Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany


Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany

At the beginning of World War II, significant Polish areas were annexed by Nazi Germany in contrary to Hague Convention IV 1907 [ [http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/lawofwar/hague04.htm Hague IV] SECTION III MILITARY AUTHORITY OVER THE TERRITORY OF THE HOSTILE STATE (Art. 42. and later)] and put under German civil administration.

Invading Poland in 1939, the Third Reich annexed the lands the German Empire had ceded to a reconstituted Poland in 1919–1922 by the Treaty of Versailles, including the "Polish Corridor", West Prussia, the Province of Posen, and parts of eastern Upper Silesia. The council of the Free City of Danzig voted to become a part of Germany again, although Poles and Jews were deprived of their voting rights and all non-Nazi political parties were banned. Parts of Poland that had not been part of German Empire were also incorporated into the Third Reich - as ethnically and culturally German territories, eg. belonging formerly to Austrian Empire. Territories annexed by Germany should not be confused with territories occupied eg. General Government. Some territories were annexed straight into the already existing Gaus, from others were constituted new Reichsgaus.

Two decrees by Adolf Hitler (October 8 and October 12, 1939) provided for the division of the annexed areas of Poland into the following administrative units:

* Reichsgau Wartheland (initially Reichsgau Posen), which included the entire Poznań Voivodeship, most of the Łódź Voivodeship, five counties of the Pomeranian Voivodeship, and one county of the Warszawa Voivodeship;
*Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia (initially Reichsgau West Prussia), which consisted of the remaining area of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and the Free City of Danzig;
* Ciechanów District (Regierungsbezirk Zichenau), consisting of the five northern counties of Warszawa Voivodeship (Płock, Płońsk, Sierpc, Ciechanów, and Mława), which became a part of East Prussia;
* Katowice District (Regierungsbezirk Kattowitz),or unofficially East Upper Silesia (Ost-Oberschlesien), which included Autonomous Silesian Voivodeship, Sosnowiec, Będzin, Chrzanów, Oświęcim, and Zawiercie Counties, and parts of Olkusz and Żywiec Counties, which became a part of Province of Upper Silesia.

These territories had an area of 94,000 km² and a population of 10,000,000 people. The remainder of the Polish territory was annexed by the Soviet Union (see Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) or made into the German-controlled General Government occupation zone.

About 860,000 Poles were quickly expelled from the annexed territories to the General Government, while the Soviet Union began to evacuate Germans from the Baltic, Galicia, and Bessarabia according to the Nazi-Soviet population transfers. 400,000 Germans settled down in the re-annexed lands. Poles living on the annexed territories faced severe persecution, including humiliation, slave labor, torture, and murder. They were treated according to the official policy of the German state at the time, which defined Poles as sub-human. [http://www.dac.neu.edu/holocaust/Hitlers_Plans.htm]

After the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, the district of Białystok, which included the Białystok, Bielsk Podlaski, Grajewo, Łomża, Sokółka, Volkovysk, and Grodno Counties, was "attached to" (not incorporated into) East Prussia. Other Polish territories, first annexed by Soviet Union and then by Germany, was incorporated into Reichskommissariat Ostland (in the north), Reichskommissariat Ukraine (in the south) and the General Government (Distrikt Galizien in the utmost south).

None of these territorial changes were recognized by the Allies of World War II and as announced in the Potsdam Agreement of August 2, 1945 the Allies made large territorial changes to the region, with all the previously internationally recognised German territories, (as well as those annexed by the Third Reich), that were east of the Oder-Neisse Line being handed over to jurisdiction of the Soviet Union and Poland pending a "peace settlement". [] After World War II, as agreed in the Potsdam Agreement, Germans living east of the Oder-Neisse Line were expelled to Germany, but any Nazi collaborators who were former Polish citizens faced trial (see Pursuit of Nazi collaborators).

See also

* Territorial changes of Poland
* Former eastern territories of Germany
* Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union
* Treatment of the Polish citizens by the occupants
* World War II atrocities in Poland

Footnotes

External links

* [http://www.rootsweb.com/~polwgw/p1939.gifMap of Poland under German and Soviet occupation]


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