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In 30’s of XX century President’s love of hunting allowed for quiet warming of relations between Second Republic of Poland and Third Reich. Polish ambassador in Berlin Józef Lipski already in 1934 gave an idea to Mościcki and his government that it might be worth to invite to Białowieża Forest great hunter of Third Reich, marshal Hermann Göring. It was executed only in February 1935 but Göring was leaving Białowieża delighted. As “Białystok Journal” reported, he killed two boars and shot one, while Mościcki killed only one boar and one goat. Since then this one of the Hitler’s closest co-worker was a vivid supporter of the best relations with Poland. He visited Białowieża regularly as he was hunting there animals that he could only dream of hunting in Germany. And so in 1937 he killed 3 wolves, 2 lynxes and 2 boars. As a token of gratitude the Great Hunter of Third Reich gave Polish President specially prepared field Mercedes, officially called hunting car. Sadly the friendship with Göring didn’t protect Poland from changing political situation and when Warsaw declined the alliance against USSR, decision was made in Berlin to take over Second Republic of Poland. A strict vegetarian Adolf Hitler above killing animals put killing people.
The hunts of Great Hunter of Third Reich in Białowieża
In the interwar period Polish government used Białowieża Forest sometimes to improve diplomatic relations. And so in the interwar period the president of Poland Ignacy Mościcki organised in winter representative hunts for VIPs from country and abroad in Białowieża. One of unusual guests in the last years before the war was Herman Goering1, Prussia prime minister, one of creators and main representative of Third Reich. He came four times to Biąłowieża to hunt. Herman Goering very eagerly participated in hunts in Białowieża since there he could hunt animals that he dreamt of, that were not present anymore in Germany.
Herman Goering in mid 30s on Hitler’s order started to establish connections to the highest personalities in Second Republic of Poland, looking for an ally against Russia. In his task helped him polish ambassador in Berlin – Józef Lipski. It was him that suggested in 1934 to invite Prussia Prime Minister for a hunt. Sadly the season was over and the case was postponed until next year. Herman Goering came to Poland at the end of February 1935. This fact caused in diplomatic corps in Warsaw quite a commotion and raised interest. The guest was received according to the diplomatic protocol and all honors.
The Great Hunter of Third Reich was one of many tittles of Goering, he asked to hunt wolfs and lynxes in Białowieża Forest, so the welcoming Polish Government could not deny. Herman Goering took part in second stage of representative hunt in Białowieża, which was held on 28 and 29 February 1935. Next to Prussian Prime Minister there were Polish President Ignacy Mościcki, Senate marshal Władysław Raczkiewicz, generals Kazimierz Sosnowski and Kazimierz Fabrycy, few national and foreign ministers and legates.
It was during that hunt Herman Goering invited generals Sosnowski and Fabrycy to join Anti-Comintern pact. The offer was later repeated on audience with marshal Piłsudski. Marshal declined, following his ideals of keeping balance between both neighbouring powers.
We should also add, that Goering’s first hunt in Białowieża was not very successful. Prussian Prime Minister caught only 2 boars and hurt one wolf and even stay in the forest one day longer to finish him but to no avail. The situation was saved by Białowieża Forest huntsman of that time – Stefan Charczun, who shot another wolf but the officials stated that it was killed by Goering and his great aim. Trophy flew to Berlin on a special plane and Goering sent to Charczun an engraved dagger saying: “To the Great Hunter of Białowieża Forest – Great Hunter of Third Reich – Herman Goeing”.
Second time Herman Goering visited Białowieża in February 1936 on another three stage representative hunt organised by Polish government. Goering participated only in third stage, described by medias as a private hunt, without President Mościcki. Effects of that hunt were rather small – he got 2 boars while he really wanted to catch a lynx. After returning to Warsaw from the hunt he was welcomed by ministers Józef Beck and Józef Potocki with breakfast. He also visited the President of Poland and Prime Minister Kościałkowski. During his speeches he stressed how he would like to bring Germany and Poland closer together and have better diplomatic relations.
His next hunt in Białowieża took place on 17 February 1937. On his demand mostly predators were hunted such as wolves or lynxes. That time luck was in his favour and The Great Hunter of Third Reich killed 3 wolves and 2 boars.
In Białowieża during official dinner, President of Second Republic of Poland Ignacy Mościcki was given a dog – Hanover Hound from The Great Hunter. On this occasion, Goering had talks with marshal Edward Rydz-Śmigły, prime minister Sławoj Składkowski and vice minister of foreign affairs Jan Szembek.
The fourth time marshal Goering hunted in Białowieża in 1938. He took part in second stage on 24 and 25 February. The last hunt before World War II was the most successful one.
That time Herman Goering personally caught 13 boars and a fox. Out of his gratitude the Great Hunter of Third Reich gave to polish President specially designed, field Mercedes-Benz and it was delivered to president on 27 August 1938. Herman Goering realised that his attempts to bring Poland into Anti-Comintern Pact were all unsuccessful and he didn’t accept his invite to Białowieża in February 1939. Instead Heinrich Himmler came to Białowieża.
On the day that Second World War started, Goering sent to Białowieża a gift – his Luftwaffe dropped few bombs on the town. After Nazi attack on USSR in June 1941, Białowieża Forest was under German occupation. On Goering demand it was added to so called National Hunting Grounds under control of central authorities of the Third Reich. Since then the forest was to become an attractive German hunting district. Already in 1941, on Herman Goering’s own inspiration, a cleanse of the forest was carried out. Nazi evicted people from nearby villages, buildings were burnt and around Białowieża forest an uninhabited area was to be organized.
“Canons makes us strong, butter makes us only fat” – Herman Goering
Herman Goering cavalier of White Eagle Order
In 1936 a ridiculous thing happened. President Ignacy Mościcki honoured Herman Goering with White Eagle Order. This fact was however erased from history and today the name of Goering is nowhere to be found on the list of receivers of this order nor on his detailed biography. The fact of honouring Goering with White Eagle Order was brought to the daylight by polish journalist, felietonist, essayist and writer Aleksander J. Wieczorkowski.
[1] Herman Goering – one of creators of The Third Reich of Germany, marshal of the Reich and Luftwaffe leader. Sentenced for his crimes against humanity in Nuremberg trials committed suicide before the sentence could be executed.