Bloody Sunday in Bydgoszcz and uncovered secrets of World War Two


The Article in the daily, „Gazeta Pomorska, Bydgoszcz, 04.09.2008

Włodzimierz Kałdowski

Włodzimierz Sobecki

With cooperation of Hanna Sowińska

Bloody Sunday in Bydgoszcz and uncovered secrets of World War Two

Hitler sentenced Bydgoszcz ethnic Germans (Volksdeutsche) to death

To most contemporary Poles, the topic ”Bloody Sunday” in Bydgoszcz means simply indifferent pages of history. To already few people, this is a fragment of their biographies, full of personal tragedy, scarred over with difficulty. Is it necessary to open old wounds? Maybe yes; maybe this is necessary to achieve a similar historical standpoint of neighbours bound to live side by side. To strengthen the trust of nations co-operating with one another. To give up suspicion and hate.

When we search Internet websites, under the entry ”Bloody Sunday Bromberg” [Bydgoszcz in German = Bromberg] we can find both neo-Nazi continuation of perfidious lies of historical propaganda and more and more often anti-neo-Nazi voices (even from July 2008), close to historical truth. This truth is confirmed by statements of the still living eyewitnesses of events – Włodzimierz Kałdowski, Zbigniew Kaczmarek and others.

The provoking Nazi sabotage did happen, it’s hard to have one’s doubts about that. The number of evidence and testimonies of witnesses is on the increase. A vast publication on this subject has been prepared by the IPN Institute of National Remembrance. We are still waiting for it.

Particularly difficult to accept by the contemporary German people, especially the former Germans living in Bydgoszcz and the present readers of the magazine Bromberg, the fact that they had been deceived, betrayed and ”exposed” to death. It’s difficult to comprehend with contemporary imagination the degree of perfidy, with which Hitler and his closest associates Geobbels and Himmler, had planned the death of their fellow countrymen – the civilian German minority in Bydgoszcz, the death of civilian saboteurs and paratroopers in plain clothes. The Bydgoszcz German minority was to loose their lives according to Hitler’s will before the liberation of Bydgoszcz. Higher, Nazi-German objectives had been dominant. The world and the German society should be convinced about the humanitarian justification of the invasion of Poland by German troops, to save the Germans being killed. The pre-war Nazi propaganda was falsely spreading the news of crossing the internationally tolerated boundaries of Polish hatred. Corpses of German civilians were necessary to prove this. Burnt German houses and churches were expected, from which the provoking firing was done. As anticipated by Hitler, the Polish blood spilt by treacherous covert gunshots caused the counterattack of the Polish army, lust for revenge, lust for German blood, and created an opportunity for private bloody settlements on both sides. The ruthless calculation of the Gestapo leaders, done under supervision of its separate secret foreign department, was effective in its perfidy. The Nazi masters of provocation, rich in experiences from the ”Bloody Sunday of Altona” (June 1932), provocation towards Ernst Röhm resulting in mass murders during the ”night of the long knives” (June 1934), provocation of burning down the Reichstag and further murders, achieved their goal also in Bydgoszcz. Poles were provoked. The civilian German blood was spilt, according to Hitler’s will.

This provocation took place in a specific moment of wartime events, before the entrance of the Nazi army into the city, fully aware of the situation in the city, in the face of the radio communication of the developed German spy network in Poland, with full knowledge about the colossal military dominance of Polish troops over the saboteurs, thus with anticipation of the obvious bloody defeat of the saboteurs.

The sabotage, consistent with Hitler’s anticipation, was drowned in blood by Poles with the assistance of the army. The destruction range and the number of killed people were too small in comparison with Hitler’s anticipation. Only one German house, in 11 Żmudzka Street, and one Protestant church in Szwederowo District in 42 Leszczyńskiego Street were burnt down. Włodzimierz Kałdowski was an eyewitness of the events in Szwederowo.

According to German municipal statistics from September – 546 Germans were killed, including local people – 286, non-local people – 286, and unknown – 94 (including corpses of Poles brought from the vicinity, e.g. from Nowa Wieś Wielka). Objective assessments circle around the number 300. After two months, in November 1939, it was announced that during the Bloody Sunday in Bydgoszcz, Poles murdered 5,400 Germans.

