World War II in Poland Began in 1939.
2004 Will Mark the 65th Anniversary.

Written by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska,.B.F.A., Clan Malcolm, P.G.S.A, P.G.S.M.

The Warsaw Uprising found the Polish
insurgents with a lack of ammunition.
This poster reads:

"ONE BULLET, ONE GERMAN."
This was a plea for soldiers to make each bullet count.

Words from German Nazis seems to mirror the thoughts of the Poles:

All Poles will disappear from the world ...
It is essential that the great German people
should consider it as a major task to
destroy all Poles
.

Written by Heinrich Himmler

World War II was not man's most shining hour. In fact, it was the worst war to date. Poland was greatly affected because of its location between Russia and Germany. Eastern Poland was lost to the Soviet Union, while the rest of Poland was under Hitler's control. Communism and Nazism both prevailed along with all the horror stories of various war crimes. Eastern Poland Jews constituted from 50-90% of the population, which varied from location to location. Seventy-five (75%) percent of the top administrative posts in the cities of L~wow, Nial~stok, and L~uck were in Jewish hands during the Soviet occupation.

On this page I will note some of the events in Poland. Beginning with August 31, 1939, when the Soviet Parliament ratified the Hitler-Stalin Pact.

On September 1, 1939, the Red Army invaded Poland from the East. Approximately 15,000 officers and policemen were sent to three camps:

  1. Kozielsk
  2. Starobielsk
  3. Ostaszkow

And another 190,000 privates and non-commisioned officers were distributed through the vast Gulag sysrem (Hempel, 58). Supposed Jewish collaboration with the Soviets was the reason that Anti-Semitism grew in Poland. While Nazi propaganda was that after they destroyed a Kosciuszko statue in L~odz, they blamed the Jews. The Nazis also burned a synogogue in L~odz and blamed the Poles.

Great Britain and France declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939. However Poland did not receive support from the Allies.

In February 1940, Polish citizens were sent to Kazakhstan, in the Russian Arctic, and to Siberia. State officials, judges, forresters, and small farmers were the first to be deported. In one year, almost 1.65 million Polish citizens were deported in cattle wagons, from eastern and central Poland. By 1942, more than half those who were deported were dead. As a group, Poles were considered racially alien as were Jews, Gypsies, Belorussians, and the Ukranians. Only 3% of Poles in the annexed provinces were considered worthy of Germanization. Germans under Hitler, classified people as follows:

The Germans abducted Polish children to Germanize them. These included orphans and those in foster homes. Blue-eyed, blond children were the ones they looked for, The estimate is that some 200,000 children were seized for Germanization.

Germans not only seized humans, they also seized Polish industries for their own. Out of the 2, 387 textile factories in L~odz, 2,000 were held in trust by the Treuhandstelle Ost. They adminstered 264 industrial establishments, 9,000 medium-sized industrial concerns, 76,000 small industrial operations, 9,129 large commercial firms, 112,000 small commercial businesses. These figures do not include those enterprizes that were sold to private German ownerships.

Many homes of Poles and Jews were placed in German hands as well. In current times, those homes still remaining, are offered to their owners from before the war.

When Hitler attacked the Soviet Union, in June 22, 1941, General Sikorski (one of the leaders of Poland's government-in exile) was granted the concession that a number of Poles, who had been deported to the Soviet Union camps, should be released in order to set up a Polish army. The new Polish army was transported to Iran in the Middle East.

Three thousand to four thousand (3,500-4,000) Jews were evacuated from Russia to the Middle East during the summer of 1942. Two hundred, thirty-six (236) out of two hundred, thirty-eight (238) deserters from the Third Carpathian Divisions were said to be Jewish. By 1942, the Soviets forbade Jewish, Ukranians, and Bylorussian citizens from receiving assistance from the offices of the Polish Embassy in the Soviet Union.

When the Red Cross Commission inspected Katyn, Russia, which was now occupied by the German Wehrmacht, in 1943, they found a mass grave (in a trench) of thousands of Polish Officers. Berlin radio announced on April 13, 1943, that these graves, near Smolensk, Russia, had been discovered. These officers had been executed three years before by the Soviet KNWD (secret police - now called the KBG. Upon the discovery of this atrocity, the Polish government in exile, in London, severed all contacts with the Soviet Union. Stalin (his real name was Dzhugashvili) thought his victory over Germany would erase this event from the minds of the Polish. This event is still remembered however. Their propaganda failed.

At least two people by the name SYPNIEWSKI were killed and buried at Katyn. The total body count at this site is estimated at near 2,000.

Two Sypniewskis are buried in Katyn Cemetary:

Marian Edward Sypniewski was the son of Boleslaw and Lucy (nee Dobrogojsk) Sypniewski and he was born on February 13, in Czarmanie, in Warsaw County. Marian graduated from a teaching seminar in Kozmine (1929) He was a teacher in Podiedzikach, near Poznan. He finished military school as a ground troop (1930) He was assigned to the 58th Infantry Regiment. Marian was married.

