Reichskommissariat Ukraine

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Reichskommissariat Ukraine

Reichskommissariat Ukraine (1942).svg
Reichskommissariat Ukraine in 1942.
Status Reichskommissariat of Germany
Capital Rivne
Common languages German (official)
Crimean Tatar
Government Totalitarian dictatorship
Erich Koch
Historical era World War II
20 August 1941
29 August 1944
Currency Karbovanets
ISO 3166 code UA
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Ukrainian SSR (1937-1949).svg Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic Flag of Ukrainian SSR (1937-1949).svg
Today part ofFlag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland
Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus
Part of a series on the
History of Ukraine
Lesser Coat of Arms of Ukraine.svg
Flag of Ukraine.svg Ukraineportal

During World War II, Reichskommissariat Ukraine (abbreviated as RKU) was the civilian occupation regime ( Reichskommissariat ) of much of Nazi German-occupied Ukraine (which included adjacent areas of modern-day Belarus and pre-war Second Polish Republic). Between September 1941 and August 1944, the Reichskommissariat was administered by Erich Koch as the Reichskommissar . The administration's tasks included the pacification of the region and the exploitation, for German benefit, of its resources and people. Adolf Hitler issued a Führer Decree defining the administration of the newly occupied Eastern territories on 17 July 1941. [1]

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

<i>Reichskommissariat</i> areas occupied by Nazi Germany during the Second World War

Reichskommissariat is the German designation for a type of administrative entity headed by a government official known as a Reichskommissar. Although many different such offices existed primarily throughout the Imperial German and Nazi periods in a number of different fields it is most commonly used to refer to the quasi-colonial administrative territorial entity established by Nazi Germany in several occupied countries during World War II. While officially located outside the German Reich in a legal sense, these entities were directly controlled by their supreme civil authorities, who ruled their assigned territories as German governors on behalf of and as direct representatives of Adolf Hitler.

Ukraine Sovereign state in Eastern Europe

Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religions in the country are Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.


Before the German invasion, Ukraine was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, inhabited by Ukrainians with Russian, Polish, Jewish, Belarusian, German, Romani and Crimean Tatar minorities. It was a key subject of Nazi planning for the post-war expansion of the German state.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is by total population the seventh-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens. The people of Ukraine have historically been known as "Rusyns (Ruthenians)" and "Cossacks", among others. According to most dictionary definitions, a descriptive name for the "inhabitants of Ukraine" is Ukrainian or Ukrainian people.

Russians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Eastern Europe, the most numerous ethnic group in Europe. The majority of ethnic Russians live in the Russian Federation, notable minorities exist in other former Soviet states such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Ukraine and the Baltic states. A large Russian diaspora also exists all over the world, with notable numbers in the United States, Germany, Brazil, and Canada. The culture of the ethnic Russian people has a long tradition and it is a foundation for the modern culture of the whole of Russia. The Russian language originally was the language of ethnic Russians. They are historically Orthodox Christians by religion.


Nazi Germany launched Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 in breach of the mutual Treaty of Non-aggression. The German invasion resulted in the collapse of the western elements of the Soviet Red Army in the former territories of Poland annexed by the Soviet Union. On July 16, 1941, Hitler appointed the Nazi Gauleiter Erich Koch as the Reichskommissar for the planned "Reichskommissariat Ukraine", which was created by the Führer's decree on August 20, 1941. Originally subject to Alfred Rosenberg's Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories, it became a separate German civil entity. The first transfer of Soviet Ukrainian territory from military to civil administration took place on September 1, 1941. There were further transfers on October 20 and November 1, 1941, and a final transfer on September 1, 1942, which brought the boundaries of the province to beyond the Dnieper river.

Nazi Germany The German state from 1933 to 1945, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler

Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.

Operation Barbarossa 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union during the Second World War

Operation Barbarossa was the code name for the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, which started on Sunday, 22 June 1941, during World War II. The operation stemmed from Nazi Germany's ideological aims to conquer the western Soviet Union so that it could be repopulated by Germans (Lebensraum), to use Slavs as a slave labour force for the Axis war effort and to annihilate the rest according to Generalplan Ost, and to acquire the oil reserves of the Caucasus and the agricultural resources of Soviet territories.

Red Army 1917–1946 ground and air warfare branch of the Soviet Unions military

The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, frequently shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution. The Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; taking the official name of "Soviet Army", until its dissolution in December 1991. The former official name Red Army continued to be used as a nickname by both sides throughout the Cold War.

