Russian accusations

After Russia’s president Vladimir Putin said that it was Poland that contributed to the outbreak of World War II, new accusations appeared from Russia. The Russian ambassador in Bern, Sergei Garmonin, blamed Poland for concluding a secret protocol with Germany in the German–Polish Non-aggression Pact of 1934. According to the protocol Poland was obliged to support Nazism. In turn, Moscow revealed documents alleging that during the 1944 uprising Warsaw insurgents murdered Jews and Ukrainians.

Garmonin’s letter was in response to an article in the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger about the Polish–Russian dispute caused by the speeches of Vladimir Putin. The Russian diplomat protested against the condemnation of the Molotov–Ribbentropp Pact, which in his opinion was a necessity.

Ambassador Sergei Garmonin

Jakub Kumoch, the Polish ambassador in Switzerland, replied to Garmonin: “I am surprised by the lack of respect for the Swiss reader. The Russian ambassador writes that Poland concluded a non-aggression pact with Germany in 1934 and that it contained a secret protocol, supporting Hitler. Mr Ambassador, please disclose this unknown document. You will have made a great discovery!”.

Ambassador Jakub Kumoch

The Polish–German declaration on non-violence signed in 1934 is generally known. It stated, among other things, that the parties “would not (…) resort to violence to settle (…) contentious matters”. Nothing is known about any secret protocol attached to it. However, we have known for a long time about the secret protocol to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, signed on August 23, 1939. According to the memoirs of the American diplomat Charles Bohlen and the disclosed diplomatic correspondence of the US embassy with Secretary of State Cordell Hull, the content of the treaty was already known to the US government on August 25, 1939, thanks to its transfer to Bohlen by the German officer and diplomat Hans von Herwath.

Claims of the alleged murder of Jews and Ukrainians in Warsaw by Home Army soldiers (AK, the official name of the underground Polish Army) comes from an interview with an intelligence officer on October 4, 1944. The officer, who went by the pseudonym of “Captain Oleg”, was from the staff of the First Belorussian Front; his real name was Lieutenant Ivan Kolos. Kolos’s report, which is very critical of the Home Army and the commanders of the uprising, claims that AK soldiers murdered Ukrainians and Jews in Warsaw, as well as allegedly taking Soviet prisoners of war as hostages. However, as is generally known, in August and September 1944 there were no Jews in Warsaw (almost all had been killed or deported), nor were there any Ukrainian civilians or Soviet prisoners of war.

General Antoni Chruściel (in the middle) during Warsaw Uprise

Lieutenant Kolos was dropped by parachute on the night of September 20–21, 1944. He was met by soldiers of the Polish Communist underground, the so-called People’s Army (AL), but he sought contact with the Home Army, i.e. the AK. He managed to meet with the commander of the insurgent forces, General Antoni Chruściel, known as “Monter”. Then he made his way to the eastern bank of the Vistula, occupied by the Soviets.

P.K.

 

Photos: pubic domain

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