The two mighty protagonists of the Third Reich, Heinrich Himmler and Dr. Hans Frank, were locked in a progressive and long-term dispute over territorial accountability. The dispute between them centered on the SS/Police responsibilities in the General Government and who was to initiate policy. Standing in the middle was Friedrich Wilhelm Krüger, who was seated at the very heart of Frank's domain as the highest-ranking representative of the Reichsführer-SS in Berlin. The result was the conflict between the SS and Police and the civil administration.
The year 1942 brought mixed and unpredictable blessings for the German war effort, but by the end of the year German reverses were becoming apparent. The failure to take Moscow in December 1941 and the deteriorating situation around Stalingrad had brought serious doubts about German invincibility. None of the military setbacks, however, affected the deportation of the Jews to the gas chambers at Belzec, Sobibór and Treblinka, which continued unabated. The success of Reinhardt can be attributed to tightly controlled criteria set down by a close circle of people who were able to keep the Final Solution secret to a certain extent and protected from any outside interference. Thus, within the overall concept of Reinhardt and the unfolding anti-Jewish measures, we can see that the core leadership was fighting on two fronts:
Conflict among the leadership of the Nazi government is well-known; in the General Government it was endemic, rotting and rocking the nerve center of Nazi policies in the east, including the progressive population and extermination policies.The background to this Himmler-Frank tug-of-war is complex and incorporates many aspects and side issues which cannot be discussed here at length. Suffice to say that there were three distinct phases:
There were no winners in this protracted fight for supremacy in which Frank and Himmler competed only in ruthlessness. The Jews hardly noticed the change as they were doomed anyway, whoever won. This running fight between the two powerful opponents was an additional reason why Wirth and Globocnik ignored direct accountability to their superiors and reported directly to the KdF and HHE in Berlin. In any case, the extermination of the Jews was an entirely SS-controlled operation from the start, ordered by Hitler; Frank could therefore only do what he was told in that direction. Wirth, in possession of the Führer's fiat, had no reason to bother about any of them, and Globocnik, as usual, went his own way. To say the least, the climate operating at the time was not conducive to co-operation and eventually the SS managed to successfully discredit Frank. There were accusations that Frank's sister had had illegal property transactions with Jews and the proceeds were evident in Wawel Castle, his headquarters in Krakow. Even more dangerous for Frank was his attempt to discover what was happening in Belzec and Auschwitz. His curiosity, however, was blocked by Globocnik and Hoess, who jealously guarded their SS secrets from those not privy to them, no matter what their position or rank.Frank's complaint to the Führer that he was being deliberately prevented from knowing what was going on his own territory met with no success either. He was referred to Himmler. Hitler was not prepared to tolerate any interference in the extermination plans, not even from such a loyal and supporter as Frank. Hans Frank got the message: he had lost the fight and abandoned any further attempts to interfere in SS matters. His influence and credibility were seriously damaged and Hitler was obliged to strip him of his Party offices.Although Himmler had come out on top, political repercussions followed in November when HSSPF Krüger instigated some high profile prosecutions.
Lorenz Loev, a relatively high civil servant as Chief of the Central Administration Office for the Warsaw District, was arrested on grounds of black market activities, especially with Jews living in the Warsaw ghetto. The Governor of East Galicia, Dr. Karl Lasch, had been caught 'misappropriating' Jewish property and despite the intervention of Frank on his behalf, he was arrested. Given the choice of baring his soul to Himmler and getting perhaps a lenient end to his 'unauthorized' activities, or an SS court, Lasch chose the latter. Despite all the pleadings and maneuverings, the evidence of theft, corruption, and Party disloyalty was overwhelming. Convicted on all counts, Lasch was unceremoniously place before a firing squad and shot. Further investigations and reports by the SD resulted in fadditional prosecution.
