Occupied Poland

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

Amazing color photo set from 1939-1940. More here.


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41 Responses to “Occupied Poland”

  1. #1 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Pretty amazing how much misery people can visit upon those they don’t like. Luckily, we live in a country where cultural tolerance rules, criminal laws are designed strictly to punish people for injuring other people, and government is our friend.

  2. #2 |  AlgerHiss | 

    A good time to visit a site that recalls the most deadly, murderous ideology ever known to humankind:


  3. #3 |  divadab | 

    Amazing photos – thanks, Radley. I think the definition of heroism is the Polish cavalry, charging Panzer tanks, braving certain death, and knowing it.

    BTW, Dave Krueger, unless you are being sarcastic, your assertions that “we live in a country where…criminal laws are designed strictly to punish people for injuring other people, and government is our friend” made me laugh coffee out my nose. You ignore the 800,000 plus people who are arrested every year for merely possessing a plant that almost all the Founders grew. Cannabis, you know, the demon weed? How does possessing this plant, in my own home, for my own use, harm anyone else? How is it a crime other than by a government that is NOT my friend, but rather the servant of monopoly capital and its various cartels?

    Prohibition is the crime and prohibitionists are the criminals. We suffer, therefore, under a criminal government that would throw most of its founders in jail. Not only that, invade their houses with paramilitary troops, shoot their dogs, humiliate them and their wives in front of their terrorised families, confiscate their property, deprive them of their freedom, and kidnap their children and place them with paid strangers.

    Give your head a shake, Dave Krueger.

  4. #4 |  Anthony | 

    divadab, I think might be new around here. Search the site for Dave Krueger and see what you find.

  5. #5 |  Bear | 

    #3 | divadab | October 21st, 2012 at 9:47 am: [clue FAIL]

    You don’t read the comments here very often, do you?

  6. #6 |  Burgers Allday | 

    off topic: new recording-the-police court case:


  7. #7 |  Marty | 

    beautiful photos. they left me feeling sad and horrified about the damages governments inflict on people. There are people living in refugee camps today. The pictures of ‘US occupied’ Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc don’t look much different than these.

    Governments suck.

    good rant, Dave!

  8. #8 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #5 | Burgers Allday

    off topic: new recording-the-police court case:


    If they tell you to stop recording and you argue with them about having the right to record them, could they then charge you with being disruptive?

  9. #9 |  Burgers Allday | 


    That is a good question, don’t have ready answer, but some notes / opinions on the actual case:

    a. The plaintiff’s alleged disruptiveness went beyond arguing with the police about recording (and notably into the area of encouraging her friend to disobey police);

    b. it appears that the plaintiff admitted, or at least failed to deny, the alleged disruptiveness attributed to her;

    c. the opinion says that plaintiff admitted that she was recording with a camera that she knew did not work; and

    d. both (b) and (c) strike me as strange, which leads me to believe that one or more of the following is true: (i) plaintiff has a screw loose, and/or (ii) the district court judge is playing fast and loose with the evidentiary record.

  10. #10 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    C’mon, the first clue should have been when Dave said “government is our friend”…on a libertarian website! Jesus H. Christ man, the world doesn’t need anymore humorless activists!

  11. #11 |  Marty | 

    #10 ‘…the world doesn’t need anymore humorless activists!’

    and the post of the day goes toooooooooooooooo Helmut O’ H!

  12. #12 |  JLS | 

    Marty “beautiful photos. they left me feeling sad and horrified about the damages governments inflict on people.”

    It makes me feel happy when somebody really gets it. Well said!

  13. #13 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    Well thank you. It just gets to me when people go into full rant mode before they read what people have to say AND check for hints of irony.

  14. #14 |  dave h | 

    Very sad, given that most of my mothers family in 1939 lived in Warsaw and very few were left in 1945. For all I know some of these people were related to me so for me this is sad and personal.

    This is an example of when people surrender their freedoms to a government that promises them everything under the sun….they elect totalitarian who cause nothing but war and misery

  15. #15 |  crzyb0b | 

    “I think the definition of heroism is the Polish cavalry, charging Panzer tanks, braving certain death, and knowing it.”

