by Max Denken
June 12, 2018
All rights reserved © 2018
Excerpt from Max Denken’s forthcoming book, Ecstasy, then Eruption; Thirty months of peak erosion of Western sanity, 2015–2018.
There were two Holocausts. The one changed the conscience of the Western World, led it to carve out of a sovereign Jewish state in the Middle East, and provided hundreds of billions of dollars in financial and military support for Israel and in individual compensation to Jewish Holocaust survivors.
The other holocaust, the most cruel and genocidal outrage that any nation suffered since King Leopold II lavished his tender care on the Free State of Congo, went by like a blip on history’s screen. Holocaust-2, the holocaust of the Polish people and their country, is unrecognized. Neither Germany, the main perpetrator, nor Russia, the secondary one, have made any amends or restitutions.
There are dozens Holocaust-1 museums in 34 countries, plus countless memorials, libraries and cenotaphs. In the United States alone, there are at least 50 of them, in 28 states. There are none for the Polish holocaust, H-2. There are two memorials for a small part of just the Soviet-perpetrated atrocities, the Katyn massacre, in Baltimore and Jersey City. That must be at least one too many, for as I write this the Katyn memorial in Jersey City is subject to removal and a campaign of slander and abuse by that city’s mayor, Steven Fullop.
The number of Holocaust-1 books, films and TV programs is beyond count. Holocaust-1 is part of the K-12 curriculum in all countries of the West. There are dozens of universities where you can get a degree in Holocaust-1 studies. No such luck for the victims, survivors, and heirs of Holocaust-2.
The Polish people deserve that their holocaust be spelled with the same capital H that the Jewish holocaust merits. They deserve that Germany take responsibility for it and make the proper amends.
Slaves in their own country
Lebensraum—clearing “inferior” Slavs’ territory of Slavs in order for Germans to migrate there—was the key motivating factor of Germany’s aggression on Poland in World War II. Let us note here that in a hellish mirror image, now Merkel’s Germany and its ideological West European pals offer themselves as lebensraum for far more primitive peoples while persecuting all who dare mention that they are primitive.
“Our strength consists in our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter – with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It’s a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me. I have issued the command – and I’ll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad – that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness – for the present only in the East – with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space [lebensraum] which we need. Who, after all, speaks to-day of the annihilation of the Armenians?” (9)
In Mein Kampf, Hitler had clarifies the lebensraum concept as follows:
“Nature knows no political frontiers. She begins by establishing life on this globe and then watches the free play of forces. Those who show the greatest courage and industry are the children nearest to her heart and they will be granted the sovereign right of existence.” After complaining about the passive and pacifist nature of the advanced nations, Hitler adds: “Nations of inferior quality succeed in getting hold of large spaces for colonization [lebensraum] all over the globe” (10).
He surely meant to change that, and did with the help of his chief sidekick. On March 15, 1940, Heinrich Himmler said in a speech:
“All skilled workers of Polish origin are to be utilized in our war industry; later all Poles will disappear from the Earth… You must, within the prescribed limits of time, exterminate the Poles. The great German nation should understand that its most important task now is to exterminate the Poles” (11).
By March 1940, these plans had been implemented for six months with unparalleled ferocity. The implementation would continue for five years, until the last German unit on Polish soil gave up fighting in March 1945.
On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland on several fronts with five armies, a total of 1.5 million troops. By 9 am, the Luftwaffe was bombing civilian targets in Polish cities with incendiary bombs. Later that day, and continued for weeks to come, hundreds of Luftwaffe planes would strafe columns of fleeing civilians, all over the country. 17 days later, the Soviet Union invaded from the east.
Resistance against the two greatest military powers in Europe was fierce but futile. On October 6, 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union divided the whole of the country between themselves and annexed their new fiefdoms. The Soviets captured and annexed the eastern half of Poland; the Germans captured the rest. Of that, Germany annexed the western and northwestern parts to the Reich outright, and created of the smaller, southern part a German occupation zone called General Governorate (Generalgouvernement).
Mass executions of Poles started immediately in multiple towns, and continued throughout the German occupation. Initially, the murders followed a careful plan of “cleansing” Poland’s western and northern regions of anyone who might provide resistance to the impending expulsion of the Poles and their replacement by ‘migration’ of Germans into those lands. Intelligenzaktion (“Operation Intelligentsia”) and Tannenberg Aktion consisted of rounding up and transporting to concentration camps Polish university professors and teachers, scientists and engineers, top entrepreneurs and business executives, doctors, prominent intellectuals, artists, priests, officers of the reserve, aristocrats, elected politicians, top administrators, lawyers, labor leaders, even Olympic champions (12).
In November 1939, just two months after the invasion, Gestapo chief in Kraków Bruno Müller ordered all professors at Jagiellonian University and two other local universities to attend his lecture. Once the 184 professors assembled, Müller had them manhandled and arrested on the spot, transported to a prison, and eventually to Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camp in Germany. An international outcry brought to the release over the next year of those of them who had not died from the effects of German hospitality.
In July 1941, German SS Einsatzgruppe and Gestapo guided by Ukrainian collaborators, arrested dozens of professors at Poland’s second most famous university, that in Lwów. They were transported to a detention facility, beaten and tortured, but some were eventually released. 45 individuals, mostly professors but some family members too, were murdered with a shot to the head. Among them were scholars of worldwide fame like founder of the Lwów School of Mathematics Stanisław Ruziewicz, and law professor Roman Longchamps de Bérier whose three sons were also murdered.
