#371603

Anonymous

FULL TEXT OF COLONEL PIMENOV'S LETTER
To the Governments Delegate in Poland, M. Jankowski My good intentions and modest aims which I hope will meet with your full support and appreciation are limited to one thing only— namely, to help you to meet in the next few days the representative of the High Command of the First White-Ruthenian Front, Col.-Gen. Ivanov. I am, of course, aware, of the difficulties of this action. But realising its -absolute necessity and its immense importance— I cannot show this at length in this short letter—I am of opinion that this meeting between you and Col.-Gen. Ivanov may 'and, of course, should, settle matters which it is altogether doubtful can be settled quickly in any other way. Mutual comprehension and confidence will 'allow the settling of very important problems and will prevent their becoming more acute.

I also request M. Jankowski to excuse the difficulties in bringing about this meeting, as, indeed, the dates fixed for this purpose with Col.-Gen. Ivanov have long since passed. But I do hope that Col.-Gen. Ivanov will be courteous and will take into consideration my arguments for holding this meeting and that it will take place in the next few days. For my part, AS AN OFFICER OF THE BED ARMY WHO HA-S BEEN ENTRUSTED WITH SUCH A GREATLY IMPORTANT MISSION, I GUARANTEE TO YOU, UNDER MY WORD AS AN OFFICER, THAT FROM THAT MOMENT YOUR FATE WILL BE IN MY HANDS AND THAT AFTER YOUR ARRIVAL AT OUR QUARTERS YOU WILL BE ABSOLUTELY SAFE.

I reckon on our early meeting and I send you my regards. Please inform me immediately of your decision.

On Order,
PIMENOV,  Colonel of the  Guards,
Pruszkow, March 6th, 1945
.

A similar letter was sent by Colonel Pimenov to Gen. Okulicki.

THE POLISH GOVERNMENT'S DECLARATION
The Polish Government in London issued the following declaration after the arrest of the Polish leaders:
"(1) During the German occupation the arrested leaders stood at the head of the Polish Underground Movement. They were responsible for the underground administration existing in Poland and they directed the whole of the armed activities of the Polish nation against the Germans. They represented all Polish political parties and commanded the full obedience of 'the whole nation, which executed their orders, issued m close consultation with the Polish Government in London. On their orders the Polish nation made great and bloody sacrifices, the greatest of them the Warsaw Rising.

"(2) The accusation of the arrested leaders of committing acts of sabotage against Russian Armed Forces is completely groundless. The Home Army m Poland no longer exists. It was dissolved on January 19th, 1945, by the Polish Government in London acting on the suggestion of Gen. Okulicki and Cabinet Ministers in Poland. The decision was announced publicly. It will be recalled 'that, during the Warsaw Rising, the Soviet Authorities made serious accusations against the Home Army and threatened with court-martial Gen. Bor, then its Commander and leader of the Warsaw Rising.

"(3) The Polish leaders were arrested on the 27th and 28th of March. In spite of many indications of the disquiet of public opinion throughout the world, despite press articles, questions in the House of Commons and inquiries by the British and American Governments, it was only on May 5th that the story of the arrests was made public. Until that time the Soviet Government kept it secret and even denied it.

"(4) In spite of Soviet denials, the arrests and even executions of Polish political and social leaders continue . . ."

WHO ARE THE ARRESTED LEADERS?
The arrested Polish leaders represent the main Polish political parties.
(1) JAN JANKOWSKI (pseudonym Sobolewski), Vice-Premier of the Polish Government and its Delegate in the Homeland is a distinguished representative of the National Workers' Party which later merged with the Christian Democrats adopting the name of the (Christian) Labour Party. Originally he was in charge of the Department of Labour and Social Welfare of the Polish Underground Administration. He was appointed Government's Delegate two years ago, after the Germans had arrested his predecessor. He was the third person to hold that office but the only one to survive the German occupation. He was awarded the Virtuti Militari Cross, the highest Polish military decoration, for bravery during the Warsaw Rising.

