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German forces mass in the east of Poland

A German motorised column on the Russian front, June 1941.

In eastern Poland the build up of the largest invasion force ever assembled was proceeding apace. Although Stalin was to receive a series of intelligence reports throughout June warning of imminent invasion, he chose to disregard them. Soviet military groups were not allowed to prepare positions that might be regarded as ‘provocative’. For anyone on the ground in the area, the troop build could have only one purpose – a purpose that was readily evident to even a civilian doctor:

June 7

Because of unusually heavy military traffic, all civilian movement was halted for several hours. You can see many different types of troops. They seem to be traveling in the direction of Zamosc. Only empty vehicles travel in the direction of Zwierzyniec; occasionally a motorcycle or passenger car does also. The situation is the same as during a war when large fighting units begin to move.

We received news from people arrested a week ago that an epidemic of spotted typhus is growing in Zamosc prison. I have lost any hope that Dr. Likowski and my medic will be released.

See Klukowski: Diary from the Years of Occupation

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