The Nazi conspirators had made plans for the Germanization and spoliation of their conquered territories. Plans to Germanize meant plans to assimilate conquered territories politically, culturally, socially, and economically into the German Reich. Germanization meant the obliteration of the former national character of the conquered territories and the extermination of all elements which could not be reconciled with the Nazi ideology. Plans for spoliation meant plans to plunder public and private property and, in general, to exploit the people and natural resources of occupied countries.
Poland was, in a sense, the testing ground for the conspirators' theories of "lebensraum." The four western provinces of Poland were purportedly incorporated into Germany by an order of 8 October 1939. This order, which was signed by Hitler, Lammers, Goering, Frick, and Hess, is set forth in 1939 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 2042. These areas of Poland are frequently referred to in correspondence between the conspirators as the "incorporated Eastern territories". The remainder of Poland which was seized by the Nazi invaders was established as the Government-General of Poland by an order of Hitler, dated 12 October 1939. By that same order, Hans Frank was named Governor-General of the newly-created Government-General, and Seyss-Inquart was named Deputy Governor General. This order is set forth in 1939 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 2077.
The plans with respect to Poland, which will appear gradually from the individual documents hereafter discussed, followed a broad pattern, as follows:
First : The conspirators specifically planned to exploit the people and material resources of the Government-General of Poland in order to strengthen the Nazi war machine, to impoverish the Government-General, and to reduce it to a vassal state. At a later stage, plans were formulated for creating islands of German settlements in the more fertile regions of the Government-General in order to engulf the native Polish population and accelerate the process of Germanization.
Second : The incorporated area of Poland, which was deemed to be a part of the German Reich, was to be ruthlessly Germanized.
To that end, the conspirators planned:
(a) To permit the retention of the productive facilities in the incorporated area, all of which were to be dedicated to the Nazi war machine.
(b) They planned to deport to the Government-General many hundreds of thousands of Jews, members of the Polish intelligentsia, and other noncompliant elements. The Jews deported to the Government-General were doomed to speedy annihilation. Moreover, since the conspirators felt that members of the Polish intelligentsia could not be Germanized and might serve as a center of resistance against their "new order", they too were to be eliminated.
(c) They planned to deport all able-bodied Polish workers to Germany for work in the Nazi war machine. This was to serve the two-fold purpose of helping to satisfy the labor requirements of the Nazi war machine and preventing the propagation of a new generation of Poles.
(d) They planned to mold all persons in the incorporated area who were deemed to possess German blood, into German subjects who would religiously adhere to the principles of National Socialism. To that end, the conspirators set up an elaborate racial register. Those who resisted or refused to cooperate in this program were sent to concentration camps.
(e) They planned bring thousands of German Subjects into the incorporated area for purpose of settlement.
(f) They planned to confiscate the property-particularly the farms- of the Poles, the Jews, and all dissident elements. The confiscation of the property of Jews was part of the conspirators' larger program of extermination of the Jews. Confiscation likewise served three additional purposes: (1) it provided land for the new German settlers and enabled the conspirators to reward their adherents; (2) Dispossessed Polish property owners could be shipped to Germany for work in the production of implements of war; and (3) the separation of Polish farmers from their wives furthered the plan to prevent the growth of a new generation of Poles.
These plans are developed in the specific documents which follow.
A. The program in the Incorporated Area.
(1) Economic Spoliation. A report of an interview with Frank on 3 October 1939, which was included in a large report prepared in the OKW by one Captain Varain at the direction of General Thomas, then Chief of the Military Economic Staff of the OKW, states:
"In the first interview which the chief of the Central Division and the liaison officer between the Armament Department Upper East and the Chief Administrative Officer (Subsequently called Governor General) had with Minister Frank on October 3, 1939 in Posen, Frank Explained the directive, and the economic and political responsibilities which had been conferred upon him by the Fuehrer and according to which he intended to administer Poland. According to these directives, Poland can only be administered by utilizing the country through means of ruthless exploitation, deportation of all supplies, raw materials, machines, factory installations, etc., which are important for the German war economy, availability of all workers for work within Germany, reduction oft he entire Polish economy to absolute minimum necessary for bare existence of the population, closing of all educational institutions, especially technical schools and colleges in order to prevent the growth of the new Polish intelligentsia. 'Poland shall be treated as a colony; the Poles shall be the slaves of the Greater German World Empire'.
