Wednesday, August 6, 2008

September 1, 1939

73 years ago on September 1. 1939, the Germans invaded Poland. Their blitzkrieg, their lightning war, came from the air and the sea and the sky. By Sept 28, Warsaw, the capital city of Poland, gave up. By October 7, the last Polish resistance inside Poland ended.

Recently, I received an email from a friend passing on some links to US Army films of the invasion of Poland that were compiled from captured German films. I thought I would share these films of what the Blitzkrieg was like. They are in 3 parts (each about six minutes); and if you click on the part you want to see, you will be taken to the appropriate site.

Invasion of Poland, Part I

Invasion of Poland, Part II

Invasion of Poland, Part III

The world had not seen anything like it, and it was the prelude to a lot of things the world had never seen before: the Final Solution, Total War, the concentration camps, the atomic bomb, the fire bombing of civilian populations, and brutality on a level that most people still don't want to think about almost 70 years later.

When the Germans attacked on that September 1, My dad was 19 and working on his uncle's farm with his brother Roman. Their parents had died when the boys were young, and their uncle and aunt took them in and taught them how to farm, how to prepare the soil in the fall and plant the seeds in the spring. My mom was 17 and living with her parents and her sisters and brothers in a forest west of Lvov in eastern Poland.

The summer had been hot and dry, and both of my parents, like so many other Poles, were looking forward to the fall and the beginning of milder weather.

The war turned my parents' lives upside down. Nothing they planned or anticipated could have prepared them for what happened.

By the end of the war, they were both slave laborers in Nazi Germany, their homes destroyed, their families dead or scattered, their country taken over by the Soviet Union.


Naval Langa said...


In India, too, there are thousands of families who had been displaced in 1947 at the time of independence from Britishers and partition of the country into India and Pakistan. The memories of unspeakable suffering are still roaming in their minds.

Naval Langa

Urkat said...

John, When I look at that picture my first instinct is to say to myself: "Tell me that picture isn't really what it looks like and that guard isn't really doing what I think he's doing." I think we would like to change history if we could and yet, I realize that if I were living in that time and place, that particular field would have been one of the last places I would have wanted to be. And yet it was a place someone needed to be to prevent what was happening.

Mr Langa, I understand there has been tremendous suffering in your country. India has such a rich culture and history that I wish more people would embrace it and learn to appreciate all it has to offer. Most of those I have met from India have been intelligent and good hearted people. I think we need to strengthen our ties with India and come together to help one another.

Steve said...

Sadly enough, even more disturbing pictures can be found if you google photos of the Babi yar massacre.I think these pictures are very important, a key element to understanding the second world war, and why the Soviet Union was the way it was for so long.

Stalin certainly wasnt a good guy by any means, he was probably the closest, pure definition to
"necesarry evil" that we will ever see in our lives, but you begin to understand the Soviets rage when you see what Eastern Europe was subjected to. I really think the Eastern europe had it far worse than the western Europeans did.

Urkat said...

Thanks Steve. Urkat--Matt