Polish Victims of the Holocaust

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To Zoe, Aliza, Liat, Andrew, Morgan:

I created this presentation with custom animation, which does not work with this website. HOWEVER, if you look near the top, above the presentation box, there is a link to download the powerpoint. Please download it and view the slideshow on Microsoft Powerpoint -- then you can actually read the text!

Thanks, and sorry for the inconvenience.

-Justine

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  • Justine:

    I'd like to start out first by saying thanks for the comments on my presentation.

    You have done a wonderful job here with your presentation--the information presented is well-selected, valid, and effective in covering the topic. I was especially interested in the Nazi attacks on the Polish intelligentsias, as the Nazi assault on those capable of organizing resistance (intellectuals, revolutionaries and the like) seems to be overlooked today in regards to what knowledge the general population has of the Holocaust.

    Indeed, the case of Poland in regard to Nazi expansion and annexation of neighboring countries is extremely important. In order to maintain an understanding of the systems of authority which carried out the concentration/extermination camp atrocities, Poland is definitely important to examine. Your citations of many different types of atrocities reiterates the horrors of Nazi brutality effectively.

    Thank you for this thoughtful presentation. See you soon!
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  • PLEASE READ THE DESCRIPTION BEFORE VIEWING! THANKS!
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Polish Victims of the Holocaust