Meanwhile, resettlement issues continued to occupy Nazi minds, and in an effort to put an end to the rancor in the senior leadership, on February 1, 1943, Dr Josef Goebbels suggested ending these internecine squabbles. The indomitable Hans Frank, however, was far from finished. He had ideas for a more conciliatory approach to the Poles, especially those in the Lublin District under Globocnik, who were the most savagely suppressed in the entire Government General. Frank suggested making concessions regarding, for example, education, banned for Poles since 1939, with a view to encouraging collaboration with the occupying forces. It was to be expected that such ideas were rejected out of hand by Hitler. Frank was reprimanded but continued in his assault against Globocnik by accusing him of failure to notify him about the barbarous 'resettlements' and 'punitive operations' conducted by Globocnik's units in the Zamosc area in particular, which began in November 1942.
After several months of verbal wrangling, accusation and counter-accusation, Himmler finally removed two of his most trusted officers from the Government General HSSPF Krüger and SSPF Globocnik. The latter was transferred to Trieste in northern Italy in September 1943 as the HSSPF for the Adriatic Coast Region. He was replaced in Lublin by SSPF Jakob Sporrenberg. In November, Krüger was succeeded by the more compliant Wilhelm Koppe. Now in the ascendant and in complete control of the security forces, Himmler began to purge his SS in the General Government for corrupt practices. The first to fall were SS personnel whom he considered had been 'tainted' by Frank's influence. By the end of 1943, many of the top SS leadership in the General Government had been disciplined, transferred, imprisoned, or shot. Others in the lower ranks who had been employed in Reinhardt escaped retribution as they were on duty in northern Italy, still under Wirth's command.It is difficult to imagine a more uncoordinated group than the one we find in the higher leadership of the Nazi Party. Besmirched by intrigues, jealousies, or tactical obstruction, the outside was working against the center, ignoring the accepted norms of communication, but surprisingly achieving their aims with comparatively few personal casualties.
In the drive for 'Lebensraum' - territorial expansion to acquire living space for the German race - the Nazis decimated Poland's political and cultural elite. Poland was used as the laboratory for a great demographic experiment based on Nazi racial ideology that involved the eviction of millions of people. The Poles, as Slavs, were at the bottom end of the scale of racial purity and were turned into a nation of slaves for their German masters in preparation for the colonization of their lands. The HHE seized control of the eastern part of the Government General by placing their officers in charge before the civil authorities could establish themselves.The first significant step was the arrival in Lublin in November 1939 of SS-Brigadeführer Globocnik, with his own political agenda and the full support of his sponsor in Berlin, Reichsführer-SS Himmler. Whereas SS-Obersturmführer Christian Wirth was the central protagonist in the specific operation of the Reinhardt death camps, Globocnik stands out as the most influential instigator of the Nazi vision of 'Lebensraum-und Rasse' 'Living Space and Race'. Despite the magnitude of indiscriminate mass murder of Poles, these liquidations were in fact of secondary consideration and simply the means by which Globocnik's and the HHE's wider aspirations would be accomplished.The expulsion of the Jews satisfied two distinct purposes: to make room for incoming Volksdeutsche settlers, and steps to solve the Jewish Question. Globocnik strived to adhere to orders for the evacuation of the indigenous populations to be carried out within the period specified by Himmler. The resettlement of Volksdeutsche from Volhynia, Lódz (Litzmannstadt), and Lubartów to Lublin was coming under strain and Globocnik found himself unable to hold the schedule. He requested more time to complete the task but was refused. Further negotiations, which now included the intervention of Adolf Eichmann, failed to solve the problem; and Globocnik came under pressure from many directions, which is one likely reason why we find Christian Wirth saddled with such power in Reinhardt.
Globocnik was entrusted first of all with evacuations and resettlement, long before Wirth appeared or any orders were given to either of them to exterminate the Jews. These early operations involving the 'shuffling of populations' were not at first connected with Reinhardt; they simply evolved in that direction. Initially Globocnik was against extermination. He envisioned employing them as 'his' vast labor force in his SS enterprises in the Lublin District. Wirth came later, about five months after he and Globocnik received their orders from Himmler in July 1941.
Historical evidence accumulated since the war supports the view that the German invasion and occupation of Poland was simply the first step in a far broader plan. The extensive research of Czeslaw Madajczyk of the Polish Academy of Sciences has concluded that Hitler's aim was to expel virtually the entire indigenous Polish population to the forests and marshlands of Western Siberia, or some other equally distant and inaccessible region, and to repopulate the area with millions of Reichs- and Volksdeutsche. The strategy underlying these draconian measures was based on a carefully structured plan.