"By destroying Polish industry, its subsequent reconstruction after the war would become more difficult, if not impossible, so that Poland would be reduced to its proper position as an agrarian country which would have to depend upon Germany for importation of industrial products." (EC-344-16 & 17)
The conspirators planned a difference in treatment for the incorporated area of Poland, and for the Government-General. A directive issued and signed by Goering on 19 October 1939, which was found among captured files of the OKW, stated, inter alia:
"In the meeting of October 13th, I have given detailed instructions for the economical administration of the occupied territories. I will repeat them here in short: 1. The task for the economic treatment of the various administrative regions is different depending on whether a country is involved which will be incorporated politically into the German Reich or whether we deal with the Government-General, which, in all probability, will not be made a part of Germany.
"In the first mentioned territories the reconstruction and expansion of the economy, the safeguarding of all their production facilities and supplies must be aimed at, as well as a complete incorporation into the Greater German economic system at the earliest possible time. On the other hand, there must be removed from the territories of the Government-General all raw materials, scrap materials, machines etc., which are of use for the German war economy. Enterprises which are not absolutely necessary for the meager maintenance of the naked existence of the population must be transferred to Germany, unless such transfer would require an unreasonably long period of time and would make it more practical to exploit these enterprises by giving them German orders to be executed at their present location." (EC-410)
Once the Government-General had been stripped of its industrial potential, the conspirators planned to leave the country desolate. Not even the war damage was to be repaired. This is the clear import of an order dated 20 November 1939, issued by Hess in his capacity as Deputy Fuehrer, and found in captured OKW files. Hess stated:
"I hear from Party members who came from the Government-General that various agencies, as, for instance, the Military Economic Staff, the Reich Ministry for Labor, etc., intend to reconstruct certain industrial enterprises in Warsaw. However, in accordance with a decision by Minister Dr. Frank, as approved by the Fuehrer, Warsaw shall not be rebuilt nor is it the intention of the Fuehrer to rebuild or reconstruct any industry in the Government-General." (EC-411)
(2) Deportation and Resettlement. The Academy of German Law in January 1940 prepared a secret report on plans for the mass migration of Poles and Jews from incorporated areas of Poland to the Government-General, and for the forcible deportation of able-bodied Poles to Germany. (The date of the report does not appear in the English translation, but it is clearly set forth on the cover page of the original document, as January 1940.) It should be recalled that the decree of 11 July 1934 (Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 605, 11 July 1934) provided that the Academy of German Law would be a public corporation of the Reich under the supervision of the Reich Ministers of Justice and the Interior, and that its task would be:
"To promote the reconstruction of German legal life, and to realize, in constant close collaboration with the competent legislative organizations, the National Socialist program in the entire sphere of the law."
It should also be stated that Frank was the president of the Academy of German Law during the period when this secret report was made (2749-PS). The report stated:
"For the carrying out of costly and long term measures for the increase of agricultural production, the Government-General can at the most absorb 1 to 1.5 million resettlers, as it is already over-populated. * * * By further absorption of 1.6 million resettlers, the 1925 Reich census figure of 133 inhabitants per square kilometer would be reached, which practically because of already existing rural over-population and lack of industry would result in a double over-population and lack of industry would result in a double over-population.
"The Jews from the liberated East (over 600,000), parts of the remaining Jews, preferably the younger age groups from Germany proper, Austria, Sudetengau and the Protectorate (Altogether over 1 million). * * *" (661-PS)
The report then goes on to say that the following groups of people should be deported:
"The Polish intelligentsia who have been politically active in the past, and potential political leaders; the leading economic personalities, comprising owners of large estates, industrialists and businessmen, etc.; the peasant population, so far as it has to be removed in order to carry out by strips of German settlements the encirclement of Polish territories in the East * * *."
"In order to relieve the living space of the Poles in the Government-General as well as in the liberated East, one should remove cheap labor temporarily by the hundreds of thousands, employ them for a few years in the old Reich, and thereby hamper their native biological propagation. (Their assimilation into the old Reich must be prevented.) * * *" (661-PS)
Finally, the report stated:
"Strictest care is to be taken that secret circulars, memoranda and official correspondence which contain instructions detrimental of the Poles are kept steadily under lock and key so that they will not some day fill the White Books printed in Paris or the U.S.A." (661-PS)
Frank made the following entry in his diary:
"The Reichsfuehrer SS (Himmler) wishes that all Jews be evacuated from the newly gained Reich territories. Up to February approximately 1,000,000 people are to be brought in this way into the Government-General. The families of good racial extraction present in the occupied Polish territory (approximately 4,000,000 people) should be transferred into the Reich and individually housed and thereby be uprooted as a people." (2233-G-PS)
The top secret minutes of a meeting held on 12 February 1940 on "questions concerning the East," at which Goering was chairman and Himmler and Frank were present, stated, among other things:
"By way of introduction, the General Field Marshal (Goering) explained that the strengthening of the war potential of the Reich must be the chief aim of all measures to be taken in the East. * * *"
"The task consists of obtaining the greatest possible agriculture production from the new Eastern Gaus disregarding questions of ownership. * * *"
"Special questions concerning the Government-General:
"The Government-General will have to receive the Jews who are ordered to emigrate from Germany, and the New Eastern Gaus."