(2) KAZIMIERZ PUZAK is one of the most outstanding leaders of the Polish Socialist Party. During the five and half years of German occupation Puzak was the life and soul of the Polish Underground Movement. Under his leadership the Socialist Movement, thanks to its old tradition and experience, became the vanguard of the Polish Resistance. During his whole life, Puzak has fought for freedom. Even before the last war he was sentenced to eight years hard labour for revolutionary activities by Czarist Russia. Puzak was put in irons and thus spent seven years in solitary confinement in the fortress prison of Schlisselburg which was notorious as the most terrible Tsarist prison. Released by the Russian Revolution in March, 1917, he returned to Poland, where he became a leading organiser of the Polish Socialist Party. Since 1921 he has been Secretary-General of the National Executive Committee of the Party. After Pilsudski's coup d'etat Puzak fought the Government relentlessly and opposed Beck's policy. After the outbreak of war he took a leading part in the heroic defence of Warsaw in September, 1939. When the Council of National Unity, the Underground Parliament of Poland representing the main political parties was formed, Puzak was elected chairman. He played a leading part in the epic 63 days' Warsaw Rising in August and September, 1944.

(3) ANTONI PAJDAK (pseudonym Traugutt) is a representative of the Polish Socialist Party. A barrister by profession, he was particularly interested in local government, and was elected Deputy Mayor of Cracow. In September, 1939, he fought against the Germans in the ranks of the Polish Army. Having escaped from German hands he was active in the Underground Socialist Movement, which he also represented as a member of the Underground Government of Poland.

(4) ADAM BIEN (pseudonym Walkowicz) is a representative of the Peasant Party and also a member of the Underground Government. Before the war he was a judge in Warsaw.

(5) STANISLAW JASIUKOWICZ (pseudonym Opolski) is another member of the Government residing in Poland. He is a member of the Executive of the National Party and a former Member of Parliament.

(6) GENERAL LEOPOLD OKULICKI was the last Commander of the disbanded Home Army. He is a professional soldier. During the German invasion in September, 1939, he was in Lwow. After the entry of the Soviet forces into the city he was arrested and deported to Russia. Released in 1941, he became the Chief of Staff of the Polish Army in Russia. He left that country at the same time as the Polish forces. At the beginning of 1944 he parachuted into Poland where he joined the Staff of General Bor, and later took part in the Warsaw Rising. After the capture of General Bor by the Germans, Gen. Okulicki took over the command of the Home Army, but remained at this post for only a short time until on January 19th, 1945, the Polish Government was compelled to disband the Home Army.

(7) KAZIMIERZ BAGINSKI was the Secretary-General of the Peasant Party. He is a leading Polish Democrat and parliamentarian. Together with other opposition leaders he was imprisoned by Marshal Pilsudski in the fortress of Brest Litovsk. After his release he went, in 1933, to Czechoslovakia together with Wincenty Witos and Wladyslaw Kiernik, but returned to Poland shortly before the outbreak of war. He was Deputy-Chairman of the Council of National Unity.

(8) STANISLAW MIERZWA is a member of the National Executive of the Peasant Party and a well-known leader of the peasant youth organisation "Wici."

(9) JOZEF CHACINSKI, a known parliamentarian, was the Chairman of the Christian Democratic Party and is one of the leaders of the Christian Labour Party.

(10) FRANCTSZEK URBANSKI, a representative of the Christian Labour Party, is the Secretary-General of the Christian Trade Union of Farm Labourers.

(11) KAZIMIERZ KOBYLANSKI, a representative of the National Party, is a former Senator and a well-known journalist.

(12) ZBIGNIEW STYPULKOWISKI, is a representative of the National Party, a former Member of Parliament.

(13) EUGENIUSZ CZARNOWSKI is a representative of the Democratic Party.

(14) STANISLAW MICHALOWSKI is a representative of the Democratic Party and a former Member of Parliament.

(15) ALEKSANDER ZWIERZYNSKI, former Member of Parliament, one of the leaders of the National Party and deputy-chairman of the Council of National Unity.

(16) JOZEF STEMLER-DABSE3 is an interpreter and does not represent any political party.

