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rear side of a gas chamber.jpg (46696 bytes)

Majdanek, (Lubin) Poland. The back side of a gas chamber. The furnace
 on the right was used to generate carbon monoxide for gassing prisoners.

Selections from
Janusz Gumkowkski and Kazimierz Leszczynski



Kleine Planung

Grosse Planung

Millions of Jews Slated for Annihilation


"The Final Solution of the Jewish Question" Other Solutions for the Polish People


Wetzel/Hecht Memo

Three Related Tasks
Poland's Destiny

Discrimination & Loss of  Civil Rights for Polish Untermensch

Jews & Poles

Jews Selected for Extermination

Himmler's "Comments"

Hitler's "Pronouncement"


Kidnapping: Participating Offices & Organizations


Abduction & Forced Labor

"Racially Valuable Children" taken from:
1 Orphanages
   2 Parents 3 Schools

Racial Testing & Classification

"Germanization" & Placement

Grim Statistics

[Click on photos to see them in full size]

Nazi Racial Ideals

Anti-Semitic Photomontage

Polish Children at Auschwitz

Racial Examinations

The Nordic Ideal:
"The german Bearing
 the german Performance display the
 nordic Racial Heritage



Nazi Racial Ideals: "The Biology of Growth" Racial Hygiene.jpg (38761 bytes) "Stages of Growth for Members of  the Nordic Race." [2]

Anti-Semitic photomontage:polish jews.jpg (36359 bytes)
"The Scourge of God, Polish Jews" From A Brochure issued by Der Stuermer. 1939 [3]

XX Polish Children in Auschwitzpolish_children.jpg (35533 bytes) They look out from behind a barbed wire fence. About 40,000 Polish children were imprisoned there before transfer to Germany. Referred to as,
 (Hay Action).

Racial Exam: Measuring the Facial Features of Young Germans [5 & 6]

measurefeatureswoman.jpg (30276 bytes)

measurefeaturesman.jpg (19893 bytes)

The Nordic Ideal

"The german Bearing
 the german Performance display
the nordic Racial Heritage" [7]


From their experiences during the hostilities, the Polish people realized that occupation by the Nazis would be grim. But no one ever imagined that it would be an uninterrupted succession of crimes, committed not only in cold blood and with premeditation but with the utmost viciousness and ingenuity. True, the very first days of the war had shown that the Nazi invader was devoid of any humanitarian feelings and had no respect for international conventions or rules for the conduct of war. In its first raids on Polish towns, the Luftwaffe had bombed residential areas without any delusion that they were military objectives. Any idea that perhaps these were mistakes was dispelled by the dropping of fragmentation and incendiary bombs on small suburban settlements and on hospitals and hospital trains clearly marked with red crosses on their roofs. There was also the strafing of defenseless civilians escaping along the roads and fields from the burning villages and towns before the rapid advance of the Germans. Every day brought reports of atrocities being committed by the  Wehrmacht in the territories they had overrun. There was news of the shooting of soldiers who had been taken prisoner and of the ill-treatment and slaughter, on any excuse or even completely without any justification, of innocent civilians, particularly Jews.

The occupation authorities proved themselves as brutal and vicious, as devoid of all human feelings and careless of law as the military. This was something that all the countries occupied by the Third Reich were to experience to a greater or lesser degree. It sprang from the very core of the political programme of Nazism which planned the triumphant conclusion of the war to be followed by a complete transformation of Europe, particularly the East.


For many centuries the urge to expand eastwards has been a part of German history. To start with, the main aim of this Drang Nach Osten was the extension of the German frontiers at the expense of the Slav territories lying in the East. With the  rise of modern German imperialism, which accompanied the rapid economic development in the 19th century, the field of ambition was considerably widened.

      A relatively insignificant conquest of territory around its eastern borders was not enough for Imperial Germany; it was aiming at economic and political expansion far to the East. These imperialist objectives were taken over and considerably enlarged by Nazi Germany.

      Drawing on the pseudo-scientific theory of racism, Nazism created its own version according to which the German people presented the highest virtues of mankind in the world and formed a race of supermen (Übermensch). In the context of this theory it was not difficult to build up a myth about the historical mission of the German nation and its sacred task to impose its authority on the whole of Europe and eventually on the whole world.  TOP 

     Almost from the first moment that Hitler came to power, the leaders of the Third Reich and National Socialist Party began to make preparations for the conquest of Europe and the creation of a "Thousand-Year Reich." In addition to the economic, military and strategic preparations, the expansion of the war industry, the storing of supplies, the training of the future troops, and the drafting of plans for aggression on individual countries, a blueprint was also drawn up for a new order in Europe to follow the successful conclusion of a war that was still to be launched. The rulers of the Third Reich never for a second doubted that this was a war that they could not and would not lose.  TOP 

     In these plans for the future political shape of Europe, the foremost place was occupied by the East, since the western part of the territories lying to the east of Germany were to increase the Lebensraum of the Nazi Herrenvolk [the living space of the Nazi master race]. The vast areas lying further to the East were to become an enormous German sphere of influence reaching deep into the heart of Asia. All these plans for the future organization of Europe were frequently discussed by Hitler and his closest colleagues.  TOP 

[The Slavic territories lying to the east of Germany were particularly enticing as the Nazis considered their primarily Slavic inhabitants to be subhuman (Untermensch). The Nazis rationalized that the Germans, being a super human (Übermenschlich) race, had a biological right to displace, eliminate and enslave inferiors.    Untermensch ]

As far as Eastern Europe was concerned, the details had already been worked out before the aggression on Poland. However, they were modified and revised until finally, at the beginning of 1940, there emerged the "The General Plan for the East" (Generalplan Ost).

     No all-embracing document of this sort was ever drawn up for Western Europe. Nevertheless there are several recorded pronouncements by Hitler and leading representatives of the Nazi regime which show only too clearly that Western Europe was also destined to be radically transformed.  TOP 

     To illustrate this, it is worth quoting the directives of Hitler dealing with the future policy of the Reich towards the West European powers, released to a narrow group of his colleagues at a conference on June 19, 1940. Among the things he said was: "Luxembourg is to be incorporated into the German Reich, Norway annexed. Alsace and Lorraine will once more become parts of Germany. An independent state will be set up in Brittany. Under consideration is the question of Belgium, particularly the problem of treating the Flemish in a special way and of forming a state of Burgundy." 1     TOP 

     Thus the whole of Europe was to be the victim of the Nazi imperialist plans; there can be little doubt that the whole world was included in their further schemes.


As has already been mentioned, the future of the East had been decided in what was known as Generalplan Ost. It is interesting, and not without significance, that the body responsible for the drafting of this plan was the Reich Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt - RSHA), that is, an agency whose task was to combat all enemies of Nazism and Nazi Germany. It was a strictly confidential document, and its contents were known only to those in the topmost level of the Nazi hierarchy. Unfortunately not a single copy could be found after the war among the documents in German archives. Nevertheless, that such a document existed is beyond doubt. It was confirmed by one of the witnesses in Case VIII before the American Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, SS-Standartenführer, Dr. Hans Ehlich, who as a high official in the RSHA was the man responsible for the drafting of Generalplan Ost. Apart from this, there are several documents which refer to this plan or are supplements to it.    TOP

    The principal document which makes it possible to recreate with a great deal of accuracy just what was contained in Generalplan Ost is a memorandum of April 27, 1942 entitled: Stellungnahme und Gedanken zum Generalplan Ost des Reichsführers SS (Opinion and ideas Regarding the General Plan for the East of the Reichsführer SS).2 Its author was Dr. Erich Wetzel, the director of the Central Advisory Office on Questions of Racial Policy at the National Socialist Party (Leiter der Hauptstelle Beratungsstelle des Rassenpolitischen Amtes der NSDAP). This memorandum is in a way an elaboration of Generalplan Ost - a detailed description of Nazi policy in Eastern Europe.      TOP

     The evidence of Hans Ehlich showed that the final version of the Plan came into being in 1940. It was preceded by a number of studies and research projects carried out over several years by various academic centres to provide the necessary facts and figures. The preliminary versions were discussed by Himmler and his most trusted colleagues even before the outbreak of war. This was mentioned by SS Obergruppenführer Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski during his evidence as a prosecution witness in the trial of officials of the SS Main Office for Race and Settlement.

