Oflag VII-A Murnau
Oflag VII-A Murnau was a German Army POW camp for Polish Army officers during World War II. It was located 2 km north of the Bavarian town of Murnau am Staffelsee; the camp was created in September 1939. It consisted of an enclosure 200 m square, surrounded with barbed guard towers. After the German invasion of Poland, at the beginning of World War II, some 1,000 Polish officers were imprisoned there. On April 27, 1942, additional Polish POWs were transferred there from the so-called "Generals' Camp" Oflag VIII-E in Johannisbrunn, Sudetenland. After the failed Warsaw Uprising and "Operation Tempest" more prisoners were brought there from Poland. By early 1945 the number of POWs held in the camp reached over 5,000; the camps was liberated by troops of the U. S. 12th Armored Division on 29 April 1945. Among those imprisoned in Murnau were: Józef Unrug Władysław Bortnowski Tadeusz Kutrzeba Tadeusz Piskor Juliusz Rómmel Edward PachSeweryn Kulesza Seweryn Kulesza Antoni Hertmanowski Bronislaw Przyluski Kałmierz Budkoitski Tadeusz Grzybowski Franciszek Cieslar Stanislaw Goldbaum Stanisław Józef Grabiński Stanley D. Jaworski Kazimierz Krawczynski Edward V. Lis Klemens Henryk Matuszewski Stanisław Miecznikowski Seweryn SlawinskiStanislaw Turek List of prisoner-of-war camps in Germany - The forgotten photos http://murnau-oflag.com Life in Murnau
The War Order of Virtuti Militari is Poland's highest military decoration for heroism and courage in the face of the enemy at war. It was created in 1792 by Polish King Stanisław II August and is one of the oldest military decorations in the world still in use, it is awarded in five classes either for personal heroism or, to commanders, for leadership. Some of the heroic actions recognized by an award of the Virtuti Militari are equivalent to those meriting the British Victoria Cross, the German Iron Cross, the American Medal of Honor. Soon after its introduction, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was destroyed in the partitions of Poland, the partitioning powers abolished the decoration and prohibited its wearing. Since the award has been reintroduced and banned several times, with its fate reflecting the vicissitudes of the Polish people. Throughout the decoration's existence, thousands of soldiers and officers and foreign, several cities and one ship have been awarded the Virtuti Militari for valor or outstanding leadership in war.
There have been no new awards since 1989. Throughout its history, the War Order of Virtuti Militari has shared its country's fate, has been abolished and reintroduced several times; the order was created on 22 June 1792 by King Stanisław II August to commemorate the victorious Battle of Zieleńce. It comprised two classes: a golden medal for generals and officers, a silver one for non-commissioned officers and ordinary soldiers. By August 1792, a statute for the decoration had been drafted, based on one, created for the Austrian Military Order of Maria Theresa; the regulation changed the shape of the decoration from a medal to a cross, which has not changed since then. It introduced five classes to the order; the first members of the decoration's chapter were its first recipients. For the Polish-Russian War in Defence of the Constitution of 1792, a total of 63 officers and 290 NCOs and privates were awarded the Virtuti Militari; the statute was never implemented, since soon after its introduction the King acceded to the Targowica Confederation, which on 29 August 1792 abolished the decoration and prohibited its wearing.
Anyone who wore the medal could be expelled from the army by Poland's new authorities. Although on 23 November 1793 the Grodno Sejm reintroduced the decoration, it was banned again on 7 January 1794, at the insistence of Russia's Catherine the Great. Only a year the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth itself shared the fate of its decoration when what remained of the Commonwealth was annexed by its neighbors in the partitions of Poland. King Stanisław II August abdicated the same year. During his reign, 526 medals had been granted: 440 Silver Medals and Crosses, 85 Golden Medals and Crosses, 1 Commander's Cross. Among the most famous recipients of the Virtuti Militari in this period were Prince Józef Antoni Poniatowski and Tadeusz Kościuszko, both able military commanders during the War in Defense of the Constitution and the Kościuszko Uprising. In 1806, Lt. Gen. Prince Józef Poniatowski was promoted to commander-in-chief of all forces of the Duchy of Warsaw, the short-lived Polish state allied with Napoleon I of France.