Speaking at a press conference at San Francisco on May 10th, the British Foreign Secretary, Mr. Anthony Eden, described the arrested Polish leaders in the following words:

"I must emphasise that the list of 16 Poles reported as having disappeared, and about whom we inquired of the Soviet Government more than a month ago, included nearly all the leading figures of the Polish underground movement.

"These men maintained an excellent record of resistance against the Germans throughout the war.

"Four have held office for some time in Poland as Ministers of the Polish Government — Ministers of the Sikorski and Mikolajczyk Government as well as the present one.

"One of them was Chairman of the Underground National Council, and the rest were prominent leaders of the principal democratic parties in Poland.

"Most of these men were just the type who should, in our view, have been consulted about the new National Government in Poland, if such a Government was to be truly representative of Polish democratic political life, in accordance with the Crimea decision."

THE ORGANISATION OF POLITICAL LIFE IN THE POLISH UNDERGROUND STATE
The Polish Underground Movement was the biggest and best organised in the whole of Europe. Under the German occupation there existed in Poland an underground State with its own Government and Parliament, with a considerable Army, its own administrative machinery and courts of justice, and the largest clandestine press of all the occupied countries.

The underground administration was headed by the Council of Ministers in the Homeland under the chairmanship of the Vice-Premier and Government's Delegate. Its members represented the main Polish political parties. This Council of Ministers was a part of the Government in London and had full powers to act for it in all matters concerning internal administration. The Government Delegated Office was divided into departments corresponding to Ministries in London, and there was a nation-wide network of branch offices with more than 30,000 officials, which is quite unique in an underground administration.

This machinery was quite ready to take over the administration of the country at the moment of the expulsion of the Germans, thus avoiding chaos. In each province, district and locality there was a complete administrative network ready to go into action. Soviet authorities however imposed on Poland the Lublin regime and imported leaders from Russia, recruiting them mostly from among people who appear to have become aware of the German occupation of Poland only on June 22nd, 1941, and whose main virtue was complete obedience towards Russia. The Polish underground administration was liquidated, often not without bloodshed. The underground Mayor of Minsk Mazowiecki, was for instance, murdered together with six other leaders during the night of 2nd—3rd March, 1945, and their bodies were left lying in the street.

THE UNDERGROUND COALITION AND UNDERGROUND PARLIAMENT
Political life in Poland was led by a coalition of the four main parties—the Polish Socialist Party, the Peasant Party, the Christian Labour Party and the National Party. This coalition represented at least 80 p.c. of the Polish Nation. The four parties signed a political truce to remain in force until the first parliamentary election in reborn Poland. In a declaration issued by the coalition parties, they expressed their determination to establish a democratic system in Poland. The four parties have also signed a common minimum political and economic programme which guarantees full political freedom, based on equality of rights and duties. It proclaimed complete equality for national and religious minorities and promised full and swift agrarian reform.
Representatives of the four coalition parties formed the Council of National Unity—the Underground Parliament. Smaller political groups also sent their representatives to this Council. Kazimierz Puzak was the Chairman of this Parliament since its establishment.

THE UNDERGROUND ARMY AND THE UNDERGROUND WAR
The Armed Forces of the Underground Movement in Poland were called the Home Army. This formation, which was unparalleled in Europe, consisted of 400,000 men and 100,000 women, 300,000 of them being soldiers of the first line. After the German invasion, the Home Army began an unequal struggle against the whole might of the enemy. "The working class does not surrender—the working class fights on"—these words, spoken by the leader of the Polish Socialist Party, Mieczyslaw Niedzialkowski (who was later shot by the Germans) became the slogan of the Home Army, which consisted mostly of workers and peasants. Home Army Divisions were named after the heroes of the proletariat. The Okrzeja Division was the last to cease fighting in the Warsaw Rising.

For five and a half years this army has fought a relentless struggle against the Germans. Here are some figures to illustrate the achievements of this force: 6,988 locomotives destroyed or damaged; 17,037 railway waggons destroyed; 721 German troop trains attacked or derailed; 1,133 German transports destroyed; 885 acts of sabotage to railway lines with traffic interruptions lasting up to 192 hours; 38 bridges destroyed. Units of the Home Army killed scores of thousands of Germans, set fire to German stores, disorganised German supply lines, destroyed roads, organised acts of sabotage even in Germany itself, and raided German frontier localities.

