Soviet partisans in Poland

Soviet partisans in Poland

::"This sub-article is about the activity of Soviet partisans during World War II in the former territories of the Second Polish Republic -- the area that the Soviet Union in most part captured and annexed in 1939."

Poland was annexed and partitioned by Germany and the Soviet Union in the aftermath of the Invasion of Poland of 1939. In the pre-war Polish territories annexed by the Soviets (Western Ukraine, Western Belarus, Lithuania and Białystok regions, known to Poles as "Kresy") the first Soviet partisan groups were formed in 1941, soon after Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Those groups fought against the Germans, but also conflicts with Polish partisans were common.

Early war

Initially the Soviet partisan groups were formed primarily in the areas of Nowogródek (modern Navahrudak), Lida and Wilno (modern Vilnius) from Red Army solders who evaded capture by the advancing German forces. Lacking support from the local population, the Soviet partisan groups retreated to various large forest complexes in the area, where they hid from the German rear and anti-partisan icon cite book | author =Zygmunt Boradyn | coauthors = | title =Niemen rzeka niezgody. Polsko-sowiecka wojna partyzancka na Nowogródczyźnie 1943-1944 | year =1999 | editor = | pages =336 | chapter = | chapterurl = | publisher =Rytm | location =Warsaw | id =ISBN 83-87893-08-0 | url = | format = | accessdate = ] [ Review of "Sowjetische Partisanen in Weißrußland"] by Bogdan Musial, by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, in Sarmatian Review, April 2006] Until early 1943, the Soviet partisans focused primarily on survival deep behind enemy lines, with their activity limited mostly to sabotage and diversion rather than armed struggle against German forces and collaborationist police units.

During this early period various Soviet partisan groups also collaborated with the local Polish resistance of ZWZ, later renamed the AK. The Polish underground was established in the area in the fall 1939. It was both anti-Nazi and anti-Soviet; the latter attitude stemmed from memories of Soviet terror between 1939 and 1941, and was reinforced by the conduct of Soviet partisans. Stalin's aim was to ensure that an independent Poland would never re-emerge in the postwar period.Judith Olsak-Glass, [ Review of Piotrowski's "Poland's Holocaust"] in Sarmatian Review, January 1999.]

Late war

As the eastern front approached the area, and diplomatic relations between the Polish government in exile and the Soviet Union were broken off in the aftermath of the discovery of the Katyn Massacre, most of the collaboration between Polish and Soviet partisans came to an end. In addition, as ordered by Moscow on June 22 1943, Tadeusz Piotrowski, "Poland's Holocaust", McFarland & Company, 1997, ISBN 0-7864-0371-3, [ Google Print, p.98-99] ] Soviet partisans began an open conflict against both the German forces and local Polish icon cite book | author = Michał Patyna | coauthors = Zbigniew Cierpiński | editor = Tomasz Szyszlak | others = Zdzisław J. Winnicki
title = Zeszyty Naukowe Koła Wschodnioeuropejskiego Stosunków Międzynarodowych | url = | format = pdf | year = 2004 | month = April | publisher = Wrocław University | location = Wrocław | id = ISSN 1730-654X | pages = 7-17 | chapter = Raport z badań przeprowadzonych podczas obozu naukowego KWSM na Białorusi i Litwie w lipcu 2003 r.
] Frequent requisitions of food in local villages and brutal reprisal actions against villages considered disloyal to the Soviet Union sparked the creation of numerous self-defence units, often joining the ranks of the Armia Krajowa. Similar assaults on the Polish resistance organizations also took place in the icon cite web | author=Ryszard Zieliński | title=W sierpniu 1943 r. partyzantka dokonała dywersji na torach kolejowych między Ostrogiem a Sławutą | publisher=Towarzystwo Kultury Polskiej na Donbasie | year= | work=Na Wołyniu i Podolu, Polacy Donbasu | url= | accessdate=2006-05-01 ] Communist propaganda routinely referred to the Polish underground army as "bands of White Poles." According to another propaganda directive, the Polish underground was to be referred to as "the protégés of the Gestapo." On 23 June 1943, the Soviet partisan leadership authorized the denouncing of the Polish underground to the Nazis. Later, orders went out to “shoot the [Polish] leaders” and “discredit, disarm, and dissolve” their units. Feigning friendship, the Soviets lured at least two sizable Polish guerrilla detachments to their destruction (a common strategy involved inviting the Polish commanders to negotiations, arresting or murdering them and attacking the Polish partisans by surprise).

In late 1943, the actions of Soviet partisans, who were ordered to liquidate the AK forces resulted in very limited and uneasy cooperation between some units of the AK and the Germans.Tadeusz Piotrowski, "Poland's Holocaust", McFarland & Company, 1997, ISBN 0-7864-0371-3. [ Google Print, p.88] , [ p.89] , [ p.90] ] While the AK treated the Germans as the enemy and continued to conduct operations against them, when the Germans offered the AK some arms and provisions to be used against the Soviet partisans, some Polish units in the Nowogródek and Wilno areas decided to accept them. However any such arrangements were purely tactical and did not constitute evidence of the type of ideological collaboration as was shown by the Vichy regime in France, Quisling regime in Norway or closer to the region, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. The Poles' main motivation was to gain intelligence on German morale and preparedness, and to acquire some badly needed weapons.Review by John Radzilowski of Yaffa Eliach's "Big Book of Holocaust Revisionism", Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 1, no. 2 (June 1999), City University of New York.] There are no known joint Polish-German military actions, and the Germans were unsuccessful in their attempts to turn the Poles toward fighting exclusively against Soviet partisans. Such cooperation of local Polish commanders with the Germans was condemned by AK High Command and the Polish Supreme Commander in London, who on January 17, 1944 ordered it to be discontinued and the guilty parties disciplined.

The armed struggle continued until the arrival of the Red Army in 1944 and well after. Subsequently, over the period of the next few years, the Soviets and Polish communists would work to successfully eradicate the remains of the anti-Soviet Polish underground, known as the "cursed soldiers".Andrzej Kaczyński, Rzeczpospolita, 02.10.04 Nr 232, " [ Wielkie polowanie: Prześladowania akowców w Polsce Ludowej] " (Great hunt: the persecutions of AK soldiers in the People's Republic of Poland), last accessed on 7 June 2006 pl icon.]

Relations with the civilian population

The Soviet partisans were despised by local populations, as they engaged in plunder and terrorised the icon "Forms of constraint applied by the Soviet authorities in relation to the people of Wilejka region". Professor Franciszek Sielicki. Wrocławskie Studia Wschodnie, Wrocław, 1997 "Villagers couldn't stand Soviet partisans because they conducted shameful robberies. They stole whatever they could, even children's toys. One doesn't even have to mention that they stole horses, cows, pigs, underwear, etc. There were many cases, when faced with resistance, they hanged poor peasants by their legs, upside down, to force them into giving something. Behind Willa, in forests and swamps, they formed new units constantly - otriads, which oppressed our villages"] Bogdan Musial also suggests that the Soviet partisans preferred to assault the poorly armed and trained Belarussian and Polish self-defense units rather than German military and police targets (military transports, other hard targets).

By the end of 1943, the Soviets could claim a significant victory in their war aganst the Poles: most large landed estates owned by the Poles had been destroyed by the Soviet partisans.

ee also

*Armia Ludowa
*Bielski partisans
*Koniuchy massacre
*Naliboki massacre


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