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Haller's Army

HALLER'S ARMY

HALLER'S ARMY ("Blue Army "), force of Polish volunteers organized in France during the last year of World War i, responsible for the murder of Jews and anti-Jewish pogroms in Galicia and the Ukraine. The group was organized on the initiative of the Polish National Council (knp), achieved French recognition in June 1917, and with the appearance in Paris in July 1918 of General Józef Haller (1873–1960) known for his struggles for Polish freedom within the framework of the Polish legions, command was transferred to him. The political direction lent by the National Council in Paris, headed by Roman *Dmowski, gave the group an extreme nationalistic character. The army had about 50,000 men who moved to the southeast front in Poland during the months of April, May, and June 1919. The addition of Haller's substantial forces to the regular Polish army enabled the Poles to conquer eastern Galicia. Foreign officers and the ties with France kept Haller's forces independent of the official Polish command, a fact exploited by Haller's soldiers (called the "Hallerczycy") for undisciplined and unbridled excesses against Jewish communities in Galicia. Attacks on individual Jews on the streets and highways, murderous pogroms on Jewish settlements, and deliberate provocative acts became commonplace. While these may have been on the initiative of individual soldiers, they were known to their officers, if not openly supported by them. In 1920, during the Polish offensive toward Kiev resulting from the Pilsudski-Petlyura alliance, anti-Jewish pogroms occurred in the region.

Haller, who was a member of the Sejm (parliament) in 1922–23, became a member of the Polish government-in-exile during World War ii.

bibliography:

A. Micewski, Z geografii… politycznej II Rzeczypospolitej (1964), index. add. bibliography: J. Majchrowski (ed.), Kto byl kim w drugiej Rzeczypospolitej (1994), 125; A. Ajnenkiel, Polska po przewrocie Majowym (1980), index.

[Moshe Landau]

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