     The final version of Generalplan Ost was made up of two basic parts. The first, known as Kleine Planung, covered the immediate future. It was to be put into practice gradually as the Germans conquered the areas to the east of their pre-war borders. The individual stages of this "Little Plan" would then be worked out in greater detail. In this way the plan for Poland was drawn up at the end of November, 1939.  TOP 

The second part of the Plan, known as Grosse Planung, dealt with objectives to be realized after the war was won. They were to be carried into effect gradually and relatively slowly over a period of 25-30 years.                       TOP

Generalplan Ost presented the Nazi Reich and the German people with gigantic tasks. It called for the gradual preparation of a vast area of Eastern Europe for settlement by Germans and eventual absorption into the great Thousand-Year Reich. This area covered territory stretching from the eastern borders of Germany more or less to a line running from Lake Ladoga in the north to the Black Sea in the region of the Crimea in the south. The Thousand-Year Reich was thus to absorb the whole of Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Baltic countries excepting Finland, (for the moment) and a huge chunk of the Soviet Union - most of Russia, Byelorussia, the Ukraine and the whole of the Crimea. According to the Plan, these areas were to be "germanized" before being incorporated into the Reich.

     The Nazi document uses the term "Germanization of Eastern Territories" (Eindeutschung der Ostgebiete). The phrase might suggest that the author of the Plan had in mind the Germanization of the native populace of these areas. However, it is clear from the further wording of the plan that any attempt to Germanize the Slav nations of Eastern Europe was never in the reckoning. On the contrary, the plan stipulated that these Slav territories would be settled by Germans while the vast majority of the native populace would be gradually pushed out. Only an insignificant number was to be Germanized. In short, Generalplan Ost provided for the expulsion of millions of people, primarily Slav nations, from their homes and the settlement of Germans in their place. This would have been an enormous task requiring a fairly long period of time and a formidable effort. For it would be easier to expel the people living in these areas than to find a sufficient number of Germans to repopulate them. The Plan, drawing on the material collected in the preliminary stages, concluded that 31 million people would have been deported in the course of 25 years. However, in his 1942 memorandum, Dr. Wetzel revised this figure (taking into account certain territorial changes, natural increases, etc.) and arrived at a total of 51 million.

     At the time when Wetzel was writing his comments, Generalplan Ost had ceased to be merely a blueprint. Its first part, the KleinePlanung, was already being put into practice. The western areas of Poland had been incorporated into the Reich, hundreds of thousands of Poles had been expelled from them, and further deportations were in progress. Hundreds of thousands of Poles were dying in various concentration camps, while millions of Jews, herded into ghettos and still ignorant of their fate, were awaiting "the final solution of the Jewish problem." The rulers of the Third Reich were in a hurry to carry out their criminal plans while there was still a war to divert the attention of the world from what was going on in Eastern Europe.


According to Nazi intentions, attempts at Germanization were to be undertaken only in the case of those foreign nationals in Eastern Europe who could be considered a desirable element for the future Reich from the point of view of its racist theories. The Plan stipulated that there were to be different methods of treating particular nations and even particular groups within them. Attempts were even made to establish the basic criteria to be used in determining whether a given group lent itself to Germanization. These criteria were to be applied more liberally in the case of nations whose racial material (rassische Substanz) and level of cultural development made them more suitable than others for Germanization. The Plan considered that there were a large number of such elements among the Baltic nations. Dr. Wetzel felt that thought should be given to a possible Germanization of the whole of the Estonian nation and a sizable proportion of the Latvians. On the other hand, the Lithuanians seemed less desirable since they contained too great an admixture of Slav blood. Himmler's view was that almost the whole of the Lithuanian nation would have to be deported to the East.

     Whatever happened, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were to be deprived of their statehood, while their territories were to be included in the eastern area of German settlement. This meant that Latvia and especially Lithuania would be covered by the deportation plans, though in a somewhat milder form than the Slav - "voluntary" emigration to western Siberia.


Under Generalplan Ost, all Slavs unfit for Germanization were to be expelled from the areas marked out for German settlement. In considering the fate of the individual nations, the architects of the Plan decided that it would be possible to Germanize about 50 per cent of the Czechs, 35 per cent of the Ukrainians and 25 per cent of the Byelorussians. The remainder would have to be deported to western Siberia.

     It was planned to remove the Czech intelligentsia not only from the areas marked for German settlement but from Europe in general, since their attitude to the Third Reich was hostile and they would be a threat to it even in Siberia. Apparently they were considered capable of organizing resistance to German rule. The best solution, thought the Plan's authors, would be to enable the Czech intelligentsia to emigrate overseas.

     As for the Ukrainians, the original idea was to leave about one-third in the future German settlement area. Naturally, this group was to undergo gradual Germanization. The remaining two-thirds were to be deported to Siberia. A Reichskommissariat Ukraine was to be set up in the area not marked for German colonization. Later these ideas were revised, and the intention was rather to deport the Ukrainians not suitable for Germanization to the area of this Reichskommissariat. However, the details of these plans had not been finalized. The Byelorussians were to be treated similarly to the Ukrainians, with this difference that only about a quarter were to be Germanized and the rest deported to Siberia.

     The plans for Poles and Russians were different. These two nations presented the Germans with greater difficulties. At first glance this seems somewhat puzzling, since, in Wetzel's opinion, the Polish and Russian nations possessed many of the Nordic characteristics, proper to the German nation. It is only from his later remarks that it transpires that both the leading circles of the NSDAP and the Reich Security Main Office held the view that, though the Polish nation lent itself to Germanization as far as racial characteristics were concerned, political considerations made it necessary to abandon any plans for full-scale Germanization. This held out no hope of success because of the Poles' highly developed sense of patriotism, their hostile attitude to Germany and their natural bent for underground activity. The attribution of these qualities to the Poles and the conclusion, completely justified as it happens, that voluntary Germanization of even a fraction of the poles was doomed to failure, goes a long way to explain the methods used against the Polish people from the very outset of the occupation, methods designed to wipe out the greatest possible number of Poles.

     The provisions of the Plan were that 80-85 per cent of the Poles would have to be deported from the German settlement area - to regions in the East. This, according to German calculations, would involve about 20 million people. About 3-4 million - all of them peasants - suitable for Germanization as far as "racial values" were concerned - would be allowed to remain. They would be distributed among German majorities and Germanized within a single generation.

     The 20 million Poles not suitable for Germanization  TOP  presented greater difficulties. Obviously they would have to be expelled from their native land; but the problem was what to do with them. Wetzel stated in his comments that the Polish question could not be settled in the same way as the Jewish. In his opinion, this might discredit the German nation in the eyes of the world for years to come. It might seem strange that this anxiety about world public opinion was not felt concerning "the final solution of the Jewish problem." Presumably the Nazi leaders thought that the extermination of the Jews would pass almost unnoticed in a world absorbed, as it then was, by a war effort on an unprecedented scale. In the Nazi plans, the final solution of the Jewish problem - that is the annihilation of European Jewry, was to be completed before the end of the war. The other argument used against mass extermination of the Poles was the fear that other nations in the East would feel themselves threatened by the same fate. There is, of course, no need to delude ourselves that humanitarian motives would have led the Nazis to shrink from mass annihilation of the Polish people or any other nation. If they rejected the methods tried out on the Jews, it was purely because of practical considerations - the fear that this threat to their existence might unite the Slav peoples in common opposition to Nazi rule. The Hitlerites reckoned that Germany, though master of vast areas after the triumphant conclusion of the war, would be considerably weakened in numbers.

    The only solution, therefore, to the Polish question, according to Geralplan- Ost, was the deportation of 80-85 per cent of the Poles to western Siberia. They were to be scattered over as wide an area as possible and intermixed with the local populace. The Germans were afraid that if the Poles were settled as a compact group they would in time Polonize the Siberians (Sibiriakentum) and a "Greater Poland" would evolve in that region. Fragmentation was to lead to an opposite development - assimilation and absorption by the local population.

