* NAZI plans for the occupied East -- Poland : elimate the inteligencia NAZI plans for the occupied East -- Poland :Specific Policies

NAZI Plans in Poland: Specific Policies

Figure 1.--Here we see Polish civilians that are being driven out of their homes and farms at gun point into the General Government. Only with a few itens they could carry. Hitler Youth BDM girls inspected their parsels to ensure they were not taking items of value items of value. Notice there are no carts or livestovk permitted. This photograph wa taken in Wartheland, the annexed privunce south og the former Poloish Corridor. It is undated, but was possibly taken shortly adter the German invasionm (around October-November 1939). The NAZI caption was, ", Evakuierte Polen in Schwarzenau in der Nähe des Bahnhofs." This means evacuation of Poles in Schwarzenau near the train station. The NAZi captions are rarely accurate, but they are often revealong of a murderous mindset. First of all it waa not an evacuation, but the forced expullsion of defensless civilians at gun point. There was no protection of law or even the most basic humanirian spirit. Schwarzenau is the German name of the Polish city Czerniejewo. The background looks like they aee out in the country, not near the train staion in a city. Our impression is that the German expulsion of the Poles forced them to move on foot rather than by train, but here we do mot have a lot of details. The Jewish Holocaist transports were done largeky by train (sealed box cars) in part to prevent people from fleeing. The photographic record accurately shows this. Source: Bundesarchiv, R 49 Bild-0138

The NAZIs had not fully work out their plans for Poland at the time they invaded, but the basic plan was already in place. The goal was to destroy the Polish state and the very idea of Polish national life. The NAZI plan was simple. First they planned to eliminate the Polish inteligencia. Second they would expel Poles from western Poland and repopulate the former Polish areas with Germans. Fortuately for the Poles, this process was complicated by the need to win the War which after the early victories did not go well for Germany. Himmler's SS begun this processs, but had to scale back operations because the disruptions involved were disrupting the exploitation of Poland and the preparations for the invasion of the Soviet Union. Simply put, you could not exploit the country to support the war effort if you removed the population. It is less clear precisely when they decided to murder the Polish people, although the mechanisms were worked out in the Jewish Holocaust. With 3.3 million Jews, Poland was the highest priority and most of the death camps were built there. The stunning early military victories removed all constraints. Hitler felt he had won the War and he could do as he willed without any consequences. All of this was full wotked out in Generalplan Ost--the vasst murder olan not only for Polanb, but for all of Eastern Europe--Generalplan Ost. This involved the third goal, the murder and elimination of the Polish people. Military defeat prevented the Germans from destroying the Polish people, bit of thge pre-War poppulstionn of 35 million, some 6 million people died, nistly civilians--approcgihg 20 percent of the population.

Eliminate the Intelegencia

The was given orders to kill Polish prominent civilians and indiviaduals such as government officials, the nobility, teachers, and priests throughout Poland, any would which could promote Polish nationalism or offer leadership. [Gilbert, p. 265.] Today their are countless memorial stones and plaques througout Poland where these executions took place. And it was not just men, women and children were also killed. The Army Chief of Staff, Genderal Halder discussed the Führer's orders with his senior officers. One a Colonel Eduard Wagner wrote in his diary, "It is the F�hrer's and Goering's intentions to destroy and exterminate the Polish nation. More than that cannot even be hinted at in writing." [Gilbert, p. 269.] The instructions were secret. Some SS men carrying these instructions were arrested by the Wehremacht accussed of brutality. [Gilbert, p. 278.] Admiral Canaris, the head of the Abwehr, German military intelligence, visited the Polish front on September 10 and was horrified. He went to Hitler's headquarters planning to protest which he told General Keitel, the Chief of the Armed Forces High Command. Keitel advised him, "If I were you I would not get mixed up in this business. This 'thing' has been decided by the F�hrer himself." Keitel explained that that each army command would have a NAZI civilian chief attached to its military commander. He would have the responsibility for the "racial extermination" effort. [Gilbert, p. 271.] Hitler on October 4, even before the fighting was over, declared an amnesty for the arressted SS men. There were no further arressts of SS men by the Wehremact in Hitler's future campaigns.

