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Brooklyn, N.Y. Ö Thereís good reason why Americaís Polish community is always in the forefront of those who commemorate September 1st as the day World War II began.

On that date in 1939, the evil mind of Germanyís Adolf Hitler decided the only way to deal with Poland was to bring it to its knees in a war far different from any that took place before.

It would be a war in which the civilian population of a country is as much a target as its army.

At a time when voices from other nations in Europe were urging appeasement Ė even surrender Ė to satisfy Hitlerís ominous threats and demands, Poland had the courage and determination to stand firm and be the "First to Fight."

In New York City, the Polish American Congress will remember that dark and tragic date in history at a 9:30 a.m. commemorative mass on Sunday, August 29 th at St. Matthias Church, 58-15 Catalpa Ave. in the Ridgewood section of Queens. The public is invited to this memorial observance and the reception that will follow.

As the Germans launched their invasion, they unleashed a massive and merciless blitzkrieg of death and destruction on the people of Poland. A little more than two weeks later, Communist armies of the Soviet Union marched in from the east and joined the Germans in the carnage.

The brutality of the German mindset was obvious from the very start. The invaders were carrying out the order of Hitler who, only ten days before the attack, instructed his generals to ďsend to death mercilessly and without compassion men, women and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (lebensraum) which we need.Ē

These words of hate are permanently displayed at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. on the wall at the entrance to the museumís exhibit depicting Polandís agony under German occupation.

Heinrich Himmler, the SS boss of the German concentration camps, had a similar message of misery and murder: "All Poles will disappear from the world Ö It is essential that the great German people should consider as its major task to destroy all Poles."

Michael Preisler is a Polish Catholic who saw and experienced the full impact of these barbaric commands after the Gestapo arrested him and sent him to the dreaded Auschwitz death camp.

"Just like Hitler ordered them, the Germans who ran Auschwitz would never show any mercy or compassion to anyone," he said. Preisler is presently co-chair of the Holocaust Documentation Committee of the Polish American Congress.

Mr. Preisler will participate in the commemorative observance and will speak about his Auschwitz experience. Other Polish survivors will also take part.

Because the Russian Communists had taken over Poland when the war ended, he was unable to return home and immigrated to the United States where he became a U.S. citizen. He also joined the Polish American Congress and has been active in the organization ever since.

Having lived through the war and surviving Auschwitz, Preisler regrets that the American public has still not been given an accurate and truthful account about Polandís ordeal.

"Nowhere else is Holocaust history as distorted and as misrepresented as it is about Poland," he said.

The Holocaust Documentation Committee he co-chairs was formed more than twenty years ago and has spent much of its time correcting repeated errors and misstatements the media continually make about Poland.

He attributes some of the problem to "careless or unprofessional reporting." But a lot of it suggests "an intentional anti-Polish or anti-Catholic prejudice."

Preisler has also influenced the Polish American Congress to form another committee which he personally named Children of Polish Christian Holocaust Survivors. He intends to have his children and the children of other Polish survivors carry on the work of their parents.

"Itís the Polish perspective which still hasnít been adequately told. Itís authentic. Itís the truth. It needs to be known," he said.

Polish Americans serving with the U.S. Armed Forces made important contributions in defeating Nazi Germany. Col. Matt Urban shared the distinction of being the most highly decorated U.S. soldier with Audie Murphy. Col. Francis "Gabby" Gabreski was Americaís top air ace in the skies over Europe.

Contact: Frank Milewski Ė (718) 263-2700

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