"The following reported on the situation in the Eastern territories: * * *
"2. Reichsstatthalter Gauleiter Forster: The population of the Danzig/West Prussia Gau (newly acquired territories) is 1.5 million, of whom 240,000 are Germans, 850,000 well-established Poles and 300,000 immigrant Poles, Jews and asocials (1,800 Jews). 87,000 persons have been evacuated, 40,000 of these from Gotenhafen. From there, also the numerous shirkers, who are now looked after by welfare, will have to be deported to the Government-General. Therefore, an evacuation of 20,000 further persons can be counted on for the current year. * * *" (EC-305)
Comparable reports were made by other Gauleiters at this meeting. These figures, it may be noted, were only as of February 1940.
These forcible deportations did not involve merely ordering the victims to leave their homes, and to take up new residences elsewhere. These deportations wee accomplished, according to plan, in a brutal and inhuman manner. This is shown in a speech delivered by Himmler to officers of the SS on a day commemorating does not appear in the document, but its contents plainly show that it was delivered sometime after Poland had been overrun.
In this speech Himmler said:
"Very frequently the member of the Waffen-SS thinks about the deportation of this people here. These thoughts came to me today when watching the very difficult work out there performed by the Security Police, supported by your men, who help them a great deal. Exactly the same thing happened in Poland in weather 40 degrees below zero, where we had to haul away thousands, ten thousands, hundred thousands; where we had to have the toughness * * * you should hear this but also forget it again-to shoot thousands of leading Poles." (1918-PS)
Such Poles from the incorporated area as managed to survive the journey to the Government-General could look forward at best to extreme hardship, and exposure to degradation and brutality. For the Jews who were forcibly deported to the Government-General there was no hope. Frank, by his own admissions, had dedicated himself to their complete annihilation. In his diary Frank wrote:
"We must annihilate the Jews, wherever we find them, and wherever it is possible ." (2233-D-PS)
(3) Forcible Return of Racial Germans to the Reich. The conspirators had planned the forcible Germanization of persons in the incorporated area who were deemed to possess German blood. Such persons were given the choice of the concentration camp, or submission to Germanization. Himmler was the chief executioner of this program. In a secret decree signed by Hitler, Goering, and Keitel, dated 7 October 1939, Himmler was entrusted with the task of executing the conspirators' Germanization program. The decree provided, among other things:
"The Reichsfuehrer SS (Himmler) has the obligation in accordance with my directives:
"1. To bring back for final return into the Reich all German nationals, and racial Germans, in the foreign countries.
"2. To eliminate the harmful influence of such alien parts of the population, which represent a danger to the Reich, and the German folk community.
"3. The forming of new German settlements by re-settling, and in particular by settling of the returning German citizens and racial Germans from abroad.
"The Reichsfuehrer SS is authorized to take all necessary general and administrative measures for the execution of this obligation." (686-PS)
Himmler's conception of his tasks under this decree were plainly stated in the foreword which he wrote for the "Deutsche Arbeit" issue of June/July 1942. He wrote:
"It is not our task to Germanize the East in the old sense, that is, to teach the people there the German language and German law, but to see to it that only people of purely German, Germanic blood live in the East." (2915-PS)
The 1940 Edition of "Der Menscheneinsatz," a confidential publication issued by Himmler's Office for the Consolidation of German Nationhood, contained the following statements:
"The removal of foreign races from the incorporated Eastern Territories is one of the most essential goals to be accomplished in the German East. This is the chief national political task, which has to be executed in the incorporated Eastern Territories by the Reichsfuehrer SS, Reich Commissioner for the strengthening of the national character of the German people."
"* * * there are the following two primary reasons, which make the regaining of lost German blood an urgent necessity.
"1. Prevention of a further increase of the Polish intelligentsia, through families of German descent even if they are Polonized.
