Hitler's Role in the Persuection of the Jews by the Nazi Regime: Electronic Version, by Heinz Peter Longerich

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11. HITLER AND THE PLANS FOR A "RESERVATION FOR JEWS" IN POLAND

11.1Along with this program for murder in Poland, the further general anti-Jewish policy of the "Third Reich" in Poland planned above all to set up a "reservation" (Reservat) for all Jews under German domination. In this case as well, Hitler's influence was decisive: in a meeting with his heads of departments (Amtsleitern), Heydrich, the chief of the Security Police on 14 September 1939, reported that Hitler was given proposals regarding "the Jewish problem in Poland by the Reichsführer (i.e. Himmler, P.L.) which could only be decided upon by the Führer because they carried significant foreign policy consequences".93
11.2On 21 September, Heydrich was able to report to the heads of departments of the Security Police that Hitler had in the meantime made a decision on the issue of the deportations: "The deportation of Jews into the foreign-language Gau, deportation   across the demarkation line, is approved." By "foreign-language Gau" was meant those occupied areas which were not directly annexed to the Reich but which were slated to become part of the Generalgouvernement later; "demarcation line" referred to the line to which the Soviet Union and the German Reich in Poland had agreed upon in order to divide their spheres of interest. Heydrich spoke further in his report on 21 September about the planned deportations:
However, the whole process was to take place over the course of one year: Jewry is to be brought together in the cities in ghettos in order to keep better control and to make later deportation easier. The first priority is the disappearance of the Jew as a small settler in the countryside. This action must be accomplished within the next 3 to 4 weeks.94
11.3On 29 September, Hitler explained to Rosenberg, the Head of the Office for Foreign Affairs of the NSDAP, that the newly conquered Polish territory was to be divided into three strips: Between the Vistula and the Bug the Jews from the entire Reich were to be settled, as well as "all in any way unreliable elements". At the Vistula an "East Wall" was to be built and on the previous German-Polish border a "broad belt of Germanising and colonising", and between them, in the middle, a sort of Polish "state".95 The idea of a "Jewish reservation" was addressed relatively frequently in the coming weeks by the Nazi leadership: Thus for example, it was expressly mentioned by Hitler to the Swedish industrialist Dahlerus when he visited Germany at the end of September, seeking to mediate between the Reich and Great Britain.96 The German press was also secretly briefed on these plans.97 To the Italian foreign minister on 1 October, Hitler spoke of the idea of a re-allocation of land according to ethnic criteria, a "general purification policy" (völkischen Flurbereinigung) in the   East.98 On 6 October Hitler declared in a speech before the Reichstag that the "most important task" which follows from the "collapse of the Polish state", is a "new order in ethnographic relations, i.e. a re-settlement of nationalities". In the second part of his speech, Hitler gave notice that in the course of the coming "ordering of the entire living space according to nationalities" (which was to include all of Europe under German influence) "an attempt to order and regulate the Jewish problem will be undertaken".99
11.4Directly after this speech, on 7 October 1939, Hitler signed his edict on the "consolidation of German ethnicity" (Festigung deutschen Volkstums). Therein Hitler transmitted to Himmler two tasks: The first one was "to take in and settle within the Reich ... German people who were previously forced to live far away"; the second was to "organise the settlement of people's communities in such a way as to set up better dividing lines between them". Hitler transmitted to Himmler in this edict, not only the job of returning to the Reich the German nationals and ethnic Germans (Reichs- und Volksdeutsche) but also of "creating new German areas of settlement through deportation" and specifically the "exclusion of the damaging influence of those alien populations who imply danger for the Reich and the German people's community". In another section of the edict, Hitler specified that "those questionable population groups can be assigned to specific living areas".100
11.5While Himmler started preparations to deport Poles and Jews from the annexed Polish areas, in accordance with these orders, Adolf Eichmann concerned himself with preparations to deport Jews from the rest of the "Great German Reich", also, as he said, on orders specifically issued by Hitler. On 6 October   Eichmann, at this point Director of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration (Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung) in Prague, which worked under Gestapo instructions to deport Jews systematically from the Protectorates of Bohemia and Moravia, received the additional order from Gestapo chief Müller to deport Jews from the Kattowitz district (i.e the recently annexed Polish area) as well as from Moravian-Ostrava (in the Protectorate) and to send them to Nisko am San in the District of Lublin of the Generalgouvernement.
11.6His assignment was soon extended, by virtue of orders from Hitler, to cover the deportation of all Jews from the Reich, including Austria and the "Ostmark". Thus he stated to the Gauleiter of Silesia, Wagner on 10 October:101 "The Führer has for the present ordered the restructuring of 300,000 Jews from the old Reich and the Ostmark." While visiting Vienna on 7 October, Eichmann explained to the Special Commissioner for Jewish questions in the Office of the Reich Governor for Austria: "According to strictly confidential information from the director of the Central Office for Emigration of Jews, the Führer has given the order that, to start the whole operation, 300.000 less well-off Jews from the Greater German Reich area" will be deported to Poland; in the meantime, those Jews still living in Vienna are to be seized and deported within the context of an operation which will take "at most 3/4 of a year".102
11.7Just as this first extensive deportation programme took place under Hitler's personal authority, so the crushing of the Nisko experiment is also traceable to a decision by Hitler. On 17 October, after the first deportation trains with altogether about 4700 people from Vienna, Moravia-Ostrava and Kattowitz had reached Nisko, Hitler made clear to Keitel that precautions must be taken because the future Generalgouvernement "as an extended glacis which has military importance for us, could be used as a deployment area". This perspective was obviously not compatible with that of a "Jewish reservation"; the   deportations to Nisko were stopped on the order of the Reich Security Head Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt).103 From a long-term point of view, according to Hitler, nevertheless, the "leadership of the area ... must also make it possible for us to clean the area of the Reich from Jews and Poles" - a further indication that he had in no way abandoned the basic idea of a "Jewish reservation" in the Generalgouvenement.104