Grzegorz Zbigniew Sypniewski was a Lieutenant Militiaman. He was the son of Wiktor Sypniewski and Henrietta (nee Aleksandrowicz). Grzegorz was born in Lwow. He was a legionary in the 1st Regiment of Artillery in 1920. He was in combat in the 5th Regiment as a Lieutenant, as he was promoted from a Sergeant Major. On June 1, 1919, he was incorporated into the 6th Armor Regiment, and later to the 6th District of military personnel. Grzegorz was a teacher of mathematics in Lwow.

***Information from Katyn' Ksiego Cmentaarna (Katyn's Cemetary Log Book)

The first non-German prisoners at Auschitz were Poles. They constituted the largest number of immates housed there until 1942, when the Jews became the largest group. The first gas poisonings at Auschwitz involved 300 Poles and 700 Soviet prisoners of war. Every Polish family had someone close to them who had been tortured or murdered there.

Poland lost 6,028,000 of its citizens during six years of war. This was about 22% ot Poland's total population. 50% were Christians, 50% were Polish Jews.

5,384,000 (89.9%) of both Jews and Gentiles were victims of prisons, death camps, raids, executions, annihilation of ghettoes, epidemics, starvation, excessive work in labor camps (with little food to sustain this work), and ill treatment(Lukas, 38-39).

By 1945, Poland's economy was ruined. In 1946, the State received 200 million dollars as compensation for Poland's lost properties abroad, and Poland was not allowed to take advantage of the Marshall Plan monies, because the Communists imposed a centralized economy on the country.

In 1946, 137,000 Jews who fled or had been deported returned to the Soviet Union. The Jewish exodus reached record levels during the political crisis of 1956-1957 and 1968-1969. At this time, attention was drawn to the inglorious part some of the Jewish had played during Stalin's reign of terror (more propaganda).

This was during the Arab-Israeli war. After that, some 20,000 Poles of Jewish origin turned their backs on the country they were born in, and considered their new homeland to be Israel or the United States. Poland's Jewish population went from 3 1/2 million to only 5,000.

Today Poland is giving these people a chance to regain their Polish citizenship.

Polish Passport information .... Polish Repatriation

Polish Citizenship:

FACT SHEET:

Principles of citizenship are governed by the Constitution of the Republic of Poland and the Citizenship Act of February 15, 1962.

  • By Birth:

    A child who was born or found within the territory of the Republic of Poland acquires citizenship if both parents are not known, whose citizenship cannot be established, or who are stateless.

  • By Descent:

    A child acquires citizenship regardless of the country of birth, if both parents are citizens of Poland or at least one of parents is Polish citizen and the other one is either not known or whose citizenship cannot be established, or who is stateless.

    A child, whose parents are a citizen of a foreign country acquires Polish citizenship by birth. However the parents by affidavit executed before proper Polish authorities within three months after the birth of the child can choose foreign citizenship for the child if the laws of the foreign country grant the child citizenship based on descent from the foreign parent. Polish citizenship can be granted to that child if he/she after turning 16, but before 6 months to the legal age executes an affidavit expressing the will of becoming the citizen before proper Polish authorities.

  • By Naturalization:

    Citizenship can be granted by the President of the Republic of Poland. An Alien is eligible to apply for the citizenship if he has resided in Poland as a lawful permanent resident for at least 5 years. The granting of the citizenship can be subjected to submission of the evidence of the loss or renunciation of foreign citizenship.

    Marriage to a Polish national does not affect citizenship of both parties.

  • Lost of Citizenship:

    INVOLUNTARY: The Constitution prohibits an involuntary loss of Polish citizenship.

    VOLUNTARY: A Polish citizen may gain foreign citizenship with full effect under Polish law once he/she receives a permission to renounce Polish citizenship granted by the President of the Republic of Poland. The loss of citizenship is effective on a date it is granted; therefore Polish citizens with only promissory citizenship in a foreign state would become stateless until they acquire that citizenship. The process of voluntary renunciation of citizenship may be done in Poland or through the nearest Polish consulate.

  • Dual Citizenship:

    Polish law does not recognize dual citizenship of its citizens. While Polish law does not forbid Polish citizen from becoming the citizen of a foreign state by birth or naturalization, Polish authorities shall recognize that national as a Polish citizen only.

    Dual Citizenship

    OTHER LINKS:

    Six Million Polish Citizens Were Killed During the Holocaust of World War II1/2 were Non-Jews
    Auschwitz (formerly Oswiecim, Poland)
    Listing of the 700 Polish citizens killed while helping the Jews during the Holocaust

    SOURCES:

    Hempel, Andrew. Poland in World War II. New York: Hippocrene Books, Inc., 2000.

    Lukas, Richard C. Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation 1939-1944. New York: Hippocrene Books, 2001.


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