occupation

Jul

27

1944

RAF pilot lies low with the French

A French family returns to their village, Buron, near Caen, which was completely wrecked during the fighting, Normandy, 18 July 1944.

To my great satisfaction, they got their wish. Four miles down the road, this two wagon convoy was strafed by Spitfires and the vehicles were turned into wizard flamers. The two drivers, however, escaped since they abandoned their lorries at the first sign of the Spitfires. This incident was seen by several Frenchmen, who expressed their pleasure later that evening.

Jul

22

1944

Polish partisans watch the German retreat

Military police in 'Partisan territory'.

It took hours for the tank columns to pass our positions. Our men later said that some of the Germans riding on the tanks must have spotted us, but just looked the other way. To this day, I can’t imagine how we managed to keep cool in a situation like this, when we could all have been killed and our only defense was in lying low and waiting it out. We had become a tightly disciplined group. Nobody made a false move. About half an hour after the last tank passed, we heard a huge explosion and saw flames and smoke maybe a thousand feet behind us. We later learned that one of the German tanks had broken down; the Germans blew it up, not wanting to leave it behind for the Russians.

May

3

1944

A dangerous act of defiance in Poland

An Avro Lancaster of No. 300 Polish Bomber Squadron RAF flying over the smoke-covered target area during a daylight attack on the oil refinery and storage depot of Deutsche Vacuum AG at Bremen, Germany, by 133 Lancasters of No. 1 Group and 6 De Havilland Mosquitos of No. 8 Group.

he door was closed behind me, and I approached the organist who was just ending one of the melodies specially intended for the May service. While the organ sheltered me from the sight of the congregation, I again showed my pistol and asked the organist in honor of our great day to play the hymn “God, Who Hath Poland Saved,” which had been our national hymn since the Uprising of 1830.

Apr

26

1944

Death of an innocent man in Italy

Italian woman, like many other civilians, who are to be evacuated from the Nettuno battle area, is issued rations by Allied personnel while awaiting transportation to Naples.

I drive in to Chianciano, to try and make arrangements for the funeral — and find the streets entirely empty, and on the walls a notice stating that, while the German authorities deplore what had occurred, they consider it to be the fault of the local population, owing to their unco-operativeness and general hostility. In consequence, there will be a curfew at eight-thirty p.m., and the population is warned that any further attempt at sabotage will be followed by the arrest of ten hostages.

Mar

19

1944

Chaos as the Germans begin to depart eastern Poland

Vinnytsia residents welcome Soviet soldiers-liberators. Vinnitsa city was under German occupation from July 21, 1941. Was released on March 20, 1944 the troops of the 38th Army of the 1st Ukrainian Front during Proskurovo-Chernovtsy operation.

Some Poles are fearful of the time between the German pullout and the arrival of Russian troops or the Home Army because they think the Ukrainians will start a massacre. Overall there is a happy feeling here. The days of our slavery are now numbered. We see Germans escaping. This is the day we have been waiting for years to see.

Mar

15

1944

Officer’s sacrifice as Japanese march towards India

The Campaign in North and Central Burma February 1944 - August 1945: A well armed patrol of American led Burmese guerillas crossing a river in central Burma.

The Japanese then arrested 270 Karens and tortured and killed many of them but still they continued to support Major Seagrim. To end further suffering to the Karens, Seagrim surrendered himself to the Japanese on 15th March 1944. He was taken to Rangoon and together with eight others he was sentenced to death. He pleaded that the others were following his orders and as such they should be spared, but they were determined to die with him and were all executed.

Mar

14

1944

Italian civilians suffer as the struggle continues

Naples, September - October 1943: The twisted metal of a wrecked gantry crane destroyed by Germans, lying in Naples harbour.

He was chained up in the usual way, weeping desperately, clearly knowing what was coming. It took the judge minutes to find him guilty and sentence him to ten years. ‘What’s going to happen no my poor family?’ he shrieked. He was led away sobbing loudly. A sickening experience.

Jan

15

1944

Germans crack down as Red Army gets closer

German machine gunner in the burning center of Zhitomir, Ukraine. Zhitomir was liberated by Soviet troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front at the end of 1943.

The overall feeling is that this time the Germans are unable to stop the Russian offensive. In the German administration and also the German military you can see complete chaos. Germany is already finished. Their might is breaking apart and the time for the end is near. This is an all-embracing feeling, but the people who are more realistic are still counting on very difficult days.

Dec

31

1943

Polish resistance turns against the ‘German’ occupiers

From the very earliest days of their invasion of Poland, and then Russia, the Germans had adopted the most ruthless methods of dealing with anyone suspected of aiding the resistance.

We were in for a surprise: these German soldiers weren’t German. They had Asian features and black, silky hair. They were Russian—speaking Muslims, former Red Army soldiers who, after being captured on the Russian front, had volunteered to fight with the Germans rather than remain in POW camps. When we searched them, We found maps of our area and evidence that, the day before, they had carried out a raid on partisans not far from where we were.

Oct

28

1943

Kusnezovo villagers murdered in ‘anti-partisan reprisals’

The results of an anti partisan operation earlier in 1943. Such exhibitions were intended to have a deterrent effect.

“Because,” said he, “you harboured partisans in your village.” But his words were untruthful because we had no partisans in the village and nobody took part in any partisan activities, since there was nobody left. Only old people and small children were left in the village, the village had never seen any partisans and did not know who these partisans were.