The Second World War began with the Nazi-Soviet invasion of Poland. The German siege of Westerplatte was the first battle in that long and bloody conflict. In spite of immense technological and numerical superiority enjoyed by the forces of the Third Reich, the invaders required an entire week (September 1-7, 1939) to subdue the small Polish garrison defending a supply depot on the Westerplatte Peninsula in the Free City of Gdańsk/Danzig.
This heroic, Thermopylae-like resistance against all odds was the subject of this year’s annual Kościuszko Chair Military Lecture, which was delivered by Prof. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz–the holder of the Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies–on Friday, 27 September 2013.
Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz—who currently holds the Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies—wrote many monographs on the German and Soviet occupations of Poland and the greater Intermarium region of Central and Eastern Europe. These studies inevitably dealt with genocides committed by both totalitarian regimes.
In his work on the subject, Dr. Chodakiewicz clarified that the Ejszyszki incident—which was falsely and inaccurately misrepresented by Western historiography as a pogrom perpetrated by Polish “Fascists”—was actually and simply an operation by the Polish anti-Nazi, anti-Soviet resistance against the Soviet NKVD and its collaborators.
The case study of Ejszyszki offers a universally applicable insight into inter-ethnic relations during times of war and conflict.