Behaviour of the Red Army and Soviet Authorities in Polish Territory
Bronislaw Skalak: London: 1945
A Chronological Survey covering the period from March 1st 1944 to February 28th 1945. (author's sub-title)
72 pages, foolscap (13 x 8 inches, 33 x 20 cms). Duplicated typescript, printed both sides.
A duplicated typescript document in English, apparently unpublished elsewhere, by Bronislaw Skalak, 1892-1949, prominent Polish journalist, socialist activist, member in London from 1943 onwards of the Polish Government in Exile and onetime acting chairman of that organisation.
The document has an early ms note in ink in a Polish hand, perhaps Skalak himself, on the first page "From Mr Bronislaw Skalak" with a later ms note in pencil "Acting Chairman Polish National Council".
The reason for its publication in English is unknown beyond it being certainly a protest document intended to gain support for Polish opposition to the outcome of the February 1945 Yalta Conference which effectively ceded Poland to Russian control.
The document's circulation, if indeed it was circulated, may well have been very restricted - I have been unable to locate another example recorded in 10,000 libraries worldwide.
The work, reporting on and outlining indignities and atrocities visited by the Russians on various elements of the Polish military and civilian population, comprises 5 'Parts' or 'Chapters', in brief:
1. The efforts of the home army [the Polish Resistance forces] to facilitate the Soviet offensive on the eastern front.
2. The Soviet reply to Polish military operations aimed at the common foe [the Germans] - home army commanders arrested on the battlefield and deported.
3. The rounding up of the Polish population by the Soviet army.
4. The attitude by the NKWD [sic, NKVD] towards the Polish population.
5. A synthesis of the Soviet attitude with regard to the Warsaw uprising.
The Yalta Conference
The Yalta Conference held in early February 1945 was the World War II meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union to discuss Germany and Europe's postwar reorganization.
The future status of Poland was high on the agenda for Stalin; suffice here to say that the western leaders had more pressing immediate military concerns elsewhere in Europe and the Pacific to resolve than risk antagonising Russia.
In common with most with Polish interests at heart, Skalak was vehemently opposed to agreements reached at Yalta over Poland whereby Russia gained control over Poland's future.
Skalak's 1945 protestations were, of course, to prove in vain. However, this document stands as important contemporary testimony to Poland's sufferings in the final year of the war.