Polish soldiers in the Wehrmacht/Waffen-SS?

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.
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tom_deba
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Post by tom_deba » 31 Jul 2004 21:55

Thanks for information. My knowledge on this topic turned out to be more poorer I have thought. Thanks for all - especially for Petrus and his vision of speech between Piasecki and Germans. This topic - that is - Polish legion is still unkwown and it would be better if it could be popularized in future.

/tom/

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 09 Aug 2004 13:53

Units of the Armia Krajowa in Belorussia (in areas that had been Polish before 1939), especially in the Lida area, entered into an alliance of convenience with the Wehrmacht for the purpose of fighting Soviet partisans. Those units received Wehrmacht rations and other logistical support, and were treated in Wehrmacht hospitals.

As for the presence of ethnic Poles in the Waffen-SS, it all depends on what one means by ethnic Pole. There was a very large number of former citizens of Poland in the Waffen-SS; for example, many of the camp staff at Auschwitz and other camps could speak flunet Polish.

To be sure, the former Polish citizens in the Waffen-SS were all classed as Volksdeutsche for official purposes, but the line distinguishing ethnic Pole and ethnic German in the Polish borderlands was very blurred and easily crossed. All a Pole had to do to become an ethnic German officially was to apply for inclusion on the "Volksliste"; since the status of ethnic German entailed eligibility for the draft, in practice almost every Pole who applied for admission to the Volksliste was accepted.

What is absolutely certain is that in the East there were hordes of SS-men with Polish names who somehow were able to speak fluent Polish. Someone who is Catholic, has a Polish name, and speaks Polish, can reasonably be considered an ethnic Pole, regardless of his official classification.

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Post by Obserwator » 09 Aug 2004 15:39

Units of the Armia Krajowa in Belorussia (in areas that had been Polish before 1939), especially in the Lida area, entered into an alliance of convenience with the Wehrmacht for the purpose of fighting Soviet partisans. Those units received Wehrmacht rations and other logistical support, and were treated in Wehrmacht hospitals.
Never heard that before.
Some evidence from credible sources ?
There was a very large number of former citizens of Poland in the Waffen-SS; for example, many of the camp staff at Auschwitz and other camps could speak flunet Polish.
Some also spoke French and English.
All a Pole had to do to become an ethnic German officially was to apply for inclusion on the "Volksliste"; since the status of ethnic German entailed eligibility for the draft, in practice almost every Pole who applied for admission to the Volksliste was accepted.
Nice of you to forget that being drafted on that list was forced by Germans.Also nice of you to forget that Volksdeutsche weren't considered full Germans and didn't have the same rights as Germans did.
Volksdeutsche were drafted into Wehrmacht not Waffen SS.
What is absolutely certain is that in the East there were hordes of SS-men with Polish names
What do you consider a "horde". And again-any evidence from credible sources.
Someone who is Catholic, has a Polish name, and speaks Polish, can reasonably be considered an ethnic Pole, regardless of his official classification.
Unless of course if he considers himself a German.

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Musashi
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Post by Musashi » 09 Aug 2004 20:08

michael mills wrote:Units of the Armia Krajowa in Belorussia (in areas that had been Polish before 1939), especially in the Lida area, entered into an alliance of convenience with the Wehrmacht for the purpose of fighting Soviet partisans. Those units received Wehrmacht rations and other logistical support, and were treated in Wehrmacht hospitals.
Yes, I heard they fought against Soviet partisans, but I never heard they received any German help, particularly in the hospitals.

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Post by mietek » 09 Aug 2004 22:48

michael mills wrote:Someone who is Catholic, has a Polish name, and speaks Polish, can reasonably be considered an ethnic Pole, regardless of his official classification.
My family was Catholic, had German family names and spoke fluent German. (part of family come form Germany, other from Austria)
They were Polish and refuse to sign Volksliste.
So you cannot simpify it.
In many cases nation it was just a choice. One part of family felt that they are Germans, other Poles, Lithuanian, Ukrainian.....

In this part of Europe all is mixted.

best regards

mietek

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 10 Aug 2004 05:59

My information about Armia Krajowa units collaborating with the Wehrmacht in Belorussia comes from the book "Kalkulierte Morde", by Christian Gerlach.