"2. Increase of the population by racial elements desirable for the German nation, and the acquisition of ethno-biologically unobjectionable forces for the German reconstruction of agriculture and industry." (2916-PS)
Further light upon the goals which the conspirators had set for their Germanization program in conquered Eastern areas, is contained in a speech delivered by Himmler on 14 October 1943. This speech was published by the National Socialist Leadership staff of the OKW. The following are excerpts from this speech:
"I consider that in dealing with members of a foreign country, especially some Slav nationality, we must not start from German points of view, and we must not endow these people with decent German thoughts, and logical conclusions of which they are not capable, but we must take them as they really are * * *."
"Obviously in such a mixture of peoples, there will always be some racially good types, Therefore, I think that it is our duty to take their children with us, to remove them from their environment, if necessary by robbing, or stealing them. Either we win over any good blood that we can use for ourselves and give it a place in our people, or * * * we destroy that blood."
"For us the end of this war will mean an open road to the East, the creation of the Germanic Reich in this way or that the fetching home of 30 million human beings of our blood, so that still during our lifetime we shall be a people of 120 million Germanic souls, That means that we shall be the sole decisive power in Europe. That means that we shall then be able to tackle the peace, during which we shall be willing for the first twenty years to rebuild and spread out our villages and towns, and that we shall push the borders of our German race 500 kilometers further out to the East." (L-70)
(4) The Racial Register. In furtherance of these plans, the conspirators established a Racial Register in the incorporated area of Poland. The Racial Register was in effect, an elaborate classification of persons deemed to be of German blood, and contained provisions setting for the some of the rights, privileges, and duties of the persons in each classification. Persons were classified into four groups:
(1) Germans who had actively promoted the Nazi cause.
(2) Germans who had been more or less passive in the Nazi struggle, but had retained their German nationality.
(3) Persons of German extraction who, although previously connected with the Polish nation, were willing to submit to Germanization.
(4) Persons of German descent, who had been "politically absorbed by the Polish nation", and who would be resistant to Germanization.
The Racial Register was inaugurated under a decree of 12 September 1940, issued by Himmler as Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood. The following are pertinent extracts:
"The list of 'ethnic Germans' will be divided into four parts (limited to inter-office use).
"1. Ethnic Germans who fought actively in the ethnic struggle. Besides the membership of a German organization, every other activity in favor of the German against a foreign nationality will be considered an active manifestation.
"2. Ethnic Germans, who did not actively intervene in favor of the German nationality, but who preserved their traceable German nationality.
"3. Persons of German descent, who became connected with the Polish nation in the course of the years, but have on account of their attitude, the prerequisites to become full-fledged member of the German national community. To this group belong also persons of non-German descent who live in a people's mixed marriage with an ethnic German in which the influence of the German spouse has prevailed. Persons of Masurian, Slanzak or upper Silesian descent who are to be recognized as ethnic Germans, usually belong to this group 3.
"4. Persons of German descent, politically absorbed by the Polish nation (renegades).
"Persons not included on the list of the ethnic Germans are Poles, or foreign nationals. Their treatment is regulated by BII.
"Members of groups 1 and 2 are ethnic Germans who will be used for the reconstruction in the East. The differentiation between the groups 1 and 2 is important for the National Socialist Party; primarily only members of group 1 should be accepted in the Party according to the instructions of the deputy of the Fuehrer.
"Members of groups 3 and 4 have to be educated as full Germans, that is, have to be re-Germanized in the course of time through an intensive educational training in old Germany.
"The establishment of members of group 4 has to be based on the doctrine, that German blood must not be utilized in the interest of a foreign nation. Against those who refuse re-Germanization, Security Police measures are to be taken." (2916-PS)
The basic idea of creating a racial register for persons of German extraction was later incorporated into a decree of 3 March 1941, signed by Himmler Frick, and Hess. This decree is set forth in the 1941 Reichsgesetzblatt Part I, page 118.
The entire apparatus the SS was thrown behind the vigorous execution of these decrees. Proof of this fact is contained in the following extracts from directives issued by Himmler as the Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood:
"1. Where Racial Germans have not applied for entry in the 'German Ethnical List,' you will instruct the subordinate agencies to turn over their names to the State Police (Superior) Office. Subsequently, you will report to me (Himmler).
"II. The Local State Police (Superior) Office, will charge the persons whose names are turned over to them to prove within eight days that they have applied for entry in the 'German Ethnical List.'
