RT.com – Warsaw was liberated by Soviet forces 75 years ago today — and Polish officials have cloaked the pivotal event in myths ever since. Yet, newly-released historical documents help shed some light on the truth.

Official Warsaw had no plans to celebrate this date — but it is not the first time that Poland has ignored the liberation of its state capital. Since the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in the early 1990s, politicians across Eastern European have pushed the notion that the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were equally responsible for instigating World War II —  and the idea that Red Army soldiers led a brutal occupation, instead of liberating Poland, has firmly found its place in the nation’s history books.

That view continues to prevail in some other European states, too — but a trove of recently-declassified wartime documents, published by the Russian Defense Ministry, tells a different story.

Myth 1: ‘Only the Home Army were true heroes’

With Poland under Nazi occupation, the Home Army (Armia Krajowa/AK), which supported the country’s London-based government-in-exile, became a dominant resistance movement.

Decades on, the AK are lionized by many in modern Poland as the true heroes and patriots of history, while Poles who helped Soviet forces are often demonized as traitors.

The AK are hailed in annual ceremonies around a white obelisk erected in the 90s in downtown Warsaw to honor their efforts.

In 2019, President Andrzej Duda honored surviving AK members as role models and a “precious treasure of history.”

A declassified dispatch, which describes the activity of the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa) in 1945. © Russia’s Defense Ministry

Yet, the uncovered Red Army dispatches reveal that the image enjoyed by the Home Army fighters is a whitewashed one. The declassified reports show in fact, that in many instances after the end of the war, AK units behaved less than admirably — roving as armed criminal gangs, kidnapping and killing Polish police officers — and “terrorizing” ordinary people who dared to help the Soviets.

In November 1945, AK agents attacked a police station in the town of Kepno, killing everyone inside — including the wife and two children of an officer.

In the same month, they murdered a member of the pro-Soviet Polish Workers’ Party in his apartment in the town Pulawy in front of his wife and wounded his child. AK insurgents also began a campaign of intimidation against Poles who would cooperate with Soviet forces. One warning read: “Take your children and prepare to die.”

Soviet and Polish troops in Warsaw, Poland.

Myth 2: ‘The Red Army crushed the 1944 uprising’

Eager to discard any positive memory of the Soviet liberation of Warsaw, Poland today instead chooses to focus on a heroic but failed rebellion that took place on the city streets in the fall of 1944. Duda last year accused the Red Army of taking a “passive” stance during the uprising, supposedly in order to allow the Nazis to annihilate the Poles who might later rise up against the Soviets.

This opinion is commonplace in Polish media. An article published in the leading Rzeczpospolita newspaper last year argued that the USSR refused to help the rebels because it saw the revolt as “a unique opportunity to destroy the independence-minded elite of the Polish nation with German hands.”

A declassified dispatch, which describes the 1944 Warsaw uprising. © Russia’s Defense Ministry

In reality, when the Polish revolt against the Nazis was in full swing, the Red Army liberated Warsaw’s Praga district on the left bank of the Vistula River — but the troops lacked sufficient means to proceed further and assault Warsaw outright, the declassified documents say.

Despite stark shortages in aviation fuel, transcripts of the Red Army’s radio dispatches show that the Soviets still managed to supply Polish rebels with food, weapons, and munitions. The Red Army also shelled certain parts of the city at the rebels’ requests.

In contrast, airdrops conducted by the US and Britain were “ineffective,” the documents note. At one time, the Allies deployed 80 planes on an air-support mission, but 95 percent of their drops landed in German-controlled areas.

The Soviet reports also indicated that the uprising itself was ill-conceived from the beginning. Dispatches describe how rebels, armed only with handguns and grenades, failed to capture crucial strategic outposts and destroy the railways, which the Germans were using to transport forces around the city.

Ultimately, the rebels’ makeshift street barricades were no match for tanks and artillery.

Street battles during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. © AFP

Myth 3: ‘All Poles saw the Red Army as evil occupiers’

The Polish state-run Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) and the Foreign Ministry has cast the Red Army soldiers not as liberators from Nazism but merely as “totalitarian occupiers,” who bore little difference from Hitler’s troops.

In internal reports, the Red Army admitted that in some areas Poles were indeed more sympathetic to AK insurgents. Yet, in Warsaw the vast majority of locals were “friendly and welcoming” towards the Red Army, thanking its soldiers for ridding the country of Nazis.

“The Germans wanted to kill us but the Soviets saved us, and now we’re home again,” one local man was quoted as saying after the Soviet troops rescued 50 Poles near the city of Rzeszow, who were about to be transported to Germany for slave labor.

Soviet troops and locals in Warsaw, Poland.

Myth 4: ‘The Soviets looted Poland after the war’

According to the IPN, Soviets troops brought nothing but destruction, as “Polish society remained enslaved under Soviet rule and under the rule of Moscow’s communist regime for the next decades.”

Poland was in ruins after the Nazi occupation, so the primary goal of the Soviet’s forces was to distribute food and end hunger. One report from the Soviet military authority mentions how between 1944-45 the army provided the locals with 316,000 tons of potatoes and fresh vegetables, as well as 138,000 tons of grain.

