SECOND REVISED EDITION
B E R L I N 1 9 4 0
Compiled by Hans Schadewaldt
UND REICH VERLAG
"Whereas reason requiers, that those vices, to which any nation dothe naturally inclyne, should be restrayned by seveare lawes, those are in Polonia barbarous cruelty and lubricity, thys last being as common as the first."
From: Sir George Carew, A
Relation of the State of
Let our foe, the German, fall! I, your priest do promise you
Plunder, rob, and set on fire! Bliss and joy in Heaven above . . .
Let the enemy die in pain; But the curse will fall on him
He that hangs those German dogs, Who doth plead the German cause.
Reaps reward from God on High.
Polish hymn of hate against
". . . They (the Polish authorities) torture those that refuse to confess in so grim a manner, that the inquisition of the Middle-Ages dwindles into nothingness before the sufferings to which the Poles subject their prisoners in and near Vilna."
Pierre Valmigère, "And to-morrow . . . ?
The further you go
"One, however, of the Slav Peoples, the Poles, forms a sorry exception. Violence and intolerance have left their mark on its history."
. The oppression of the Ukrainian minority in
". . . As long as the Poles show some insight, and are outnumbered, they appear submissive and adaptable; but once they have found a weak spot and have gained the upper hand, they become headstrong, arrogant and cruel . . . The unfettered licence in which the Poles live, and their law, which allows all crimes with the exception of one or two to be expiated by money, is the real cause of the fact that, among other things, homicide is very common in Poland."
From the Diary of the Frisian Nobleman Ulrich von Werdum 1671/72.
"Fellow countrymen and brothers,
who like myself have had the misfortune to become
acquainted with the Poles, unite with me in order to eradicate, once and for
all, the maliciousness and falsity of that people. Let all brothers hear, let
every echo resound that the Pole knows no law and justice and that the word of
a Tartar is a hundred times better than all the treaties signed in
From: Méthée: Histoire de la Prétendue Révolution de Pologne.
"This nation of peasants inclines to drink, quarrel, abuse and murder; it would be hard to find so many murders in any other nation."
From: Richard Roepell: Geschichte Polens, Bd. I., Hamburg 1840.
From: Georg Forster: Forsters Briefe, I., p. 467.
Polish Pamphlet Inciting the Mob to Murder.
"Why cannot we act like the Spaniards? Let every one who is fit take up arms and march on the enemy. Let the women, the boys and the old men murder at home whenever an enemy soldier is billeted with them. When their troops march through the town throw boiling water and stones from the windows. Destroy him where you find him! Hide all food from him. Out in the lines our glorious Polish army will deal with them! -- We shall see whether our foes, all three of them, will stand up to us, even for a few months, on our holy Polish soil. No, not even that long will they hold out. Those that will escape our weapons will run for the frontier."
From the Polish pamphlet "Words of truth for the Polish People". Printed under the auspices of Our Lady, the Patron of Poland. 1848.
From their experience they are afraid that the Poles, in the administration of their new independence will show an utter disregard for order and will prove themselves unreliable and irresponsible anarchists.
Since their neighbours know the Poles to be vindictive, irate and quarrelsome, they fear that their regime will be brutal, clumsy, intolerant and tyrannical."
From: D'Etchegoyen, Olivier: Pologne, Pologne . . . Paris 1925.
French Protest against Polish Police Terrors.
"A wave of terror is sweeping
Paul Painlevé, Edouard Herriot, Léon Blum, Paul Boncour, Séverine,
Romain Rolland, Victor Basch, Georges Pioch, Pierre Caron, Charles
Richet, Aulard, Hadamard, Bouglé, F. Herold, Mathias Mornardt, Jean-
Richard Bloch, Pierre Hamp, Charles Vildrac, Lucien Descaves, Henri
Béraud, Michel Corday, Léon Bazalgette, Paul Colin, Albert Crémieux,
Henri Marx, Paul Reboux, Noel Garnier.
From: Protest against the terrorisation of minorities in Poland submitted by French politicians and men of letters, 1924.
More than 58,000
Dead and Missing
were lost by the German minority in
I. More than 58,000 dead and missing 5
II. Sources of information and explanations 9
III. Statement 11
a) The German-Polish situation up to the outbreak of war 13
b) The Polish atrocity policy 17
IV. Documents 33
a) Cases of typical atrocities 35
b) Personal accounts of survivors of the various concentration
V. Report of the medico-legal experts 193
VI. Illustrations 209
a) Documents 211
b) Injuries, mutilations, mass graves 215
c) Arson, pillage and devastation 247
d) Announcements of dead and missing 250
e) Notices and other proofs 266
VIII. Survey map of most important places of murder 311
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
The statement of the acts of atrocity committed on minority Germans in Poland is based on the following documentary evidence, the penal records of the Special Courts of Justice in Bromberg and Posen, the investigation files of the Special Police Commissions, the testimony of the medico-legal experts of the Health Inspection Department of the Military High Command, and the original records of the Military Commission attached to the Military High Command for the investigation of breaches of International Law. The documentary evidence concerning the individual cases of atrocity has been taken from the aforementioned files.
The Special Courts
of Justice set up at Bromberg and Posen are regular courts, their
administration of justice being based on the Common Law of Germany and the
jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of the Reich, and which deal with all cases
in complete accordance with the principles of the German Penal Code. The
legally justified confirmation of verdicts and the sworn statements of German
as well as Polish witnesses have been used. These were taken from the records
of these Special Courts of Justice up to the
The records have been supplemented by accounts of personal experiences by individuals of the German minority arrested, ill-treated, and abducted, as well as by photographs of numerous atrocities on minority Germans, as perpetrated by soldiers of the Polish army and by Polish civilians (i. e. murders, mutilations, and arson). The photographs are genuine copies of snap shots taken of the actual victims, either beaten to death, shot dead, or mutilated, and taken on the spots where the victims were found and the crimes committed. Any pictures that could not be considered definitely authentic were rejected and not included in the collection. Attached are photographic reproductions of whole pages of "dead and missing" notices. These appeared daily for weeks, after those days of horror, in the Bromberg and Posen newspapers.
[p. 10] In the text, the findings of the Military Investigation Department are cited with the reference No. W. R. I and W. R. II, those of the Special Courts with the reference No. Sd. K. Ls. or Sd. Is. with consecutive file numbers. Those resulting from the investigation of the Special Police Commission of the Criminal Police Office of the Reich are marked RKPA., and those of autopsy and post mortem findings with OKW. HS. In. Br. or P.