Special units of Einsatzgruppen (“Task Groups”) and Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz—paramilitary battalions of ethnic Germans with generations of history in Poland—were transporting truckloads of Poles to remote locations, shooting and burying them in lime pits. In some cases, these executions were held in the center of town, to terrorize the population. 100,000 Poles were murdered this way within a couple of months; an initial list of 61,000 had been prepared by the Gestapo in Berlin prior to the invasion, per information from the very German Volksdeutsche ethnic minority that would later actively massacre an uncountable number of their Polish co-citizens (and Jews too, that goes without saying).
The Czech-German Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz engaged in similar operations in Czechoslovakia. It’s important to keep all that in mind when Germany or Western Holocaust deniers and Hitler fans reroute the discussion to the injustice—which it was, for some—suffered by ethnic Germans when they were expelled from Poland and Czechoslovakia after the war.
Soon, that cleansing extended nationwide under Außerordentliche Befriedungsaktion Aktion (AB-Aktion = “Extraordinary Pacification Operation”). The totality had been conceived as an overall decapitation of Poland, so that it would have no capacity to rise from its planned slave role to the German Reich and its “migrants.” Just in the suburban forest of Palmiry, near Warsaw, 7,000 Poles were murdered in this aktion, 358 of them trucked in and shot in rows in a single 24-hour period, 20-21 July 1940. By then, the list of those marked for death by hanging, shooting or extermination camp had grown to include also anyone caught crossing the border, operating a printing press or distributing uncensored publication, hiding arms, possessing a wireless set, eating or storing beef or helping Jews in any way. It depended on sheer luck whether the same fate met one making a critical comment, failing to raise his hat or make way for a German on the pavement, or not registering with the German authorities.
“Food rations in Nazi-occupied Warsaw were allotted by race: 2,613 calories per day for a German, 699 for a Pole and 184 for a Jew,” reminds Thomas J. Craughwell in “The Gentile Holocaust” at CatholicCulture.org. Mr. Craughwell is wrong in only one detail: it’s Germans, not “Nazis,” who occupied and devastated Warsaw and its people.
As the repressions mounted, so did the resistance of the Polish underground army. According to the occupiers’ policy of collective responsibility, for each German casualty of Polish resistance attacks, the Germans rounded up between 100 and 400 civilians and shot or hanged them in public, with the names of the victims then posted in the streets. Eventually, even those “selective” mass murders gave way to often random, indiscriminate shootings and hangings. But that was just the beginning.
Auschwitz was built in 1940 to hold Poles, not Jews. By October 1941, when construction of Jewish Holocaust nexus Auschwitz II-Birkenau began, 10,000 Polish Catholics and 10,000 Soviet prisoners of war had already been “processed” at Auschwitz I. In addition, at least 20,000 inhabitants of the Polish town of Oświęcim and surrounding farmlands had been expelled from their homes, to clear the necessary space. Part of that was to be refashioned into a model German town; two years later 6,000 German Reich citizens had resettled there, not counting the Auschwitz “operating crew” of 7,000.
Once educated and prominent Poles were “dealt with,” the time came to “administer” the rest of the plan: mass extermination, capture and deportation into slave labor in Germany, expropriation, expulsion, sterilization and intentional starvation. The “conscription” for most such treatments was done by the standard German encirclement/ dragnet method. The surrounding German troops would drive the trapped “haul” toward the middle, where trucks were waiting, or, in a different variant, would drag them out of their homes.
The Germans would sort out such proscribed categories as Poles in any kind of leadership positions, suspected members of the underground, quotas of random hostages condemned to die, Jews, homosexuals or the handicapped and send them off, to extermination. Able-bodied Poles, designated in official German policy as slawische untermenschen (“Slavic sub-humans”), would then be transported to where the Reich needed their slave labor: in heavy industry deep in Reich territory, in the Polish zones slated for German ‘migrants’’ settlement, or, in the case of some women, in soldiers’ brothels.
Called Łapanka (grabbing operation) by the Poles, this “fishing” for slaves and candidates for extermination became a daily terror for the Polish people. Altogether about 2.8 million Poles were impressed as slave laborers. The Germans would encircle a couple of streets and haul random people into a dragnet. Then, the cattle car, the obligatory “P” patch, and 15-hour/day slave labor in some German factory, farm or public works with little food and much whip (13) (14). In addition, 300,000 Polish military prisoners of war who had surrendered to the Germans after the Soviet assault piled on top of the German one, were reclassified as “involuntary laborers” and sent west, to Germany.
More than half of the slave laborers were women, many teenagers kidnapped on the streets of Poland specifically to service up to 30 soldiers a day in one of the hundreds of German military brothels. The studies on this began decades after the end of the war, and conclusive numbers have not yet been published, to the best of my knowledge. But it’s clear that there were many thousands of such sex “laborers,” and that’s in addition to female prisoners forced into bordellos in concentration camps, or the tens of thousands of young Polish girls working as slaves in various areas of the German economy who were, as “under-humans” a free-for-all and subject to frequent rapes.
The German Herrenvolk (master people) forced their slaves to work under such harsh conditions that over 140,000 of them died, not counting babies lost to Polish slave women (14). As to the survivors, their mental and physical health would be gone, irreparably.
On top of all that, the occupation rulers of the General Governorate forced a number of Poles that by 1944 reached 900,000 to compulsory labor in road, rail lines and fortifications construction, in the armaments industry and elsewhere. The conditions in laborers’ camps were so harsh that many acquired debilitating diseases such as tuberculosis. Refusal to join compulsory labor units entailed an automatic ticket to a “regular’ concentration camp (15). Initially, only the 14–70 age bracket was deemed suitable for all this “work recruitment,” but as the war progressed and turned against Germany, the “fishing” went to the bottom and hauled children as young as seven off the street.