As one of the first recipients of the Virtuti Militari, Poniatowski insisted on the reintroduction of the decoration. On 26 December 1806, the King of Saxony and Duke of Warsaw Fryderyk August Wettin accepted the proposal and reintroduced the Virtuti Militari as the highest military award for all Polish soldiers fighting alongside France in the Napoleonic Wars; the official name of the decoration was changed to the Military Medal of the Duchy of Warsaw. The royal decree introduced a new class system, in use since, with the class of the cross depending on the rank of the soldier to whom it is awarded: I Class - Grand Cross II Class - Commander's Cross III Class - Knight's Cross IV Class - Golden Cross V Class - Silver Cross Initially each of the high commanders of the Army had a quota of Virtuti Militari to be awarded to his soldiers. However, the system was soon changed and, since the order has been awarded centrally for individual acts of bravery after being nominated by the chain of command.
According to the decree of 10 October 1812, each of the recipients of a Golden or Silver Cross had the right to a yearly salary until promoted to officer or for life. In addition, during the Napoleonic Wars, the present tradition of awarding the soldiers with the Virtuti Militari in front of the unit was established. Between 1806 and 1815, there were 2569 crosses awarded to Polish soldiers fighting on all fronts, from Santo Domingo to Russia and from Italy to Spain. Among the famous recipients of the medal in this period were General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski, the organiser of Polish Legions during the Napoleonic Wars, for whom the Polish national anthem Mazurek Dąbrowskiego is named, General Józef Chłopicki. On 20 May 1809, Sergeant Joanna Żubr became the first woman to receive the decoration for her part in the assault on Zamość. In 1815 at the Congress of Vienna, when European powers reorganised Europe following the Napoleonic wars, the Kingdom of Poland—known unofficially as the "Congress Poland"—was created.
This state, with a tenth the area of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and a fifth of its population, was now tied to Russia in a p
Order of Polonia Restituta
The Order of Polonia Restituta is a Polish state order established 4 February 1921. It is conferred on both military and civilians as well as on foreigners for outstanding achievements in the fields of education, sport, art, national defense, social work, civil service, or for furthering good relations between countries; the Order of Polonia Restituta is sometimes regarded as Poland's successor to the Order of the Knights of Saint Stanislaus and Martyr, known as the Order of Saint Stanislaus, established in 1765 by Stanisław August Poniatowski, the last King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, to honor supporters of the Polish crown. When Poland regained its independence from the German Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Russian Empire in 1918, the new Polish government abolished the activities of the Order of Saint Stanislaus in the country, due to the claimed abuses of its initial rules by the Russians, who awarded their version to those who - according to the dominant view in newly independent Poland - had been responsible for the destruction of Poland and Polish culture.
Instead, the Order of Polonia Restituta was established on 4 February 1921 with Marshal Józef Piłsudski as first Grand Master, with the proclaimed aim of once again rewarding the noble values that it original stood for. The Marshal awarded the first recipients on 13 July 1921; the order became Poland's main honour bestowed on foreigners, awarded by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After World War II both the Polish government-in-exile and the Communist People's Republic of Poland, aligned with the Warsaw Pact, awarded the order, though the versions differed slightly. Despite communist control, the order's prestige remained safe and it was given to many people who were hardly model communists; the order was saved from abuse as it was passed over in favor of more traditional communist awards. During this time, the Order of Merit of Poland became the favored award for foreigners. On 22 December 1990 the Polish government-in-exile returned the rights to its version of the order to the new Polish state.