I suggest that those who are interested obtain the book and look up the details. If you really, honestly cannot get hold of a copy of the book, I will hobble down to the ANU library and consult it again; but I cannot promise to do so immediately.

Here is a link to further information about the book.

http://library.anu.edu.au/search/t?SEAR ... erte+morde

Good luck with your search. The book is 1231 pages long.

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gotenhafen
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Post by gotenhafen » 13 Aug 2004 02:23

Obserwator wrote:
Units of the Armia Krajowa in Belorussia (in areas that had been Polish before 1939), especially in the Lida area, entered into an alliance of convenience with the Wehrmacht for the purpose of fighting Soviet partisans. Those units received Wehrmacht rations and other logistical support, and were treated in Wehrmacht hospitals.
Never heard that before.
Some evidence from credible sources ?
Turonek J., Bia³oru¶ pod okupacj± niemieck±, Warszawa 1993, s. 203-208.

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Post by Agadanik » 16 Nov 2004 04:48

[quote="Petrus
in 1939-1940 Piasecki proposed his services to the german army. "I believe that Vladislav Strudniski had proposed to the Germans to lead a collaborationnist government and that Boleslaw Piasecki had proposed to create a polish brigade. But the Germans refused.

In autumn of 1939 Piasecki was arrested by the Gestapo and then was being held at the Pawiak prison in Warsaw.
[/quote]

Both above quotes are correct.

1. Immediately after the German occupation of Poland, in the first week of October 1939, an organization was formed which sought to offer its services to the Nazis. Its leader was Andrzej Swietlicki, and the group was known as NOR - National Radical Organization. Wladyslaw Studnicki (note sp.) was a member of that organization. NOR postulated creation of a Polish pro-German army. Funds were to come from confiscated Jewish property.

NOR's contacts were with the Wehrmacht administration. In April 1940 Hitler forbade his military to interfere in political issues and German support for NOR (it actually had formal offices in Warsaw) was withdrawn. Gestapo arrested Swietlicki, who was shot at a mass execution in Palmiry.

2. Boleslaw Piasecki's role is less clear. He was indeed arrested in October 1929, but spent only a few days in the Pawiak prison. It is at that time that he established contact with the German administration and entered into negotiations. He was to propose creating some sort of a puppet Polish state with his nominee as president. However, Piasecki was also planning to form an underground, anti-German group.

3. Władysław Studnicki was a committed Nazi collaborator, who repeatedly offered to form a small pro-German Polish state. As in all other cases, the Germans rejected his advances.

4. Approx. 3.3 mln Poles signed the Volksliste, identifying themselves as Germans. Before WWII, 740,ooo Polish citizens declared German as their mother tongue.

In general, Polish collaboration with the Nazis was minimal, as compared with other countries in the region and no major political figure volunteered his services to the Germans. Hitler was against creating any kind of Polish autonomy, as well as Polish forces - but the collaborationist offers from the Polish side can literally be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Regards, Agadanik

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 17 Nov 2004 02:56

The National Radical Party (Nacionalny-Radykalny, abbreviated to Naras) existed before the war. It was the most right-wing Polish group.

After the German invasion, the Naras and other right-wing Poles, who were very anti-Communist, proposed to form a Polish army to fight against the Soviet Union alongside the German forces. As Agadanik points out, the organisation of that army, with the support of the Wehrmacht had already begun.

However, in the secret appendices to the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 23 August 1939 and to the Borders and Friendship Treaty of 28 September 1939, Germany had promised to suppress any anti-Soviet activity in its occupation zone, and the Soviet Union had promised to suppress any anti-German activity in its occupation zone.

That is the reason why the NOR was suppressed in April 1940 and Swietlicki was shot at Palmiry. In fact, the AB-Aktion, in the course of which some thousands of Polish political and intellectual leading elements were shot at Palmiry and elsewhere, was directed primarily against anti-Communist, anti-Soviet Poles, and not only against anti-German Poles.

Some historians think that the AB-Aktion and the Katyn massacres, which occurred at the same time, may have been a co-ordinated action between the German and Soviet security forces.