    Just so you know, you are repeating Nazi Propaganda. Polish cavalry never charged Panzer tanks. By the second WW the Polish Cavalry operated as mounted infantry (which had become the standard practice for everyone’s cavalry) and were used as a mobile reserve. They never charged tanks – although german photos purporting to show that are from a unit that was surprised by a panzer unit and retreated on horseback. Interestingly the Polish Cavalry won 17 of the 18 significant engagements (that did include one “traditional” cavalry charge!) they were involved in during the September campaign. Not surprisingly they proved to be the most effective units in the Polish army in the new style of warfare because mobility was the key.

    What is called the “last cavalry battle” and one of the largest cavalry battles of all time occurred at Komarów in 1920, during the Polish-Soviet war (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Komar%C3%B3w.) Komarow marked the end of the era of mounted Steppe warfare that dates back to Attila’s battles with the Roman empire.

    It’s an interesting story.

  16. #16 |  crzyb0b | 

    Origins of the myth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charge_at_Krojanty

  17. #17 |  el coronado | 

    Sad pics from a disgraceful moment for all humanity.

    Still. One of the drawbacks of being a “Libertarian” & reading/commenting on sites such as this is this notion your “fellow Libertarians” all seem to share. To wit, *any* post/comment/pic depicting *any* horrific behavior from *any* country that’s not the USA & in some cases Great Britain…..well, those mean old value judgements about faraway places MUST BE immediately met with a statement to the effect of, “Oh yeah? Well, the USA sucks, TOO!!” (see as examples of this comment #1 – naturally – as well as the recent comment of a coupla days ago *defending* the nazis by helpfully pointing out that ‘the British Empire killed many millions of innocents, TOO!’)

    It’s frickin’ _Pavlovian_. Y’all realize that, right? I’d put big bucks that if Balko were to ever post something on Japan’s infamous/unknown Unit 731; or the Holodomor; or the Katyn forest Massacre; or the tens of millions starved & butchered in the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution; or the genocide of the Armenians by the Turks – it is possible to find on the web an old picture of a Turkish bureaucrat in a suit & tie taunting starving Armenian children by waving a lovely piece of bread just out of their reach – or, God Forbid!, **anything** pointing out the still-operating slave trade in Africa or the ongoing WW2-level butchery (5,500,000+ dead and counting over the last 15 or so years) going on in the Congo/Rwanda area right this very second……(and isn’t it interesting that basically “none” of the aforementioned atrocities are taught in American schools?)

    I’d put big bucks there would be a “USA sucks too!” or “Trail of Tears!” comment among the first five. Predictable as sunrise. Like dogs salivating when the bell rings. Do y’all ever wonder why you’re compelled to do that? Do you even know WHY you do it? I’ll be the first to admit America has a shitload of problems, all of which are getting worse. That America has a shitload of disgraceful skeletons in our historical closet. That America has Done Bad Things all over the world. But Jesus, people! Is there NOthing you can stand about this country? Nothing even remotely good about it? Is *every other* country in the world superior to us? More honest? More moral? Srsly?

  18. #18 |  MikeV | 

    The thing I find amazing is how many of the people in those pictures are smiling, even though they’re living in horrible conditions and it must have be obvious to them that things were only going to get worse.

  19. #19 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Where to begin…

    The U.S. locks up and destroys the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year simply because of their lifestyle. It is currently bombing a half dozen countries, threatening full scale war on at least one other country, and routinely anticipates new targets for invasion or attack. And, since we’re on the topic of occupation, lets not forget that military occupation is fine when it’s us or one of our so-called “allies” (France, Britain, Israel, etc) is doing it. We are saddling our children with a crushing debt and we are leaving them a corrupt military-style police state which will probably be required to suppress the protests and riots after the inevitable economic collapse. We live under a one-party system which we disguise by dividing that party into two nearly identical halves. The U.S. government (with the enthusiastic support of the voters) has established an national system of indoctrination referred to as “public education”, shredded the Constitution, and inserted itself into every aspect of our lives regardless of how personal or intimate.

