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On the evening of August 31, 1939, as the last rays of the setting sun lingered on the top of the giant wooden mast towering over the then German city of Gliwice, a few miles from the border with Poland, two cars passed through the gates of the Gliwice radio station and stopped outside the three-story transmission building. A small unit of SS officers posing as Polish partisans got out of the car. Along with them was Franciszek Honiok, a 43-year-old unmarried German Catholic, who had been arrested the previous day for his involvement in a number of local revolts against German rule in Silesia, a border region spanning present day Poland. Honiok was dressed in a stolen Polish army uniform. The Gestapo had chosen to sacrifice him in order to make the attack, that was about to take place, look like the work of Polish anti-German saboteurs. Honiok didn’t resist for he was drugged and barely knew what was happening.

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The Gliwice Radio Tower is locally known as “the Silesian Eiffel Tower”. Photo credit: www.muzeum.gliwice.pl

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