People also received scores of different tools and goods, which ranged from livestock, plows, tractors and combines to mattresses and sewing machines.

What’s more, the field medics with the 1st Belorussian Front treated tens of thousands of locals in army hospitals, while the unit’s railway troops rebuilt many railroads, roads, and bridges that were demolished during the war.

© Georgy Zelma/Sputnik

 

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14 COMMENTS

  1. The secret of the Katyn massacre.

    The Israeli newspaper Maariv of July 21, 1971 finally reveals the secret of the Katyn massacre. We learn about the truth from the confessions of a Polish Jew from Israel named Abraham Vidro. Abraham Vidro confessed that:
    1.) The commanders of the camps in Kozielsk, Starobielsk and Ostaszków were Jews: Raichman, Mierkułow, Urbanowicz
    2.) The heads of mass executions were members of the GPU Minsk police station: Lew Rybak, Chaim Finberg, Abraham Borisowicz
    3.) The crime was carried out by: Bogdan Zaharewicz, Kobulow, Begman, Elman, Estrin, Krongauz, Lejbkind, J. Raichman, Abakumow, Milstein (transport), Sierow, Abram Borysowicz, Lew Rybak, Chaim Finberg, major Joshua Sorokin, captain Alexander Suslov, captain Samyun Tikhonov.
    None of the above mentioned people were Russians! It was all the same nation, the same people who began to murder Poles since they took over these lands. Without telling this truth, the fate of Poles or Russians is doomed to failure! Both Russia and Poland are contaminated by the presence of Jews and their supporters in all state structures. And this is certainly the main cause of conflicts in the politics of both countries.
    Crimes of genocide: – Katyn, Kozielsk, Starobielsk, Ostaszkowo, Kuropaty, Miednoje, Bykownia, and Kharkov. It was the Jewish commissioners, who shot defenseless Polish officers in the back of the head!

  2. Typical of Mr. Duffy. What is his ethnic background?

    Here are some shocking scenes of the first days of World War II that took place in Poland.
    What were the”Polish” Jews doing at the time?
    The first days of September 1939 the Zamość Jewish Militia , after the battle of Tomaszów Lubelski, caught Polish soldiers hiding in this city or nearby and shot them on the spot or handed over to the NKVD.
    When the Bolsheviks led a column of about 2,000 Polish prisoners of war near Kostopol, one of the survivors described their behavior: “When the column walked through the town – local Jews spat on us, called the most foul words and threw stones at us.”
    Few people know that the Jews erected ‘Welcome’ gates in September 1939 to the invading German troops in Pabianice, Łódź, Białystok and Krakow as well to the invading Soviet troops.
    They kissed the Soviet tanks and cheered.
    All those facts the Jewish lobby hostile to Poland, as well as the Israeli government would like to sweep under the carpet .
    The collaboration of Jews with the Gestapo or NKVD took place on a massive scale and so was their participation in the Holocaust, which was reported even by Jewish writers, witnesses of those days – Emanuel Ringelblum, priest Chaim Aron or Marek Edelman himself, as well as thousands of other Polish- Jews and Polish witnesses.

  3. @Trakkath: frankly…as a human being – i don’t know. But the basic reason i know: history and policy of all kinds. I personally can only hate a particular person for a specific action nowadays. But to hate a whole people or the collective image of a country – I do not know how and do not understand this.This is ’cause i live in the peaceful time and a clear sky over my country. Thanks to my ancestors.

  4. All will be. The shameful decision of the European Commission on the equal role of the USSR and Germany in unleashing WWII, the shameful actions of the Polish authorities, blatant lies and the mass demolition of monuments to Soviet soldiers, the glorification of fascism in the Baltic countries and Ukraine – Putin took this as a personal insult. We will wait when he writes a large article in response to all the actions of fans of fascism. He promised and will do it. Archived documents will be declassified and shared.

  5. I would say that poland has also its shrae in the start of WW2. If Poland would have not listened to Uk, and negotiated the corridor issue with Germany, instead of strangling the coal supply to eastern Prussia via the railway lkines through the corridor, it would not have faced military invasion.
    A good book, based on the diplomatic communication of the embassies of Sweden, UK, and Germany, written by a former generaal of the German Bundeswehr describes the issues. “Der Krieg der viele Väter hatte” ISBN-13: 978-3957682109

  6. Growing up in Little Warsaw { Chicago } – we had a whole lot of Pollack jokes. We should have shared them with the Russian people. lol The polish back then were hard working folks like the rest of us – we were all conned by the NWO propaganda and its still going 24/7 on the medias and TVs. We all been Had.

  7. In fact, we have a lot of interesting documents in the archives that shed light on the events of that time. These facts may, in fact, be able to nail many countries to the wall. All this has not been disclosed before, because Poland was an ally of the USSR. Who would have thought that some governments would behave like moral monsters? Rewrite history, lie. It’s time to punish them. And the truth is a very unpleasant thing. If they don’t want to live decently, now get it in the face!

    • No one with any sense should consider the actions of the USSR in its first 35 years to in any way reflect the character of the (ethnic) Russian people, since non-Russians were running the show.

Comments are closed.