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Lancer44
08-14-2006, 09:04 AM
Hey Jasa, my friend - something for you to chew!


Excerpts from the book "Nowe Miasto Lubawskie During WWII 1939-45" by Zbigniew Karpus (translated and paraphrased from the Polish by Richard Przewlocki). This section of the book deals with the re-entry of the Soviets into the region in 1944.

On January 14, 1944, there was a large concentration of troops of the Soviet Bialorussian Front massing for an attack in the general direction of Malbork and Elblag. In the initial attack (January 14-18/45) the Bialorussian army broke through the German defences thus setting up the second phase of their attack (January 19 to February 9, 1945). During the fighting there was very little resistance from the Germans and the Red Army entered the region of Nowe Miasto and Lubawa on January 21, 1945.

About 100 Russian soldiers who perished during the battle were buried in the local cemetery. There was no serious resistance from the retreating Germans who left Nowe Miasto without unnecessary loss of life and destruction of property which was not the case in nearby Lubawa.

Here we had a post occupational disaster at the hands of the Red Army who became involved in mindless acts of vandalism both collectively and as individuals. The destruction of property, rape, theft and the "rule of the fist" became the order of the day. This was followed by arrests, deportations and forced labour for the benefit of Russia.

There were many acts of vandalism by the army as well as by individuals where many objects of value were taken and transported to Russia. There was a mass destruction of houses and public buildings among them the first floor of the local courthouse and the PKP (railway) station. These destructive activities were committed not only during the early days of "liberation" but also again when the Red Army was returning from the front.

Many valuable objects were destroyed by the advancing Red Army who were eager to fire indicriminately at buildings etc., and used any pretext to burn down houses or any other building. This is how many Poles lost their houses, which had been lived in by the Germans during their occupation. The Red Army burnt 20% of the houses in Nowe Miasto (56 houses) and 80% in Lubawa.

Regrettably Polish history does not record the actual behaviour of the Red Army who were allowed to be portrayed in positive terms only.

In June 1945 the authorities in Nowe Miasto made 12 private homes available to the Army. At the same time the Russians started to rob silos and send stores of grain to Russia. There were many reports of robberies and compulsory requisition of various possessions owned by the locals. People who had bicycles were often stopped by the soldiers and had their bikes taken from them. The situation reached a point where a petition signed by the locals and supported by the local authority was sent to UWP in Bydgoszcz with the specific request: "send the (Polish) army". As a consequence a small number of troops were sent to the area but were unable to control the situation and were thrown out of the district by the local authority.

At a July 25 meeting, the region president announced that "as long as there is a Russian army in the disctrict, there will be no harvest." People were afraid to go in the fields. With this in mind the region president travelled to Warsaw to request a unit of 2,000 Polish soldiers.

It is worth a mention that Polish citizens were not only robbed by the rank and file Russian soldiers but there were also acts of aggression perpetrated by the officers. In mid-April 1945 there came to Nowe Miasto a political officer of the Red Army, major Sokolov, who under the pretext of looking for German maps and books also acquired linen, clothing, coupons and food. He managed to get away with this because the Militia co-operated with him and were generously rewarded by getting presents from among the confiscated goods. Requisitions of this nature stopped only after Sokolov departed in mid-May.

In June there was a massive cattle drive through the township which also included a number of horses. As a result of this drive some 30% of the crops and vegetable gardens were trampled and destroyed. The greatest damage was inflicted on the areas in the path of the drive not only due to the cattle but also due to the robberies perpetrated on the local citizenry by the Russians. The "Wojt" of Marzecie reported on July 27, 1945 that "The Russians involved in the cattle drive are also robbing the local population by taking their cows, horses, watches, linens etc. The people are defenceless."

On a practical level the Red Army was not very concerned with regulations and without any consultation with the Polish government, was taking people for work in accord with its own requirements.

