General Government
Overview
The General Government was an area of Second Republic of Poland under Nazi German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 rule during World War II; designated as a separate region of the Third Reich (Großdeutsches Reich) between 1939–1945. Following Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

 in June 1941, the former Polish eastern voivodeship
Voivodeship
Voivodship is a term denoting the position of, or more commonly the area administered by, a voivod. Voivodeships have existed since medieval times in Poland, Romania, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia and Serbia....

s (districts) of Kresy
Kresy
The Polish term Kresy refers to a land considered by Poles as historical eastern provinces of their country. Today, it makes western Ukraine, western Belarus, as well as eastern Lithuania, with such major cities, as Lviv, Vilnius, and Hrodna. This territory belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian...

 (earlier invaded by the Red Army in Nazi–Soviet pact) were added to the General Government by a decree issued by Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

.

In terms of international and civil law, all of these acts were illegal from their inception, according to section III of the Fourth Hague Convention (1907)
Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)
The Hague Conventions were two international treaties negotiated at international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands: The First Hague Conference in 1899 and the Second Hague Conference in 1907...

 accepted by Germany.
Encyclopedia
The General Government was an area of Second Republic of Poland under Nazi German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 rule during World War II; designated as a separate region of the Third Reich (Großdeutsches Reich) between 1939–1945. Following Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

 in June 1941, the former Polish eastern voivodeship
Voivodeship
Voivodship is a term denoting the position of, or more commonly the area administered by, a voivod. Voivodeships have existed since medieval times in Poland, Romania, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia and Serbia....

s (districts) of Kresy
Kresy
The Polish term Kresy refers to a land considered by Poles as historical eastern provinces of their country. Today, it makes western Ukraine, western Belarus, as well as eastern Lithuania, with such major cities, as Lviv, Vilnius, and Hrodna. This territory belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian...

 (earlier invaded by the Red Army in Nazi–Soviet pact) were added to the General Government by a decree issued by Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

.

In terms of international and civil law, all of these acts were illegal from their inception, according to section III of the Fourth Hague Convention (1907)
Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)
The Hague Conventions were two international treaties negotiated at international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands: The First Hague Conference in 1899 and the Second Hague Conference in 1907...

 accepted by Germany. The area was not a puppet state
Puppet state
A puppet state is a nominal sovereign of a state who is de facto controlled by a foreign power. The term refers to a government controlled by the government of another country like a puppeteer controls the strings of a marionette...

; its rulers had no goal of collaborating with Poles throughout the war, regardless of their political orientation. The Nazi authorities made a determined effort to avoid even mentioning the name "Poland" in government correspondence. The only exception to this were the German-backed banknotes and coins (called 'zloty' and 'grosz') printed in 1940 whereas the word was used for propaganda purposes. The government and administration of the General Government was composed entirely of Germans, with the intent that the area was eventually to become an ethnic German province. According to Heim ins Reich initiative
Expulsion of Poles by Nazi Germany
The Expulsions 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 ethnic Poles from all territories of occupied Poland between 1939–1944 with the aim of their geopolitical Germanization .Adolf Hitler had plans...

 the only locals remaining were to be those of German descent.

Name

The full title of the regime in German until July 1940 was the Generalgouvernement für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete, a name that is usually translated as the General Government for the Occupied Polish Territories. On 31 July 1940 the name was shortened to just Generalgouvernement by governor Hans Frank
Hans Frank
Hans Michael Frank was a German lawyer who worked for the Nazi party during the 1920s and 1930s and later became a high-ranking official in Nazi Germany...

 on Hitler's authority. A more literal translation of Generalgouvernement would be General Governorate, however. The correct translation of the term "gouvernement" is not government but actually Governorate
Governorate
A governorate is an administrative division of a country. It is headed by a governor. As English-speaking nations tend to call regions administered by governors either states, provinces, or colonies, the term governorate is often used in translation from non-English-speaking administrations.The...

, which is a type of administrative division or territory. It was also known colloquially as the Restpolen ("Remainder of Poland").

The designation General Government was specifically chosen in reference to the Government General of Warsaw
Government General of Warsaw
The Imperial German General Government of Warsaw was an administrative civil district created by the German Empire in World War I. It encompassed most of the north-western parts of the erstwhile Russian-ruled Vistula Land , covering nearly its entire half.Although initially a part of Ober Ost...

, a civil entity created in the area by the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 during World War I. This 1914–1918 district existed together with an Austro-Hungarian-controlled Military Government of Lublin alongside the short-lived Kingdom of Poland, a similar rump state formed out of the then-Russian
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 parts of Poland
Congress Poland
The Kingdom of Poland , informally known as Congress Poland , created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna, was a personal union of the Russian parcel of Poland with the Russian Empire...

.

History

After the attack on Poland all areas (including the Free City of Danzig
Free City of Danzig
The Free City of Danzig was a semi-autonomous city-state that existed between 1920 and 1939, consisting of the Baltic Sea port of Danzig and surrounding areas....

) that were occupied by the German army initially fell under military rule
Military occupation
Military occupation occurs when the control and authority over a territory passes to a hostile army. The territory then becomes occupied territory.-Military occupation and the laws of war:...

. This area extended from the 1939 eastern border of Germany proper and East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...

 up to the Bug River
Bug River
The Bug River is a left tributary of the Narew river flows from central Ukraine to the west, passing along the Ukraine-Polish and Polish-Belarusian border and into Poland, where it empties into the Narew river near Serock. The part between the lake and the Vistula River is sometimes referred to as...

 where the German armies had halted their advance and linked up with the Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

. Under the initial Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

 concluded in August the territory between the Vistula and Bug rivers was assigned to the Soviet sphere of influence in divided Poland, while Warsaw was to be jointly ruled city between the two powers. To settle this deviation from the original agreement the German and Soviet representatives met again on September 28 to delineate the permanent border between the two countries. Under this revised version of the pact the territory concerned was exchanged for the inclusion of Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 into the Soviet sphere, which was similarly allotted originally to the other power, namely Germany. With the new agreement the entire central part of Poland, including the core ethnic area of the Poles came under sole German control.

