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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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.

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

Post by _Metrick » 30 Aug 2019 21:39

Very true indeed,
a similar situation was in former Austrian Silesia (Teschen region). If I remember correctly data from October 1943 showed more than 70% of the population got Volksdeutsche status (at least from CZ sources regarding the Czech part of the region). Basically local people can choose from several options for nationality in the census (Polish, Czech, German, Jewish, Silesian). Poles were expelled, Czechs somehow tolerated and can stay and Silesians were given later Volksliste. In Czechoslovakia, those people could stay after the war and Beneš decrees weren't applied 100%.

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

Post by JosephCloud » 02 Sep 2019 01:19

I know there is no point in trying to make sense of the Nazis and especially their racial policies. But, I just can’t help notice how contradictory their racial policies were when put into practice.

The Nazis treated some ethnic groups much better which were classified as non-Aryans e.g. the Chinese and the Japanese compared to some ethnic groups which were classified as Aryans e.g. the Poles and the Russians.

Even during WW2, the Nazis not only repeated Germans and Jews and Germans and Poles, but also Jewish poles and non-Jewish Poles.

Were there any Nazis who actually held a positive view of the Poles?

Although Hitler was Austrian and did not have the exact same amount of hatred towards the Poles as many Prussians did, he still warned that incorporating Poles into the German Reich would bring about a racial weakening of the German nation and he warned that the mixing between Germans and Poles or Germans and Czechs would weaken the racial integrity of the German people. But, during WW2 Hitler did nothing to stop thousands upon thousands of ethnic Poles from becoming Volksdeutsche.

All of that being said, I can’t really find any Nazi propaganda material during the 1930s which was overly anti-Polish or anti-Russian. If anything, Hitler tried to portray Poland in a positive light before the war and any of his territorial demands.

It is definitely correct to say that the Nazis’ definition of “Germans” was defined in more cultural terms than racial terms.

Does anyone know of any books in English or German which deal specifically with how the Poles were treated by the Nazis? I’m interested to know in greater detail how the Nazi regime viewed Poland and the Poles. I think Majer’s book is probably the best one available in English.

Is there any site online where I can view the primary sources from the Nazis? I want to read how the general attitude changed over time.

I think a lot of people are ignorant of the fact that German brutality against Poland and the Poles were not new ideas, it is part of both German and Polish history. Kershaw wrote that the Nazis’ policies against Poland before the war had quite a bit of support and many Germans thought Hitler should have been harsher towards the Poles.

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

Post by wm » 03 Sep 2019 12:34

But the Nazi racial theory wasn't really contradictory, the main problem was the identification of who is who.
Early definitions were unimplementable, later were crude but useful (basically it was the duck test, the communists had adopted a similar definition of their herrenvolk - workers.)

Still, the racial purity of the Germans had nothing to do with Germany's military alliances.
Alliances were useful if delivered results - not because the other side was racially pure, German like, or an Aryan race.

The Poles were Aryans but they were defiant so they had to be brought to heel.
The British were racially close to the Germans and even admired but they refused to cooperate so they needed bombing.
But the Slavic Slovaks were agreeable and cooperative so they were declared brothers in arms.

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 03 Sep 2019 16:01

Hi wm,

The Slovaks were welcomed because they drove a wedge into any idea of Slavic solidarity, not because they were any more acceptable than, say, the closely related Czechs.

Nazi racial theory was based on the myth that there were pure races. As all races, apart from those on remote islands, are mixed to a greater or lesser degree, they were in pursuit of the impossible.

Indeed, as all humans can interbreed with each other, the whole concept of race is questionable.

Cheers,

Sid.

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

Post by gebhk » 03 Sep 2019 19:26

the whole concept of race is questionable.
Hi Sid, I don't think the concept is questionable, rather it is one that does not have clear boundaries - much like nationality and citizenship for that matter.
they were in pursuit of the impossible.
And the undesirable. There is a reason why inbreeding is generally thought to be a bad idea.

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

Post by wm » 03 Sep 2019 22:12

Sid Guttridge wrote:
03 Sep 2019 16:01
Nazi racial theory was based on the myth that there were pure races.
Not quite, the Nazis were aware the Germans weren't pure but a mix of at least three races. And they had no problem with adding to the mix other races, like the Czechs, Danes, Norwegians. or even Poles.

