Reviewed by Jan Peczkis
The Testimony of General Wladyslaw Anders: From Soviet Concentration Camps to Leading the Second Polish Corps
This is a one-of-a-kind book that covers so many events. I focus on a few of them.
JUDEO-BOLSHEVISM IN ACTION
Referring to the 1939 Nazi-Soviet conquest and partition of Poland, and the ensuing Jewish-Soviet collaboration, Anders wrote, “At this time a number of Polish Jews, especially the young ones, who had made no secret of their joy at the entry of Soviet troops, began to cooperate with the N.K.V.D. (NKVD). A militia was formed from the riff-raff of the town, who sought to curry favor with their new masters by denouncing all persons not friendly to the Soviet regime.” (p. 19).
Actions have consequences, and Anders comments, “Some Polish Jews had enthusiastically welcomed the Soviet troops when they invaded Poland in 1939 and this created a feeling against them among the other troops which it was difficult to overcome.” (p. 77).
Clearly, any problems of the Jews with Anders Army were of the Jews’ own making, even though many Jews try to turn it around and blame everything on the Poles.
OVERT JEWISH SEPARATISM CONTINUES AMONG FORMER CITIZENS OF POLAND
General Anders then discusses how the Polish Jews in the USSR wanted the special right of forming a separate army, “On the other hand, some Jewish politicians wanted the Jewish problem to be dealt with independently of the general Polish cause. In this connection, I was approached by Alter and Ehrlich, two outstanding representatives of the Jewish community in Poland, but, after many conversations, I convinced them that it was not possible to agree as to their plan, as, if I did, I should also have to organize separate White Ruthenian and Ukrainian units.” (p. 77).
Although Jews became part of the Polish Army, the separatism did not end. In this book, Anders does not discuss the mass desertion of Jews, from the Polish Army, while it was in Palestine.
THE COMMUNISTS PLAY OFF THE JEWS AGAINST THE POLES
The author elaborates on the Soviet ploy of retaining Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Jews as “Soviet citizens”, and the difficulty that Anders had in getting any Jews to be allowed to leave the Soviet Union, “Soviet perfidy in the case of the Jews was quite plain…On August 3, I had a conference with Jewish representatives and informed them of the Soviet Government’s decision that only those Jewish families could be evacuated that had members in active service in the Polish army. Even that concession was made only after I had personally intervened. No other Polish citizens of Jewish origin were allowed to leave. I stress these facts as the Bolsheviks, and also some Jewish circles, afterwards tried to present the whole affair as a proof of Polish anti-Semitic feelings. I still have in my possession many letters from Rabbis and eminent Jews, and from simple Polish citizens of Jewish extraction, thanking me for saving their lives by evacuating them from Soviet Russia. About 4000 Jews left Russia with the Polish army.” (pp. 112-113).
For more on the Jewish accusations of (what else?) anti-Semitism in Anders’ Army, see:
THE NUMBER OF 1939-1941 POLISH DEPORTEES
After the “amnesty”, General Anders inquired as to the number of deportees. He writes, “Eventually, I was directed to Fiedotov, an NKVD general who was in charge of this matter, and I had a few conversations with him. He told me in a most confidential manner that the number of Poles deported to Russia amounted to 475,000.” (p. 69).
This, Anders noted, did not include Polish soldiers taken prisoner in 1939. Nor did it include racial minority deportees of prewar Poland. (p. 69). Anders add that, “After many months of research and enquiries among our people, who were pouring from thousands of prisons and concentration camps spread all over Russia, we were able to put the number at 1,500,000 to 1,600,000 people. Statistics obtained afterwards from Poland confirmed these figures. But unfortunately it was clear that most of these poor people were no longer alive. God only knows how many of them were murdered, and how many died under the terrible conditions of the prisons and forced labor camps.” (p. 69).
SOME GULAGS LIKE NAZI GERMAN DEATH CAMPS
Some gulags approached, or even reached, 100% mortality. For instance, out of over 10,000 Poles sent to Kolyma, only 583 reportedly survived. (p. 72). No Poles are known to have survived the forced labor at the lead mines of Tchukotka. (p. 73).
POLES RIGHTLY CREDITED WITH TAKING MONTE CASSINO
Anders describes the battle that he led, and comments, “General Sir Oliver Lease, Commander of the Eighth Army, was the first to express his appreciation. When leaving me, he noticed a great number of foreign correspondents and said to them: ‘I am glad to see you hear today. I want to tell you that the capture of Monte Cassino was entirely an achievement of the Poles.’” (p. 182).
In like manner, Field Marshall Alexander of Tunis, in the Foreword to this book, lauded the Polish Second Corps, “After the arrival of the Second Polish Corps in Italy, the General and his troops served under my command, where they were one of the outstanding formations in the British Eighth Army…They [the Poles] fought many a victorious battle alongside their Allies, but their greatest was at Monte Cassino. Only the finest troops could have taken that well-prepared and long-defended fortress.” (p. v).
THE SOVIET BETRAYAL OF THE WARSAW UPRISING
General Anders who, being a general, certainly knew what he was talking about, said, “Soviet Russia had intended to take Warsaw at the beginning of August 1944, and certainly could have done so, for the Red Army had three times the number of big formations at the front as the Germans.” (p. 224).
THE BRITISH GIVEAWAY OF THE KRESY
Anders quotes the February 22, 1944 speech, by Winston Churchill to the House of Commons. In it, Churchill said that Britain never guaranteed any particular Polish boundary, and stood by the 1919 British position on the Curzon Line. Anders notes the irony of a long-defunct armistice line suddenly coming to life as a new Soviet-Polish border, and the further irony of Polish boundaries never being a British issue in 1939 or 1940, notably during the Battle of Britain. (pp. 158-159).
THE BETRAYAL OF POLAND FLOUTED BASIC INTERNATIONAL LAW
The implications of the sellout of Poland at Teheran (1943) and Yalta (1945) are graphically described by Anders, “…Polish constitutional was to be violated and the lawful Government, which had cooperated with the Allies throughout the war, was to be thrust aside to make for one organized by Moscow. These decisions made a mockery of the Atlantic Charter, so cynically referred to in the Yalta declaration, which said that Britain and the United States ‘desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the people concerned’, and ‘respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of Government under which they will live…’” (p. 250).
THE BRITISH ADD INSULT TO INJURY
Wladyslaw Anders wrote, “On June 8, 1946, the Victory Parade was held in London. The Polish forces, who had been the first to fight the Germans, and who even in the worst days had never deserted their allies, were not invited to take part. That would not have been politically expedient.” (p. 299).
MISCELLANEOUS INTERESTING FACTS
General Anders contends that, had the Poles disobeyed the Allied orders not to mobilize “so as not to provoke Hitler”, the 1939 Polish Army could have held out for several more weeks. (p. 2).
The author stops short of questioning the “accident” narrative regarding the untimely death of Wladyslaw Sikorski. However, Anders realizes the high capabilities of Sikorski in resisting Soviet designs on Poland. (p. 148, 196).
For a time, Anders’ headquarters was at Yangi-Yul, near Tashkent. It means New Road. (p. 94).
General Anders favored an Allied invasion, of Nazi-held Europe, through the Balkans. (p. 153). This could have prevented the Red Army from being the one that “liberated” Poland.
The original review and more reviews by Jan Peczkis can be found here: