The action of mass killing of mentally and physically disable and considered incurable children and adults as well as of patients of psychiatric hospitals and concentration camps prisoners who were ill or unable to work organized in the III Reich. The action was euphemistically described as “euthanasia” (from Greek: painless death, “Mercy Death”).
The codename T4 refers to an abbreviation of “Tiergartenstraße 4”, the address of a villa in Berlin which was since 1940 till 1945 the headquarters of the organization responsible for the action.A monument by Richard Serry established in 1986 commemorating victims of T4 action located in place of a building at Tiergartenstraße 4 in Berlin.Between October 1939 and August 1941 more than 70,000 persons were killed in gas chambers of killing centres arranged in Bernburg, Brandenburg, Grafeneck, Hadamar, Hartheim/Linz i Sonnenstein/Pirna. After 1941 another 200,000 persons were killed in a decentralized way by lethal injections, starvation, and shooting including prisoners of concentration camps, Jewish patients and patients from Poland and Soviet Union.
Anti-Semitism (also spelled antisemitism or anti-semitism)
prejudice against or hostility towards Jews and people of Jewish origin, often rooted in hatred of their ethnic background, culture, or religion. Also a belief or ideology arguing for the exclusion of Jews and people of Jewish origin.
Anti-Semitism was manifested in European history from Middle Ages to Tsarist Russia in various ways: persecution and discrimination (ghettos), expulsions of entire Jewish communities, violent attacts (pogroms). The most extreme form of Anti-Semitism was a core of Nazi ideology; it culminated in genocide of Jewish nation in Nazi occupied Europe.
Anti-Semitism reached its peak in Germany beginning rom 1933 and was a core of the official Nazi state ideology. Various legal acts limiting participation of Jews in social, economic and political life and denying of basic civil rights were introduced. After 1939 in Nazi occupied Europe, a campaign of mass murder began, culminating, from 1941 to 1945, in genocide: the Holocaust . The decision on the “Final solution to the Jewish question” (“die Endlösung der Judenfrage”) was taken by Nazi senior officials at the Wannsee conference in January 1942.
A beginning of the “Barbarossa” Operation, the Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union, its former ally. Planning for Operation Barbarossa started in 1940 and the invasion plan was confirmed by Hitler on September 18, 1940 (Directive no. 21). The invasion opened a new phase of World War II and led to a broadening of the anti-fascist coalition.
Initially Soviet Army – poorly trained and lacked of experienced officers (many Soviet generals and officers were killed during Stalinist repressions in 1937-1938) – suffered huge losses. German troops gained large territories of Belarus, Ukraine, Baltic states and approached Moscow.
The north eastern district of Berlin, where severe street fighting took place in the last days of WWII between the Red Army and the Volkssturm troops. After the capitulation and division of Germany included into Soviet occupation zone (others: American, British and French).
[ger. Bromberger Blutsonntag] incidents in Bydgoszcz on 3-5 September 1939, in which around 300 to 422 German inhabitants were killed in fight or executed, according to Polish version in a revenge for sabotage attacks against Polish troops behind the front line. The term used by Nazi propaganda, which claimed that the number of casualties was 58.000. The details of the incident are disputed among historians.
“Compass” is a manual of the Council of Europe on human rights education with young people. It is addressed to teachers and youth organization leaders. It contains scenarios of classes on human rights and related issues such as women’s rights, tolerance, counteract home violence or discrimination based on race or sexual orientation, etc.
A town in Limburg-Weilburg district in Hesse, Germany. Hadamar Clinic for Psychiatry (Corrigendenanstalt) founded in 1883 as an institution for rural paupers, converted in 1906 into psychiatric hospital and sanatorium served since late 1940 as one of the six “euthanasia” centers in Nazi Germany. From January 1941 till August 1941 10 072 persons were killed in gas chamber. Until 1945 another 5000 were killed with use of deadly medicines. This includes Jewish children of mixed marriages that had been placed in foster homes as well as 476 allied nationals (Polish and Russian forced laborers) diagnosed with tuberculosis. The American postwar Hadamar trial was held in October 1945, followed by the German trial in 1947. Founded in 1983 Hadamar Memorial recalls crimes committed in Hadamar.
Home Army (AK)
The resistance organization functioning in conspiracy on Polish state territory during World War II. It was supervised by the supreme commander and the Government-in-Exile. It emerged as a result of reorganization of its direct predecessors: the Service for Polish Victory (Służba Zwycięstwu Polski, created on September 27, 1939 and reorganized into the Union for Armed Struggle (Związek Walki Zbrojnej ZWZ) on November 13, 1939 and finally was renamed into Home Army on February 14, 1942. Its successive commanders, were Generals Stefan “Grot” Rowecki (1942-1943), Tadeusz “Bór” Komorowski (1943-1944), and Leopold Okulicki (“Niedźwiadek”) (1944-1945).
