Semper Invicta – Warsaw ‘1944

or Gloria Victis?

August 1, 1944 Warsaw rose to throw away German tyranny, liberate the capital of Poland, and have the Polish Government to arrive before Soviet would come…

Chis M. Zawitkowski, PoloniaInstitute.net, PI National Security Policy

The Polish 1st Paratroopers’ Brigade under heroic general Sosabowski’s command had been training in Ringway, UK, specifically for the liberation of Warsaw. And Polish scouts’ regiments (yes, teenagers!) fought against well-armed Waffen SS divisions led by general von dem Bach. Sadly, the scouts suffered 90% losses after the first 3-4 days of fighting. The poet-hero lt. Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński (killed August 4, 1944) said: “It is so sweet to die for you, Poland”. They died when waiting for Polish paratroopers. The masters in London and in Washington, afraid of Stalin’s disappointment, refused to provide the planes to transport those exceptionally skillful forces to their beloved Fatherland. Why? Instead, they were thrown to Arnheim…

After 63 days, this heroic Warsaw Uprising of young fighters capitulated, and the town was emptied by the German SS divisions. The fighters were taken to POW camps, while the civilians were sent either to the extermination camps or slave labor. My mother didn’t want to separate from her mother and pretended she was not part of the rising. They were forced to dig trenches for the German forces against approaching Soviets.

Stash Mazur of Las Vegas, Nevada, was captured while running for concentration of his unit, prior to fighting. Fortunately, this 6’-2” handsome 18 year old was selected for slave labor at the infamous Konzentrationlager Flossenburg. Fortunate, since most of the inhabitants of Wola, district of Warsaw, were simply murdered by the SS Galizien Division. Some were rounded on Zieleniak Market Square, near present Kołłątaj High School, for “selection”. There the Ukrainian SS were raping, killing, and looting. My wife’s aunt Zofia was raped by 14 “animals” while her husband and son were forced to watch. The husband was shot to death right “after” while they let the 12 year old Leszek live, … and remember. He had nightmares until the end of his life…

They were fortunate, compared to those whose anonymous bodies lay on the special cemetery in Wola, district of Warsaw. The Cemetery of the Warsaw Uprising is a small, coble stone covered place. 104,000 bodies have this resting place, all together. My friend Stasio Szlenkier complained that he didn’t know where the grave of his grandparents, who lived on Szucha Avenue, is located. When I took him to this special place, commemorated by the huge monument of the dying warrior with shield and sword, he found the inscription indicating that “here are the bodies of the victims from Szucha Avenue”. Since that day he knows, at least, where his grandparents rest in peace…

During the “death march” from Flossenburg, young Stash Mazur was able to hide in a potato field. After two days of hiding, he saw a non-German tank with a star on its side. He was frightened that these were Soviets! To his joy and happiness the soldiers spoke English – Americans. Losing consciousness, he kissed the steel giant – he was safe. US nurses cried to see this lofty man weighing only 48 kilograms, 105 pounds. For six months he ate what he found…

Today, Warsaw is commemorating those tragic days. Warsawians know that Soviets conveniently waited for the Germans to “finish the job”. They remember that Polish and Canadian pilots, although decimated, flew their planes to sustain the uprising. They remember the demolition of the once beautiful and vibrant European capital. (Alice Main, a Jewish escapee from the USSR, once told me that Warsaw was like Paris for her.) The heinous Germans took revenge on buildings. They looted the abandoned city, took anything of value, dynamited the buildings, churches, burning the ruins and trees. When Soviets and Poles entered the city on January 17, 1945, they found only a desert of ruins, and nothing else. Upon her return to the city in February 1945, my grandmother found only a few pieces of china and some small other housewares from her dowry…

Today, Poles find pieces of their stolen art being auctioned in Western Europe, in Germany and Austria. They say – you want to know where the portraits of your ancestors are? Go to Western Europe, Germany or Austria. And after the war, the Russians took their toll.

Today, after almost 6 years of WWII and 44 years of Soviet-Communist occupation, the Poles commemorate their fallen heroes. General Sosabowski is buried at the Warsaw Military Cemetery. Streets are named after war-time heroes. Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński was awarded the highest Polish order by President Andrzej Duda. A young man of flourishing talent, but stopped when he was only 23 years old.

How many poets, musicians, engineers, doctors, or architects never enriched the Polish Nation?…

And they were singing joyously: “and the moment would come, we retire to civic duty!”…

Gloria Victis! Glory to Defeated!

Chis M. Zawitkowski, PoloniaInstitute.net, Chairman, National Security Policy



Categories: History of Poland, WWII

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