Voices from Abroad

      "Whereas reason requires, that those vices, to which any nation dothe naturally inclyne, should be restrayned by seveare lawes, those are in Polonia barbarous cruelty and lubricity, thys last being as common as the first."
      From: Sir George Carew, A Relation to the State of Polonia and the united Provinces of that Crowne Anno 1598.

Let our foe, the German, fall!
Plunder, rob, and set on fire!
Let the enemy die in pain;
He that hangs those German dogs,
Reaps reward from God on High.
    I, your priest do promise you
Bliss and joy in Heaven above...
But the curse will fall on him
Who doth plead the German cause.
Polish hymn of hate against Germany dating from the 1848 revolution.

      "... They (the Polish authorities) torture those that refuse to confess in so grim a manner, that the inquisition of the Middle-Ages dwindles into nothingness before the sufferings to which the Poles subject their prisoners in and near Vilna."
      From: Pierre Valmigère, And to-morrow...? France, Germany and Poland.

      "The further you go into Poland, the more you find pillage and murder."
      Russian proverb.

      "One, however, of the Slav Peoples, the Poles, forms a sorry exception. Violence and intolerance have left their mark on its history."
      From: Danilewsky, Russia and Europe.

      "... The oppression of the Ukrainian minority in Poland is growing worse every day. It would perhaps be wearisome to record the oppressive acts,... such a record would be of almost impossible length. But there are certain things that cannot be left unrecorded, that must be heard by the civilised world – namely, the horrible and inhuman barbarities that are inflicted on Ukrainian political prisoners in Polish gaols, and which are part of the war waged by the Polish dictatorship against the Ukrainian minority."
      From: Manchester Guardian, December 12, 1931: "Oppression of Ukrainians. Methods of Middle Ages revived by Poles." Special Report from Lemberg (East Galicia).

  "... As long as the Poles show some insight, and are outnumbered, they appear submissive and adaptable; but once they have found a weak spot and have gained the upper hand, they become headstrong, arrogant and cruel... The unfettered licence in which the Poles live, and their law, which allows all crimes with the exception of one or two to be expiated by money, is the real cause of the fact that, among other things, homicide is very common in Poland."
      From the Diary of the Frisian Nobleman Ulrich von Werdum 1671/72.

      "Fellow countrymen and brothers, who like myself have had the misfortune to become acquainted with the Poles, unite with me in order to eradicate, once and for all, the maliciousness and falsity of that people. Let all brothers hear, let every echo resound that the Pole knows no law and justice and that the word of a Tartar is a hundred times better than all the treaties signed in Poland."
      From: M. Méthée: Histoire de la Prétendu Révolution de Pologne. Paris 1792, p. 184.

      "This nation of peasants inclines to drink, quarrel, abuse and murder; it would be hard to find so many murders in any other nation."
      From: Richard Roepell: Geschichte Polens, v. I, Hamburg 1840.

      "Poland is a mixture of sarmatian, well-nigh aboriginal cruelty and French super-arrogance; an ignorant people with not a trace of taste, yet given to luxury, gambling and fashion."
      From: Georg Forster: Forsters Briefe, I, p. 467.

Polish Pamphlet Inciting the Mob to Murder.
      "Why cannot we act like the Spaniards? Let every one who is fit take up arms and march on the enemy. Let the women, the boys and the old men murder at home whenever an enemy soldier is billeted with them. When their troops march through the town throw boiling water and stones from the windows. Destroy him where you find him! Hide all food from him. Out in the lines our glorious Polish army will deal with them! – We shall see whether our foes, all three of them, will stand up to us, even for a few months, on our holy Polish soil. No, not even that long will they hold out. Those that will escape our weapons will run for the frontier."
      From the Polish pamphlet Words of truth for the Polish People. Printed under the auspices of Our Lady, the Patron of Poland. 1848.

      "But Poland's immediate neighbours have known those brilliant promises for a long time – and hence mistrust them.
      "From their experience they are afraid that the Poles, in the administration of their new independence will show an utter disregard for order and will prove themselves unreliable and irresponsible anarchists.
      "Since their neighbours know the Poles to be vindictive, irate and quarrelsome, they fear that their regime will be brutal, clumsy, intolerant and tyrannical."
      From: D'Etchegoyen, Olivier: Pologne, Pologne... Paris 1925.

      "The minorities in Poland are to disappear, and it is Polish policy that they shall not disappear only on paper. This policy is being pushed forward ruthlessly and without the slightest regard for public opinion abroad, for international treaties, and for the League of Nations. The Ukraine under Polish rule is an inferno – White Russia is an even more hellish inferno. The purpose of Polish policy is the disappearance of the national minorities, both on paper and in reality."
      From: Manchester Guardian, December 14, 1931 (special report from Warsaw).

French Protest against Polish Police Terrors.
      "A wave of terror is sweeping Poland at this very moment. The Press can hardly breathe a word because it is gagged. A police regime with all its horrors and its wild measures of oppression strangles the country. The prisons of the Republic to-day hold more than 3000 political criminals who are maltreated by their jailers, humiliated and beaten up with belts and sticks. The life they have to stand is such that in many prisons the inmates prefer death to the slow torture inflicted upon them.
            Paul Painlevé, Edouard Herriot, Léon Blum, Paul Boncour, Séverine,
            Romain Rolland, Victor Basch, Georges Piech, Pierre Caron,
            Charles Richet, Aulard, Hadamard, Bouglé, F. Hérold, Mathias Morhardt,
            Jean-Richard Bloch, Pierre Hamp, Charles Vildrac, Lucien Descaves,
            Henri Béraud, Michel Corday, Léon Bazalgette, Paul Colin,
            Albert Crémieux, Henry Marx, Paul Reboux, Noël-Garnier."
      From: Protest against the terrorisation of minorities in Poland submitted by French politicians and men of letters, 1924. (Publié à Paris, au mois de mai 1924.)

