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Massacre in Ciepielów on 8 September 1939 was one of the largest and best documented war crimes of the Wehrmacht during its Invasion of Poland.

On September 8, 1939, after the Invasion of Poland, the village of Dąbrowa (near Ciepielów) was the site of a mass murder of approximately 300 Polish prisoners of war from the Polish 74th Infantry Regiment of Upper Silesia commanded by Major Józef Pelc. They were ordered to be shot as partisans by Oberst Walter Wessel, commander of the German 15th Motorized Infantry Regiment, 29th Motorized Infantry Division, after the commanding officer of the 11th Company was killed by a sniper.[citation needed] This division was later destroyed while supporting the Sixth Army at Stalingrad. The 29th Motorized Infantry Division was later reformed with new recruits in Spring 1943 as the 29th Panzergrenadier Division which served in Italy against the US Army at Anzio-Nettuno and San Pietro.

In December 1941, a minor ghetto was established in Ciepielów by German authorities for approximately 600 people of Jewish descent living in the area.[citation needed] In October 1942, all of them were sent to the gas chambers of Treblinka extermination camp. The emptied ghetto was then occupied by an SS unit, which then organized further mass executions of approximately 500 Poles.[citation needed] The village was liberated by the Home Army during Operation Tempest of 1944. In September every year since, a ceremony is held in Ciepielów to commemorate the victims.

See also


  • Datner, Szymon. Zbrodnie Wehrmachtu na jeńcach wojennych w II wojnie światowej. Warszawa : Wydawnictwo Ministerstwa Obrony Narodowej, 1961, s.50,51

Further reading

  • Jochen Böhler Auftakt zum Vernichtungskrieg - Die Wehrmacht in Polen 1939. Eine Publikation des Dt. Historischen Instituts Warschau Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer TB 2006, ISBN 3-596-16307-2
  • Jochen Böhler „Tragische Verstrickung“ oder Auftakt zum vernichtungskrieg? - Die Wehrmacht in Polen 1939, in: Klaus-Michael Mallmann/ Bogdan Musial (Hrsg.): Genesis des Genozids - Polen 1939-1941 Darmstadt 2004, S. 36-56, ISBN 3-534-18096-8
  • Janusz Piekałkiewicz: Polenfeldzug. Hitler und Stalin zerschlagen die Polnische Republik. Augsburg 1998, ISBN 3-86047-907-5
  • Robert Seidel: Deutsche Besatzungspolitik in Polen - Der Distrikt Radom 1939-1945, Paderborn/ München/ Wien/ Zürich 2006, ISBN 978-3-506-75628-2

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