  1. 1. Created by Justine Yan, 2009 Polish Victims of the Holocaust P www.holocaustforgotten.com
  2. 2. P “ The destruction of Poland is our primary task. The aim is not the arrival at a certain line but the annihilation of living forces. Be merciless. Be brutal. It is necessary to proceed with maximum severity. The war is to be a war of annihilation.” Hitler: “ Kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of Polish descent or language. Only in this way can we obtain the living space we need.” www.guardian.co.uk
  3. 3. P INVASION <ul><li>In accordance with the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of August 1939, the Soviets invaded Poland from the east in September as well. However, Germany violated the pact in 1941, thereby gaining complete political control of Poland. </li></ul>www.howstuffworks.com <ul><li>German forces invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. </li></ul><ul><li>26 days later, the Polish forces in Warsaw surrendered to the better equipped Nazis. Fighting by regular Polish army units outside of the capitol ended in early October. </li></ul><ul><li>The Nazis claimed to need more Lebensraum , or “living space,” for ethnic Germans. </li></ul>
  4. 4. P OCCUPATION <ul><li>Central Poland was formed into a separate “ Central Government ,” run by German civil administrator Hans Frank . </li></ul>Courtesy of Hoover Archives <ul><li>Germany immediately annexed bordering northern and western Poland, including disputed territory between the Polish and ethic Germans ( Volksdeutsche ). </li></ul>
  5. 5. P FATE OF THE POLISH INTELLIGENTSIA <ul><li>The Nazis sought to prevent the ethnically diverse peoples from uniting against them. </li></ul><ul><li>Nearly three-fourths of the population were peasants or agricultural laborers, and another fifth were industrial workers. </li></ul><ul><li>There was a small middle and upper class composed of well-educated political, religious, and intellectual leaders.Tens of thousands were killed in mass executions or were sent to concentration camps. </li></ul>“ Poles may have only one master – a German. Two masters cannot exist side by side,and this is why all members of the Polish intelligentsia must be killed.” – Adolf Hitler (1940) (Picture from USHMM)
  6. 6. P THE GERMAN STRATEGY & ACTION <ul><li>Prevent the Polish intelligentsias from organizing the people in resistance. Suppress Polish culture. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A-B Aktion (Extraordinary Pacification Operation) in the summer of 1940 was a mass murder in which several thousand intelligentsias were rounded up to be shot outside of Warsaw. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They demolished hundreds of monuments of national heroes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Universities, schools, museums, libraries and scientific laboratories were closed and destroyed; the Nazis suppressed the Roman Catholic Church (known to lead Polish nationalist forces fighting for independence from outside domination) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Children were allowed only a few years of elementary schooling </li></ul></ul>2) Exploit the less educated majority through forced, unskilled labor in agriculture and industry.
  7. 7. GERMANIZATION: Expulsion P From October 1939 to the end of 1940, SS expelled 325,000 people and plundered their property and belongings. In 1941, 45,000 more people were expelled. Many children and the elderly died while being transported to the General Government or in makeshift transit camps. In late 1942 and 1943, the SS uprooted 110,000 Poles from 300 villages in the Zamosc-Lublin region in the Central Government. Able-bodied adults were taken to labor camps, while those deemed unfit to work were moved elsewhere. Tens of thousands were sent to be imprisoned in Auschwitz or Majdanek concentration camps. (Picture from USHMM)
  8. 8. P GERMANIZATION: Children &quot;I saw children being taken from their mothers; some were even torn from the breast. It was a terrible sight: the agony of the mothers and fathers, the beating by the Germans, and the crying of the children.&quot; - An eyewitness In the SS Lebensborn (“Fount of Life”) program, children were taken from their parents to be racially screened for “Aryan ancestry” for possible adoption by German parents. More than 50,000 were kidnapped, mostly from orphanages and foster homes in the annexed lands. As many as 4,454 children were selected. Selected children were given German names, re-educated under poor conditions, and forbidden to speak Polish. Many more were later rejected and then killed or left in children’s homes. A form of eugenics was practiced, as an abortion was compulsory for any couple who was deemed unfit to produce a “racially valuable” child. (From USHMM) (From USHMM)
  9. 9. P FORCED LABOR From 1939 to 1945, at least 1.5 million Polish citizens were transported to the Reich for labor. <ul><li>The Poles were subject to harsh discriminatory measures: </li></ul><ul><li>Purple P’s on their clothing were required for identification. </li></ul><ul><li>A curfew was enforced. </li></ul><ul><li>They were banned from public transportation. </li></ul><ul><li>They usually had to work longer hours for lower wages. </li></ul><ul><li>Many lived in segregated barracks behind barbed wired. </li></ul><ul><li>Social and sexual relations with Germans were forbidden </li></ul>http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/sub_image.cfm?image_id=2036
  10. 10. P DEATH IN THE CAMPS In Stutthof , an estimated 20,000 Poles died Auschwitz became the main concentration camp for Poles… … an estimated 140,000 to 150,000 were imprisoned there from 1940 to 1945, and 70,000 to 75,000 were killed. Approximately 100,000 Poles were deported to Majdanek , where tens of thousands died. Estimated 20,000 died at Sachsenhausen . 20,000 at Gross-Rosen 30,000 at Mauthausen 17,000 at Neuengamme 10,000 at Dachau 17,000 in Ravensbrueck
  11. 11. P DEATH CAMPS (cont.) Poles were the first ethnic group that suffered through executions, hard labor, and harsh conditions within the death camps. Jews and other “enemies of the state” weren’t deported until around 1942. The first trial of death by poison gas at Auschwitz included 300 Poles and 700 Russian POWs.
  12. 12. P ARMED RESISTANCE The Poles organized a large underground movement to combat Nazi aggression and undermine the German occupying forces. There were more than 300 political and military groups and subgroups. The Polish government-in-exile was based in London. Underground courts were established to try Nazi collaborators, while the universities of Warsaw, Krakow, and Lvov operated secretly. An underground armed force, “Home Army” ( Armia Krajowa ) was headed by officers of the regular Polish army. The AK trained fighters and gathered weapons to activate many partisan units all around Poland in 1943. The Warsaw Uprising was launched by the AK against the German army on August 1, 1944. There were 63 days of fighting and nearly 250,000 Polish deaths before the Germans were able to quash it. The Nazis proceeded to completely destroy the city. http://blog.wired.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/04/15/warsaw_uprising.jpg , http://www.polishgreatness.com/WarsawUprisingScouts.jpg , http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/97/Warsaw_Uprising_Batalion_Zośka_(1944).jpg, http://www.poloniatoday.com/images/Uprising10-3.jpg
  13. 13. P CONCLUSION Though reliable statistics of the total number of Polish deaths do no exist, Poland is believed to have been most targeted by Nazi policies and aggression. Poles were also killed during the Soviet invasion of eastern Europe, as allowed for by the Non-Aggression Pact. Changing borders as well as mass migrations out of Poland before and after World War II make it difficult for historians to determine exactly how many were killed. 50 years of Soviet control after the war also hindered further investigations. Today, it is belived that 1.8 to 1.9 million Polish deaths were caused by Nazi policies during occupation and the war.
  14. 14. P P Thanks for viewing! Justine Yan, 2009

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