Kidnapping of children by Nazi Germany

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Kidnapping of children by Nazi Germany
Lebensborn document 1.jpg
Letter from Lebensborn office to Reichsdeutsche family of Herr Müller in Germany informing that two perfect boys have been found for them to choose one they like. The boys' names have already been Germanized, 18 December 1943
Foreign children abducted
  • 400,000 throughout Europe [1]
    • 200,000 from occupied Poland [2]
    • 28,000 from territory of today's Belarus [3]
    • 20,000 from the Soviet Union [4]
    • 10,000 from Western and South Eastern Europe [4]
Dead in transit, estimated at tens of thousands, and underage inmates used as source of labour supply, not listed

Kidnapping of foreign children by Nazi Germany (Polish : Rabunek dzieci), part of the Generalplan Ost (GPO), involved taking children regarded as "Aryan-looking" from the rest of Europe and moving them to Nazi Germany for the purpose of Germanization, or indoctrination into becoming culturally German.


At more than 200,000 victims, occupied Poland had the largest proportion of children taken. [2] [5] An estimated 400,000 children were abducted throughout Europe. [1]

The aim of the project was to acquire and "Germanize" children with purportedly Aryan-Nordic traits, who were considered by Nazi officials to be descendants of German settlers that had emigrated to Poland. Those labeled "racially valuable" were forcibly Germanized in centres and then sent to German families and SS Home Schools. [6] In the case of older children used as forced labour in Germany, those determined to be racially "un-German" were sent to extermination camps and concentration camps, where they were either murdered or forced to serve as living test subjects in German medical experiments – and thus often tortured or killed in the process. [7]

Historical contexts

In a well-known speech to his military commanders at Obersalzberg on 22 August 1939, Adolf Hitler condoned the killing without pity or mercy of all men, women, and children of Polish race or language. [8]

On 7 November 1939, Hitler decreed that Heinrich Himmler, whose German title at that time was Reichskomissar für die Festigung deutschen Volkstums, would be responsible for policy regarding the population of occupied territories. The plan to kidnap Polish children most likely was created in a document titled Rassenpolitisches Amt der NSDAP. [9]

On 25 November 1939, Himmler was sent a 40-page document titled (in English translation) "The issue of the treatment of population in former Polish territories from a racial-political view." [9] The last chapter of the document concerns "racially valuable" Polish children and plans to forcefully acquire them for German plans and purposes:

we should exclude from deportations racially valuable children and raise them in old Reich in proper educational facilities or in German family care. The children must not be older than eight or ten years, because only till this age we can truly change their national identification, that is "final Germanization". A condition for this is complete separation from any Polish relatives. Children will be given German names, their ancestry will be led by special office. [9]

On 15 May 1940, in a document titled (in German) Einige Gedanken ueber die Behandlung der Fremdenvoelker im Osten ("A Few Thoughts about the Treatment of Racial Aliens in the East"), and in another "top-secret memorandum with limited distribution, dated 25 May 1940", titled (in English translation) "The Treatment of Racial Aliens in the East", Himmler defined special directives for the kidnapping of Polish children. [8] [10] Himmler "also outlined the administration of incorporated Poland and the General Government, where Poles were to be assigned to compulsory labor, and racially selected children were to be abducted and Germanized." [8]

Among Himmler's core points: [9]

On 20 June 1940, Hitler approved Himmler's directives, ordering copies to be sent to chief organs of the SS, to Gauleiters in German-occupied territories in Central Europe, and to the governor of General Government, and commanding that the operation of kidnapping Polish children in order to seek Aryan descendants for Germanisation be a priority in those territories. Between 1940 and 1945, according to official Polish estimates, approximately 200,000 Polish children were abducted by the Nazis. [12] [13] [14]

Outside Poland

Large numbers of children were also abducted from places other than Poland: about 20,000 children were taken from the Soviet Union and about 10,000 children were taken from Western and South Eastern Europe. [4]

Himmler mused on initiating similar projects in German-occupied France. [15] Hitler's Table Talk records him expressing his belief that "the French problem" would be best solved by yearly extractions of a number of racially healthy children, chosen from "France's Germanic population". He preferred they be placed in German boarding schools, in order to separate them from their "incidental" French nationality, and to make them aware of their "Germanic blood". Hitler responded that the "religious petit-bourgeois tendencies of the French people" would make it almost impossible to "salvage the Germanic elements from the claws of the ruling class of that country". [15] Martin Bormann believed it to be an ingenious policy, noting it in the document record as a [sic] "sinister theory!". [15]

Conditions of transfer

Kidnapping of Polish children during the Nazi-German resettlement operation in Zamosc county. Kidnapping of Polish children by Nazi-German occupants (Zamojszczyzna).jpg
Kidnapping of Polish children during the Nazi-German resettlement operation in Zamość county.