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

Post by JosephCloud » 04 Sep 2019 02:40

wm wrote:
03 Sep 2019 12:34
But the Nazi racial theory wasn't really contradictory, the main problem was the identification of who is who.
Early definitions were unimplementable, later were crude but useful (basically it was the duck test, the communists had adopted a similar definition of their herrenvolk - workers.)

Still, the racial purity of the Germans had nothing to do with Germany's military alliances.
Alliances were useful if delivered results - not because the other side was racially pure, German like, or an Aryan race.

The Poles were Aryans but they were defiant so they had to be brought to heel.
The British were racially close to the Germans and even admired but they refused to cooperate so they needed bombing.
But the Slavic Slovaks were agreeable and cooperative so they were declared brothers in arms.
There were loads of contradictions in the Nazis’ racial hierarchy and their policies implement to preserve the German Volk.

Bear a few things in mind:

How could the German State be regarded as the political embodiment of the German people when it includes Poles, Danes and other non-Germans?

The Slavs were regarded as racially inferior, but many Nazis has obvious Slavic ancestry and quite a lot of Germans also had Slavic ancestry.

The Nazis repeatedly used the terms ‘Aryan’ and ‘Aryan race’ in their speeches and writings, but at the same time admitted that there was no such thing as an Aryan race. In the same way they often used the term ‘German race’ and that term was eventually officially prohibited.

In 1933 the Nazis regarded anyone who had one Jewish grandparent to be a Jew, in 1935 they regarded anyone who had three or four Jewish grandparents to be a Jew.

The Nazis stated that Reich citizenship was open to anyone of “German or related blood”, yet they did not allow Poles, Russians, Ukrainians and other people of “related blood” in Eastern Europe to become Reich citizens.

The Nazis prohibited sexual relations between Germans and Poles, the latter being punished by death. How stupid were the Nazis prohibiting two “Aryans” from having sexual relations? The inconsistency was exposed when Himmler allowed exceptions for Poles who were considered to be “Nordic” enough.

They claimed that all Germans should be united, yet they published material which stated that Nordic Germans were racially superior to other Germans and other peoples.

The Nazis never once satisfactorily defined the terms Germans, Jews, etc.

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

Post by JosephCloud » 04 Sep 2019 02:44

Sid Guttridge wrote:
03 Sep 2019 16:01
Nazi racial theory was based on the myth that there were pure races. As all races, apart from those on remote islands, are mixed to a greater or lesser degree, they were in pursuit of the impossible.

Indeed, as all humans can interbreed with each other, the whole concept of race is questionable.

Cheers,

Sid.
While it’s true that all races and ethnic groups have been formed by the mixing of different tribes, there does become a point in a separate race can be defined. DBA shows that most people belonging to nations and the countries are homogenous.

The terms Caucasian, Mongoloid and Negroid are not questionable. The terms white, brown and black are questionable because they are subjective and often arbitrarily defined by different peoples.

It’s rubbish for anyone to claim that race doesn’t exist. Generally speaking, such an argument is normally politically motivated.

Some different species can mix so that’s not really a valid argument.

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

Post by JosephCloud » 04 Sep 2019 02:51

wm wrote:
03 Sep 2019 22:12
Sid Guttridge wrote:
03 Sep 2019 16:01
Nazi racial theory was based on the myth that there were pure races.
Not quite, the Nazis were aware the Germans weren't pure but a mix of at least three races. And they had no problem with adding to the mix other races, like the Czechs, Danes, Norwegians. or even Poles.
According to Hans Günther (who heavily influenced Nazi ideology), the Germans, like all of the other ethnic groups of Europe, consisted of five different races:
In all the European peoples the following five races, pure and crossed with one another, are represented:

The Nordic race: tall, long-headed, narrow-faced, with prominent chin; narrow nose with high bridge; soft, smooth or wavy light (golden-fair) hair; deep-sunk light (blue or grey) eyes; rosy-white skin.

The Mediterranean race: short, long-headed, narrow-faced, with less prominent chin; narrow nose with high bridge; soft, smooth or curly brown or black hair; deep-sunk brown eyes; brownish skin.

The Dinaric race: tall, short-headed, narrow-faced, with a steep back to the head, looking as though it were cut away; very prominent nose, which stands right out, with a high bridge, and at the cartilage sinks downward at its lower part, becoming rather fleshy; curly brown or black hair; deep-sunk brown eyes; brownish skin,

The Alpine race: short, short-headed, broad-faced, with chin not prominent; flat, short nose with low bridge; stiff, brown or black hair; brown eyes, standing out; yellowish-brownish skin.