In late 1939 and early 1940, Himmler established offices and personnel to plan in detail the eventual German resettlement. He presented his ideas to Hitler in May 1940 in a six-page memorandum for a 'Generalplan Ost.' The planning agency was the Planungs- und Zentralbodenamt des Stabshauptamtes des RKFDV (Planning and Central Land Registry Office of the Staff Headquarters of the RKFDV). The overall plan mirrored the imperialistic dreams which Himmler harbored for Germany, and above all for his beloved SS, to be realized after the successful completion of the war.
The basic idea of the plan was to turn Lublin, as the most easterly city in Poland, into a major SS/Police center from which the tentacles of SS power could inexorably spread eastwards as far as the Ural mountains, the geographical division between Europe and Asia. In late 1942, the Lublin District which included Zamojszczyzna, the area around the town of Zamosc - acquired from the Soviet Union in October 1939 in exchange for a free hand in Lithuania, became the focal point of Generalplan Ost. It was envisaged by Himmler's planners that over a period of some 25 years Ukrainians and a large proportion of the Baltic peoples would be re settled.
In the period following the partitioning of Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939, the Soviet NKVD, Stalin's secret police, deported between 1.2 and 1.7 million Polish citizens from eastern Poland to the far northern and eastern parts of the Soviet Union, together with Ukrainians, Jews, and Lithuanians. The deportees included large numbers of the intelligentsia. They were deported mainly to remove a potential threat to Soviet rule. This huge operation, carried out from early 1940 until mid-1941, provided the Soviet Union with a vast new source of slave laborers, many of whom died in the labor camps and mines due to the harsh conditions of hard physical labor, starvation, illness, and maltreatment by the guards. Ironically, Soviet deportations served Hitler's plans remarkably well. A further irony is that they saved some Jews from the Final Solution.
Globocnik and Himmler saw the appropriation of Zamojszczyzna as the first stage of Germanizing the entire General Government. Reichs and Volksdeutsche farmers were settled there. It was through this act of 'ethnic cleansing' that Globocnik set out to wrest control of the entire General Government from Hans Frank. The intention was to erect a demographic block of settlements linking Transylvania with Estonia. This would have been the second such bastion. The first was in Western Poland where, since October 1939, the Germanization of the lands incorporated into the Reich had been in progress. The deportation of the Jews and subsequent implementation of Reinhardt cannot be entirely divorced from this strategy.
In order to facilitate the 'New Order' in Poland, Globocnik set up in Lublin the Forschungsamt für Ostsiedlung (Research Office for Eastern Settlement) where many young German and Austrian academics in the fields of architecture, demography, linguistics, ethnography, agriculture, forestry, and the social sciences were engaged as teachers and researchers. The head of the project was SS-Hauptsturmführer Gustav Hanelt, a native of Holstein and a lawyer with a keen interest in history and archaeology. A prominent role was also played by Richard Walter Darré, the Argentian-born Nazi theorist of farmer settlements in Slavic lands, and the first head of the SS Rasse-und Siedlungsamt (SS Race and Settlement Office) from 1931-1938. Hanelt and the Forschungsamt were concerned with the planning and establishment of SS-und Polizei Stützpunkte (SS and Police Strongpoints) partially fortified farm complexes from which it was envisaged that German peasant farmers would steadily occupy more and more adjoining land across Poland and eventually the entire western region of the Soviet Union right up to the Urals. Himmler visited the Research Center(Forschungsmat) in Lublin several times and, like Darre, was deeply influenced and guided by völkisch ideas that romanticized the vision of German farmer settlements in the East.
Running parallel with Generalplan Ost, and a necessary ingredient in the overall plan, was the solution to Jewish Question, the area in which Globocnik was answerable directly to Himmler as his plenipotentiary for the extermination of the Jews, while Wirth acted as his executive officer in the Reinhardt death camps.
