Facing the Death: the different expressions of six Polish civilians moments before death by firing squad, 1939

It is interesting to see the range of emotions displayed by these men: anguish, defiance, conservatism, acceptance and fear, with the third from the left also smiling. He was hanged during Bloody Sunday in Bydgoszcz, Poland in 1939.

Bloody Sunday was a series of murders of members of the German minority that occurred at the start of World War II. On September 3, 1939, two days after the start of the German invasion of Poland, the highly controversial murders took place in and around Bydgoszcz (German: Bromberg), a Polish town with a large German minority. The number of casualties and other details of the incident are disputed among historians.

After the capture of the city by the Wehrmacht, the Nazis took advantage of the deaths as the basis for the massacre of Polish residents. In an act of retaliation for the killings on Bloody Sunday, several Polish civilians were executed by German military units of the Einsatzgruppen, the Waffen SS and the Wehrmacht.

According to German historian Christian Ratz von Frentz, before the end of 1939 876 Poles were tried by a German tribunal for their involvement in the events of Bloody Sunday. 87 men and 13 women were sentenced without the right of appeal.

Polish historian Ceszaw Madajski mentions 120 executions in connection with Bloody Sunday, and 20 hostages executed after a German soldier was allegedly attacked by a Polish sniper.

The term "Bloody Sunday" was coined and supported by the Nazi propaganda authorities. An instruction issued to the press stated: "... News on the vandalism of the Poles should be shown in Bromberg. The expression 'Bloody Sunday' should be entered as a permanent word in the dictionary and circulated the globe. For reason, the word must be consistently underlined".

Goebbels' propaganda ministry took heavy advantage of the events to try to gain support in Germany for the invasion. Reports in the press and newsreel showed Polish violence against the German minority in Poland.

Goebbels initially estimated that 5,800 Germans were killed during Bloody Sunday, but in 1940 this estimate increased to 58,000, which was later published in "Polish Atrocities against the German Minority in Poland", which found a majority of Germans. convinced him to attack and fueled more hatred against it. Pole.

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