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Chevan
09-12-2006, 03:41 AM
When i was studied in school , i wathed on tv a very interesting film "Major Whirlwind" (Майор Вихрь).
This tragical story about group of soviet agents in occuped Krakow under commander of Evgenij Bereznajk.
This groupe was sended through the Vistla in august 1944 with special task.
Since august till 18 january 1945 ( when Krakov was taken by Red Army) this group acted in german rear.
They could obtain the German plans of the mined buildings of Krakow. This made it possible in time to clear of mines and to save many cultural monuments and bildings of this ancient Polish city from the destruction.


Do somebody know something about this?

Lancer44
09-12-2006, 06:02 AM
When i was studied in school , i wathed on tv a very interesting film "Major Whirlwind" (Майор Вихрь).
This tragical story about group of soviet agents in occuped Krakow under commander of Evgenij Bereznajk.
This groupe was sended through the Vistla in august 1944 with special task.
Since august till 18 january 1945 ( when Krakov was taken by Red Army) this group acted in german rear.
They could obtain the German plans of the mined buildings of Krakow. This made it possible in time to clear of mines and to save many cultural monuments and bildings of this ancient Polish city from the destruction.


Do somebody know something about this?

I don't know film "Major Viher" but I know book written by colonel Jevgienij Bierezniak. (In 1945 captain).
He was commander of soviet intelligence group "Golos" (Voice), which operated near and in Cracow.
Book was edited in Poland in 1971. Its title is difficult to translate: "Parole "DS" The story of Intelligence Officer".

"DS" meant "Dum Spiro" which was "Golos" group secret recognition call.

"Golos" saved Cracow by:

1. Providing Marshal Konev with detailed, exact ordre de bataille and positioning of every German unit around Cracow. Thanks to this Cracow was taken on 19-th of January 45 - three days after soviet offensive started.
1000 years old city was almost not damaged. Only very minor damage around central station due to the bombing of German military train.
In comparison with many European cities Cracow was lucky. Thanks to brilliant Konevs maneuvre - anyone can now enjoy beautiful and original architecture of Cracow.

(Personally I regret that Konevs memorial was dismantled few years ago).

2. What one could read in colonel's Bierezniak book and see in the film "Major Viher" is according to latest historical investigations a bit at odds with the truth...

Berezniak, was there, transfered information to Konev's staff, no doubt he did a good job and was a good officer which deserved Hero of The Soviet Union Star and Polish Virtuti Militari Cross.

What is important - two other persons were directly responsible fo "saving Cracow":

1. Jelizavieta Jakovlevna Vologdska, code name "Olga" or "Komar". Soviet intelligence officer and radio-operator. She recruited Abwehr Hauptmann Kurt Hartman.

2. Hauptmann Kurt Hartman provided 100% valuable material which enabled Konev to do "blitzkrieg" in Cracow area.

Kurt Hartmann, son of Russian tzarist general, speaking Russian, born in Riga, become after WWII prime intelligence ace of soviet GRU...

In 1971 his identity was still top secret.
Hence the other propaganda biased story was invented. About thousands tons of TNT under every historical building, central cable cut by "Golos" group etc.

(Soviet sappers discovered and disarmed a few large loads of explosives under Cracow bridges and under Mariacki Church). Germans retreated fast due to almost encirclement and they had no time nor reason to activate explosives.)

I think that nothing changes fact that soviet intelligence one way or the other really saved Cracow.
But films and books from before 1989 should be carefully examined.
A lot of pure fantasy and fiction.

Cheers,

Lancer44

Chevan
09-12-2006, 07:05 AM
(Soviet sappers discovered and disarmed a few large loads of explosives under Cracow bridges and under Mariacki Church). Germans retreated fast due to almost encirclement and they had no time no reason to activate explosives.)



Thanks , Lancer . Good information.
Perhaps germans had no time , but i doubt that they had no the reason. Remember about Warsaw (Hitler's order ).
Jevgienij Bierezniak wrote in his book :


Hitler on one of the conferences of the commanders of Wehrmacht and, especially, at the conference with SS troops directly posed the problem of destruction of Slav culturei city. The discussion dealt with the liquidation of Warsaw, Bratislava, Krakow and others Slav (polish) cities.


Of cource i understand that this "conferences" could never be existsed .
But remember about the tactics "of the burnt out land" which Wermacht leaded in Eastern front (in south Russia, Ukraine and Belorussia) during the retreat in 1943-44.
Thus, after Warsaw uprising Hitler had the much reasons "to burnt out" and destroy the polish cities.
Therefore i am not sure that soviet sappers discovered and disarmed a just "few" large loads of explosives.

Cheers.

P.S. In 2004 colonel Jevgienij Bierezniak was still alive. He lived in Kiev. He bacome the Hero of Ukraine not a long time ago.
http://www.podrobnosti.com.ua/projects/azhur/2004/05/08/120346.html

Lancer44
09-12-2006, 07:52 AM
Thanks , Lancer . Good information.
Perhaps germans had no time , but i doubt that they had no the reason. Remember about Warsaw (Hitler's order ).

Oooo, you misunderstood me. Of course they had a reason! They would like to see every city east of Oder to look like Kiev, Stalingrad or Warsaw. No doubt about it.

By saying "they had no reason", I meant that German sappers had orders to blow bridges when the first soviet tank will be exactly in the middle of the bridge. In this case Konev surprised them, because when they were awaiting T34's in Cracow, T-34's were far behind them...



P.S. In 2004 colonel Jevgienij Bierezniak was still alive. He lived in Kiev. He bacome the Hero of Ukraine not a long time ago.
http://www.podrobnosti.com.ua/projects/azhur/2004/05/08/120346.html

He was in Cracow in May 2003. Has got many friends in Cracow.

Yelizavieta Yakovlevna Vologdska, the real hero, she lived in poverty in Lviv...
Ukraine. Perhaps not exactly what we mean poverty, but she really deserved better life... She saved Cracow...
In 2003 she was visited by two Polish journalists.
She still kept her mouth shut about Hartman.

Cheers,

Lancer44