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Crossing the border during 1939 invasion

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Mwriter, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. Mwriter

    Mwriter New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Do you know if it was possible to cross the German-Polish border as a civilian in September 1939? I am writing a novel, not exactly historical but taking place partly during WWII. My character is in Berlin on Sep 1st and I need him to get to Warsaw by Sep 5th or 6th. The guy is a citizen of a neutral country.
    Would that have been possible at all? If yes, how would he do that? Plane? Train? Via Koenigsberg? Or Danzig? Or Czechoslovakia?
    Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks a lot.
     
  2. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    Anything is possible. It would have to be covert though. I doubt they would even allow. Remember, the character is walking into a war zone. If your going for an adventure story the backdrop is perfect though.
     
  3. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    The places mentioned were all German controlled; Danzig was actually where the first fighting took place. Czechoslovakia at that point comprised the Reich Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and the puppet state of Slovakia, which served as a staging area for some of the German troops invading Poland.

    Perhaps your character could travel via Sweden and then Latvia or Lithuania; both of those were neutral and had borders with Poland. There were probably flights between Berlin and Stockholm, and the Nazi regime would want to maintain a façade of normality during, as they would put it, the rectification of the Polish problem. From Stockholm maybe a flight or ferry to Riga.

    The Soviets invaded Poland from the east on Sept 17, but your man would be traveling before that.

    p.s. on Sept 1-2 the war was still just between Germany and Poland, and the Germans were hopeful that Britain and France would refrain from intervening.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
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  4. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Another thought, you may have researched this already, but you might check out William Shirer's Berlin Diary or Rise and Fall of the Third Reich to get an idea what things were like in Berlin at the time.
     
  5. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    That's enough to build a chapter right there. :pipesmoke:
     
  6. Mwriter

    Mwriter New Member

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    Thanks for all the answers!

    I think Carronade is right, my character would have to travel the round way to enter Poland from the east. I read about an American journalist, Julien Bryan, who came to Warsaw from Switzerland, via Venice and Rumania on a train. But from Berlin the route via Sweden and Latvia might make more sense.

    Oh, and thank you for the Shirer recommendation. Just got both of the books you mentioned and they're on my to read list.

    Thank you all!
     
  7. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Glad to help; I'll look forward to reading your story when it comes out.

    This Wikipedia article Deutsche Luft Hansa - Wikipedia has information on Deutsche Luft Hansa (as the airline was then called) schedules. I assume the direct flights to Poland were not flying on Sept 1 ;)

    This article Spilve Airport - Wikipedia about the airport in Riga includes an interesting item: "In 1937 Swedish Aerotransport (A.B.A.) and Soviet Aeroflot started a route Stockholm-Riga-Velikiye Luki-Moscow." Perhaps your hero could travel on a Russian airliner!
     
  8. Mwriter

    Mwriter New Member

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    Great, thanks again!

    And, in case anyone is interested I found this image showing timetable and airline connections across Europe in 1939.
    [​IMG]
     
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