The plan to eventually incorporate Poland into the Greater Reich had far-reaching and tragic consequences both for the Poles, and in particular for the Jewish population who before the war numbered around three million. Furthermore, the General Government was overflowing with Jewish deportees from the 1939-1940 purges of the western Polish lands, which had been annexed to the Reich when some 340,000 people had been transported into Hans Frank's domain. Notwithstanding this, an additional 237,000 were earmarked by the German Armed Forces to join them from other locations that had been seized as military training grounds. Poles, of course, also did not escape this vast movement of people and they too were expelled from certain city districts to make way for German occupiers. In November 1941, Globocnik carried out his first experimental expulsions, as a feasibility study for the impending General Plan Ost, clearing eight villages of indigenous Poles in the Zamosc area and replacing them with Volksdeutsche.
By November 1942, through deportations to the death camps and summary shootings, the Zamozc district was 'Judenrein' ('clean of Jews'). On November 28, 1942, the inhabitants of Skierbieszów, a village 17-kilometers northeast of Zamosc, were forcibly expelled from their homes. Within a few hours their dwellings were occupied by Volksdeutsche. The same pattern of expulsion and re-population was soon to be repeated throughout the region. During the period beginning with the Skierbieszów deportations and ending late in the following summer of 1943, a total of 297 villages were 'ethnically cleansed' by the expulsion from their homes of about 110,000 Poles, mainly peasant farmers and their families. For political reasons, the large Ukrainian population in the area was left untouched. However, Globocnick's experiment in population movements backfired. By the beginning of 1943, the brutality with which the 'ethnic cleansing' was carried out resulted in increased partisan activity in the region, with skirmishes and even battles with German troops. Since Globocnik had initiated the expulsion operation in the Zamosc area while he was still the head of Reinhardt, it is probable that this was a contributory factor in his subsequent removal to Trieste in September 1943, since the all-out war resulting from his experiment drew Ukrainian nationalists and other anti-Nazi elements into direct conflict with the occupiers. This is evidenced by an entry in the diary of Zygmunt Krakowski on April 10, 1943. On a visit to see the Kreislandwirt in Bilgoraj in the Zamosc area, he caught sight of a confidential communiqué from Governor General Frank to the Polish Relief Committee in which it was stated that several low-ranking German officials made big mistakes over the enforced evacuations and that some would be relieved of their posts, including Lublin Police Chief Globocnik.
The German authorities were desperate to supplement their auxiliary administrative forces, and intimidation tactics were used on selected Poles to induce them to register as Volksdeutsche. Door-to-door visits were made by uniformed German officers who attempted to persuade the occupants to sign-up as Volksdeutsche. The questionnaire presented to applicants was headed in German, 'Antrag auf Erleitung eines Ausweiss für Deutschstämmige' (Application for Issuing an Identity Card for Persons of German Extraction); this was followed below in Polish, Request for Issue of an Identification Card to person/s of German Origin). The recruiting drive was a result of the seizure of men and women for forced labor in Germany, which had decimated the local population. They were also employed in civilian jobs, sometimes in responsible positionsfor instance, as the German-speaking Polish railway traffic controllers at Belzec railway station).
The friction between the civilian hierarchy of the General Government and the SS/Police was still simmering, while the internal conflict between the civilian administration in Lublin District and the SS/Police was virtually duplicated in East Galicia where the SSPF for Galicia, SS-Brigadeführer Fritz Katzmann, and the governor, Dr Karl Lasch, were at loggerheads. The relationship between Frank and Krüger had deteriorated even further since their initial disagreements in 1940, and Katzmann was caught in between the two. His position was further complicated by his subordination to the authority of Governor Lasch in Lemberg (Lvóv.) Katzmann, a confirmed Jew-hater, had witnessed what he perceived as Lasch consorting with Jews by protecting those who could afford to pay to stay out of the ghetto, or worse still, avoid deportation. These were added complications for Katzmann concerning the Jewish Question when an order to round up and deport several thousand Poles for forced labor in Germany was compromised. Lasch's corruption and his apparent friendly relations with the Jews had seriously undermined Katzmann's efforts to carry out the evacuation of the Jews into ghettos and satisfy the ever-increasing demands for non-Jewish labor. These tasks, undertaken by the SS, Gestapo and police, were made even more difficult because the Jews had not yet been completely segregated from the rest of the population. Jews and non Jews were used for forced labour to supplement agricultural workers and the oil refining industry in Boryslau (Boryslaw) and Drohobycz in Galicia. The Ukrainian Nationalists were exempt for political reasons to avoid provoking them into hostile nationalist activity.The scandal surrounding Lasch and his friendship with Governor General Frank were used by Himmler and Katzmann to bring matters to a head and further Katzmann's ambitions. Finally, on March 5,1942, Himmler confronted Frank with the evidence intended to discredit and destroy him.
