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Poles in German Army

Discussions on the foreigners (volunteers as well as conscripts) fighting in the German Wehrmacht, those collaborating with the Axis and other period Far Right organizations.
Hosted by George Lepre.

Poles in German Army

Postby POW on 28 Oct 2002 16:30

Who knows more about that?
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Postby Ritter on 28 Oct 2002 18:17

Well I have question:

Are you talking about ethnic poles or ethnic german-poles? Because I know there were german-poles the volunteered.

-Cheers, Ritter
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Postby POW on 28 Oct 2002 18:30

I have a photo says: Poles in Germany Army taken in South France. As Allied troops [..] ashore from landing craft, first prisoners captured by American infantrymen in the invasion of Southern France are marched along the Beach on the way to internment. Most of the prisoners are Polish troops of the German Army, says caption from this signal corps photo. I like to gain more information's on this.
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Postby Ogorek on 29 Oct 2002 17:18

They were conscripted "III-te Klasse Volksdeutsche" from the parts of Poland annexed to the Reich..... usually after a short vetting period, they were absorbed into the ranks of the Polish Forces in Exile.
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Postby Benoit Douville on 01 Nov 2002 03:30

Good info here about that:

http://www.feldgrau.com/poland.html

Regards
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Postby Ogorek on 01 Nov 2002 17:24

Benoit.....

Comparing the ethic Germans of the Selbschutz of 1939-40 and teh Polish conscripts in Southern France in 1944 is comparing oranges and potatoes
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Postby Benoit Douville on 09 Nov 2002 01:54

Uh :? I never mention the Polish conscripts in Southern France.

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Postby Davey Boy on 09 Nov 2002 19:16

POW wrote:I have a photo says: Poles in Germany Army taken in South France. As Allied troops [..] ashore from landing craft, first prisoners captured by American infantrymen in the invasion of Southern France are marched along the Beach on the way to internment. Most of the prisoners are Polish troops of the German Army, says caption from this signal corps photo. I like to gain more information's on this.



Let's see the photo.
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Postby POW on 09 Nov 2002 20:46

HETMAN wrote:Let's see the photo.

Hetmannikin, I expected you much earlier with this request. :lol:
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
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Postby Oleg Grigoryev on 09 Nov 2002 21:09

Private Aloysius Damski, age 21, 352nd Artillery Regiment:
I am a Pole. I was impressed into the German Army in February 1943. I was working in the office of a munitions factory in Blomberg when the manager called me in and said I could either go into the German forces or be declared "politically undesirable," which almost certainly meant a concentration camp. I was only twenty years old and I loved life, so I chose the army.
After training I was sent to Normandy, to a mixed unit of Poles, Czechs, and Russians under the command of German NCOs and officers. Most of the older men had no faith in Hitler and believed that Germany could never win the war.
My job was fire control, coordinating the fire of three batteries positioned between Arromanches and Asnelles. The batteries were equipped with old-fashioned horse-drawn artillery-ordinary field guns on hard rubber tires, not emplaced in concrete but in open field positions. Each had about four hundred shells. There was no real shortage of ammunition, but considerable shortages of minefield equipment. We used to plant scraps of metal in a field to decoy mine detectors, wire it off, and put up "Achtung Minen" signs. Most of the minefields in our area were false.
I was billeted with an old French lady who was very sympathetic and kind because I was a Pole. She used to give me extra food and things. There was very little recreation, apart
from occasionally being allowed to go into Bayeux. I sometimes

went out with French girls, but most of my spare time was spent drinking. Wine was very cheap, only twelve francs a pint, and my wages were equivalent to 350 francs every ten days.
I used to listen to the BBC on the radio. The lieutenant in charge of our section listened too, but he would always vigorously deny the claims made by the British, saying they were "rubbish," but it didn't stop him listening. One day he called me into his office and said, "I am speaking to you not as an officer, but as a man. How German do you feel now?" I replied, "Well, since we are talking like this, I will tell you the truth. I was born in Poland, I was educated in Poland, both my parents are Polish and still live in Poland. How can I feel anything but Polish?" The lieutenant said nothing, but was always a little "reserved" with me after that.
Before any German radio programs there was always a little signature tune, Heute wollen wir ein liedlein singen, Denn wir fehren gegen England ("Today we will sing a little song, because we are marching on England"). It caused a great laugh among the men, to such an extent that the had a joke about "walking on the water with wooden clogs."1



from "nothing less tahn victory" - the oral history of D-day by Russell Miller
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Postby POW on 09 Nov 2002 21:16

...Denn wir fehren gegen England...

Wir fahren gegen England means we sail against/toward England.
Die Narren lachen immer am lautesten. :wink:
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Postby Heinz23 on 24 Nov 2002 14:51

Ok, here's a little piece of information about Poles in Wehrmacht:

1. Volksdeutschen with I and II Volkslist- ethnical Germans who lived on Polish territory before 1st September 1939. They were not Poles, but they were citizens of Poland as long as it existed.

2. Volksdeutschen with III Volkslist - i.e. Oberschlesier, they called themselves Poles, but due to their heritage were forced to sign the Volkslist nr III. They often deserted and didn't fought well, so Germans didnt' trust them.

3. Polish collaborationists - so called "HiWi" - "Hilfswillige", who joined auxilliary Wehrmacht formations to fight communism or just to earn some money and privileges. There weren't many of them and quick they became unreliable due to harsh treatment by German commandment.
I also read about formation called "Polish Air Legion", which was formed in 1944 year, but it didn't finish its training and disappeared.

There were also "Osttruppen" - military formations of Wehrmacht formed by Russians and Poles, which fought on Westfront with Allies. I've only read a bit about them, when I find more, I'll try to put further information on this forum.

One more word about "Oberschlesier": in our region there were (and are) problems with our identity. Silesian soldiers in German Wehrmacht often had to choose, who they really are. Soldiers, who served on Westfront, didn't see the cruelties of war in the East and were treated good by officers and Kameraden, often chose to become German even if they had a Polish heritage. On the other hand, soldiers on Ostfront, who had seen the cruelties of "Total war", rejected German culture and deserted to join the Polish army on East. All in all, it's a difficult to call ALL of them "polish" or "german" soldiers, everyone chose his own option.
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