Hitler decreed that large parts of the occupied Polish territory in the western half of the German zone were to be annexed directly to the German Reich to increase its Lebensraum
Lebensraum
was one of the major political ideas of Adolf Hitler, and an important component of Nazi ideology. It served as the motivation for the expansionist policies of Nazi Germany, aiming to provide extra space for the growth of the German population, for a Greater Germany...

. Most of these areas were organized as two new Reichsgau
Reichsgau
A Reichsgau was an administrative subdivision created in a number of the areas annexed to Nazi Germany between 1938 and 1945...

e, Danzig-West Prussia
Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia
The Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia was a Nazi German province created on 8 October 1939 from the territory of the annexed Free City of Danzig, the annexed Polish province Greater Pomeranian Voivodship , and the Nazi German Regierungsbezirk West Prussia of Gau East Prussia. Before 2 November 1939,...

 and Wartheland
Reichsgau Wartheland
Reichsgau Wartheland was a Nazi German Reichsgau formed from Polish territory annexed in 1939. It comprised the Greater Poland and adjacent areas, and only in part matched the area of the similarly named pre-Versailles Prussian province of Posen...

. The remaining three regions, the so-called areas of Zichenau, Eastern Upper Silesia
Upper Silesia
Upper Silesia is the southeastern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia. Since the 9th century, Upper Silesia has been part of Greater Moravia, the Duchy of Bohemia, the Piast Kingdom of Poland, again of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown and the Holy Roman Empire, as well as of...

 and the Suwalki
Suwalki
Suwałki is a town in northeastern Poland with 69,340 inhabitants . The Czarna Hańcza river flows through the town. It is the capital of Suwałki County and one of the most important centres of commerce in the Podlaskie Voivodeship. Until 1999 the town was the capital of Suwałki Voivodeship...

 triangle were attached to adjacent Gaus of Germany. Draconian measures were introduced to facilitate their immediate Germanization, typically resulting in mass expulsions, especially in the Warthegau. The remaining parts were to become a German Nebenland (March, borderland) as a frontier post of German rule in the east. The Government General was established by the Führer's decree of October 12, 1939, which came into force on October 26, 1939.
Hans Frank
Hans Frank
Hans Michael Frank was a German lawyer who worked for the Nazi party during the 1920s and 1930s and later became a high-ranking official in Nazi Germany...

 was appointed as the Governor-General of these occupied territories. A sharp contrast was therefore made between the new Reich territory and a supposedly occupied rump state
Rump state
A rump state is the remnant of a once-larger government, left with limited powers or authority after a disaster, invasion, military occupation, secession or partial overthrowing of a government. In the last case, a government stops short of going in exile because it still controls part of its...

 that could serve both as a bargaining chip with the western powers as well as a pool reservoir of slave labor. A closed border was also established between the two German zones to heighten the difficulty of cross-frontier communication between the different segments of the Polish population.

The official name chosen for this new administration was the Generalgouvernement für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete (General Government for the Occupied Polish Territories), then changed to the Generalgouvernement (General Government) by the Frank's decree of July 31, 1940. It must be noted however that this name did not imply anything about the actual nature of the administration. These Polish territories, apart from the short period of military administration
German military administration in occupied Poland
German military administration in occupied Poland refers to the brief period during and in the immediate aftermath of the German invasion of Poland , in which the occupied Polish territories were administered by the German military, instead of civilian, administration.-Military administration:On 8...

 during the actual Invasion of Poland, was never at any point considered to be an occupied territory
Military occupation
Military occupation occurs when the control and authority over a territory passes to a hostile army. The territory then becomes occupied territory.-Military occupation and the laws of war:...

 by the German authorities. The Nazis considered the Polish state to have effectively ceased to exist with its defeat in the September campaign, and that the demise of the Polish nation would follow; the very nationhood of the Polish people was to be simply eradicated.

Overall, 4 million of the 1939 population of the General Government area had lost their lives by the time the Soviet armed forces had entered the area in late 1944.
If the Polish underground killed a German, 50–100 Poles were executed as a punishment and as a warning to other Poles.

As the Soviets advanced through Poland in late 1944 the General Government collapsed. Frank was captured by American troops in May 1945 and was one of the defendants at the Nuremberg Trials
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

. During his trial he converted to Catholicism. Frank surrendered forty volumes of his diaries to the Tribunal and much evidence against him and others was gathered from them. He was found guilty of war crime
War crime
War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict giving rise to individual criminal responsibility...

s and crimes against humanity and on October 1, 1946, he was sentenced to death
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

 by hanging
Hanging
Hanging is the lethal suspension of a person by a ligature. The Oxford English Dictionary states that hanging in this sense is "specifically to put to death by suspension by the neck", though it formerly also referred to crucifixion and death by impalement in which the body would remain...

. The sentence was carried out on October 16.

Germanization

In March 1941 Hans Frank
Hans Frank
Hans Michael Frank was a German lawyer who worked for the Nazi party during the 1920s and 1930s and later became a high-ranking official in Nazi Germany...

 informed his subordinates that Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 had made the decision to "turn this region into a purely German area within 15–20 years." He explained that "Where 12 million Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 now live, is to be populated by 4 to 5 million Germans
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

. The Generalgouvernement must become as German as the Rhineland
Rhineland
Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

." By 1942, Hitler and Frank had agreed that the Kraków ("with its purely German capital") and Lublin districts would be the first areas to be repopulated with German colonists. Hitler stated that "When these two weak points have been strengthened, it should be possible to slowly drive back the Poles". It was subsequently German policy that a small number of (non-Jewish
History of the Jews in Poland
The history of the Jews in Poland dates back over a millennium. For centuries, Poland was home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world. Poland was the centre of Jewish culture thanks to a long period of statutory religious tolerance and social autonomy. This ended with the...

