*** Polish boy scout and girl guide movement -- World War II

Polish Boy Scouts and Girl Guides: World War II

Warsaw uprising Boy Scouts
Figure 1.--Here Boy Scouts are selling newspapers during The Warsaw Uprishing (August 1944). They are in the Powiśle district. The boys are proudly wearing their Scout uniforms. This was enough to get shot during the German occupoation.

The Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, which beause of defense treaties with Britain and France, launched World War II. The Polish Army was defeated in a 6-week blitzkrieg. When it was clear that Poland was defeated, the Red Army invaded from the east, partioning Poland. The German split western Poland into two areas and annexed both. The rest of the NAZI occupied area was created a Government General--a World War I term. Rgis basically central Poland. The Soviets occupied eastern Poland. Regulations varied greatly in these areas, but the goal of destroying Polish national ecsistence was the same. The Germans outlawed Scouting. They Germans did not organize any pro-NAZI youth groups for Polish boys as was the case with many occupied countries in Western Europe. The NAZIs considered the Poles and unter-mench, suitable only for death or slave labor to support the Reich as part of Generalplan Ost. The Scouts and Guides did not disappear. They organized underground. It became dangerous to wear Scout and Guide uniforms. They becasme part of the underground state. They rebranded as the Gray Ranks (Szare Szeregi). Led by Scoutmaster Florian Marciniak, the older youth became a paramilitary group, working independently but in cooperation with the resistance.The Soviets in their zone of eastern Poland began organizing Young Pioneer groups. We assume they immeditalely outlawed Scouting. This of course changed in June 1941 when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union. The Germans proceed to put the same draconian occupation regulations into force in the rest of Poland. While Scouting was outlawed, the NAZIs were unable to destroy the movement. Scouts continued to operate underground. In fact, it played an important role in the Polish ressistance in opposing the brutal occupation of their country. NAZI actions during the occupation are There wre many examples of heroic acts against the NAZIs. Younger Scouts for example delivered the mail and messages during the Warsaw uprising in (August-October 1944). Tragically, most of the boys involved were killed. Olfer Scouts actually engaged in combat, like the Grey Wolves.


Richard Rhodes, Masters of Death (Knopf, 2002).


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Created: 2:14 AM 10/5/2022
Last updated: 2:14 AM 10/5/2022