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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Fighting for the Wehrmacht

In 1944 the Allied incursion into Italy took on the Polish 2nd Corps commanded by Lt Gen Władysław Anders. A matter of great concern to the other generals involved in the planning of battles involving the Polish 2nd Corps was the lack of available reinforcements for them. General Anders was not concerned at all, his reinforcements would come from the front. And they did, as German positions were overrun by the Poles, reinforcements for their numbers were gained from Polish conscripts in the German army. They simply swapped sides to fight under the white flag and red, as Anders knew they would.

Why do I mention the above? Well, it has turned out that the accusations against Polish Presidential candidate, Donald Tusk, that his grandfather served briefly in the German army during WW2 have turned out to be true. Tusk had vigorously denied the assertion by his rival Kaczynski's campaign manager and was shocked to find out that his grandfather had actually been a part of the German army.
Polish presidential frontrunner Donald Tusk said on Friday he was shocked to learn from media reports that his grandfather served briefly in the German army during the Nazis' brutal occupation of Poland in World War Two.

When the campaign manager of his conservative rival Lech Kaczynski first alleged Nazi links earlier this week, Tusk dismissed the charges as a dirty campaign trick, insisting both his grandfathers had been prisoners in Nazi concentration camps.

His strong denial prompted an apology from Kaczynski, who fired his campaign manager.

But on Friday two TV channels reported that documents in Berlin archives showed Tusk's grandfather, Jozef, served in an auxiliary training battalion in Germany's Wehrmacht for several months towards the end of the war before joining a Polish exile army that fought with the Allies in late 1944.

The documents did not say whether Tusk's grandfather joined the Wehrmacht voluntarily or was forced to enlist - a frequent occurrence in the northern Kashubia region during the war.

"I didn't know anything about it. I learnt it today. This is a day of a big challenge for me. I am shocked by the fate of my grandfather," Tusk told public television on Friday night.

Any hints of collaboration with Nazi Germany are highly damaging in Poland. Six million Poles are estimated to have died during the nearly six year occupation by Adolf Hitler's troops.

Tusk won the first round of presidential elections last Sunday, three points ahead of Kaczynski. The two will compete in a run-off on Oct. 23.

The latest opinion poll on Friday showed Tusk with 57 percent support, a lead of 14 points over his rival. The race has grown increasingly hostile as the final vote draws closer, with each camp accusing the other of lies and mud-slinging.
I'm not surprised Tusk didn't know anything about it. I hardly know much about what happened to my Dad during his stay in the USSR. Reading through the stories of other deportees has lead me to realise that the memories were most likely too painful to revisit. Tusk's Grandfather would have had the added shame of having any sort of involvement with the German army.

It does make me wonder though, was Tusk's Grandfather one of those who swapped sides in Italy back in 1944 to join with Ander's army? How else could he have got to the position of being able to fight in an exile army - they were nowhere near Poland or Germany. Those in Poland would have had no chance joining up with them unless they were positioned outside, as part of a German army that got overrun. All very interesting.

UPDATE Sunday 16, 10am: link
Archive documents that have surfaced since the revelations do not clarify whether Tusk's grandfather volunteered or was drafted - as were tens of thousands of men from the Pomerania region where he grew up. However, one document said he sought in November to enlist with exiled Polish forces in Britain after apparently escaping.
· Linked Article

Posted by Lucia Maria | 10/15/2005 06:00:00 PM

3 Comments:

Blogger Murray said...

It was good enough for a pope and a sec gen of the UN.

10/16/2005 12:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Simon said...

From memory after the germans overrun Poland in 1939 it was split into 3 administrative areas. The population of each sector had to be sorted according to race German, Pole, Jew or whatever. Each German in charge ran each sector differently.
One guy in charge of one sector actually thought the racial theories were suspect but did carry out his instructions by simply declaring that all Poles in his sector were now Germans. As these Poles were now German they were later drafted to fight in the German Army in Ost (East) Battalions.

In Italy the German Army were frequently using fighting withdrawals. They would hold a position for as long as possible and then fall back to reserve positions. During the fighting retreat or withdrawal the German Army might leave behind a battalion to hinder advancing allied units. Often the battalion left to do this work was Polish as they were seen as expendable and the type of work didn’t require high levels of motivation.

10/16/2005 10:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For more insanity, see

http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2005/10/going-beyond-iraq.html#comments

Idiots. That Christiaan really is a wanker.

10/16/2005 06:32:00 PM  

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