Lodz is occupied!
The beginning of the day was calm, too calm. In the afternoon, I was sitting in the park and drawing a sketch of a girlfriend. Then, all of a sudden, I heard the terrifying news: Lodz had been surrendered! German patrols on Piotrkowska Street. Fear, surprise... Surrendered without a fight? Perhaps it's only some tactical maneuver. We'll see. See more
Meanwhile, all conversation stops; the streets grow deserted; faces and hearts are covered with gloom, cold severity, and hostility.
Mr. Grabinski comes back from downtown and tells how the local Germans greeted their countrymen. The Grand Hotel, where the General Staff is expected to stay, is bedecked with garlands of flowers; civilians— boys, girls—jump into the passing military cars with happy cries of "Heil Hitler!" Loud German conversation in the streets. Everything patriotically and nationalistically that was hidden in the past now shows its true face
The streets are lit for the night. After all, there is no longer any danger of air raids.
This morning I was – so to speak – in the belly of a beast. Dr Surzycki and I went to the German headquarters in the French Hotel, to get an approval of the Civic Committee from the general. The general was busy heading the conference. Adjutant Captain Schönberg (or maybe Schönbock) received us very kindly and promised to see our request through, verifying the composition and the goals of the committee. (We still fear the Committee will constantly be held hostage).
War is gradually interfering with everyday life. From the 11th of this month, special permits will be needed for driving around. There is some talk of introducing fuel cards.
Chelm. Information about Moscice from Mr. Weber. Management and officials evacuated on Tuesday. There were big air raids, but the factory was not damaged up until Tuesday. Two bombs failed to explode and they fell into a coal bunker in the boiler room and onto the warehouse with lime saltpeter.
There were losses in people and communication devices. In the Central Industrial Region, the factories are apparently defended by high-angle artillery. They are undamaged.
Warsaw still hasn’t fallen. It is difficult to know where the Germans arrived. Information is not trustworthy. The Swedish radio mainly concerns itself with relations in China. English radio is extremely cautious. German radio broadcasts victory reports, clearly exaggerated; Polish news, despite being cautious, sound too optimistic. We do not know anything about what is happening on the western front.
The city looks calmer today, yesterday it looked close to panic.
The German press reveals the atrocities committed by Polish marauders near Bromberg. Thousands of innocent German civilians were tortured by the Poles in the most horrific ways and then murdered.
Brauchitsch came this morning. Discussed the situation. I protested against locking my east wing into the advance on Ostrow and argued that, apart from operational concerns, between the Narew and Ostrow was no place at all for the forces of the 3rd Army. Gradually, with the assistance of Salmuth, I was able to convince him to at least allow the wing to go toward Siedlce. I don't understand why they gave me no freedom of action. Regrouping the army group in a few days was no simple matter, standing ready as it is, with strong motorized reserves behind the east wing, for the last decisive thrust into the deep flank of the Polish Army.
The Army Group's original intention was to attach my corps to General von Küchler's Third Army; it was to operate in close coordination with his left flank and to advance from the Arys area, through Lomsha, towards the eastern side of Warsaw. It seemed to me that such close co-operation with an infantry army was not in accordance with the full potentialities of my troops. I pointed out that the proposed operation would not enable me to make use of the speed of my motorized divisions, and that a slow advance on our part would give the Poles in the Warsaw area the chance of withdrawing eastwards and of establishing a new defensive line along the River Bug. See more
Salmuth and Colonel-General von Bock agreed to my suggestion; I received the necessary orders and went at once to the military training area Arys, where I told the corps order group to assemble (to receive fresh orders for the advance on the Narev River). Of my old divisions, I was to retain the 3rd Panzer Division and the 20th (Motorized) Infantry Division. The 2nd (Motorized) Infantry Division was for the time being withdrawn from my command into Army Group reserve. The 10th Panzer Division, which up to then had formed part of Küchler's army, together with the Fortress Infantry Brigade Lötzen, a newly formed unit of men from the older agegroups, were now subordinated to my XIX Corps; both these units were at present in action along the Narev in the neighborhood of Vizna.
One battalion leaves after the other, the tanks are moving in an endless line. Wives are crying, husbands drop in “for a minute”. Kolya didn’t come, I stupidly waited for him yesterday and today. It was painful, and upsetting. My guys are also worried, they are constantly bringing some kind of news. They say that the Red Army House is full with newly drafted conscripts Wives, mothers, sisters are standing there in a crowd; they are afraid that the “real war” has begun. Our women are gathering in groups, sharing impressions, drawing their own conclusions.
By the well, I ran into a pilot drinking water. He was limping and leaning on a rough stick. He had been injured during a forced landing. I asked whether he'd like to come in, eat something and rest his foot. It took some coaxing to persuade him. He was truly hungry.
Kalina has been working in the hospital since the beginning of the war, although she is only 13 years old, still a child. She rides her bicycle around town between the cars and distributes what the scouts give. More and more fleeing people on the roads.
I waited for the night. They didn’t come. Early in the morning, I got dressed and prepared to slip away in advance. At the entrance, I ran into an old man. He had the draft orders in his hands.
— Sign and report immediately.
That’s it. Several things came to mind at once: “University. The final year. The state exam. My thesis. And now…” I didn’t want it. I bit my lips, had some food, and left. They sent me to Krasnoye Selo. I received my orders to Ust-Luga.
The train was full of new conscripts. There were hardly any drunks, as wine wasn’t for sale. But everything in the wagon gaggled, swore and screamed. And it was somehow strange to think that this crazy mob would tomorrow be uniform and will turn around, obeying the voice giving orders, holding hands at the seams.
We arrived at midnight. We lay down to sleep on stools.
Our ignorance was equalled by that of the British Embassy and the rest of the diplomatic corps. Settled at Nałenczow, a spa not far from Lublin, they found themselves cut off from everything. Many of the telegrams they sent, I was told later, never reached the addresses at all. It took them two or three hours to put a telephone call through. No communications reached them in Nałenczow, save perhaps an occasional telegram. Such disorganisation was understandable in Katowice or Cracow, with the Germans a few kilometres away: but hardly so in a town that was the centre of government.