In the mind of Adolf Hitler and other German expansionists, the destruction of the USSR, dubbed a "Judeo-Bolshevist" state, would remove a threat from Germany's eastern borders and allow for the colonization of the vast territories of Eastern Europe under the banner of "Lebensraum" (living space) for the fulfilment of the material needs of the Germanic people. Ideological declarations about the German Herrenvolk (master race) having a right to expand their territory especially in the East were widely spread among the German public and Nazi officials of various ranks. Later on, in 1943, Erich Koch said about his mission: "We are a master race, which must remember that the lowliest German worker is racially and biologically a thousand times more valuable than the population here." [2]

Adolf Hitler Leader of Germany from 1934 to 1945

Adolf Hitler was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party. He rose to power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and later Führer in 1934. During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland in September 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust.

Jewish Bolshevism, also Judeo–Bolshevism, is an anti-communist and antisemitic canard, which alleges that the Jews were the originators of the Russian Revolution in 1917, and that they held primary power among the Bolsheviks who led the revolution. Similarly, the conspiracy theory of Jewish Communism alleges that Jews have dominated the Communist movements in the world, and is related to The Zionist Occupation Government conspiracy theory (ZOG), which alleges that Jews control world politics.

<i lang="de" title="German language text">Lebensraum</i> "Living space", one of the Nazi Partys goals at obtaining for superior races

The German concept of Lebensraum comprises policies and practices of settler colonialism which proliferated in Germany from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, Lebensraum became a geopolitical goal of Imperial Germany in World War I (1914–1918) originally, as the core element of the Septemberprogramm of territorial expansion. The most extreme form of this ideology was supported by the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and Nazi Germany until the end of World War II.

On 14 December 1941, Rosenberg discussed with Hitler various administrative issues regarding the Reichskommissariat Ukraine. [3] These included a dispute over Koch's status and access to Hitler, manpower shortages over gathering the harvest, Hitler's insistence that the Crimea and much of Southern Ukraine was to be "cleaned out" (i.e., unwanted nationalities to be removed), and directly attached to the Reich as a district called Gotenland ("Land of the Goths") the renaming of cities such as Simferopol to "Gotenburg" and Sevastopol to "Theodorichshafen" (after the ancient Gothic King Theodoric the Great) and an adjustment to the border with Romanian-controlled Transnistria to remove overlooking of the shipyards at Mykolaiv.

Goths East Germanic ethnolinguistic group

The Goths were an East Germanic people, two of whose branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Western Roman Empire through the long series of Gothic Wars and in the emergence of Medieval Europe. The Goths dominated a vast area, which at its peak under the Germanic king Ermanaric and his sub-king Athanaric possibly extended all the way from the Danube to the Don, and from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.

Simferopol City on the Crimean Peninsula

Simferopol is a city on the Crimean Peninsula which is, since the 2014 annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, the de facto capital city of the Republic of Crimea within the Russian Federation. De jure, it remains the capital city of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea within Ukraine. The status of Crimea is disputed between Russia and Ukraine as a result of the 2014 vote to join Russia, which was held during Russian military intervention, and the subsequent annexation. Simferopol is an important political, economic and transport hub of the peninsula, and serves as the administrative centre of both Simferopol Municipality and Simferopol District, though it does not belong to the district. Population: 332,317 .

Sevastopol Place in City with special status, Disputed:

Sevastopol is the largest city on the Crimean Peninsula and a major Black Sea port. Since annexing Crimea in 2014, the Russian Federation has administered Sevastopol as a federal city. Nevertheless, Ukraine and most of the UN member countries continue to regard Sevastopol as a city with special status within Ukraine. The population is made up of mostly Russians with small numbers of Ukrainians and Tatars.

Nazi propaganda poster in Ukrainian that says "Hitler, the Liberator!". Gitler-vizvolitel.jpg
Nazi propaganda poster in Ukrainian that says "Hitler, the Liberator!".