The amount of material on atrocities was so great as
to render it impossible to print the full text of the sworn statements in all
cases. Some are printed in their original version. Others refer to the decisive
position, as narrated by the eye-witnesses. For the same reason it was decided
to omit the history of illness suffered by minority Germans, due to their
serious injuries received during the marches they were forced to make through
This book deals exclusively with acts of violence committed by Poles on minority Germans. Further evidence of the Polish breaches of International and Military Law, in so far as it concerns the treatment of German prisoners of war and Germans killed in action, has been placed in safety elsewhere and has not been included in this book, as well as that of numerous acts of atrocity committed on minority Germans before the outbreak of war.
THE GERMAN-POLISH SITUATION UP TO THE OUTBREAK OF WAR
Since the days of
Even during Pilsudski's lifetime it had been clearly shown that the authority of the Marshal himself was not sufficient to make the subordinate Polish officials adhere to a just treatment of the German minority. The exaggerated Polish patriotic feeling still appeared in a more moderate way, but it had not been eliminated. For the time being suppressive measures were not so brutal, but more cunning. The political system based on the old watchword of sworn principle to exterminate everything of German origin, continued unhampered; full responsibility for this must be ascribed to the Polish Government. After the death of Marshal Pilsudski the mask was completely dropped. A campaign of aggressive activity, based on the desire for annexation and such aims was very soon developed in speech and in print.
Even in the spring of 1939 it became quite clear that
the change in
The question arose as to how the Polish Government
could allow such a dangerous sentiment to develop in the country and to such an
extent as to permit her own citizens of German origin to be surrendered to the
lowest class of Polish degenerates, whose very lust for murder made them ignore
constitution, law, morality and humaneness. Furthermore how could responsible
Polish rulers allow themselves to be manoeuvred
deeper and deeper into a condition of irreparable tension with
(1) The British
Government must have known, having due regard to the temperamental national
character and inclination to extremes of political megalomania, of the likewise
anti-German propaganda carried on in the Press for years and worked up
against Germany and the German minorities some months before the War to a
definite state of aggressive bloodthirstiness. She must have known that her
active interest in the warlike policy of Poland, backed up by the pact of
assistance, would of necessity be the cause of national hatred, spreading like
an epidemic and resulting in the most unbelievable and bloody outrages on
German citizens. If the British Government had not realised
the delirious effect on
Without the blank cheque
given by Great Britain to Poland the latter would never have so frivolously
rejected the unique offer for compromise made by the Führer,
as was made public in his speech in the Reichstag on
(2) The terrific
losses caused to German interests in
Thousands of German enterprises and independent German businesses had been systematically destroyed by cancellation of orders, boycott, by taxes rigorously calculated and even more vigorously applied, withdrawal of concessions, confiscation, and the refusal of permits for the purchase of land. Innumerable German workmen and employees, for the greater part old and trusted hands, were made victims of mass dismissals, based on political race discrimination, and were driven from their normal areas of work and reduced to a condition of absolute penury with no further means of existence. The one-sided application of the Agrarian Reform Laws and the regulations governing frontier zones forced old established German settlers to emigrate. German church services were disturbed, German newspapers were seized one after the other; and the use of the German language was made impossible either in the street, in shops or restaurants. Germans were attacked in the open country, in their homes and on their farms. From May 1939 onwards prohibition orders and punishments literally hailed down upon them. The closing down of schools, kindergartens, libraries and German clubs, the elimination of cooperatives, cultural and charitable societies, and the personal threat to each individual, increased to an unimaginable degree, quite contrary to the rights of the German minority as guaranteed by the Constitution.
THE POLISH POLICY OF ATROCITY
During the twenty years of Polish
domination, Germans in
During the last days of August 1939, Germans were openly menaced in villages with the expressions: "Slaughter them off" (1).
(1) Murder of Sieg (Sd. Is. Bromberg 819/39).
In the towns Germans were the victims
of insane incitement, leading to a state of boycott, terror, and direct danger
to life, which the Warsaw Government tolerated and encouraged. This outbreak of
concentrated fury and Polish national passion directed against everything
German and invoked by the Polish officials, seemed to be the unavoidable
solution for putting an end to the intolerable tension between
(2) "A perpetual state of anxiety reigned as no one was any longer sure of his life . . . The whole night they slunk round the house, and this furtive slinking, the proximity of a permanent danger was very difficult to endure" -- this is how the Rector's wife, Frau Lassahn of Bromberg-Schwedenhöhe, characterizes the heavily laden atmosphere of ill-boding, just prior to the "Blood Sunday" in Bromberg. (Eye-witness report of Frau L.). The 32-year old minority German Gerhard Grieger expresses himself similarly, shortly before he was bestially murdered: -- "I have a terrible feeling, I feel as though I am being perpetually watched, and think it would be the best thing to clear out". Then again the witness Judge (retired) Klabun of Bromberg confirms that "everywhere they slunk around us and watched us". . . (Criminal proceedings against Nowitzki and others, Sd. K. Ls. Posen 28/39).
were by no means faint-hearted, for they were comforted in their firm belief in their impending liberation. A few had indeed been able to save themselves in time by flight to safety (3)
(3) How tragic is the case of Vicar Reder of Mogilno,
who at the time of his order for internment was on holiday in Zoppot, so that he had ample opportunity for flight. In
spite of this he obeyed the order, so as to be together with the members of his
parish and his co-internees during the days of trouble. He was shot down with a
pistol by the Commandant of the railway station of Glodno
and after receiving several blows with the butt of a rifle he was given the
"coup de grâce" by Polish Military guard
(OKW. HS. Ins.
over the frontiers of the Reich and to Danzig; in spite of repeated Polish statements to the effect that in case of war all Germans would be murdered and all German farms would be burnt down, most of the Germans stuck to their homes and possessions, part of which had been acquired or inherited from former settlements or by honest purchase, hundreds of years ago, because they themselves could not believe that the menaces of murder would ever be carried out. What was the reason for all classes of Poles participating in the excesses committed against Germans? Why did that portion of the Polish population which for years had lived in harmony with their German neighbours in town and country hardly lift a hand to protect Germans exposed to lawlessness? Why did Poles, without the slightest reason, attack the one or other German -- known or unknown to them --, why were they willing to take part in these indescribable atrocities? The answer to all this is that all action against Germans had been carefully planned beforehand; it had been definitely ordered. The question arises: could not Christian and religious principles in such a devoutly Catholic country have proved sufficient to ensure a moral and disciplinary bulwark against such wanton excesses? On the contrary, the massacre of Protestant clergy, the destruction of Protestant rectories, the burning and pillaging of Protestant churches (4)
(4) Protestant churches and parish halls
were destroyed and burnt in Bromberg-Schwedenhöhe, in
Hopfengarten near Bromberg, in Gr. Leistenau near Graudenz, in Kl. Katz near Gotenhafen. The
number of vicarages robbed and pillaged has not been ascertained. A "house
search" in the Protestant Consistory in Posen is further evidence of
wanton destruction. In the Parish Church of Bromberg and in St. Peter's Church
in Posen, altars were defiled and the altar lights destroyed, bibles and altar
cloths were torn to rags. (Periodical "Junge Kirche", dated
show clearly that the old adage of Protestant-German, Catholic-Pole, made the distinction of creed the instrument and tool of political murder.
