Poland had its back against the wall when the German forces invaded their country on September 1st, 1939. They would put up a fight against the invasion, however, on September 17th, the foreign forces would be further buttressed by the Soviets. They were attacked in every which way—air, land, and sea—and soon their cities and towns were stacked up with dead bodies.
Preoccupied with the ongoing war, they no longer had time for the proper ceremonies normally afforded to the dead. Instead, they were forced to simply bury them wherever the ground seemed suitable.
Welcomed By The French
The success of the Normandy invasion resulted in heaps of destruction. People were hungry and homeless, but with practically nothing left after the long battle, they welcomed the Allied troops with open arms. Never would you expect to see such smiling faces in the midst of such ruins.
They were just glad the Nazis were finally dead or captured. Finally, they had real lives ahead of them again, a future to work on, and regain what had been lost. This was a major victory for the Allies. Without Normandy, the Germans could no longer send reinforcements through France to the Eastern Front to deal with the crawling Soviets. This proved a major disadvantage to them, and it would turn the tide forever against their cause.
Inside A Jewish Ghetto
This photograph was taken by Hugo Jaeger at the Kutno Ghetto, in 1940. Jaeger was a loyalist to the Nazi movement down to the very end, and he enjoyed taking images of Nazi parades, and the big crowds that showed its dominion. He even traveled to take such photographs after the blitzkrieg of Poland. Adolf Hitler himself was amazed by Hugo Jaeger’s work.
Above, Jewish women palaver behind the barbed wires that surrounded the Kutno Ghetto. The irony is expressed in their smiles; 30 miles from the Polish city of Lodz, most of them would be taken en masse to the Chelmno extermination camp.
They Never Stood A Chance
Poland became the staging ground for what would become the Second World War. The most devastating war of all-time started here, when Germany’s air force, the Luftwaffe, bombed the Polish town of Wieluń.
Taking Poland by surprise, the Germans compounded their air attacks by commanding their battleships to open fire. They bombarded a Polish base at the Westerplatte Peninsula positioned on the Baltic Coast. The Polish forces didn’t stand much of a chance, and the photograph above shows their unfinished aircraft at the Okezie military airport near Warsaw, helpless, as they were faced down by a far superior enemy.
As dominant as Adolf Hitler was during the Second World War, he still needed somebody close to him that he could trust and confide in. The man to the right in the photograph is Heinrich Himmler, and he was privy to Hitler’s long-term plans.
In fact, from 1929 to 1945, Heinrich Himmler was appointed Reich Leader of the SS Squadron of the Nazi party. Known as the Schutzstaffel, it was a major paramilitary organization that literally translates to “Protection Squadron.” Himmler was regarded as the second most powerful man in all of Germany at the time, and the dark mastermind behind the mass genocide of the Jewish people.