The primary task of the Home Army was to conduct an armed resistance against the German occupier (intelligence, sabotage, self-defense, diversion, revenge) and to make preparations for the nationwide uprising planned for a moment of allied armies enter Polish territories. The initial plans concerning the uprising had to be changed as it became clear that it would be the Soviet Army first to enter. The alternative plan of action called Operation “Tempest” was prepared in 1943 and the conspiracy organization called “Nie” was organized at the end of 1944 with a task to continue a resistance after the Red Army enter.
The Home Army troops conducted numerous combat and diversionary actions. In Spring and Summer 1944 they started Operation “Tempest” in which large AK troops fought several full-scale battles against the Germans behind the front line. At the end of July 1944 the AK commanders decided to include Warsaw into Operation “Tempest” which resulted in the outbreak of the Warsaw Rising in August 1944.
The Home Army at its peak estimated of around 380,000 soldiers including 10,000 officers. It was officially disbanded on January 19, 1945 by the order of the supreme commander, however many of its soldiers continued the fight in various resistance organizations.
In 1944-1945 thousands of Home Army soldiers were arrested and deported to the territory of the USSR. In Poland until 1956 Home Army soldiers suffered severe repressions, many were arrested and sentenced to death or long imprisonment.
Human beings inflicted this fate on other human beings
In her collection of short stories Polish writter Zofia Nałkowska portrays in an unemotional and reserved style people who suffered from Nazi persecutions in WWII. A motto stresses the fact that policy of genocide was carried out by the concrete people, persons who had their own feelings and beliefs which allowed them however to kill other men, women and children.
Mass killing of Jews in the General Government carried out by Germans in 1942-43 in the framework of the Final Solution (Endlösung).
Jews were transported to extermination camps (Auschwitz, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, and Majdanek) and directed to the gas chambers. The operation was headed by Odilo Globocnik SS and Police Leader in Lublin District. In course of Aktion Reinhard approximately 1,75 million Jews from Poland and other European countries as well as thousands of Roma people were murdered.
Red poppies on Monte Cassino
A song dedicated to the soldiers who gave their lives at Monte Cassino battle. Song’s title alludes to field poppies flowering on the shell torn hills of Monte Cassino during the battle in May 1944. The author was also probably inspired by relations of soldiers who fought at the Somme river thirty years earlier. In their memories they often compare poppy flowers to the blood of dead soldiers.
Two opening verses were created during the night of May 17th-18th 1944 at the Polish Soldier Theatre of the Second Polish Corps garrisoned at Campobasso. The author, Feliks Konarski (aka Ref-Ren) was the soldier of the Second Polish Corps of the Polish Armed Forces in the West, known before the war as a singer and song writter. The third verse was written a few days afterwards. The fourth and last verse, was created in 1969 to celebrate the battle’s 25th anniversary.
The melody was composed by Alfred Schultz, composer, and conductor, also a soldier of the Second Polish Corps. The song was also popular in the post-war period. Communist regime banned its public performance as memory about Polish Army in the West was to be minimized.
Oscar-winning movie by Steven Spielberg (1993) based on a book ‘Schindler’s Ark’ (1982) by Thomas Keneally. It tells the story of World War II events whose subject is Oscar Schindler.
Schindler was a German businessman and Nazi party member. After German invasion of Poland in 1939 he was one of many who sought to profit from the occupation of the country. He gained ownership from a bankruptcy court of a factory in Kraków, and renamed it into Deutsche Emaillewaren-Fabrik in which he employed around 1300 Jewish forced laborers. He tried to protect his workers by corrupting local German authorities and threatening them with compensation demands.
After liquidation of Cracow ghetto in 1942 Jews were transported to the concentration camp in Plaszow. Schindler managed to move 900 of them to a camp close to his factory where they lived in better conditions and were relatively safe from deportation. In October 1944 Schindler arranged for Jews working in his factory to be transferred to the Brunnlitz camp in Czechoslovakia. The transport of 1200 was redirected to Auschwitz-Birkenau but Schindler finally managed to move them to Brunnlitz camp which was liberated in May 1945.
Schindler died on 9 October 1974. He was buried with honors in the catholic cemetery in Jerusalem. Yad Vashem Institute awarded him with the Righteous Among the Nations Medal.
The Red Army
(Russian: Рабоче-Крестьянская Красная Армия, Raboche-Krest’yanskaya Krasnaya Armiya; RKKA (Workers’–Peasants’ Red Army), created on January 28, 1918. Since February 23, 1946 it became Army of the Soviet Union (Soviet Army). Armed forces of the Soviet Russia and the USSR existed until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.
Vistula Action (Akcja „Wisła”)
A military and displacement operation by the Communist-controlled Polish Army (WP) and Militia (MO) against the Ukrainian Liberation Army (UPA), the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and civilians accused of co-operation with the partisans. More than 140,000 Ukrainians were deported from southeast Poland and resettled forcibly in the western territories gained from Germany. Most of Ukrainian partisan troops were destroyed too. Communist-controlled government confiscated possessions of displaced people as well as the property of Greek Orthodox Church and Ukrainian organizations.
Action lasted from April until July 1947.