In February 1940, in the face of the international condemnation of the Nazi wartime atrocities, by Hitler’s personal order this number was multiplied to 58,000 killed Germans.

Selected provocations from the history of Germany

In the 19th century, before unification, Germany consisted of many small independent states. It was not a politically significant power in Europe.

Germany was united thanks to the efforts of the Prussian state with a significant influence of Bismarck’s political games. Under Bismarck’s rule, Prussia united Germany in the 19th century, after the war – provoked by Bismarck – declared on Germany by France.

In the face of the French danger, the German states gave up disputes and acted together. The war was provoked by Bismarck by an insult of the French diplomacy.

The provocation called ”Blutsonntag” i.e. ”Bloody Sunday” was conducted by Hitler as early as 1932. It was directed against Prussia and Prussian politicians controlling the ”Weimar Republic of Germany” in Berlin. This was ”Altonauer Blutsonntag” – the ”Bloody Sunday of Altona” dated June 17, 1932. Altona is a port city – a city of workers – dockers – with a developed communist movement in the area of Prussia of those days. The city witnessed the provocative march of SA armed groups [Sturmabteilungen – Eng. ”Assault Detachments”] of the Nazi national-socialist party, in the workers’ district of the city. The provoked workers attacked the marching Nazis from southern Germany, chanting anti-communist slogans, wearing brown shirts, armed and protected by the police. This provocation resulted in bloody riots as anticipated. 18 people were killed, and about 100 people were injured.

Hitler was looking for and found the way to get rid of his Prussian enemies. After the ”Bloody Sunday of Altona”, addressed the public with a loud, cynical propaganda that the Prussian government ruling in Berlin is not capable of managing law and order even in its own country, Prussia. Prussian ministers in Berlin were replaced by the ”Reich’s commissioners”. The republican system of Germany was replaced with Nazi dictatorship. This provocation brought results justifying the introduction of the fascist ideology into the country.

Training of saboteurs disclosed by the British intelligence

The secret Gestapo, Nazi training of saboteurs was exposed by the British intelligence already before 1939. The foreign section materials of the Secret Intelligence Service (called M16) are kept at the National Archive and are still not available to the public. There is no formal consent (in spite of efforts of my informers) to get access to the British archives, especially to the range of operations, or list of graduates of the special faculty of the Higher School of Ceramics in Teplitz-Schönau city in the area of former Czechoslovakia, where – under the cover of studies – German youth was trained to sabotage operations in Europe and outside Europe. [1]

The old Austrian Imperial Vienna School of Ceramics in Teplitz-Schöhnau in the Sudety Mountains was one of the biggest ceramic art centres in the world in the 1930’s. As the only school of this type in Europe was very popular among young people not only from Europe but also from all over the world. Training of the foreign language secret service of the Gestapo, based on pro-Nazi youth under 20 years of age, was started there. They were ardent supporters of regaining the lost glory of Germany, fully trusted by Himmler, and fanatically devoted to Hitler. They had been recruited from different parts of the world to Hitler’s call, ready to do anything. They were prepared to operations aimed at sharpening conflicts with national minorities, and to strict subordination of German national minorities to the Gestapo service.

British publications confirm that the Gestapo’s penetration in Poland was started in 1933. It was continued in the next years and extended, just like in other countries, under the management of the staff of the international secret operations of the Gestapo in Prague. To keep the secrecy, also in relation to the central administration in the Reich, before the war the agency was located outside Germany. The effectiveness of operations of the agency in Czechoslovakia, Austria, Bulgaria, and Hungary was unquestionable.