Before and after the 'Anschluss' Globocnik was steeped in illegal politcal activity, first on behalf of the Carinthians in their border dispute with Yugoslavia (Slovenia) and later on behalf of the proscribed Austrian Nazi Party and SS. A month after the 'Anschluss of March 1938, Globocnik was rewarded for his years of illegal Nazi activities by being nominated Gauleiter (Party District Leader) of Vienna. During his early days as Gauleiter, Globocnik, a rabid Jew-hater, proclaimed: I will not recoil from radical interventions for the solution of Jewish Question(s). Later that same year he opened Vienna's first anti-Semitic exhibition, which was attended by 10,000 visitors on the first day alone. Prominent at the exhibition, and received enthusiastically by the public, was the notoriously anti-Semitic film Der Ewige Jude. Globocnik's personality, although pleasing to some Nazis, did not go down well with the Viennese, not least because he was an outsider from Carinthia. His arrogance, inept administration, disregard of his advisors, mishandling of relations with the Church, and poor public speaking ability did him no good. He was eventually accused of misappropriating Party funds, misusing civic funds, corrupt dealings with Jewish property among his cronies, and black market speculation. Hitler had no choice but to relieve him of his post as Gauleiter. He nevertheless remained utterly devoted to Himmler, who in turn knew he could make later use of such a tough-minded, independent, and unscrupulous individual so devoted to the Nazi cause.
Accordingly, on February 1, 1939, the RFSS appointed Globocnik to his personal staff. If Globocnik thought that he was now part of the inner sanctum of the Nazi party, he was soon disappointed. Himmler transferred him to the Waffen-SS with the lowly rank of SS-Unterscharführer for a period of basic military training, which he withstood with some credit. At the outbreak of war, SS-Unterscharführer Globocnik served in the Polish campaign. On November 9, 1939, Globocnik was elevated from SS-Unterscharführer to SS-Brigadeführer and the SS-und Polizeiführer in Lublin, a key position in the grandiose SS plans for eastward expansion. His ruthlessness and singularity of purpose were appropriate to the task, while his acquiescence could be relied upon. Himmler's visionary concept needed a man with a criminal mentality to undertake the tasks of the SS in the east, the ultimate being Aktion Reinhardt the extermination of the Jews of Poland. Aktion Reinhardt was run from a former Polish school building on the corner of Distrikt Strasse and Litauer Strassenear close to the city center in Lublin. The chief executive officer was SS-Hauptsturmführer Hermann Höfle, another pre-Anschluss Austrian Nazi, who was Globocnik's chief-of-staff. His function within Reinhardt was to organize the deportation of the Jews from the ghettos and transit ghettos, first to Belzec and later to Sobibor and Treblinka. Globocnik's reign in Lublin was also not without controversy. He brazenly built his own forced labor camps for Jews and assembled quasi-military units to his own specifications for local anti-Jewish operations, which included the confiscation of Jewish property on a grand scale. Later, as he engaged in the progressive war against the Jews, he built-up a massive SS-run industrial empire financed entirely by the confiscated assets of the people he was destroying by the thousand every day in Reinhardt.Although Globocnik had a lifelong propensity for murder, corruption and theft, in early 1943 he suffered a brief nervous breakdown, brought on by maudlin thoughts induced by a surfeit of alcohol. Globocnik left the office one winter night without his hat or coat, and fled to the residence of his subordinate and friend, SS-Sturmbannführer Georg Wippern, who handed him over to Globocnik's adjutant, Max Runhof who stated: Globocnik told me that everything was 'frightful'; he could not tell me anything - he alone had to bear it. He asked that if anything should happen to him that I should take care of his family.