In many cases it was enough to be German and Protestant to be arrested (1).
(1) The witness Kube, Bromberg, 13 Bergkolonie, deposed on oath that a soldier, who had forcibly entered her apartment, questioned her nephew Karl Braun, who was on a visit, as to his name and religion (!) On Braun's truthful declaration as to who he was and that he was a Protestant he was arrested and carried off. Since then no trace of him has been found and it would appear that he had been shot (Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 32/39).
(2) Eye-witnesses' statements on the murder case Kala/Keller in Kardorf (Sd. Is. Posen 42/39) criminal proceedings against Jan Lewandowski (Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 85/39).
He who was master of the Polish language and able to make himself understood in the Polish language or even he who stated he was a Pole, was spared (3).
(3) The minority German Ferdinand Reumann in Schulitz saved himself from being carried off and killed by maintaining that he was Polish and by speaking in Polish to the soldiers; he was the only survivor of 13 Germans (Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 31/39).
This is proof that only German lives and property were envisaged. Further proof of this is shown by the fact that the hordes whether in company of Polish soldiers or alone, only searched homes, attics and cellars of Germans. They were brought out into the street and where no Germans were present, the locality was left without disturbing a single hair of any Pole (4).
(4) Statement by the Polish witnesses Maria Szczepaniak and Luzia Spirka of Bromberg, who were hidden in an air raid cellar together with Germans (Sd. K: Ls. Bromberg 12/39).
Germans were murdered indiscriminately and regardless of age, creed or sex, whether peasant, farmer, teacher, clergyman, doctor, merchant, workman or factory-owner, no class or rank was spared. The victims were shot without trial -- there was never any legal reason for the massacre of Germans. They were shot, tortured to death, beaten and stabbed without any reason at all (5),
(5) "Never before have I seen faces so distorted with fury or bestial expression -- they had certainly ceased to be human beings --" stated the eye-witness Paul Zembol of Pless (WR I).
and most of them, furthermore, were maimed in the most bestial way. These murders were intentional, and for the greater part, committed by Polish soldiers, police and gendarmes, but also by armed civilians, schoolboys and apprentices (P.W.O.N.) (6).
(6) P. W. = Przysposobienie Wojskowe, i. e. an organization for the pre-military training of youths under military supervision. O. N. = Obrona Narodowa, i. e. Reservists mobilized at a later date.
Rebels in uniform, members of the West Marches Society, rifle corps, railwaymen, and released convicts were in the motley crowd that took part in these murders (7).
(7) At a few places, convicts also took part in the atrocities against the Germans; but the statement coming from a Polish quarter that the escaped or liberated criminals were the main perpetrators, and that the atrocities against Germans, for example, in and near Bromberg are to be ascribed principally to the criminals who escaped in Crone-on-the-Brahe -- or that similar atrocities against Germans in the neighbourhood of Thorn were due to criminals who broke out in Fordon -- is refuted by the fact that in those places hardly any pillaging or thefts occurred, and further by the identification by name of the perpetrators and accomplices, verified in the investigations and criminal proceedings by statements of reliable witnesses, The erroneous and tendentious Polish statement that convicts and similar rabble had incited the soldiers and civilians to acts of violence is absolutely contradicted by the results of the juridical proceedings.
Everywhere a definite method governed the procedure, from it could be [p. 20] deduced that a centralized system of murder was being practised (1).
(1) The declaration of the 17
year-old Pole, Bernhard Kokoczynski, interrogated and
condemned for serious breach of the peace by the special court of Bromberg, on
That these unheard-of cruel individual and mass-murders were carried on in such a way is explained by the mentality of the Pole, and his habit to incline to cruelty and torture. The proverbial courage of the Pole corresponds with his equally proverbial cunning and deceit. Innumerable Polish murderers present themselves to our eyes as crafty and bloodthirsty creatures. Denunciation and treachery are expressions of the Polish national character, from which elements the brutal mentality and lust for murder emanate. All that occured in and around Bromberg, Posen and Pless, in the days of September 1939, is nothing but a repetition of the bloodshed that occurred in Upper Silesia during the Polish riots in 1920/21, which, at the time, shocked public opinion throughout the civilized world.
The hunt for minority Germans in the towns and villages was carried out more or less according to the following system; following the command Nr. 59 (2)
(2) The broadcast of
the Polish Government of Sept. 1, belongs to one of the most important pieces
of evidence proving that acts of violence against Germans bore the character of
a campaign, centrally organized and under official control: Frau Weise, the
wife of the senior physician of the Posen Protestant
Deaconess Hospital together with Dr Reimann of the
same place, give the text of the broadcast heard by them on the morning of
Sept. 1, as follows: - "Hullo! Hullo! Germans, Czechs and Bohemians! Carry
out Command No . . . . . . . . at once." The two
witnesses were no longer certain of the actual number. In a verbal statement, Konrad Kopiera, director of the Schicht Trust of
repeatedly broadcast by the Warsaw Government on Sept. 1, a modus operandi which must have been agreed upon beforehand with provincial authorities, the provincial governments instructed the local police immediately to enforce the orders of arrest already drawn up and provided with consecutive numbers, against the minority Germans. These warrants did not include the new arrivals within the last few weeks, proof in itself that the orders had been prepared long before (3).
(3) There were 3 kinds of warrants of arrest -- Red: for arrest and house search, Pink: Internment (supposed to have been applicable particularly to German nationals), Yellow: evacuation from a place of residence with travel permit to definite location in Central or East Poland, as prescribed by the Mayor. As a rule all these colours were treated with the same severity, i. e. those distinguished by the mild "yellow evacuation warrants" were treated in the same way as those abducted in batches under police control (Photographic copies of the warrants of arrest in the archives RKPA 1486/8. 39).