Hitler decreed the creation of the Nazi Party organization Arbeitsbereich Osten der NSDAP for the new eastern occupied territories on April 1, 1942. This move had been bitterly resisted by both Rosenberg, who rightly feared that the transformation of the administration of the eastern territories from a state to a party bureaucracy would spell the effective end of the authority of his ministry (which was a state organ), and Heinrich Himmler, who rightly feared that an arbeitsbereich's establishment would be accompanied by the commissars becoming RVKs (commissars for war) and thus enormously empowered at the expense of the SS, which had already been steadily losing ground since late September the previous year, when the commissariat government began establishing itself with local commissars asserting control over the police in their territories, hitherto controlled by the SS. Himmler and Rosenberg's rearguard resistance soon collapsed in the face of pressure from Martin Bormann in Berlin, and Koch and Lohse in the field. Rosenberg at least managed to be appointed Reichsleiter ("Reich leader") of the new arbeitsbereich. Rosenberg later attempted to take such political power into the political section of the ministry to keep all party issues in his control, and prohibited the creation of organizations and any political activity in the East without his express authorization. Needless to say he was entirely disobeyed. Hoping that by joining forces they might regain some influence, Himmler and Rosenberg decided upon the appointment of Gottlob Berger, Himmler's power-political hatchet man and the SS's head of personnel, as Rosenberg's deputy, a move which in theory would give Rosenberg control over SS forces in the occupied Soviet territories under civil administration in return for his support for the SS in its power struggles. The partnership between Rosenberg and Himmler achieved nothing other than the exasperation of each other beyond endurance and Berger soon withdrew all cooperation. Koch and Lohse thereafter gradually reduced communication with Rosenberg, liaising with Hitler through Bormann and the party chancellery. Both also made a point of establishing strong SA organisations in their jurisdiction as a counterbalance to the SS. Given that many of the commissariat officials were active or reserve SA officers, the pre-existing grudge against the SS was resurrected by these measures and a poisoning of relations was guaranteed. As a last resort, the Höherer SS- und Polizeiführer (HSSPF) in Ukraine, Hans-Adolf Prutzmann, attempted to approach Koch directly only to be contemptuously abused and dismissed.

Nazi Party Fascist political party in Germany (1920-1945)

The National Socialist German Workers' Party, commonly referred to in English as the Nazi Party, was a far-right political party in Germany that was active between 1920 and 1945, that created and supported the ideology of National Socialism. Its precursor, the German Workers' Party, existed from 1919 to 1920.

Heinrich Himmler High Nazi Germany official, head of the SS

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.

Martin Bormann Nazi Party leader and private secretary to Adolf Hitler

Martin Ludwig Bormann was a German Nazi Party official and head of the Nazi Party Chancellery. He gained immense power by using his position as Adolf Hitler's private secretary to control the flow of information and access to Hitler. After Hitler's suicide on 30 April 1945, he was Party Minister of the National Socialist German Workers' Party.


The Reichskommissariat Ukraine excluded several parts of present-day Ukraine, and included some territories outside of its modern borders. It extended in the west from the Volhyn' region around Lutsk, to a line from Vinnytsia to Mykolaiv along the Southern Bug river in the south, to the areas surrounding Kyiv, Poltava and Zaporizhia in the east. Conquered territories further to the east, including the rest of Ukraine (the Crimea, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and the Donbas/Donets Basin), were under military governance until 1943–44. At its greatest extent, it included just under 340,000 square kilometers.

Eastern Galicia was transferred to the control of the General Government following a Hitler decree, becoming its fifth district (Distrikt Galizien). Former Soviet territory between the Southern Bug and Dniester rivers was also excluded from the Reichskommissariat Ukraine; this was given to Romania and named "Transnistria" or "Transniestra", governed from Odesa by Dr. Alexeanu, the Romanian Governor.

It also encompassed several southern parts of today's Belarus, including Polesia, a large area to the north of the Pripyat river with forests and marshes, as well as the city of Brest-Litovsk, and the towns of Pinsk and Mazyr. [4] This was done by the Germans in order to secure a steady wood supply and efficient railroad and water transportation. [4]


The Staatssekretär 'Secretary of State' Herbert Backe was personally nominated by the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, Alfred Rosenberg. His ministry produced the "Instruktion für einen Reichskommissar in der Ukraine" for the direction of future administrators of the Reichskommissariat Ukraine.

"Die Reichskommissare unterstehen dem Reichsminister für die besetzen Ostgebiete und erhalten ausschliesslich von ihm Weisungen..." ( translat.: The Reich's Commissioners are subordinated under the Reich's minister for the occupied eastern territories and receive only orders from him) was the "Führer" decree for the administration of the new eastern territories, the Reichskommissars reported to the Eastern Affairs Ministry.

The capital of this German administration was in Rivne in Western Ukraine.

