As children of Polish veterans of World War II (Polish Home Army [Armia Krajowa], Szare Szeregi [Polish Scouting Association]), we take great exception to the tone and historical accuracy of the promotional materials (web page and television advertisements) for the upcoming NBC mini-series, Uprising.
In telling a true story of one survivor's experience in this historical event, significant untruths regarding the history of World War II in Poland are being promulgated by NBC and its associates in this project. These false innuendos and assertions not only fly in the face of established, fundamental and easily verifiable facts, but also hurt, insult and desecrate the experience of all survivors of the Nazi occupation of Poland, as well as those who lost their lives in fighting the occupant.
Specifically, we are in disagreement with the following line that appears in the Uprising web page (http://www.nbc.com/nbc/other_nbc_shows/uprising), and which is echoed in television trailers appearing on NBC stations nationwide:
"Against impossible odds, they hold off the German army
longer than the entire country of
These assertions are blatantly false in the following respects:
1. The Warsaw Ghetto uprising did not light the torch for resistance in the occupied territories as Poland's resistance movement had already been operating in an organized manner, including both Christian and Jewish Poles, since its inception on September 27, 1939, just days after Poland was invaded.
2. Polish forces (including Christian and Jewish Poles) fought throughout WWII on all fronts
(Eastern, African, Italian,
3. Historical facts
indicate that the Warsaw Ghetto uprising began on April 19, 1943, and ended on
May 16, 1943, lasting a total of 28 days.
The defense of
These facts can be verified in any history of World War II
The government of
The Polish Resistance movement was one of the
largest and most elaborate resistance movements of its kind in
Most disturbing are the implications of these inaccuracies:
1. The promotional
material suggests that the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and the invasion of
2. Furthermore, one of the TV trailers states that the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto did what their country could not--hold back the Germans. This, too, is dangerously misleading as neither the Polish nation (Christians and Jews together) could ultimately resist the Germans and Soviets in September of 1939, nor could the Polish-Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto resist the Germans in 1943.
Manipulation of the history of anti-Nazi resistance in
It is shocking to us that in sharing a chapter of this ugly story, in all the research and preparation preceding its production, these very simple facts could have been overlooked or ignored. We respect and honor the heroism against insurmountable odds displayed by the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and applaud it as a testimonial not only to the strength of the human spirit, but also to the resolute will to resist demonstrated by the overwhelming majority of all Poles, Jews and Gentiles alike, throughout World War II.
Telling the story of the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 does not demand that facts be distorted, nor does it call for ignorance of historical truth in order to elevate this determined, desperate battle by a handful of fighters to the heights of heroism and honorable death.
Misrepresenting the facts, however, may discourage and repel a considerable number of viewers not only from watching the mini-series, but also from deepening their knowledge of Holocaust history.
To those who consider our petition a matter of insignificant details, we ask why, then, would anyone bother creating and presenting such historical programs in the first place, if not to set the record straight? As for the amount of time spent on research prior to production, this mini-series could have been researched for one hundred years, but the assertions made in the promotional materials would still be incorrect.
We urgently request that you do the right thing and make the morally correct decision by putting an end to the dissemination of inaccurate historical information by removing the phrases in question from all promotional materials and efforts concerning Uprising.
What was the Polish Home Army?
The Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa or
AK, in Polish) takes its name from the Polish word, kraj, which can loosely be
translated to mean homeland. These forces fought the enemy in
The beginnings of the Home Army
can be found in the first days of the German occupation (1939). On the eve of
Founded by generals and officers
The Home Army led a remarkable campaign of resistance against the German occupant. It was one of the most extensive and resolute resistance movements in World War II Europe and numbered over 350,000 members.
The Army reached the pinnacle of its activity in late 1943 and 1944. During this time, large units of the Home Army engaged in open warfare with German forces in Poland’s eastern territories and then in the Warsaw Uprising.
Who were the soldiers of the Polish Home Army?
The Polish Home Army was primarily
made up of young men and women, and eventually children, born during the
21-year “interwar” period (1918-1939). After
almost 125 years of absence from the map of Europe,
The young people of those times
were a product of
When the war erupted in 1939, many of these young people were still in high school, while others were in the military, or were workers and professionals of various kinds. They were the leaders, the flower of Polish society, and their poems, songs and art, produced amidst the destruction and hardship of the occupation and Uprising, attest to their passion, intelligence, creativity, talents, and zest for life and liberty.
