1.09.1939

On 1st September, 1939, German troops crossed the Polish border. In „Nasz Przegląd” [Our Review], the leading journal of the Jewish minority in Poland, the following statement was released:

The Zionist Organization and the Jewish people take the Polish side, ready to fight for their dignity and independence. This statement should be an example for the world Jewry. The position of the Jews all over the world is on the Polish side.

The second day of the war brought new proclamations of the leaders of Związek Rabinów Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej [The Union of the Rabbis of Rzeczpospolita]:

Blessed be the name of the Eternal.

Brothers in Israel, Citizens of Serene Rzeczpospolita!

In an evil, despicable way, the eternal enemy has attacked our dearly, beloved Fatherland: Poland. Literally bereft of reverence, faith, and all other human feelings, he brings murder, robbery and conflagration.

We Jews, the children of this land since time immemorial, we are all standing in disciplined line, serried and composed to the call of the President of Rzeczpospolita and Commander in Chief to defend our beloved Fatherland, each of us on a post designated by him, and we will give, when such need arises, on the altar of the Fatherland, our lives and our property.

It is our noblest civil and religious duty, according to the precepts of our Holy Faith, which with the greatest joy we will fulfil — So help us and Poland God.

We send up imploring prayers to the Creator for the victory of the Polish army and we shall be confident that he hears us, Amen.

Next to the rabbis’ appeal in „Our Review” there were words written by Związek Żydów Uczestników Walk o Niepodległość Polski [the Society of Jews-Fighters for Poland’s Independence] which united the former members of Legiony Piłsudskiego [the Piłsudski Legions] and Polska Organizacja Wojskowa [Polish Military Organisation]:

Polish Jews! At this moment of history, you ought to understand that we are fighting for our holy cause, our Fatherland, Honour, for our bright future, for the freedom of all peoples and the Rebirth of Humanity. [...] Having in mind dear to us examples of heroes: Colonel Berek Joselewicz, Henryk Wohl, Rabbi Majzels, members of the Legions: Mansperio and Sternchuss and their many other comrades, Corporal Storch, who all with their own blood demonstrated their love for Polish Soil — we all pledge to carry on the struggle until victory.

During the September Campaign, in the ranks of the Polish Army fought against the German invader more than 120,000 Jews. 32 216 of them were killed and 61,000 were captured.

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