman and Jozef Sliwinski are Polish performers whose names are familiar to music-lovers in Europe and America. Emil Mlynarski and Artur Rodzinski are well-known Polish conductors, while the de Reszke brothers, Adam Didur, Jan Kiepura, Ada Sari and Sembrich-Kochanska are well-known Polish singers of international repute.
Mikolaj Rey (1505-1569), founder of Poland's national literature; Jan Kochanowski (1530-1584), the great Polish lyrical poet; A. Frycz Modrzewski (1503-1572), political thinker and social reformer; L. Gornicki (1527-1603), distinguished writer and educator; Piotr Skarga (1536-1612), Jesuit writer and greatest Polish orator; Ignacy Krasicki (1735-1801), distinguished fabulist; Aleksander Fredro (1793-1876), greatest Polish dramatist; Adam Midciewicz (1799-1855), Juliusz Slowacki (1809-1849) and Zygmunt Krasinski, Polish national bards; Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846. 1916), Poland's great historical novelist, Nobel prize winner; Boleslaw Prus (1847-1912), distinguished novelist; Stanislaw Wyspianski (1869.1902), poet, dramatist, painter; Stefan Zeromski (1864-1925), modern novelist on social problems; Wladyslaw Reymont (1868-1925), author of "The Peasants," a monumental rural epic, Nobel prize winner; Karol Hubert Rostworowski (1877-1937). dramatist and poet; Zofia Kossak-Szczucka (b. 1890), famous historical novelist. Among contemporary Polish poets mention should be made of Stanislaw Balinski, Jan Lechon, Kazimierz Wierzynski, Julian Tuwim and Antoni Slonimski.
39. The Theatre
Modern Polish dramatic. art dates from 1765, when the actor-manager Boguslawski founded the first national theatre in Warsaw. The most popular plays of the Polish stage are those by Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Slowacki, Zygmunt Krasinski, Stanislaw Wyspianski, Aleksander Fredro, Stefan Zeromski. Contemporary writers are Adolf Nowaczynski, Waclaw Grubinski, Zygmunt Nowakowski, Antoni Cwojdzinski, Hubert Rostworowski. The plays of Shakespeare, Shaw, Sheriff and Chesterton are also popular in Poland. During the 20 years of Polish independence there were no less than 652 performances of Shakespeare's tragedies and comedies. G. B. Shaw was acted 569 times and three of his plays were produced in Poland before being acted in Great Britain. "Pygmalion" beats all records, running for 179 performances.
Architecture in old Poland developed under Gothic influences, the Polish style being known as Vistula Gothic. In the 16th century, Renaissance, and later a sedate Baroque style predominated. Modem Polish architecture was molded by national reconstruction and urban and industrial planning. The schools of architecture in Warsaw and Lwow became centres of progressive architectural thought, based on the national style evolved during the later half of the 19th century. In the planning of new and the modernizing of old urban areas, special regard was had for the rest and recreation of children, and an effort was made to preserve natural beauties and buildings of historic interest. Thus the old Market Place of Warsaw was renovated and repainted in its original pattern of color. The Renaissance town of Zamosc was rebuilt around its beautiful Town Hall, not unlike Williamsburg Va., in U. S. A. A score of other medieval towns were thus restored, including three most beautiful and dear to all the Poles: Cracow, Wilno and Lwow, where Polish culture was born and whence it radiated.
HOW THE WAR CAME TO POLAND
41. Why Hitler Attacked Poland?
From 1934 to 1939 Hitler repeatedly urged Poland to join Germany in an attack on Soviet Russia, promising her large territorial gains in Eastern Europe. Poland rejected all of Hitler's proposals. Furthermore, Poland's vitality and the decline of the German population made it obvious that by 1975 the Poles would have become equal to the Germans and that time was working against German supremacy. Indeed 1939 was the year in which the strength of the German manpower in relation to the Polish manpower was at its maximum. That year
was chosen long before for aggression against Poland.
42. September 1, 1939
At dawn on September 1, 1939, German land and air armies attacked Poland without any declaration of war, crossing the frontier at 14 points from East Prussia, West Prussia, Silesia, Moravia and Slovakia. Germany bombed all Polish airfields and 61 towns within the first few hours.
43. Unequal Forces
The relative strength of Polish and German forces in September, 1939, was as follows:
Infantry 31 divisions 70 divisions
Panzer units 1 division 14 divisions
Planes 443 4320
Fire power ratio 1 72
44. 35 Days of Polish-German War
The German-Polish war lasted 35 days, from September 1 to October 5, 1939. At Kock the last of the major engagements of the war was fought on October 5th. The siege of Warsaw, capital of Poland, lasted 19 days in spite of heavy air and artillery bombardment. Warsaw surrendered , on September 27, when the armies had exhausted all ammunition, the water supply was cut, and 200 large fires were raging in the city.
45. Sept. 17, 1939-the Critical Day
September 17, 1939, was the most critical day of the German-Polish war.