Invalid awards have been revoked and today the remaining communist versions of the order hold the same status as any other issues. Founded by the Polish Republic on 4 February 1921 as a secondary award to the Order of the White Eagle, the Order of Polonia Restituta, or the Order of the Restored Poland, has been alleged as an intended Polish successor to the Polish Order of Saint Stanislaus; the new Polonia Restituta order use the same ribbon as the old Saint Stanislaus order and their decorations are similar. The goal was to preserve the tradition of the Order of Saint Stanislaus and its association with Polish history while changing the name which had become associated with Poland's oppression under the Russian Tsars. Among Polish civilian awards, the Order is second only to the awarded Order of the White Eagle; the order entitled its recipient to a state pension. As such nominees for the award are evaluated by a special committee responsible for upholding the honor of the order; the Chapter of Polonia Restituta is composed of a Grand Master and eight members appointed by him, who serve five year terms.
Upon becoming elected the President of Poland, the office-holder is automatically awarded the order and becomes the Grand Master of the Order Chapter. The names of new recipients are published in the Monitor Polski, a publication required to provide announcements of legal decisions to the public. Order of Polonia Restituta has five classes, categorized according to the Constitution of Poland, Article 138, as follows: Order of Polonia Restituta First Class, Krzyż Wielki, the Grand Cross, referred to as the Grand Cordon. Order of Polonia Restituta Second Class, Krzyż Komandorski z Gwiazdą, the Commander's Cross with Star. Order of Polonia Restituta Third Class, Krzyż Komandorski, the Commander's Cross. Order of Polonia Restituta Fourth Class, Krzyż Oficerski, the Officer's Cross. Order of Polonia Restituta Fifth Class, Krzyż Kawalerski, the Knight's Cross; the badge of the order is a gold Maltese cross enamelled in white. The obverse central disc bears a white eagle on red background, the Coat of Arms of Poland, surrounded by a blue ring bearing the words "Polonia Restituta".
The reverse central disc bears the year 1918. It is worn on a ribbon, red with a white stripe near the edges, as a sash on the right shoulder for Grand Cross, around the neck for Commander with Star and Commander, on the left chest with rosette for Officer, on the left chest without rosette for Knight; the star of the order is an eight-pointed silver star with straight rays. The central disc is in white enamel, bearing the monogram "RP" and surrounded by a blue ring bearing the Latin words "Polonia Restituta". Order of Saint Stanislaus
Władysław Zygmunt Belina-Prażmowski, was a Polish cavalryman and politician. He was a member of Związek Walki Czynnej since 1909 Związek Strzelecki. Student of Lwów Politechnic in 1919-1913. Serving under Józef Piłsudski, he became one of the first Polish soldiers - formally under Austrian command - who entered Russian-held Polish territory during the First World War. Member of Polish Legions and commander of 1st Regiment of Polish Uhlans and 1st Brigade of Polish Uhlans, he fought in the Polish-Ukrainian War and Polish-Soviet War. In April 1919 his troops were instrumental in taking Wilno. Piłsudski would declare Belina's cavalry action a most exquisite military action carried out by Polish cavalry in this war. From 1929 he retired from the military. In 1931-1933 he from 1933 to 1937, voivode of Lwów. In 1938 he retired from public work due to worsening health. Gold Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta Cross of Valour - five times Officers' badge "Parasol" Order of the Cross of the Eagle, Class II The Seven Lancers of Belina
Uhlans were Polish light cavalry armed with lances and pistols. The Polish Uhlans became the model for many general-purpose cavalry units throughout Europe in the early 19th century as use of traditional heavy cavalry declined; the title was used by lancer regiments in the Russian, Saxon and other armies. Uhlans wore a double-breasted jacket with a coloured panel at the front, a coloured sash, a square-topped Polish lancer cap; this cap or cavalry helmet was derived from a traditional design of Polish cap, made more formal and stylised for military use. Their lances had small, swallow-tailed flags just below the spearhead. In the Turkic Tatar language, "uhlan" means, amongst other things, young man, it can be referred to "Ulan zalata" – another accepted name for the Kalmyk/Oirat people, who played a significant military role on the steppes on both sides of the lower Volga river basin from the middle of the 17th century until their return to their Eastern Dzhungar Khanate in 1771. The Kalmyk/Oirat/Dzhungar cavalry made wide spread use of lances both in European as well as Central Asian wars.