"If such proof is not submitted, the person in question is to be taken into protective custody for transfer into a concentration camp." (R-112)
The measures taken against persons in the fourth category, "Polonized Germans," were particularly harsh. These persons were resistant to Germanization, and ruthless measures calculated to break their resistance were prescribed. Where the individual's past history indicated that he could not be effectively Germanized, he was thrown into a concentration camp. In the worlds of Himmler's decree of 16 February 1942:
"II. The Re-Germanization of the Polonized Germans presupposes their complete separation from Polish surroundings. For that reason the persons entered in Division 4 of the German Ethnical List are to be dealt with in the following manner:
"A. They are to be re-settled in Old Reich territory.
"1. The Superior SS and Police Leaders are charged with evacuating and resettling them according to instructions which will follow later.
"2. Asocial persons and others who are of inferior hereditary quality will not be included in the resettlement. Their names will be turned over at once by the Higher SS and Police Fuehrer (Inspectors of Security Police and Security Service) to the competent State Police (Superior) Office. The latter will arrange for their transfer into a concentration camp.
"3. Persons with a particularly bad political record will not be included in the resettlement action. Their names will also be given by the Higher SS and Police Fuehrer (Inspectors of Security Police and Security Service) to the competent State Police (Superior) Office for transfer into a concentration camp. The wives and children of such persons are to be resettled in old Reich territory and to be included in the Germanization measures. Where the wife also has a particularly bad political record, and cannot be included in the resettlement action, her name, too, is to be turned over to the competent State Police (Superior) Office with a view to imprisoning her in a concentration camp. In such cases the children are to be separated from their parents and to be dealt with according to III, paragraph 2 of this decree. Persons are to be considered as having a particularly bad political record who have offended the German nation to a very great degree (e.g., who participated in persecutions of Germans, or boycotts of Germans, etc.)" (R-112)
(5) Nazi Colonization. Coincident with the program of Germanizing persons of German extraction in the incorporated areas, the conspirators, as previously indicated, undertook to settle large numbers of Germans of proven Nazi convictions in that area. This aspect of their program is clearly shown by an article by SS Obergruppenfuehrer and General of the Police, Wilhelm Koppe, who was one of Himmler's trusted agents. The following is an excerpt from this article:
"The victory of the German weapons in the East must therefore be followed by the victory of the German race over the Polish race, if the regained Eastern sphere-according to the Fuehrer's will-henceforth shall for all time remain an essential constituent part of the Greater German Reich. It is therefore of decisive importance to penetrate the regained German region with German farmers, laborers, civil servants, merchants, and artisans so that a living and deep-rooted bastion of German people can be formed as a protective wall against foreign infiltration, and possibly as a starting point for the racial penetration of the territories further East." (2915-PS)
B. The Program in the Government-General
(1) Germanization. In the Government-General there were relatively few persons, at the outset, who qualified as Germans by the conspirators' standards. Hence, little would be served by the introduction of a Racial Register, categorizing persons of German extraction on the model of the one instituted in the incorporated area; and it is not known that any such Racial Register was prescribed in the Government-General. Rather, the plan seems to have been (a) to make the Government-General a colony of Germany, which was an objective announced by Frank (EC-344-16 & 17), and (b) to create so-called "German island settlements" in the productive farming areas. These island settlement were to be created by an influx of German persons who faithfully adhered to the principles of National Socialism.
In this connection, secret notes bearing the date line, "Department of the Interior, Krakow, 30th March, 1942," reveal some of Himmler's ideas on the "planned Germanization" of the Government-General. The following extracts are pertinent:
"The Reichsfuehrer SS (Himmler) developed further trains of ideas to the effect that in the first five-year plan for re-settlement after the war the new German Eastern territories should first be filled; afterwards it is intended to provide at this time the Crimea and the Baltic countries with a German upper-class at least. Into the Government-General perhaps further German Island Settlements should be newly transplanted from European nations. An exact decision in this respect, however, has not been issued. In any case, it is wished that at first a heavy colonization along the San and the Brig be achieved so that the parts of Poland are encircled with alien populations. Hitherto, it has been always proved that this kind of encirclement leads most quickly to the desired nationalization." (910-PS)
An entry in Frank's Diary (1941, volume II, page 317) bears on the same point:
"Thanks to the heroic courage of our soldiers, this territory has become German, and the time will come when the valley of the Vistula, from its source to its mouth at the sea, will be as German as the Valley of the Rhine." (2233-H-PS)
(2) Confiscation of Property. The conspirators had made plans to confiscate the property of Poles, Jews, and dissident elements. These plans were designed to accomplish a number of objectives. Insofar as the Jews were concerned, they were part of the conspirators' over-all program likewise made dispossessed Polish farmers available for slave labor in Germany, and operated to another generation of Poles.