     As in the case of the Czechs, Wetzel recommended that the Polish intelligentsia be allowed to emigrate overseas; he considered that this social group with its great organizing talents and propensity for underground activity was a grave threat to the future Thousand-Year Reich. [Emigration, as it turned out, did not work very well. By Hitler's order, most were put to death.]

     Generalplan Ost devoted relatively little space to the Russian question, though in his memorandum Wetzel stressed that its proper solution was of great importance to Nazi policy in Eastern Europe. The Russian nation, he said, was a young one, hence biologically strong. Apart from this it possessed a considerable admixture of Nordic blood; though this might raise the racial value of a particular nation in the eyes of the theoreticians and politicians of this philosophy, it also made it a dangerous opponent. For this reason, in the Nazi thinking, the Russians, like the Poles, constituted a serious danger to the future great Reich.

     Of course, there could be no question of "liquidating" the Russian nation. Apart from all considerations of a political and economic nature, this would have involved enormous technical problems, as Wetzel clearly emphasized. Other measures had to be sought to insure Germany against the danger threatening it from this area. For this purpose it was intended to split the whole territory of the Soviet Union - both in Europe and in Asia - into a number of administrative areas - Generalkommissariats - under German rule. In the demarcation of these areas, national factors would be taken into account with the aim of encouraging separatist tendencies. Essentially Russian territories, that is central Russia (Reichskommissariat Russland) would also be split up into Generalkommissariats, very loosely tied to each other. The object was to splinter as far as possible the national cohesion of the Russians. Wetzel stated that a situation should be aimed at in which a Russian from the Gorki Generalkommissariat would feel that he was different from a Russian in the Tula Generalkommissariat.3  The first task, then, was to break down the unity of the nations of the Soviet Union, and then to split the Russian nation from the inside. To make certain of this objective Wetzel considered imperative "a racial sifting of  the Russians." by this phrase he meant the removal of the most valuable element "from a racial point of view" and their Germanization. This led him to imagine, in accordance with the theory of racism, that the Nordic elements in each nation determine its value and ability, and that the elimination of a few million "Nordic types" from among the Russian people would reduce it, from loss of "Nordic blood," to a lower racial category within a couple of generations. He thought that as a result of this process the Russians would become stupid and apathetic, lose all their initiative and readily accept the guiding role of the Germans.

     Apart from these two methods of protecting the Nazi Reich against the Russian danger, Generalplan Ost also suggested the necessity of using another preventive measure - destruction or at least considerable reduction of the biological vitality of the Russian nation. This was a proposal that, in fact, concerned all the Slav peoples.

     The object of this biological campaign was to curb the natural increase. Under the Nazi plan, a deliberate and calculated policy was to be conducted in the eastern part of Europe to cut down the natural increase by the double device of trying to reduce the birth rate and taking no steps to combat mortality.

     Generalplan Ost, having distributed enormous areas of Eastern Europe as Lebensraum for the Germans, devoted a great deal of space to the methods to be used in riding these areas of the people who had been living there for centuries. But very little - and that superficially - was said about how these areas were to be re-populated by Germans. This, of course, sprang from the difficulties involved in solving this problem not only in practice but even in theory.

     It is simple to plan the expulsion of whole nations from their age-old territories and the deportation, over a longer or shorter period of time, of millions of men and women.

     This was a lesson learned only too well by the Poles during the whirlwind deportations from western Poland after its incorporation into the Reich, or during the expulsion of the Polish population from the Zamosc region. It is, however, much more difficult to fill depopulated areas, even in theory, with settlers who just do not exist.

     Generalplan Ost stipulated, after Wetzel's revisions, that 50 million people, mainly Slavs, were to be deported from Eastern Europe. Their place could be taken, over a period of 30 years - allowing for natural increase and immigration from other Germanic countries - at most by 10 million, though probably not more than 8 million, settlers. Dr. Wetzel realized the difficulties that would arise in the settlement of the eastern regions, but he consoled himself with the thought that a similar situation once faced North America. The use of this analogy suggests a further train of thought, admittedly not pursued by Wetzel, but which can hardly be ignored. The Americans were incapable of exploiting the vast territories they had acquired through extermination of the Indians and had to resort to Negro slave-labour. The Nazi scheme to detail manpower from among the native population to work on the farms of German settlers strongly recalls the buying of slaves by American farmers and plantation owners in the first half of the 19th century. This scheme did not talk about the "hiring" of farm labourers but expressly used the word "detailing," in other words, the willingness, or at the very least the wishes, of the people concerned was to be completely disregarded. In addition, the labourers assigned to each farm would have belonged to different nationalities unable to speak each other's language. It was supposed that this would force the labourers to use German, the only language that all of them would out of necessity know, and thus hasten the process by which they would lose their sense of nationality and even bring about their Germanization. It seems, however, that the main object was to hinder any opportunities for collusion which might lead to passive resistance or even organized revolt against the Germans.

     This has been a very general description of the provisions contained in Generalplan Ost, and particularly in Wetzel's memorandum which, as was said before, was an elaboration of it. That this plan was to have been put into effect, and would have been, had Nazism triumphed, is shown by the fact that a number of its provisions were actually carried out, especially in Poland.


There can be no doubt that Nazi plans for Poland had been outlined long before the aggression of 1939, at a time when the Reich Government was still assuring Poland of its friendship and had signed a non-aggression pact. When Generalplan Ost was being drawn up, Poland was included in the "Little Plan" (Kleine Planung) which meant that part of the projects were to be carried out before the conclusion of the war.

     Almost immediately after the conclusion of military operations in Poland, Hitler issued a decree on October 8,
19391 anexing the western part of Poland: the whole of Pomorze (Pomerania), the provinces of Poznan and Upper Silesia and parts of Lódz, Cracow, Warsaw and Bialystok Provinces. These territories were to become an integral part of the Nazi Reich (the so-called New Reich) "for all time." Both in area and population they amounted to almost half the territory of the Polish state occupied by the Reich in 1939.

     The remaining territory became the "Government General," a sort of reservation for Poles under the absolute rule of Dr. Hans Frank, appointed by Hitler to the post of "Governor General of the Occupied Polish Territories."

     Though the rulers of the Third Reich had wasted no time in partitioning and seizing the territories the Nazis had overrun, they were still far from having finally solved the problem of Lebensraum. One obstacle was the Polish people living in this easily acquired area. They had to take into account the fact that these territories were inhabited by a nation of 29 million that possessed a thousand years' history, rich traditions and their own advanced culture. This nation could not just suddenly disappear from the face of the earth to suit the wishes of the Nazi Reich. This, however, was precisely what the Nazi plans called for: the Polish nation was to cease to exist just as in the minds of the rulers of the Reich the Polish state had ceased to exist. This is why the Nazis launched a merciless campaign against the Poles.

     Though Generalplan Ost included plans for dealing with Poland in its first part, these were formulated only in general terms; the details had still to be filled in and concretized for practical application. Among the many confidential documents discovered in Nazi archives after the fall of the Reich, there were a number discussing in detail Nazi plans for Poland. It is worth giving the contents of some of them, even if only in general outline.

     The lengthiest of these documents is a memorandum drawn up by the aforementioned Dr. Erich Wetzel and Dr. G. Hecht on the orders of the NSDAP Office for Questions of Racial Policy. It is dated November 25, 1939. 2 Like Wetzel's memorandum concerning Generalplan Ost it has all the appearance of a scholarly work, but it exposes in full all the charlatanism and preposterousness of the pseudo-scientific arguments used by the makers of racial policy. There is not the slightest attempt on their part to conceal the criminal immorality of these plans. Whatever modifications the directives contained in this memorandum underwent in the course of application, they were nevertheless in principle the guiding line of Nazi policy in Poland throughout the occupation. TOP

     The memorandum contains 36 pages of typescript and is divided into three sections. A short introduction announces that section 1 deals with the structure of Poland from the national and racial point of view and gives a demographic description of the country. Section 2 discusses the problem of the Poles in the new territories of the Reich (annexed Polish territory) and the problelm of colonization and resettlement. Finally section 3 covers special problems.