On top of this depopulation, the Germans kept a keen eye out for any Polish children whom they deemed to have “Aryan characteristics.” The children were either seized forcibly from their parents, or were taken after the parents had been murdered. They would be taken to “children education camps” (Kindererziehungslagern) that were in fact centers for racial examination and selection, just as today’s German children are taken, compulsorily, to children education camps called “public schools,” where they are indoctrinated to believe that race is a social construct, preference for one’s own is racism, black is beautiful and Islam is an integral part of Germany.
After multiple tests that included such Nazi standards as cranial measurements, children deemed fit to be “Aryanized” were steered one way, and the rest were sent off to die in Auschwitz and other mass murder centers, often by phenol injection. Of the Aryan-to-be children, the 2 -6 year olds were sent to SS Lebensborn (fount of life) ”kindergartens,“ where they were given a German identity and put up for adoption by SS families. Older children were hauled off to boarding institutions deep in Reich territory, where they would be subjected to an extensive Germanization process.
There is no solid estimate of how many children were kidnapped this way, but it’s known that about 200,000 were transported to Germany; only 30,000 of them were found after the war. The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg decreed that this was a form of genocide.
A different variety of kindness inflicted on Polish children was herding them to concentration camps. In December 1942, the German occupiers opened such a camp in Łodz (Litzmannstadt), named Polen-Jugendverwahrlager. Children, wearing Auschwitz-style rags were forced to work 12-hour days, under the whip and the knout, on a diet of thin potato soup and something called “bread,” sleeping in drafty, unheated barracks. Eventually, 12,000 children would be penned there, from whom only 900 survived. Most of those would die too, after liberation, from diseases acquired in the camp.
Another camp for children was established in Polenlager 82 in Silesia – one of the 26 concentration camps for Poles [Polenlagern] that existed in Silesia alone. Until liquidated, #82 held 220 children of Poles whom the Germans arrested and sent to concentration camps, plus pregnant and nursing women. Thousands more babies whose mothers had been conscripted to slave labor for the Germans and raped by their German masters suffered and died in Ausländerkinder-Pflegestätte camps, i.e. “foreign children nurseries” that were little more than euthanasia centers (16).
‘Migration’, German Style
The German lebensraum plan called for murdering or deporting Poland’s indigenous population, and replacing them with herrenvolk German ‘migrants’. In a ‘Twilight Zone’ karma mirror of the 21st century, Germany now replaces its own people with Muslim ‘migrants’ that prey on the indigenous Germans.
The expulsion of 2.5 million Poles from their lands happened in various parts of the country, primarily in the years 1940 -43. It was most severe in the areas that Germany annexed outright and renamed with appellations like Reichsgau Wartheland, Reichsgau Danzig-Westpreußen (Reichsgau=”District of the German State”), Oberschlesien and others. There, not only much of the population was expelled but all traces of Polish culture were obliterated, monuments, libraries, museums destroyed, teaching in Polish was forbidden, and thousands of Polish enterprises and farms were seized without recompense to the owners.
The Germans would simply march in, assemble the population of an entire village, give them 5 minutes to pick up personal belongings, load them in cattle cars and then either dump them as starving refugees in parts of Poland not yet designated for German ‘migration’ or, if the mess was too big, just deliver them to one of 430 extermination camps, detention centers and prisons the Germans had installed for this purpose all across Poland. And that was for the lucky survivors; an uncountable share of this 2.5 million of Polish men, women and children died of disease and hunger on the road.
The designated Polish provinces having been made sufficiently Polenrein (rhymes with Judenrein), German ‘migrants,’ encouraged by the Reich, started streaming in and settling in properties confiscated from the expelled Poles. Those were mostly ethnic Germans (volksdeutsche) who had lived as minorities in Romania, Estonia, Latvia, and Soviet Russia. By the end of the war, over a million of them had migrated to Poland, though it was only a small part of what the Germans envisioned. The full German concept, from 1941 on, was to destroy the Polish nation completely so that in 20 years 85-90% of the people would disappear through mass murder, deportation, prohibition of marriage, mass sterilization and other such means, leaving only about 3-4 million fit to be remade into “Aryans.”
The title of a fundamental book on this subject, Isabel Heinemann’s Rasse, Siedlung, deutsches Blut: Das Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt der SS und die rassenpolitische Neuordnung Europas (Wallstein Verlag, 2003) translates as “Race, Settlement, German blood: The Race and Settlement Office of the SS and the Racial-Political New European Order.” It’s ironic that Germany’s ruling elite is pulling out all stops to implement now a new Racial-Political European Order 2.0—one that includes the continuous bashing of recalcitrant Poland—75 years after its predecessor German elite did so with the opposite version 1.0.
‘Migration’ wide and glorious
While this text is about Poland, we cannot omit that the plan for German ‘migration’ into territories cleared of its Slavic peoples was far more expansive than Poland alone, though nowhere carried out with the speed and intensity of Poland’s “decapitation.”