After Germany conquered Poland, its original intention was to set up a rump Polish satellite state, a new "Kongresowka", comprising essentially the territory of the old Kongresowka which had existed between 1915 and 1914. That rump state would have comprised both German and Soviet-occupied territory, but exclude areas of pre-war Poland that had been annexed by Germany (West Prussia, Wartheland, East Upper Silesia) and by the Soviet Union (West Belorussia, West Ukraine).

However, in the negotiations leading up to the Borders and Friendship Treaty of 28 September 1939, Stalin vetoed the German concept of a rump Polish state, which he feared would become a centre for future anti-Soviet activity.

Instead, he proposed that Germany occupy all the Polish territory west of the Curzon Line, meaning that Germany would also occupy the Lublin District, the area between the Vistula and Bug Rivers, which under the terms of the secret appendix to the Non-Aggression Pact of 23 August 1939 was to have been occupied by the Soviet Union. In return, the Soviet Unon took Lithuania, which originally had been proposed as part of the German sphere of influence.

Stalin was being very cunning. He knew that Britain regarded the Curzon Line as the legal eastern frontier of Poland, and that if his forces did not cross it Britain would not regard him as having invaded Poland, and therefore would not declare war on him.

Stalin was right. Britain did not declare war on the Soviet Union under the terms of its guarantee to Poland, as the Red Army did not cross the Curzon Line.

Stalin's eye was on the future. By only annexing Polish territory east of the Curzon Line, he did not give Britian a casus belli, and thus left open the option of joining Britain against Germany at some later date.

Furthermore, because of the provisions of the secret appendices, Stalin was able to induce Germany to suppress all anti-Soviet elements within the German-occupied zone, and prevent the emergence of any alliance between Germany and the pro-German anti-Soviet elements in Poland, of which there many, in particular the followers of the Pilsudski line.

Polish collaboration with Germany was much greater than the Poles of today like to admit. Particularly after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, there was a high level of de-facto collaboration with Germany by ethnic Poles in the areas that had previously been annexed by the Soviet Union.

In western Belorussia, the local forces of the Armia Krajowa assisted the Wehrmacht to fight Soviet partisans, and received logistical support from the Wehrmacht. In return, the German occupation Authorities favoured ethnic Poles in the local administration and in the land reform.

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Post by Obserwator » 17 Nov 2004 21:41

Nacionalny ? There is no such word in polish language I am afraid.
Naras-no such party with such an abraviation existed in Poland.
Of course all that follows is typical revisionistic stuff(how could be it diffrent if based on fictional entity called Naras that never existed ?)

As to organisations that were anti-Soviet, there was such thing as NSZ Narodowe Siły Zbrojne-but they only opposed helping USSR and sabotaging German supply lines to USSR, also they arranged for truce with German forces during their escape from Poland in 1945, but..NSZ units took part in the Warsaw Uprising. In January 1945, Brygada Świętokrzysk retreated before the Red Army with the Germans approval, into the German protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. It later fought Germans again as they freed peopel from Holiszowo concentration camp.


BTW-i did a little search for this "Naras" it only mentioned in some obscure text called "Zionism in the Age of Dictators" by Lenni Brenner a co funder of such a dignifed organisation as Committee against Zionism and Racism.
:D
http://www.the7thfire.com/new_world_ord ... _nazis.htm

The site as credible as the book :
(Zionism as Jewish National Socialism, Updated Protocols of Zion, The Brutality and Savagery of Zionism etc, etc, what an usurprising company )
Approx. 3.3 mln Poles signed the Volksliste, identifying themselves as German
People were either automaticly assigned to the lists or threatened when they didn't signed, its really no argument.

