The following Welcome was written on September 1, 2007 (it has been recently modified for clarity. Content is the same).
Welcome to my website, Polish Greatness. This is my personal tribute to the Polish Armed Forces, the
Polish Home Army, and the millions of Polish civilian men, women, and children, who fought against, and
resisted the German and Soviet occupations during World War II. Their fiery spirit and courage has truly
earned them the Accolade, “Polish Greatness”, hence the title of this website!
The history of the Polish people was one of continuous struggle - a struggle which has spanned the
centuries when Poland was partitioned three times by powerful and hostile neighbours - Russia, Prussia,
and Austria. The occupiers tried to eliminate every vestige of Polish culture and language, but could not.
Though Poland ceased to exist as a nation-state for 123 years, the nationalistic fervour of its people could
not be quashed. Poland emerged independent once again after World War I, but it was partitioned yet a
fourth time when German and Soviet troops invaded it in September 1939.
With the passage of time, sadly history tends to be forgotten, and with it, truths become blurred and
distorted. We concern ourselves today with current political crises, believing that the past is irrelevant. If
this is true, then are the times in which we are living today, fated to become irrelevant to future
generations? It cannot be. It must not. We are a product of past glories as well as future aspirations.
History is as important to us today, as are concerns about our future. The past must never be forgotten.
This website offers a glimpse of the proud and turbulent past of the Polish nation as it struggled against
overwhelming odds. It is not a historical treatise, nor a political analysis, but combines elements of both,
including numerous quotations, descriptive passages, photographs, and links to some stunning archival
video clips. History comes to life as we read the events leading up to the September Campaign of 1939,
the creation of the Secret Polish State, and the activities of the Polish Underground. But most important,
and least known are the numerous contributions Poland had made to the Allied war effort, in particular, the
victory at Monte Cassino by the II Polish Corps. This has been all forgotten. So too, the spectacular
success of the Kosciuszko Squadron, Poland's elite ace pilots who were instrumental in the Allied victory of
the Battle of Britain.
The Poles were the ones who cracked the Enigma code, and discovered the location of Hitler's V-1 and V-2
plant at Peenemunde. And while the Allies turned their back on Polish people, the Polish Underground sent
continuous urgent messages alerting them of Hitlers atrocities against the Jews. Their desperate appeals
fell on deaf ears. The Polish stand against the Germans during the Warsaw Uprising was one of heroism
and tragedy, but again, they were abandoned by their Allies to fend for themselves.
At the end of the war 6 million Jews had perished in the Holocaust - half of them were Polish Jews, the
remainder were Jews deported to Poland from all over Europe. But 3,000,000 Polish Christians also
perished in what was Hitler's plan for the complete annihilation of the nation-state of Poland and of its
citizens – both Poles and Jews. There is no story as tragic and filled with despair as the plight of the Polish
people under Nazi persecution. And there is no act of courage so great as that of Polish Christians (who
were themselves victims of Nazi persecution) who risked their lives to save Jews. Zegota has become the
symbol of courage of the Polish people who defied tyranny at whatever cost.
With this in mind, I included an article on Polish-Jewish Relations in World War II. Being of Polish-Jewish
heritage ( my late father was a survivor of the Holocaust), I experienced considerable trepidation about
embarking on this particular subject –not only because of its magnitude and complexity, but because of the
impact it would surely have on some Polish-Jewish ex-patriots. My main concern was to present the facts
without bias, but to do so without inflicting emotional pain on Jews, nor fanning the flames of anti-Semetism
and anti-Polonism. It is my hope that this website will correct many misconceptions that the public has had
about Poland, and in particular to dispel myths that Poles and Jews have had about each other for decades.
The patchwork of alliances forged during the World War II with the Nazis and Soviets were so varied and
complicated (and sometimes overlapping), that it rendered it extremely difficult in many cases to classify
Polish and Jewish allegiances. One of the most heart-breaking and tragic turn of events for the Jewish
people, was the decision taken by the Nazis to appoint the Jewish elders of the Ghetto (called the Judenrat)
as public administrators.. When the Nazis implemented their deceptive “work deportations”, the task of
filling the quota was up to the Judenrat.. The consequence, whether forseen or not, was that Jews were
sentencing their own people to death. History tends to forget these details, as well as that of the infamous
Jewish “Blue Police” of the Ghetto. I mention these things only to bring the truth into the light, as ugly as it
is. Not to blame, but to see clearly, and try to understand.
At the root of this terror, was the Germans skillful application of propaganda, designed to pit the Poles and
Jews against each other. When we recognize this manipulation for what it is, we may gain some perspective
of the conditions which prevailed at the time and not fall into the habit of perpetuating old war-time lies. But
we should never forget the immense sacrifices made by many Polish Christians, to help the Jews.
Several months ago, I was walking down the street and met a Polish lady by chance. We struck up a
conversation and I was fascinated with her background. She is in her eighties, but posseses a fiery spirit
that belies her age. She told me that she had immigrated to Canada with her husband in 1944 She
virulently condemned any form of racism, or what we shrug off as harmless, little slurs against minorities.
She warned me that nations must guard themselves against prejudices, however latent - because hatred
and intolerance towards others, given the right conditions inevitably erupts into social unrest and war.
When I asked her what she most wanted to tell the world, she pointed her forefinger abruptly upwards, to
the heavens, stared at me with fiery determination in her eyes and declared, " Respect God, and
Respect Each Other..." To this lady, and to the many Poles whose struggle was guided by this principle,
may God bless you all!
For Your Freedom and Ours. These words have been the rallying cry of the Polish people, since they
crossed the Atlantic to fight with the Americans in the colonial uprising against the British.(1861-1865) Their
belief was that their freedom could only be won by fighting for the freedom of all. The millions of Poles who
fought for our freedom in World War II, but lost their own, merit our deepest gratitude and respect.
Dziekujemy Wam Polacy. Thank you Poland.
Editor, Polish Greatness
September 1, 2007
Throughout this website you will have noticed that I had not included the diacritical marks, or accents, that
are essential in the spelling of Polish words and names. It is not because of an oversight that I left them out,
but in the difficulty of applying accents using this program. I do hope that my Polish visitors will forgive me.
|P O L I S H
G R E A T N E S S
Dear Friends of Polish Greatness.com
I would like to announce that I am celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Polish Greatness.com. This website
went online on September 1st, 2007. I am so proud to have this opportunity to dedicate myself to this
endeavor - to promote Polish history, and Polish culture, and sharing it with all of you!
For this Anniversary, I have prepared a few special features that I am sure you will enjoy! The Polish
Greatness Database - Books is quite a huge undertaking. It consists of over 200 books about
Polish history, and so far, it appears it's one of the largest non-commercial database on the internet.
To make it more accessible and easy to navigate, I arranged thumbnail images of the book covers in grid
format, and linked each one to details available on Amazon (there you can read summaries, reviews, and
order books if you wish. You can be sure that I too will be selecting new books to read!)
I have chosen my theme for this Anniversary Special - the Polish Eagle! I have compiled some information
based on this theme that I hope will be of interest.
It is my hope that this website has motivated you to learn more about Polish history and share it with your
colleagues and friends. Thank you for visiting!
Here is to another ten years of Polish Greatness.com ( or even twenty !!! )
Cheers to you all!
September 1, 2017