Propaganda films and books, manipulated TV series. For half a century, the communist authorities in Poland did everything they could to instill in the Poles the unquestionable gratitude toward the Soviets for freeing them from the German occupation. Millions still see the Red Army as liberators. But what was the reality?
1. They rescued in the morning and raped at night
When Bożena Kozłowska from Anin, near Warsaw, saw the first Russian soldier arrive, her eyes filled with tears. She could hardly believe it was the end of the German occupation, and that freedom and security would soon return. Joy quickly turned into consternation. The soldier urgently asked for vodka. As she recalled: Germans have always asked for water .
Later that day, the same soldier visited her again, but this time he was very drunk and arrived with a companion. They then attempted to rape Bożena and her sister. Women like Bożena were only saved thanks to the intervention of several soldiers of the Polish People’s Army. Alerted by the shouts of the two sisters, they ruthlessly dragged the would-be rapists from the house. This was, however, only an exception to the rule. Most of the time, the victims were defenseless, and multiple soldiers assisted each other in these crimes. A case from Pińczów is typical:
8. They dismantled and removed over a thousand industrial plants from Poland
9. They disarmed and arrested Polish Home Army soldiers who had earlier allied with the Russians to take back Polish cities from German hands
It happened, among others, with branches of the Home Army in Vilnius and Lviv. On July 25, 1945, in a village of Skarobowo, the Soviet units surrounded soldiers of the 27th Volhynian Division of the Home Army. Poles were lured there to allegedly inspect their troops before their joint march to Warsaw. The same fate met the soldiers of the 3rd, 8th, 9th and 26th Infantry Divisions of the Home Army, with a total of 6,000 people. The Soviets disarmed and arrested Polish Home Army soldiers, who had earlier allied with the Russians to take back Polish cities from German hands.