Proof of these matters appears in a number of reports by Kusche, who appears to have been one of Himmler's chief deputies in Poland. In one of these reports Kusche pointed out that it was possible, without difficulty, to confiscate small farms and that "The former owners of polish farms together with their families will be transferred to the old Reich by the employment agencies for employment as farm workers." (1352-PS)
In another secret report by Kusche dated 22 May 1940, and entitled "Details of the Confiscation in the Bielitz Country", the following appears:
"Some days ago the commandant of the concentration camp being built at Auschwitz spoke at Staff Leader Muller's and requested support for the carrying out of his assignments. He said that it was absolutely necessary to confiscate the agricultural enterprises within a certain area around the concentration camp, since not only the fields but also the farm houses of these border directly on the concentration camp. A local inspection held on the 21st of this month revealed the following: there is no room for doubt that agricultural enterprises bordering on the concentration camp must be confiscated at once. Further than this, the camp commandant requests that further plots of farm land be placed at his disposal, so that he can keep the prisoners busy. This too can be done without further delay since enough land can be made available for the purpose. The owners of the plots are all Poles."
"I had the following discussion with the head of the labor office in Bielitz:
"The lack of agricultural laborers still exists in the old Reich. The transfer of the previous owners of the confiscated enterprises, together with their entire families, to the Reich is possible without any further consideration. It is only necessary for the labor office to receive the lists of the persons in time, in order to enable it to take the necessary steps (collection of transportation, distribution over the various regions in need of such labor)".
"The confiscation of these Polish enterprises in Alzen will also be carried out within the next few days. The commandant of the concentration camp will furnish SS men and a truck for the execution of the action. Should it not yet be possible to take the Poles from Alzen to Auschwitz, they should be transferred to the empty castle at Zator. The liberated Polish property is to be given to the needy racial German farmers for their use." (1352-PS)
On 17 September 1940, Goering issued a decree which was designed to regularize the program of confiscation (Reichsgesetzblatt, 1940, Part I, 1270). Under Section 2 of this decree, sequestration of movable and immovable property, stores, and other intangible property interests of Jews and "persons who have fled or are not merely temporarily absent" was made mandatory. In addition, sequestration was authorized under Section 2, sub-section 2, if the property were required "for the public welfare, particularly in the interests of Reich defense or the strengthening of Germanism." By section 9 of the decree, confiscation of sequestrated property was authorized "if the public welfare, particularly the defense of the Reich, or the strengthening of Germanism, so requires." However, Section 1, sub-section 2, provided that property of German nationals was not subject to sequestration and confiscation; and section 13 provided that sequestration would be suspended if the owner of the property asserted that he was a German. The decree, on its face, clearly indicates a purpose to strip Poles, Jews, and dissident elements of their property. It was, moreover, avowedly designed to promote Germanism.
Apparently some question arose at one point as to whether the decree required that a determination be made in each case involving the property of a Pole that the property was required "for the public welfare, particularly in the interests of Reich defense or the strengthening of Germanism." The answer supplied by the conspirators was firm and clear: In any case in which the property of a Pole was involved, the "strengthening of Germanism" required its seizure. On 15 April 1941, on paper bearing the letterhead of the Reich Leader SS, Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood, instructions were given "for internal use on the application of the law concerning property of the Poles of 17 September 1940." The following is an excerpt:
"The conditions permitting seizure according to section II. sub-section 2, are always present if the property belongs to a Pole. For the Polish real estate will be needed without exception for the consolidation of the German nationhood." (R-92)
In the Government-General, Frank promulgated a decree on 24 January 1940, authorizing sequestration "in connection with the performance of tasks serving the public interest", and liquidation of "anti-social or financially unremunerative concerns." The decree is embodied in the Verordnungsblatt of the Government-General, No. 6, 27 January 1940, page 23. The undefined criteria in this decree clearly empowered Nazi officials in the Government-General to engage in wholesale seizure of property.
The magnitude of the conspirators' confiscation program in Poland was staggering. The Nazis' own statistics show that as of 31 May 1943, a total of 693,252 estates, comprising 6,097,525 hectares, had been seized, and 9,508 estates, comprising 270,446 hectares had been confiscated by the Estate Offices Danzig-West Prussia, Poznan, Zichenau, and Silesia (R-92). This, it will be noted, represented the seizures and confiscations which were effected by only four offices. Figures are not available at this time for other offices maintained by the conspirators for these purposes.