     The first section begins with a historical falsehood: "The Poles, an offshoot of the Western Slav group of nations, owe the birth of their nation and state to Germanic tribes. Hundreds, even thousands of years before the arrival of the Slav tribes, the major portion of the area of the Polish state was inhabited by Germans and other nations of the Nordic race." The authors further claim in their historical survey that it was not till several hundred years after these German tribes had withdrawn that the Western Slav tribes began slowly to assume the form of a nation. "This transformation into a nation of Poles owe to the Germans left in this area and the Norman overlords who had come here and formed the nobility. It is typical that the first ruler to unite the Polish tribes (about 960 A.D.) was the Norman Prince Dago. The Poles later called him Mieszko."

     Wetzel and Hecht carefully omit to quote any historical sources for these claims. In any case they were not concerned with truth. Some more or less believable justification had to be found in history for the "invincible right" of the Nazi Reich to Polish lands in the west. Although the memorandum makes it plain that the Slav tribes only began to form a nation several hundred years after the Germans had left and that this preceeded the birth of the Polish state by further hundreds of years, the Nazi historians argued that the German nation, as the successor and heir of the ancient Germanic tribes, still possessed rights to the land occupied by them 1500 years ago.

     This historical justification is followed by a discussion of the racial make-up of the Polish nation. It leads Wetzel and Hecht to the easily foreseeable conclusion that its racial features confirm the historical theory laboriously propounded at the beginning, since part of the population bears a clear admixture of Nordic blood.

     The object of all these arguments is to justify in advance Nazi policy in the western territories seized from Poland, a policy formulated in the second section. "The object of German policy in the new Reich areas, must be the creation of a German populace homogeneous from the point of view of race, hence also from the viewpoint of mentality as well as national and political consciousness. From this it is clear that all the elements which do not lend themselves to Germanization must be removed unconditionally. This objective involves three related tasks:

"First, the total and final Germanization of those groups which  seem suitable;

"Second, the expulsion of all foreign nationals not suitable for Germanization;

"Third, resettlement with Germans." TOP

     The plan of action, it can be seen, though laconic, was very explicit.

     First place was given to the concept about the necessity of Germanizing part of the population. However, this concept had to be reconciled somehow to the racist theory of purity of Germanic blood. The Germanization of Poles would contravene the principles of this theory. This was the point to the historical argument quoted above -- to show that the ancestors of the inhabitants of these lands were Germanic. The authors stated flatly: "A German is someone who lives like a German in the sense of nationality, customs and family community, provided he is of German or related blood." It would be hard to imagine a more vague definition; the only tangible criterion, which could be used to determine a person's nationality -- the language he uses in his home and with his family -- has been omitted. The criterion of Germanic extraction is equally vague; no clue is given to what is meant by "related" German blood. This vagueness was, of course, deliberate, since it left a very wide field of choice in selecting those people who either compulsorily or voluntarily were to be registered in these areas on the "German national list."

     The racist principle of purity of blood was also upheld by removing the term "Germanization" (Eindeutschung) from the Nazi vocabulary and replacing it with "re-Germanization" (Wiedereindeutschung). As this item of the political programme went into effect, the german national lists began to contain, apart from a relatively small group of real Germans, the names of thousands of Poles in the annexed territories that were put there either compulsorily or under the threat of terror.

     People unfit for germanization were to be expelled. The memorandum stated that the territory of the "New Reich" contained about 5,363,000 Poles who would have to be eliminated by resettling them in the Government General. This was not, however, so simple. The deportation of such vast numbers would present enormous technical problems, above all, of transport. So it proved in practice during the "resettlement" carried out in the severe winter of 1939 which violated the most elementary humanitarian principles. It had to be taken into account, therefore, that deportations, particularly in wartime, would take a great deal of time -- a few years at the least. It also had to be remembered that the Government General would be required to find room for over 5 million new inhabitants in a comparatively short period. Since it was unavoidable that there would be a great number of Poles still living in the annexed territories for a number of years, the memorandum provided for an intense system of discrimination against them. This was to cover all fields of political social, economic and cultural life. The Poles would be unable to become citizens of the Reich or enjoy any political rights. They would be expropriated of all rural and urban property without compensation. They could not carry on any independent trade; they could only work as hired labour for German employers. Their wages would be fixed at much lower scales than those of Germans. TOP

     All Polish schools and colleges would be closed down -- universities, secondary, vocational and primary schools. Poles would not be allowed to attend German schools, except the very lowest grades.

     All Polish periodicals and newspapers would be prohibited. It would be forbidden to publish any Polish books.

     All Polish theatres and cinemas, restaurants and cafés would be closed. The Poles would be forbidden to go to German theatres or cinemas. They would also be forbidden to have radio sets or gramophones.

     These bans even affected religious worship. Services in Polish were to be forbidden and Polish religious holidays abolished. The only holidays that could be observed were the Catholic and Evangelical ones recognized in the Reich. Catholic and Evangelical services could only be conducted by clergy with the proper political qualifications approved by the authorities. Marriage between Germans and Poles was to be forbidden.

     Further on the memorandum contains the following:" In order to destroy all forms of Polish cultural and economic life, there can be no Polish associations, unions or federations; church associations are also banned."

     The object of these discriminations was to deprive the Poles of all hope for the future, to crush in them all national consciousness and relegate them to the role of serfs or even slaves carrying out the lightest whim of the German "superman."

     The ultimate purpose of Nazi policy was to destroy the Polish nation on the whole of Polish soil whether that annexed by the Reich or that of the Government General. Eloquent proof of this is provided by the directives on the treatment of Poles in the Government General -- Restpolen, as they were described in the third section of the memorandum.

     Although discrimination in some fields of life, mainly economic, was not to go as far as in the annexed territories, the fundamental aim, according to the authors, was to be arrived at by a different road. The influx of refugees from the west would result in over-population and this, in turn would create economic misery and a drop in the natural increase. This was strongly desirable, since it was not in the interests of the Reich to uphold nationally, economically or culturally the populace of the Government General which was of no value to the Reich from a racial viewpoint.

     The inhabitants of the Government General, continued the memorandum, should be given special national status, but they should not possess any independent political rights. The conditions created for the Poles should be such that it would become next to impossible for them to organize and expand any national liberation movement. For this reason there should be a ban on the formation not only of political organizations but also cultural associations -- for instance singing groups, tourist clubs and especially sports and gymnastic associations. To raise the physical fitness and efficiency of the Poles was far from being in the German interest.

     The authors then discussed the problem of how to treat the Jewish and Polish population; they saw two possible solutions. It is best to give them in their own words:

"One way is provided by the plan to keep both Poles and Jews alike at the same low level of living and deprive them of all political, national and cultural rights. In this case the Poles and Jews would be left in the same position.     TOP 

"As for the second way, here the opportunities for the Poles to develop nationally and culturally would be no less restricted than under the first plan. The Jews, however, would be given slightly more freedom, particularly in the cultural and economic field, so that some decisions on administrative and economic matters would be taken in consultation with them. As far as domestic policy is concerned this solution would lead to still greater economic encroachment by the Jews, but it would still leave the Jews grounds for serious complaints and with constant difficulties."

     The mentality and ethical and moral standards of the theoreticians of National Socialism are vividly illustrated by this plan to create a situation which would inevitably lead to bitter hatred between Poles and Jews. Undoubtedly, the purpose was to turn the Polish and Jewish community, united in theory by their common servitude, one against the other by rousing in them the basest human instincts in the struggle for the miserable crumbs of an illusory freedom, or rather for the means of existence.

     As is known, the Jewish problem was eventually solved in a completely different way. The Nazis came to the conclusion that total extinction of Jewry would be the most radical and indeed "final" solution.  TOP

     The memorandum stressed that reduction of the birth rate in the Government General was desirable. In this connection abortion and sexual perversion should be tolerated. The health of the Poles, the sort of medical attention provided for them and the training of young doctors should be of no interest to the Germans. Their own medical service should confine itself merely to preventing the spread of infectious diseases from Restpolen to the Reich.