A large percentage of children were kidnapped during expulsions of Poles by Nazi Germany as part of Lebensraum policy. In the Zamość County alone, some 30,000 children were apprehended. [16] Of the 200,000 Polish children deported by the Germans before the war's end, only 15-20 percent were recovered. [7] Over 10,000 children died in camps at Zwierzyniec, Zamość, Auschwitz, Majdanek or during transport in cattle wagons used normally to move livestock. Thousands of them were sent by railway to Garwolin, Mrozów, Sobolew, Łosice, Chełm and other cities. As one witness reported: "I saw children being taken from their mothers, some were even torn from the breast. It was a terrible sight: the agony of the mothers and fathers, the beating by the Germans, and the crying of the children." [7]

The conditions of transfer were very harsh, as the children did not receive food or water for many days. [17] Many children died as a result of suffocation in the summer and cold in the winter. [17] Polish railway workers, often risking their lives, tried to feed the imprisoned children or to give them warm clothes. Sometimes the German guards could be bribed with jewelry or gold to allow the supplies to go through, and in other cases they sold some of the children to Poles. [17] In Bydgoszcz and Gdynia, Poles bought children for 40 Reichsmarks. In some places the German price for a Polish child was 25 zlotys. [7]

The children were kidnapped by force, often after their parents had been murdered in concentration camps or shot as "partisans", including a handful of the children of Lidice. [18] These children would not be permitted to remain even with other living relatives. [19] Some were purportedly from German soldiers and foreign mothers, and others were declared "German orphans" who had been raised by non-German families. [20] Indeed, orphanages and children's homes, along with children living with foster parents, were among the first groups targeted, in the belief that Poles deliberately and systemically Polonized ethnically German children. [21] German foster parents were later told that children had received false Polish birth certificates to rob them of their German heritage. [1]

Later the children were sent to special centres and institutions or to, as Germans called them, "children education camps" (Kindererziehungslager), which, in reality, were selection camps where their "racial values" were tested, their original metrics of birth destroyed, and their Polish names changed to German names, as part of Germanisation. Those children who were classified as "of little value" were sent to Auschwitz or to Treblinka. [7]


Kinder-KZ inside Litzmannstadt Ghetto map signed with number 15; where Polish children were selected. Litzmannstadt Ghetto plan.svg
Kinder-KZ inside Litzmannstadt Ghetto map signed with number 15; where Polish children were selected.
Polish children in Nazi-German labour camp in Dzierzazna near Zgierz. Polish children in Nazi-German labor camp in Dzierzazna.jpg
Polish children in Nazi-German labour camp in Dzierżązna near Zgierz.

The children were placed in special temporary camps of the health department, or Lebensborn e.V., called in German Kindererziehungslager ("children's education camps"). Afterwards they went through special "quality selection" or "racial selection" — a detailed racial examination, combined with psychological tests and medical exams made by experts from RuSHA or doctors from Gesundheitsamt (health department). A child's "racial value" would determine to which of 11 racial types it was assigned, including 62 points assessing body proportions, eye colour, hair colour, and the shape of the skull.

During this testing process, children were divided into three groups (in English translation):

  1. "desired population growth" (erwünschter Bevölkerungszuwachs);
  2. "acceptable population growth" (tragbarer Bevölkerungszuwachs); and
  3. "undesired population growth" (unerwünschter Bevölkerungszuwachs). [22]

The failures that could result in a child, otherwise fitting all racial criteria, into the second group included such traits as "round-headed" referring to the skull shape. [23] Children could be declared the third group for tuberculosis, "degenerate" skull shape, or for "Gypsy characteristics". [24] A girl who was later identified by a small birthmark would have been rejected had the birthmark been much larger. [1]

These racial exams determined the fate of children: whether they would be killed, or sent to concentration camps, or experience other consequences. For example, after forcibly taking a child away from his or her parents, "medical exams" could be performed in secret and in disguise. [25]