) Poles, like other Slavic peoples
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

, were to be reduced to the status of serf
SERF
A spin exchange relaxation-free magnetometer is a type of magnetometer developed at Princeton University in the early 2000s. SERF magnetometers measure magnetic fields by using lasers to detect the interaction between alkali metal atoms in a vapor and the magnetic field.The name for the technique...

s, while the rest would be deported or otherwise eliminated and eventually replaced by German colonists of the "master race
Master race
Master race was a phrase and concept originating in the slave-holding Southern US. The later phrase Herrenvolk , interpreted as 'master race', was a concept in Nazi ideology in which the Nordic peoples, one of the branches of what in the late-19th and early-20th century was called the Aryan race,...

."

Various plans regarding the future of the original population were drawn, with one calling for deportation of about 20 million Poles to Western Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

, and Germanisation of 4 to 5 million; although deportation in reality meant many Poles were to be put to death, a small number would be "re-Germanized," and young Poles of desirable qualities would be kidnapped and raised in Germany. In the General Government, all secondary education
Secondary education
Secondary education is the stage of education following primary education. Secondary education includes the final stage of compulsory education and in many countries it is entirely compulsory. The next stage of education is usually college or university...

 was abolished and all Polish cultural institutions closed.

In 1943, the government selected the Zamojskie area for further Germanization on account of its fertile black soil, and German colonial settlements were planned. Zamosjkie was initially renamed to Himmlerstadt (Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

 City), but this was later changed to Pflugstadt (Plough
Plough
The plough or plow is a tool used in farming for initial cultivation of soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting. It has been a basic instrument for most of recorded history, and represents one of the major advances in agriculture...

 City). The Polish population was expelled
Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic orreligious group from certain geographic areas....

 amid great brutality in a pacification operation, but few Germans were settled in the area before 1944. Himmler intended the city of Lublin
Lublin
Lublin is the ninth largest city in Poland. It is the capital of Lublin Voivodeship with a population of 350,392 . Lublin is also the largest Polish city east of the Vistula river...

 to have a German population of 20-25% by the beginning of 1944, and 30-40% by the following year, at which time Lublin was to be declared a German city and given a German mayor.

Territorial dissection

The exact territorial reorganization of the Polish provinces in the event of German victory in the east was never definitively resolved. Large parts of western pre-war Poland had already been annexed
Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany
At the beginning of World War II, nearly a quarter of the pre-war Polish areas were annexed by Nazi Germany and placed directly under German civil administration, while the rest of Nazi occupied Poland was named as General Government...

 upon the establishment of the General Government, and the remaining region was also intended to be directly incorporated into the German Reich at some future date. Numerous initiatives to this effect were discussed by the Nazi leadership.

The earliest such proposal (October/November 1939) called for the creation of a separate Reichsgau Beskidenland
Beskids
The Beskids , ) is a traditional name for a series of Eastern European mountain ranges.- Definition :The Beskids are approximately 600 km in length and 50–70 km in width...

which was to encompass several southern sections of the Polish territories conquered in 1939 (around 18,000 km2), stretching from the area to the west of Kraków
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

 to the San river in the east. At this time the Łódź area had not yet been directly annexed by Germany, and served as the capital of the General Government rather than Kraków
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

.

Upon hearing of the German plans to create a "Gau of the Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

" (Gotengau) in the Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

 and the Southern Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 after the start of Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

, Frank himself expressed his intention to turn the district under his control into a German province called the Vandalengau (Gau of the Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

) in a speech he gave on 16 December 1941.

When Frank unsuccessfully attempted to resign his position on 24 August 1942, Nazi Party Secretary Martin Bormann
Martin Bormann
Martin Ludwig Bormann was a prominent Nazi official. He became head of the Party Chancellery and private secretary to Adolf Hitler...

 tried to advance a project to dissolve the General Government altogether and partition its territory into a number of Reichsgaue, arguing that only this method could guarantee the territory's Germanization, while also claiming that it could also be economically exploited more effectively, particularly as a source of food. He suggested separating the "more restful" population of the formerly Austrian territories
Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria
The Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria was a crownland of the Habsburg Monarchy, the Austrian Empire, and Austria–Hungary from 1772 to 1918 .This historical region in eastern Central Europe is currently divided between Poland and Ukraine...

 (because this part of Poland had been under German-Austrian rule
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 for a long period of time it was deemed more racially acceptable) from the rest of the Poles and to cordon off the city of Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

, as the center of "criminality" and underground activity
Polish resistance movement in World War II
The Polish resistance movement in World War II, with the Home Army at its forefront, was the largest underground resistance in all of Nazi-occupied Europe, covering both German and Soviet zones of occupation. The Polish defence against the Nazi occupation was an important part of the European...

.

The proposed administrative streamlining resulting from these discussions was opposed by Ludwig Fischer (governor of Warsaw), who prepared his own project in his Main Office for Spatial Ordering (Hauptamt für Raumordnung) located in Warsaw. He suggested the creation of the three provinces Beskiden, Weichselland ("Vistula
Vistula
The Vistula is the longest and the most important river in Poland, at 1,047 km in length. The watershed area of the Vistula is , of which lies within Poland ....

 Land"), and Galizien (Galicia and Chelm
Chelm
Chełm is a city in eastern Poland with 67,702 inhabitants . It is located to the south-east of Lublin, north of Zamość and south of Biała Podlaska, some 25 kilometres from the border with Ukraine...

) by dividing the Radom and Lublin districts between them. Weichselland was to have a "Polish character", Galizien a "Ukrainian" one, and the Beskiden-province to provide a German "admixture" (i.e. colonial settlement). Further territorial planning carried out by this Warsaw-based organization under Major
Sturmbannführer
Sturmbannführer was a paramilitary rank of the Nazi Party equivalent to major, used both in the Sturmabteilung and the Schutzstaffel...

 Dr. Ernst Zvanetti in a May 1943 study to demarcate the eastern border of "Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

" (i.e. the Greater German Reich) with the "Eastern European
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 landmass" proposed an eastern German border along the "line Memel-Odessa
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

".

