Tuesday, August 30, 2016
ADSS 1.204 Cortesi to Maglione: Last Stand of the Polish Army
ADSS 1.204 Filippo Cortesi, Poland, to Luigi Maglione, Sec State
Reference: Telegram 44 (AES 6660/39)
Location and date: Zalesczyky (1), 17.09.1939
Summary statement: Last stand of the Polish army. Chaplain General badly wounded. Cardinal Hlond is going to Rome.
Suddenly yesterday Government transferred quarters (?) followed by entire diplomatic corps in last stage painful route always threatened by air raids.
I doubt if it stops here or … I think Lublin taken (2) army continues strenuous defence of Warsaw, Leopolos [Lvov] of the Ruthenians (3), Luceoria [Łuck], repulse the repeated attacks with (?) very inferior material without visible hope of obtaining supplies. (4)
Chaplain General badly wounded (5), Cardinal Archbishop decided depart for Rome. (6)
(1) Zalesczyky or Zaleshiki, on the Romanian border. The Red Army invaded Poland from the west the same day. The Polish government made the decision to flee to Romania. From there they made their way eventually to Paris and formed the Polish Government-in-exile by the end of the month. This document is the last message of the Nuncio from Poland. He arrived in Bucharest on 22.09.1939 and from there made his way to Rome. The functions of the Nuncio to Poland were taken over by Cesare Orsenigo in Germany.
(2) Lublin fell to the Germans on 18.09.1939.
(3) On 12.09.1939 the Germans reached Lvov but encountered fierce resistance from the Polish defenders forcing a withdrawal. The Red Army invaded Poland on 17.09.1939 and reached Lvov on 19.09.1939 linking up with the Germans. On Hitler’s orders the Germans were to leave the city to the Soviets. The Polish forces regarded the situation as hopeless and surrendered to the Red Army on 22.09.1939. 217,000 Polish troops went into captivity. The NKVD began arresting officers and removed them to separate camps. Many were to be murdered at Katyn in 04-05.1940.
(4) Łuck was captured by the Red Army within days of the invasion.
(5) Jozef Gawlina (1892-1964), Polish Ordinary for the Military 1933-47.
(6) August Hlond (1881-1948), Cardinal Primate, Archbishop of Poznan 1926-46. Hlond received a frosty reception from Pius XII upon his arrival in Rome. Most Polish bishops stayed in their diocese and suffered with their people.