World War II: NAZI Economic Exploitation of Poland (1939-45)

World War II German occupied Poland
Figure 1.--This appears to be German made heavy Bussing MAC? trucks seized in the NAZI invasion of Poland (September 1939). Poland probably had to import heavy trucks like this from Germany. Note the gas masks. A Germnan soldier has written on the back. Unfortunately his hand writing is poor. It seems to read something like, "Guttentag: Autos mit ????. Siegestrophäen behangen". The first word probably is misspelled from "Gutentag", however, this doesn't make a lot of sense. A possible translation into English, ""Hi: Trucks draped with ?????. trophies of victory". I'm not sure who the boys are. Areas of western Polabnd were ppuklated with both Germans and Poles. Put your cursor on the image to see the writing on the back.

The Germans possessed areas of Polabd from the first weeks of the War (September 1939). Large areas of western Polabd weee annexed to the Reich. The Government General was established in central Poland as an occupation regime. Eastern Poland only came into their possession after Barbarossa (JUne 1941). German policies in these areas and the economic consequences varied. One gial was to exploit Poland economically to support the war effort. This was not the only goal, however, as can be seen in the use of Jewish workers. The subject of how effectively the the Germans made use of occupied Poland to support the War effort is a subject that we have not yet been able to persue. We know that Polish agricultural production was confiscated and shipped to the Reich causing food shortages in Poland and in the case of the Jews, starvation. German policies probably reduced the productivity of the country's farms, but we do not yet have details on this. We are less sure about how effectively the Germans used Polish labor and factories. Unlike the situation in the Soviet Union, much of the Polish indistrial plant survived in tact abnd was seized by the Germans. Warsaw was heavly damaged, but the situation in other Polish cities was better. We are not sure just how effecticely the Germans took advantage oif this. Later in the War large numbers of Polish workers were rounded up for slave labor in the Reich.


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Created: 8:59 AM 11/18/2007
Last updated: 8:59 AM 11/18/2007