On December 26 and 27, 1939, the Germans committed one of the first massacres of Polish civilians. The massacre had been preceded by the murder of two German non-commissioned officers on the evening December 26. The murders took place in a district in Warsaw called Wawer and already that evening the Germans began to randomly arrest male civilians between 16 – 70 years in the area where the murders took place. As a reprisal, in a summary trial, 114 men were sentenced to death by firing squad.

Current status: Monument (2015).

Location: 52°14'01.28" N 21°09'30.77" E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

The massacre was one of the first committed by the Germans on Polish soil, but by no means the last. Massacres like this were to become part of everyday life for the Poles and would be deterrent and force the civilian population into obedience and submission. But at the same time, massacres like this one strengthened the ties between Poles and the hatred towards the Germans increased. The random selection inevitably led to the murder of innocents who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. This was a deliberate strategy on the part of the Germans, thereby hoping that people who planned attacks would relinquish while people would prevent attacks in fear that innocent would suffer.

Follow up in books: Lukas, Richard C: Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation 1939-1944 (2008).