There was the Generalplan Ost (General Plan East), the related Generalsiedlungsplan (General Plan for Settlement) and Gesamptplan Ost (Overall Plan), divided further into the near future and the long term. In addition to murdering all the Jews, the plan called for the removal by murder or deportation of over 50 million Slavs to the Asian steppes and Siberia, per ratios of 100% of Latgalians, 85% of Poles and Lithuanians, 75% of Russians and Belarusians, 65% of Ukrainians, and 50% of Czechs and Estonians. The lebensraum so created would be populated initially by 14 million German ‘migrants’ plus the remnants of the more favorably treated Czechs and Estonians, and a small Slavic slave minority.
The far horizon saw 100 million Germans living where the Slavs once have. Meanwhile, 20 million Slav slaves were abducted and impressed into hard labor for the Third Reich, replacing at-least 20 million German men who were implementing Germany’s ‘migration’ plans.
In 1939, there were 35 million Polish people. Six years later, there were 24 million. Of the “missing” 11 million, the Germans murdered at least 5.6 million, half of them Jewish: in total, 17.2% of the population. That was the highest relative toll in the world. Soviet Union, the next one down in the share of its murdered ones, lost 14.2% and the highest in Western Europe, the Netherland, lost 2.4%.
Poland’s was a double holocaust, even without considering the enslavement and exile of millions by both Germany and the USSR. While the Germans were murdering in the west, the Soviets were murdering 150,000 in the east and inflicting other horrors. And in Eastern Poland (now Ukraine), Ukrainian fascist movement UFA, ally of the Germans, murdered another 100,000 Polish civilians. It’s not in vain that Timothy Snyder called that land consumed by two genocidal tyrannies and their allies, “Bloodlands” (17).
The mass murder of Poles was, however, just an element in a general genocide of the Slavs. We have to put some figures on that thorough “preparation” of the East for a glorious Germanization in order to comprehend the otherwise incomprehensible German piloting of the surrender of Europe to a human torrent from Dar al-Islam in preparation for the wide and glorious European Caliphate.
In trying to quantify the German genocide of the Slavs (plus cultural kin Hungary and Romania) in figures, one has to contend with the respective governments’ investigations and scholarly debates raging since 1946. It takes a lifetime commitment to acquiring knowledge and doing primary research. I can but try my best here, leaving the ultimate figures for experts’ debates that may rage for decades longer. Combing through various statistics and pulling the ones that seem more recent and comprehensive, the German direct and indirect (i.e. disease, starvation etc.) mass murder of Slav noncombatants comprised in total about 26 million victims, as per this detail:
USSR: 19 million (18)
Ukraine: 3,100,000 (19)
Belarus: 547,000 (20)
Yugoslavia: 530,000 (21)
Czech Republic: 235,000 (22)
Hungary: 40,000 (23)
Romania: 10,000 (24)
Slovakia — (25)
Bulgaria 3,000 (Clodfelter, 2002)
What is known in the West as “The Holocaust” came on top of all the above. The Germans situated their main extermination camps for Jews on Polish soil in Treblinka, Bełżec, Sobibór, Auschwitz II, Majdanek and Chełmno. They carried out massive genocidal operations also in the ghettos where Polish Jews were penned. Half of the 5.8 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust were Polish. The stench of German death factories spread over the Polish landscape, and pollutes the mental scape of the West to this day (26).
Most popular sources cite that the number of Hitler’s non-Jewish civilian victims in Europe was between 5 and 7 million. That is clearly a gross and offensive fiction. Even if the Soviet-Russian figure cannot be validated objectively, even if we reduce it by one third, it still leaves 20 million Slav victims, 5.8 million Jews, 200,000 (est.) Roma, about 1 million other non-German European civilians, 1 million German civilians during the war and up to 2 million dead in reprisals after: a total of 30–36 million European civilians murdered by the Germans directly and indirectly. If you add to this a rough consensus figure of 14.5 million Allied soldiers dead on the battlefields of Europe, plus 4.5 million Axis soldiers most of whom would have preferred to go to work and the pub back home, the deal becomes even more irresistible: 50–55 million actual and potential fathers and workers eliminated in Europe by Germany during Hitler’s escapades in order to replace them and their unborn descendants some decades later with 25–soon-to-be-100 million African and West Asian Muslims. What a migration deal!
Genocide, with German thoroughness; resistance, with Polish courage
The Germans killed more people in other countries, but only in Poland did they implement a comprehensive cultural genocide as well.
The Germans destroyed 43% of Poland’s educational, scientific and research institutions, over 50% of transportation and telecommunication infrastructure, 55% of the health infrastructure (e.g. 352 hospitals), 60% of industry and nearly one million acres of forest (27). They destroyed 40% of Poland’s cultural goods (e.g. 25 museums), including looting and transporting to Germany museum-quality 2,800 European-school paintings, 11,000 paintings by Polish masters, 1,400 sculptures, 172,000 old manuscripts, maps and gravures, 300,000 graphic art items, 15,000 rare books, 22 million books from library collections and many other rare and valuable objects including priceless furniture, tapestries, even 5,000 church bells (28). And those are just the documented items.
War damages have been estimated by successive Polish government commissions in a range of $750–1,000 billion (2017 dollars). The material damages to Warsaw alone—85% destroyed—were assessed by a special commission in 2005 at $54.6 billion ($60 billion in 2018 dollars), not counting the loss of 800,000 lives and health damage to the survivors, such having been deemed beyond valuation.
In addition to the “decapitation” of Poland by a systematic murder of its best brains, scholars, leaders, teachers, artists and priests, the Germans closed down all Polish universities, high schools and middle schools, and consigned Polish children to the kind of elementary education suitable for the designated beasts of burden for Germans: none at all in the Polish territories that Germany annexed to the Reich, and a severely truncated curriculum in the area of the General Governorate. Himmler’s dictum has been passed down in history that there should be no schooling for Slavs higher than the fourth grade: just teaching them simple arithmetic, writing one’s name and hammering in the doctrine that it is divine law to obey the Germans.