The activities of the Home Army compelled the Germans to concentrate in Poland more than half a million regular troops and 60,000 Gestapo men in addition to S.S. formations. All this was of considerable help to the Red Army. According to official German reports one in every eight German transports for the Eastern Front never reached its destination. In addition, the intensive sabotage campaign made the German supply situation acute in the vital communication zone behind the Russian front.

HELP FOR THE RED ARMY
When the Red Army crossed the Polish frontier at the beginning of 1944, the Home Army, acting on orders from the Polish Government in London, began open warfare against the Germans. During the subsequent operations the Home Army supported the Red Army with all its strength. During 1944 Home Army units liberated 250 localities, fought hundreds of skirmishes with the Germans, and 15 major engagements—the most important being the epic 63 days of the Warsaw Rising, the battles of Vilno, Lvov, Lublin and Zamosc, and the operations of the 27th Volhynian Division.

In almost all the operations in Poland the Red Army had the advantage of the co-operation of the Home Army. During the fighting for Cracow, one of the last battles in Poland, the Home Army occupied all the public buildings in the city before the Russians could enter, thus preventing the Germans from destroying public utility services.

This co-operation had tragic consequences for the Home Army. The former Premier, M. Mikolajczyk, revealed that during the first months of this co-operation in 1944 Soviet authorities had hanged twenty Polish commanders and shot three of them for the sole reason that they had declared their loyalty to the Polish Government in London. In some cases, as for instance after the fighting for Vilno and Lvov, the Soviet authorities thanked the Home Army for their help, recommended Polish commanders for Soviet decorations and later invited them to meetings from which the Poles did not return. As time went on relations deteriorated still further and reports from Poland told of arrests, deportations and persecutions of members of the Home Army and leading Polish circles. In the province of Lublin alone more than 50,000 persons had been arrested up to the end of December, 1944.

In these circumstances the Polish Government felt compelled to disband the Home Army. The Home Army, the first to fight Nazism, was not only not honoured when the German invader was expelled from Poland, but was slandered and persecuted, because it always remained faithful to its democratic ideals and never gave up its fight for a truly free and independent Poland.

HELP TO THE ALLIES
The help given by the Polish Army abroad to the Allied cause ,is so well-known that it does not need recalling. That Army has been fighting "for your freedom and ours" on all the battle fronts of the world, and Polish soldiers' graves testify to it in Great Britain, France,, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Norway, Italy, the Near and Far East, the deserts of Africa and the immense territories of the Soviet Union. But what is comparatively little-known is the contribution of the Home Army to the Allied cause. First of all, the Home Army compelled the Germans to concentrate in Poland many divisions of regular troops which were badly needed on the Eastern Front; secondly, the Home Army was for London and Washington one of the main sources of information about the movements of German forces in Eastern Europe. It was the Home Army Intelligence that sent to London the first information about the German secret weapons, VI and V2, and was the first to report the existence of the experimental German station at Peenemunde. Thanks to this information the R.A.F. could destroy the station and delay considerably the secret weapon attack on Britain. During the Warsaw Rising the Governments of U.S.A. and Great Britain declared on August 29th, 1944, that the Home Army had full combatant rights. Two days earlier, the Labour Party and Trade Union Congress had adopted a resolution concerning the Home Army, stressing that "these gallant and disciplined Polish fighters have fully established their right to be recognised by all concerned as combatants with full combatant rights."

Speaking in the House of Commons on October 5th, 1944, Mr. Churchill said about the Warsaw Rising:

"When the final Allied victory is achieved, the epic of Warsaw will not be forgotten. It will remain a deathless memory for Poland and the friends of freedom all over the world."

After the final Allied victory, the epic of Warsaw, the epic of the Polish Underground Movement, was indeed not forgotten. It found itself on trial in Moscow.