During a constitutional meeting of the PRN in Nowe Miasto it was established that the Russians were forcibly taking local residents en masse to do manual work in Biskupiec and also, other work in East Prussia. These matters were also raised during a second meeting of the PRN on April 25, 1945. Mr. Polikarp Kusal spoke of the capture by the Red Army of people in the street in the area of Nowe Miasto and Lubawa to work in Biskupiec. In order to remedy this situation, the PRN agreed to the sending of men only, in view of the heavy work and difficult living conditions. It appears that Biskupiec was the main centre for loading goods (booty) which were acquired by the Russians during the war. In spite of these proposals, the Red Army continued to take people for work according to its own needs and many workers who were sent to East Prussia, among them many young girls, never returned home.

Almost immediately after the entry of the Red Army, mass arrests of Polish people began, generally under the pretext that they belonged to some German organization. The Russians were mainly concerned with being able to get cheap labour which was then used in labour camps throughout Russia. In the territory of Pomorze there were about 15,000 arrests and deportations. The families of these people and the local Polish government administration had initiated procedures for their release as early as March, 1945.

Arrests, deportations and other activities of the Soviet military awoke understandable uncertainties among the local population. There was a growing hatred of the liberators. It is because of this situation that one of the local organisers of the PPR, Mr. Mularenko, armed with evidence, went to Bialystok in March, 1945 to raise the issue of forced deportations. Since that time there has been no word from him and he appears to have disappeared without a trace. As a consequence of the interventions of the Polish government, some of those imprisoned returned home from Russia but many more remained there for good. Some of them died there and as a consequence of this, there were many widows and children without fathers.

The most common reason for the murders, which were committed against the citizens of Nowe Miasto by the Russian Army, was robbery. In the documented evidence there are many examples of this but there is also anecdotal evidence which confirms the state of affairs. The following are a few examples of known cases:

On January 25, 1945 in the village of Marzecie, Bernard and Waleria Barkowski were murdered. At the same time, a young girl from Laki disappeared.

In March, 1945, the wife of Mr. Zarzemblowski was shot.

On the 26th of May, 1945 in Otrebie, during a robbery of cows, Henry Grabuszewski was shot. Under similar circumstances there was the shooting of a female named Jagielska, from Kulig.

Probably the most tragic shooting took place in December, 1945 in the township of Krotoszyn. On December 24, on Christmas Eve, in the village of Szwarcenowo, two soldiers attacked the house belonging to a farmer named Stanisaw Ciolek, at the time that his children were decorating the Christmas tree. The soldiers fired a number of shots from their automatic weapon, killing the farmer instantly in front of his children.

At the time of the liberation of the Pomorze area in January 1945, the local Polish government administrators were not aware of and were not sufficiently informed of the politics of the occupiers. At that time the number one priority for the Communists was to strengthen their power base, not to bother with the wishes of the local population. The first legal requirements established by the PKWN were very severe and punished people who were included in the "Volksliste" as there was no compulsion to support the German national list. Independently of the law, there were immediate placements in forced labour camps.

On March 23, 1945, the head of the temporary local government, Henryk Swiatkowski, announced that citizens whose names had been included in Groups three and four ought to be considered as Polish if, during the German occupation, they didn't play an active role in harming Poland.

http://felsztyn.tripod.com/id21.html


Your humble servant,

Lancer44

Kovalski
09-29-2006, 02:51 AM
OFF-TOPIC:
Zbigniew Karpus was my lecturer at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun. Really interesting man with huge knowledge;)

Jasa
09-29-2006, 04:21 AM
What kind of behavior do you expect from people who had just forced out of their land an invader who came to literally exterminate and enslave them- and came pretty close to it in some cases? All of this is highly regrettable but that's what war is like, especially a war as intense as that.

Naturally people ignore the defeat of the Nazis and focus on things like this.

Kovalski
09-29-2006, 04:42 AM
War crime or not, you'll always have a justification for that Jasa.
It's just too hard for you to admit that these RA soldiers behaved like animals.
It is easier not to remember that the citiziens of these cities and villages also suffered a lot from the Nazis.

Jasa
09-29-2006, 04:46 AM
War crime or not, you'll always have a justification for that Jasa.
It's just too hard for you to admit that these RA soldiers behaved like animals.
It is easier not to remember that the citiziens of these cities and villages also suffered a lot from the Nazis.

Maybe if you opened your eyes you would have seen that I DID "admit" that. But what do you expect? It was in the middle of a war.