Notes

92. 'Ich gestehe ganz offen, daß das vorgesehene Befriedungsprogramm einigen tausend Polen das Leben kosten wird, vor allem aus der geistigen Führerschicht Polens [...] Der Führer hat mir gesagt: Die Behandlung und Sicherstellung der deutschen Politik im Generalgouvernement ist eine ureigene Sache der verantwortlichen Männer des Generalgouvernements. Er drückte sich so aus: Was wir jetzt an Führerschicht in Polen festgestellt haben, das ist zu liquidieren.' Präg/Jacobmeyer (eds.), Diensttagebuch, 30.5.40.
93. 'das Judenproblem in Polen', 'vom Reichsführer Vorschläge unterbreitet, die nur der Führer entscheiden könne, da sie auch von erheblicher außenpolitischer Tragweite sein werden'. BAB, r 58/825, 15.9.39.
94. 'Die Juden-Deportation in den fremdsprachigen Gau, Abschiebung über die Demarkationslinie, ist vom Führer genehmigt worden.' 'Jedoch soll der ganze Prozeß auf die Dauer eines Jahres verteilt werden: Das Judentum ist in den Städten in Gettos zusammenzufassen, um eine bessere Kontrollmöglichkeit und später Abschubmöglichkeit zu haben. Hierbei vordringlich sei, daß der Jude als Kleinsiedler vom Land verschwindet. Diese Aktion muß innerhalb der nächsten 3 bis 4 Wochen durchgeführt sein.' BAB, R 58/825, Amtschefbesprechungen, Protocol, 27.9.39.
95. 'Ostwall', 'breiter Gürtel der Germanisierung und Kolonisierung', 'Staatlichkeit'. Seraphim (ed.) Tagebuch, p. 81.
96. Hillgruber (ed.), Staatsmänner und Diplomaten, vol. I, pp. 29f(26.9.39).
97. Vertrauliche Information (Bulletin of the Minister of Propaganda), 9.10.41, printed in: Hagemann, Presselenkung, 145.
98. ADAP, Serie D, vol. 7, No. 176, pp. 143ff, protocol, 2.10.39.
99. 'wichtigste Aufgabe', 'Zerfall des polnischen Staates', 'eine neue Ordnung der ethnographischen Verhältnisse, daß heißt, eine Umsiedlung der Nationalitäten'. 'Ordnung des gesamten Lebensraumes nach Nationalitäten', 'der Versuch einer Ordnung und Regelung des jüdischen Problems zu unternehmen'. Verhandlungen des Reichstages, vol. 460, pp. 51ff.
100. 'deutsche Menschen, die bisher in der Ferne leben mußten ... im Reich aufzunehmen und anzusiedeln'; 'die Siedlung der Volksgruppen so zu gestalten, daß bessere Trennungslinien zwischen ihnen erreicht werden', 'Gestaltung neuer deutscher Siedlunsgebiete durch Umsiedlung', 'Ausschaltung des schädigenden Einflusses von solchen volksfremden Bevölkerungsteilen, die eine Gefahr für das Reich und die deutsche Volksgemeinschaft bedeuten','den in Frage stehenden Bevölkerungsteilen bestimmte Wohngebiete zuweisen'. IMT XXVI, 255f, 686-PS.
101. 'Der Führer hat vorerst die Umschichtung von 300.000 Juden aus dem Altreich und der Ostmark angeordnet.' YV, 053/87, Günther's Memo, 11.10.39.
102. 'Gemäß streng vertraulicher Mitteilung des Leiters der Zentralstelle für Judenauswanderung hat der Führer den Auftrag erteilt, daß zur Einleitung der geplanten Gesamtaktion fürs erste 300.000 minderbemittelte Juden aus dem großdeutschen Reichsgebiet nach Polen', 'längstens 3/4 Jahren'. Memorandum of the Sonderbeauftragte', 10.10.39 (original not available, excerpt prepared post factum), cited in Botz, Wohnungspolitik, 105, from Österreichisches Staatsarchiv.
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