World War II Current Affairs - 2020

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Mahatma Gandhi’s 80-year-old Letter wishing Jews ‘Era of Peace’ Unveiled

The National Library of Israel unveiled an 80 – year old handwritten letter by Mahatma Gandhiji on the day World War II broke out. He had wished the Jewish people an era of peace in his letter.

Gandhiji had addressed the letter the Bombay Zionist Association that was struggling to turn the support of Indian leaders in favor of the movement to establish a home for the Jews.

When was the letter written?

The letter was written by Gandhiji on the occasion of Jewish new year, that is, on September 1, 1939. It also marked the day when Germany invaded Poland and set the world at war.

The letter was addressed to Shohet

Shohet – The Indian Jewish leader

Shohet saw the movement as the only way to unite the Jewish population in India. It included the wealthy Baghdadi Jews, local European Jews and Israelian Jews. As Gandhiji remained silent on the killing of Jews Shohet wanted to win him over his side. However, he couldn’t convince Mahatma to become an active defender of European Jews.

A Memorial pillar to Polish Refugees unveiled in Kolhapur

A commemorative pillar in memory of Polish families and individuals who had made India their home during World War II was unveiled at Valivade village in western Kolhapur district of Maharashtra. Around 5,000 refugees from Poland lived in Kolhapur’s Valivade village between 1942 and 1948.

The Memorial pillar was unveiled by Deputy Foreign Minister of Polish Republic Marcin Przydacz, Polish Ambassador to India Adam Burakowski and Guardian Minister of Kolhapur Chandrakant Patil.

Key Highlights

A delegation from Poland, including 12 of the surviving polish refugees, arrived in Kolhapur for commemoration of 80th anniversary of their stay in India.

A permanent museum dedicated to memory of 5,000 Polish people who lived in Valivade camp will be built in next one year. The museum would contain photographs, paintings & other important items and materials from #WWII era, to keep memories of past alive for next generations.

With the cooperation and affection of citizens of Kolhapur, Valivade could soon be transformed into a ‘mini Poland’, with its own church, schools and even a cinema.

History

During the Second World War, Poland was caught between Adolf Hitler’s Germany and Josef Stalin’s Russia. Poland was dismembered by 1939 Nazi-Soviet Union pact or ‘the Devil’s Alliance’, with cream of Poland’s officer corps, which included several members of country’s intelligentsia, massacred by NKVD (or the Soviet secret police) in Katyn Forest in 1940. This in turn led to a stream of refugees who initially endured the living hell of Soviet camps to make their way to Valivade village in Kolhapur district, 235 km from Pune.