In this context this study propagated a re-ordering of the "Eastern Gaue" into three geopolitical blocks:
  • a western group with the Gaue Danzig-Westpreußen
    Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia
    The Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia was a Nazi German province created on 8 October 1939 from the territory of the annexed Free City of Danzig, the annexed Polish province Greater Pomeranian Voivodship , and the Nazi German Regierungsbezirk West Prussia of Gau East Prussia. Before 2 November 1939,...

    , Wartheland
    Reichsgau Wartheland
    Reichsgau Wartheland was a Nazi German Reichsgau formed from Polish territory annexed in 1939. It comprised the Greater Poland and adjacent areas, and only in part matched the area of the similarly named pre-Versailles Prussian province of Posen...

    , and Schlesien (Silesia
    Silesia
    Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

    );
  • a central group with the Gaue Ostpreußen (East Prussia
    East Prussia
    East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...

    ), Südpreußen (South Prussia
    South Prussia
    South Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1793 to 1807. It was created out of territory annexed in the Second Partition of Poland and included in 1793*the Poznań, Kalisz and Gniezno Voivodeships of Greater Poland;...

    ), Litzmannstadt (Łódź), and Beskidenland;
  • and an eastern group with the Gaue Südostpreußen (South-East Prussia), Wolhynien (Volhynia
    Volhynia
    Volhynia, Volynia, or Volyn is a historic region in western Ukraine located between the rivers Prypiat and Southern Bug River, to the north of Galicia and Podolia; the region is named for the former city of Volyn or Velyn, said to have been located on the Southern Bug River, whose name may come...

     and the Lublin district), Galizien, and Podolien (Podolia
    Podolia
    The region of Podolia is an historical region in the west-central and south-west portions of present-day Ukraine, corresponding to Khmelnytskyi Oblast and Vinnytsia Oblast. Northern Transnistria, in Moldova, is also a part of Podolia...

    ).

Administration

The General Government was administered by a General-Governor (German: Generalgouverneur) aided by the Office of the General-Governor (Amt des Generalgouverneurs), changed on December 9, 1940 to the Government of the General Government (Regierung des Generalgouvernements). For the entire period of its history, there was only one General-Governor (Dr. Hans Frank
Hans Frank
Hans Michael Frank was a German lawyer who worked for the Nazi party during the 1920s and 1930s and later became a high-ranking official in Nazi Germany...

) and the Office (later, the Government) was headed by Chief of the Government (Regierung, title translated also as the State Secretary or Deputy Governor) Josef Bühler
Josef Bühler
Josef Bühler was a Nazi war criminal, secretary and deputy governor to the Nazi-controlled General Government in Kraków during World War II.- Background :...

. Several other individuals had powers to issue legislative decrees in addition to the General Governor, most notably the Higher SS and Police Leader
SS and Police Leader
SS and Police Leader was a title for senior Nazi officials that commanded large units of the SS, of Gestapo and of the regular German police during and prior to World War II.Three levels of subordination were established for bearers of this title:...

 of General Government (Friedrich Wilhelm Krüger
Friedrich Wilhelm Krüger
Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger was a Nazi official and high-ranking member of the SA and SS. Between 1939 and 1943 he was SS and Police Leader in the General Government in German-occupied Poland and in that capacity he organized and supervised numerous acts of war crimes.- Early life :Krüger was born...

, later Wilhelm Koppe
Wilhelm Koppe
Wilhelm Koppe was a German Nazi commander who was responsible for numerous atrocities against Poles and Jews in Reichsgau Wartheland and the General Government during the German occupation of Poland in World War II.-Biography:Born in Hildesheim, he fought in the First World War...

).

The General Government had no international recognition
Diplomatic recognition
Diplomatic recognition in international law is a unilateral political act with domestic and international legal consequences, whereby a state acknowledges an act or status of another state or government in control of a state...

. The territories it administered were never either in whole or part intended as any future Polish state within a German-dominated Europe. According to the Nazi government the Polish state had effectively ceased to exist, in spite of the existence of a Polish government-in-exile. Its character could be compared to a type of colonial state
Colony
In politics and history, a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies. Some colonies were historically countries, while others were territories without definite statehood from their inception....

, combined with many characteristics of a police state
Police state
A police state is one in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population...

. It cannot be seen as a Polish puppet government, as there were no Polish representatives on anything but the local levels.

The government seat of the General Government was located in Kraków
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

 (German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

: Krakau) rather than the traditional Polish capital Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

 for security reasons. The official state language was German, although Polish continued to be used to a large degree as well, especially on the local levels. Several institutions of the old Polish state were retained in some form for the ease of administration. The Polish police, with no high-ranking Polish officers (who were arrested or demoted), was renamed the Blue Police
Blue Police
The Blue Police, more correctly translated as The Navy-Blue Police was the popular name of the collaborationist police in the German occupied area of the Second Polish Republic, known as General Government during the Second World War...

 and became subordinated to the Ordnungspolizei
Ordnungspolizei
The Ordnungspolizei or Orpo were the uniformed regular police force in Nazi Germany between 1936 and 1945. It was increasingly absorbed into the Nazi police system. Owing to their green uniforms, they were also referred to as Grüne Polizei...

. The Polish educational system was similarly kept, but most higher institutions were closed. The Polish local administration was kept, subordinated to new German bosses. The Polish fiscal system, including the złoty currency, was kept, but with revenues now going to the German state. A new bank was created, and was issuing new banknotes.

The Germans sought to play Ukrainians and Poles off against each other. Within ethnic Ukrainian areas annexed by Germany, beginning in October 1939, Ukrainian Committees were established with the purpose of representing the Ukrainian community to the German authoriteis and assisting the approximately 30,000 Ukrainian refugees who fled from Soviet-controlled territories. These committees also undertook cultural and economic activities that had been banned by the previous Polish government. Schools, choirs, reading societies and theaters were opened, and twenty Ukrainian churches that had been closed by the Polish government were reopened. A Ukrainian publishing house was created in Cracow, which despite having to struggle with German censors and paper shortages was able to publish school textbooks, classics of Ukrainian literature, and the works of dissident Ukrainian writers from the Soviet Union. By March 1941 there were 808 Ukrainian educational societies with 46,000 members. Ukrainian organizations within the General Government were able to negotiate the release of 85,000 Ukrainian prisoners of war from the German-Polish conflict (although they were unable to help Soviet POWs of Ukrainian ethnicity).