Many Nazis were astounded at the number of Polish children found to exhibit "Nordic" traits, but assumed that all such children were genuinely German children, who had been Polonized; Hans Frank summoned up such views when he declared, "When we see a blue-eyed child we are surprised that she is speaking Polish." [7] Among those children thought to be genuinely German were children whose parents had been executed for resisting Germanization. [26]

German documentation

Once selected, the children between six and twelve were sent to special homes. Their names were altered to similar-sounding German ones. [27] They were compelled to learn German and beaten if they persisted in speaking Polish. [28] They were informed their parents were dead even if they were not. [26] Children who would not learn German or remembered their Polish origin were sent back to youth camps in Poland. [23] In some cases, the efforts were so successful that the children lived and died believing themselves to be Germans. [7] Very young children, between two and six, were sent to Lebensborn homes, which had originally been instituted to provide shelter for unwed mothers and illegitimate children deemed racially valuable. There, they would be observed for a period. [1]

In either case, if they were not disqualified at the respective institution, they were placed for adoption. The Nazis would devise German names and new birth certificates to hide their pasts. In the process, they were referred to as "Polonized German children" or "Children of German descent" or even "German orphans." [7] Orders forbade making the term "Germanizable Polish children" known to the public. [1] This was to prevent their being viewed as Poles by the people they met, and so stigmatized. Some parents were informed that the children's birth certificates had been falsified, to show them as Poles and rob them of their German heritage. [1] The authorities were reluctant to let the children be officially adopted, as the proceedings might reveal their Polish origin. Indeed, some children were maltreated when their adoptive parents learned that they were Polish. [26]

Adoption was also problematic because surveillance or more information might reveal problems with the child. [24] When it was learned that Rosalie K's mother was epileptic, for instance, it was immediately concluded, despite the wishes of her German foster parents, that Germanization, education and adoption were therefore not justifiable. [29]

When adoptive parents demanded adoption certificates, such records were forged for them. [24]

Murder of Zamość children in Auschwitz

Czeslawa Kwoka, one of many Polish children murdered at Auschwitz by the Nazis Czeslawa-Kwoka2.jpg
Czesława Kwoka, one of many Polish children murdered at Auschwitz by the Nazis

At Auschwitz concentration camp 200 to 300 Polish children from the Zamość area were murdered by the Nazis by phenol injections. The child was placed on a stool, occasionally blindfolded with a piece of a towel. The person performing the execution then placed one of his hands on the back of the child's neck and another behind the shoulder blade. As the child's chest was thrust out a long needle was used to inject a toxic dose of phenol into the chest. The children usually died in minutes. A witness described the process as deadly efficient: "As a rule not even a moan would be heard. And they did not wait until the doomed person really died. During his agony, he was taken from both sides under the armpits and thrown into a pile of corpses in another room… And the next victim took his place on the stool." [30]

To trick the soon-to-be murdered children into obedience Germans promised them that they would work at a brickyard. However another group of children, young boys by the age of 8 to 12, managed to warn their fellow child inmates by calling for help when they were being killed by the Nazis: "Mamo! Mamo!" ('Mum! Mum!'), the dying screams of the youngsters, were heard by several inmates and made an indelible haunting impression on them.'" [30]

Some of the children were also murdered in Auschwitz gas chambers; others died as a result of the camp conditions. [31]

German medical experiments on kidnapped children

Those children who did not pass harsh Nazi exams and criteria and who were therefore selected during the operation, were sent as test subjects for experiments in special centres. [32] Children sent there ranged from eight months to 18 years. Two such centres were located in German-occupied Poland. One of them, Medizinische Kinderheilanstalt, was in Lubliniec in Upper Silesia – in this centre children were also subject to forced "euthanasia"; [32] while the second was located in Cieszyn. Children were given psychoactive drugs, chemicals and other substances for medical tests, although it was generally known that the true purpose of those procedures was their mass extermination. [32]

Weaker children subject to experiments usually died in a relatively short time from doses of drugs, and those that survived brought great curiosity; all side effects were recorded as well as their behaviour. As most died, the documentation was forged to conceal traces of experiments, for example, giving the cause of death as from a lung infection or a weak heart. Based on statistics of deaths in the special camp in Lublin, it was estimated that from the 235 children between ages 10 to 14 who received shots of the barbiturate Luminal, 221 died. [32] From August 1942 until November 1944, 94 percent of children who had been subjected to German medical experiments died.[ citation needed ]