     As in the case of the annexed territories, the plan called for lowering the level of education and culture. The reduction of theatres and cinemas was recommended; in those remaining open, the programmes offered should be of the lowest possible standard. The same was recommended for newspapers, journals and all forms of publications. There was to be a ban on the formation of educational and cultural associations, even singing groups, and of course sports and gymnastics clubs.

     All institutions of higher education as well as secondary and vocational schools were to be closed. It is worth quoting the directives concerning the curriculum for primary schools.

"Only general primary schools are permitted and they will teach only the most rudimentary subjects such as reading, writing and arithmetic. The teaching of such subjects as geography, history and history of literature, which are important from a national point of view, as well as physical training is forbidden. However, the schools should give training in agriculture, forestry and simple industrial trades and handicrafts."

     After this any further evidence of the Nazi intent to deprive the Polish nation of its intelligentsia, considered dangerous because of their organizing abilities and natural leadership, seems supererogatory.

     The memorandum contained some interesting advice on the selection of teachers. Wetzel and Hecht emphasized that the Polish teaching profession, particularly the schoolmistresses, were "prominent apostles of Polish chauvinism." By chauvinism they, of course, meant patriotism, and it is true that the polish teacher has always been a promoter of patriotism, even in the darkest days of the partitions. The conclusion was drawn that professional Polish teachers, therefore, should in time be removed from all schools in the Government General as a harmful and dangerous influence. But another source of excellent teaching staff has been found: "It seems that it would suit our purposes if retired officers of the Polish police were later appointed as teachers in these primitive schools. In this way the establishment of teachers' training colleges would become unnecessary."

     The purpose behind this undoubtedly visionary project is so obvious that it seems pointless to add any comment.

     These, in a nutshell, were the directives of Nazi policy towards the Poles, based on apparently scholarly principles and contained in an official document. The document was neither secret nor even classified. Apparently the NSDAP and government leaders did not think it necessary to conceal their intentions.

     Nazi plans were outlined with even greater cynicism in another document; its author was none other than Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler, Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood (Reichskommisar für die Festigung deutschen Volkstums). The six-page typescript was entitled "Some Comments on the Treatment of Foreign Nationals in the East." This document, dated May  5, 1940, was signed by Himmler himself and was highly confidential.3 To it was added a note from Himmler that the contents had been shown to Hitler who had found them "very good and appropriate." TOP

     It is worth quoting a few excerpts from this work. It must be remembered that the term "East" was used by Himmler to mean the occupied Polish territories and "foreign nationals," the populace of this area, that is primarily Poles.

     Himmler started by saying that they must recognize and uphold the existence of the greatest number of individual national groups in Polish regions, in other words, apart from the Poles and Jews also the Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Górale (highlanders), Lemki and Kashubians. "By this I mean that it is very much in our interest not only not to unite the people of the East but the reverse -- to splinter them into as many parts and subdividions as possible. We should also aim for a situation in which, after a longer period of time has passed, the concept of nationality disappears among the Ukrainians, Górale, and Lemki." The object was to fragmentize the Polish nation from the inside by the creation of previously non-existent nationalities such as the Górale, Lemki and Kashubians, and so make it easier to deprive it of its nationality afterwards.

     Later in the "Comments" comes this passage:

"The basic question in the solution of all these problems is the question of schooling, hence the question of reviewing and sifting the youth.

"For the non-German population of the East there can be no
type of school above the four-grade rudimentary school. The job of these schools should be confined to the teaching of counting (no higher than up to 500), the writing of one's name, and the teaching that God's commandment means obedience to the Germans, honesty, industry and politeness. Reading I do not consider essential."

     It seems almost incredible that ideas of this sort could arise in the minds of men who in the middle of the 20th century occupied the highest positions in the government of one of the biggest and oldest states in Central Europe. Their object was to reduce Poles not so much to the status of slaves but rather soulless robots endowed with only the most primitive intelligence.

     Further on Himmler wrote about children "valuable from the racial point of view," who should be taken from their parents and sent to Germany where they would be educated and Germanized. "Useless" children were to be left alone. This scheme is the best proof of the hypocrisy of the theory of racism; even the Nazi leaders could hardly have believed it if they had no qualms about introducing "valuable racial elements" into the German nation even if these elements descended in a direct line from the "defective" Slavs. True, they could always fall back on the mythical German or at least Norman ancestors from a thousand years back, "If these orders are carried out consistently," concluded Himmler, "the population of the Government General in ten years' time will be made up of the remaining useless populace, deportees from the eastern provinces and from all parts of the Reich, people belonging to the same racial and ethnic group (for instance, Serbians and Lusatians). This populace, deprived of its leaders, will be at the disposal (of Nazi Germany) as manpower and every year will provide seasonal labour for the Reich as well as labour for special jobs (road construction, quarrying, building); they will have better food and be able to live better than under Polish rule; at the same time, deprived of its culture under the strict, consistent and just guidance of the German nation, they will be called on to help in the building of its enduring culture and monuments, and -- as far as the tremendous amount of ordinary work done is concerned -- perhaps even make them possible."

     Any skepticism about Himmler's boast that his ideas met with the approval of Hitler is dispelled by a third document containing a pronoucement [sic] made by the Führer himself. This is a confidential note, dated October 2, 1940, drawn up in Berlin on the orders of Reichsleiter Martin Bormann, later chief of staff of the NSDAP and Hitler's deputy.4     TOP

    "On October 2, 1940," it begins, "a conversation was started after lunch in the Führer's apartment about the nature of the Government General, the treatment of the Poles and the inclusion of the Piotrków and Tomaszów areas in the "Warta Region" (Warthegau) that had been ordered by the Führer." During this discussion the floor was taken by Baldur von Shirach, Hans Frank and Erich Koch. Finally Hitler spoke, taking a fundamental attitude to the problem in general. He said:

"Under no circumstances should the Government General  become a self-contained and uniform economic area producing all or some of the industrial articles needed by it; it must be a reservoir of manpower for us to perform the most menial jobs (brickmaking, road construction, etc.)."
     "It is therefore completely in order for a large surplus of manpower to exist in the Government General so that every year there would be a supply of labour for the Reich. We must be ruthlessly on our guard to prevent the emergence of any 'Polish masters;' wherever they are found, they must, however harsh this may sound, be eliminated."

     A little later Hitler made it clear what  he meant by "Polish masters."

"Once more the Führer must point out that the Poles can only have one master, and that is the German; two masters cannot and muct not exist side by side; therefore all representatives of the Polish intelligentsia should be eliminated (umbringen). This sounds harsh, but such are the laws of life.

"The Government General is a reservation for Poles, a hugh Polish work camp. This is good for the Poles because we look after their health and make sure they do not die of hunger, etc. However, we must never allow them to climb to a higher level because then they would become anarchists and Communists."

     These remarks by Hitler epitomize the directives issued by Himmler and the detailed project embodied in the memorandum of Wetzel and Hecht of November 1939. This programme was pursued with only minor variations throughout the occupation....


The Nazi plans, discussed in the preceding chapters, envisaged various methods and stages in the campaign to wipe out the Polish nation. One of the forms this campaign took was the compulsory removal of Polish children to be Germanized; sometimes this was described as the "special treatment of racially valuable children."

     Germanization of these children was intended on the one hand to help reduce and so eventually destroy the Polish nation and, on the other, to strengthen German blood and reinforce the German nation.

     This was a deliberate measure worked out and elaborated in all its details in Berlin. In charge of it stood Himmler in his capacity as Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood. From him came the crucial instructions to be executed by the SS and police departments under him. The NSDAP authorities at various levels also took part in this action as did some of the highest organs of the national administration (The Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Justice) and local offices under them.