After the war, the Polish Supreme National Tribunal
Supreme National Tribunal
The Supreme National Tribunal was a war crime tribunal active in Poland from 1946 to 1948, with jurisdiction over fascist-hitlerite criminals and traitors to the Polish nation.The tribunal presided over seven high-profile cases ....

 declared that the government of the General Government was a criminal institution.

Judicial system

Other than summary German military tribunals, no courts operated in Poland between the German invasion and early 1940. At that time, the Polish court system was reinstated and was allowed to continue decision making in cases not concerning German interests or citizens, for which a parallel German court system was created. The German system was given priority in cases of overlapping jurisdiction.

New laws were passed, discriminating against the Poles, and in particular, the Jews. In 1941 a new criminal law
Criminal law
Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...

 was introduced, introducing many new crimes, and making the death penalty very common. A death penalty was introduced for, among other things:
  • on October 31, 1939, for any acts against the German government;
  • on January 21, 1940, for economic speculation;
  • on February 20, 1940, for spreading sexually transmitted disease
    Sexually transmitted disease
    Sexually transmitted disease , also known as a sexually transmitted infection or venereal disease , is an illness that has a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of human sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex...

    s;
  • on July 31, 1940, for any Polish officers who did not register immediately with the German administration (to be taken to prisoner of war
    Prisoner of war
    A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

     camps);
  • on November 10, 1941, for aiding the Jews (including providing food);
  • on July 11, 1942, for farmers who failed to provide requested contingents of crops;
  • on July 24, 1943, for not joining the forced labor battalions (Baudienst
    Baudienst
    Baudienst , full name Polnischer Baudienst im Generalgouvernement , was the labour battalion created in Nazi-occupied Poland . Baudienst was subordinate to the Reichsarbeitsdienst Baudienst (from German, lit. "building service" or "construction service"), full name Polnischer Baudienst im...

    ) when required;
  • on October 2, 1943, for impeding the "German Reconstruction Plan";

Police system

The police in the General Government was divided into:
  • Ordnungspolizei
    Ordnungspolizei
    The Ordnungspolizei or Orpo were the uniformed regular police force in Nazi Germany between 1936 and 1945. It was increasingly absorbed into the Nazi police system. Owing to their green uniforms, they were also referred to as Grüne Polizei...

     (OrPo) (German)
    • Blue Police
      Blue Police
      The Blue Police, more correctly translated as The Navy-Blue Police was the popular name of the collaborationist police in the German occupied area of the Second Polish Republic, known as General Government during the Second World War...

       (Polish under German control)
  • Sicherheitspolizei
    Sicherheitspolizei
    The Sicherheitspolizei , often abbreviated as SiPo, was a term used in Nazi Germany to describe the state political and criminal investigation security agencies. It was made up by the combined forces of the Gestapo and the Kripo between 1936 and 1939...

     (German)
    • Kriminalpolizei
      Kriminalpolizei
      is the standard term for the criminal investigation agency within the police forces of Germany, Austria and the German-speaking cantons of Switzerland. In Nazi Germany during 1936, the Kripo became the Criminal Police Department for the entire Reich...

       (German)
    • Gestapo
      Gestapo
      The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

       (German)

Military occupation forces

Through the occupation Germany diverted a significant number of its military forces to keep control over Polish territories.
Number of Wehrmacht and police formations stationed in General Gouvernment
Timeperiod Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

Police and SS
(includes German forces only)
Total
October 1939 550,000 80,000 630,000
April 1940 400,000 70,000 470,000
June 1941 2,000,000
(high number due to imminent invasion of Soviet Union
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

)
50,000 2,050,000
February 1942 300,000 50,000 350,000
April 1943 450,000 60,000 510,000
November 1943 550,000 70,000 620,000
April 1944 500,000 70,000 570,000
September 1944 1,000,000 80,000 1,080,000

Administrative districts

For administrative purposes the General Government was subdivided into four Distrikten (districts). These were the Distrikt Warschau
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

, the Distrikt Lublin
Lublin
Lublin is the ninth largest city in Poland. It is the capital of Lublin Voivodeship with a population of 350,392 . Lublin is also the largest Polish city east of the Vistula river...

, the Distrikt Radom
Radom
Radom is a city in central Poland with 223,397 inhabitants . It is located on the Mleczna River in the Masovian Voivodeship , having previously been the capital of Radom Voivodeship ; 100 km south of Poland's capital, Warsaw.It is home to the biennial Radom Air Show, the largest and...

, and the Distrikt Krakau
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

. After the German attack on the Soviet Union
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

 in June 1941, East Galicia, at that point part of the Ukrainian SSR
Ukrainian SSR
The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic or in short, the Ukrainian SSR was a sovereign Soviet Socialist state and one of the fifteen constituent republics of the Soviet Union lasting from its inception in 1922 to the breakup in 1991...

, was incorporated into the General Government and became its fifth district, the Distrikt Galizien.

These five districts were further sub-divided into Stadtkreise (urban counties) and Kreishauptmannschaften (rural counties). Following a decree on September 15, 1941, the names of most of the major cities (and so respective counties) reverted to their historical German names, or were given germanified versions of their Polish or Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

 names if none existed. At the same time the previous names remained valid as well. The districts and counties were as follows:
Distrikt Galizien
Stadtkreise Lemberg (Lviv/Lwów
Lviv
Lviv is a city in western Ukraine. The city is regarded as one of the main cultural centres of today's Ukraine and historically has also been a major Polish and Jewish cultural center, as Poles and Jews were the two main ethnicities of the city until the outbreak of World War II and the following...