The murders succeeded, but the forced starving of Polish brains did not. A secret Polish organization of teachers (“TON”) arose whose members, often educated people stepping in where murdered teachers no longer availed, risked their lives to teach in underground classrooms what the Germans were denying Polish children aboveground. All the major universities, even priests’ seminaries, continued to function in clandestine conditions, even though severe penalties awaited one either teaching or attending such lectures.
The fight that the Polish people put up against the perpetrators of these atrocities has few parallels in history. Even after hundreds of thousands of Polish soldiers died in the initial battles with Germany and USSR, or escaped abroad and joined the British army or were captured by the Soviets and murdered or sent to the gulags, Poland fielded an underground fighting force of 390,000 in the Home Army (AK), 80,000 in the National Army (NOW) and 100,000 in the People’s Army (AL). The People’s Army, communist and allied with the Soviets would soon turn against the other two; its valiant deeds are now buried under the dastardly ones. But the exploits of the other two forces, almost half a million men, are now legendary.
Cut off from the world, offered no aid by the Allies other than some materiel dropped by air, the Polish underground army conducted assaults on German units and assassinations of German SS and Gestapo commanders or Polish traitors, and provided intelligence to the Allies on subjects ranging from early warnings (unheeded) about the Jews’ “Final Solution” to decrypted German military orders.
The undergrounds’ ultimate act was the Warsaw Uprising (29). Launched on August 1, 1944, it lasted two month. It was 50,000 Polish men and women, against 50,000 German SS, Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe soldiers and police, plus the Russian-Ukrainian collaborationist Waffen-SS brigade RONA, several other Ukrainian battalions of volunteer SS and “special police,” Ostmuselmanische SS-Regiment 1 of Muslim Azeri, Turkmen and Volga Tatar volunteers, and even a Belarussian battalion of auxiliary police Sipo.
The difference was in the armaments, The Poles, abandoned by the allies except for a few air drops of British materiel were armed almost exclusively with small arms, Molotov cocktails and hand grenades and suffered from a critical shortage of ammunition. The Germans had everything that the latest military technology availed: tanks and artillery, heavy motorized cannons (15 cm), heavy mortars (60 cm), six-barrel rocket launchers, remotely controlled mine and explosives carriers, and the air support of the 6th Luftwaffe Air Fleet, bombing Warsaw daily. It was no contest, yet the uprising lasted two months.
We cannot go here into even an outline of the ebb and flow of the fighting, but we will pinch a flavor sample. According to the German forces’ commander, Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, when the news of the revolt transpired, Hitler issued an order to level Warsaw to the ground and murder all of its inhabitants. The way it was carried out may be adduced from the exploits of SS-Oberführer and Doctor of Political Science, Oscar Dirlewanger.
Dirlewanger commanded the eponymous Dirlewanger Brigade during the Warsaw uprising, with numerous further exploits of famous German savagery in other areas of Poland, in Belarus, Hungary, Slovakia and elsewhere. But it’s in Warsaw where Dirlewanger really advanced German political science.
Dirlewanger’s unit, 2000 of regular Waffen SS, criminals and deserters released from German prisons and insane asylums, several companies of Azerbaijani, Turkmen and Tatar Muslim volunteer SS, former executioners from Einsatzkommando Walter, the Bergmann battalion of POW former Red Army soldiers from the Caucasian republics, and Jakub Bondarenko’s Cossack Regiment III, was among those tasked with the “pacification” of Warsaw during the 1944 uprising.
On Dirlewanger’s direct orders and under his supervision, his unit murdered an estimated 100,000 of Warsaw’s inhabitants, most of them civilian women, children and some men. That was a little over half of the 170,000–200,000 Polish casualties in Warsaw, only 16,000 of them combatants while the civilians were not collateral damage but deliberate executions.
S.S. Sturmbrigade RONA of Ukrainians and Russians under Russian collaborationist Bronislav Kaminski was equal in its savagery, already practiced by the Ukrainian Schutzmannschafts Battalion #31, then known as OUN-B, during its members’ 1943 massacre of the civilian Polish population of Wołyń (Volhynia) in at least 135 documented ways. But we can only treat a slice of the whole, and so will focus—and too briefly at that—on Dirlewanger.
Dirlewanger tactic consisted mostly in encircling an inhabited building, throwing grenades and incendiary devices onto its floors, setting the building on fire and shooting anyone who tried to escape. Employed later in the countryside of Belarus and Slovakia, where Dirlewanger murdered at least 200,000 more civilians, the pattern was to encircle a village, drive all of its inhabitants into a barn, lock its doors and windows, and set it on fire.
During one of Dirlewanger’s operations in Warsaw, recalled combat engineer Mathias Schenk, then 18 and soldier in Dirlewanger’s unit, they entered a large field hospital in a tenement in the Old Town, crammed with hundreds of wounded, both Polish and German, a Polish doctor and 15 nurses. In short order, Dirlewanger’s men shot or smashed with rifle butts the heads of all the wounded, including the German ones, stripped the nurses naked, and drove them with blows, their legs flowing with rape blood, toward a gibbet outside where they hanged them all, followed by the doctor with a crown of thorns on his head. During the infamous Wola Massacre in Warsaw, Dirlewanger’s men raped Polish women and then drove them down the street, naked, with added fun provided by having their stomachs sliced open. On another occasion, Schenk blew up the door to what he thinks was a school, where there were what he estimates at 500 children. By Dirlewanger’s order, his soldiers shot them all or smashed their heads with rifle butts (30).