Later, in 1944 in Italy, Globocnik confided to a colleague: I am no longer in it with all my heart. I am so deeply implicated in the matter that I have no choice - I must win, or perish with Hitler.
Globocnik had considered it an honorr when Himmler originally entrusted him with the implementation of the Final Solution, placing him at the forefront of the fight to make Europe free of Jews. His survival in this conspiracy was entirely due to Himmler's support and to ensure its continuance he used all his loyalty and strength. Globocnik had overcome all difficulties and opposition from the outside by ignoring many of the orders emanating from the Governor General Frank in Krakow, the Reich armament industries, and the Wehrmacht. This independent action by Globocnik, aided and abetted by Wirth, during Reinhardt was not as extraordinary as it might appear. The whole Nazi establishment was characterized by intrigue, secrecy and information provided on a need-to-know basis. Thus, with something as laden with jeopardy as the extermination of the Jews of Europe, it was predictably rare for the protagonists to communicate in writing unless absolutely necessary. This is reflected in the paucity of written documentary evidence authorizing the Final Solution.
The fact that the overall direction and co-ordination of Reinhardt was undertaken from Hitler's private Chancellery certainly implicates Hitler in the genocide. There are several pieces of evidence which make it extremely difficult for anyone to defend the claim that Hitler was ignorant of Globocnik's activities or Reinhardt.
Firstly, Hitler and Globocnik knew each other well from the mid-1930s when the latter acted with Friedrich Rainer as a courier between the Nazi Party HQ in the 'Braun Haus' in Munich and the illegal Austrian Nazis. It is also known that Globocnik made trips to wartime Berlin, and one of his adjutants, Max Runhof, has testified that Hitler and Globocnik had private meetings while Reinhardt was in progress. It is therefore most unlikely that a major and monumental demographic operation carried out as government policy was not discussed by these two ardent anti-Semites. Globocnik, of course, was close to Himmler and they consulted often on shifts in direction of policy during the two pivotal years 1941-1942. This included at least one well-publicized visit by Himmler to Lublin. In addition, there is an indirect and unexpected piece of evidence that supports the view that a close liaison existed between Hitler and Globocnik regarding both the extermination of the Jews and the 'ethnic cleansing' of Poles from Zamosc district. This contention emerges by analogy from the research by Dr Werner Warmbrunn and his analysis of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, where Globocnik's counterpart was SS-Brigedsführer Hans Albin Rauter, a fellow- Austrian. In Rauter's case there existed the question of who, specifically, was in overall charge of government - the civilian administration under Seyss-Inquart or the SS. Rauter. Globocnik acted in mush the same way, a pattern adopted by all of Himmler's SSPFs in the occupied countries.
According to Warmbrunn:
Rauter's position was anomalous (not uncommon in the German hierarchy) since, in his capacity as SS and Police Leader, he received his orders directly from Himmler, although he was supposed to clear them with Seyss-Inquart. After the war, Rauter claimed that he was simply subordinate to Seyss-Inquart, and that Hitler and Himmler had told him so. Others, including some of Rauter's subordinates, also believed that Rauter frequently had better access to Hitler, through Himmler, than Seyss-Inquart. The latter could give orders to the police via Rauter, who would execute them if they were compatible with Himmler's directives. Actually, conflicts did occur, which were resolved only after much discussion in The Hague and at the Führer's headquarters.It is therefore probable that Globocnik's situation in Lublin was very much the same. In view of the fact that the Jewish Question was so central and fundamental to the aims of both Hitler and Himmler, and that the future of German settlement in the east was a fundamental reason for the invasion of Poland, it would therefore be quite remarkable if Hitler did not take a great interest in Globocnik's activities, since they were so central to both issues.