In accordance with these orders, the minority Germans were arrested without reason being given, and carried off to the police-station in the shortest possible time. Some were questioned (others were not) with the intention of trying to force a confession to the effect that they had been actively engaged as spies or enemies of the State. They were either thrown into prison or sent home under the impression that they were free mere. Often, all their papers of identification were taken away by the police; they were liberated without these papers being returned, with instructions to call for them later. This "later" was destined to become "never". Either they never got so far, or, if they did, they never came back; they were murdered in the meantime (1).
(1) The murder case of the brothers Lemke in Bromberg, Nakeler Strasse (Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 33/39).
They were severely ill-treated on their way to or from the police station and in the prison cells. They were kicked, beaten with rifle butts, spat on, and subjected to the mast awful words of abuse. Those who had not been arrested, interned or abducted, were, in accordance with exact lists, fetched out of their homes and either beaten to death or shot down by soldiers, police, or armed civilians, chiefly led by men of unsavoury reputation, wholly anti-German (2).
(2) The lists played a very important part in the preparation of Polish atrocities. According to Gertrud Becker, servant, of Bromberg-Jägerhof and witness in the murder case of Schröder and Köhke (WR I) "the names of all persons who were in the cellar were called out from a list." The commanders of local rebel organizations had drawn up "Death lists" which served as preliminaries for the massacre of Germans. The sworn statement of the innkeeper Litwa at Landsberg, district of Rybnik, shows that the rebel Kwiotek had drawn up a list of 150 minority Germans "who were to be killed at a convenient moment" (SG. in Kattowitz 19/39). The witness Frau Emvira Diesner in Ciechocinek (WR II) deposed that "the whole Town Council took part in drawing up the black list." Witness Paul Rakette, Pastor of Schokken (WR II) declared that the preparation of the lists was in the hands of all the local administrative authorities. A Polish police sergeant of Rogasen told the witness, Innkeeper Ewald Thou, that the "black-list" had been drawn up "by someone in a high position (WR II). The witness Erwin Boy, a master-tailor of Ostburg is of the opinion that the Polish village elder was responsible for the drawing up of the lists: without such lists "it would have been impossible for the soldiers to use a piece of paper for calling out our names."
The entries of "Suspicious" in the military passports of minority Germans liable to military service, or in the discharge certificates were similar in importance. In all these cases the holders of such papers, with one exception (Eugen Hoffmann), were murdered in Bromberg on Sept. 4. It has been established that all entries of "Suspicious," as well as the discharge papers, constituted an order to the Polish authorities to have the holders of such papers shot (for details see documents RKPA 1488/22. 39 and 1486/24. 39).
The facts which
established that the Polish action against minority Germans was prepared by the
officials, according to plan, completely contradict the statement of Polish
emigrants who maintain that all these acts of atrocity were a form of
"reprisal," and that in their flight before the German troops the
Poles had carried off minority Germans and, as the position in general became
worse and worse "they killed them out of sheer exasperation." In
reality all minority Germans were interned, abducted, ill-treated and murdered
in accordance with well-thought-out plans. It was not a spontaneous action
resulting from the shock of the entry of German troops into
Anyone asking what was the reason for such persecution, or why his arrest had been made, was answered with a shot in the neck, blows from the butt of a rifle, or stabs with a bayonet. As a rule, when people were fetched by force and ill-treated, these acts were accompanied by house searches for weapons, secret wireless transmitters, wireless receiving sets and suspicious documents. No Germans had any weapons because for years conditions had rendered this impossible. It was sufficient to find a child's percussion-cap pistol to justify a murder (1).
(1) Verbal statement by the witness Charlotte Korth (WR I).
It actually happened that an accusation was made that a weapon had been found; actually this weapon had been concealed by the Poles on the spot beforehand, or during the interrogation. As regards the search for hidden ammunition, a cartridge was secretly laid on a cupboard during the search; the discovery of this cartridge was then brought forward as proof of guilt (2).
(2) Statements of the witnesses Herbert Schlicht in Bromberg and Anna Krüger in Jägerhof (WR I).
Again a minority German's notebook was taken away, drawings of an incriminating nature were secretly made inside; this was then used as a corpus delicti. We have evidence of a case in which Polish infantry asserted that a hand-grenade had been found in a house. Finally however, a Polish soldier intervened and honestly declared that he had seen another Polish soldier put it there. This saved the minority German's life (3).
(3) Statements of witness Friedrich Weiss, butcher in Wonorce, and Willi Bombicki in Gratz (WR II).
In towns, a systematic signal for concerted action against Germans was usually the sudden explosion of a shot in the midst of the seething crowds (4),
(4) In many cases no shot had ever been fired, some Pole simply made a false statement, trying to indicate that from the house of some German a slot had been fired.
instantaneously cries echoed from the streets: "The Germans have started shooting! Catch them! Kill the Germans, the Huns, the Swine, the Spies!" In spite of knowledge to the contrary and without the slightest justification, Germans were accused of shooting. This gave the Polish soldiers sufficient excuse for shooting Germans in pursuance of the object aimed at by the bandits and indicated by the agitators, namely, the complete extermination of all Germans (5).
This signal for action was spread by the press, wireless and chauvinistic
associations. It was even proclaimed from the pulpit on that "Blood
Sunday" itself in Bromberg (statement of Wladyslaw
Dejewski [Sd. K. Ls.
Bromberg 16/39] accused and convicted of three
murders of minority Germans.) Dejewski's statement
about the devastating work of anti-German propaganda by the Polish
intelligentsia and the clergy, including various other credible statements of
his, brings up and touches on a most serious subject: The abuse of the Pulpit
and its connection with the political campaign for the extermination of
everything German (cf. Document No. 23) Dejewski
declares: "had the clergy exhorted us to calm and circumspection, it would
never have come to such bloodshed." Here he referred to definite
sermons inciting the population made by Canon Sch. in
Bromberg shortly before the German troops occupied that town. In these sermons
the canon incites the inhabitants "to resist the Germans to the last drop of
blood and to destroy everything German." In his statement before the
Thereupon the howling and enraged mob blindly attacked and overwhelmed civilians of both sexes. Often women in a frenzy of fanaticism indicated to soldiers, who were strangers to the locality, where Germans lived. The soldiers forced their way in and stabbed or shot the Germans. For the most part, male Germans of every age, including children, down to infants of 2½ months, were murdered (1).
