Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Polish airmen offer poignant reminder of why we need to be more welcoming

immigration war politics xenophobia hate racism refugees

I recently had the opportunity to attend a special event in Cambridge commemorating five Canadians who died during the Warsaw Uprising in the Second World War. The people of Poland had endured the horrors of Nazi occupation longer than anyone else. Polish Jews perished in the Holocaust, and other Poles were forced into slave labour.

On Aug. 1, 1944, with the Soviet Red Army practically in the suburbs of Warsaw, the city's inhabitants rose up against their Nazi oppressors.

Soviet dictator Josef Stalin betrayed the Poles by holding his army back. It was to his advantage to have the German army distracted by the insurgents, but it was also to his advantage to let the Germans crush the uprising and kill Polish leaders and nationalists who might be problematic to his own plans for Poland once Nazi Germany had been defeated.

The Western Allies organized an airdrop of arms and medical supplies to the Polish fighters in one of the first-ever operations of that kind. On Aug. 5, a Halifax bomber loaded with supplies was shot down by a German fighter plane. None of the crew survived. Among the dead were five Canadians:

Harold Brown, George Chapman, Arthur Liddell, Charles Wylie and Arnold Blynn. They ranged in age from 20 to 31 and were from across Canada. Today Poland honours them as heroes.  (more...)

No comments:

Post a Comment