Along the road at a village called Dabrowa, just south of Ciepielow, German troops killed about 250 Polish prisoners of war, September 9, 1939. These prisoners of war was killed because they had ambushed the Germans and killed an officer. However, the Germans won the gunfight and in retaliation for the ambush, the German commander, Colonel Walter Wessel, ordered the prisoners of war to be shot as partisans. They were ordered to take off their uniforms and then shot. This was one of the first massacres and perhaps the largest, in terms of victims, and certainly the most known the German armed forces committed during the month-long Polish campaign. Colonel Walter Wessel was later awarded the Knights Cross with oak leaves for his war efforts (not for the massacre), but died in a car accident in July 1943.

Current status: Monument (2023).

Location: 51° 13' 21.36"N, 21° 35' 44.64"E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

The reason why the massacre is the most famous is partly because it was photographed by an unknown soldier who was on the scene. It is also better known as the Ciepielow massacre despite the fact that it was committed in Dabrowa. The massacre itself is proof that war crimes were committed, not only by the SS, but also by ”ordinary” German armed forces. Not only in Dabrowa, but in all Europe, especilly eastern and southern Europe. Today, there are several well-kept monuments and information boards on the site.

Follow up in books: Moorhouse, Roger: Poland 1939: The Outbreak of World War II (2020).