(1) According to definite proof, the oldest man murdered was the 86-year-old Peter Rieriast of Ciechocinek and the youngest victim the two and a half month old infant Gisela Rosenau of Lochowo, who died of hunger on the breast of her murdered mother. The greatest number by far of the Minority Germans who were beaten to death or shot is represented by the members of the German Association (which was approved according to statute by the Polish Government) as well as by members of the Young German Party. In the case of the inclusion of victims in the "lists" it was principally the most esteemed citizens of German descent who were subject to acts of violence, but smallholders who were absolutely harmless politically, and unemployed German workmen and invalids were also murdered without exception.
Although mainly men of military age, especially between the ages of 16 and 25, were killed, later on even German women and girls were not spared, and for weeks after those sordid events, death notices in the Deutsche Rundschau in Bromberg as well as in the Posener Tageblatt give an appalling survey of how German men, women, old men, cripples, invalids and children were done to death at the murderous hands of the Poles, and how most of them were mutilated in a ghastly way and robbed. The type of injury (shots in the neck, stabs in the eye-sockets, crushing of skulls with rifle butts, and exposing the brain, shots in the head fired straight down, etc.) is singularly uniform in all the different localities where murder took place. A definite conclusion could be formed from the uniformity of time and method in which these outrages were committed against the German minority, that the organization of bloodshed among Germans was carried out in a uniform manner. In any case; the conclusion arrived at by the medico-legal experts, resulting from the examination of hundreds of murder cases, is that there is a remarkable similarity in the type of injury. Presence of mind saved the lives of some who either feigned death or were fortunate enough not to have suffered fatal wounds (2).
(2) For information as to injuries, etc., refer to the memoranda of the medico-legal expert Surgeon Major Dr. Panning and University Lecturer Dr. Hallermann, based on conclusions arrived at from 250 post-mortems (Appendix to the document section). The result of, the post-mortems confirm the statements of witnesses made before the special courts and military investigation offices, from which a clear picture is formed showing that the major part of the murders of minority Germans were committed by Polish soldiers. These post-mortems clearly show that the injuries were caused by high-velocity weapons (Army rifles) and also by Army pistols, hand grenades and machine guns. There is also some evidence which indicates the use of dum-dum bullets (OKW. Hs. Ins. Br. 18).
arrests, abductions, ill-treatment and murders of minority Germans have been
proved to have taken place in all parts of
(1) Official investigations carried out
since the publication of the first edition of this collection of documents
concerning atrocities against the German minority in Poland have disclosed a
far more terrible situation than was revealed by the graves discovered before
worst persecutions of Germans took place between Aug. 31 and
(2) Among others, 36 murders took place
in the Eichdorf settlement, 39 murders at Jesuitersee, 53 murders at Klein-Bartelsee. In the suburb of Jägerhof,
near Bromberg, 63 Germans were murdered in one single day. In a mass grave at Slonsk, south-east of Thorn, 58 bodies of minority Germans
were discovered. The largest mass grave found close to Tarnowa,
north of Turek, on
and Krosniewice three mass graves were found in the
first week of December 1939: each containing between 18 and 20 appallingly
mutilated victims of the Polish lust for murder, mainly German farmers from Schrimm and Santomischel. Near
Wherever Germans were found shot or beaten to death, they were discovered on the thresholds of their houses, in the courtyard or garden, along the road, unburied, sometimes merely covered with leaves and branches, often only hurriedly covered with a thin layer of earth. In nearly every case there were ghastly mutilations such as eyes gouged out, teeth smashed, brains oozing out of the skulls; tongues torn out, abdomens slit open, broken arms and legs, fingers hacked off, feet and lower portions of the legs chopped off. Those who were massacred in this way lay bound together with ropes in twos or threes, or were placed in rows, hands tied to their backs with ropes and straps. [p. 25] They lay in the ditch of a field, on the edge of a wood, or on the shore of a lake (1)
(1) Group of murdered civilians at Jesuitersee R.K.P.A. 1486/9/39.
whither they had been driven, often only to be slaughtered by a shot in the neck. Many victims were only found six, seven or even eight weeks later, and at some distant spot. Many bodies were completely smeared with dirt and blood. In a number of cases the mutilations had taken place whilst the murdered person was still alive. Wherever Germans had succeeded in fleeing from their homes and property in time, to hide in cellars, attics, plough furrows, hedges, woods, ditches or in fields of potatoes, beetroot and sunflowers, they were often betrayed by Polish neighbours and hunted out by hordes of politically fanatical residents, Polish adolescents of from 17 to 20 years of age (2),
(2) In many places Polish schoolboys were often accomplices, volunteers and even ringleaders. As early as the end of July, 16-year-old boys had already been armed with army rifles. (Witness's statement . . . Hertel in Pless WR I.)
ill-treated and then beaten to death. These hordes were armed with weapons of every possible description--fence stakes, cudgels, knives, iron bars, axes, choppers, daggers, spades, whips, hay forks, pickaxes, stanchions, lead-tipped sticks, and then again with sabres, pistols and rifles. Where did the civilians, especially these adolescents, get these weapons from? How did all these incited, and immoral elements come into possession of such instruments of murder? It was no mere chance that they were in possession of these weapons. They had either been distributed by the local Police offices or served out by the magistrates shortly before the administrative officials left, i. e. the Polish officials aided and abetted these acts of violence and murders of Germans (3).
Sometimes it was one or more of the ringleaders who with their wild behaviour goaded the masses into the desire to kill their German-born fellow citizens. Working in close cooperation with the Polish soldiers, air-raid wardens were also outstanding in their cruelty. Though the greater part of these murders were committed by soldiers belonging to scattered units, or by the rear-guard in flight and by parties of sappers, the participation of regulars and even Polish officers in these murders has been definitely established. It was not only the remarks of the Polish military: "We shall stamp out the Germans root and branch" (4),
(4) Sworn statement
of the Polish N.C.O. Friedrich Lorenz of Lischkowo. (WR I and Sd. Bromberg. Dated Sept. 28/29, 1939.) . . . General Bortnowski's
remark that "All Germans must be exterminated," is testified to by
witness Otto Leischner, teacher of Slonsk (WR II). The sworn statement of witness Heinz
Friedrich, baker, in Wonorze (Ostburg)
reveals that on
or the orders to shoot Germans, which prove the part taken by commissioned and non-commissioned officers in these acts of murder, but also the systematic use made of whips in rounding up Germans forcibly carried off, and the use of the pistol by Polish officers to kill them. These Polish officers have stated that they had orders to shoot Germans.
The civilian assassins and their accomplices belonged to every class of the Polish population. They were mainly composed of members of the West Marches Society and of the Association of Reserves as well as of the Rebel Association, officially supported by the Kattowitz Provincial Governor Grazynski. They were labourers, workmen, parish employees, clerks, locksmiths, mechanics, electricians, chauffeurs, hairdressers, foresters, dental-mechanics, book-keepers, railway guards, gardeners, weavers, roof layers, slaters, butchers, cattle dealers, rarely peasants, but very often railwaymen (1).