After the ceasefire, Oscar Dirlewanger was honored with a special banquet held for him at the royal castle in Krakow by the German governor of Poland, Hans Frank. Adolf Hitler extended his congratulations with the sobriquet “The true Victor of Warsaw.”
550,000 residents remained in Warsaw after German forces murdered close to 200,000 during the summer of 1944. That’s from a pre-war population of 1.3 million, after the Germans’ earlier murders of 410,000 Warsaw Jews, mass shootings of 32,000 on the streets, coercing 86,000 Poles into slave labor and removing 23,000 of them to concentration camps.
The Germans forcibly removed those 550,000 from their homes, deported 90,000 to slave labor in Germany, sent 60,000 to death and concentration camps including Auschwitz, and exiled the remaining majority to remote areas of the General Governorate, where they were dumped without having any shelter or means of livelihood. To top it off, the Germans destroyed 25% of Warsaw’s building and infrastructure, with a further one third between October 1944 and January 1945 after the Polish forces’ surrender.
It was a deliberate razing of the city to the ground out of sheer malice. The Germans aimed especially at sites of historical and cultural significance while looting anything valuable they could grab. This coming on top of the devastation of the initial invasion in 1939, by January 1945 Germany had destroyed 85% of Warsaw, including 72% of the housing stock, 90% of industrial or commercial buildings and historical or cultural sites, and 100% of the bridges (31).
While this chapter in what the Economist called “The Vivisection of Poland” (32) was playing out in a cloud of fire, smoke, artillery, gunfire and the screams of slaughtered women and children, Stalin’s army—rather several armies known as the 1st Belorussian Front, greatly outnumbering the Germans in men, artillery and armor—stood on the other bank of the Wisla (Vistula) river, looking on, not lifting a finger and waiting for the Germans to defeat the uprising.
Stalin’s evil genius, a former bank-robber thug’s street smarts that neither FDR nor Churchill were ever able to read properly, was to let the Germans massacre the patriotic forces of Poland and destroy its capital city so that the country could more easily fall as a prize into Soviet hands. Stalin did not even allow Allied planes to land on Soviet-held territory for refueling, which is why so few supply drops had been made.
In his review of Halik Kochanski’s The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and Poles in the Second World War, Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote these words:
“Is all of modern European civilization a kind of macabre plot against Poland? How many absurdities must one people live through, in so short a time, from such a diverse set of sources? Every time Poland makes an ally, said ally becomes unreliable, deceptive, and cowardly. Every time a country becomes Poland’s enemy, its capacity for heartlessness and ferocity seems redoubled” (33).
We don‘t have a split screen here on which to run two simultaneous tales of horror, but if we did, the second screen would run the account of a parallel holocaust inflicted by the Soviets on Poland and the Poles, though unlike the case of Germany, not on the Jews. It started even earlier than the German genocide, in 1937–8, with a massacre of 200,000 Poles living in the Soviet Union, continued in 1939–41 in the eastern half of Poland, and resumed throughout Poland as of 1944 in the course of its “liberation” by Stalin’s troops, the subsequent rein of Soviet terror that lasted to 1955, and then an oppressive tyranny until 1989. There is an ugly subplot of treason here too, in which Franklin D. Roosevelt and the ruling establishment of Great Britain appear in the role of villains. But that’s a tale for another day (34).
(9) Lochner, Louis Paul, What About Germany? Dodd, Mead & Company, 1942, pp. 11-12
(10) Hitler, Adolf, Mein Kampf, 1925/1926, trans. James Murphy, Hurst and Blackett Ltd., 1939, accessed at https://archive.org/details/MeinKampf_483, p. 115
(11) Bob Carruthers (Ed.), The Gestapo on Trial; Evidence from Nuremberg, Pen & Sword Books, Barnsley, 2014, p. 236.
(12) A vast martyrology literature exists and is still widely read in Polish, Russian, Czech, Serbian etc. relative to each nation’s horrors and misfortunes under German occupation, in addition to relevant sources in English and German. The Holocaust of the Slavs is as well documented as the one of the Jews is, except it has not penetrated into the mass consciousness because its victim peoples would be sealed off from the world for fifty years starting in 1939. By the time the Iron Curtain broke down in 1989 they were broke too and have since needed to attend to present survival needs. For cursory research, Wikipedia has good entries, each with a long bibliography, on all the topics of this account. Primary documents are accessible in dozens of depositories such as this (p. 29)https://inwentarz.ipn.gov.pl/doc/informator.pdf, this http://pamiec.pl/download/49/34737/bylork1939.pdf and this http://www.sbc.org.pl/dlibra/docmetadata?id=24330, and condensed accounts by witnesses or specialists are available at a mouse click in, among others, “Holocaust of Non-Jewish Poles During WWII” http://www.pacwashmetrodiv.org/events/holoc04/moor-jankowski.htm by Dr. Jan Moor-Jankowski and “Why Do We Allow Non-Jewish Victims to be Forgotten?” http://www.holocaustforgotten.com/lukas.htm by Dr. Richard C.Lukas, author of a key book on this topic. A list of essential books follows below.