As regards the agency’s operations in Poland, there are certain obvious parallels with the above-named countries and significant differences. The operations aimed at disruption of the cohesion of the Polish nation and weakening its defence might have considered the long-standing conflicts, pacified with difficulty, resulting from the existence of multi-million national minorities. Belorussian and Ukrainian national minorities were dominant in eastern and southern Poland. They were regarded as potentially receptive to riots against Poland, in the hope for national separation. In the north – Lithuanian minority surrounding Vilnius seemed to be receptive to the anti-Polish propaganda as well from the point of view of the Gestapo. In western Poland, both Silesia and Pomerania, there were German minorities. The newly constructed Polish port in Gdynia was assessed as nationally-territorially isolated, located near pro-German Gdańsk, Eastern Prussia and Pomerania. The durability of existence of Gdynia as a Polish port was called into question. After all, the desire for getting the German corridor to Eastern Prussia was a significant essence of German diplomacy, with the hope for the future forced success.

The trouble spots, penetrable by provokers of the Gestapo, were also fragments of previously Hungarian, eastern Galicia, with its coal and crude oil areas. Mutual Polish-Czechoslovak border claims turned out also to be of use, not to mention the obvious Polish-Russian hatred and operations of secret pro-communist activists of the Kremlin. Conducted through other channels – the diplomatic German-Russian co-operation resulted in 1937 in mutual arrangements on the necessity of the fourth partition of Poland.

Especially sensitive and receptive to operations of secret provokers of the Gestapo were Polish-Jewish tensions, difficult to heal over, and easy to open in some districts of the country.

Thus, in Poland the scope of activity for the Gestapo saboteurs was promising. About 10 million Belarussians and Ukrainians, 3-4 million Hungarians and Germans, about one million from the Baltic States around Vilnius, and about 4 million Jews formed the arena for the possibility of developing conflicts destabilising the national unity and weakening the defence of Poland. Methodical actions were started with Prussian accuracy, from small dividing lies to bloody murders.

Until the end of 1934, appropriate sections of the NSDAP were organised throughout western Poland among the German minority. Polish-speaking undercover agents of the Gestapo were placed in Polish communities in order to provoke anti-German disturbances, Ukrainian-speaking agents to provoke Ukrainian anti-Polish disturbances. Anti-Jewish disturbances were provoked as well. Turmoil was caused to shake the social stability in multi-national and multi-religious areas.

Also in Bydgoszcz, trained provokers of the Gestapo were placed among Poles persecuting the German minority in order to stir up hatred. A man beating Germans turned out to be at the Gestapo’s service during a German civil court trial.

Because, after all, one had to justify Hitler’s invasion of Poland, and the German minority was not so numerous and well-known as the one in the Sudety Mountains, and kind of more resistant to the Nazi propaganda. Mostly German intelligentsia, physicians, bankers, industrialists, merchants – a wealthy class that did not want to leave their lucrative jobs, companies and customers – remained in Bydgoszcz after the year 1920. My informers knew many of them. For over 100 years, the German minority was getting used to assimilation with Poles. Only after 1933, mixed marriages were forced to opt for selected nationality. Germans lived in the most elegant districts. In 1938, a co-educational grammar school teaching in German was opened in Chodkiewicza Street (present Casimir the Great University). In Gdańska Street, there were five bookshops only in German. Poles, older Bydgoszcz residents, remember the Monument to the Unknown Soldier in Bernardyńska Street with the inscription: TO THE KILLED – GERMAN AND POLISH SONS OF BYDGOSZCZ. How can one reconcile this with later publications of the Berlin Nazi propaganda about hatred and bloody persecutions of Germans in Bydgoszcz?

A separate united German, pro-Nazi grouping hostile towards Poland had to be organised in Bydgoszcz. It was not an easy task for the Gestapo. A large part of young people and few older people succumbed. The local Gestapo forced the residents from the German minority to take in mainly alien armed provokers – saboteurs, who were shooting the retreating Polish army from German flats, plants and churches.

Among others, the German Socialist Labour Party in Poland and the German Christian People’s Party supported the Polish-German agreement, against Nazism. These trends were quickly liquidated (after 1933) under Nazi compulsion from the outside, by forced liquidation of organisation, or internal party secession (e.g. A. Kronig’s groups in the German Socialist Labour Party in Poland).

The first post-war German Nobel prize winner in literature Heinrich Böll served in the German army in Bydgoszcz in the years 1939 – 1940.

Pages from the biography of Heinrich Böll allow not only to perceive the new accents of the world war, less heroic, requiring intoxication of soldiers with drugs or alcohol, but also to discover the relationship of this German Nobel prize winner with Bydgoszcz.