In a plan called "Heuaktion", described in a "top secret" memorandum submitted to German Interior Minister Heinrich Himmler on 10 June 1944, SS Obergruppenfuehrer Gottlob Berger — Chief of the Political Directing Staff (head of the SS main leadership office in Berlin), a co-author of Himmler's pamphlet Der Untermensch , and a promoter of the pamphlet Mit Schwert und Wiege (With Sword and Cradle) for the recruitment of non-Germans — proposed that the German 9th Army "evacuate" 40,000–50,000 children between 10 and 14 from the "territory of Army Group 'Centre' " to work for the Third Reich. [33]

Heuaktion was not widely implemented, due in part perhaps to the following arguments against it: "The Minister [Himmler] feared that the action would have most unfavourable political consequences, that it would be regarded as abduction of children, and that the juveniles did not represent a real asset to the enemy's military strength anyhow.... The Minister would like to see the action confined to the 15–17 year olds." [33] Between March and October 1944, however, 28,000 children between the ages of 10 and 18 were deported from Belarus for work in the German arms industry. [3] [34]

Post-war repatriation efforts

The extent of the program became clear to Allied forces over the course of months, as they found groups of "Germanized" children and became aware that many more were in the German population. [35] Locating these children turned up their stories of forcible instruction in the German language and how the failures were killed. [36] Teams were constituted to search for the children, a particularly important point when dealing with institutions, where a single investigator could only interview a few children before all the rest were coached to provide false information. [37] Many children had to be lured into speaking the truth; as for instance complimenting their German and asking how long they had spoken it, and only when told that a nine-year-old had spoken German for four years, pointing out that they must have spoken before then, whereupon the child could be brought to admit to having spoken Polish. [38] Some children suffered emotional trauma when they were removed from their adoptive German parents, often the only parents they remembered, and returned to their biological parents, when they no longer remembered Polish, only German. [1] The older children generally remembered Poland; ones as young as ten had forgotten much, but could often be reminded by such things as Polish nursery rhymes; the youngest had no memories that could be recalled. [1]

Allied forces made efforts to repatriate them. [39] However, many children, particularly Polish and Yugoslavian who were among the first taken, declared on being found that they were German. [39] Russian and Ukrainian children, while not gotten to this stage, still had been taught to hate their native countries and did not want to return. [39] While many foster parents voluntarily brought forth well-cared-for children, other children proved to be abused or used for labour, and still others went to great efforts to hide the children. [40]

After the war, The United States of America v. Ulrich Greifelt, et al., or the RuSHA Trial, the eighth of the twelve Nuremberg Trials, dealt with the kidnapping of children by the Nazis. [41] Many children testified, although many of their parents were afraid to let them return to Germany. [42] From 1947 to 1948, the Nuremberg Trials ruled that the abductions, exterminations, and Germanization constituted genocide. [43]

Only 10 to 15 percent of those abducted returned to their homes. [44] When Allied effort to identify such children ceased, 13,517 inquiries were still open, and it was clear that German authorities would not be returning them. [45]

Today in Germany, it is believed that hundreds of thousands of Germans might be descended from kidnapped Polish children. However it is very unlikely that people are aware of having hidden Polish ancestry, and cases of having any such knowledge are extremely rare.[ citation needed ]


