Ms. Cosby (left) is shown as she submits her application for membership in the Downstate N.Y. Division of the Polish American Congress to President Frank Milewski (right) and Andrew Kaminski, co-chair of the Children of Polish Christian Holocaust Survivors, himself the son of an Auschwitz survivor.
Brooklyn N.Y… Flag Day, June 14th, is that special day intended to remind Americans they should honor their country by displaying its flag from their homes and public places.
When Polish Americans raise the Stars and Stripes on Flag Day, many of them can’t help recalling what that date in 1940 symbolizes for some of their families or relatives who lived in German-occupied Poland in World War II.
The occupation was not yet ten months old when Hitler and his Nazis opened the gates of Auschwitz to begin their barbaric orgy of torture and murder that was to last there for nearly five long and cruel years.
Polish Americans remember June 14, 1940 because the first group of victims condemned to suffer or die in this hell hole the Germans created was a transport of 728 Polish prisoners who arrived there from Tarnow that opening day.
For the first two years of the death camp’s existence, the majority of Auschwitz inmates was Polish. Mass transports of Jews began in 1942 after the Germans devised the “Final Solution.” By the time the Holocaust ended, the largest group which perished there was the Jews and Poles were the second largest.
While the Polish American Congress commemorated the tragic Auschwitz anniversary and honored the memory of those who were forced to endure the evil that dominated there, it also paid tribute to the Polish Underground Resistance which contributed so significantly to the Allied victory over Germany and the eventual liberation of Auschwitz.
As guest speaker at the commemoration, Emmy award-winning journalist, TV host and N.Y. Times bestselling author Rita Cosby was able to provide a special insight to Poland’s relentless and heroic fight to free itself from the German occupation.
It came through the testimony of her father which she recorded in her new book, “Quiet Hero – Secrets From My Father’s Past.”
Ms. Cosby’s father, Richard Kossobudzki, was a member of Poland’s Underground Resistance, the largest and most effective resistance in all German-occupied Europe. His story is one of courage and determination and so compelling that the book has now become a bestseller.
“Richard Cosby and his Resistance comrades are true heroes in our historic fight for freedom. Without their courage, Solidarity would never have won its final battle,” said Lech Walesa, former president of Poland.
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