The book ”World War Two – the turning point in the history of Germany” [2] was published in 2005 in Munich. This is a collection of essays of a few dozen authors. The book includes also a study by Andreas Ulrich entitled ”Berauscht in die Schlacht” (Narcotised in the fight), informing as below.

The Army Postal Service letter of a young (German) soldier (addressed to his hometown – Cologne) to ”Dear parents and sisters” (Liebe Eltern und Geschwister) dated November 9, 1939 came from occupied Poland: ”Military service requires constant stress and you have to understand that I will be writing to you only every second or fourth day. Today I write to you mainly to ask you for Pervetin..... Your Henry.” [3]

Pervetin was a wonder medication of the Wehrmacht (Wundermittel). Nowadays it would be called a stimulant drug, dope.

On May 20, 1940, the 22-year-old soldier asked again: ”Can you manage to get some Pervetin and send it to me?” On July 19, 1940, a letter from Bydgoszcz came: ”Please send me as soon as possible some more Pervetin.” Later, the sender of this letter became famous all over the world: it was Heinrich Böll, who became the first, after the war, German winner of the Nobel prize in literature in 1972.

In the further part of the study, one can read: In the period from March to July 1940 only, the army and the air force were provided with 35 million pills of Pervetin and Isophan (a slightly modernised product by Knoll company). The pills containing three milligrams of the stimulating drug were transferred under the classified abbreviation OBM to military sanitary centres, and further to subunits. In urgent cases, a telephone order was enough. On the packaging, there was the inscription ”Wachthaltmittel” (medication against falling asleep). The instructions for use were: ”only from time to time, one or two pills to keep awake”.

Already at that time, physicians informed that in case of frequent taking of this medication the regeneration phase lengthens more and more, and its effectiveness decreases gradually. Health problems, perspiration, weakened circulation, and single demises occurred. On July 1, 1941, Perventin was put on the list of medications subject to the ”Opiumgezetz” (anti-drug law), however, in spite of this fact, ten million pills were delivered to the front in the same year.

Against the opinions of physicians, Nazi Germany did not give up the narcotic stimulation of soldiers. Still after March 1944, the military documentation confirms the demand of commanders and usage of narcotics. In this period, pharmacologist Gerhard Orzechowski presented the military authorities D-IX pills, containing five milligrams of cocaine, three milligrams of Perventin and five milligrams of Eukodal (morphine painkiller). Today, a person having such pills would be imprisoned. These pills were tested for example in small submarines type ”Seehund” and ”Biber”.

In biographic books, one can read about Heinrich Böll that the sensitive psyche of the pre-war poet and writer could hardly bear the burden of cruel duties of the Nazi soldier in occupied Poland, especially in Bydgoszcz, where murdering and causing suffering were everyday military duties. That’s the reason for such urgent demand for artificial, narcotic suppression of human sensitivity.

He was in this city (1939, 1940) during liquidation of the city’s intelligentsia and middle class, during creation of the Nazi untruth about the city. His letters are available in Cologne.

Currently, the writer’s foundations implement 130 projects in 60 countries of the world, on the 4 continents. One of my informers (WS) has already met with his foundations during work in Africa.

Böll had a communist, pro-Soviet deviation, which not everybody wants to forgive him.

Let’s repeat the message [4]:

It would be good to cultivate the historical myths not in restraint but in constant dialogue with the neighbours. It would be good to forgive without falling into historical amnesia. It would be good not to use martyrdom instrumentally.

[1] ”Gestapo –The History of German Secret Service”, Robert Hale Ltd London, 1939

[2] “Der Zweite Weltkrieg – Wendepunkt der deutschen Geschichte“, München, 2005

[3] The letters are kept at the Heinrich-Böhl-Archiv der Stadt Bibliothek Köln,

Antwerpener Str. 19-29, D-50672 Köln,

[4] ”Bloody Sunday” in Bydgoszcz – the only fitting key to the events of September 3 and 4, 1939, Wiesław Trzeciakowski, Włodzimierz Sobecki, available at bookshops in Bydgoszcz