Poland was the first country which resisted to Hitler and the only country to fight in the European theatre of war from the very first to the very last day. On Sep. 1st 1939, 1.8 million German troops invaded Poland on 3 fronts (from the north, the south and the west) 2 weeks later, on Sep. 17th, 1939, 1.1 million Soviet troops invaded Poland from the east.
Thousands of soldiers and civilians managed to escape to France and Britain whilst many more went “underground”, later forming the “Home Army”. A Polish government-in-exile was formed in London.The Polish Army, Navy and Air Force that escaped in 1939 and reorganized abroad, continued to fight the Germans. In fact they have the distinction of being the only nation to fight on every front in the War.
Despite the defeat in 1939, the Poles formed 5 more armies, including 4 in exile: in France (1939), in the UK (1940), and 2 in the USSR (1941, 1943). The 5th Polish army, created at the end of Sep., 1939 in the occupied Polish territory was the “Home Army” – the largest underground resistance army during WW2 (about 400,000 soldiers in 1944), which carried out the war’s largest uprising (the Warsaw Rising 1944) which lasted 63 days. For the entire period of the war there also existed the very important “silent front” – supplying the Allies with constant intelligence information about the eastern front, decryption of Enigma machine, providing information about the V-1 rocket, sending over to Britain of the V-2 rocket, the sabotage and destruction of German supply trains and communication centers.
It was also occupied Poland – a pre-war home to the World’s largest Jewish community (3.5 million = ca 10% of Poland’s pre-war total population) where most of the Nazi German organized Holocaust took place. The isolation in ca 440 Jewish Ghettos, the terror, the construction of labor and extermination camps resulted in almost total annihilation of Jewish communities and physical traces of 1000 years Jewish history within Polish borders.
The history of Jewish resistance started in occupied Poland – the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising 1943 (the first urban uprising in occupied Europe), the Białystok and other ghettos Uprisings the revolts in Treblinka and Sobibor extermination camps, individual and organized resistance and efforts to inform the world about the extermination were initiated by Jews in occupied Poland.