Germanizing Poland

Germanizing Poland did not mean Germanizing the opeople. It meant at first expulsions, forcing them out of homes and farms at gun pont and comcentrating into the General Government. Children and the elderly gad to mnake long treks with no provision for food, waterm abd shelter (figure 1). Evenbtuall the oklan was genocide, murdering them like the Jewish Holovcaust. The successful invasion of Poland brough a much larger area and numbers of foreigners under German control (September 1939). Himmler had asigned the Main Office for the Consolidation of German Nationhood (SS-RKF) the task of preparing a plan for Germanizing Poland. The Chief of SS-RKF Department II (Planning) SS-Oberführer Professor Dr. Konrad Meyer was responsible for preparing the plans. [Padfield, p. 363.] The idea was to turn these areas into "pure and Germanic provinces". This was to be dome by annexing wetern Poland to the Reich. And then deporting Poles to the General Government srtvup in central Poland with Waresaw at is core. The Poles would be replaced by ethnnic Germans. And the colomnising group would be the Volksdeutsche ordered Home to the Reich from the Baltic Republics before the War. This process was delayed somewhat by the SS which wanted to assess thesetGermans to make dure they were of purse German stock and poltically reliabke. Deporting the Poles snd Jews alo had the adbantage of concentrating them so they could be more easily murdered. The Holocaust was not to be limited to the Jews. They were simply to be the firsr of many victims. At this stage of the War, however, all og yhid was not yet fully worked out.

Eastern Poland

Hitler divided Poland with the Soviet Union as part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Agreement (August 1939). but this did not meanb thayt he only wanted western Poland. TThe point of the agreemebt was to secure his eastern frontier so that there would not be a repeat of the World War I two front war. With Stalin placated, he would be able to turn west and deal with Britain and France. But this was only a temprary expedient, an armed truce. Any reading of Mein Kampf makes it very clear. Hitler's goals were not jusdt Poland--it was the East, meaniung the eSoviet Union ith its vast straches of fertile farm lnds and all the critical raw materials that Germany lacked. The military would eventually draw the Arkhangelsk–Astrakhan Line (A-A kine0> Ir was the projected military goal of Operation Barbarossa. It was also referred to as the Volga–Arkhangelsk line, less commonly. It was first mentioned in Führer Directive 21 (December 18, 1940). It described reaching 'general line Volga–Archangelsk" as overall military objective. This of course was just the first year's objective. Onr achiueved, nothing would prevent conquyests further east.

Generalplan Ost

The SS Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA -- Reich Security Office) was the NAZI agency which drafted the Generalplan Ost (General Plan East). This was the NAZI blueprint for the most horrendous crime ever envisioned in human history. The Holocaust directed at Europe's 11 million Jews was just one part of Generalplan Ost. The basic outline for Generalplan Ost was sketched out by Hitler in Mein Kampf. The invasion and occupation of Czechoslovakia gave the NAZIs the first slice of eastern territory to begin their transformation of eastern Europe (March 1939). But the NAZIs considered the Czechs to be the most advanced Slavs. And they needed Czech industry for arms production. So the Czechs were left with a puppet government and Germinization was put off least it disrupt arms production. Poland was the next slice of the East. It was much bigger slice and the Poles were Slavs that Hitler despised. Himmler launched into the Germinization process in the Wartergau, but Frank protested with Himmler began dumping Jews and Poles in the General Government. So again Germinization and whole-scale deportations had to be delayed. Himmler and NAZI Party officials argued about Eastern policy. Himmler wanted to settle Germans in the East and to carefully select the existing populations for German blood. Some NAZI Party officials wanted to pursue a less biologically oriented policy and to accept large numbers of the existing population which was anti-Bolshevik. The debate over Eastern policy raged in NAZI circles for 2 years. With the stunning success of Operation Barbarossa (June 1941), Hitler finally decided. He essentially accepted Himmler's approach and SS planners began preparing Generalplan Ost. It was developed in secret. The principal area covered was the Soviet Union (including the Baltics), but Poland and Czechoslovakia was also included. Himmler and Heydrich was anxious to put it into operation. The major impediment to carrying it out was the Red Army.

