Tomaszów Mazowiecki

The Battle of Tomaszów Mazowiecki, a tragically overlooked chapter of the cataclysmic events that unfolded in Poland during the autumn of 1939, embodies the desperate struggle and ultimate futility of the Polish resistance against the relentless German war machine.

It stands as a testament to the bravery and sacrifice of a nation confronted with overwhelming odds, facing a foe hell-bent on conquest.

Map of Poland, showing location ofTomaszów Mazowiecki.

NordNordWest Wikipedia

The history of the village

Tomaszów Mazowiecki, a town located in central Poland, has a rich and diverse history that predates the cataclysmic events of the Second World War. Its origins can be traced back to the 19th century when it emerged as a bustling industrial center, fueled by the growth of the textile industry.

Founded in 1823, Tomaszów Mazowiecki quickly became renowned for its textile mills and factories, attracting workers from all over the region. The town's strategic location at the intersection of major trade routes further contributed to its economic significance. It thrived as a vibrant hub of commerce and industry, attracting entrepreneurs and investors who propelled its growth.

Over the years, Tomaszów Mazowiecki developed into a dynamic and cosmopolitan town, with a diverse population and a rich cultural heritage. It became a melting pot of different ethnic and religious communities, fostering an atmosphere of tolerance and diversity.

However, the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 shattered the peace and prosperity that had defined Tomaszów Mazowiecki. The German invasion of Poland brought devastation to the town, as it fell victim to the ruthless blitzkrieg tactics employed by the invading forces. The subsequent occupation by Nazi Germany marked the beginning of a dark period in the town's history, characterized by repression, persecution, and suffering.

The storm of war

As the storm clouds of war gathered over Europe, Poland stood firm, its people unbowed and resolute in the face of encroaching tyranny. Yet, their valiant spirit was no match for the lightning-fast blitzkrieg tactics unleashed by Adolf Hitler's Wehrmacht.

Tomaszów Mazowiecki, a town of modest size but of strategic importance, became a crucible of resistance against the German juggernaut.

In September 1939, as the German forces swept across the Polish countryside, Tomaszów Mazowiecki found itself thrust into the heart of the maelstrom.

The area was defended by the Polish 13th Infantry Division, led by Col. Wadysaw Kaliski, while Germany launched an assault with two armoured divisions from the 16th Panzer Corps.

Władysław Kaliński, commander of the Polish 13th Infantry Division.

The Poles, armed with antiquated weaponry and plagued by inadequate leadership and coordination, fought bravely but were ultimately outmatched by the superior firepower and tactical acumen of the German invaders.

After a day of fighting, German forces smashed through Polish fortifications and captured the town. After suffering heavy losses, the Polish 13th Division was forced to retreat towards Warsaw.

During the night of the 7th and 8th of September, some of the soldiers of the 13th Infantry Division panicked and deserted while the remaining troops managed to cross the Vistula on the 11th September.

Abandoned Polish Tankietka(tankette) TK-S after the battle of Tomaszow Lubelski.


The Battle of Tomaszów Mazowiecki, though a localized engagement, echoed the tragic fate of Poland as a whole.

It served as a microcosm of the larger struggle that unfolded across the nation, where heroic resistance could not withstand the overwhelming might of the German war machine.

The outcome was an inevitable prelude to the occupation and suffering that would befall Poland for the next six years.