Every day life for an ethnic Pole between 1933-39

Discussions on every day life in the Weimar Republic, pre-anschluss Austria, Third Reich and the occupied territories. Hosted by Vikki.
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wm
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Re: Every day life for an ethnic Pole between 1933-39

Post by wm » 28 Jan 2021 23:24

George L Gregory wrote:
12 Jan 2021 15:54
LOL, what??? The Germans signed a non-aggression pact with the Poles in 1934.
A non-aggression pact merely secures a lack of aggression before a certain date.

Actually, Poland was the last power in Europe that signed such a treaty
and the Polish treaty with Germany was the least beneficial of all of them.

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Re: Every day life for an ethnic Pole between 1933-39

Post by George L Gregory » 01 Feb 2021 18:10

wm wrote:
28 Jan 2021 23:24
George L Gregory wrote:
12 Jan 2021 15:54
LOL, what??? The Germans signed a non-aggression pact with the Poles in 1934.
A non-aggression pact merely secures a lack of aggression before a certain date.

Actually, Poland was the last power in Europe that signed such a treaty
and the Polish treaty with Germany was the least beneficial of all of them.
Have you even read the text of the pact?
The German Government and the Polish Government consider that the time has come to introduce a new phase in the political relations between Germany and Poland by a direct understanding between State and State. They have, therefore, decided to lay down the principles for the future development of these relations in the present declaration.

The two Governments base their action on the fact that the maintenance and guarantee of a lasting peace between their countries is an essential pre-condition for the general peace of Europe.

They have therefore decided to base their mutual relations on the principles laid down in the Pact of Paris of the 17th August, 1928, and propose to define more exactly the application of these principles in so far as the relations between Germany and Poland are concerned.

Each of the two Governments, therefore, lays it down that the international obligations undertaken by it towards a third party do not hinder the peaceful development of their mutual relations, do not conflict with the present declaration, and are not affected by this declaration. They establish, moreover, that this declaration does not extend to those questions which under international law are to be regarded exclusively as the internal concern of one of the two States.

Both Governments announce their intention to settle directly all questions of whatever sort which concern their mutual relations.

Should any disputes arise between them and agreement thereon not be reached by direct negotiation, they will in each particular case, on the basis of mutual agreement, seek a solution by other peaceful means, without prejudice to the possibility of applying, if necessary, those methods of procedure in which provision is made for such cases in other agreements in force between them. In no circumstances, however, will they proceed to the application of force for the purpose of reaching a decision in such disputes.

The guarantee of peace created by these principles will facilitate the great task of both Governments of finding a solution for problems of political, economic and social kinds, based on a just and fair adjustment of the interests of both parties.

Both Governments are convinced that the relations between their countries will in this manner develop fruitfully, and will lead to the establishment of a neighbourly relationship which will contribute to the well-being not only of both their countries, but of the other peoples of Europe as well.

The present declaration shall be ratified, and the instruments of ratification shall be exchanged in Warsaw as soon as possible.

The declaration is valid for a period of ten years, reckoned from the day of the exchange of the instruments of ratification.

If the declaration is not denounced by one of the two Governments six months before the expiration of this period, it will continue in force, but can then be denounced by either Government at any time on notice of six months being given. Made in duplicate in the German and Polish languages.

Berlin, January 26, 1934.
For the German Government:
FREIHERR VON NEURATH.
For the Polish Government
JOSEF LIPSKI.
https://avalon.law.yale.edu/wwii/blbk01.asp

Hitler a few days later at the Reichstag said:
It also appeared to me to be right to attempt, in such a case, to acknowledge and deal with the problems affecting the two countries in a frank and open exchange of views between the two than to keep entrusting this task to third and fourth parties. In other respects, be the future differences between the two countries what they may: the catastrophic consequences of attempting to remove them by warfare would be in no proportion to any possible gains! The German Government would thus be happy to meet with this same generous attitude in the leader of the present Polish State, Marshal Pilsudski, and to lay down this mutual realization in an agreement which will not only be equally advantageous to the Polish and the German Volk but also represent a major contribution toward preserving general peace. The German Government is willing and ready to cultivate economic relations with Poland within the scope of this agreement, so that here, as well, the period of unprofitable reserve can be followed by a time of advantageous cooperation.
Three years later, he said:
Through a number of treaties which we have made, we have relieved many strained relations and thereby made a substantial contribution towards an improvement in European conditions. I need remind you only of our agreement with Poland, which has turned out advantageous for both countries, our agreement with Austria and the excellent and close relations which we have established with Italy. Further, I may refer to our friendly relations with Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal, Spain etc. Finally, I may mention our cordial relations with a whole series of nations outside of Europe.
Hitler spat his dummy out in 1939 when the Poles (understandably) refused to accept his demands, or what he called, 'offers', so he could 'peacefully' annex territory.