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Post by Agadanik » 17 Nov 2004 22:27

michael mills wrote:
The National Radical Party (Nacionalny-Radykalny, abbreviated to Naras) existed before the war.
The abbreviation was ONR, Oboz Narodowo-Radykalny. I am not familiar with the name "Naras". Source, please.
After the German invasion, the Naras and other right-wing Poles, who were very anti-Communist, proposed to form a Polish army to fight against the Soviet Union alongside the German forces.
To my best knowledge, this is incorrect, with the unique exception of newly-formed NOR and perhaps the somewhat questionable case of Piasecki. Sources, please.
In fact, the AB-Aktion, in the course of which some thousands of Polish political and intellectual leading elements were shot at Palmiry and elsewhere, was directed primarily against anti-Communist, anti-Soviet Poles, and not only against anti-German Poles.
That's incorrect. The executions at Palmiry began with the murder of some 250 Jews and continued with mass killings of Polish elites, irrespective of their attitudes toward the Soviet Union. To my knowledge, no data exist on political preferences of the victims. It would be exceedingly hard to gather, since only a minor percentage of victims have been identified - of the April executions where over 2000 were shot, only 400 were identified. These included Poland's leading athletes and university professors, hardly paragons of anti-Soviet activity, as well as Maciej Rataj, a prominent politician of the Peasant Party. Please provide sources supporting your statement.
Some historians think that the AB-Aktion and the Katyn massacres, which occurred at the same time, may have been a co-ordinated action between the German and Soviet security forces.
??? Which historians are those? A lot of Katyn documentation has been brought to light, incl. execution lists signed by the Soviet Politburo. Seems a red herring to me. It took more than four decades for the Soviets to acknowledge their responsibility for the massacre. Is this a new attempt to absolve them at least partially?
Polish collaboration with Germany was much greater than the Poles of today like to admit. Particularly after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, there was a high level of de-facto collaboration with Germany by ethnic Poles in the areas that had previously been annexed by the Soviet Union.
This is true. After June 22 1941, many Poles, predominantly in smaller communities, sought accomodation and favor from the Germans. What you fail to mention is that the entire territory has previously been stripped of elites and community leaders by the Soviets, who used mass terror and shot, imprisoned or exiled innumerable thousands to Siberia. In my view, it is quite a miracle that after the experiences of Soviet rule, the entire population of that region did not volunteer for Eastern Front duty.

Moreover, if Poland is viewed in relation to other territories in the area - Byelorussia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia - both the reach and the level of collaborationist activity were very low. Although multiple political orientations were active in Poland during WW2, including some extreme anti-communist groups, none of them proposed collaboration as part of its program. Beyond a few minor characters of Studnicki's caliber, no recognizable political figure advocated a common anti-Soviet front with the Nazis.
In western Belorussia, the local forces of the Armia Krajowa assisted the Wehrmacht to fight Soviet partisans, and received logistical support from the Wehrmacht.
This is entirely possible - I've heard of a case near Lida. There may have been others, notably NSZ. But the Polish underground involved hundreds of thousands of people, and outside Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, was the most active in Europe. If all you can come up with is a case in Western Byelorussia, I'd say that's better than a pretty good record.

Unless you're trying to rationalize your own preconceived view, of course.

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Post by Agadanik » 17 Nov 2004 22:38

Obserwator wrote:
People were either automaticly assigned to the lists or threatened when they didn't signed, its really no argument.
That's not the case. Signing of the Volksliste was, for the most part, voluntary, certainly among those who before WW2 were not identified as Germans. Even among ethnic Germans there were many who refused to sign. Signing the list generated specific privileges and provided relative immunity from persecution. For many, that was enough of a reason.

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Post by Obserwator » 17 Nov 2004 22:56

.
Signing of the Volksliste was, for the most part, voluntary, certainly among those who before WW2 were not identified as Germans
Untrue-many people were listed even without their knowledge.
The method varied of course.Also there were 4 groups that had different conditions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volksliste
Polish citizens of German ancestry, who often identified themselves with the Polish nation, were confronted with the dilemma of whether to sign the Volksliste, the list of Germans living in Poland. This included ethnic Germans whose families had lived in Poland proper for centuries, and Germans (who after 1920 became citizens of Poland) from the part of Germany that had been given to Poland after World War I.

Often the choice was either to sign and be regarded as a traitor by the Polish, or not to sign and be treated by the Nazi occupation as a traitor of the Germanic race. After the collapse of Nazi Germany, these people were tried by the Polish authorities for high treason. Even now, in Poland the word Volksdeutsch is regarded as an insult, synonymous with the word "traitor".

