How hard was Hitler for Poland ?

Discussions on all aspects of Poland during the Second Polish Republic and the Second World War. Hosted by Piotr Kapuscinski.
DavidFrankenberg
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How hard was Hitler for Poland ?

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 16 Jan 2021 02:32

Hi,

we often hear that Poland was the most destroyed country... it suffered 22% of deaths... Varsaw was entirely destroyed... Hitler built his worst death camps there, like Auschwitz but also Sobibor etc... He killed millions of Jews who were polish.

But, I was surprised to hear some polish people saying that Hitler treated them well indeed... It was very disturbing to me. We all know that Poland was his first victim in the war. We know that Poland was to disappear... I wonder what Poles today think about that ? What is the memory of the polish people concerning the occupation of their country by Hitler.
What do they think about their fate if Hitler had won the war ?

Thanks :milsmile:

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Re: How hard was Hitler for Poland ?

Post by gebhk » 19 Jan 2021 13:21

Hi David

I would suggest that whenever there is a change of circumstances, some people will do better than they did before. Undoubtedly some people did well out of the German occupation. However, the statistics tell us they were a small minority.

Also, once you get down to the individual level, the relationships between people are a strong determinant of how the situation is viewed. For example my mother had a lifelong more positive image of Russians than she did of Germans because of the simple acts of kindness shown to her and her family by the Russian soldiers when they were dragged out of their house in the dead of night with half an hour to pack, before being deported (!!). In particular one man who took the trouble to make sure my 11 year old mum had her scarf properly wrapped for the winter cold. The men had a job to do but were polite, respectful and sympathetic. This was in contrast to the thuggish behaviour of the Germans they came across, for the few days the Germans were in Bialystok in 1939. My mum's brother's view was much the same, reinforced by the Germans killing his BFF. No doubt, other people's experience and therefore, points of view, were entirely different.

This leads me to the next (and probably most important) point. Human experience is relative more than it is absolute. In Poland, for example, the usual point of comparison is between the German and Soviet occupations. Being 'treated well' is often a synonym for 'being treated less badly' and a woman who was deprived of her liberty, status and self determination would consider that 'good treatment', compared to being deprived of her liberty, status and self-determination AND being brutally and repeatedly raped.

The other significant reference point, of course, is how different segments of society are treated and, in the case of the German occupation, this relates to how the Jews, intellectuals and other select groups were treated compared to the rest of the population. If you were not part of a segment selected for especially brutal treatment, you were being treated 'well'. Stockholm syndrome writ large, in effect.

Finally, given the scale of the disaster and the strength of the official narrative for 50 years of communism, the few voices that have a different experience stand out that much more because of the contrast. In other words, while highly visible they are not representative of the vast majority.

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wm
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Re: How hard was Hitler for Poland ?

Post by wm » 28 Jan 2021 22:52

"Hitler treated them well" or rather better Nazis than socialists is something Polish extreme libertarians say, but it's a fringe movement.

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Re: How hard was Hitler for Poland ?

Post by Futurist » 29 Jan 2021 06:25

I thought that libertarians were against aggression and dispossession?

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wm
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Re: How hard was Hitler for Poland ?

Post by wm » 29 Jan 2021 10:30

It's not about aggression and dispossession it's more like it was easier to run a small business during Nazi occupation than today - which is somewhat true.

They had lots of such shocking, somewhat true comparisons at their disposal to illustrate the inherent injustice and destructiveness of socialism.

In Britain, they are quite well represented.

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Re: How hard was Hitler for Poland ?

Post by Futurist » 29 Jan 2021 20:39

But Poland got rid of socialism over 30 years ago, no?

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wm
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Re: How hard was Hitler for Poland ?

Post by wm » 30 Jan 2021 19:17

They believe the entire European Union (and Biden to boot) is socialist.

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Re: How hard was Hitler for Poland ?

Post by Futurist » 30 Jan 2021 19:19

LOL! :D So, what do they want--a Polexit?

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wm
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Re: How hard was Hitler for Poland ?

Post by wm » 31 Jan 2021 14:40

They want a trade union of politically free countries, reject super-government.

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Re: How hard was Hitler for Poland ?

Post by Futurist » 31 Jan 2021 20:21

In your own honest opinion, just how much super-government does the European Union actually have?

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wm
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Re: How hard was Hitler for Poland ?

Post by wm » 31 Jan 2021 22:43

It's rather a super-bureaucracy, see what Prince Michael of Liechtenstein has to say about it.

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Re: How hard was Hitler for Poland ?

Post by Futurist » 15 Mar 2021 00:16

Do you want Poland to withdraw from the European Union as it's currently structured, wm?

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Re: How hard was Hitler for Poland ?

Post by wm » 20 Mar 2021 23:41

Poland isn't Britain, Poland is too poor to withdraw and survive it.
And the Poles overwhelmingly don't support it.
The EU is bureaucracy, big government, and monoculture in one place so I dislike it.

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Re: How hard was Hitler for Poland ?

Post by Futurist » 20 Mar 2021 23:41

I doubt that Poland will actually be poorer than Britain by the end of the 21st century, for what it's worth.

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Re: How hard was Hitler for Poland ?

Post by gebhk » 01 Apr 2021 08:41

I doubt that Poland will actually be poorer than Britain by the end of the 21st century, for what it's worth.
And how well Britain survives Brexit, remains to be seen. One of the ironies of the debate is that one of the drivers for the EU when it was being created was to cut the amount of bureaucracy and red tape. Many of my acquaintances in the UK who run small businesses, are beginning to find that there may have been something in that.... But perhaps we are straying too much into modern politics :oops: .

I find it highly unlikely that it was easier to manage a small business under the German occupation than it is today, especially towards the end of the war. For one thing running a small business tends to require you and perhaps your staff being there, the premises standing and you actually owning the business - and that was a decidedly chancy set of pre-conditions, especially in 1943-45.... and right from the outset if you had the 'wrong' pedigree. As I said earlier, I am sure you can selectively find examples of people who lived like kings in any situation. The statistics tell us that in this case, they were a very small minority.

Whether we like it or not (and I don't!) there is a clear trend in history of, all things being equal, smaller states coalescing into larger ones. I suspect it is a natural evolutionary process. There is a reason why the mega-social insects are some of the most successful life forms on earth and without question the most successful insects. Worryingly, also, when the process is put into reverse the results are, not infrequently, appalling.

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