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Re: Every day life for an ethnic Pole between 1933-39

Post by George L Gregory » 03 Feb 2021 20:35

In 1933 when Hitler heard of SA terrorism in Silesia, Danzig and East Prussia, he began to distance himself from such actions and wanted to reassure the Poles that he wanted friendship with them and hoped for some sort of treaty between Germany and Poland:
Hitler began to extricate himself from this situation during a conversation with the Polish ambassador Wysocki on 2 May 1933: the frontiers with Poland were a bone of contention dropped between Poland and Germany by the allies, he respected Poland as a reality and hoped that their respective interests could be discussed dispassionately. The speech of 17 May, in which Hitler averred that 'we respect the national rights of other lands too and would, from the bottom of our hearts, to live with them in peace and freedom' was also aimed at a Polish audience. A similarly reassuring tone was kept up after the German departure from the League of Nations on 19 October 1933 reawakened Polish fears and Polish plans for a preemptive war. On 24 October he tried to reassure the Poles with his speech 'There are Germans in Europe, there are Poles in Europe', while in November he stressed a community of interests in combating Soviet communism:

"The Chancellor declared that acts of aggression contradict his policy and that a war would be a catastrophe for everyone. Any war could only bring communism to Europe which would be a terrible danger. However Poland is an outpost against Asia. The Chancellor took up the thought that every possibility of war must be excluded from German-Polish relations whereby he remarked, that these thoughts could be given the form of a treaty."
Michael Burleigh, Germany Turns Eastwards A Study of Ostforschung in the Third Reich, page 65.

A year after signing the non-aggression pact with Poland, Hitler said on 21 May 1935:
Germany has concluded a non-aggression treaty with Poland with no consideration for the past, as another more than useful contribution to the European peace that not only will hold blindly but from which we only have the one wish: It will be renewed again at every expiry of the set period, and the friendly deepening of our relations resulting from it. [...] With the understanding and the warm friendship of sincere nationalists, we recognize the Polish State as the home of a large patriotic people.
At that time, Hitler didn't pose a threat to the Poles.

Yet, in 1939 his mood changed after his successful annexations of the Sudetenland, Austria and he said in May 1939:
With minor exceptions German national unification has been achieved. Further successes cannot be achieved without bloodshed. Poland will always be on the side of our adversaries... Danzig is not the objective. It is a matter of expanding our living space in the east, of making our food supply secure, and solving the problem of the Baltic states. To provide sufficient food you must have sparsely settled areas. There is therefore no question of sparing Poland, and the decision remains to attack Poland at the first opportunity. We cannot expect a repetition of Czechoslovakia. There will be fighting.
On 22 August 1939 he was even more clear when he spoke to his military commanders and said:
The object of the war is … physically to destroy the enemy. That is why I have prepared, for the moment only in the East, my 'Death's Head' formations with orders to kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of Polish descent or language. Only in this way can we obtain the living space we need.
There is absolutely no way that the Poles had any place in the Third Reich and what is absolutely certain is that both Poland and the Poles got in the way of Hitler's Lebensraum ideas for Eastern Europe.

Even as early as 1937 the Nazis were keeping a close eye on the Poles living in the Reich:
Preparatory work included monitoring the activities of the 1,200,000 Poles living in Germany, including a card index of 'frontier-political untrustworthy' Poles and Germans; a campaign to 'germanise' Police place, street and family names in the eastern regions and, as we have seen, efforts to foster German national consciousness at the expense of Sorbian ethnicity in Lusatia.
Michael Burleigh, Germany Turns Eastwards A Study of Ostforschung in the Third Reich, pages 146-147.

