Historic picture shows the different expressions of six polish civilians moments before death by firing squad, 1939.
This group of men show a wide range of emotions: the first from the left looks anguished, the next one looks defiant, the last one looks resigned… but the man third from the left is smiling at his executioners. He knows he is sure to die as others had been executed before him, but he faces his end with a smile.
On September 3, 1939, two days after the start of the German invasion of Poland, a series of killings occurred in and around the Polish town of Bydgoszcz (German: Bromberg), where a sizable German minority lived. These killings were termed ‘Bloody Sunday’.
The Nazis exploited the deaths as grounds for a massacre of Polish inhabitants after the Wehrmacht captured the town. In an act of retaliation for the killings on Bloody Sunday, a number of Polish civilians were executed by German military units of the Einsatzgruppen, Waffen SS, and Wehrmacht.