(1) The fact that in
this list, which could be supplemented by the addition of other professions, no
mention is made of members of the academical profession, is explained by the fact that the greater
portion of the intelligentsia, the leading classes of
Wherever hordes of armed civilians struck down or shot minority Germans in the open street, Polish soldiers and police present on the spot made no attempt to interfere (2).
(2) A few exceptional cases are on record where soldiers arriving on the scene took preventive action against the bloodthirsty Polish civilians (Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 88/39); or where a Polish officer liberated a German woman from the assassins' hands (Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 91/39).
Searches effected in houses, gardens, courts or cellars were generally carried out by these bands of assassins, on their own initiative or accompanied by Polish soldiers. Both soldiers and civilians took an equal part in the destruction of furniture and household articles, in the theft of money, jewels, linen, documents, watches, fountain-pens etc. Accompanied by the curses of the incited mob and exposed to blows, cuffs, kicks and stabs, and missiles such as bottles and stones, the Germans, completely defenceless, were driven to the police or more often to soldiers who were complete strangers to the locality, who in their turn, no less than the police and gendarmes, ill-treated and killed them without rhyme or reason. The derisive attitude of the Polish soldiers towards any idea of morality or right sprang from politico-psychological roots; every kind of influence having been employed in the barracks to create a general atmosphere against everything German especially by the repeated orders of the Polish Government, clergy, subordinate officials, as well as certain quarters financed by the authorities, to eliminate all trace of the established German element. Thus so many murders took place against "persons unknown," just because the persecuted, abducted and ill-treated people happened to be Germans, and as such had to disappear to comply with the Government's watchword which, in the meantime, had become popular opinion.
A sordid chapter dealing with the atrocities committed on minority Germans is the active part taken by fanatical Polish women, married women, widows, and unemployed, acting as informers to the soldiers as to the whereabouts of minority Germans and demanding their murder (1).
(1) One of the most fanatical examples of hate was shown by the laundrywoman Maria Goralska, of a Bromberg: She openly boasted that she had "betrayed many Germans": her mania for murder literally made her foam at the mouth" (Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 88/39). Another Polish woman, Sophie Bednarczyk shouted to the crowd, "All Germans must be slaughtered! The accursed Hitler pigs must be castrated!" (Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 73/39). Also the Polish woman Salewski demanded that "Germans should have their throats cut" . . . (Sd. Is. Bromberg 151/39). The Polish woman Franziska Wolska had a military patrol fetched by a boy and led them into a house belonging to the minority German Rohrbeck: father and son were shot (Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 44/39). How Polish women inflicted serious injuries on Germans with various weapons is shown in the testimony of Steinborn in the case of the massacre of Iwno (Sd. Is. Posen 643/39).
The attitude of these Polish women had an intensifying effect on the general lust for murder and roused the baser instincts of the marauding hordes. Whatever fanatical women did to defenceless abducted victims is no less reprehensible than the acts of the armed women who joined the francs-tireurs.
The method and degree of cruelty gives the Polish atrocities a special place in the history of political murders in the 20th century. The number of German-born children, of school or under-school age, who were killed or shot (2)
(2) The medico-legal experts have compiled a list of a number of murdered German-Polish children, whose deaths had doubtless been caused by firearms (OKW. Hs. In. Br 60; Br. 74, Br. 76, Br. 100; Br. 118, Br. 129, P. 29).
is just as indicative of the unscrupulous pursuit of the official murder policy against anything of German origin as is the fact that the victims of fanatical hatred were tortured in a most bestial manner, many of them being forced to dig their own graves (3)
(3) Sd. Is. Posen 529/39.
and that the fatally wounded were exposed to a more or less lengthy period of mortal agony (4).
(4) In this way the married woman Gollnik of Bromberg was obliged to witness the murder of her husband which was extended over a period of 9 hours (OKW. Hs. In. Br. 110) and Frau Radler in Kleinbartelsee was prevented from giving assistance to her severely injured husband who lay dying for seven hours. (The same Br. 46.)
Again, the ill-treated were bound with cow ropes and were left to die of hunger and thirst; war invalids, wearers of artificial limbs and sick people were forced to march for impossible distances; dead horses or dogs were thrown on the mutilated bodies of Germans as an expression of contempt (5).
(5) Sd. Is. Bromberg 516/39.
Even a pregnant woman was murdered shortly before parturition (6).
(6) OKW. Hs. In. post-mortem No.
No pity was shown to a child begging for its life (7),
(7) Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 85/39.
or to the sobs of the small boy clinging moaning and terrified to the arms of his mother (8).
(8) RKPA 1486/7. 39.
The plea for grace was answered with blows (9)
(9) Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 14/39.
with the fist. German-born men were killed before the eyes of their wives and children, boys torn from their mothers' sides; relations were prevented from giving relief to the groaning victims. German-Polish men and women brought forward to be shot were lined up with their faces to the wall and made to bend their knees, while rifles were aimed at them without being actually fired; this form of martyrdom was repeated time after time, so that these tortured people were completely demoralised and in a state of mental despair before they were killed. Hearts were torn from the corpses (1),
(1) Testimony of N. C. O. Fremke: "A male body was found with its heart torn out; it lay alongside the body" (WR I).
those who lay dying on the ground were trampled upon (2),
(2) The physical and mental torture to which victims of Polish bloodthirstiness were submitted in their mortal agony is typically shown in the sworn statement re the murders of Steinke and Thom (Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 68/39), and Ernst Kruger (S d. Is. Bromberg 151/39): The witness Pelagia Wieczorek (Polish) of Michelin states under oath that an old man lay dying on the ground and that "the murderers trampled all over him" (Sd. Is. Bromberg 814/39). The witnesses Heinrich Krampitz, electrician, and Anton Hinz, organist, both of Kulm, deposed on oath that the chauffeur Wladislaus Rybicki of Kulm "kicked and stamped on an old man who lay dying from stabs and knife injuries inflicted on him by Polish civilians so violently and so often that the blood squirted up from under his boots" (Sd. Is. Bromberg 117/39). Bruno Bender of Schokken, dairyman, deposed on oath that Polish soldiers beat a minority German to a state of unconsciousness and then "stamped on his head until it was a mere mass of bloody matter" (W R II).
those already beaten to a state of unconsciousness were kicked in the face, or
dragged to death with horse-reins; others had their noses cut off, their eyes
gouged out, or were castrated. All this demonstrates so clearly the bestial
attitude of the Polish murderers and assassins, that no surprise can be felt at
the fact that in certain cases the corpses were even put on view for money,
amid the applause of the ghoulish mob. All this was the outcome of the
political complex of a complete moral and spiritual degeneration that had taken
this country of
(3) Murder case Barnicke
(RKPA 1 486/5. 39) and statement of the witness Maria Häuser
(WR II). The pregnant were not spared (Sd. K. Ls.
