Views of the Government General

NAZI occupied Poland
Figure 1.--A German soldier sent this photograph to his mother. A letter reads, "March 14th, 1940. Dear Mother, in a Bazar (a fair as that we have in September where every year we have been so glad) today I saw a monkey dancing with a bear. What spectacle!" The letter did not identify the place, as was common in soldiers' letters during the War. In March 1940 this would have been Poland, almost certainly the Government General. Notice the bare feet even in March.

The world press was excluded from the Government General. Even so we have have many views of the Government General. Poles managed to take some photographs. But we have many images taken by the German occupation forces. Poland had cities like Western Europe, but much of the rural area was very backword. To the German soldiers which came from modern cities or tidy rural villages, Poland was like visiting another world. They were like tourist able to step back in time. Many soldier took photographs of what they saw and created scrapbooks or sent them home to their parents. These are not propaganda images, but photographs German soldiers took of scenes that they found interesting. Many of these photographs come from 1939-41 before the Wehrmacht began their fateful drive east into the Soviet Union.


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Created: 8:17 AM 7/14/2009
Last updated: 8:17 AM 7/14/2009