The Second World War
1 September 1939 r. German and Slovak troops entered Zakopane without a fight. The policy of the German occupier in Podhale was different from that in the rest of the General Government. As terror reigned everywhere, extermination of the Jewish population, but street round-ups were not that frequent, and collective executions in the center were not carried out. A specific distinguishing feature was the so-called. Goralenvolk action – an ideologically based attempt to distinguish the highlander nationality as allegedly non-Polish. The Nazis used the ethnographic distinctiveness of the highlanders and the earlier antagonisms between them and Zakopane citizens of other origins. Some of the inhabitants accepted documents of belonging to the highlander nation. A small group of active activists of the collaborative Highlander Committee was led by Wacław Krzeptowski and Józef Cukier.
At the same time, in 1940 r. The Zakopane district of the Union of Armed Struggle was established. Formations of the resistance movement of the Home Army were also active in Podhale. Secret education functioned up to and including university level. The underground activity was influenced by the admission by Zakopane of a large group of refugees from the capital after the fall of the Warsaw Uprising. Podhale has become the center of courier activity – the couriers were mostly pre-war Tatra guides and rescuers, mountaineers and skiers, who risked their lives to carry secret mail, the press, weapons and carried emissaries and military instructors to Hungary. Communications with the government in exile were maintained through Polish posts in Budapest.
W 1940 r. in Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains, the Germans created a closed zone – it was supposed to be a resort for German soldiers. Only the Germans and Slovaks on the other hand were allowed to enter. Zakopane Jews were exiled or murdered. It was planned to deport people registered before 1930 r., as well as tuberculosis patients.
The resistance movement intensified as the end of the war approached; according to the AK judgment, a highlander prince was hanged before the liberation – Wacław Krzeptowski, next to his cottage. In January 1945 r. The Germans left the city, a 29 January 1945 r. in the morning the red army entered – at night a Soviet partisan unit commanded by Włodzimierz Macniew came down from the mountains, pseudonym Potemkin. He became the first Soviet commandant of Zakopane.