     The following offices and organizations coming under Himmler were involved in this campaign:

     An office later known as the General Staff Headquarters of the Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood (Reichskommissar für die Festigung deutschen Volkstums-Stabshauptamt) set up by Himmler and one of the 12 Main Departments of the SS; this was Himmler's executive organ as Reich Commissioner;            TOP

     the Main Department for Race and Settlement (SS Rasse-und-Siedlungs-Hauptamt, abb. RuSHA) with local agencies in Lódz (RuSHA Aussenstelle Litzmannstadt) and representatives (Führer in Rasse und Siedlungswesen) at the offices of Higher SS and Police Leaders in the annexed territories, East Prussia and the Government General;

     the Central Resettlement Office (Umwandererzentralstelle abb. UWZ) with branches, in Poznan, Lódz (sub-branch in Zamosc), Gdansk and Katowice coming under the chiefs of the Security Police and Security Service;

     the Office for Resettlement of "ethnic" Germans (Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle, abb. VOMI), set up before the war;

     The "Lebensborn" Association, formed in 1935 by Himmler, which later became one of agencies of the Personal Staff of the Reichsfuhrer SS (Persönlicher Stab RF-SS Amt "L");

     The institution of the "German Native Schools" (Deutsche Heimschulen), educational establishments created on Himmler's instructions in 1942.

     Among the party agencies were the National Socialist Society of Social Welfare (Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt, abb. NSV), set up by Hitler in 1933 as one of the organs of the NSDAP.

     Each of these bodies had its particular part to play in the campaign for Germanization of Polish children. A vital role was also entrusted to such departments as youth (Jugendamt), health (Gesundheitsamt), Labour (Arbeitsamt), social welfare (Fürsorgeamt), the courts, etc.

     The Reich authorities had no delusions that the abduction and Germanization of Polish children could be justified by any lawful principles. They tried to conceal this crime not only from public opinion in other countries but even from the Germans themselves. For this reason they did everything possible to prevent information about this action leaking out. The orders, instructions, etc., put out in this matter were not released and the majority of them were top secret or confidential. Nowhere did they use the term "Germanization of Polish children." The most frequent wording was "Re-Germanization"   TOP (Wiedereindeutschung). Polish children were often referred to as "children from the East" (Ostkinder), "children suitable for Germanization" (Eindeutschungsfähige Kinder), "racially valuable children" (gutrassige Kinder). Occasionally they were called "children of Polish families" (Kinder polnischer Familien) or "children of Poles" (Polenkinder). Sometimes, to improve the appearance of the whole action, such phrases as "Polonized German children" (Polonisierte deutsche Kinder), "children of German descent" (Kinder deutscher Abstammung) or "German orphans" (deutsche Waisenkinder) were used.

     The Germanizing action consisted of illegally abducting children from parents, guardians and orphanages or adopting children of parents who had been arrested or shot and handing them over to German parents or institutions in Germany and the annexed territories. Another method was to take adolescents of either sex to forced labour in the Reich and there subject them to a Germanization process.

     Whether one of these kidnapped children was to be Germanized or not depended, on the results of a selection test to determine his racial value, character, ability and psychological qualities.   TOP

     The course and scope of the abductions varied, as did the method used, in the annexed territories, the Government General, and the Reich. There were even local differences in the annexed territories - between the districts of Silesia, Poznan Pomerania and Ciechanów. In principle these disparities stemmed from the varying attitude of the authorities to the local population. For instance, in Silesia the people were regarded as German and so their children were not taken away and sent to the Reich, except at the end of the war; the action was confined to taking over Polish orphanages and the removal only of children whose parents had refused to be entered on the Volkliste. In the Poznan and Pomeranian districts children were removed and sent to the Reich. The same practice was followed in the Government General, except that the abductions were part of the mass deportations and pacification actions, the evacuation of children as the army pulled back on the eastern front, or the removal of children from schools towards the end of the war. In the Reich itself any children born to parents who had been deported for forced labour were taken away if they were regarded as racially valuable.

    The taking over of Polish orphanages was not started right after the annexation of the western territories and the taking over of the general administrative functions; this step only followed some time later. However, it had been prepared well in advance - in some localities (Bydgoszcz and Lódz, for example) as early as 1939. All that was done at the beginning was to register the children in these homes. It was not till 1940 that the individual orphanages were taken over. Time and method varied from area to area. Some orphanages were dissolved and the children transferred to an institution in the Reich; for example, the Bydgoszcz children were taken to a Lebensborn institution in Polczyn near Szczecinek.  TOP

     Children living with adopted parents were to start with, generally left alone and the Germans confined themselves to checking that they were not coming under the "influence" of their Polish guardians. It was not till the issuance of an order on February 19, 1942 by SS Gruppenführer Greifelt, chief of the Headquarters of the Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood,1 that the question of the removal and Germanization of children in orphanages or living with adopted parents was regulated.

     This order stated that "there are a great number of children in Polish orphanages and living with adopted parents who, judging by their racial appearance, should be regarded as descended from Nordic parents." All these children should undergo racial and psychological tests; if these proved that the children had blood that was of value to Germanhood they should be Germanized. The order went on to specify how these tests should be conducted and where pure-bred children should be taken to be Germanized: between the ages of two and six they should be sent to Lebensborn institutions or to German families recommended by these institutions; between the ages of six and twelve they should be put in Native Schools after the completion of which they should be found homes with German families as fully- German children. Children whose parents lent themselves to Germanization should not be taken. The order did not omit to stress the need for camouflaging this whole business: "Special precautions must be taken to prevent the phrase `Polish children suitable for Germanization' becoming publicly known; these children should be described as German orphans from the regained eastern territories."  The reason given was that it might harm the child.

     The order was put into effect; racial tests were begun and where indicated, children were removed from their adopted homes or from orphanages. There were even incidents of children being taken from their parents or from relatives who were bringing them up. In the cases of adopted children the tests were carried out by doctors from the Health Department with every precaution taken that neither the child nor the adopted parents realized the object of these tests.  Appeals made after the removal of the child were either ignored or answered evasively. The guardians did not discover what had happened to the child and where it was until some time had elapsed and the child, by now in the Reich, found an opportunity to inform them secretly of its whereabouts.

     At the beginning of 1945, as a result of the westward shift of the front and the consequent evacuation orders, a certain number of children from orphanages were shipped deep into the Reich.

     As far as the Government General was concerned this action was never undertaken on the same scale nor as systematically and thoroughly carried out as in the annexed territories. But there were cases of children being taken from orphanages or from their adopted homes. For example, the orphans in the Evangelical home on Karolkowa Street in Warsaw were sent to Piaseczno and in 1944 moved to Karlsbad.

     Youth offices and party social welfare centres (NSV) drew up comprehensive lists of semi-orphaned and illegitimate children and children living with Polish guardians in the annexed territories. On the basis of these lists frequent checks were made to see if these children were not succumbing to the influences of their Polish environment. If it was discovered, for example, that a mother or guardian spoke Polish with the child, either the guardian was replaced by a German, sometimes by a court order, or the child was taken away and placed in a German institution or given to a German family. Illegitimate and semi-orphaned children, if racial tests proved positive, were placed in German institutions. In Poznan Province this action was carefully planned, with mothers as well as children undergoing racial tests; if the child was recognized as racially sound it was removed and sent to a Lebensborn centre in Austria via an institution in Kalisz.  TOP 

     Already during the early days of the occupation deportations were undertaken of Polish families from the annexed territories, particularly those who had settled there after the First World War, to the Government General. Only those people were left whom the Germans imagined would be suitable for Germanization. In their case the process of Germanization was facilitated by registering them on the German National Lists (Volksliste) with particular attention being paid to the children. Children recognized as racially valuable were subjected to Germanization usually by way of the Volksliste. If one of the parents refused to be entered on the Volksliste, the children and the other parent were registered to enable the Germanization to be carried out. However, there were many cases when children were compulsorily removed from their parents. Even before the Volksliste was formally introduced, Himmler, in a decree of September 12, 1940, on examination and selection of people in the annexed territories, had given orders to remove children from parents who rejected "re-Germanization." Later (Feb. 16, 1942) these orders were extended to include parents who were considered "especially compromised politically." Even in cases where the parents had been put down in the fourth group of the Volksliste, this latter order of Himmler's called for the removal of their children if it turned out that the parents were exerting an "unfavourable influence" on their children's Germanization. They were then placed with German families and institutions. This order was later made to apply to persons in the third group as well. Thus, in some cases, even registration on the Volksliste did not protect parents from the abduction of their children.  TOP

     In the Government General the procedure was similar in cases where parents, who had been recognized by the authorities as being of German descent, "refused to join the German national community." The children were then forcibly removed and placed with a German family in the Government General or sent to the Reich.