)
Kreishauptmannschaften Breschan (Brzezany), Tschortkau (Czortkow), Drohobycz, Kamionka-Strumilowa (Kamianka-Buzka
Kamianka-Buzka
Kamianka-Buzka is a city in the Lviv Oblast, of western Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Kamianka-Buzkyi Raion . The city was previously known as Kamianka Strumilowa, and was a district city in Galicia...

), Kolomea (Kołomyja), Lemberg-Land, Rawa-Ruska (Rava-Ruska
Rava-Ruska
Rava-Ruska is a city in the Lviv Oblast of western Ukraine.It is located near the border with Poland, opposite the town of Hrebenne. It is located in the Zhovkva Raion at around . The current estimated population is 8,100 ....

), Stanislau (Ivano-Frankivsk
Ivano-Frankivsk
Ivano-Frankivsk is a historic city located in the western Ukraine. It is the administrative centre of the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast , and is designated as its own separate raion within the oblast, municipality....

), Sambor (Sambir
Sambir
Sambir is a city in the Lviv Oblast, Ukraine. Serving as the administrative center of the Sambir Raion , the city itself is also designated as a separate raion within the oblast. It is located at around , close to the border with Poland.-History:...

) Stryj
Stryj
Stryj may refer to:*Stryj, Lublin Voivodeship *Stryi, Ukraine - Stryj in Polish...

, Tarnopol, Solotschiw (Zolochiv
Zolochiv
Zolochiv is a town located in the Lviv Oblast of western Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Zolochiv Raion ....

), Kallusch (Kalush
Kalush, Ukraine
-Notable residents:*Stepan Bandera*August Aleksander Czartoryski*Jakub Sobieski*Jan "Sobiepan" Zamoyski*Tomasz Zamoyski*Fedir Danylak-Twin towns — sister cities:Kalush, Ukraine is twinned with:- Location :Local orientationRegional orientation...

)
Distrikt Krakau
Stadtkreise Krakau (Kraków
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

)
Kreishauptmannschaften Dembitz (Dębica
Debica
Dębica is a town in southeastern Poland with 46,693 inhabitants, as of 2 June 2009. It is the capital of Dębica County. Since 1999 it has been situated in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship; it had previously been in the Tarnów Voivodeship .-Area:...

), Jaroslau (Jarosław), Jassel (Jaslo
Jaslo
Jasło is a county town in south-eastern Poland with 37,343 inhabitants, as of 2 June 2009. It is situated in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship ; previously it was in Krosno Voivodeship . It is located in the heartland of the Doły , and its average altitude is 320 metres above sea level, although...

), Krakau-Land, Krosno
Krosno
Krosno is a town and county in Subcarpathian Voivodeship, Poland with 47,455 inhabitants, as of 2 June 2009.Notably Krosno is the site of the first oil well in the world....

, Meekow (Miechow
Miechów
Miechów is a town in Poland, in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, about 40 km north of Kraków. It is the capital of Miechów County. Population is 11,852 ....

), Neumarkt (Nowy Targ
Nowy Targ
Nowy Targ is a town in southern Poland with 34,000 inhabitants , and the historical capital of the mountain region . The town is situated in the confluence of the rivers Biały and Czarny Dunajec, in a valley beneath the Gorce Mountains. It's in Nowy Targ County, Lesser Poland Voivodeship...

), Neu-Sandez (Nowy Sącz
Nowy Sacz
Nowy Sącz is a town in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship in southern Poland. It is the district capital of Nowy Sącz County, but is not included within the powiat.-Names:...

), Prömsel (Przemyśl
Przemysl
Przemyśl is a city in south-eastern Poland with 66,756 inhabitants, as of June 2009. In 1999, it became part of the Podkarpackie Voivodeship; it was previously the capital of Przemyśl Voivodeship....

), Reichshof (Rzeszow
Rzeszów
Rzeszów is a city in southeastern Poland with a population of 179,455 in 2010. It is located on both sides of the Wisłok River, in the heartland of the Sandomierska Valley...

), Saanig (Sanok
Sanok
Sanok is a town in south-eastern Poland with 39,110 inhabitants, as of 2 June 2009. It's the capital of Sanok County in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship. Previously, it was in the Krosno Voivodeship and in the Ruthenian Voivodeship , which was part of the Lesser Poland province...

), Tarnau (Tarnów
Tarnów
Tarnów is a city in southeastern Poland with 115,341 inhabitants as of June 2009. The city has been situated in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship since 1999, but from 1975 to 1998 it was the capital of the Tarnów Voivodeship. It is a major rail junction, located on the strategic east-west connection...

)
Distrikt Lublin
Stadtkreise Lublin
Lublin
Lublin is the ninth largest city in Poland. It is the capital of Lublin Voivodeship with a population of 350,392 . Lublin is also the largest Polish city east of the Vistula river...

Kreishauptmannschaften Biala-Podlaska (Biała Podlaska), Bilgoraj
Bilgoraj
Biłgoraj is a town in south-eastern Poland with 27,000 inhabitants . Since 1999 it has been situated in Lublin Voivodeship; it was previously in Zamość Voivodeship . It is located 90 km south of Lublin and it is also the capital of Biłgoraj County...

, Cholm (Chelm
Chelm
Chełm is a city in eastern Poland with 67,702 inhabitants . It is located to the south-east of Lublin, north of Zamość and south of Biała Podlaska, some 25 kilometres from the border with Ukraine...

), Grubeschow (Hrubieszow
Hrubieszów
Hrubieszów is a town in southeastern Poland, with a population of 18,661 . It is the capital of Hrubieszów County. Since 1999 Hrubieszów has been part of Lublin Voivodeship . Earlier, 1975–98, it had been part of Zamość Province...

), Janow Lubelski
Janów Lubelski
Janów Lubelski is a town in eastern Poland. It has 11,882 inhabitants .Situated in the Lublin Voivodship . It is the capital of Janów Lubelski County.It has a large hospital...

, Krasnystaw
Krasnystaw
Krasnystaw is a town in eastern Poland with 19,615 inhabitants . Situated in the Lublin Voivodeship , previously in Chelm Voivodeship . It is the capital of Krasnystaw County....

