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Old 13th November 2019, 19:11
edwest2 edwest2 is online now
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Re: Case White: The Invasion of Poland 1939

Hello Mirek,

I write this to you, to other Poles and to interested historians. The wounds inflicted on Poland during the Second World War by the Russians and Germans need some context. And I beg the indulgence of those reading.

One year before my father was born, the Polish Army retook land annexed by the Russians. My father was a member of Polish ground forces when the Germans attacked in 1939. He was captured but was not treated as a POW, but as an enemy alien. Both he and my mother were taken to Germany and became forced laborers.

My mother was at a checkpoint one day in Germany. The young guard pointed his rifle at her and yelled at her. She was the enemy. What was she doing in Germany? Fortunately, an older officer was there who sternly disabused this young man of any wrong ideas.

Few in the West know that Polish forced laborers were required to wear a large letter P on their coats during the war. After the war, my mother was in a location she only referred to as "camp." An American officer came to see her. He spoke perfect German. He asked her what her nationality was. When she said, Polish, he said, "I don't believe you." Why? "Your German is too good." She showed him letters from home. Satisfied, he left.

In order to not offend our 'ally for the moment,' especially during the Cold War, and due to the extreme secrecy practiced by the Soviet Union, little factual information about the situation in Poland has reached the West since 1945. Even American intelligence took more than 50 years to release certain documents held by them. Certain of which may have been held longer had the Soviet Union not collapsed.

Few readers know that the seizure of national archives by conquering forces was a requirement. Once this information was evaluated, it could be misused to pass laws and decrees and to deny legal action against them. After all, how could the newly conquered nation complain if they had no proof in the way of original documents?

In France, once American forces appeared in large number, French newspapers began to publish stories that portrayed the Americans in a positive light. Calming the general population had to occur.

As far as the ground war, I recommend the books of General Anders. Captured by Russian forces and taken to the Lubyanka prison, it was hoped he would join the Russian side. He would spend his time looking for missing Polish soldiers. Later, it was revealed that Polish troops, along with some civilians, were massacred at Katyn forest. The Russians blamed it on the Germans. My father told me the Russians used captured German weapons to carry out the killings. General Anders would join British forces.

As far as the air war, it appears that the best books have been published only in Polish. Another example is Czech aviation. The finest material is published in the Czech Republic. Slovakia went on to become a separate country. I find my attempts to learn Czech to be more difficult than other European languages.

A few books by General Anders.

Katyn, published in French, 1946.

An Army in Exile: The Story of the Second Polish Corps, 1949.

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