     In the case of mixed marriages - that is where one of the parents was a German or Kusubian, Mazurian or Silesian - the parent of Polish origin was compelled to register on the Volksliste; if he refused, the other parent was forced to seek a divorce. As a rule the courts granted divorces in these cases or annulled the marriage with custody of the children invariably awarded to the German party. The principle was that the good of the child depended on a German upbringing. Judgments handed down by Polish courts up to September 1939 were even rescinded with custody of the child being transferred to the parent of German descent or family. If this parent was dead the child was given either to a German family or a youth office.

     A child could also be forcibly removed if his parents had been arrested, or deported to a concentration camp or for forced labour in the Reich, in such cases children were taken away even if they were living with relatives. The same thing happened with children whose parents had been executed.

     This abduction of children reached massive proportions with the wholesale deportations of Poles from the Zamosc area, the pacifications in that region and other parts of the Government  General, and the evacuation actions as the German army retreated.

     During the mass deportations from the Zamosc area, described in the previous chapter, families were separated and the children forcibly removed. In the transit camps in Zamosc, Lublin and Zwierzyniec "racial experts" from the RuSHA took the opportunity presented by the examinations of deportees to conduct selection tests on the children. The children who passed these tests were segregated and sent to the annexed territories or the Reich to be Germanized; there they were handed over to German families or placed in institutions. It is difficult to calculate how many of the 30,000 children deported from the Zamosc area were removed for Germanization and how many were placed together with the aged and the sick in the Rentendörfer. Some idea can be had from a schedule of rail and road transports of children from the Zamosc area drawn up by the Lublin Branch of the Main Guardianship Council. This only covered the period from July 7th to August 25th, 1943. During this period there were 29 transports of 4,454 Polish children between the ages of two and fourteen. They were sent to Swinoujscie, Halle, Poznan, Strassholf (near Vienna), Lehrte, Wroclaw, Bramsdorf, Stargard, Soest, Kelsterbach, Neumark, Wesel, Kartnen near Graz, Parchim, Breitigheim, and Brandenburg. Accounts given by the transport officers showed that these children were either handed over to German families or placed in German institutions. The same procedure was followed with children whose parents had either been killed or sent to concentration camps during the pacification campaigns. Similarly, when the areas behind the retreating German army were being evacuated many children and juveniles were shipped deep into the Reich, except that the situation was so uncertain that there was not time to carry out racial tests, which were postponed until the children were in Germany. This action was known as Heu-Aktion.    [See illustration: Polish Children]

     In 1944 the Germans also began abducting children from schools in the Government General. Often as many as several dozen children would be taken from a single school. They were usually not even allowed to say goodbye to their parents or families; a trainload would be collected from the haul of several localities and after racial tests taken to the Reich.  TOP

     Another method, used with older children, was to separate them from their families and send them off for forced labour in the Reich. It was mainly girls between the ages of fourteen to twenty who fell within the scope of this action; they were usually sent to the Reich as domestic help and there subjected to a process of Germanization. The areas round Poznan and Lódz were the main source. The girls had most often been picked up in street round-ups or supplied by labour and social welfare offices or the Central Resettlement Office. In this way the Nazis managed to combine exploitation of slave labour with Germanization.

     All the aforementioned actions had been planned in Berlin and were carried out according to strictly prescribed directives. However, a large number of children were also taken away as the result of arbitrary police actions, raids, street round-ups, etc., which were not part of the Germanization plans. Nevertheless, these children too were sent to the Reich or subjected to Germanization or became Germanized as a result of the conditions in which they were forced to live. This for instance, is what happened to a number of children deported during the Warsaw Uprising.

     All the actions so far described were carried out on Polish territory. But in the Reich itself Polish children were also removed for Germanization. This primarily concerned children born in Germany to Polish woman who had been deported for forced labour. At first no special steps were taken with regard to pregnant "eastern workers" - who included Poles - and their offspring. There were even cases where pregnant women were sent back to their native country for the period of birth. However, since these pregnancies temporarily deprived the Germans of the full value of the women's labour and, moreover, seeing that the children born to them increased the biological strength of nations who did not belong to the Herrenvolk, measures began to be taken to stop this "unwelcome" fertility. This natural increase could be checked either by abortion or by removal of the offspring. But there were laws against abortion in force in the Reich. The Reich Minister of Justice, therefore, issued an order on March 9, 1943, waiving the penalties for abortion in the case of eastern workers who requested such an operation. If a woman refused to undergo this operation voluntarily it was simply forced on her. However, before the abortion was carried out the identity of the father had to be established and also whether the child would be "of good blood." Orders issued by Himmler on June 9, 1943, forbade abortion in cases where the father was of German descent and the child might be racially valuable. On July 27, 1943, further orders came from Himmler which extended this provision to fathers of blood close to German (artsverwandten Blutes), pointing out that the price paid in German blood for the war required that children produced by female workers of other nationalities be preserved for the German nation. These orders specified precisely the procedure to be followed in this type of case. The employer was to inform a youth office of pregnancies among his female workers; the office would then establish the identity of the parent and experts from the RuSHA and health department would carry out racial tests on the parents. Children of parents who passed these tests would be put in the hands of the NSV which was then to hand them over to German families or to homes for racially valuable children (Kinderheime für gutrassige Kinder). Particularly good mothers from the racial point of view would be put in under the care of Lebensborn institutions and forbidden to take their children back to their own country. At the same time it was forbidden to tell the mothers what the object of these orders was. Mothers incapable of work and their racially worthless children were to be removed (abgeschoben); most probably this simply meant liquidation. It needs hardly be said that the mothers were not asked for their approval when their children were taken away.

     A decree issued on June 5, 1944, by the Reich Minister of the Interior made the youth offices the official guardians of "racially sound" children born by female workers.

     As far as abortion was concerned, no distinction was drawn between married and unmarried mothers.

     In the Reich it was not only the children born there who were removed but also those who had arrived together with parents sent for forced labour (the children of parents deported from Volhynia for example).

     What has been described so far was the abduction or adoption of Polish children as part of the Germanization campaign. However, the mere fact of abduction or adoption did not mean that the child would be necessarily Germanized. The touchstone was always result of the selection tests except in the case of children whose parents had refused to be registered on the Volksliste.

     These selection tests consisted primarily of racial and medical examinations. These were followed by analyses of the child's character, ability and psychological qualities. The racial tests were conducted by specialists (Eignungsprüfer) from the Main Office for Race and Settlement of the SS or sometimes, as in Lódz, by doctors from the health department. There were special forms for the tests which contained 62 points concerning the child's physique, shape and colour of the eyes, type of hair, etc. This detailed physical description of the child was used to establish its racial type. There were 11 racial types and two additional ones: negative and positive. The racial type having been established, the child was put into one of three categories:       
1. "Desirable natural increase" (erwünschter Bevölkerungszuwachs)
2. "Tolerable natural increase" (tragbarer Bevölkerungszuwachs)
3."Undesirable natural increase" (unerwünschter Bevölkerungszuwachs).  TOP   [See Illustration; Racial Examinations]

     Children placed in the third category were not subjected to Germanization. This could have spelled a death sentence as a result of the bad conditions in the segregated places in which they had to live, for example, in concentration camps (the children of "bandits," children from the Zamosc area put in category IV of the deportations from that region); or it could have meant sterilization if one of the parents was Jewish.

     The racial classification was followed by psychological examinations and tests for character and intelligence. If it transpired from these that the child had "bad character or psychological propensities" it would be barred from the Germanizing process despite its good racial qualities. These tests continued even after the child had been handed over to a German family. It can be seen that the object was not to establish the German descent of the child but to choose children with good physical and mental qualities.