After the war, a memorial plate was made in Lublin dedicated to railway workers who tried to save Polish children from German captivity. [46]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Gitta Sereny, "Stolen Children", rpt. in Jewish Virtual Library (American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise). Accessed September 15, 2008. (Reprinted by permission of the author from Talk [November 1999].)
  2. 1 2 Volker R. Berghahn, "Germans and Poles 1871–1945", in Germany and Eastern Europe: Cultural Identities and Cultural Differences. New York and Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999.
  3. 1 2 Harald Knoll (2005). Günter Bischof; Stefan Karner; Barbara Stelzl-Marx; Edith Petschnigg (eds.). Späte Heimkehr Als Kriegsverbrecher verurteilte österreichische Kriegsgefangene in der Sowjetunion 1944 bis 1953. Kriegsgefangene des Zweiten Weltkrieges: Gefangennahme, Lagerleben, Rückkehr : zehn Jahre Ludwig Boltzmann-Institut für Kriegsfolgen-Forschung. Munich and Wien: Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag. p. 177. ISBN   3486578189 via Google Books snippet; no Limited preview available.
  4. 1 2 3 A. Dirk Moses (2004). Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books. p. 260. ISBN   978-1-57181-410-4. Limited preview. Google Books.
  5. A. Dirk Moses (2004). Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2004. p. 247. ISBN   978-1-57181-410-4 . Retrieved 2008-09-16. Limited preview. Google Books.
  6. A. Dirk Moses (2004). Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books. p. 255. ISBN   978-1-57181-410-4 . Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Lukas, Richard C (2001). "2, 3". Germanization. Did the Children Cry? Hitler's War against Jewish and Polish Children, 1939–1945. New York: Hippocrene Books. Retrieved September 15, 2008.
  8. 1 2 3 Sybil Milton (1997). "Non-Jewish Children in the Camps". Multimedia Learning Center Online (Annual 5, Chapter 2). The Simon Wiesenthal Center. Archived from the original on 2010-12-15. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 Roman Zbigniew Hrabar (1960). Hitlerowski rabunek dzieci polskich: Uprowadzanie i germanizowanie dzieci polskich w latach 1939-1945 (in Polish). Śląski Instytut Naukowy w Katowicach, Katowice: Wydawnictwo Śląsk. p. 28.
  10. Roman Zbigniew Hrabar (1960). Hitlerowski rabunek dzieci polskich: Uprowadzanie i germanizowanie dzieci polskich w latach 1939-1945. Śląski Instytut Naukowy w Katowicach, Katowice: Wydawnictwo Śląsk. p. 29.
  11. Bullivant, Keith; Giles, Geoffrey J; Pape, Walter (1999). "Germany and Eastern Europe: Cultural Identities and Cultural Differences". Rodopi: 32.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. Nowa Encyklopedia Powszechna PWN (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, 2004), 2: 613. ISBN   83-01-14181-6.
  13. Czesław Madajczyk (1961). Generalna Gubernia w planach hitlerowskich. Studia (in Polish). Warsaw: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe. p. 49.
  14. Roman Z. Hrabar (1960). Hitlerowski rabunek dzieci polskich: Uprowadzanie i germanizowanie dzieci polskich w latach 1939-1945 (in Polish). Śląski Instytut Naukowy w Katowicach, Katowice: Wydawnictwo Śląsk. p. 93.
  15. 1 2 3 Hitler, Adolf; Weinberg, Gerhard L. (2007). Hitler's table talk, 1941-1944: his private conversations, p. 303. Enigma Books.
  16. Julian Grudzień (May 2004). "Polacy wypędzeni" (PDF). Dzieci Zamojszczyzny. Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, Pamięć.pl. 5 (40): 18–22 (16–20/24 in PDF). ... to co, się działo na Zamojszczyźnie, szczególnie w pierwszym rzucie wysiedleń, począwszy od listopada 1942 r. i zimą, do lutego 1943 r., to była sprawa wręcz nie do opowiedzenia; mróz sięgał trzydziestu stopni i poniżej. I w takich warunkach rozpoczęły się transporty kolejowe z obozu zamojskiego (od 10 listopada 1942 r.) w okolice Siedlec.
  17. 1 2 3 Richard C. Lukas, Forgotten Holocaust p. 22, ISBN   0-7818-0528-7.
  18. Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p 253-4 ISBN   0-679-77663-X
  19. Richard C. Lukas, Forgotten Holocaust p. 27, ISBN   0-7818-0528-7.
  20. A. Dirk Moses (2004). Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books. p. 248. ISBN   978-1-57181-410-4 . Retrieved 2008-09-16. Limited preview. Google Books.
  21. Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p 244-5 ISBN   0-679-77663-X
  22. Roman Z. Hrabar. Hitlerowski rabunek dzieci polskich: Uprowadzanie i germanizowanie dzieci polskich w latach 1939-1945. Śląski Instytut Naukowy w Katowicach, Katowice: Wydawnictwo Śląsk, 1960. p. 43.
  23. 1 2 Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p 250 ISBN   0-679-77663-X
  24. 1 2 3 Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p 251 ISBN   0-679-77663-X
  25. Roman Z. Hrabar. Hitlerowski rabunek dzieci polskich: Uprowadzanie i germanizowanie dzieci polskich w latach 1939-1945. Śląski Instytut Naukowy w Katowicach, Katowice: Wydawnictwo Śląsk, 1960. p. 44.
  26. 1 2 3 Janusz Gumkowski and Kazimierz Leszczyński (1961). Hitler's Plans for Eastern Europe. Poland Under Nazi Occupation. Warsaw: Polonia Publishing House. pp. 7–33, 164–78. Archived from the original on 2012-05-27. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
  27. Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p. 249 ISBN   0-679-77663-X
