Poles and Not Only Jews Killed For Who They Were! Home Army (A. K.) Guerrilla Action. Rosinski
The Warsaw Underground: A Memoir of Resistance 1939-1945, by Jan Rosinski with Richard Hile. 2014. McFarland & Company, Inc. North Carolina and London
Broad-Based Experiences in the Armia Krajowa: Espionage, Sabotage, and the Kutschera Assassination
The author had broad-based experiences in the Home Army, and eventually fought in the Warsaw Uprising. In this review, I focus on events rather than personalities.
WANTON KILLINGS OF POLES BY GERMANS
Some Jews have asserted that, whereas Jews were killed by the Nazis merely for being Jews, Poles had to “do something” (such as breaking a German rule) before the Nazis would kill them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rosinski was eyewitness to many incidents in which the Germans randomly grabbed Polish civilians, put then against a wall, the shot them without as much as bothering with a pretext or announcing a death sentence. (pp. 74-on). Poles then surreptitiously put flowers on the bodies, but the relatives of the murdered were frequently afraid to claim the bodies. After a few days, the stench of decay compelled laborers to remove the bodies and bury them.
STARVATION RATIONS FOR BOTH POLES AND JEWS
In the spring of 1940, the Germans imposed a food-rationing policy in which Germans were allowed 2,600 calories per day, the Poles 670, and the Jews 184. (p. 53). So the Polish and Jewish rations were closer to each other than either was to the German ration. In addition, the difference between Polish and Jewish rations was academic: Both rations were unlivable. So, in this respect, although Poles and Jews were technically unequal victims, they were equal victims in practice.
Poles circumvented these caloric restrictions in creative ways, such as by creating a black market. A kindly peasant, a member of the Home Army, smuggled cuts of meat to the family and to others in Warsaw. One day, the Germans caught him with the meat and shot him. (p. 77).
ASSISTANCE TO JEWS
Rosinski was involved in smuggling bread into the Warsaw Ghetto. The Poles would bag the bread and, with proper timing to avoid the German guards, would throw the bread over the ghetto wall. (p. 83). Rosinski was also involved in making forged documents for fugitive Jews. (p. 84). His own family hid a Jew. (p. 46).
EARLY POLISH GUERRILLA ACTION
The Polish Underground offered courses on such things as the use of chemical contaminants, road mining, planting bombs, etc. (p. 39). Also offered were courses in martial arts, knife throwing, etc. (p. 43).
Rosinski was involved in an attack on a German military vehicle. He and his men waited until an unescorted car passed a point where it had to slow down. They stepped out from behind a wall and rolled three grenades under the car. (p. 43). Then they scattered.
THE SABOTAGE OF GERMAN TRAINS
Rosinski was part of a unit that disabled German trains. They would find ways to avoid the German guards, and would inject carborundum into the bearing assemblies of the stationary trains. They would do this during the day under the cover of walking a dog, or at night. The carborundum would abrade the bearings and eventually cause the wheels to seize. They measured their success by the several railcars that were pushed into the maintenance shops for repair, all making the noises of friction. (p. 63).
In a bookstore for Germans, Rosinski obtained access to some German maps and military manuals. He stole them. (pp. 44-47). In fact, Rosinski long served as a courier link and receiving and passing maps, German and Polish, to a higher command in the A. K. (p. 37).
UNMASKING GERMAN SPIES AND COLLABORATORS
One of Rosinski’s friends, Wlodek Dahlig, fell in love with an ostensibly Polish woman who was a member of the Miecz i Plug organization. Rosinski determined that she was Ukrainian, not Polish, and that she made suspicious trips to Vienna. The A. K. searched her apartment while she was travelling, and found, in a drawer with a false bottom, a document showing that not only was she an agent of the Germans, but also a Gestapo officer. (pp. 66-67). In another incident, Rosinski’s unit warned a Polish man that was accused of cooperating with the Gestapo in exchange for a reward. (p. 71).
THE RISKS OF BEING IN THE UNDERGROUND
Rosinski’s family never discussed his Underground acts, because “What one does not know one cannot tell”. (p. 31). Falling into the hands of the Gestapo meant getting electric shocks and hot probes to the body or under fingernails. (p. 31). The A. K. leadership let individuals decide whether or not they wanted to carry cyanide in case they were captured. (p. 60).
THE ASSASSINATION OF TOP NAZI FRANZ KUTSCHERA
Franz Kutschera, an Austrian, was exceptionally brutal. The Home Army decided to kill him. They did so by ramming his car and opening fire on him. Rosinski did not personally take part in the assassination, but was caught up in the street disturbance that followed this event. (pp. 80-81). The Germans murdered 5,000 Poles in reprisal. (p. 82).
ENGLAND SHAFTS POLAND ONCE AGAIN: POLAND EXCLUDED FROM THE VICTORY PARADE IN LONDON
Evidently, 1939, Teheran, and Yalta were not enough. Clement Attlee, trying to please the Soviets, refused to invite the Poles, who had fought on Britain’s side since the very start of WWII (1939), to participate in the 1946 Victory Parade. Rosinski organized his own event—a small, social event in central London. (pp. 160-161).
October 15, 2020.
Published with the author’s permission.
Source: Jews & Poles DATEBASE.
The title image: „The Warsaw Underground: A Memoir of Resistance 1939-1945”, by Jan Rosinski with Richard Hile. 2014. McFarland & Company – part of the cover / selected by wg.pco.