The German Administration gave the role of "Chief of Ukrainian Principal Commission" to Professor Wolodomyr Kubijowytsch, an early local supporter.

The civil and criminal justice local administration, apart from the local SS and Wehrmacht military justice branches, was staffed by "Parteien Chef", "Bailiffs", "Mayors", with supervision of German "Schoffen" (Advisers) and "Schlichten" (Arbiters) with ample legal powers. The most important cases or situations which affected "natural rights" of any "Aryan" subject, were managed in Rivne or Berlin.

The Wehrmacht introduced reforms in Ukraine allowing limited religious liberty. In January 1942, Bishop Polikarp Sikorsky of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church became the temporary administrator of church lands in the German-occupied Ukraine and he was granted the title of Archbishop of Lutsk and Kovel. He also had authority over Bishoprics at Kyiv, Zhytomyr (Bishop Hryhorij Ohijchuk), Poltava, Kirovohrad, Lubny (Bishop Sylvester Hayevsky), Dnipropetrovsk and Bila Tserkva (Bishop Manuyil Tarnavsky) by decree of the Civil German Administration of limited religious liberty in Ukraine. The German Administration also allowed Archbishop Alexander of Pinsk and Polesia to maintain the religious authority he wielded before the war and the same permission was granted to Archbishop Alexander of Volhynia.

Erich Koch (right) and Alfred Rosenberg (center) in Kyiv Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1994-006-30A, Kiew, Alfred Rosenberg.jpg
Erich Koch (right) and Alfred Rosenberg (center) in Kyiv

Military commanders linked with the German administration of Ukraine

Administrative divisions

Administrative map, September 1942. ReichskommissariatUkraineMap.png
Administrative map, September 1942.
General District of Crimea in 1942. General District of Crimea (1942).svg
General District of Crimea in 1942.

The Reichskommissariat's administrative capital was at Rivne, and it was divided into six Generalbezirke (general districts), called Generalkommissariate (general commissariats) in the pre-Barbarossa planning. This administrative structure was in turn subdivided into 114 Kreisgebiete, and further into 443 Parteien.

Each "Generalbezirk" was administered by a "Generalkommissar"; each Kreisgebiete "circular [i.e., district] area" was led by a "Gebietskommissar" and each Partei "party" was governed by a Ukrainian or German "Parteien Chef" (Party Chief). At the level below were German or Ukrainian "Akademiker" ("Academics"—i.e., District Chiefs) (similar to Polish "Wojts" in the General Government). At the same time at a smaller scale, the local Municipalities were administered by native "Bailiffs" and "Mayors", accompanied by respective German political advisers if needed. In the most important areas, or where a German Army detachment remained, the local administration was always led by a German; in less significant areas local personnel was in charge.

The six general districts were (English names and administrative centres in parentheses):

The administrative position of the Krim Generalbezirk remained ambiguous. According to the original German plan it was to correspond approximately to the old Taurida Governorate (therefore including also mainland portions of Ukraine), and was to consist of two Teilbezirke (sub-districts):

Only the first of these saw transfer to civil administration in September 1942, with the peninsula remaining under military control for the duration of the war. [5] Its administrator, Frauenfeld, played off the military and civil authorities against each other and gained the freedom to run the territory as he saw fit. He thereby enjoyed complete autonomy, verging on independence, from Koch's authority. Frauenfeld's administration was much more moderate than Koch's and consequentially more economically successful. Koch was greatly angered by Fraunfeld's insubordination (a comparable situation also existed in the administrative relationship between the Estonian general commissariat and Reichskommissariat Ostland).

Scheduled for incorporation into the Reichskommissariat Ukraine but never transferred to civil administration were the Generalkommissariate Tschernigow (Chernigiv), Charkow (Kharkiv), Stalino (Donetsk), Woronezh (Voronezh), Rostow (Rostov), Stalingrad, and Saratow (Saratov), which would have brought the boundary of the province to the western border of Kazakhstan. [6] In addition, Reichskommissar Koch had wishes of further extending his Reichskommissariat to Ciscaucasia. [7]


The official German press, in 1941, reported the Ukrainian urban and rural populations as 19 millions each. During the commissariat's existence the Germans only undertook one official census, for January 1, 1943, documenting a population of 16,910,008 people. [8] The 1926 Soviet official census recorded the urban population as 5,373,553 and the rural population as 23,669,381 - a total of 29,042,934. In 1939, a new census reported the Ukrainian urban population as 11,195,620 and rural population as 19,764,601; a total of 30,960,221. The Ukrainian Soviets counted 17% of total Soviet population.