More than 58,000 Dead and Missing

were lost by the German minority in Poland during the days of their liberation from the Polish yoke, as far as can be ascertained at present. The Polish nation must for all time be held responsible for this appalling massacre consequent upon that Polish reign of terror. Up to November 17, 1939, the closing day for the documentary evidence contained in the first edition of this book, 5,437 murders, committed by members of the Polish armed forces and by Polish civilians on men, women and children of the German minority had already been irrefutably proved. It was quite apparent even then that the actual number of murders far exceeded this figure, and by February 1, 1940, the total number of identified bodies of the German minority had increased to 12,857. Official investigations carried out since the outbreak of the German-Polish war have shown that to these 12,857 killed there must be added more than 45,000 missing, all of whom must be accounted dead since no trace of them can be found. Thus the victims belonging to the German minority in Poland already now total over 58,000. Even this appalling figure by no means covers the sum total of the losses sustained by the German minority. There can be no doubt at all that investigations which are still being conducted will disclose many more thousand dead and wounded. The following description of the Polish atrocities which is not only confined to murders and mutilations but includes other deeds of violence such as maltreatment, rape, robbery and arson applies to only a small section of the terrible events for which irrefutable and official evidence is here established.

[Scriptorium notes: in the following, the original of this book includes a Table of Contents, which we have moved to the starting page of this online reprint.]

Sources of Information and Explanations

The statement of the acts of atrocity committed on minority Germans in Poland is based on the following documentary evidence, the penal records of the Special Courts of Justice in Bromberg and Posen, the investigation files of the Special Police Commissions, the testimony of the medico-legal [Scriptorium comments: the more modern term = forensic] experts of the Health Inspection Department of the Military High Command, and the original records of the Military Commission attached to the Military High Command for the investigation of breaches of International Law. The documentary evidence concerning the individual cases of atrocity has been taken from the aforementioned files.

The Special Courts of Justice set up at Bromberg and Posen are regular courts, their administration of justice being based on the Common Law of Germany and the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of the Reich, and which deal with all cases in complete accordance with the principles of the German Penal Code. The legally justified confirmation of verdicts and the sworn statements of German as well as Polish witnesses have been used. These were taken from the records of these Special Courts of Justice up to the Nov. 15, 1939. The various Criminal Investigation Departments' reports, documents, and photographs, have been employed and taken from the files of the Special Commissions. Reproductions of statements, photographs and preserved specimens, as well as the collective memoranda representing a report on the result of the autopsy on the victims, were taken from the records of the medico-legal experts. The statements of eye-witnesses sworn and taken down before the military legal officials, have been taken mainly from the investigation files of the Army Investigation Department. These in turn are based upon extracts from the High Command's (Legal Dept.) book on this subject, issued in two volumes, "Polish Atrocities on minority Germans and Prisoners of War in Bromberg, Pless, Stopanica" (vol. 1) and "Polish Atrocities on minority Germans and Prisoners of War in the District and Province of Posen" (vol. 2) and in which the various statements are compiled.

The records have been supplemented by accounts of personal experiences by individuals of the German minority arrested, ill-treated, and abducted, as well as by photographs of numerous atrocities on minority Germans, as perpetrated by soldiers of the Polish army and by Polish civilians (i. e. murders, mutilations, and arson). The photographs are genuine copies of snap shots taken of the actual victims, either beaten to death, shot dead, or mutilated, and taken on the spots where the victims were found and the crimes committed. Any pictures that could not be considered definitely authentic were rejected and not included in the collection. Attached are photographic reproductions of whole pages of "dead and missing" notices. These appeared daily for weeks, after those days of horror, in the Bromberg and Posen newspapers.

[10] In the text, the findings of the Military Investigation Department are cited with the reference No. W. R. I and W. R. II, those of the Special Courts with the reference No. Sd. K. Ls. or Sd. Is. with consecutive file numbers. Those resulting from the investigation of the Special Police Commission of the Criminal Police Office of the Reich are marked RKPA., and those of autopsy and post mortem findings with OKW. HS. In. Br. or P.

The amount of material on atrocities was so great as to render it impossible to print the full text of the sworn statements in all cases. Some are printed in their original version. Others refer to the decisive position, as narrated by the eye-witnesses. For the same reason it was decided to omit the history of illness suffered by minority Germans, due to their serious injuries received during the marches they were forced to make through Poland. All this collection of facts is stored in the Protestant Deaconess Hospital of Posen and in the German Military Field Hospital and Municipal Hospital in Bromberg, and is open to any further investigation. Only a selection of the copious photographic material is used in this book. All the documents and proofs used in this collection of material are filed in the respective central offices in Berlin.

This book deals exclusively with acts of violence committed by Poles on minority Germans. Further evidence of the Polish breaches of International and Military Law, in so far as it concerns the treatment of German prisoners of war and Germans killed in action, has been placed in safety elsewhere and has not been included in this book, as well as that of numerous acts of atrocity committed on minority Germans before the outbreak of war.

The Polish Atrocities
Against the German Minority in Poland.

Edited and published by order of the Foreign Office
and based upon documentary evidence.
Compiled by Hans Schadewaldt.