Updated:
Original:
Year
1939
Month Day
September 27

Warsaw falls to German forces

On September 27, 1939, 140,000 Polish troops are taken prisoner by the German invaders as Warsaw surrenders to Hitler’s army. The Poles fought bravely, but were able to hold on for only 26 days.

On the heels of its victory, the Germans began a systematic program of terror, murder, and cruelty, executing members of Poland’s middle and upper classes: Doctors, teachers, priests, landowners, and businessmen were rounded up and killed. The Nazis had given this operation the benign-sounding name “Extraordinary Pacification Action.” The Roman Catholic Church, too, was targeted, because it was a possible source of dissent and counterinsurgency. In one west Poland church diocese alone, 214 priests were shot. And hundreds of thousands more Poles were driven from their homes and relocated east, as Germans settled in the vacated areas.

This was all part of a Hitler master plan. Back in August, Hitler warned his own officers that he was preparing Poland for that “which would not be to the taste of German generals”–including the rounding up of Polish Jews into ghettos, a prelude to their liquidation. All roads were pointing to Auschwitz.

Tags
terms:
Eastern Front

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Jesuit order established

In Rome, the Society of Jesus—a Roman Catholic missionary organization—receives its charter from Pope Paul III. The Jesuit order played an important role in the Counter-Reformation and eventually succeeded in converting millions around the world to Catholicism. The Jesuit ...read more

John Kipling killed at the Battle of Loos

On September 27, 1915, Second Lieutenant John Kipling of the British army, the only son of Nobel Prize-winning author Rudyard Kipling, is killed at the Battle of Loos, in the Artois region of France. The Battle of Loos, part of a joint Allied offensive on the Western Front, began ...read more

Zsa Zsa Gabor storms out of the courtroom

Hollywood socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor, on trial for slapping a police officer, storms out of the courtroom in the middle of the district attorney’s closing argument. The prosecutor told the jury that Gabor “craves media attention . . . and abused two weeks of this process for her own ...read more