Of war news there was little, except for the fact that Poland has exhausted nearly all her resources of aerial defence, and that our comparative inactivity on the Western Front is causing general uneasiness. Why not bomb military objectives instead of scattering pamphlets is the question everybody is asking about the R.A.F. (Incidentally that body has not begun too well: it has violated Dutch neutrality, bombed a Danish town, and fought some Belgian planes over Belgian territory. Moreover, in the air-raid warning on September 5th the only casualty was one of our own planes falling to one of our A.A. guns.)
On Wednesday, everyone truly panicked. The governance of the city has already been completely taken over by the military authorities. Some lieutenant became the commander of the city and by giving conflicting decrees, he contributed to increasing the commotion. For example, he said that "no one was allowed to move" and at the same time sent carts to evacuate patients and personnel. Civilian patients were discharged from the hospital.
Yesterday, groups of older troops suddenly departed in the morning and there were fewer soldiers in the city. Officers are visiting the city and Wawel by car and buying Kraków postcards. The city physician was asked to open brothels for the army. Through its delegates, the committee intervened regarding prisoners so that they would not be kept in the city prison, and from there several hundred of them were taken out yesterday. The radio reports that the Germans continue to drop bombs on free cities, including Krzemieniec, where there were diplomatic corps and probably also our government.
Mussolini wanted to broker a peace. Germany wants to keep the part of Poland it occupies - the almost entirety of ethnic Poland, including Warsaw. They do not want to fight with western states.
England was to respond with four conditions:
1) The Nazi regime should resign,
2) Germany should depart from Polish territories,
3) all damages to Poland should be compensated,
4) Czechoslovakia should be evacuated and rebuilt.
In the afternoon I reached Lublin again. It was nearly unrecognizable. The quarter in which we had lived few days before no longer existed. Many people must have been buried alive, in the wreckage of one of the apartment-blocks I saw; but I did not notice any rescue-gangs at work. The town was pitted with desolated areas, as well as with collapsed houses, where only one bomb had struck; but by good fortune the churches seemed to have been missed. Besides the buildings, the drainage system had been destroyed, and in the gutters of the main street, sewage ran. The drinking water must have been infected. I wondered how soon cholera would be breaking out, for it was hot still, and flies almost covered the bodies of horses, dogs and men, lying on the pavement. It is a bad sign when the living are too preoccupied to bury the dead, and I was not surprised to see evidence of looting; shop windows, cracked by explosives, had been pushed in, and part of the contents rifled. The main street had a disheveled look, very different from when I left it, and the people scuttled apprehensively along.
Erev Rosh Hashanah. Again I don't go out anywhere! The holiday is sad and meager, no different from any other day. The same dry bread with a small bit of herring. (Only the herring makes the holiday different from any other day.)
According to an order announced today, the stores are to be open tomorrow. This is the worst blow to the Jews here in centuries. Rosh Hashanah! Open stores! At the same time, synagogues are to be closed. We have no chance to pray communally for mercy. All basic human freedoms are being destroyed. See more
Although I am not a traditionally pious man, and every year I have considered the avoidance of prayer as a liberation, I now experience every order pertaining to the Jews with great pain because I know what faith brings to its believers; they are at least partially at peace and happy. To take away from a man his only consolation, his faith, to forbid his beloved, life-affirming religion is the most horrendous crime. Jews won't let Hitler get away with it. Our revenge will be terrible.
Holling church has been fitted up to receive the wounded. The chairs and pews on the left of the choir have been replaced by a boarded floor, bearing large notices at intervals: “Seriously Wounded', ‘Gassed', 'Extremely Urgent', 'Urgent’. On Sundays, officers and men squash together on the right side of the choir, the numerous officers in front. Beneath the priest's chasuble, I recognize the gaiters and heavy boots of an army medical corps sergeant who is officiating. The acolytes, two poilus. At the organ is a M.O. who has collected an excellent body of singers.
During the whole service there is, in the background, the rumbling of nearby gunfire; the windows shake during communion. Nearly all the men have their prayer books; they haven't forgotten them, it is part of the few poor, but precious possessions packed away in their kits or haversacks. The religious fervour of all these worthy fellows, singing wholeheartedly, stirs my innermost feelings. I contemplate their young faces, tanned, clean-shaven this day, aglow with faith, their eyes shining as they think of God and of France too. See more
On coming out, the officers chat and laugh, pass on the news, invite each other to their mess. Then each one returns to his billet, some by car, others on horseback. In the evening we listen to the wireless in our café, giving news of the war in Poland and we refuse to believe in the smashing advance announced by the Germans. Besides, things will change.