The Wehrmacht came under pressure for political reasons to gradually restore private property in zones under military control and to accept local volunteer recruits into their units and into the Waffen-SS, as promoted by local Ukrainian nationalist organizations, the OUN-B and the OUN-M, whilst receiving political support from the Wehrmacht.

The German Reichsführer-SS and chief of German Police, Heinrich Himmler, initially had direct authority over any SS formations in Ukraine to order "Security Operations", but soon lost it - especially after the summer of 1942 when he tried to regain control over policing in Ukraine by gaining authority for the collection of the harvest and failed miserably, in large part because Koch withheld cooperation. In Ukraine, Himmler soon became the voice of relative moderation, hoping that an improvement in the Ukrainians' living conditions would encourage greater numbers of them to join the Waffen-SS's foreign divisions. Koch, appropriately nicknamed the "hangman of Ukraine", was contemptuous of Himmler's efforts. In this matter Koch had the support of Hitler, who remained sceptical when not hostile to the idea of recruiting Slavs in general and Soviet nationals in particular into the Wehrmacht.

Sleeve badges of battalions of the so-called «Ukrainian Hilfspolizei» in the German Ordnungspolizei of the Reichskommissariat Ukraine. [9]
Ukr-polizei 106 bat.svg    Ukr-polizei 114 bat.svg    Ukr-polizei 115-118 bat.svg    Ukr-polizei oficer.svg
115th and 118th
Officers' badge

Economic exploitation

In the civil administration of the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories numerous technical staff worked under Georg Leibbrandt, former chief of the east section of the foreign political office in the Nazi Party, now chief of the political section in the Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories. Leibbrandt's deputy, Otto Bräutigam, had previously worked as a consul with experience in the Soviet Union. Economic affairs remained under the direct management of Hermann Göring (the Plenipotentiary of Germany's Four Year Plan). From 21 March 1942 Fritz Sauckel had the role of "General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment" (Generalbevollmächtigter für den Arbeitseinsatz), charged with recruiting manpower for Germany throughout Europe, though in Ukraine Koch insisted that Sauckel confine himself to setting requirements, leaving the actual "recruitment" of Ost-Arbeiter to Koch and his brutes. The Todt Organization Ost Branch operated from Kiev. Other members of the German administration in Ukraine included Generalkommissar Leyser and Gebietkommissar Steudel.

The Ministry of Transport had direct control of "Ostbahns" and "Generalverkehrsdirektion Osten" (the railway administration in the Eastern territories). These German central government interventions in the affairs of the East Affairs by ministries were known as Sonderverwaltungen (special administrations).

The position of the Eastern Affairs Ministry was weak because its department chiefs: (Economy, Work, Foods & Crops and Forest & Woods) held similar posts in other government departments (The Four-Year Plan, Eastern Economic Office, Foods and Farming Ministry, etc.) with other supplementary junior staff. Thus the East Ministry was managed by personal criteria and particular interests over official orders. Additionally, they failed to maintain the "Political Section" at an equal level with more specialized departments (Economy, Works, Farms, etc.) because political considerations clashed with exploitation plans in the territory.

Banknotes denominated in karbovanets (Karbowanez in German). The karbovanets replaced the Soviet ruble at par and was in circulation between 1942 and 1945. It was pegged to the Reichsmark at a rate of 10 karbovantsiv = 1 Reichsmark. 2Karbowanez-1942 a.JPG
Banknotes denominated in karbovanets (Karbowanez in German). The karbovanets replaced the Soviet ruble at par and was in circulation between 1942 and 1945. It was pegged to the Reichsmark at a rate of 10 karbovantsiv = 1 Reichsmark.

The Reichskommissariat Ukraine paid Occupation taxes and funds to the German Reich until February 1944 in the amount of 1.246 billion Reichsmark (equivalent to 4 billion 2009 €) and 107.9 million Soviet rubles, in accord with information composed by Lutz von Krosigk, the Reich Minister of Finances.

The Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories ordered Koch and Hinrich Lohse (the Reichskommissar of Ostland) in March 1942 to supply 380,000 farm workers and 247,000 industrial workers for German work needs. Later Koch was mentioned during the new year message of 1943, how he "recruited" 710,000 workers in Ukraine. This and subsequent "worker registration" drives in Ukraine would eventually backfire after the Battle of Kursk (July–August 1943) when the Germans would attempt to build a defensive line along the Dnieper only to discover that the necessary manpower had been either recruited to forced labour in Germany or had gone underground to forestall such "recruitment".

