Germanization

Question:

hello, I'm a student learning about the holocaust. I have searched all around for information on the subject of "germinisation" (where the germans tried to make polish children german) but I can't find anything, I was wondering do you know any sites on this or could you e-mail me any information? thank you very much!

Daniel Mittleman answers:

Thank you for writing. I am one of the people who answer questions for The Holocaust History Project.

I do not speak with any great authority on the subject of "germanization" (or "germanisation") but have done some reading today to try to address your question.

You might also check the search engines at other Holocaust sites using the search term "germanization." I tried this at The US Holocaust Museum www.ushmm.org, for example, and found http://www.ushmm.org/outreach/oeur.htm among other useful pages. In total there were 100 documents at the Holocaust Museum that contained the term "germanization."

There is considerable discussion of germanisation in the International Military Tribunal (IMT) documents. These documents are archived at www.nizkor.org as well as at our site at www.holocaust-history.org. Both Nizkor's and our versions are searchable, and I searched on the term "germanization".

You can find an overview of what the IMT is at http://www.holocaust-history.org/short-essays/nuremberg.shtml.

I found the following discussion in http://www.nizkor.org/ftp.cgi/imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-04/tgmwc-04-36.07:

The Nazis propose to classify mankind in three main categories:
- that of their adversaries, or persons whom they consider inadaptable to their peculiar constructions - this category can be - bullied in all sorts of ways and even destroyed;
- that of higher man, which they claim is distinguishable by his blood or by some arbitrary means;
- that of inferior man, which does not deserve destruction and whose vital power should be used in a regime of slavery for the well-being of the "overlords," the masters.
The Nazi leaders proposed to apply this conception wherever they could, in territories more and more extended, to populations ever more numerous, and, in addition, they demonstrated a frightful ambition to succeed in imposing it on intelligent people, to convince their victims and to demand from them, in addition to so many sacrifices, an act of faith. The Nazi war is a war of fanatic religion in which one can exterminate infidels and equally as well impose conversion upon them. It should further be noted that the Nazis aggravated the excesses of those horrible times, for in a religious war converted adversaries were received like brothers, whereas the Nazis never gave their pitiable victims the chance of saving themselves, even by the most complete recantation. It is by virtue of these conceptions that the Germans undertook the Germanisation of occupied territories, and had, without doubt, the intention of undertaking to Germanise the whole world. This Germanisation can be distinguished from the ancient theories of Pan-Germanism in so far as it is both a Nazification and an actual return to barbarism.

In another portion of the IMT at http://www.holocaust-history.org/works/imt/03/htm/t586.htm you can see who the Nazis considered to be in the category of "higher man." In brief, it was the Aryans.

I think if you look closely you will find that the Nazis were not interested in making Polish schoolchildren German. Rather, they were interested in out-placing German nationals into occupied countries such as Poland and Czechoslovakia.

Please do go to both www.holocaust-history.org and www.nizkor.org and use the search engines to find other documents that discussion Germanization. I suggest you try both the British and American spellings to pick up all sites.

I realize that using the original IMT documents is not very easy, but it is wonderful to go back and read the original historical information. If you would like to read about this in a book, you might try some of the books mentioned at http://www.holocaust-history.org/short-essays/nuremberg.shtml. I don't have those books in front of me so I am unable to check for you whether they discuss germanization.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Daniel Mittleman

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