The Hunger Plan

The German Hunger Plan (der Hungerplan) also called der Backe-Plan or Starvation Plan was a NAZI World War II food management plan. It is sometime called the Backe Plan, after its primary advocate. He played a critical role in planning and implementing the plan. Herbert Backe was an official in the Ministry of Food and eventually appointed to that post. The Ministry was responsible for the German rationing program. Actually there was no single centrally coordinated plan, but several separate if some times related operations. Germany's World War I experience encouraged the idea of using food as a weapon. Hitler was not the first in this arena. Stalin preceded him by about a decade with the Ukrainian famine (1932-33). We are not sure to what extent NAZI officials were aware of this. The NKVD did an efficient job of preventing details from leaking out to the West. And Western Socialists and Communists, including those in Germany did not want to believe the rumors. The desire to use food as a weapon. This combined with the NAZI regime's rush to acceptance eugenics theories as scientific fact resulted in a genocidal brew of genocidal policies. NAZI food policies were different than the Allied blockade policies which were designed to win the War. Part of Hitler's war objectives were the murder of millions of people which sometimes were given a priority over the war effort. The Hunger Plan was not a policy designed to help win the War, although sometimes presented as that. Many of the individuals killed were working in war industries supporting the German war effort. This actually impeded the war effort as a labor shortage developed in Germany requiring the introduction of forced labor to man German war industries. Rather the killing of millions Jews and Slavs was a primary German war goal. Hitler asked officials in the Ministry of Food, the agency responsible for rationing, to develop a Starvation Plan, sometimes referred to as the Hunger Plan. The Minister was one of the chief advocates for eugenics in the NAZI hierarchy. The largest elements of the Hunger Plan were: 1) Occupation policies in Poland, 2) Ghetto policies, 3) Starvation of Polish and Soviet POWs, 4) Generalplan Ost. Scholars studying the Hunger Plan provide a somewhat varied list of its elements, largely because there was no single, well coordinated NAZI effort, but rather the work of various officials with similar objectives and values. These include besides Backe, Reichmarshal Göring, Reichführer SS Himmler, SS Obergruppenführer Heydrich, and Minister of Food Darré.

The Jews

The heart of the Holocaust was the murder of some 3 million Polish Jews. The Holocaust was a crime without precedent in modern history. The NAZIs targeted the Jews for death camps. Many were killed by SS Einsatzgruppen in large-scale actions at first in Poland and than on a larger scale in the Soviet Union. Others Jews were concentrated in Ghettos for slave labor and eventual dispatch to the death camps. Tragically it was not just the Germans involved, but in many countries the local population led by Fascist groups were all to willing to participate in the robbery and killing. Jewish children were among the first to be killed by the NAZIs. They had no economic value which could be exploited. They also were the seed for the future of the Jewish people. The NAZIs also saw them as a force for future retribution if they were not killed. The NAZIs are estimated to have murdered over a million Jewish children. One can not forget the images of the starving Jewish children on the Warsaw Ghetto whose parents had been killed. A great body of literature exists on the Holocaust including the experiences of the children.


Gilbert, Martin. A History of the Twentieth Century Vol. 2 1933-54 (William Morrow and Company, Inc.: New York, 1998), 1050p.

Padfield, Peter. Himmler: Reichsführer-SS (Henry Holt: New York, 1991), 656p.


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Created: 8:45 PM 2/21/2020
Last updated: 8:45 PM 2/21/2020