During the Polish-Lithuanian Union, the name "Ułan" was the surname of a Lithuanian Tatar noble family whose male family members, like many Lithuanian nobles, had served as light cavalrymen for the Polish kings since at least the 15th century. One of the family members, Colonel Aleksander Ułan, was the commander of a Polish light cavalry regiment in the service of Polish-Saxon kings, Augustus II the Strong and Augustus III. After Ułan's death his regiment was nicknamed Ułanowe dzieci and Ułanowe wojsko and shortened to Ułans. Prior to 1764, all Polish-Lithuanian Tatar cavalry regiments in Saxon service were named Ułani. Once the Golden Horde Tatar families had settled in Lithuania in the late 14th century, they were required to perform military service for the Grand Duke of Lithuania and the Polish King; the Poles started incorporating much of their military vocabulary and many of their traditions, along with their strategy and tactics. Lithuanian Tartars Muslim, served as part of the Royal armies during various battles of the late Middle Ages.
Their tasks were to conduct reconnaissance in advance of the heavier cavalry banners. With the end of armored knights during the 16th century, the Lithuanian Tatars were organized in light banners – armed with light lance, bow and sometimes war axe, serving as companions and retainers – while lightly armed hussars were converted into heavy companies of winged hussars. Tatar companions serving within their own Tatar companies lasted until the 1770s, when major cavalry reforms were carried out within the Polish-Lithuanian army and were included in the reformed cavalry regiments; the last Polish King, Stanisław August Poniatowski, had a Uhlan guard regiment known as the Royal Uhlans. It was disbanded in 1794 or 1795; the first Uhlan regiments were created in the early 18th century, during the 1720s, in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. As developments in battlefield tactics and firearms had combined with the increasing sizes of early modern armies to make heavy armour obsolescent, lighter units became the core of the cavalry, distinguished only by the sizes of their men and mounts and by the tasks that they performed.
During the period preceding the Partitions of Poland, Uhlan formations consisting of Poles or Polish Tartars were created in most surrounding states because the Polish Crown did not have the resources or political will to maintain a numerous army. Speed and mobility were the key to the effectiveness of light cavalry armed with lances; the Uhlan regiment formed by the Kingdom of Prussia in 1740, the so-called Natzmer-uhlans, was used ineptly, employing heavy-cavalry tactics against fortified positions. The regiment failed to distinguish itself favorably in the first of the Silesian Wars and was disbanded shortly afterwards. In 1745, engaged in a personal union with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, created a Polish Uhlan regiment called "Saxon Volunteers". Shortly after, the Marechal de Saxe created a Polish Ulan regiment for the French king, Louis XV. King Stanisław August Poniatowski of Poland formed a regiment of royal guards equipped with lances and pistols, each guardsman uniformed in kurta and czapka.
This unit became the prototype for many other units of the Polish cavalry, who started to arm themselves with equipment modelled after Uhlan regiments and mediaeval Tartars. In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth the Uhlans inherited the status and traditions of the winged Polish hussars in 1776, thus becoming National cavalry; the Austrian empire formed a "Uhlan Regiment" in 1784, composed of Poles. Uhlan regiments recruited from Austrian cavalrymen were raised in 1791. After the start of the Napoleonic Wars, uhlan formations were raised by the Duchy of Warsaw. Polish lancers serving with the French Army included the Vistula Legion and the Chevaux-légers lanciers de la Garde Impériale; the lancers of the Polish expeditionary corps, which fought alongside the French in Spain and Germany, spread the popularity of the Polish model of light cavalry. After the Battle of Somosierra, Napoleon said that one Polish cavalryman was worth ten French soldiers; the chevaux-légers, French light cavalry units from the 16th century till 1815, were remodelled
The Russian Empire known as Imperial Russia or Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917. The third largest empire in world history, at its greatest extent stretching over three continents, Europe and North America, the Russian Empire was surpassed in landmass only by the British and Mongol empires; the rise of the Russian Empire coincided with the decline of neighboring rival powers: the Golden Horde, the Swedish Empire, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire. It played a major role in 1812–1814 in defeating Napoleon's ambitions to control Europe and expanded to the west and south; the House of Romanov ruled the Russian Empire from 1721 until 1762, its matrilineal branch of patrilineal German descent the House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov ruled from 1762. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire extended from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea in the south, from the Baltic Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean, into Alaska and Northern California in America on the east.
