Related blood peoples - the Poles - citizenship after the invasion of Poland

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JosephCloud
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Related blood peoples - the Poles - citizenship after the invasion of Poland

Post by JosephCloud » 06 Jul 2019 04:49

I came across an interesting quote in the book "Beyond the Racial State: Rethinking Nazi Germany" on page 437:
The key question was how the native population in the annexed territories was to be treated – a question not entirely unfamiliar to German ethnocrats. After the annexation of Austria, the Sudetenland, and Memel, the local populations had been granted German citizenship, with the exception in the latter two cases of individuals who had moved to the areas after a given date. The Interior Ministry took a similar approach in Poland after Hitler signed a decree on the "Structure and Organization of the Eastern Territories (October 8, 1939). Inhabitants "of German or related [artverwandten] blood," the ministry announced, would provisionally become "German state citizens" (deutsche Staat-sangehörige). "Ethnic Germans" (Volksdeutsche), by contrast, would become "Reich citizens" (Reichsbürger) and receive full political rights. In other words, inhabitants of German ancestry who were judged no longer to be members of the German minority on account of their social practices stood in a less advantageous position than the Volksdeutsche who had demonstrated their "Germanness" by, for example, joining German organizations. Only one group was to be categorically excluded from the annexed territories: the artfremde (alien) Polish Jews. Everybody else was put in line for German citizenship, not just the Volksdeutsche but also the supposedly artverwandte Christian Poles. Official racial terminology notwithstanding, the Interior Ministry opted for a very inclusive selection process that aimed to integrate the majority of the population. This is, of course, the exact opposite of what Hitler had in mind when he ruled out the Germanization of Poles in his second book.
Diemut Majer in her book ""Non-Germans" under the Third Reich" wrote about the decree:
The basis for all citizenship law measured was the thesis of the collapse of the Polish state, which had automatically occurred on October 26, 1939, the effective date of the Annexation Decree of October 8, 1939. With the Decree issued by the Führer and Reich chancellor on October 12, 1939, on the Administration of the Occupied Polish Territories (the General Government), the local population had automatically lost its Polish citizenship. Remarkably, this establishment of mass statelessness—again contrary to international law but an effective act in terms of intrastate law—was never explicitly declared as such. It emerged as a converse conclusion from the existing regulations and became the dominating principle of administrative practice, as confirmed by the German Supreme Court.

Apart from the special arrangement applying to Danzig (Gdańsk), the Decree on the Organization and Administration of the Annexed Eastern Territories, issued by the Führer and Reich chancellor on October 8, 1939, provided that the inhabitants "of German or related" blood in the Annexed Eastern Territories became German state subjects effective October 26, 1939; from another provision of this decree, that the "ethnic Germans" in these territories simultaneously became citizens of the Reich, one could have drawn the conclusion that the Poles were also "of related extraction" and would therefore also become German state subjects, if the term "of related extraction" was only extended to a sufficient degree.

Indeed, this had been the original intention of the Reich Ministry of the Interior, in the expectation that it would not be possible "to remove all members of alien races from the Annexed Eastern Territories and replace them with members of the German race"; thus the "desired population growth" should provide an opportunity to acquire state subject status, and later Reich citizenship. The Reich Ministry of the Interior therefore proposed that the ethnic Germans in the Annexed Eastern Territories would be distinguished from the Poles not by the possession of German state subject status but by the possession of Reich citizenship. However, because the question of who should be counted among the "desired population growth" had yet to be settled, a circular decree from the Reich Ministry of the Interior dated November 25, 1939, provisionally stipulated that the general acquisition of state subject status by Poles could be considered only after the issue of definitive regulations, which could not currently be promulgated. Because there was no unity at that time on how the Poles should be treated, only the ethnic Germans (the Volksdeutsche) in the Eastern Territories were allowed to become German state subjects and Reich citizens, with the citizenship of the Polish population remaining undecided for the time being; in practical terms, the Poles were treated as stateless, since in the German view the Polish state as a legal entity had disappeared on the capitulation of Poland.
pages 236-237.
In this era of general conceptual chaos, other key terms also remained unresolved. For instance, the terms Pole and Polish ethnic origin were never defined.

[...]

In essence, the concept of the Pole was and remained a political concept that could not be interpreted racially, so the administrative authorities spoke much more cautiously, not of Poles but "members of the Polish nationality," of "members of the Polish Volk," or of "subjects of Polish ethnic origin.""
page 243.

Christian Gerlach in his book "The Extermination of the European Jews" wrote:
The view that Poles were Aryans can be found in documents of occupation authorities, and non-Jewish Poles were told as much.
The source given is [117]: "Governor of Warsaw district, bimonthly report, October 15, 1942, AIPN NTN 53, p. 138; diary of Zygmunt Klukowski, December 20, 1939 and April 23, 1942, in Klukowski 1993, pp. 62, 193."

Why did the Nazis not want other people who were classified as being of related blood to become Reich citizens? They agreed that one could not racially distinguish between a German and a Pole so why did they want to separate Germans and Poles? During the war, the different areas of occupied-Poland took the view of Germanisation differently - Albert Forster and Arthur Greiser had different ways of dealing with the Poles.

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wm
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Re: Related blood peoples - the Poles - citizenship after the invasion of Poland

Post by wm » 11 Jul 2019 22:24

Despite all that talk about blood and race, in the end, Germans were defined in cultural terms. Their German upbringing, culture, language, beliefs were important not their (invisible) genes.
They wanted to separate Germans and Poles because although genetically identical culturally the Poles were very different from the Germans and (very) hostile towards them. It was hard not to be hostile after over 100+ years of (brutal) German occupation of Poland.

Exaggerating a little, for the Poles the Germans were the evil next door even without the Nazis.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Related blood peoples - the Poles - citizenship after the invasion of Poland

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Jul 2019 11:06

Hi JosephCloud,

I seem to recall that much depended on the attitude of the Gauleiter to local Slavs.

Forster of Danzig-West Preussen was quite liberal in accepting local residents (especially Kashubes) as German and was more inclined to assimilate part of the local population. Three of the four German Army prisoners taken by the Canadians at Dieppe were former Poles from his Gau.

By contrast, Greiser of Wartheland was strict and much less willing to give German papers to the local population. He seems to have preferred to expel local residents and resettle Volksdeutsche from elsewhere in his area.

Cheers,

Sid.

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