  28. Melissa Eddy (2007-05-08). "Stolen: The Story of a Polish Child 'Germanized' by the Nazis". StarNewsOnline (Wilmington, North Carolina). Associated Press . Retrieved 2008-09-16. If they met racial guidelines, they were taken; one girl got back home.
  29. Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p 251-2 ISBN   0-679-77663-X
  30. 1 2 Lukas, Richard C (2001). "4, 1". Germanization. Did the Children Cry? Hitler's War against Jewish and Polish Children, 1939–1945. New York: Hippocrene Books. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  31. Photograph by Ryszard Domasik. "Block no. 6: Exhibition: The Life of the Prisoners". Poland: Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Poland. Archived from the original on 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2008-09-03. Part of the exhibition in Block 6. In this block, there is a presentation of the conditions under which people became concentration camp prisoners and died as a result of inhumanly hard labor, starvation, disease, and experiments, as well as executions and various types of torture and punishment. There are photographs here of prisoners who died in the camp, documents, and works of art illustrating camp life. Auschwitz I. Exhibition department
  32. 1 2 3 4 Kamila Uzarczyk. Podstawy ideologiczne higieny ras. Toruń: Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek, 2002. pp. 285–89. ISBN   83-7322-287-1.
  33. 1 2 Memorandum: Re: Evacuation of youths from the territory of Army Group "Center" (Heu-Aktion). The Avalon Project: Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. 2. The Avalon Project (Yale University). 1944-06-12. Archived from the original on 19 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-24. Translation of Document 031-PS: Chief of the Political Directing Staff, personal referee, Berlin, 12 June 1944: TOP SECRET: Copy No. 1 of 2 copies: The Army Group 'Centre' has the intention to apprehend 40–50,000 youths at the ages of 10 to 14 who are in the Army Territories, and to transport them to the Reich. This measure was originally proposed by the 9th Army. These youths cause considerable inconvenience in the Theatre of Operations. To the greater part these youths are without supervision of their parents since men and women in the theatres of operations have been and will be conscripted into labour battalions to be used in the construction of fortifications. Therefore Children's Villages are to be established behind the front, for the younger age groups, and under native supervision. To collect adequate experiences the 9th Army has already established such a Children's Village and has achieved good results also from the political viewpoint. Army Group further emphasizes that these youths must not be allowed! [sic] to fall into the hands of the Bolsheviks in case of a withdrawal since that would amount to reinforcing the enemy's potential war strength. This measure is to be strongly fortified by propaganda under the slogan: Care of the Reich for White-Ruthenian Children, Protection against Brigandry. The action has already started in the 5 kilometre zone. The Youth Bureau has already had preliminary talks with the Organization Todt and with the Junkers works. It is intended to allot these juveniles primarily to the German trades as apprentices to be used as skilled workers after 2 years' training. This is to be arranged through the Organization Todt which is especially equipped for such a task through its technical and other set-ups. This action is being… greatly welcomed by the German trade since it represents a decisive measure for the alleviation of the shortage of apprentices[.]
  34. Timm C. Richter (1998). "Herrenmensch" und "Bandit". Deutsche Kriegsführung und Besatzungspolitik als Kontext des sowjetischen Partisanenkrieges (1941-44). 3. Reihe: Zeitgeschichte — Zeitverständnis. p. 106. ISBN   3-8258-3680-0. Limited preview. Google Books.
  35. Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p 501-2 ISBN   0-679-77663-X
  36. Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p 502 ISBN   0-679-77663-X
  37. Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p 505 ISBN   0-679-77663-X
  38. Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p 506 ISBN   0-679-77663-X
  39. 1 2 3 Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p 479 ISBN   0-679-77663-X
  40. Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p 508-9 ISBN   0-679-77663-X
  41. Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p 507 ISBN   0-679-77663-X
  42. Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p 507-8 ISBN   0-679-77663-X
  43. "Trial of Ulrich Greifelt and Others, United States Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 10 October 1947 – 10 March 1948, Part IV". Archived from the original on 2007-06-11. [T]he crime of genocide… was taken by the prosecution and the Tribunal as a general concept defining the background of the total range of specific offences committed by the accused, which in themselves constitute crimes against humanity and/or war crimes.
  44. Piotrowski, Tadeusz (1998). Poland's Holocaust: Ethnic Strife, Collaboration with Occupying Forces and Genocide in the Second Republic, 1918–1947. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co. p. 22. ISBN   978-0-7864-0371-4.
  45. Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p 513 ISBN   0-679-77663-X
  46. Marek J. Szubiak (2002-12-10). "Dzieciństwo zabrała wojna". Newsroom (in Polish). Roztocze Online (P. Rogalski & R. Moteka). Archived from the original on 2016-04-23. Retrieved 2008-09-24.

