On this Day - 1939 - one of the most iconic photographs of #WW2 was taken in #Warsaw. It was taken by American photojournalist Julien Bryan, and it shows a 10-year-old girl, Kazimiera Mika, bending over the body of her sister, who had just been killed in a German air raid.
The sisters had been with a group of other woman, digging for potatoes near Powązki cemetery, when they were targeted in a strafing attack by Luftwaffe aircraft. Two of them were killed. Bryan arrived soon after and took out his camera. #Poland1939
According to Bryan, Mika cried: "What has happened?! What have they done to you?!" begging her sister to come to. "Please talk to me. Please..."
Bryan comforted her as best he could but, he wrote, "What could we, or anyone else, say to this child?" #Poland1939
Bryan's photograph would become one of the most iconic images of #WW2, reproduced in a thousand history books and documentaries. But the story behind it was less well-known.
Kazimiera Mika survived the war. She died in 2020 at the age of 93. #Poland1939

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Roger Moorhouse

Roger Moorhouse Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @Roger_Moorhouse

12 Sep
On this Day - 1939 - the British and French prime ministers and chiefs of staff met in the “Supreme War Council” at Abbéville. They discussed the progress of the ongoing German campaign in Poland and assistance for their ally. #Poland1939
French prime minister Daladier said that the German advance was proceeding “as expected”, and stressed that he had “no intention” of throwing French forces against the German western front.

This, in spite of a previous commitment to do just that.
British prime minister Chamberlain described the French decision as “wise”, and stated that “nothing the Allies could do would save Poland”. Both Britain and France committed themselves instead to building up their own defences. #Poland1939
Read 6 tweets
12 Sep
On this Day - 1939 - Hitler’s filmmaker Leno Riefenstahl witnessed a German massacre of Polish Jews at Końskie, south of Warsaw. #Poland1939
She was there to interview the German commander, General Reichenau, for a propaganda broadcast, but instead was caught up in a “reprisal action” against local Jews. #Końskie
After the death of a couple of German officers in a Polish Army ambush, the Jews of the nearby town, Końskie, were rounded up for punishment: forced to dig the soldiers’ graves with their bare hands, while being abused by German soldiers. #Poland1939
Read 6 tweets
10 Sep
On this Day, 1939 - Polish defence at #Wizna, on the eastern Narew, came to an end with the surrender of the remaining bunkers overlooking the river valley. #Poland1939
After Polish sappers had destroyed the nearby bridge, the bunkers at #Wizna dominated the wide channel of the Narew, a river that the German 3rd Army needed to cross if it were to continue its advance southward. The Germans waited on a pontoon, but none was available.
Facing the German 3rd Army were some 700 Poles under the command of 31-year old Captain Władysław Raginis. He had galvanised his men in their task by swearing an oath, with his deputy, that they would not give up their positions alive. #Wizna #Poland1939 Image
Read 9 tweets
12 Nov 20
#OTD 1940, Stalin's foreign minister Vyacheslav #Molotov arrived in #Berlin for talks with Hitler on the second phase of the German-Soviet strategic relationship.
Staying at the Schloss Bellevue (now home to the German President), Molotov had two days of talks with Hitler and other senior Nazis.
The talks were strained, however. Molotov wanted German agreement to Soviet control of the Bosphorus, and of Bulgaria. Hitler, unwilling to agree to any further westward expansion of Soviet power, wanted the USSR to aid him in the destruction of the British Empire.
Read 6 tweets
26 Aug 18
Hitler had planned for his invasion of #Poland to start #OTD on this day in 1939 - however he was momentarily spooked by the Anglo-Polish alliance and the prospect of Mussolini's arbitration and so decided to rescind the invasion order... #WW2
One detachment of #German soldiers, however, had already left their starting positions when the halt order came through, and could not be reached by radio. The group under Lt. Hans-Albrecht Herzner was invading Poland on their own.
Herzner's task was to capture and hold the strategically important rail tunnel beneath Jablunka Pass on the Polish frontier, and wait for the arrival of the German 10th Army, which he assumed would be following hard on his heels. #WW2
Read 8 tweets
23 Aug 18
On this Day - 1939, the #Nazi-#Soviet Pact was announced in Moscow. As well as a 10-year Non-Aggression Pact, Stalin and Hitler agreed to divide central Europe between them. Here, Stalin toasts the pact with Hitler's photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann.
The Nazi-Soviet Pact gave #Hitler the green light for his plans to invade Poland: a week after its signature, German forces invaded their eastern neighbour. Poland's allies - Britain and France - responded by declaring war on Germany on 3 September. #WW2 in Europe had begun.
Two weeks later, on 17 September, #Stalin's Red Army also invaded #Poland, to claim the spoils promised by the Pact with Hitler. The two invading forces met at Brest-Litovsk, where a joint Red Army/Wehrmacht parade was held, with German and Soviet troops happily fraternising.
Read 5 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!