In front of me there is a pile of grenade fragments that fell into the embassy grounds during the night. Fortunately, they did not do much damage or hit anyone. In Ujazdowskie Avenue, 600m from here, the edifice of the General Inspectorate of the Armed Forces is burning. There is a valuable Piłsudski archive in the building.
We hadn't even walked a few steps when machine gun shots and cannons rumbled close by. You could hear it from Tomaszów. We stop for a moment and listen. The rumble is getting closer, it seems like some battle. It is therefore impossible to go towards Tomaszów. We have to change direction whether we like it or not, we go towards Zamość through the fields. We speed up the pace, go out to the hill, from where the burning Łabuń and Łabuńki can be seen. Probably many streets, because you can see two lines of fire, one closer, the other farther and a little higher. We do not know yet who is approaching, but the shooting becomes denser, the cannons go silent, only machine guns are heard and what seems like single grenade explosions. We assume it's Germans, though we didn't expect them here anymore. We start running. I am last because the condition of my chafed feet does not allow me to hurry. See more
We wonder about our being permanent fugitives, especially given that we are on a journey absolutely without any news whatsoever about the state of war. We do not know if there are front lines, and where they could be. We run away from the Germans instinctively rather than as a result of some planned action. We put our last hope in the Bug. We decide to go towards Chełm, and then beyond the Bug.
We feel that things are bad on the front line. However, today’s "Express Lubelski" and "Express Volynski" report otherwise: that half of the Germans have stopped over a range of distance, that the fighting was unsuccessful for the Germans, that the offensive on the San was defeated. In Kutno, Germany lost the battle. Our army is intact and is waiting for a decisive pushback... Germany is also broadcasting false Polish dispatches. German prisoners say their tanks are demolished and have no gas.
According to General Ironside's response to General Norwid, the English and French air force is active in military, rail and transport operations. The decision regarding the operation of distant bombing by air is to be further deliberated in tomorrow’s war council.
General I. promises every conceivable help from England.
The Romanian Government has agreed to the transit of gold through Romania, providing full guarantee of security on its territory, provided that the gold is transported in one shipment to Constanza, where it should be loaded on a ship immediately.
However, the Romanian government does not agree to storing gold in Romania, even temporarily, out of fear of an attack on the part of Germany.
I agreed with the English envoy about the ship.
Gafencu suggests moving the gold to Turkey or Egypt, or even better, to England.
Old Synagogue, so-called Moorish at Wolborska street in Łódź.
Whatever you have met in recent days, you will certainly hear the question: “How do you assess the situation?” Of course, the greatest care must be exercised. Frank statements are possible only in a very narrow circle, among true friends. Retaining a clear mind is extremely small. Anyway, here in the countryside.
The optimism that prevailed in the early days diminished slightly, but the population is too eager to believe that the war would end soon. I still express some doubts, recall the war of 1914, it also had to end in six weeks. Belief in miracles is exceptionally strong. For six years nat.-soc. the propaganda completely fooled the people with brains. Incredibly, unfortunately, a fact. See more
At the station, here in Laubach, V. tells me: "I hope the Führer will put France on the shoulder blades." The blockade by the British infuriates him. War is war, I object, Germany, after all, also uses a mass of submarines. But few of us have a sense of justice. The Germans are generally a weak point.
Here, for example, a certain gentleman rants on the Munich radio about the atrocities of the British in the war against the Boers. Had he never heard that people do not throw stones in a glass house? Why he does not feel sorry for those who are languishing in German concentration camps, who became the victim of nat.-soc. hate and bloodthirstiness in peace and tranquility? Even for an innocuous statement, folksgenossen was also thrown there. And how many were shot “while trying to escape”? Maybe this idiot did not hear anything about the November days of the 38th, when all the synagogues were destroyed? ..
The history of the war will not forget that during its advance, made unbelievably hard by the enemy and the terrain, the army group has so far voluntarily released to the Army Command: the 73rd [Rabenau], 50th [Sorsche], 208th [Andreas, appears as 108th in the original] and 218th Divisions, [Battle] Group Netze (Gablenz], Headquarters, III Army Corps [Haase] and several battalions of heavy artillery!
Drove to Headquarters, 3rd Army in Prasznycz. I ordered I Army Corps [Petzel] to take possession of the Warsaw bridges as fast as possible and remove the explosive charges, but not to allow itself to become involved in house fighting in Warsaw west of the Vistula. If all goes smoothly, then it is planned to later split off the Ist Army Corps to the south again while keeping a firm hold on the bridges.