, Lublin-Land, Pulawy
Pulawy
Puławy is a town in eastern Poland, in Lublin Province, on the Wisła and Kurówka rivers. According to the 2006 census estimate, the town had a total population of 49,839. Puławy is the capital of Puławy County...

, Rehden (Radzyn
Radzyn
There are two cities in Poland known as Radzyń:* Radzyń Chełmiński, a town in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodship* Radzyń Podlaski, a town in the Lublin Voivodship*Radzyń, Łódź Voivodeship, a village in central Poland...

), Zamosch/Himmlerstadt/Pflugstadt (Zamość
Zamosc
Zamość ukr. Замостя is a town in southeastern Poland with 66,633 inhabitants , situated in the south-western part of Lublin Voivodeship , about from Lublin, from Warsaw and from the border with Ukraine...

)
Distrikt Radom
Stadtkreise Kielce
Kielce
Kielce ) is a city in central Poland with 204,891 inhabitants . It is also the capital city of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship since 1999, previously in Kielce Voivodeship...

, Radom
Radom
Radom is a city in central Poland with 223,397 inhabitants . It is located on the Mleczna River in the Masovian Voivodeship , having previously been the capital of Radom Voivodeship ; 100 km south of Poland's capital, Warsaw.It is home to the biennial Radom Air Show, the largest and...

, Tschentochau (Częstochowa
Czestochowa
Częstochowa is a city in south Poland on the Warta River with 240,027 inhabitants . It has been situated in the Silesian Voivodeship since 1999, and was previously the capital of Częstochowa Voivodeship...

)
Kreishauptmannschaften Busko (Busko-Zdrój
Busko-Zdrój
Busko-Zdrój is a town in Poland, in Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship. It is the capital of Busko County. As of 2004, its population is 17,363.-History:...

), Jedrzejow
Jedrzejów
Jędrzejów is a town in Poland, located in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, about 35 km southwest of Kielce. It is the capital of Jędrzejów County. It has 18,069 inhabitants ....

, Kielce-Land, Konskie (Końskie
Konskie
Końskie is a town in central Poland with 20,328 inhabitants , situated in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship , previously in Kielce Voivodeship . Most of the town labour force was employed in the local foundry in the late 80s and early 90s...

), Opatau (Opatów
Opatów
Opatów is a town in Poland, in Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship. It is the capital of Opatów County. Its population is 7,833 .Tourist attractions include a 12th century Collegiate Church of St...

), Petrikau (Piotrków Trybunalski
Piotrków Trybunalski
Piotrków Trybunalski is a city in central Poland with 80,738 inhabitants . It is situated in the Łódź Voivodeship , and previously was the capital of Piotrków Voivodeship...

), Radom-Land, Radomsko
Radomsko
Radomsko is a town in central Poland with 50,618 inhabitants . It is situated on the Radomka river in the Łódź Voivodeship , having previously been in Piotrków Trybunalski Voivodeship . It is the capital of Radomsko County....

, Starachowitz (Starachowice
Starachowice
Starachowice is a town in south-central Poland with 55,126 inhabitants . Starachowice is situated in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship ; it was formerly in the Kielce Voivodeship . It is the capital of Starachowice County...

), Tomaschow Mazowiecki (Tomaszów Mazowiecki
Tomaszów Mazowiecki
Tomaszów Mazowiecki is a town in central Poland with 67,159 inhabitants . Situated in the Łódź Voivodeship , it was previously part of Piotrków Trybunalski Voivodeship...

)
Distrikt Warschau
Stadtkreise Warschau (Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

)
Kreishauptmannschaften Garwolin
Garwolin
Garwolin is a town on the Wilga river in eastern Poland, capital of Garwolin County, situated in the southeast part of the Garwolin plateau in Masovian Voivodeship , 62 km southeast of Warsaw, 100 km northwest of Lublin...

, Grojec (Grójec
Grójec
Grójec is a town in Poland. Located in the Masovian Voivodeship, about 40 km south of Warsaw, it is the capital of Grójec County. It has about 14,875 inhabitants . Grójec surroundings are considered to be the biggest apple-growing area of Poland. It is said, that the region makes up also for...

), Lowitsch (Lowicz
Lowicz
Łowicz is a town in central Poland with 30,383 inhabitants . It is situated in the Łódź Voivodeship ; previously, it was in Skierniewice Voivodeship . Together with a nearby station of Bednary, Łowicz is a major rail junction of central Poland, where the line from Warsaw splits into two directions...

), Minsk (Mińsk Mazowiecki
Minsk Mazowiecki
Mińsk Mazowiecki is a town in central Poland with 38 181 inhabitants . It is situated in the Masovian Voivodeship , previously in Siedlce Voivodeship...

), Ostrau (Ostrów Mazowiecka
Ostrów Mazowiecka
Ostrów Mazowiecka is a town in northeastern Poland with 23,486 inhabitants . Situated in the Masovian Voivodeship , previously in Ostroleka Voivodeship . It is the capital of Ostrów Mazowiecka County....

), Siedlce
Siedlce
Siedlce ) is a city in eastern Poland with 77,392 inhabitants . Situated in the Masovian Voivodeship , previously the city was the capital of a separate Siedlce Voivodeship ....

, Sochaczew
Sochaczew
Sochaczew is a town in central Poland, with 38,300 inhabitants . Situated in the Masovian Voivodeship , previously in Skierniewice Voivodeship . It is the capital of Sochaczew County....

, Sokolow-Wengrow (Sokołów Podlaski-Węgrów
Wegrów
Węgrów is a town in eastern Poland with 12,561 inhabitants . Situated in the Masovian Voivodeship , it is the capital of Węgrów County.First mentioned in historical records in 1414, it received its citycharter in 1441...

