The beginning of the end. Nazis and civilians fleeing Reichsgau Wartheland, January-March 1945

Author/s Matteo Ermacora
Publishing Year 2012 Issue 2011/264 Language Italian
Pages 24 P. 361-384 File size 164 KB
DOI 10.3280/IC2011-264002
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This essay outlines the end of Nazi domination in Wartheland, a western district of Poland annexed by the Third Reich in 1939. Gauleiter Arthur Greiser had carried out the germanization of the country by the settlement of Volksdeutsche immigrants, the expulsion of the Polish and the extermination of the Jews. In 1945, the advance of the Red Army in Wartheland forced a massive migration; Ermacora examines the plans that the Nazis put to evacuate the population, their paths and forms, eliciting their ideological and propagandist basis. Drawing on official reports to the Nazi party headquarters, he reconstructs the unsuccessful mobilization of the Volkssturm, Greiser’s cynical and irresponsible conduct and the crumbling of Nazi administration. The flight of the German civilians was harshened by Soviet violence, the concomitant Wehrmacht retreat and Polish hostility. Likewise difficult turned out to be the assistance to the refugees at home, where they met with a mistrustful reception.

Keywords: Wartheland, Arthur Greiser, German refugees in 1945, Volksdeutsche, forceful migrations, Volkssturm

Matteo Ermacora, L’inizio della fine Nazisti e civili in fuga dal Reichsgau Wartheland, gennaio-marzo 1945 in "ITALIA CONTEMPORANEA" 264/2011, pp 361-384, DOI: 10.3280/IC2011-264002