The East Baltic race: short, short-headed, broad-faced, with heavy, massive under jaw, chin not prominent, flat, rather broad, short nose with low bridge; stiff, light (ash-blond) hair; light (grey or whitish blue) eyes, standing out; light skin with a grey undertone.
https://www.theapricity.com/earlson/reeh/reoehchap1.htm

The Norwegians were regarded as good examples of the Nordic race so they welcomed such people. The Polish children who were classified as Nordic were regarded as being of German descent.

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

Post by gebhk » 04 Sep 2019 10:54

The problem they had was that they were trying to define something without, at the time, possessing any direct measuring tool. A bit like trying to categorise short, medium and tall people in a population without having access to a tape measure. In this instance, if you were desperate enough to want to define this elusive characteristic, you might resort to pseudo-scientific methods such as selecting a range of features which you can measure and which you think should be related to the characteristic you would like to measure - for example, shoe size and/or weight in this case. The pitfalls of this approach are, I think, obvious. Not least because, since you have no way of measuring the characteristic you are interested in, you have no guarantee that your chosen substitute measurements are really related to it. With the advent of DNA testing, at least some cherished methods of assessing common ancestry in this way have been debunked.

Alternatively, you can work on the principle that 'if it looks right, it is right' (a maxim applied to scale models by some proponents of the art :D ). The Nazi's, of course, went down both paths at one time or another. Ultimately of course, race, like height, is not a group of separate categories but a continuum. It has to be accepted, therefore, that any definitions, even if they are based on objective measurement, are entirely arbitrary and subjective and only have real-world meaning if we give it them.

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

Post by gebhk » 04 Sep 2019 11:33

Indeed, as all humans can interbreed with each other, the whole concept of race is questionable.
Some different species can mix so that’s not really a valid argument.
Probably best not to confuse this already complex matter of race with breed and species differentiation. Race is, by definition, not a genetic but, predominantly, a sociological construct of which common ancestry is but a part. All humans belong to the same subspecies so it is not surprising or significant that members of all races and breeds (the two are not the same) can interbreed (and produce fertile offspring).

Closely related species can sometime interbreed (horses and donkeys; lions and tigers; zebras and horses etc) however such interbreeding almost invariably produces sterile offspring. That is why, mules and hinnies have to be 'produced' the old-fashioned way.

Which brings us to the final problem - that many Nazis seem to have convinced themselves that 'race' and 'breed' were one and the same. This clearly is not the case and race cannot be defined in biological terms alone, while breed can.

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

Post by JosephCloud » 05 Sep 2019 22:22

gebhk wrote:
04 Sep 2019 11:33

Probably best not to confuse this already complex matter of race with breed and species differentiation. Race is, by definition, not a genetic but, predominantly, a sociological construct of which common ancestry is but a part. All humans belong to the same subspecies so it is not surprising or significant that members of all races and breeds (the two are not the same) can interbreed (and produce fertile offspring).

Closely related species can sometime interbreed (horses and donkeys; lions and tigers; zebras and horses etc) however such interbreeding almost invariably produces sterile offspring. That is why, mules and hinnies have to be 'produced' the old-fashioned way.

Which brings us to the final problem - that many Nazis seem to have convinced themselves that 'race' and 'breed' were one and the same. This clearly is not the case and race cannot be defined in biological terms alone, while breed can.
Not true. The idea that race is not biological is a myth which is propagated from a political point of view. Those people don’t even like to use the word race for crying out loud!

See:
Neven Sesardic has argued that such arguments are unsupported by empirical evidence and politically motivated. Arguing that races are not completely discrete biologically is a straw man argument. He argues "racial recognition is not actually based on a single trait (like skin color) but rather on a number of characteristics that are to a certain extent concordant and that jointly make the classification not only possible but fairly reliable as well". Forensic anthropologists can classify a person's race with an accuracy close to 100% using only skeletal remains if they take into consideration several characteristics at the same time.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_an ... ulationism

Those who argue that race is simply a social construct are only fooling themselves. It’s obvious to anyone that races do exist biologically. The problem is that there are some people who think that if one acknowledges that there are biological differences between races (that is a no-brainer) the. He or she must be thinking in terms of superior and inferior when that is simply not the case. Yes, society and the environment do play a part in one’s makeup, but a human’s makeup is largely genetic.

Heck, there are even biological differences between people of the same race never mind people of different races!

Nazi racial science was a load of pseudoscience and should not be confused with accepting the biological aspect of different races.

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