May 27, 2013

Finest Hour 145, Winter 2009-10

Page 37

Philately – Stamps Relate Poland’s Sad World War II Story

A vast array of “Churchill-Related” stamps can be used to trace the tragedy of Poland in World War II. Right: Anguilla’s Churchill issue –(1974) shows WSC before the microphones and illustrates his “Soul of Poland” speech on 18 September 1939. It is accompanied by USA issues marking Overrun Poland (1944) and the Polish Millennium (966-1966). A grim reminder of the German onslaught are the three “General Government” overprints early in the occupation. The originals are on the next page, below.

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Below left: Polish stamps celebrate Marshal Pilsudski, the ‘tween wars Polish leader largely responsible for regaining independence; Ignacy Moscicki, President 1926 through the German invasion; and Marshal Smigly-Rydz (or Rydz-Smigly), who in 1935 succeeded Pilsudski as general inspector of the armed forces and served in that capacty during the German invasion. Other stamps illustrate the 1939 battle, augmented by a 1965 Brazil Churchill issue.

Below center: A 1954 Poland commemorative celebrates the sesquicentennial of national hero Thaddeus Kosciuszko’s 1794 uprising against the Russians. Surrounding Poland’s stamp marking the brave stand at Westerplatte is a blood-red German Hitler issue and four German semi-postals which help to illustrate the nature of Hitler’s assault on Poland in September 1939.

Below right: A General Government occupation commemorative marking the 400th anniversary of the death of the astronomer and mathemetician Nicolaus Copernicus illustrates a powerful irony. Although Copernicus was born in 1743 in Thorn, Kingdom of Poland, he is hailed by the German occupiers as “Die Deutschen Astronomen.”

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