     After the test but before they were sent off to the Reich the children underwent a preliminary Germanization in institutions specially set up for this purpose or in Polish homes taken over by the NSV. For the area of the Warta Region for example, childrens' homes of this sort were organized in Poznan, Ludwikowo, Puszczykowo and Bruczkowo. This latter home was moved later to Kalisz where it went on functioning up to January 1945.   TOP 

     After a relatively short stay in these homes the children were sent to the Reich - to the "Native Schools" or to institutions run by the Lebensborn, SS and NSV, or to other establishments; here they underwent Germanization proper. First and foremost they were forbidden to speak Polish. If they were caught talking Polish they suffered severe punishments such as beating, starvation, etc. They were not allowed to have any contact with their parents. In fact, the children were told that their parents and families were dead. Every means was used to persuade the children that they were Germans. To this end they were drafted into youth organizations such as the Hitlerjugend or the Bund Deutscher Madel. All traces of the children's Polish origin were removed; their names were replaced by German ones. Following an order issued by the head of the Race Office in the RuSHA the principle was to make the new name as close as possible to the old one in derivation and sound; if this was impossible the child was given one of the more common German names. It was the usual practice to keep the first two or three letters of the old name; for instance Kawczynski became Kancmann, Sosnowska - Sosemann, or it would be translated: Mlynarczyk into Müller, Ogrodowczyk into Gärtner, etc. Birth certificates and descent were changed and forged documents drawn up, particularly in the case of children taken during the pacification actions when neither the date nor the place of birth were known. The Germanization institutions also had special registration offices so as to prevent parents from being able to trace their children.  

     After staying in the Germanization institution the children were handed over to German families of confirmed National Socialist sympathies who were told that the youngsters were of German origin.     TOP

     There was a great deal of reluctance to have these children legally adopted since the Germans were afraid that certain details might be revealed in court which would show that the children were of Polish origin.

     The treatment of these children by the German families varied. Normally they told the child to call them "mother" and "father" and in many cases, their relations with these children whom they imagined to be German left nothing to be desired. But there were cases when the children were exploited at work and even beaten. It was worse if the parents learned that the child was of Polish origin; then it would be humiliated and mistreated on every occasion.

    It is difficult to calculate exactly or even approximately the number of children who were Germanized, both those deported from Poland to the Reich and those actually born there. All that can be done is to give a few fragmentary figures which can serve to convey some idea of the scale on which this action was conducted in a particular period or in a particular area.

     As already mentioned, the list drawn up by the Lublin Branch of the Chief Guardianship Council concerning children involved in the mass deportations from the Zamosc area showed that between July 7 and August 25, 1943,
 4,454 children were sent off to be Germanized.    

     The investigation of the case of Albert Forster, the ex-Gauleiter of Gdansk and West Prussia, discovered that about 1,600 children were deported from this province for Germanization. However, these figures are not complete, since they do not cover the whole of the region.

     What has survived of the records of the NSDAP organization for Silesia includes the figure of 3,000 children subjected to Germanization.  TOP

     The records and files of the Occupation Youth Office in Lódz list about 12,000 children put under its legal custody. Of these at least 1,200 were deported to Germany, not counting children put in homes or handed over to German families.

The number of children living in Polish homes in the provinces of Poznan and Lódz (known as the Warta Region) amounted in 1939 to 5,226. These children underwent selection tests and it has been established that over 50 per cent (sic) were found racially sound and so Germanized.

     In the Reich itself in November 1942 there were 6,818 Polish girls "suitable for Germanization" who had been deported there for forced labour and were working as domestic help in German families.

     After the war, in connection with attempts being made to secure the return of Polish children from occupied Germany, German officials handed over to the American and British authorities about 40,000 birth certificates of children born to Polish women in the former Reich.  TOP

     In the trial of officials of the Main Office for Race and Settlement of the SS before the American Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (Case VIII) it was found that there had been about 92,000 children in the Lebensborn institutions. As already mentioned from Nazi documents it is known that Polish children who were to be Germanized were also sent to these institutions.

The Sub-human (RuSHA, 1942)
The category of sub-human (Untermensch) included Slavic peoples (Poles, Russians, Serbs, etc.) Gypsies and Jews.   TOP
To avoid mistakes which might subsequently occur in the selection of subjects suitable for 'Germanization,' the RuSHA [The Race and Settlement Head Office] in 1942 distributed a pamphlet, The Sub-Human, to those responsible for that selection. 3,860,995 copies were printed in German alone and it was translated into Greek, French, Dutch, Danish, Bulgarian, Hungarian and Czech and seven other languages. It stated:
The sub-human, that biologically seemingly complete similar creation of nature with hands, feet and a kind of brain, with eyes and a mouth, is nevertheless a completely different, dreadful creature. He is only a rough copy of a human being, with human-like facial traits but nonetheless morally and mentally lower than any animal. Within this creature there is a fearful chaos of wild, uninhibited passions, nameless destructiveness, the most primitive desires, the nakedest vulgarity. Sub-human, otherwise nothing. For all that bear a human face are not equal. Woe to him who forgets it." 1   The Nazis acknowledged that among the sub-humans, (especially among their leaders) there were those few who had obvious traces of Aryan-Nordic ancestry; however, it was decided that most of these people would have to be destroyed in order to leave the inferior races without leadership. It was possible that some of these superior people could be "germanized" -- but if not, one should at least preserve the good blood in their children. By this logic, many thousands of Polish children were subjected to a racial test. Those who had what Nazis defined as "Aryan" characteristics -- such as blue eyes, blond hair, a properly proportioned head, good behavior and above average intelligence -- were kidnapped from their parents and shipped to Germany for ultimate adoption by appropriate German families.


Janusz Gumkowkski and Kazimierz Leszczynski, Poland Under Nazi Occupation, (Warsaw, Polonia Publishing House, 1961) pp. 7-33, 164-178.                                                  TOP
1. Confidential note drawn up in Göring's Headquarters on june 20, 1940 (Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes in Poland -- 600/40 x/VIII).
2. This memorandum was used in case VIII of the American Military Tribunal -- the trial of an official in the SS Main Office for Race and Settlement (SS-Rasse und Siedlungshauptamt); it was signed NG 2325.
3.  Stellungnahme und Gedanken zum Generalplan Ost des Reichsführers SS p.29.
1. Reichsgesetzblatt 1939, p. 2,042
2. A photostatof this document is in the files of the Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Poland; it was published in Polish translation in vol. IV of the Commission's Bulletin in 1948.
3. Einige Gedanken über die Behandlung der  Fremdvölkishen im Osten. Records of the trial of Joseph Bühler before the Supreme National Tribunal, vol.VI p. 65 ff.
4. This document marked USSR-172, was included in the evidence submitted at the Nuremberg Trial against the principal war criminals.
1. Order No. 67/I; Main Commission Records, DC 153/7x.

"The Sub-Human (RuSHA, 1942)"

1. Mark Hillel and Clarissa Henry Of Pure Blood, (New York, Pocket Books, 1976) p.26.

1. The rear side of a gas chamber after 1944 at Majdanek, [Lublin] Poland.
Source: National Museum in Majdanek, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives.
2. A characteristic public display of Nazi ideas about race. It reads: "The Biology of Growth" -- "Stages of Growth for Members of the Nordic Race." Source: National Archives and Records Administration, courtesy of  USHMM.
3. Anti-Semitic photomontage (The Scourge of God, Polish Jews) issued by Julius Streicher's Der Stürmer. It was used as evidence at the Nuremberg war crime trials. Source: : National Archives, courtesy of USHMM.
Auschwitz, July, 1944. Approximately 40,000 Polish children were imprisoned in Auschwitz before being transferred to Germany during the "Heu-Aktion" (Hay Action).  "The blond boy at the lower right may be Kalman Cylberszac (b.1934), the son of Rachel and Nachum Cylberszac from Lask, Poland." Source: Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives.  
5. The facial features of a young German woman are measured during a* racial examination in Berlin Germany; circa 1933-39. Source: National Archives, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives.
6. Measuring facial features during a racial examination at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, Berlin; circa 1933-39. Source: National Archives, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives.
7. Nazi ideal: the face of a young german  who exemplifies the "nordic racial heritage." Source: The Reichsführer SS, SS Hauptamt,  Rassenpolitik
(SS Hauptamt, Berlin, 1941) p., 73.
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