With 125.6 million subjects registered by the 1897 census, it had the third-largest population in the world at the time, after Qing China and India. Like all empires, it included a large disparity in terms of economics and religion. There were numerous dissident elements. Economically, the empire had a predominantly agricultural base, with low productivity on large estates worked by serfs, Russian peasants; the economy industrialized with the help of foreign investments in railways and factories. The land was ruled by a nobility from the 10th through the 17th centuries, subsequently by an emperor. Tsar Ivan III laid the groundwork for the empire that emerged, he tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde, renovated the Moscow Kremlin, laid the foundations of the Russian state. Emperor Peter the Great fought numerous wars and expanded an huge empire into a major European power, he moved the capital from Moscow to the new model city of St. Petersburg, led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political mores with a modern, Europe-oriented, rationalist system.
Empress Catherine the Great presided over a golden age. Emperor Alexander II promoted numerous reforms, most the emancipation of all 23 million serfs in 1861, his policy in Eastern Europe involved protecting the Orthodox Christians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. That connection by 1914 led to Russia's entry into the First World War on the side of France, the United Kingdom, Serbia, against the German and Ottoman empires; the Russian Empire functioned as an absolute monarchy on principles of Orthodoxy and Nationality until the Revolution of 1905 and became a de jure constitutional monarchy. The empire collapsed during the February Revolution of 1917 as a result of massive failures in its participation in the First World War. Though the Empire was only proclaimed by Tsar Peter I following the Treaty of Nystad, some historians would argue that it was born either when Ivan III of Russia conquered Veliky Novgorod in 1478, or when Ivan the Terrible conquered the Khanate of Kazan in 1552. According to another point of view, the term Tsardom, used after the coronation of Ivan IV in 1547, was a contemporary Russian word for empire.
Much of Russia's expansion occurred in the 17th century, culminating in the first Russian colonization of the Pacific in the mid-17th century, the Russo-Polish War that incorporated left-bank Ukraine, the Russian conquest of Siberia. Poland was divided in the 1790 -- 1815 era, with much of the population going to Russia. Most of the 19th-century growth came from adding territory in Asia, south of Siberia. Peter I the Great played a major role in introducing Russia to the European state system. While the vast land had a population of 14 million, grain yields trailed behind those of agriculture in the West, compelling nearly the entire population to farm. Only a small percentage lived in towns; the class of kholops, close in status to slavery, remained a major institution in Russia until 1723, when Peter converted household kholops into house serfs, thus including them in poll taxation. Russian agricultural kholops were formally converted into serfs earlier in 1679. Peter's first military efforts were directed against the Ottoman Turks.
His attention turned to the North. Peter still lacked a secure northern seaport, except at Archangel on the White Sea, where the harbor was frozen for nine months a year. Access to the Baltic was blocked by Sweden. Peter's ambitions for a "window to the sea" led him to make a secret alliance in 1699 with Saxony, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Denmark against Sweden, resulting in the Great Northern War; the war ended in 1721. Peter acquired four provinces situated east of the Gulf of Finland; the coveted access to the sea was now secured. There he built Russia's new capital, Saint Petersburg, to replace Moscow, which had long been Russia's cultural center. In 1722, he tur
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona