The ring was closed around Brest on the east bank of the Bug. An attempt to capture the citadel by means of a surprise tank attack failed, owing to the Poles having blocked the entrance gate by parking an old Renault tank at an angle across it, so that our tanks could not force their way in.
Everything and everyone bears the stamp of war. Instead of Jews wearing prayer shawls and carrying prayer books rushing to the synagogue, one sees stretcher bearers carrying the dead and wounded dug out from the ruins of bombed buildings. Yesterday passed uneventfully, and already the populace of the besieged city seems hungry for amusements, promenades, work. That is-outwardly. Inwardly, everyone is busy preparing himself for death. Everyone senses that what we have already experienced is nothing compared to what we will yet experience.
The situation in the country is dangerous. Public opinion should be convinced that this is the result of the devastating advantage of the motorised and air forces of Germany that are almost entirely deployed here due to the short duration and nature of the French front and the Allied airforce tactics.
The lack of allied air action and consequences thereof should be emphasised in the press as much as possible. While avoiding questioning the loyalty of our allies, it should be stated that Poland, by binding a huge part of the enemy's forces on its front and displaying fierce physical and moral resistance, gives the Allies a great strategic service, and a great moral service to the whole world. It is necessary to maximize every report of Germany's barbaric methods of combat.
This afternoon I gave Halifax a note calling for an air intervention to relieve us. I put a lot of emphasis on the barbaric nature of recent bombings. In response, Halifax continued to maintain his former position. As a justification, this time he quoted only the opinion of military experts, according to whom the strength of the German air force is so great that the offensive action of the English air force in the West would not lead to the desired relief of Poland. For purely strategic/military reasons experts are opposed to the intervention we demand. With material matters, the English are showing good will.
Since yesterday evening, the embassy has delivered 4 ciphered telegrams of the English Embassy in Poland to the Foreign Office.
Today for the first time Mom went for bread but didn't get any. For a week, she got up at five in the morning, stood in line until seven, when they opened the bakery and gave a kilo of bread to everyone. Today she went again, but there was no bread left. Maybe we should get up at 1:00 A.M. to get there, and wait.
Downtown, Nazi agents remove Jews from all food lines, so a poor Jew who doesn't have a servant is condemned to death by hunger. These are German humanitarian policies in the twentieth century.
We have some rain for the first time after a few weeks of drought. Naive people thought it would stop the invasion of German tanks. German troops have crossed the Lwow - Lublin road, they occupied Brest on the Bug and have gotten increasingly closer to encircling Warsaw.
The saddest moment of the day is waking up and seeing that what seemed to be a painful nightmare is a reality.
Warsaw is defending itself, but the circle around it is getting tighter. Lviv is under heavy bombardments. Boryslav is taken.
The Gestapo settled on ul. Piłsudski. In Sokole, wardrobes were smashed and the office was sealed. In Kobierzyn and in Dąbie, there are about 3,000 of our captives who are not really well-fed.
I heard today on very good authority that Russia may attack Poland.
A few words on a dry subject. How does the Allied blockade affect Germany? It cuts her off from about 50 per cent of her normal imports. Chief products of which Germany is deprived are: cotton, tin, nickel, oil, and rubber. Russia might supply some cotton, but her total exports last year were only 2.5 per cent of Germany's annual needs. On the other hand Russia could probably supply Germany all the manganese and timber she needs, and - with Rumania - enough oil for military purposes at least. Iron? Last year Germany got about 45 per cent of her iron ore from France, Morocco, or other places from which she is now cut off. But Sweden, Norway, and Luxemburg provided her with eleven million tons. These supplies are still open. All in all, Germany is certainly hard hit by losing the sources of 50 per cent of her imports. But with the possibilities open to her in Scandinavia, the Balkans, and Russia she is not hit nearly so badly as she was in 1914.
For the whole day before yesterday we walked through dirt roads, hiding in furrows and shady meadow ditches beneath alder bushes. We wanted to go as far as possible, without avoiding day light as we used to, we walked many kilometers. In the cottages, we did not receive anything except water, which even I drank from shared mugs and dirty buckets left next to the well.
The Rabinowiczes and their neighbors have come back from wandering around. They look terrible. Their two sons rode on another cart, and they didn't come back. Nobody knows where they are. The Rabinowiczes tell of shootings, searching for places to sleep, long marches, dangers, etc. It makes my flesh crawl. There are some humorous moments, too. Evidently, humor can be found everywhere. A laugh amid all the unhappiness.
Along the streets soldiers are attaching phone cables to lampposts or trees in order to connect centre to the suburbs with barricades. That's where the real theatre of action is now. They have been bringing in news of our brave defenders engaged in heroic fights. How much we crave to hear that German charge was weakening. But there has been no good news for Warsaw today. Shelling from both south and east confirms the city is surrounded.
Throughout September 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15, corps divisions remained in occupied areas and were engaged in studies, mainly conducting tactical preparations: they practiced a head-on battle, an offensive, reconnaissance, shooting, defence of the field, etc.
During the night of September 15, according to my special instructions, the cavalry corps troops, with a wide front, approximately 30 km wide, approached the Polish border near Negoreloye, all while remaining in strict disguise.
In this way, the troops secured an initial, preliminary position, without getting too close to the border.
New operations began in the morning. Army stood guard at Wyszogrod and Modlin, took the east bank of the Vistula near Warsaw, turned left wing and sent it to Lulow-Miedzyrzec. XIX Motorized Corps [Guderian] advancing on Kowel with one armored and one motorized division, standing guard toward Wlodawa. The corps' other two divisions, one motorized and one armored, are later to be placed under the command of the 4th Army [Kluge], which today assumes command of the northern wing. The next objective of the 4th Army is Pruzana-Wolkowysk-Grodno.
I informed Brauchitsch that I had ordered this, he is in full agreement. See more
The 3rd Army wants nothing to do with the turning of the Wodrig Corps [XXVI Army Corps] toward Lukow-Miedzyrzec. I also find it awkward, but I must think of the continuation of the operation, free the motorized corps at Brest and take a firm hold on Brest so that the motorized corps can advance without worrying, for half of it is later to advance on Kowel, the other half on Slonim. Infantry divisions would need at least eight days to reach the objectives assigned by me. If we have Kowel and Brest, than we need nothing for the marshes themselves.