NAZI-Soviet Joint Invasion of Poland: Displaced Children (September 1939)

Figure 1.--This Swedish press pohotograph shows the tragic vulnerability of children. It looks to be abandoned Polish children during the NAZI-Soviet joint invasion of Poland (September 1939). There is no caption, but some writing on the back. All we can make out is 'Polen Terror". The family has clearly fled their home. We do not know where the adults are. There seems to be a bomb shelter dugout for the children.

World War II began in Poland with invasions by two brutal totalitarian regimes, the NAZIs from the north, west, and south (September 1) and the German ally, the Soviet Union, from the east (September 17). The Germans introduced a stunned world to Blitzkrieg warfare. The German Wehrmacht largely defeated the Polish Army in a few weeks and closed in on Warsaw. Then the Germans began to destroy the city by artillery and aerial bombardment. The Polish Army attempted to regroup in the east. But when the Soviet Red Army struck, the Polish Army was ordered not to fight the Soviet invaders. From the beginning, the Luftwaffe bombed Warsaw and basically undefended Polish cities. The outgunned Polish air force had noability toi protects its cities abd civilian population. The campaignwas capped by a Gernan victory parade in the devestated Polish capital (September 27). Hitler visited Warsaw to view the destruction and review another military parade (October 5). He met with journalists afterwards and threatened other countries which resisted him in not so veiled terms, using the devestated city as a stark example of what would happened to any country which resisted him. Large numbers pf Polish children were displaced as a result of those invasions and the wide spread distruction. Substantial numbers of Polish children were displaced by the initial NAZI and Soviet occupations. Not only were children dispossed, but several million Polish families were left with out the means of basica survival. Father were lost as the Polish soldiers not killed and badly wounded were interned as POWs. And fatherswere the principal breadwinners. Some children lost mothers as well. The destruction and abolition of the Polish state meant that efforts to care for these children were limited. Tragically this was only the beginning of the Polish tragedy and the plight of an increasing number of displaced children. And all of this began even before the organized actions against the Jews began. Less widely known is the degree to which the Germans targeted the other Polish people as well. There were differences between what occurred in the west vand east. There was very little fighting on he east and hus there were fewer children displaced. And the Red Air Force did not bonb Polish cities to any extent. The Soviets did not target Jews. The Soviets like the NAZUS did intern the Polish Army in brutal POW camps. And thus many familes in both the east and west lost their bread earners.


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Created: 5:37 PM 7/6/2017
Last updated: 5:37 PM 7/6/2017