Kovalski
09-29-2006, 05:12 AM
Yes, you're right. What more could be expected from Red Army?
I forgot that U.S., British and Polish troops committed the same crimes when they entered Belgium and Holland. Of course it was in the middle of the war, some of Belgians and Dutch served in Waffen SS, so they deserved it. What more could we expect from these poor soldiers?
A tiny bit of humanity? No way!

Chevan
09-29-2006, 06:49 AM
I forgot that U.S., British and Polish troops committed the same crimes when they entered Belgium and Holland. Of course it was in the middle of the war, some of Belgians and Dutch served in Waffen SS, so they deserved it. What more could we expect from these poor soldiers?
A tiny bit of humanity? No way!

Kovalski is right, Jasa.
Really some terribles and unhumanity facts had the place in 1944-45 in Poland.
I know that sometimes the soviet soldiers made terrible things. Certainly it was a war.
I know that soviet commands severely punished soviet soldiers for native civils (was a spesial order of Stavka), but to the end of the war not there was possibility to fulfill it and many crimes remained unpunished.
What real mistake , thinking that all Red Army has same "animal" behavior.
This is simple provocation.
The peoples are differents: bad and good.
I know much cases of humanity behavior of germans in Eastern front.
Not all of germans were the killers and monsters.
The simular situation was in West front.
Today nobody tell about "bad allies" in western -europe states, but i am sure if USA political and war influence would cut off in western Europe (like the influence of USSR in 1990 in Eastern) we will learn much more about "war crimes of anglo-saxons" during liberation from nazi..
But this shit don't mean that somebody could criticed the victorious USA-USSR-Britain allianse.
I am personaly sorry about some fact soviet behavior in Poland..

Jasa
09-29-2006, 06:58 AM
Yes, you're right. What more could be expected from Red Army?
I forgot that U.S., British and Polish troops committed the same crimes when they entered Belgium and Holland. Of course it was in the middle of the war, some of Belgians and Dutch served in Waffen SS, so they deserved it. What more could we expect from these poor soldiers?
A tiny bit of humanity? No way!

Czy nie rozumiesz po-Anglicsku? I never denied these things happened. I never denied that these things are extremely regrettable.

However let's examine your other problematic reasoning here as well: You made a comparison to British and American troops in Holland and Belgium. Note that LOOTING did take place on a large scale, there were some rapes in France and Italy, but not nearly as much. Could it be that this had something to do with the fact that AMERICA AND ENGLAND weren't invaded?

Kovalski
09-29-2006, 07:34 AM
Just to be well understood:
I'm not saying that all Red Army soldiers behaved like an animals, because it is not true, and it would be unjust to judge them this way.
But...
The scale of looting, rapes, acts against civilians was much, much bigger that in Western Front. And you can't deny this Jasa.
Possibly, it was a matter of discipline. I'm aware that in many cases those who comitted a crime were sentenced to various kinds of punishment.
But the fact is, that terrible things happend.

I've mentioned deliberately Polish soldiers in Holland in Belgium, to show you that it is possible for soldiers to behave properly, even if their military units enter the country from which some of their enemies came from (Dutch and Belgians in Waffen SS as an example).

And now something personal:
In my home town there was a monument of polish and russian soldiers shaking hands. After 1989 it was pulled down, because newly elected City Council wanted to build a monument of Jozef Pilsudski.
But it never happend. Nowadays, there is a sidewalk where the monument was. And believe me or not, but every year on 19th of January (an anniversary of city's liberation by Red Army), you can see bunches of flowers lying on the sidewalk. People still rememeber. Some of them remember looting, rapes, murders and other crimes, and all terrible things that happend later. But some of them remember that 600000 Red Army soldiers died on polish soil, and they are grateful.
I'm far away from comdemning all Soviet soldiers. But it has to be remembered that some of them did terrible and cruel things just like "animals".

Jasa
09-29-2006, 07:53 AM
Now we are talking like civilized men. I believe that the higher rate of rape, looting, and murders was due to the higher emotional level that was a part of the Eastern Front. That does not excuse these activities, but that's the problem with war- terrible things happen. The Americans and British had lost less than the Russians or Poles for that matter. So while Poles sometimes summarily executed POWs, we have to take into context what the Germans had done in Poland.