Alfred Rosenberg implemented an "Agrarian New Order" in Ukraine, ordering the confiscation of Soviet state properties to establish German state properties. Additionally the replacement of Russian Kolkhozes and Sovkhozes, by their own "Gemeindwirtschaften" (German Communal Farms), the installation of state enterprise "Landbewirstschaftungsgessellschaft Ukraine M.b.H." for managing the new German state farms and cooperatives, and the foundation of numerous "Kombines" (Great German exploitation Monopolies) with government or private capital in the territory, to exploit the resources and Donbass area.

Hitler said "Ukraine and the East lands would produce 7 million, or more likely 10 or 12 million tonnes of grain to provide Germany's food needs".[ citation needed ]

German intentions

The regime was planning to encourage the settlement of German and other "Germanic" farmers in the region after the war, along with the empowerment of some ethnic Germans in the territory. Ukraine was the supposed residence of ancient Germanic Gothic tribes; thus, according to Hitler, "Only German should be spoken here". [10] The sending of Dutch settlers was charged to the "Nederlandsche Oost-Compagnie", a Dutch-German Company dedicated to encourage the colonization of the east by Dutch citizens.

The German civil administration met "Volksdeutsche" (ethnic Germans) in Mykolaiv, Zaporizhia and Dnipropetrovsk. The archives of the Soviet census in 1926 counted them as 393,924 persons. The Soviets counted ethnic Germans in all Russia at 1,423,534, or 1% of the total population in 1939.

The administration took measures to protect Germans in the area who were entered on their Volksdeutsch racial list. They received special rights

In Ukraine the Germans published a local journal in the German language, the Deutsche Ukrainezeitung.

During the occupation a very small number of cities and their accompanying districts maintained German names. These cities were designated as urban strongholds for Volksdeutsche natives. [11] Hegewald (Himmler's field headquarters and the location of a small, experimental German colony), [12] Försterstadt (also a Volksdeutsche colony), [13] Halbstadt (a German Mennonite settlement), [11] Alexanderstadt , [14] Kronau [11] and Friesendorf [15] were some of these.

On 12 August 1941 Hitler ordered the complete destruction of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev by the use of incendiary bombs and gunfire. [16] Because the German military lacked sufficient material for this operation it wasn't carried out, after which the Nazi planners instead decided to starve the city's inhabitants. Heinrich Himmler on the other hand considered Kiev to be "an ancient German city" because of the Magdeburg city rights that it had acquired centuries prior, and often referred to it as "Kiroffo". [16]

See also

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Erich Koch was a Gauleiter of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in East Prussia from 1928 until 1945. Between 1941 and 1945 he was Chief of Civil Administration of Bezirk Bialystok. During this period, he was also the Reichskommissar in Reichskommissariat Ukraine from 1941 until 1944. After the Second World War, Koch stood trial in Poland and was convicted in 1959 of war crimes and sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment a year later.

<i>Ordnungspolizei</i> 1936-1945 uniformed police force of Germany

The Ordnungspolizei, abbreviated Orpo, were the uniformed police force in Nazi Germany between 1936 and 1945. The Orpo organisation was absorbed into the Nazi monopoly on power after regional police jurisdiction was removed in favour of the central Nazi government. The Orpo was under the administration of the Interior Ministry, but led by members of the Schutzstaffel (SS) until the end of World War II. Owing to their green uniforms, Orpo were also referred to as Grüne Polizei. The force was first established as a centralised organisation uniting the municipal, city, and rural uniformed police that had been organised on a state-by-state basis.

Nikolai Kuznetsov (spy) Soviet partizan

Nikolai Ivanovich Kuznetsov was a Soviet intelligence agent and partisan who operated in Nazi-occupied Ukraine during World War II and who personally killed six high-ranking German officials. His file is still not fully disclosed and will be held until 2025 in the FSB archives. It was not until 1990 that Kuznetsov was officially recognized as a NKVD agent. He used several pseudonyms during his intelligence operations: e.g. Rudolf Schmidt, Nikolai Vasilevitsh Grachev and Oberleutnant Paul Siebert. Kuznetsov was posthumously awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.