(13) Again, vast records, testimony, photographs, books, narratives etc. exist in this genre too, dispersed among several archives, many not entirely worked through. The State Archive in Szczecin (Stettin in Ger.) for instance, has documentation on over 650,000 Polish slave laborers dragged to Germany from the annexed Polish territory of Western Pomerania alone, “Robotnicy przymusowi w czasie drugiej wojny światowej” (Forced laborers during Second World War), https://www.szczecin.ap.gov.pl/news/pl/robotnicy-przymusowi-w-czasie-drugiej-wojny-swiatowej.
(14) Not being a professional historian specializing in this narrow field, there is a lot more that I don’t know. Mine here is only a general outline, such as every educated Pole with interest in the subject knows, with data that, if he is academically trained, he can easily retrieve and evaluate. As to Polish children’s camps, for instance, there were more of them and there were more depredations too. Specialized literature exists in Polish, e.g. Roman Hrabar, “Skazane na zagładę. Praca niewolnicza kobiet polskich w II Rzeszy i los ich dzieci” [Condemned to annihilation. Slave labor of Polish women in the 2nd Reich and the fate of their children], Katowice, 1989; also his (and co-authors’) “Czas niewoli i czas śmierci. Martyrologia dzieci polskich w okresie okupacji hitlerowskiej” [Time of slavery and time of death; the martyrology of Polish children during the Hitlerite occupation], Warszawa, 1979.
(15) The Polish-German Foundation of Reconciliation, “Praca przymusowa” (Forced labor), http://www.fpnp.pl/edukacja/praca-przymusowa.php.
(16) Magdalena Sierocińska, “Eksterminacja “niewartościowych rasowo” dzieci polskich robotnic przymusowych na terenie III Rzeszy w świetle postępowań prowadzonych przez Oddziałową Komisję Ścigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu w Poznaniu” [Extermination of “racially worthless” children of Polish slave-labor women in the territory of the Third Reich in light of the progress of the Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation in Poznań], Institute of National Remembrance, https://ipn.gov.pl/pl/aktualnosci/587,Eksterminacja-niewartosciowych-rasowo-dzieci-polskich-robotnic-przymusowych-na-t.html
(17) Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, Basic Books, 2010.
(18) 7.4 million murdered outright, 4.1 million starved to death or perished from diseases, 2.2 million deported to Germany and dead from slavery conditions there – total civilians: 13.7 million (Russian Academy of Science, 1995). 3.3 million Soviet POWs killed in German internment camps (Christian Streit, 1978) and 2.9 million dead from starvation in Soviet areas not held by the Germans (Russian Academy of Science, 1995). With whatever quibbles may be raised as to some of these figures, given that many Russian and Western researchers estimate the losses as much higher, an aggregate of 20 million non-combat victims will do for us here. Deducting the generally accepted figure of 1 million Russian Jewish victims, that leaves 19 million Slavs.
(19) It’s even more difficult to establish reliable figures for countries with a history as convoluted and contested as was Ukraine’s in that period. I chose to rely on estimates of Yuri Kondufor, Director of the Institute of History, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (1984). Kondufor, counting correctly from June 1941 rather than September 1939, cites 7.5 million dead, including all 2.4 million slave laborers taken to Germany, 1.4 military and POW, and 600,000 Jews. That leaves 3.1 million Ukrainian ethnics and Slavic minorities, excluding the actual slaves’ death statistics that I don’t have.
(20) Siarhei, Bohdan, “Why Belarus is Missing in World War II History,” Belarus Digest http://belarusdigest.com/story/why-belarus-missing-world-war-ii-history-9168, 2012, pegs the total number at 1,300,000. Number of Jewish victims in that is impossible for a non-specialist to assess accurately, as dedicated sources cite a range from 245,000 (Lucy Davidowicz) to 800,000 (Associated Press). I selected the number of 751,000 of Jewish victims per “Annihilation and deportation sites in Belarus in 1941-1944” in the compendium Executioners testify. Annihilation of Jewish population on the occupied territory of Belarus in 1941-1944 (Minsk, 2009). Deducting from Siarhei’s 1.3 million civilian victims 751,000 Jews and 2,000 Roma (Arno Tanner, 2004) yields 547,000 Slav democide victims.
(21) Controversial, because of an internecine war between Serbs and Croats, Croat collaboration with Germany and an internal holocaust it carried out in its territory, etc. I chose the net, non-Jewish, non-combatant figures of Vladimir Zerjavic (a Croat), available here http://www.hic.hr/books/manipulations/index.htm.
(22) 320,000 overall (Erlikman, 2004), less 80,000 Jewish victims (EHRI-European Holocaust Research Infrastructure) and 6,000 Roma (The Columbia Guide to the Holocaust).
(23) Arriving at that number in Hungary is complicated, because Hungary was a German ally. To reconstruct it in an unclear situation I used the following methodology:
The number of Hungary’s civilian victims is estimated in multiple sources at around 600,000. Of that, about 450,000 were shipped to Auschwitz under Eichmann’s direct supervision. According to Jorg K. Hoensch in A History of Modern Hungary: 1867-1994, 1996 (Chapter 4, here http://www.conflicts.rem33.com/images/Ungarn/modhunhist_IV.htm), included in that number were opponents of National Socialism, including Communists, leaders of the Smallholders’ Party, Social Democrats, journalists and academics. Since the number of Jews in those Eichmann “transports” is reliably established at around 430,000, we can surmise 20,000 Hungarian gentiles, too.