On September 14, German panzer units had been stopped thanks to the resistance of the Polish armies and to the extension of German supply lines. The Poles began to organize effective resistance along the marshes of Polesie and in Galicia. But at dawn on September 17, without any declaration of war, Soviet Russia despite her non-aggression treaty with Poland attacked on the rear of the Polish armies fighting Germany. On September 28, Germany and Russia signed an agreement dividing Poland between themselves for "all times," along the Ribbentrop-Molotov line.
POLISH ARMY IN EXILE
46. Polish Army in France
Very shortly after the cessation of organized fighting by Polish forces against the German invaders, a Polish army was formed in France by General Sikorski. This army consisted of 4 1/2 infantry divisions, an armored brigade and the Carpanthian brigade, some 100,000 men in all. The first and second divisions took part in the battle of France; the Carpathian Brigade fought in Norway and was the first to enter Narvik.
47. Polish Army in England
After the collapse of France, General Sikorski succeeded in evacuating a large part of the Polish troops to England, where Poland now has an army corps including an armored division, a rifle brigade, a parachute brigade , and other units.
48. Polish Army in the Middle East
When the Polish-Russian Treaty as signed in July, 1941, a number of Polish prisoners of war in Russia were released, and a new army was organized on Russian soil under General Anders. Before having been equipped it was transferred to the Middle East at the request of the Soviet Government. With the Carpathian Brigade now expanded to a Division, it forms separate army corps. Polish ground forces in the Middle East number some 75,000 men, fully trained and equipped with the most modern American and British armament.
49. Polish Air Force
After the fall of Poland, Polish fighter squadrons were set up in France, while bomber crews were training in Britain. When Hitler attacked in the West, 133 Polish fighter pilots, fighting with the British and French Air Forces faced his air armada. They won 55 victories, losing 15 men. Yet the most glorious achievement of the tiny Polish Air Force was in the Battle of Britain, when it destroyed 195 enemy machines out of the total of 2,366 brought down by the Royal Air Force. Since then, Polish fighter and bomber squadrons have been continually engaged and up to March, 1943, had destroyed more than 526 enemy aircraft, 7 U-boats and dropped more than 6,000 tons of bombs on 42 targets in Germany and German occupied territories. In Tunisia, Polish airmen brought down 79 enemy planes as compared with 527 downed by the American air forces. Since 1939 Polish pilots have shot down more than 1,000 German planes. A considerable number of Polish airmen also serve as pilots in the Allied armies. The Polish Air Force now numbers more than 12,000 men.
50. The Polish Navy
The Polish Navy has been fighting for 3 1/2 years alongside of the British Royal Navy. Polish sailors have taken part in many important naval actions, including the evacuation of Dunkirk, the spirited attack on the "Bismarck," the landing at Dieppe, and the recent operations off the North African coast. They have played their full part in the Battle of the Atlantic and carry on an unceasing vigil with the fleets of the United Nations in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Thus the destroyer "Garland" fought a 6-day battle against Nazi planes and U-boats in conveying American and British munitions to Russia. The officers and crew of this "Very Gallant Ship" were saluted by the officers and crew of the flagship of the convoy and received high British and Polish decorations.
POLAND FIGHTS ON
51. German Reign of Terror
In his message to Poland, broadcast on May 3, 1941, Prime Minister Churchill said:
"Every day Hitler's firing parties are busy in a dozen lands. Monday he shoots Dutchmen, Tuesday Norwegians, Wednesday French and Belgians stand against the wall, Thursday it is the Czechs who must suffer, and now there are the Serbs and the Greeks to fill his repulsive bill of execution. But always, all of the days, there are the Poles."
52. 8,000,000 Poles Sacrificed for Freedom
The struggle of the Polish Nation for freedom and integrity of Poland cost the Nation 8,000,000 victims. During, that time:
2,500,000 Poles were murdered by the Germans.
500,000 Poles were starved to death by the Germans.
2,000,000 Poles were sent to forced labor in Germany.
1,600,000 Poles were deported from Western Poland to the Government General.
1,500,000 Poles were deported by Soviets to Russia.
348 villages have been burned to the ground and ploughed under like Lidice, 1,080 have been evacuated and all the inhabitants either killed or deported.
53. Directorate of Civilian Resistance
Underground resistance on the Polish Home Front is directed by the Polish Government in London, through its representatives in Poland who conveys its instructions to the Directorate of Civilian Resistance responsible for the organization of sabotage, the trial and execution of German criminals.
54. Religious and Cultural Persecution in Poland
Seven Polish dioceses have been suppressed: Poznan, Gniezno, Wloclawek, Plock, Pelplin, Lodz, Katowice; seven Bishops deported or imprisoned, ninety per cent of the clergy thrown into concentration camps. A large number of priests have been executed by the Gestapo. In Oswiencim alone 1,500 priests have died of maltreatment; churches are closed and many millions of Catholics are entirely deprived of religious services, in a country where more than 70% of the people are Catholics. Polish Universities, professional and technical institutions, high schools and all private schools are closed. Libraries, museums, scientific collections and laboratory equipments have been looted and taken to Germany. All books dealing with Polish culture were burned. German specialists, mostly university professors, who had been received in Poland as cherished guests, supervised the looting of Polish universities, academies, research institutes and museums. The Germans consider that Poles do not require learning . . . Governor General Frank said: "The Poles do not need universities or secondary schools, the Polish territories are to be transformed into an intellectual desert." Foerster, Gauleiter of the "Wartheland," the western provinces of Poland illegally incorporated in the Reich, said: I promise you that in ten years from now not so much as a single sheaf of wheat will grow on Polish soil." Werner Best, in "Zeitschrift fuer Politik" of June 2nd, 1942, wrote: "Historical experience has shown that the destruction and elimination of a foreign nationality is not in the least against the laws of life, provided that destruction and elimination are complete."