Reichskommissariat Moskowien

Reichskommissariat Moskowien, literally "Reich Commissariat of Muscovy ", was the civilian occupation regime that Nazi Germany intended to create in central and northern European Russia during World War II, one of several similar Reichskommissariat. It was also known initially as the Reichskommissariat Russland. Siegfried Kasche was the projected Reichskomissar, but due to the German failure to occupy the territories intended to form the Reichskommissariat, it remained on paper only.

Reichskommissariat Kaukasus theoretical political division

The Reichskommissariat Kaukasus, was the theoretical political division and planned civilian occupation regime of Germany in the conquered territories of the Caucasus during World War II. Unlike the other four planned Reichskommissariats, within the borders of the proposed Caucasus Reichskommissariat experiments were to be conducted for various forms of autonomy for "indigenous groups".

Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle

The Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle or VoMi was an NSDAP agency founded to manage the interests of the ethnic Germans.

Bezirk Bialystok

Bezirk Bialystok was an administrative unit of Nazi Germany created during the World War II invasion of the Soviet Union. It was to the south-east of East Prussia, in present-day northeastern Poland as well as in smaller sections of adjacent present-day Belarus and Lithuania.

The Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories was created by Adolf Hitler in July 1941 and headed by the Nazi theoretical expert and Baltic German, Alfred Rosenberg. Alfred Meyer served as Rosenberg's deputy. This ministry was created to control the vast areas captured by the Germans in Eastern Europe and Russia. It also played a part in supporting anti-Soviet groups in Central Asia.

Reichskommissariat Niederlande Netherlands occupied by Germany during the Second World War

The Reichskommissariat Niederlande was the civilian occupation regime set up by Germany in the German-occupied Netherlands during World War II. Its full title was the Reich Commissariat for the Occupied Dutch Territories. The administration was headed by Arthur Seyss-Inquart, formerly the last chancellor of Austria before initiating its annexation by Germany.

Reichskommissariat Turkestan

Reichskommissariat Turkestan was a projected Reichskommissariat that Germany proposed to create in the Central Asian Republics of the Soviet Union in its military conflict with that country during World War II. Soviet historian Lev Bezymenski claimed that names Panturkestan, Großturkestan and Mohammed-Reich were also considered for the territory.

Reichskommissariat Don-Wolga

Reichskommissariat Don-Wolga, literally "Reich Commissariat Don-Volga", was a theoretical civilian occupation regime of Nazi Germany discussed during the early stages of German planning for its occupation of territories in the Soviet Union, one of several other Reichskommissariats. It is also referred to in German memoranda as simply the Dongebiet.

Chief of Civil Administration

Chief of Civil Administration was an office introduced in Nazi Germany, operational during World War II. Its task was to administer civil issues according to occupation law, with the primary purpose being the support of the military command in the operational areas of the German Army. CdZ would pass his authority to a corresponding civil government after the territory in question became in the rear of the operating armed forces.


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  2. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. William Shirer. p. 939. ISBN   978-1-4516-5168-3.
  3. "Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression". About Discussions [of Rosenberg] with the Fuehrer on 14 December 1941. The Avalon Project at Yale Law School. 1996–2007. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
  4. 1 2 Berkhoff, Karel C. (2004). Harvest of despair: life and death in Ukraine under Nazi rule, p. 37.. President and Fellows of Harvard College.
  5. 1 2 Berkhoff, p. 39.
  6. Dallin, Alexander (1958). Deutschen Herrschaft in Russland 1941–1945, p. 67 (in German). Droste.
  7. Kroener, Müller & Umbreit (2003) Germany and the Second World War V/II, p. 50
  8. Berkhoff, pp. 36-37.
  9. Музичук С. країнські військові нарукавні емблеми під час Другої світової війни 1939-45 рр. // Знак, 2004. — ч. 33. — с. 9 – 11.
  10. Wendy Lower, Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine, p. 161
  11. 1 2 3 Lower, p. 267.
  12. Lower, Wendy: Nazi empire-building and the Holocaust in Ukraine, pp. 162-181. University of North Carolina Press, 2005.
  13. Lower 2005, p. 197.
  14. Jehke, Rolf: Territoriale Veränderungen in Deutschland und deutsch verwalteten Gebieten 1874 - 1945. 23 February 2010. (In German). Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  15. Rolf Jehke. "Generalbezirk Dnjepropetrowsk". Retrieved 2014-06-03.
  16. 1 2 Berkhoff, pp. 164-165.

Further reading