Bromberg 79139). Found with the genital organs cut off (Sd.
Is. Bromberg 151/39). Further
statements of the witnesses Siebert and Matthies in Schwersenz (WR II) as well as the murder case Dr. Kirchhoff
in Ciolkowo (WR II). "The Germans were to
be run over by lorries" (Sd.
K. Ls. Bromberg 117/39) -- Whenever a body was found bound hand and foot, but
with no visible injury, it must be assumed that the victim was buried alive. (Witness Otto Hofmann, merchant of Hohensalza.
WR II). In Nessau (district of Thorn), 14 minority
Germans were shot on
An exact picture showing to what extent rape took place is not available. Rape on German women and girls can be proved to have taken place and for no other reason than that "they were Germans." (4)
(4) The statements of the witnesses Hedwig Daase in Slonsk (WR II) and Vera Gannott in Bromberg (WR I and Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 86/39).
But a great many women from a sense of shame concealed the fact that they had been raped and numerous women hanged themselves for the same reason. (1)
(1) The widow of the farmer Hammermeister, Minna Hammermeister, 40 years old, was raped by a Polish First-Lieutenant. The unhappy woman was forced to march to Lowitsch, but was eventually rescued there. Observing the results of the rape after her return home, she hanged herself. Hammerstein himself had been murdered by Polish bandits.
The sufferings of the German farmer were certainly even greater than those of the Germans in the towns, because each one was left entirely to his own resources on his own farm, and they were not able to assist one another to the same extent.
The farmers were exterminated to such an extent that some villages had only a single survivor as eye-witness of the Polish atrocities. 20 victims lay in a meadow not far from the shooting-range at Hohensalza -- "all big strong men" (2),
(2) Statement of the witness Josef Pirschel, gardener, of Hohensalza (WR II).
"lying singly and each having been killed by numerous shots; many of the bodies were still warm. The execution was carried out by a lieutenant and ten men of the Polish army (3)."
(3) Eye-witness report of Felix Stefanski, mechanic's apprentice Hohensalza (WR II).
Another twenty-nine horribly mutilated farmers belonged to the purely German village of Slonsk, founded by German settlers. All of the male population of this 300-year-old purely German village on whom the Poles could lay their hands, whole families were cold-bloodedly shot and terribly mutilated by soldiers of the 63rd Infantry Regiment from Thorn (4).
(4) A farmer, Artur Daase, of Slonsk stated "I and another farmer who had the good fortune to escape after being carried off, are the only German farmers who remained alive in the whole northern part of Slonsk," (WR II).
The property of the German farmers of Langenau and Otteraue are in blackened ruins, having been burnt down by Polish soldiers, and their inhabitants are almost all murdered. A somewhat different picture presents itself in the Posen district. Here village elders and agricultural labourers, in league with soldiers, set the barns on fire, drove away the cattle, robbed and blackmailed the Germans (5).
(5) Rings were stolen from the hands of the dead (The murder of Rurkat, Sd. Is. Posen 38/39). In Schwersenz Polish women land-workers mishandled arrested German women in the most brutal manner, tearing off their clothes, stockings and shoes, and robbing them under the eyes of Polish soldiers (Trial of Luczak, Sd. Is. Posen 55/39).
And in all the towns the Germans were herded together into columns and marched away into the interior of Poland. A "class-war" spirit directed against the German estate owners combined here with the general anti-German agitation among the Polish masses.
Were no consciences stirred when the minority Germans were herded together in hundreds in every street, and marched away in thousands into the interior of the country? Pregnant women, children, war-invalids, cripples, old men and women -- names like Professor Bonin, 83 years old, of Lissa; Bohrmann, an 82 year old market gardener of Schönsee; Fräulein Schnee, 76 years old; Rector Assmann of Bromberg, 70 years old; all of them Germans of high repute among Poles as well as Germans. Tied together in twos, handcuffed, many of them bare-footed, some dressed only in shirts and trousers, some in slippers, underclothes or dressing gowns, some dragged directly from their beds -- in this manner they came from Bromberg and Posen, from Lissa and Gratz, from Schroda and Schrimm, Obornik and Wollstein, leaving their [p. 30] homes behind them, carried away by brutal guards, who cursed them, beat them and stabbed them with their bayonets. They held together through thick and thin, supported and carried one another forward, suffered hunger and thirst and the brutal contempt of their guards in dogged silence. Their feet bleeding and festering, many burning with fever, some of them half-mad from suffering; 20, 25 or 30 miles a day in forced marches, on and on, almost without a pause, eastwards and still further eastwards -- their destination Bereza-Kartuska, ill-famed Polish internment camp; "there they would find their end soon enough." (1).
(l) Remarks made by members of the Polish guard accompanying the column of abducted Germans to Lowitsch, corroborated by the statement in court of the witness Wawrezin Dmagala, a Polish groom (WR II).
Passing Polish soldiers, made furious by having been forced into rapid retreat by the advancing German troops, struck savagely at the physically and mentally exhausted Germans. Polish officers also shot some of them down, and mishandled women and the sick with whips and crops (2).
(2) Description of Herr Wiesner, estate-manager of Wollstein (WR II).
Children of 3 to 5 years, tied to their parents, were driven along with the rest. Polish spies, scoundrels and convicts mixed with the Germans and tried to take advantage of their dazed misery. All of a sudden, someone shouted; "All clear, run for it!" and when the wretched prisoners attempted to make for the open country they were shot down by police and soldiers. There were strict orders to shoot anyone who lagged behind (3),
(3) Told by a Polish N. C. O. to the farmer Hermann Netz of Crome a. B. (WR II).
and one officer ordered that those who did not keep up with the column should be struck down with rifle butts (4).
(4) Report of Pastor Bickerich of Lissa (WR II).
