Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Nazi Blitzkrieg: Poland, 1939

Nazi Blitzkrieg: Poland, 1939 - A Polish officer's account of the battles and personal losses during the invasion by Hitler and Stalin.

This is from "A Katyn and World War Two Diary." Katyn was the scene of a Soviet war crime where 4,000 to 5,000 Polish army officers were slaughtered.

From the site:

On September 1, 1939, Leon Gladun was mobilized as an officer cadet to defend his beloved Poland against the Nazi blitzkrieg. A horticultural student at Stefan Batory University, my father would only have time to grab a few photos from his home in Krzemieniec, before racing to the front, leaving behind his mother and grandmother. Leon would never graduate nor would he see his home again, and it would be twenty years before he'd be reunited with his mother. Most of his classmates and friends would perish during the war.

One of my father's surviving possessionsis a diary of the years he spent in uniform: from his first battles against the blitzkrieg in 1939, to V-E Day in Italy, when the Germans finally surrendered. Leon would train and fight in Poland, the USSR, the Middle East and Italy. Even after the war, he escorted Axis POW's from Italy back to their homes because he had no country--Poland had been sacrificed to Stalinism.

The diary also chronicles his life as one of the thousands of Polish officers who were captured and imprisoned by the Soviet Union. Leon unwittingly records the last days of his comrades who would be murdered in one of the greatest and most controversial war crimes of the Second World War: Katyn.

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