Then we have an estimated 28,000 murdered Hungarian Roma, 15,000 Jews machine-gunned into mass graves by SS units in Kamenets-Podolsk in August 1941, 3,000 Jewish slaves in the copper mines in Bor executed by the Germans during the death march to Győr in August–October 1944, 80,000 Jews murdered by the Hungarian Arrow Cross between July and October 1944, and an undetermined percentage of dead among the 70,000 Jews who were herded by the Arrow Cross into a ghetto, in December 1944, during the Soviet Army siege of Budapest. Applied against the total of 600,000, it leaves us with about another 24,000 Hungarian civilian victims – and even in that number we don’t know for sure how many were killed by the Germans, and how many by fascist Hungarians. My best guess was 40,000 in total.
(24) Another controversial issue. The figures out there vary widely, though (non-Romanian) sources quote about 450,000 civilian victims, including Jews. The Antonescu Iron Guard did not just collaborate with Germany but actively massacred the Jews not only of Romania but also of parts of Ukraine. In Romania itself, the number of Jewish victims was between 280,000 to 380,000, according to the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania (2003). To that we have to add 36,000 murdered Gypsies (Rudolph Rummel, 1998). A subtraction yields 84,000 civilian victims, but those were overwhelmingly Iron Guard opponents, murdered by their own countrymen. We cannot, in good faith, load more than 10,000 on the “German” ledger.
(25) There are no reliable numbers for any Slovak civilian casualties, other than Jews and Gypsies. There must have been some casualties, plus collateral damage, but that was in fighting between the Slovak pro-German government and Slovak National Uprising forces. That’s outside our interest here.
(26) See more information at #StratyWojenne and @Reparations4POL, including film footage like this: https://twitter.com/Reparations4POL/status/963362198054727680.
(27) Mała Encyklopedia Powszechna PWN. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, [Little General Encyclopedia PWN, Science Publishers PWN, Warsaw] 1970, p. 1149.
(28) Multiple sources, e.g. Ministerstwo Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego [Ministry of Culture and National Heritage], in catalogue form, Katalog strat wojennych [Catalog of Wartime Losses] http://dzielautracone.gov.pl/katalog-strat-wojennych, in narrative form, “STRATY POLSKICH DÓBR KULTURY W CZASIE II WOJNY ŚWIATOWEJ“ [Losses of Polish Cultural Assets during World War 2] http://dzielautracone.gov.pl/artykuly/46-straty-polskich-dobr-kultury-w-czasie-ii-wojny-swiatowej.
Multiple popular books as well, e.g. Magdalena Ogorek, PhD, “Lista Wachtera. Generał SS, który ograbił Kraków” [Wachter’s List; the SS general who looted Krakow”].
(29) A comprehensive summary of Germany’s atrocities in Poland may be found at German Crimes in Poland, Central Commission for Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, Howard Fertig, New York, 1982, Catalog: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/bib2059. Chapter on the Warsaw Uprising posted at http://www.warsawuprising.com/witness/atrocities1.htm.
(30) „Mój warszawski szał. Druga strona Powstania” (“My Warsaw frenzy. The other side of the Uprising”), Włodzimierz Nowak, Angelika Kuźniak, Gazeta Wyborcza, interview with Mathias Schenk originally published July 31, 2013(http://wyborcza.pl/magazyn/1,124059,14366798,Moj_warszawski_szal.html?disableRedirects=true), .pdf file at http://analizyrynkowe.cal.pl/pliki_rozne/Moj_warszawski_szal.pdf. An honest but amateur English translation available here: http://www.warsawuprising.com/witness/schenk.htm.
(31) A statistical summary of the destruction of Warsaw is available at “Wieżowiec z gruzów góruje nad Warszawą. Niezwykła praca obrazuje ogrom zniszczeń powojennej stolicy” (“A skyscraper of rubble towers over Warsaw. An unusual project portrays the enormity of destruction in the post-war capital”), Wprost.pl, July 31, 2017, https://www.wprost.pl/historia/10068003/Wiezowiec-z-gruzow-goruje-nad-Warszawa-Niezwykla-praca-obrazuje-ogrom-zniszczen-powojennej-stolicy.html.
(32) “The vivisection of Poland,”The Economist, September 29, 2012, https://www.economist.com/node/21563693.
(33) Michael Brendan Dougherty, ”Off the Shelf: The Bastard Son of Versailles,” National Review Online, March 23, 2018, https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/03/poland-world-war-ii-halik-kochanski-eagle-unbowed-review/.
(34) In addition to the above references, this account drew upon data assembled from the following books:
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, “The Warsaw Uprising, 1944: Perceptions and Reality,” 2004, June 4-5,.pdf file at http://www.warsawuprising.com/paper/chodakiewicz1.htm
Norman Davies, God’s Playground, A History of Poland, Vol. 2: 1795 to the Present, Oxford University Press. 1982.
Christopher Hale, Hitler’s Foreign Executioners: Europe’s Dirty Secret, The History Press, 2011.
Allan Hall, “’They seized three-year-old children and shot them’: Darkest atrocities of the Nazis laid bare in the secretly recorded conversations of German prisoners of war,” Daily Mail online, September 16, 2012, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2204160/Darkest-atrocities-Nazis-laid-bare-secretly-recorded-conversations-German-prisoners-war.html#ixzz4rJG4LDPt.
Jan Karski, “Story of a Secret State: My Report to the World,” Georgetown University Press, reprint 2013.
Halik Kochanski, The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War, Harvard University Press, 2012.
Richard C. Lukas, Forgotten Holocaust. The Poles under German Occupation 1939-1944, Hippocrene Books, 2001.
Richard C. Lukas, Forgotten Survivors: Polish Christians Remember the Nazi Occupation, University Press of Kansas, 2004.