Ch. 7 —3
The Second World War - Part 3
  • With the "liberation" of a Polish town Lublin in July 1944, by the advancing Soviet forces, a Russian-sponsored "Polish Committee for National Liberation" (a Communist Government in all but name) had been set up in town.
  • And the British had put great pressure, mostly unsuccessful, on the Polish Government-in-exile in London to accept this status quo.
  • Preliminary conference with Stalin regarding abandoning Poland to Soviet zone of influence took place in Teheran in December 1943.

  • Finally at Yalta, in February 1945, the Allies put Poland within the Russian zone of influence in a post-war Europe, i.e. agreed to leave Poland under brutal Stalinist occupation.
  • To most Poles the meaning of these two events was perfectly clear: - Poland had been betrayed !

  • At one stage the Polish Army, still fighting in Italy and Germany, was prepared to withdraw from the front lines in protest. After all, they were supposed to be fighting for Polish liberation.
  • It is a reflection on Polish honour that no such withdrawal took place since it could leave large gaps in the front lines and so was considered too dangerous for their Allied comrades-in-arms.
  • The war ended on the 8th May 1945.



  • Over half a million fighting men and women, and 6 million civilians died. (22 percent of the total population)
  • About 3.5 million of these were Polish Christians and 2.5 million were Polish Jews.
  • Approximately 5,400,000, or 90 percent of Polish war losses (Jews and Gentiles) were the victims of prisons, death camps, raids, executions, annihilation of ghettos, epidemics, starvation, excessive work and ill treatment.
  • So many Poles were sent to concentration camps both in Germany and the Soviet Union that virtually every family had someone close to them who had been tortured or murdered there.
  • There were one million war orphans and over half a million invalids.

  • The country lost 40 percent of its national assets.
  • Britain lost 1 percent , France lost 1.5 percent.
  • Half the country was swallowed up by the Soviet Union including the two great cultural centres of Wilno ( Rymaszewski families native area - now called Vilnius) and Lwów (now called Lvov or Lviv).

  • By the end of war the British Government decided to switch its recognition from the Polish Government in Exile in London to the Soviet installed communist government in Warsaw.

  • The Poles in the West, through fighting "For Our Freedom and Yours" had exchanged one Nazi master for another, a Communist one. And were, for many years to come, treated as "the enemy" by the Soviet Russia and as "aliens" and embarrassment by the very Allies who had betrayed them at Teheran and Yalta.

  • Many Poles in the West could not return to the country for which they have fought because they were branded by the Communist government as belonging to the "enemy" political group, especially those that CAME FROM EASTERN POLAND, LIKE MYSELF AND MY FAMILY, AND HAD THUS BECOME SOVIET CITIZENS.
  • Others were arrested, tortured and imprisoned by the Soviet authorities for belonging to the Homeland Army, because it was run by the "capitalist" Polish Government in London.
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