In some cases, individuals consulted the Polish resistance first, before signing the Volksliste. Volksdeutsche played an important role in intelligence activities of the Polish resistance, and were at times the primary source of information for the Allies. Having helped the Polish non-communist resistance didn't help in the eyes of new Communist government installed by the Soviet Union after 1945; therefore, some of these double agent Volksdeutsche were also persecuted.

In occupied Poland, the status of "Volksdeutscher" gave many privileges, but one big disadvantage: Volksdeutsche were conscripted into the German army. The Volksliste had 4 categories. No. 1 and No. 2 were considered ethnic Germans, while No. 3 and No. 4 were ethnic Poles who had signed the Volksliste for different reasons. Volksdeutsche of statuses 1 and 2 in the Polish areas annexed by Germany numbered 1,000,000, and Nos. 3 and 4 numbered 1,700,000. In the General Government there were 120,000 Volksdeutsche. Volksdeutsche of Polish ethnic origins were treated by the Poles with special contempt, but were also committing high treason according to Polish law
Group 3 included people living in Silesia or Kaszubs etc. They were often forced to sign in order to get them into army or signed up without their very knowledge. In fact Poland Nike award went in this year to a book called "Gnoj" which shows a Silesian family, whos one ancestors tried to resist being signed and failed which resulted in him dying on eastern front leaving his family alone -a tragic fate experienced by many Silesians forced to sign by German occupiers.
Last edited by Obserwator on 17 Nov 2004 23:02, edited 2 times in total.

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Allen Milcic
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Post by Allen Milcic » 17 Nov 2004 23:00

Gentlemen:

Providing sources for your varied claims would help the quality of this discussion. Stating "true" or "untrue" is in itself meaningless.

Allen/

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 17 Nov 2004 23:39

For information on the "Naras", please read this book:

"Poland: Key to Europe", by Raymond Leslie Buell (published London, Jonathan Cape, 1939).

And my mistake: "Naras" is actually an abbreviation of "narodowo-radykalny". My memory failed me on that point.

For information on the agreement by Germany to suppress anti-Soviet Polish nationalism in its Zone of Occupation, please check out this book:

"Nazi-Soviet Relations, 1939-1941 : Documents from the Archives of the German Foreign Office", edited by Raymond James Sontag and James Stuart Beddie (published Washington, US Department of State, 1948)

That book contains the German copies of the agreements between Germany and the Soviet Union. Those documenta show that the initiative for the suppression of Polish nationalism and the extinction of the Polish state came from the Soviet side.

For information on the suspicion of a collaboration between the Soviet Union and Germany on the suppression of Polish oppositionist elements, in particular the AB-Aktion, please see this book:

"Die Gestapo im Zweiten Weltkrieg : "Heimatfront" und besetztes Europa", Gerhard Paul, Klaus-Michael Mallmann (Hrsg.) (published Darmstadt, Primus, c2000)

That book has a chapter on the activities of the German security forces in Poland, and the attempts to form a de-facto German-Polish collaboration against the Soviet Union after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, and especially after the German Army began its retreat in 1943.

That chapter shows that the leader of the Armia Krajowa, Grot-Rowecki, had entered into negotiations with the German authorities on a de-facto collaboration, but the talks failed when Grot-Rowecki was arrested and executed by a group of over-zealous Gestapo men who were either unaware of the negotiations or else were opposed to them.

For information on the collaboration between the Armia Krajowa and the Wehrmacht in Belorussia, please see this book:

"Kalkulierte Morde : Die deutsche Wirtschafts- und Vernichtungspolitik in Weissrussland 1941 bis 1944", by Christian Gerlach (published Hamburg, Hamburger Edition, 1999)

Another book, "Genocide and Rescue in Wołyń : Recollections of the Ukrainian Nationalist Ethnic Cleansing Campaign against the Poles During World War II", edited by Tadeusz Piotrowski (published Jefferson, NC, McFarland, c2000), contains information about the German authorities providing aid to ethnic Poles during the Ukrainain nationalist uprising in Volhynia in 1943.

Happy reading!




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