Thursday, July 26, 2018

Piasnica Massacres: Another Nazi Atrocity Against Poles You've Never Heard Of

The above photo came through my Facebook feed recently. I did a Google image search. The photo is identified as a record of the Massacres in Piasnica, Poland, 1939-40. 

Wikipedia reports

"The massacres in Piaśnica were a set of mass executions carried out by Nazi Germany during World War II, between the fall of 1939 and spring of 1940 in Piaśnica Wielka (Groß Piasnitz) in the Darzlubska Wilderness near Wejherowo. The exact number of people murdered is unknown, but estimates range between 12,000 and 14,000 victims. Most of them were Polish intellectuals from Gdańsk Pomerania, but Poles, Jews, Czechs and German inmates from mental hospitals from General Government and the Third Reich were also murdered. After the Stutthof concentration camp, Piaśnica was the largest site of killings of Polish civilians in Pomerania by the Germans, and for this reason is sometimes referred to as the "second" or "Pomeranian" Katyn. It was the first large scale Nazi atrocity in occupied Poland."

Inside Poland calls this massacres "the other Katyn." 

Inside Poland writes, " the autumn of 1939 began the Piaśnica massacres. Nobody, except ethnic, party-card toting Germans living in this part of Poland, was safe, and by the time the manhunts, summary shootings and mass executions were being wound down a year later, at least 16,000 people had died.

From the beginning, there was no doubt that Poles were the target of Nazi German aggression. Elżbieta Grot noted in her Genocide in Piaśnica (Ludobójstwo w Piaśnicy) that Albert Forster, Nazi Germany’s administrator of the region, roused crowds in Wejherowo, stating 'We have to eliminate the lice-ridden Poles, starting with those in the cradle… into your hands I place the fate of these Poles – you may do with them as you please.' Grot also notes that many ethnic Germans – some with Polish citizenship – who took part in the subsequent massacres later went on to become highly proficient members of the Nazi German SS."

I have nothing to add to these accounts. I am posting here simply because this photo crossed my path, and I did not want to delete it from my computer before sharing a commemoration of these innocent Polish victims of Nazism.

Re: comments. For some reason, I have not been receiving alerts about comments on my blogs, and there is a big backlog of unpublished comments. Please do comment, and I will do my best to make sure that appropriate comments are published. I apologize for the previous comments that got lost in the computer glitch. 


  1. This must be put in the broader context of the German destruction of the cream of Polish society, which was part of the Polokaust. Although many Holocaust books say that 1.5--2.0 million Poles perished during WWII, recent studies show that the actual death toll may be as high as 8 million:

  2. Thanks very much for the article. I hadn’t heard of Piaśnica before. Another compelling reminder of the multitude of atrocities that Poles endured, which, unsurprisingly, are nowhere to be found in American textbooks.

  3. The book doesn't say 8 million died. Poland's borders changed.


Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
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