    The U.S. is a wonderful place simply because we aren’t shipping trainloads of people off to death camps and, luckily for us, we can take solace in the knowledge that what happened in Europe can never happen here (because we’re special) In any case, we shouldn’t worry about it until we actually find ourselves having to step over bodies in the streets or at least until it preempts Dancing with the Stars.

    Maybe we should all thank Hitler and Stalin for giving the rest of the world a reason to feel good about itself, because “at least we’re not as bad as they were”. Being thrown in prison for smoking pot or dying in a senseless war called “Operation Iraqi Freedom” (Iraqi Freedom for Christ’s sake!) is a lot better when you live in a place called “the land of the free”, right?

  20. #20 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Some of those people in the pics are most likely distant relatives of mine (of the Gdansk Durkins). Poland: stuck smack in between two of the most demented countries on the planet.

  21. #21 |  Jim | 

    Mr. Krueger I salute you.

  22. #22 |  crazybob | 

    “The U.S. is a wonderful place simply because we aren’t shipping trainloads of people off to death camps…”

    I know your trying to be ironic – but it fails here. Given most of human history your above statement is correct in its unironic sense.

    Are there problems, yes. Have more people lived together longer with less bloodshed and more prosperity than ever before in history? Yes.

    Hitler and Stalin were biggest mass murderers in history, only because the populations have grown. But they are comparable to countless despots – Alexander, Attila, Ghengis, Tamerlane, Leopold, Nicholas, Ataturk, on and on and on …, all the product of oligarchies (a place citizen’s united is speeding us to).

    As Mark Twain once said – democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.

  23. #23 |  crazybob | 

    BTW – the way the oligarchs gain power is by stripping away the right to participate by those who can’t be controlled by fear (hence the voter suppression fueled by voter fraud hysteria combined with the fear mongering of the super-pacs funded through citizens united loophole).

  24. #24 |  Dave Krueger | 

    carzybob, I wasn’t being ironic. I was being sarcastic. The idea that we’re a wonderful country because we don’t ship people off to death camps is setting the bar a bit low, don’t you think?

    Hitler and Stalin just happen to be the most commonly sited examples. To me, a head of state who only murders a 100,000 people (regardless of the world population) isn’t morally superior to one who murders ten million.

    I’ll spare you my definition of murder. Suffice it to say it goes beyond lining people up in front of a gas chamber.

  25. #25 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    Well done, Dave Krueger! I believe your main point was that ANY nation-state can be extremely dangerous, even if they don’t go to the extremes of Nazi’s, Stalinists, Maoists or the forces of Pinochet. I don’t find that point to be controversial at all.

  26. #26 |  divadab | 

    #4 Anthony, #5 Bear – thanks for pointing out Dave Krueger’s ironic presentation. I did preface on of my favorite rants with “unless you are being sarcastic” – which it appears he was. Nonetheless my rant stands on its own! I use it more on Faux News authoritarians and stand back for the head-exploding reaction. Sorry if I appeared dense and irony-challenged in the face of Mr. Krueger’s excellent parody of a Faux-News-style koolaid drinker.

    #14 Crzybob – thanks for the history lesson. It’s ironic how the Nazi propaganda about Polish cavalry charging tanks resonated with Poland’s allies – exactly the opposite of the dismissive effect the Nazi’s wanted! However, I stand by my opinion of the heroism of the POlish forces in the face of the Nazi invasion – they had 904,000 total casualties out of total military of 950,000 according to the article you linked to in Wikipedia, which is pretty dang heroic by any measure!

  27. #27 |  divadab | 

    #18 Dave Krueger – Well said, sir! It’s too bad your point of view is considered unspeakable in our controlled media and political arena. I mean, third-party presidential candidates arrested outside the presidential “debate” – pretty symbolic of the utter corruption and pointlessness of our teevee reality show simulacrum of democracy. Brought to you by our sponsors Goldman Sachs, General Dynamics, and Exxon, and their publicists at NBC, CBS, and CNN.

  28. #28 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    El Coronado– This is what you were saying on Oct. 18th. Remember when you were basically inferring that other commenters were pussies for not advocating violent insurrection against police? Remember when you basically claimed, against all relevant historical evidence, that Ghandi and MLK didn’t have it that bad because Southern cops/klansmen and British Imperialists weren’t “brusque” enough with dissenters:

    el coronado | October 18th, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    @#34 –

    “How well do you suppose Gandhi and MLK, Jr. would have done had they been going up against a people/nation that had no problem with more….brusque methods of dealing with troublemakers? Let’s ask some Tibetans how well they think a Gandhi-like passive resistance would work against their Red Chinese occupiers. Let’s ask some Burmese how long MLK, Jr. would have survived had he been protesting the military junta running *that* country.”

    “Or we could just ask the folks in the infamous recent photo how well passive resistance worked out for THEM. You know the one: where the kindly old-fuck cop is walking along, spraying pepper spray into their unresisting, nonviolent faces. Ya suppose THEY would classify their protest as “successful”? (especially in light of the fact that, IIRC, they all got arrested after being pepper-sprayed. Winning! Just like Teacher taught ‘em! Yay, Gandhi!!!)”

    But now you are criticizing Dave Krueger for making a sarcastic comment aimed at the “it can’t happen here crowd.” Hmm, one day you are a “street fighting man” and the next day you decide, “well it’s not so bad. Let’s not talk too much shit about the government.” So, how did you justify your not so subtle calls for violence on the 18th if you are undecided on this matter? If I was going to ridicule people for not advocating violence then I think I would be damn sure that we are past the point of no return. Let me leave you with two pieces of advice:
    1.) All nation-states are dangerous, no matter what flag they
    wave. Some are simply more inclined to use physical
    violence against their people. That is just the way it is.

    2.) Real world violence (not movie violence or video game
    violence) is nasty and should be avoided unless
    absolutely necessary. I tell you this from experience.
    Don’t go around thumping your chest and calling for
    action based on a whim. Use violence only to save yourself
    or others from great bodily harm or death.

  29. #29 |  Marty | 

    #16 | el coronado- you seem like a pretty sharp guy, but you’re missing the point of the criticisms of the people you’re aggravated with- they don’t hate their country, they hate the behavior of their govt. They’re pointing out that abusive govts are everywhere.

    and I agree with them. and I wish I could pound out sarcasm like Dave. and thanks for the Polish cavalry links, crazy.

  30. #30 |  el coronado | 

    Well, THAT went over like a turd in the punchbowl – but I expected about as much. Quick question for Marty, #28: I’ll grant your statement that “they hate the behaviors of [our] government.” Fine: so do I. I sincerely pray that Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Nixon, and Ted Kennedy are sucking cocks in hell. But since that picture set is from “Nazi-occupied Poland”….. (never no never do we see pictures from *Soviet*-occupied Poland; nor is it ever discussed in polite company, but I digress)…..what “behavior of our government” is there to (reflexively) criticize?

    Before the Pavlovian howls of “IBM punchcards helped organize death camps!” begin, let me point out that’s not the point. GERMANY and RUSSIA invaded Poland, and killed/enslaved millions of Poles. We didn’t.

    So why then are pictures of Poles under the Nazi boot greeted with comments “hating the behavior of [our] government”? Have you ever seen a post about, say, ‘Bull Connor and the freedom riders’ draw comments of, say, “Hey! Arabs are still capturing, killing, raping and selling slaves in Africa today!” “No”, right? Because the one has *nothing to do* with the other, right? So why doesn’t that apply in this instance?

  31. #31 |  crazybob | 

    Dave- Your points are all true, but all governments, like all people, are good and bad, there is just a difference between the ratio of the two. But to place all governments in the same bucket as equal evils ignores differences that are real and have significant impacts on the world and how we must approach it.

    In order to make progress as a civilization we have to take the best examples we have and work upwards from there, fixing what is wrong and keeping what is right. The simplistic approach of “its all bad” leaves not no other route but descent into the abyss.

    To merely say “its all bad” condemns us to no future. We HAVE to look at each and make the judgements that A is better than B, no matter how flawed A is!

  32. #32 |  crazybob | 

    Dave- Your points are all true, but all governments, like all people, are good and bad, there is just a difference between the ratio of the two. But to place all governments in the same bucket as equal evils ignores differences that are real and have significant impacts on the world and how we must approach it.

    In order to make progress as a civilization we have to take the best examples we have and work upwards from there, fixing what is wrong and keeping what is right. The simplistic approach of “its all bad” leaves not no other route but descent into the abyss.

    To merely say “its all bad” condemns us to no future. We HAVE to look at each and make the judgements that A is better than B, no matter how flawed A is!

  33. #33 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    El Coronado: “Have you ever seen a post about, say, ‘Bull Connor and the freedom riders’ draw comments of, say, ‘Hey! Arabs are still capturing, killing, raping and selling slaves in Africa today!’ ‘No’, right? Because the one has *nothing to do* with the other, right? So why doesn’t that apply in this instance?”

    I should say that in this comment I am probably paraphrasing Noam Chomsky at some points, so credit where credit is due. Anyway, most commenters on The Agitator are Americans. This is our frame of reference. Furthermore, I think we should focus largely on what the U.S. Government does, purportedly “in our name” and with our tax dollars.

    I certainly don’t have a problem with condemning the behavior of Arab slave traders or the North Korean Government or the Saudi Monarchy (our dear friends) or any other foreign actor. That is easy to do. But the fact remains that I am not a resident/taxpayer in those countries. I–we–should put most of our effort in to criticizing and trying to change the government that allegedly represents us. The government that claims to be a beacon of freedom. The government that claims to be the model of democracy that everyone else should follow (or else!). The government that too often talks high-minded shit and then does the opposite.
    And when we do criticize other governments we shouldn’t be too self-congratulatory, because it CAN happen here.

  34. #34 |  el coronado | 

    Helmut – *sigh*. I see we have a problem here. I’ll type slower, we’ll see if that helps. I’ve already agreed that we ‘shouldn’t be too self-congratulatory etc etc’. Already said that, right there in line 3 of comment #29.

    But AGAIN: how does a post on pictures of NAZI-OCCUPIED Poland/Poles translate into a seemingly Pavlovian, reflexive *requirement* that people simply _must_ point out that “it can happen here, too!” Are you saying that since the USA isn’t a Perfect Nation peopled by Immaculate Beings of Light Free of Sin, that Americans have no rights – none whatsoever – to point out atrocities committed by other nations/groups, much less arrogantly dare to *criticize* those nations/groups? Or that we can, but only if we’re careful to include an obligatory ‘We suck, too!’ disclaimer? ‘Cause that’s sure what it sounds like.

  35. #35 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    El Coronado:
    Yes, El Coronado, we do have a problem here. And a big part of it is your brash, condescending attitude. I can type slower? Really, don’t be such a cock! You will have more fruitful conversations here if you don’t try to pick fights.

    With that being said, you may point out all of the atrocities you like with or without disclaimers. I couldn’t care less. It just so happened in this instance, Dave Krueger happened to make one of his trademark sarcastic remarks an a number of us thought he made a good point. States are dangerous institutions, though some cause less harm than others.

    No, we are not living in concentration camps (though the US did use internment camps). No, riot police are not machine gunning US citizens in the streets and I sure hope it doesn’t come to that. No, we aren’t starving due state collectivization of farms. No, most of us aren’t being disappeared for speaking out (yet?). But, as Dave pointed out, we should raise the bar a bit. The frustration with the “at least we aren’t Iran” attitude is probably what leads radicals to insert reminders like Dave did.

  36. #36 |  Vic Kelley | 

    I visit this site with caution. Almost always causes me to have emotions I don’t want. Usually it’s anger at something some cop has done. This thread bothers me. Those photos bother me.