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Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel, and a leading member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) of Germany. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and a main architect of the Holocaust.

League of German Girls Girls wing of the Nazi Party youth movement

The League of German Girls or Band of German Maidens was the girls' wing of the Nazi Party youth movement, the Hitler Youth. It was the only legal female youth organization in Nazi Germany.

Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany

Following the Invasion of Poland at the beginning of World War II, nearly a quarter of the entire territory of the Second Polish Republic was annexed by Nazi Germany and placed directly under the German civil administration. The rest of Nazi occupied Poland was renamed as the General Government district. The annexation was part of the "fourth" partition of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, outlined months before the invasion, in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.

<i>Reichsgau Wartheland</i> Nazi administrative subdivision

The Reichsgau Wartheland was a Nazi German Reichsgau formed from parts of Polish territory annexed in 1939 during World War II. It comprised the region of Greater Poland and adjacent areas. Parts of Warthegau matched the similarly named pre-Versailles Prussian province of Posen. The name was initially derived from the capital city, Posen (Poznań), and later from the main river, Warthe (Warta).

Germanisation, or Germanization, is the spread of the German language, people and culture. It was a central plank of German conservative thinking in the 19th and 20th centuries, during a period when conservatism and ethno-nationalism went hand-in-hand. In linguistics, Germanisation also occurs when a word from the German language is adopted into a foreign language.

Nazi–Soviet population transfers Population transfers between 1939 and 1941 of ethnic Germans and ethnic East Slavs in an agreement according to the German–Soviet Frontier Treaty

The Nazi–Soviet population transfers were population transfers between 1939 and 1941 of ethnic Germans (actual) and ethnic East Slavs (planned) in an agreement according to the German–Soviet Frontier Treaty between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

<i>Rassenschande</i> Nazi term for sexual relations between Aryans and non-Aryans, punishable by law

Rassenschande or Blutschande was an anti-miscegenation concept in Nazi German racial policy, pertaining to sexual relations between Aryans and non-Aryans. It was put into practice by policies like the Aryan certificate requirement, and later the Nuremberg Laws, adopted unanimously by the Reichstag on 15 September 1935. Initially, these laws referred predominantly to relations between Germans and non-Aryans. In the early stages the culprits were targeted informally, and then later on punished systematically by a repressive legal apparatus.

Propaganda in Nazi Germany

The propaganda used by the German Nazi Party in the years leading up to and during Adolf Hitler's leadership of Germany (1933–1945) was a crucial instrument for acquiring and maintaining power, and for the implementation of Nazi policies. The pervasive use of propaganda by the Nazis is largely responsible for the word propaganda itself acquiring its present negative connotations.

Nazism and race Racist foundations of Nazism

Nazism and race concerns the Nazi Party's adoption and further development of several hypotheses concerning their concept of race. Classifications of human races were made and various measurements of population samples were carried out during the 1930s.

Nazi crimes against the Polish nation WWII war crimes

Crimes against the Polish nation committed by Nazi Germany and Axis collaborationist forces during the invasion of Poland, along with auxiliary battalions during the subsequent occupation of Poland in World War II, consisted of the murder of millions of ethnic Poles and the systematic extermination of Jewish Poles. The Germans justified these genocides on the basis of Nazi racial theory, which regarded Poles and other Slavic peoples as racially inferior Untermenschen and depicted Jews as a constant threat. By 1942, the Nazi Germans were implementing their plan to kill every Jew in German-occupied Europe, and had also developed plans to eliminate the Polish people through mass murder, ethnic cleansing, enslavement and extermination through labor, and assimilation into German identity of a small minority of Poles deemed "racially valuable". During World War II, the Germans not only murdered millions of Poles, but ethnically cleansed millions more through forced deportation to make room for “racially superior” German settlers. The genocides claimed the lives of 2.7 to 3 million Polish Jews and 1.8 to 2.77 million non-Jewish ethnic Poles, according to various sources such as Poland's Institute of National Remembrance

Heimkehr is a 1941 Nazi German anti-Polish propaganda film directed by Gustav Ucicky.


