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  Wikipedia: Reichsgau Wartheland

Wikipedia: Reichsgau Wartheland
Reichsgau Wartheland
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Reichsgau Wartheland is the name given by Nazis to territory of Greater Poland which was directly incorporated into German Reich after defeating the Polish army in 1939 (as opposed to General Government, GG). This territory was inhabited in majority by Poles, while having significant German minority. During the war, many Poles were expelled from the territory into GG, more than 70,000 from Poznan alone. These actions were covered by so called Kleine Planung and as part of Generalplan Ost.

Area: 43,905 kmē

Population: 4,693,700 (1941)

Invasion

During the first week of the German invasion of Poland, there is little agreement as to the number and manner of minority Germans killed during Bromberg Bloody Sunday and in the days that followed throughout western Poland as the German Blitzkrieg swept through. Nazi propaganda later reported 60,000 people and used it as a pretext for repression against Poles (see also Provocation in Gliwice).

As German forces gained contol, immediate executions killed over 3,000 Poles, many with unproven culpability, but this was just the beginning. Throughout the war, Poland experienced atrocities on an unimaginable scale. On Sept. 1, 1939, it had 390,000 Jews. Most perished or suffered terrible abuse during the war. 2,000 Polish intelligentsia were murdered, and another 10,000 in other part of Action Tannenberg. Almost every village has a killing field or cemetary, quite often half a village was killed or sent away to work camps or concentration camps from which few returned. The Germans closed or destroyed universities, schools, museums, libraries, and scientific laboratories. They demolished hundreds of monuments to national heroes. Polish children's was not allowed after a few years of elementary education.

Occupation

In the Wartheland, the Nazis' goal was complete "Germanization", to assimilate the territory politically, culturally, socially, and economically into the German Reich. Germans closed elementary schools where Polish was the language of instruction. They renamed streets and cities so that Lodz became Litzmannstadt, for example. They also seized tens of thousands of Polish enterprises, from large industrial firms to small shops, without payment to the owners. Signs posted in public places warned: "Entrance is forbidden to Poles, Jews, and dogs."

The Roman Catholic Church was suppressed in Wartheland more harshly then elsewhere, as they systematically closed churches, seminaries and convents; most priests were either killed (estimated 3,000 throughout Poland), imprisoned, or deported to the General Government.

The Germanization of the annexed lands also included an ambitious program to resettle Germans from the Baltic and other regions on farms and other homes formerly occupied by Poles and Jews. By the end of 1940, the SS had expelled 325,000 Poles and Jews from the Wartheland and the Danzig corridor and transported them to the General Government, confiscating their belongings. Many elderly people and children died en route or in makeshift transit camps such as those in the towns of Potulice, Smukal, and Torun. In 1941, the Nazis expelled 45,000 more people.

At least 1.5 million Polish citizens (many were teenagers) were transported to the Reich for labor, most of them against their will. They were generally treated worse than other forced labor groups.

End of war

At the beginning of 1945, Russian forces drove the retreating Germans through the Polish lands. Caught in severe winter temperaturs, most resident German citizens fled, many too late due to decisions by their own military. An estimated ?50,000? of the former German residents perished, some from flight, some from the atrocities of vengeful Poles and conquering Soviet soldiers. As the war ended, communist Soviet groups added their own atrocities, hunting down local leaders who might oppose their control of Poland. Of those ethnic Germans who survived the slaughter and initial deportations, many were eventually expelled by the communist government, established in Poland by the Red Army. Property of Germans and German state was confiscated and used to compensate Poles, who were forcibly relocated from southeastern Poland.

See also


  

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona