Der Bromberger Blutsonntag

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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Der Bromberger Blutsonntag

Post by Sid Guttridge » 18 Aug 2011 15:51

Hi Guys,

Once again the figure of "5,437 ethnic Germans....... massacred throughout Poland during the German invasion" has come up.

But where is the list of names? One exists for Bromberg, yet even this most publicised of alleged massacres has "only" a few hundred named victims.

Michael say that "In February 1940, Nazi propaganda blew up the death toll to 58,000 (more than ten times the actual number of victims)." If there is no list of 5,437 names, one is inclined to wonder whether Nazi propaganda hadn't blown up the death toll by a much larger factor than ten times.

The Germans were excellent record keepers and had a vested interest in preserving the identities of any Volksdeutsc dead in such circumstances. The figure of 5,437 seems very precise and so at least looks as if it is based on something solid. If so, on what, exactly?

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Re: Der Bromberger Blutsonntag

Post by michael mills » 20 Aug 2011 03:37

The figure of 5,437 seems very precise and so at least looks as if it is based on something solid. If so, on what, exactly?
The the study released by the German diplomatic service in November 1939, containing the figure of 5,437 ethnic German victims of Polish violence in the first weeks of the war, was the result of investigations by the Wehrmacht Untersuchungsstelle, the German Army office with the task of investigating alleged war crimes.

I have referred previously to the renowned study by Alfred de Zayas on the Wehrmacht Untersuchungsstelle. I suggest that persons interested in this issue read that work, and make up their own minds on the question of whether the investigations made by the Wehrmachtuntersuchungsstelle were generally reliable, or simply a propaganda exercise.

Obviously, Goebbels considered that the figures arrived at by the Wehrmachtuntersuchungsstelle, based on a proper legal investigation, were not sensational enough for his propaganda purposes, and thus saw a need to falsify them through gross exaggeration.

He later did the same thing with the number of casualties of the Dresden bombing, inflating the reported number of bodies found by a factor of 10.

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Re: Der Bromberger Blutsonntag

Post by Sid Guttridge » 22 Aug 2011 15:17

Hi Michael,

To clarify, what does "5,437 ethnic German victims of Polish violence in the first weeks of the war" actually mean?

Victims of violence are not necessarily dead. They may be injured, mugged, burnt out, beaten up, tortured, raped, etc.

This 5,437 figure still seems rather nebulous. As it stands, we seem to have an accusation of 5,347 unverifiable, because unnamed, victims of Polish violence of an unspecified nature over about a month.

In the circumstances, it is seems extremely unikely that there was no violence by Poles against their own ethnic Germans in the first weeks of the war. However, from the German side we seem to be very ill served in terms of evidence and specifics, even before taking into account any ten-fold propaganda exaggeration.

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Re: Der Bromberger Blutsonntag

Post by michael mills » 23 Aug 2011 04:21

This 5,437 figure still seems rather nebulous. As it stands, we seem to have an accusation of 5,347 unverifiable, because unnamed, victims of Polish violence of an unspecified nature over about a month.
Here is what Richard Blanke writes in his book "Orphans of Versailles", page 235:
The overall death toll from this outbreak of communal hysteria continues to be a subject of debate. Many victims, buried in unmarked graves, were never found and remain classified as "missing". A Zentrale fuer Graeber ermordeter Volksdeutscher (Central Office for the Graves of Murdered Ethnic Germans) was set up under Kurt Lueck and Karl Berger and charged with compiling a comprehensive list of names. Thir files, dep[osited today in the Koblenz archives, contain 5,437 names and were the basis for several German propaganda books detailing polnische Greueltaten (Polish atrocities).
So it appears that there is indeed a list of names of persons killed.

Blanke states that the Lueck-Berger files were found in Poznan in 1945, and used by the Polish historian Karol Pospieszalski to discredit the German wartime propaganda claim of 58,000 ethnic German victims, in his book "The Case of the 58,000 Volksdeutsche", published by the Instytut Zachodni in 1959.

Blanke continues:
Peter Aurich, however, studying the same evidence a decade later, found that the deaths of at least 3,841 German civilians as a result of popular violence could be attested to by more than one witness: 2,063 who were killed in or near where they lived, 1,576 who did not survive the treks eastward, and 202 who died later of injuries. Adding these figures to the number of soldiers killed by their Polish comrades, Aurich contends that between 4,000 and 5,000 members of the German minority in western Poland (or about 2 percent of its total number) died as a result of popular violence in September 1939.
As the source for the above statement, Blanke gives:

Peter Aurich, "Der deutsch-polnische September 1939", Munich, 1969, page 11.

Blanke also states that Otto Heike, on page 445 of the book "Die deutsche Minderheit in Polen bis 1939" (Leverkusen 1985), puts the number of victims at 4,332.

So, Major T, it apppears that the number of around 5,000 ethnic Germans killed by Polish popular violence is fairly well established.

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Re: Der Bromberger Blutsonntag

Post by michael mills » 23 Aug 2011 04:26

Domen121 previously wondered who Osinski was.

Here are the details:

Seweryn Osinski, "V Kolumna na Pomorzu Gdanskim", Warsaw, Ksiaska i Wiedza, 1965.

According to Blanke, on page 188 of that book Osinski cites the blanket prohibition against the use of the ethnic German minority for espionage issued by the Abwehr.

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Re: Der Bromberger Blutsonntag

Post by michael mills » 23 Aug 2011 05:10

On page 234, Blank gives these details of numbers of ethnic Germans killed in what he calls the September pogrom:
Peter Aurich provides the following figures for the hardest-hit communities: in Tarnowo, three-quarters of the 181 German residents were killed; in Jaegerhof, one-third of 200 Germans, including virtually all adult males, were killed on September 3; 145 deaths were recorded in and around Schulitz; 39 died at Jesuitensee; 38 were killed in Eichdorf/Netzheim; and 19 males, ages thirteen to seventy-four, were executed in a single incident in Michalowo. Richard Kammel provides the following death tolls for other places: Gross-Neudorf, 112; Otterau-Langenau, 82; Eigenheim, 26; Wiesenau, 34 of 96 German inhabitants; and Radewitz, 41. Victims included fourteen members of the Evangelical Consistory in Poznan, two deacons, and forty-five pastors, officials, and other employees. The death toll among minority schoolteachers was thirty-six; among employees of the Poznanian co-op association, sixteen.
On the previous page, Blanke gives examples of the fate of ethnic Germans of any social standing who were rounded up and marched eastwards at the begiinning of the German invasion. Many of these were killed by their guards or lynched by mobs.

One group of deportees from Bydgoszcz numbered about 4000 people, and was made to march for six days to the vicinity of Lowicz, about 240 kilometres away. Those who failed to keep up were summarily shot, including forty-four in a single day.

A group of 560 started out from Wabrzezno; of these 188 died along the way, including forty shot in a single night.

On the trek from Rogozno in Oborniki County the death toll was 250 to 300; from Szamotuly and Miedzychod it was 120 of 300.

On several treks from southern Poznania the death toll was 400 out of 1,200 deportees.

The above figures reveal the deaths of at least 1000 ethnic Germans who had been deported and marched eastwards. That is in addition to those who were killed in their places of residence, so it is apparent that a total death toll of at least 4,000 and probably more than 5,000 could easily have been reached.

Polish chauvinists claim that all these people were "saboteurs" who were legally executed after being caught in the act of committing "sabotage", but the facts simply do not support that apologetic claim.

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Re: Der Bromberger Blutsonntag

Post by Peter K » 23 Aug 2011 11:40

There was a list of German political leaders and members of anti-Polish German organizations who were going to be interned in case of outbreak of German-Polish war. This list was created yet in 1920s and was being updated each year. In 1937 Parliament passed a law which established legal frames of such interment in case of war. Similar list existed in case of outbreak of war against the Soviet Union - it consisted of communists. I suppose that persons who were on these lists, knew that they were listed there. IIRC it was not a secret list - not since 1937 at least.

The total number of people who were on the list of persons designated to be interned in case of war against Germany numbered in 1939 around 15,000 persons. Including over 1/3 of them from eastern Poland.
were rounded up and marched eastwards at the begiinning of the German invasion.
The interment was planned to be carried out yet in the last days of August. But Western Allies urged Poland to delay the internment in order not to "annoy" Hitler. As the result it was carried out yet under Luftwaffe bombs.

Germans interned from central & eastern Poland (including Volhynian Germans) reached their places of detention without problems. But Germans from western Poland were hastily evacuated under Luftwaffe bombs.

It reminds me of Japanese American Internment - but American methods were more radical (i.e. from some regions they interned whole Japanese population - not just those who could be dangerous for the US during war):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_A ... internment
Many of these were killed by their guards or lynched by mobs.
There were cases of internees shot during escape attempts or deaths from exhaustion and deaths from Luftwaffe attacks on columns of internees - apparently confused with columns of refugees or Polish army.

But are your numbers reliable? I don't think so.

Had the Western Allies not urged Poland to delay the internment, number of victims among internees from western Poland would be minimal - just like it was in reality among internees from central & eastern Poland.
was set up under Kurt Lueck and Karl Berger
Who were these guys? Were they members of NSDAP?
Adding these figures to the number of soldiers killed by their Polish comrades
Rubbish. The casualties of Polish soldiers of German ethnicity listed by the Graeberzentrale, are 137 dead and 800 missing - in total 937. The fate and exact cause of death of 500 of them could be established.

Of these 500 whose exact cause of death was established, only 20 were: "killed by Poles".

And these 20 were most probably executed for desertion or sabotage.

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Re: Der Bromberger Blutsonntag

Post by Sid Guttridge » 23 Aug 2011 13:01

Hi Michael,

Thanks. That puts the discussion on a much firmer footing.

Googling "Zentrale fuer Graeber ermordeter Volksdeutscher" produces several interesting results on this subject.

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Re: Der Bromberger Blutsonntag

Post by Peter K » 24 Aug 2011 01:45

produces several interesting results on this subject.
Which ones are interesting?

The one which now claims that 5400 was the number of just "murdered Volksdeutsche soldaten"?

Instead of the real number of Volksdeutsche soldaten killed by Poles which was 20?

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Re: Der Bromberger Blutsonntag

Post by Sid Guttridge » 24 Aug 2011 12:25

Hi Domen,

Several of them are interesting.

But they are just a starting point and require more research.

I asked for a list of names. I did this because of the German propensity for bureaucratic order and their heightened interest in the fate of Volkseutsch. If such a list had not existed, then I would have considered this a proposition that was either untrue or unpursuable.

However, it sweems that such a list does exist. This fulfils one of my basic criteria for taking the proposition seriously.

In the past on AHF I have asked for a similar list of names of the victims of other alleged massacres, but they have not been forthcoming. (i.e. for the claim that nearly a million German POWs died in Western Allied hands in 1945). This case seems to be an exception, in that the individual names of alleged victims would appear to be available to those willing or able to do primary research. It therefore has to be taken with some seriousness.

I am not in a position to follow this list through the archives, so I cannot say more than that its apparent existence increases the plausibility of the claims.

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Re: Der Bromberger Blutsonntag

Post by Hecht » 24 Aug 2011 13:52

For those interested into rare pictures of the murdered Volksdeutschen in Bromberg, please check this.

http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/forums/ ... p?t=536213

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Re: Der Bromberger Blutsonntag

Post by jola » 24 Aug 2011 18:26

michael mills wrote: According to Blanke, on page 188 of that book Osinski cites the blanket prohibition against the use of the ethnic German minority for espionage issued by the Abwehr.
So, which department of the SD did handle the Germans in Poland for espionage? Amt IV or Amt VI, or did they coordinate together? I hope you are not claiming that the Germans were so incompetent that they failed to utilize the German chauvinists plentiful in Poland while gearing up for the invasion.
michael mills wrote:Polish chauvinists claim that all these people were "saboteurs"
That's funny, because neo-Nazis claim that none of these people were saboteurs.

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Re: Der Bromberger Blutsonntag

Post by Peter K » 24 Aug 2011 18:31

Polish chauvinists claim that all these people were "saboteurs"
That's funny, because neo-Nazis claim that none of these people were saboteurs.
And the truth is somewhere in between, but Michael Mills will never accept this.

For him only extremely pro-Nazi version of events is not a "Polish chauvinist" version of events.

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Re: Der Bromberger Blutsonntag

Post by David Thompson » 24 Aug 2011 18:38

Let's discuss the topic; not the posters please.

michael mills
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Re: Der Bromberger Blutsonntag

Post by michael mills » 25 Aug 2011 01:40

Rubbish. The casualties of Polish soldiers of German ethnicity listed by the Graeberzentrale, are 137 dead and 800 missing - in total 937. The fate and exact cause of death of 500 of them could be established.

Of these 500 whose exact cause of death was established, only 20 were: "killed by Poles".

And these 20 were most probably executed for desertion or sabotage.
This is what Richard Blanke writes about the fate of ethnic Germans serving in the Polish armed forces (page 234):
Another 5,200 Germans who were reported dead or missing had been serving in the Polish army. This was perilous duty, less because of the Wehrmacht than because of the hostility of Polish comrades: German recruits often became scapegoats for defeat and were deprived of weapons and even uniforms. In some cases, new conscripts were simply ordered eastward, only to be seized as spies or deserters and shot. Fear of espionage and treason was rampant; "Germans to the wall!" was a frequent refrain, and many report that their lives were saved only by the rapid German advance or by the intervention of courageous Polish comrades. Ethnic German soldiers had special identification, and so the only salvation for some was to get hold of the ID of a fallen Polish soldier and try to pass as Polish. One such recruit, Johann Kurtziza of Katowice, having successfully passed as Polish, was then ordered to escort a hundred German recruits eastward and to shoot those who failed to keep up.
So ethnic Germans serving in the Polish amred forces did not die in battle against the invading Wehrmacht. Rather, they were all arrested and marched off to the east under guard, with many of them being lynched or summarily executed for "sabotage". It is entirelt within the bounds of possibility that around 1000 of them lost their lives in that way.

It should be pointed out that what is at issue here is not a conflict between Polish chauvinist historiography and German chauvinist historiography.

German chauvinist historiography used to exist, propagated by the German Ministry of Propaganda under Goebbels. One of the falsehoods propagated by that German chauvinist historiography was that 58,000 ethnic Germans had been killed by Poles. However, German chauvinist historiography no longer exists, having gone down to defeat along with the National Socialist regime.

The problem is that Polish chauvinist historiography still exists, and is being actively peddled by a number of members of this Forum. The Polish chauvinist version of the September events was initiated by the Polish Government-in-Exile in 1940, with its public claim that the entire ethnic population of Poland had committed treason, and that any members of it who had been killed in September 1939 were traitors and saboteurs who had been killed in combat or justly executed.

The reason why the specifically anti-German variant of Polish chauvinist historiography still exists is that it was actively fostered by the post-war Communist Government of Poland. Immediately after after the war, when the Communist regime took power in Poland, it was faced with the problem of what to do about the main producer of anti-German Polish chauvinist propaganda, namely the Instytut Zachodni, the Western Institute located in Poznan.

The Instytut Zachodni had of course been suppressed during the German occupation, and the initial preference of the new Communist Government was not to resurrect it, since it had been dominated by members of Endecja, the right-wing nationalist political organisation which had been the sworn enemy of the Communists. However, once the Federal Republic of Germany was created in 1949, allied to the West, the Communist Government of Poland decided to recreate the Instytut Zachodni and let it continue to produce anti-German Polish chauvinist historiography, since that served the purpose of the anti-Western propaganda required by the Soviet masters of the Polish Government.

Thus, throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the Instytut Zachodni continued to churn out anti-German Polish chauvinist historiography, with the blessing of the Communist Government of Poland, with workks by historians such as Karol Pospieszalski and Seweryn Osinski. Needless to say, the anti-Russian variant of Polish chauvinist historiography was totally suppressed.

Opposed to Polish chauvinist historiography is the work of moderate, unbiassed historians such as Richard Blanke, in works published by university presses in the United States and other western countries, publishers that are manifestly not purveyors of German chauvinist propaganda. These historians reject the claims of National Socialist propaganda with its wildly exaggerated numbers of victims of Polish mob violence; however, on the basis of unbiassed and careful research they conclude that there was Polish mob violence against ethnic Germans in September 1939, caused by hysteria and fear resulting from the sudden and unexpected Polish collapse in the face of the German invasion, and that around 5,000 ethnic Germans fell victim to that violence, only 10% of the number of victims claimed in wartime German propaganda.

It is unfortunate that some members of this Forum refuse to accept the findings of unbiassed researchers such as Richard Blanke, and continue to peddle the Polish chauvinist version of history that originated in wartime propaganda and was perpetuated by the former Communist Government of Poland.

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