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Re: Every day life for an ethnic Pole between 1933-39

Post by wm » 05 Feb 2021 21:24

Generally, the Poles in Germany weren't persecuted (till 1939) although many experienced inconveniences of living in a highly nationalistic state.
The Union of Poles in Germany (including its own Slavic Bank) was legal till the war.
Below, The congress of Poles in Germany in Berlin on 6th March 1938:
1-125206_g-1024x765.jpg
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Re: Every day life for an ethnic Pole between 1933-39

Post by wm » 05 Feb 2021 21:27

There was nothing wrong with the Pact and still it wasn't a peace treaty. Germany (including Hitler) never accepted Polish borders and Polish, post-ww1 territory gains (despite the Pact).

Actually, the first-ever German peace treaty was proposed by Hitler in 1938 and was rejected by Poland.

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Re: Every day life for an ethnic Pole between 1933-39

Post by George L Gregory » 09 Feb 2021 12:54

wm wrote:
05 Feb 2021 21:24
Generally, the Poles in Germany weren't persecuted (till 1939) although many experienced inconveniences of living in a highly nationalistic state.
The Union of Poles in Germany (including its own Slavic Bank) was legal till the war.
Not quite.

Even before WW2, anti-Nazi Poles who were members of it were sent to concentration camps. Some members were murdered during the massacres in Piaśnica.

The Union of Poles in Germany was outlawed in August 1939, before WW2 began.

You may find the following to be interesting:
Członkowie Związku zajmowali się także katalogowaniem przestępstw oraz aktów bezprawia dokonywanych w Niemczech na członkach mniejszości polskiej, udzielały pomocy poszkodowanym i ich rodzinom oraz reprezentowały ich interesy przed wymiarem sprawiedliwości w Republice Weimarskiej oraz w III Rzeszy. Jednym z przykładów była interwencja w sprawie morderstwa dokonanego przez członków pięcioosobowej faszystowskiej bojówki SA z Rokitnicy, którzy 9 sierpnia 1929 roku w miejscowości Potępa zamordowali powstańca śląskiego oraz działacza komunistycznej partii Niemiec Konrada Piecucha. SA-mani pobili go do nieprzytomności gumowymi pałkami oraz kijami bilardowymi, a potem, na oczach ich matki i brata, Reinhold Kotisch zastrzelił go z pistoletu. Co prawda początkowo, w wyniku rozprawy sądowej bojówkarzy skazano na karę śmierci, to wyroku nie wykonano, a zamieniono na więzienie. Obrońca bojówkarzy Hans Frank argumentował, że czyn jakiego się dopuścili oskarżeni zasługuje na pochwałę, ponieważ po pierwsze SA-mani „dwojako zasłużyli się Rzeszy niemieckiej, zabijając po pierwsze Polaka, a po drugie komunistę”. Obrony zbrodniarzy podjął się nawet sam Adolf Hitler, który na łamach prasy hitlerowskiej apelował do skazanych „Moi towarzysze! W obliczu tego potwornego krwawego wyroku łączę się z Wami w uczuciu bezgranicznego przywiązania. Wasze uwolnienie staje się od tej chwili sprawą naszego honoru, a walka z rządem, za którego ten wyrok został wydany naszym obowiązkiem”. Incydent ten został opisany w pamiątkowej księdze śląskiej SA – „Ehrenbuch” w następujący sposób: „W małej wiosce Potępie żył wciąż jeszcze łobuz Piecuch, komunista i powstaniec, który już w roku 1921, w okresie wielkiej tragedii Górnego Śląska, zdradził swoją ojczyznę i był jednym z najgorszych agitatorów. Kilku dzielnych SA-manów nie wytrzymało tego dłużej i Piecucha dosięgnął w końcu zasłużony los”. Związek Polaków w Niemczech złożył w Genewie skargę do Ligi Narodów, ale nie odniosła ona żadnego skutku wobec słabości Ligi. W drugi dzień po dojściu Hitlera do władzy, 1 lutego 1933 roku uroczyście uwolniono z więzienia odpowiedzialnych za morderstwo Piecucha.

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Re: Every day life for an ethnic Pole between 1933-39

Post by wm » 15 Feb 2021 23:06

The Union of Poles in Germany was outlawed five days before WW2 began.

It is obvious that people conspiring against the Nazis were sent to camps, it had nothing to do with their national allegiance.
The Union of Poles in Germany wasn't anti-German or anti-Nazi, it merely protected (in cooperation with Poland) the rights of their members.

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