Whereas the Nazis were afraid that killing the Jews in Western, Central and Southern Europe which would damage cooperation with the civilian population and the authorities, the situation was very different in Eastern Europe. In parts of Poland, the Soviet Union, and the Baltic countries, massive numbers were massacred near their homes, often in public view. It was soon realized, however, that it was more practical to move large numbers of Jews to specially constructed death camps and deal with them there. The well-developed European railway network made it possible to organize transports to such camps in Poland where millions could disappear without trace. At the beginning of the war, Himmler made sweeping visionary pronouncements concerning the uprooting and moving of large numbers of people, based on racial lines. Nearer to home and more contentious was the fate of the Jews from the Greater Reich. Between September and mid- late October 1939, the 'Nisko Plan' was initialted to 'ethnically cleanse' the Reich and newly-acquired territories of Jews and Gypsies and deport them 'to the east, but no sooner had the planned expulsions got under way they were brought to an abrupt halt on Himmler's orders.
Despite the difficulties and the changing colonization plans, on October 18, 1939, Hitler confirmed that 'Juden, Polacken und Gesindel' ('Jews, Polacks and riff-raff') were to be expelled from Reich territory, both old and new, and deported to the Government General of Poland. On October 25th, however, as the result of territorial objections to these deportations, Eberhard Wetzel, the expert on Jewish Affairs at the Ostministerium (East Ministry), wrote to SS-Oberführer Viktor Brack at the Führer's Chancellery in Berlin. In June 1940, after the halt of the 'Nisko Plan,' the 'Madagascar Plan' was put forward the deportation of Europe's Jews to the island of Madagascar off the east coast of Africa. On hearing this, Governor General Hans Frank in Poland sighed with 'colossal relief' ('kolossale Entlastung'). His elation was premature as deportations to the island proved impracticable and by the end of the year the plan had been dropped. The resettling of Volksdeutsche and expulsion of Poles and Jews was temporarily halted on March 15, 1941 because of the military preparations for the invasion of Russia. Hitler decided to distribute several thousand Volksdeutsche within Greater Germany, and to counter this, to carry out further deportations of Poles and Jews from the annexed (districts) western territories to the General Government. During a two-day conference (16th -17th September 1941) Hitler and Himmler decided to deport the Jews from the Greater German Reich to ghettos in Eastern Europe. No sooner had this decision been made than Hitler changed his mind, citing various reasons why the expulsions should not be carried out immediately.
However, by early October 1941, in another moment of military euphoria at the fall of Kiev, the expulsion issue was raised again. On October 10, 1941, Heydrich drew up plans for the deportation of Reich Jews to Riga and Minsk, as well as to the Lódz ghetto in the Wartheland. The deportations began five days later, and on October 18th, Jews were forbidden to emigrate from the Reich. After America's entry into the war on December 7th, according to Goebbels, Hitler assured him that the Berlin Jews would be deported east and that transport was available.
The key to the decision-making regarding the fate of the Reich Jews is reflected in just two measures: the halt of Jewish emigration and the establishment of the death camps at Chelmno and Belzec. The deportation of Reich Jews to the ghettos in the Lublin district resumed in March 1942, but their extermination was only decided in mid-April. On April 25, 1942, 995 Jewish inhabitants from the German city of Würzburg were transported to Trawniki and Izbica for onward transport to Belzec. Reich Jews deported to the Izbica and Piaski transit camps were among the first victims sent to Belzec on March 17, 1942. Further deportations of Reich Jews from Lódz to Chelmno also commenced and between 4th and 15th May,12 trains took over 10,000 Reich Jews to their death. By July 1942, the point of no return had been reached with an all-out extermination policy which was to engulf the Jews from the whole of Europe. Only one class of Jew was to be spared: fit young men between the ages of 16-32, who would be held in selected concentration camps for forced labor. In September 1942, Hitler strongly intimated that the last remnants of Jewish forced laborers in the armament industry were to be replaced by foreign labor. By the beginning of 1943, in Berlin alone, 7,000 Jews were arrested during the so-called 'factory operation and deported. To deal with and to fulfill his Führer's orders, Globocnik needed manpower.
JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of
the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.
Belzec, Poland Yizkor Book Project JewishGen Home Page
Copyright © 1999-2021 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 13 Feb 2008 by LA