Today, although many are no longer
with us, their accomplishments after the war, after what they had witnessed and
been a part of, are also a testament to their strength of spirit and
person. While many soldiers of the Home
Army remained in
These individuals created new
lives for themselves in Western Europe and in
None, however, turned their backs
on their homeland. As long as
Important Events of World War II in
August 23, 1939
secret clause on the partition of
September 1, 1939
September 8-27, 1939 Siege of
September 17, 1939 Soviet Union invades
September 28, 1939 The city of
Government-in-Exile is formed in
1939 Last battle of
September Campaign by Nazi Germany against
April 1940 Polish
Government-in-Exile moves from
February 1942 Polish Resistance
movement is consolidated and reorganized into Armia Krajowa (Home Army), under the command
of the Polish Government-in-Exile in
1942 Council of Assistance
to Jews (Zegota)
April 12, 1943 Discovery of mass graves of 4,200 Polish officers in Katyn forest in Soviet Union; ultimately mass graves of 20,000 Polish officers were discovered in the U.S.S.R., captured as POWs and murdered by the Soviets in the first months after their invasion of Poland's eastern territories
April 19, 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising begins; heroic effort by Polish Jews to die with honor on their own terms
May 16, 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ends
July 22, 1944 Polish Committee of
National Liberation (PCNL) created in
August 1, 1944 Warsaw Uprising erupts
at 5 p.m.; attempt at proclaiming independent
October 2, 1944 Warsaw Uprising ends
February 1945 Yalta Agreement signed
by Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin, establishing Soviet domination in eastern
March 27, 1945 General Leopold Okulicki, last commander of the Home Army, arrested by
Soviet organs in
May 1945 Fall of
Timeline of Selected Resistance Activities in
September 27, 1939 - “Service for
· March 1940 – Directives for the sabotage and diversionary actions sent to Regional Commanders. Included were sabotage of railroad transportation, gasoline and diesel depots, factories for the production of arms, storage depots of arms and of food.
June 1941 –
Summer 1941- a large unit, code name “The Fan” (Wachlarz), specializing in sabotage and diversionary
activities deployed in Eastern Poland/
· The unit was commanded initially by Lt.Col. Jan Wlodarkiewicz,”Jan”, and later by Lt.Col. Remigiusz Grocholski, “Doctor”.
· During 1941-43, over 60 actions of sabotage carried out against the German supply routes and telecommunications. Among them were the following:
April 1942 – Telephone lines were brought down
over a mile along the road from
· May 1942 – German railroad transport of war materials was blown up and rails cut or destroyed many times,
· July 1942 – German transport on Wermacht troops blown up; Germans engaged in a battle near Kopcewicze.
· October 7-8, 1942 – Action”Wreath”, several railroad lines around Warsaw were blown up or otherwise destroyed, causing many hours of breakdown in transportation.
· September 1942, Command for sabotage and diversion, code name “KEDYW,” was formed to plan and direct increased sabotage, actions carried out by partisans and production of a variety of arms. Increased actions against the Gestapo and informers were also planned.
· Late 1942, Germans start the “pacification” of the Zamosc region. In response, several partisan units are formed in the region beginning early 1943 to defend the population, and to carry out sabotage, diversionary actions and liquidation of Gestapo officials and informers. Nine units were formed by mid 1943.
Jan 18, 1943, in
freed several prisoners, among them three members of “The Fan” unit.
March 26, 1943,
April 1943, Lwow in
· May 1943, Celestynow, a unit of the Scouting Organization frees a large group of Polish prisoners from a German railroad transport.
· August 1943, Jaslo, 60 prisoners freed.
· May 6, 1943 – Otto Schulz, Gestapo leader known for exceptional sadism, was liquidated.
Dec. 13, 1943 – Emil Braun, one of the
organizers of mass deportations from
Feb. 1, 1944 – Chief of the SS and German Police
· Dec.1943 – Pitschman, Chief of Gestapo in Kobryn was liquidated.
· In the period from 1941 to 1945, some 5,000 actions against the German apparatus of terror were carried out.
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