    Recently I read a thread somewhere about genocide in current times. It was about the stages of genocide and it was referring to White people interned in camps in South Africa. The article said they are in the stage of genocide known as “preparation.” It’s happening right now, it’s the truth, but you won’t hear about it just as Americans in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s didn’t know about the German camps in the East.

    That’s where those Poles were while those photos were taken. They were later starved to death, worked to death, or quickly exterminated.

    Not much has changed. When one group of people is disarmed they are at the mercy of others who don’t show mercy. I resolve to defend myself. Most people don’t. It’s sad just like those photos.

  37. #37 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Well said, Vic. I just read a quote from a voter: “why are we still in Afghanistan? What is the President going to do about Syria?”

    No irony was detected. Some things DO change. Name of the country. How fast (or slow) they boil the frog.

    I’ll take a state-less society, thank you…and I will, with the help of pure magic and luck, figure out how to build a freaking road without having to exterminate kids on the other side of the globe and throw 2/3 of my poor neighbors in prison. Just saying…if I understand the Republic/Dem voter position correctly, and i think I do.

  38. #38 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Do you guys know that typing slower doesn’t actually have any effect on a post. That’s more of a talk-thing.

  39. #39 |  CyniCAl | 

    American Exceptionalism is a subset of Human Exceptionalism. Both are dangerous, insidious religions.

  40. #40 |  el coronado | 


  41. #41 |  albatross | 

    El Coronado:

    I have not noticed any particular media blackout on coverage of Communist oppression and nastiness. This may have been a problem in 1940, but the world’s supply of remaining Communist true believers is now down to Fidel Castro and a few aging academics in the social sciences. At this point, willingness to take a stand against Communism is like willingness to take a stand against the Spanish Inquisition–reasonable enough, but not a great sign of courageous independent thought.

    I don’t find it all that entertaining to wallow in the horrors of history, whether that’s German murder factories or Soviet engineered famines or Rwandans chopping their neighbors into sausage with machetes. Instead, I am interested in figuring out how to apply the lessons from history to my own time and place.

    So, you’re right–the darkest parts of our history–slavery, genocide and ethnic cleansing of Indians, all the horrors of the civil war–are still a lot less horrible than the mass murder of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, socialists, gays, and God knows how many others by Nazis. At our worst, we haven’t remotely matched the Soviet Union and its satellites in police states and torture chambers and bloody repression. We’ve never come close to the horrors of the Great Leap Forward or Cultural Revolution or the Khmer Rouge’s charming decision to roll their country back to the year 0. Our treatment of the Indians wasn’t even especially notable compared to the way Europeans handled their colonies, as best I can tell. Slavery was ugly as hell, but for most of the time we were doing it, it was also being done by a bunch of other countries, notably the advanced, civilized European countries of France and the UK.

    But, the interesting question isn’t how bad the Nazis and Commies were in the last century, or how awful things still are in hell-holes like North Korea today. The interesting question is, where are *we* headed?

    The consensus of the powerful in the US, right now, is that there are pretty much no limits to what may be done by the president in fighting the war on terror. The Republicans and Democrats have gotten together to give Obama the kind of powers you expect to see in the hands of some third-world dictator–he can have anyone locked up or killed on his say-so, with no questions asked. We have a huge flow of money going into a homeland security bureaucracy, 95% of whose possible functions are evil. (The other 5% are unnecessary.) We lock up a bigger fraction of our population than China or Russia or Iran or Saudi Arabia or any other country. It’s pretty clear that Americans’ communications are routinely spied on, at least at the level of recording them, searching them for keywords automatically, building social network data on everyone, and calling the interesting patterns to the attention of the human analysts.

    We have built up a turnkey police state, with the laws, organizations, administrative structures, budgets, and plans all at the ready. Sooner or later, some president will decide that turning the key is better than going to prison for the latest corruption scandal, or losing the next election and letting the other party start investigating and jailing his supporters.

    Recognizing this, and finding a way to dismantle it before it gets used, is several orders of magnitude more important than making sure that the Communists get the right amount of criticism for their bloody and awful crimes, or that everyone recognize that the US was never as bad as the USSR or Nazi Germany.