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The Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz in occupied Poland

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The Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz (“ethnic Germans’ self-protection”) was a paramilitary organization consisting of ethnic German mobilized from among the German minority in Poland.

The Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz operated before and during the opening stages of World War II in the western half of Poland, and were responsible for (by taking part in) massacres of ethnic Poles, along with SS Einsatzgruppen.

In the interwar period, the German minority organizations in Poland included Jungdeutsche Partei (Young German party), Deutsche Vereinigung (United German), Deutscher Volksbund (German peoples Union) and Deutscher Volksverband (German peoples United), all of them actively cooperated with Nazi Germany in anti-Polish espionage, sabotage, provocations, and political indoctrination.

They maintained close contact with and were directed by The NSDAP (Nazi Party), Auslandsorganisation (Foreign Affairs Organization), Gestapo (Secret Police), SD (Security Service) and Abwehr (Defense).

It is estimated that 25% of the German minority in Poland were members of these organisations.

By October 1938, the SD agents from Germany had organized the Selbstschutz formations in Poland. The ethnic Germans with Polish citizenship had been trained in the Third Reich in various sabotage methods and guerilla tactics. Before the war began, Selbstschutzactivists from Poland compiled lists of Poles who were to be removed or executed in Operation Tannenberg. The list was distributed among Nazi death squads as the Special Prosecution Book-Poland (germ.Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen).

Immediately after the 1 September 1939, Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz engaged in attacks against the Polish population and the army, and performed sabotage operations helping the German advance across the Polish state.

Selbstschutz also organized concentration camps for the Poles. There were 19 such a camps. The majority of the Poles imprisoned in those camps (consisting of men, women and youth) were brutally murdered. After German invasion of Poland, Selbstschutz worked together with the Einsatzgruppen to massacre Poles. Selbstschutz took part in the first action of elimination of Polish intelligentsia, the mass murders in Piaśnica, during which 12,000 to 16,000 civilians were murdered.

An Intelligenzaktion was a plan to eliminate all Polish intelligentsia and Poland’s leadership class in the country. These operations took place soon after the fall of Poland, lasting from the fall of 1939 until the spring of 1940, 60,000 landowners, teachers, entrepreneurs, social workers, army veterans, members of national organizations, priests, judges and political activists were murdered in 10 regional actions.

By 5 October 1939, in West Prussia alone, Selbstschutz under the command of Ludolf von Alvensleben was 17,667 men strong, and had already executed 4,247 Poles.

One Selbstschutzcommander, Wilhelm Richardt, said in Karolewo (Karlhof) camp that he did not want to build big camps for Poles and feed them, and that it was an honour for Poles to fertilize the German soil with their corpses.

There was even a case where a Selbstschutz commander was relieved after he failed to account for all the Poles that were required, and it was found that he executed “only” 300 Poles.

1,701 former members of Selbstschutz who committed mass atrocities were identified in postwar Germany. However, there were only 258 cases of judicial investigations, and 233 of them were canceled.

Only ten Selbstschutz members were ever sentenced by the German courts.

In 1941 it was determined to destroy the Polish nation completely and the German leadership decided that in 15–20 years the Polish state under German occupation was to be fully cleared of any ethnic Poles and settled by German colonists.

A majority of Poles, now deprived of their leaders and most of their intelligentsia (through mass murder, destruction of culture, the ban on education above the absolutely basic level, and kidnapping of children for Germanization), would have to be deported to regions in the East and scattered over a wide area of Western Siberia as possible. According to the plan this would result in their assimilation by the local populations, which would cause the Poles to vanish as a nation.

According to plan, by 1952 only about 3–4 million ‘non-Germanized’ Poles (all of them peasants) were to be left residing in the former Poland. Those of them who would still not Germanize were to be forbidden to marry. The existing ban on any medical help for Poles in Germany would be extended, and eventually Poles would cease to exist. Experiments in mass sterilization in concentration camps may also have been intended for use on the populations.

The Soviets tried and did the same thing…

One of the charges listed in the indictment presented at the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the SS officer responsible for the transportation aspects of the Final Solution, was that he was responsible for the deportation of 500,000 Poles. Eichmann was convicted on all 15 counts.

Never Forget Never Forgive.

The photo shows a meeting of The Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz in Warsaw 1939 after the start of the occupation.

Jan Polak

Jan Polak

Found online ( Facebook – historical page)

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