55. Economic Pillage
The confiscation of public and private property in Poland has been complete. The Germans not only took all real estate away from the Poles, they confiscated all stores and workshops, even household furniture and personal effects, furs, jewelry, clothing, etc. The eviction of the small farmers is continuing apace. Poles are replaced by German colonists, imported from Russia and the Baltic States. The Poles, who are only used as slave labor, arc exploited by the Germans- they receive less pay and the "Polenabzug," a flat 15% on their gross earning is deducted in addition to taxes, social insurance, dues and contributions
to Arbeitsfront, from which they derive no benefits. Their pay on the average is half of what Germans get for the same work, but their hours are longer and no holidays are allowed. Food rations are less than half the German rations and no fuel is sold to Poles. When slow-downs-an essential feature of underground resistance occur ration cards are withdrawn. Workers, whose output falls to 60% of the normal German production, receive no ration cards and must starve with their families. Workers whose output is 68% receive 113 of the concentration camp ration; those whose production is 80% receive 50% of the German ration.
56. More Than 110 Underground Newspapers
Although the publication, circulation and possession of a secret newspaper is punishable by death, more than 110 underground newspapers are read by at least 3,000,000 people. Some have four editions daily, and news broadcasts from London and New York are printed within an hour. Even photographs are smuggled into Poland and published in the secret press. In spite of the danger most of the distribution is done by women and children.
57. Resistance and Sabotage Pending the opening of an allied
offensive in Europe, the home front in Poland keeps up a continuous warfare. In the course of a single month in 1943, 100 locomotives were damaged, 17 trains derailed, 340 trucks destroyed 7 oil wells rendered useless, 18 military transports attacked, more than 500 Germans killed, including Wilhelm Krueger, the Polish Heydrich. Poland also maintains two underground universities and several hundred schools.
58. Secret Courts in Poland
Poland, the only occupied nation that has no Quisling, Hacha or Vlassov, administers justice under enemy occupation by secret courts. A recent communication of the Directorate of Civilian Resistance printed in No. 464 of the underground daily Information Bulletin, announces the execution of 59 sentences on German Gestapo officers in the single month of May, 1943.
POLAND'S POST-WAR PLANS
59. General Principles
The present war is a struggle for Christian civilization. The people of Poland believe that the postwar organization of the world should be based on Christian morality, international democracy, and political and economic collaboration. This order should be established and enforced throughout the world by international institutions and an international force, and cannot be the prerogative of a few powerful nations. Poland, the first real democracy in Europe, is deeply attached to her parliamentary system, based on broad democratic representation of the people. Recognition will be given to private property and free enterprise, but "jungle" economy will not be tolerated. The "average man" will be at home in Poland. Poland will be a land of the middle class, of workers and farmers, an average man's approximation to the ideal of the Four Freedoms. Racial minorities will be given full liberty of cultural development and will exercise the equality of rights and of obligations.
60. Central and Eastern European Federation
Poland expects the Nations of Central and Eastern Europe to form a commonwealth sufficiently strong to withstand German aggression, which has plagued it for centuries. Such a commonwealth would facilitate the economic development of Central and Eastern Europe and promote neighborly trade-exchanges with Russia. It would be a potent factor of Russia's security in the west. The Governments of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Jugoslavia and Greece have formed a Central-Eastern European Planning Board, the nucleus of cooperation along these lines. The Board has various committees working on the agricultural, industrial, financial, educational and social problems involved. Other committees will be organized as need arises to deal with every aspect of the mutual advantages to be derived from the close collaboration of 110 million people, who will become a first class power in the world Council. This power will be used solely for the preservation of peace and raising of the standard of living of its peoples. It will serve European culture and Christian civilization for which that culture stands. It is democratic and in the terms of the Polish-Czech declaration of November 11, 1940, the Constitution of the individual States included in the Confederation will guarantee to citizens of those States the following rights:
a. Religious Freedom.
b. Personal Liberty.
c. Freedom of Learning.
d. Freedom of Speech and of the Press.
c. Freedom of Organization and Association.
i. Equality of all citizens before the Law.
g. Free admission of all citizens to all State functions.
h. Independence of courts of law, control of government by r6presentative national bodies elected by means of free elections.
There are 15 million Americans who are descendents of the peoples constituting the proposed commonwealth. They will link the Eastern European Commonwealth to the United States in a bond of mutual understanding and identical ideology.