The German SS arrested Henry at a time that Germany had sworn to destroy Poland, eliminate all Polish culture, and close education. Again, why Poland? The answer lies in Germany’s historical desire to eliminate Poland as a country, steal Polish cultural symbols, clear space for German families to ‘colonize’ Polish lands, and take advantage of Poland’s many natural resources.
Geographically, Poland lies squarely positioned in central Europe, between her two historical enemies, Germany and Russia. Outside powers have always wanted the benefits of Poland’s strategic location along trade routes, rich farmlands, coal, and other natural resources. For centuries, the pattern of all invaders was to commit wholesale slaughter against the Poles and destroy villages, farms and whatever else they could after they stole anything of value.
In 1793, Prussia (precursor to Germany), Russia, and Austria maneuvered to divide Poland between their countries. By 1795, Poland disappeared from the map of Europe. Poland would not regain independence until 1918 at the end of World War I. For 123 years, Poland ceased to exist.
From the very beginning of World War II, “Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formations in readiness—for the present only in the East—with orders to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space that we need.” Adolf Hitler
As Reichsführer, or head of the dreaded Nazi SS (secret police), Heinrich Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and the chief architect of the Final Solution. He further advocated that “all Poles will disappear from the world… It is essential that the great German people should consider it as its major task to destroy all Poles.”