The Deutsche Volksliste, a Nazi Party institution, aimed to classify inhabitants of Nazi-occupied territories (1939-1945) into categories of desirability according to criteria systematised by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. The institution originated in occupied western Poland. Similar schemes subsequently developed in Occupied France (1940-1944) and in the Reichskommissariat Ukraine (1941-1944).

Nazi birthing centres for foreign workers

During World War II, Nazi birthing centres for foreign workers, known in German as Ausländerkinder-Pflegestätte, Ostarbeiterkinderpflegestätten, or Säuglingsheim were German institutions used as stations for abandoned infants, Nazi Party facilities established in the heartland of Nazi Germany for the so-called 'troublesome' babies according to Himmler's decree, the offspring born to foreign women and girls servicing the German war economy, including Polish and Eastern European female forced labour. The babies and children, most of them resulting from rape at the place of enslavement, were abducted en masse between 1943 and 1945. At some locations, up to 90 percent of infants died a torturous death due to calculated neglect.


Ostarbeiter was a Nazi German designation for foreign slave workers gathered from occupied Central and Eastern Europe to perform forced labor in Germany during World War II. The Germans started deporting civilians at the beginning of the war and began doing so at unprecedented levels following Operation Barbarossa in 1941. They apprehended Ostarbeiter from the newly-formed German districts of Reichskommissariat Ukraine, District of Galicia, and Reichskommissariat Ostland. These areas comprised German-occupied Poland and the conquered territories of the Soviet Union. According to Pavel Polian, over 50% of Ostarbeiters were formerly Soviet subjects originating from the territory of modern-day Ukraine, followed by Polish women workers. Eastern workers included ethnic Ukrainians, Poles, Belarusians, Russians, Tatars, and others. Estimates of the number of Ostarbeiter range between 3 million and 5.5 million.


The Heuaktion was a Nazi German World War II operation, in which 40,000 to 50,000 Polish children aged 10 to 14 were kidnapped by the German occupational forces and transported to Germany proper as slave labourers. The term "heuaktion" was an acronym for homeless, parent-less and unhoused. After arriving in Germany, the children were handed over to Organisation Todt and the Junkers aircraft works. The intention of the mass abduction was to pressure the adult populations of the occupied territories to register as workers in the Reich, and to weaken the “biological strength” of the areas of the Soviet republics which Germany had invaded.

Themes in Nazi propaganda Propaganda of the German Nazi regime, 1933 - 1945

The propaganda of the National Socialist German Workers' Party regime that governed Germany from 1933 to 1945 promoted Nazi ideology by demonizing the enemies of the Nazi Party, notably Jews and communists, but also capitalists and intellectuals. It promoted the values asserted by the Nazis, including heroic death, Führerprinzip, Volksgemeinschaft, Blut und Boden and pride in the Germanic Herrenvolk. Propaganda was also used to maintain the cult of personality around Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, and to promote campaigns for eugenics and the annexation of German-speaking areas. After the outbreak of World War II, Nazi propaganda vilified Germany's enemies, notably the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States, and in 1943 exhorted the population to total war.

Expulsion of Poles by Nazi Germany

The Expulsion of Poles by Nazi Germany during World War II was a massive Nazi German operation consisting of the forced resettlement of over 1.7 million Poles from all territories of occupied Poland with the aim of their geopolitical Germanization between 1939–1944. The expulsions were justified by Nazi racial doctrine, which depicted Poles and other Slavs as racially inferior Untermenschen.

In Nazi Germany, the state gave a number of honorary titles to certain German cities. Not included in this list is the Polish city of Zamość, which, in 1942, was planned to be renamed Himmlerstadt, after Heinrich Himmler.

Ethnic cleansing of Zamojszczyzna by Nazi Germany Attempt of colonization during WW II

The ethnic cleansing of Zamojszczyzna by Nazi Germany during World War II was carried out as part of a greater plan of forcible removal of the entire Polish populations from targeted regions of occupied Poland in preparation for the state-sponsored settlement of the ethnic German Volksdeutsche. The operation of mass expulsions from Zamojszczyzna region around the city of Zamość was carried out between November 1942 and March 1943 on direct order from Heinrich Himmler. It was preplanned by both, Globocnik from Action Reinhard and Himmler, as the first stage of the eventual murderous ethnic cleansing ahead of projected Germanization of the entire General Government territory.

Germanisation in Poland (1939–1945) was an intense process of Germanisation during World War II carried out by Nazi Germany in Occupied Poland.