The order was carried out so thoroughly that many hundreds of minority Germans remained behind, shot or struck down dead, filling the roads and ditches, pitiful evidence of Polish lust for Murder. The prisoners fed themselves with Swedes and were compelled to sleep in the open even in rainy weather. They got water from dirty puddles and duck-ponds, or had it poured out for them, filthy and undrinkable, from petrol cans. Painfully seldom were they allowed a ration of even this foul water with which to moisten their lips. The extent of the cruelty shown to the minority Germans in these columns of prisoners is shown by the fact that, whilst being driven through the little town of Schrimm, 25 Germans were beaten to death and the rest of the column mishandled in such a way that even resident Poles, amongst them a Prior, protested, without however being able to stop the atrocities (5).
(5) Report about the march of abducted Germans from Schrimm (Sd. Is. Posen 243/39).
When a halt was made, the Germans were often "drilled" -- forced, for instance, to kneel for an hour, those who fell over being struck dead, others, weak from exhaustion, "shot down like dogs" (6).
(6) Report of his experience by Pastor Rakette, of Schokken (WR II); others were "shot like hares running before the beaters" (see elsewhere).
Women and old people were not spared these "drills". In the Posen column, a war-invalid, Herr Schmolke, who had two artificial limbs, was shot, together with his wife, his 15-year-old daughter and his son, aged 18 months, when their strength gave way (7).
(7) Eye-witness account of Father Breitinger and Otto Kaliske (WR II).
Two other disabled men, one called Jentsch of Rakwitz, and the other, the 65-year-old Kiok of Wongrowitz (both had wooden legs) suffered the same fate -- no wonder that many soon became so utterly hopeless that they committed suicide (1).
(1) Report, of Wilhelm Romano, of Wongrowitz (WR II). Starke (Bromberg) reports how a young German, in despair, severed the artery of his neck (eye-witness report WR II). A farmer, Drescher (Czempin) stated that one of his comrades "jumped into a water-hole in order to drown himself." (WR II).
Some began to have the wildest hallucinations. One imagined that he saw splendid castles, another "saw a firework display." A terrified cry from one of the prisoners, who was dreaming, brought a hail of bullets into the middle of the German group. The lives of human beings were naturally of no importance, when those human beings were Germans. It was worst of all when shots were fired wildly into the ranks of the marching prisoners from behind, by their rear guard, or when men saw their fathers or friends die by their side simply because they could not continue marching for mile after mile with their arms raised aloft. Torn from their homes, driven forward like cattle and threatened every minute with death, these Germans were marched on towards Kolo-Klodowa, towards Kutno, Lowitsch and Turek-Tulischkow. The column of unfortunates from Warsaw reached the hell of Bereza-Kartuska (2).
(2) Eye-witness report of Father Odilo Gerhard (Document section).
Even weeks after being liberated many were still suffering terribly as a result of the mental and physical torture they had gone through, and many finally succumbed to the after-effects of their terrible experiences in these groups, completely broken in health by the superhuman exertions they had been subjected to by the brutality of their Polish oppressors (3).
(3) So far it has not been possible to come to a final conclusion as to the extraordinary number of minority Germans killed in these marching columns or the number of the columns themselves. It is probable that at least one column was put together in every district town of Posen and West Prussia.
The atrocious cruelty of the Poles to the minority Germany in these marches of prisoners is one of the greatest blots on the already so sordid history of minorities in our time (4).
(4) Cf. the eye-witness reports of Starke (Bromberg), Father Breitinger (Posen), Military Surgeon Dr. Weise (Posen), Pastor Lesczynski (Kosten), Veterinary Surgeon Schulz (Lissa), estate-owner Dr. Schubert (Grune near Lissa), Pastor Rauhut (Gnesen), Father Odilo Gerhard (Cracow), baker Kaliske (Rakwitz, Wollstein district), Manager Romann (Wongrowitz), Pastor Rakette (Schokken), farmer Glaesemann (Schwersenz), and others. (Cf. Document section.)
Everything in the nature of atrocity which was inflicted by the Poles on the minority Germans, was done not out of an individual desire for revenge, nor for personal reasons; it was not the product of class-hatred or envy of the wealthier man, but simply of political mass-antagonism; it was nothing more nor less than organised massacre, not due to any sudden excess of fury amongst masses which had got out of hand, but to a systematic agitation which, playing upon that lust of murder and robbery which is an essential part of Polish mentality, resulted in cruelties of all kinds. The motive for these atrocities lies deep in the soul of the Pole, it is politico-pathological. The hate-imbued will to exterminate everything German was the driving power behind the atrocity campaign, which was nurtured by press, wireless and Government (5),
(5) It is significant of the attitude of the Polish Government that they instantly rejected the suggestion made by the German Foreign Office after the outbreak of war, through the Swedish Legation, to exchange for Polish nationals the minority Germans abducted by the Poles from the areas in the meantime occupied by German troops. (D. N. B. report of 14. 9. 39.) Why the Polish Government rejected this offer made to them purely on the grounds of humanity is quite incomprehensible.
as well as from pulpits and barracks.
It was probably only in the case of the robberies committed by Polish farm-hands in the Posen countryside that personal gain was the motive; all the rest was done merely to satisfy the feeling of revenge against the Germans with their higher standard of culture. The Pole has never lost his inferiority complex in regard to the Germans.
The Germans in Poland have always during the 20 years of Polish domination been regarded and treated by the Polish authorities and a large part of the Polish public (1),
(1) Whenever a Pole intervened in earnest on behalf of a minority German, he was intimidated by threats and violence to such an extent that he had to put conscientious objections out of his mind. In spite of this various Poles behaved decently and courageously. Polish landlords and servants are reported to have tried to protect Germans at the risk of their own lives.
as "disloyal citizens". Suspected unjustly of being spies, and accused of being actively engaged in espionage for the Reich, the minority Germans were ever under the shadow of Polish suspicion. Poland never found a way of establishing a loyal and peaceful relationship between herself and the German minority. Daily intercourse between minority Germans and Poles was a permanent danger to the lives of the former, due to Polish chauvinistic anti-German propaganda on the one side and the lack of protection from the Polish authorities on the other. This unbearable state of affairs, which had existed for years, reached its climax during the weeks prior to the outbreak of war, once the Poles had become convinced that by reason of the guarantee of assistance by the British Government, there was no further need for them to place any restraint on their provocative attitude or their shameful behaviour. The blank cheque given to Poland by Britain not only stiffened Poland's political backbone, but encouraged, or even directly incited her to commit these ghastly acts of atrocity. The determination of the British war-mongers to destroy Germany was unmasked and laid bare to the whole world in all its mercilessness by the Polish atrocities. The full guilt of the British clique, whose despotism all the world over is founded on lies, oppression, cruelty and murder, has been irrefutably proved for all time by the documentary evidence on some of the most horrible crimes in the history of mankind, contained in this volume.
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