), Warschau-Land


A change in the administrative structure was desired by Finance Minister Lutz von Krosigk, who for financial reasons wanted to see the five existing districts (Warsaw, Kraków, Radom, Lublin, and Galicia) reduced to three. In March 1943 he announced the merger of the Kraków and Galicia districts, and the partition of the Warsaw district between the so-called Deutschtumsdistrikt ("Germandom
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

-district") Lublin and the district Radom, and the changing of Warsaw and Kraków into separate city-districts (stadtkreise), with Warsaw under the direct control of the General Government. This decree was to go into effect on 1 April 1943 and was nominally accepted by Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

, but Martin Bormann
Martin Bormann
Martin Ludwig Bormann was a prominent Nazi official. He became head of the Party Chancellery and private secretary to Adolf Hitler...

 opposed the move, as he simply wanted to see the region turned into Reichsgaue. Wilhelm Frick
Wilhelm Frick
Wilhelm Frick was a prominent German Nazi official serving as Minister of the Interior of the Third Reich. After the end of World War II, he was tried for war crimes at the Nuremberg Trials and executed...

 and Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger were also skeptic about the usefulness of this reorganization, resulting in its abolition after subsequent discussions between Himmler and Frank.

Demographics

The population in the General Government's territory was initially about 12 million, but this increased as about 860,000 Poles and Jews were expelled from the Germany-annexed areas and "resettled" in the General Government. Offsetting this was the German campaign of extermination of the Polish intelligentsia
Intelligentsia
The intelligentsia is a social class of people engaged in complex, mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them...

 and other elements thought likely to resist. From 1941 disease and hunger also began to reduce the population.
Distribution of food in General Gouvernment as of December, 1941
Nationality Daily calorie intake
Germans 2310
Foreigners 1790
Ukrainians 930
Poles 654
Jews 184


Poles were also deported in large numbers to work as forced labor in Germany: eventually about a million were deported, of whom many died in Germany. In 1940 the population was divided into different groups. Each group had different rights, food rations, allowed strips in the cities, public transportation and restricted restaurants. Listed from the most privileged to the least:
  • Germans from Germany (Reichdeutsche),
  • Germans from outside, active ethnic Germans, Volksliste category 1 and 2 (see Volksdeutsche
    Volksdeutsche
    Volksdeutsche - "German in terms of people/folk" -, defined ethnically, is a historical term from the 20th century. The words volk and volkische conveyed in Nazi thinking the meanings of "folk" and "race" while adding the sense of superior civilization and blood...

    ).
  • Germans from outside, passive Germans and members of families (this group included also some ethnic Poles), Volksliste category 3 and 4,
  • Ukrainians,
  • Highlanders (Goralenvolk
    Goralenvolk
    Goralenvolk was the name given by the German Nazis in World War II during their occupation of Poland to the population of Podhale in the south near the Slovakian border. They postulated a different ethnicity for that population, in an effort to divide the Polish people. The word was derived from...

    ) – an attempt to split the Polish nation by using local collaborators
  • Poles,
  • Gypsies,
  • Jews (eventually sentenced to extermination as a category).

Economics

Since the autumn of 1939, Poles from other regions of Poland conquered by Germany were expelled to the General Government and the area was used as a slave labour camp from which men and women taken by force to work as slave laborers in factories and farms in Germany.

Former Polish state property was confiscated by the General Government (or the Third Reich on the annexed territories). Notable property of Polish individuals (ex. factories and large land estates) was often confiscated as well. Farmers were required to provide large food contingents for the Germans, and there were plans for nationalization of all but the smallest estates. Currency was managed by the newly created Bank Emisyjny w Polsce
Bank Emisyjny w Polsce
Bank Emisyjny w Polsce was a bank created in the General Government in 1940.-Creation:After the German invasion of Poland, the Reichsbank decided not to introduce German currency there, as it did not want to increase the money supply. Instead, it introduced a system of Reichskreditkassen , which...

.

Resistance

Resistance to the German occupation began almost at once, although there is little terrain in Poland suitable for guerrilla operations
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

. The main resistance force was the Home Army
Armia Krajowa
The Armia Krajowa , or Home Army, was the dominant Polish resistance movement in World War II German-occupied Poland. It was formed in February 1942 from the Związek Walki Zbrojnej . Over the next two years, it absorbed most other Polish underground forces...

 (in Polish: Armia Krajowa or AK), loyal to the Polish government in exile
Polish government in Exile
The Polish government-in-exile, formally known as the Government of the Republic of Poland in Exile , was the government in exile of Poland formed in the aftermath of the Invasion of Poland of September 1939, and the subsequent occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, which...

 in London. It was formed mainly of the surviving remnants of the pre-War Polish Army, together with many volunteers. Other forces existed side-by-side, such as the communist People's Army
Armia Ludowa
Armia Ludowa was a communist partisan force set up by the Polish Workers' Party during World War II. Its aims were to support the military of the Soviet Union against German forces and aid the creation of a pro-Soviet communist government in Poland...

 (Armia Ludowa or AL), backed by the Soviet Union and controlled by the Polish Communist Party. By 1944 the AK had some 380,000 men, although few arms. During the occupation, the various Polish resistance organizations killed about 150,000 Axis soldiers. The AL was about 15% of the size of the AK.

In April 1943 the Germans began deporting the remaining Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto
Warsaw Ghetto
The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of all Jewish Ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. It was established in the Polish capital between October and November 15, 1940, in the territory of General Government of the German-occupied Poland, with over 400,000 Jews from the vicinity...

, provoking the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the Jewish resistance that arose within the Warsaw Ghetto in German occupied Poland during World War II, and which opposed Nazi Germany's effort to transport the remaining ghetto population to Treblinka extermination camp....

, April 19 to May. 16 That was the first armed uprising against the Germans in Poland, and prefigured the larger and longer Warsaw Uprising
Warsaw Uprising
The Warsaw Uprising was a major World War II operation by the Polish resistance Home Army , to liberate Warsaw from Nazi Germany. The rebellion was timed to coincide with the Soviet Union's Red Army approaching the eastern suburbs of the city and the retreat of German forces...

 of 1944.

In July 1944, as the Soviet armed forces approached Warsaw, the government in exile called for an uprising in the city, so that they could return to a liberated Warsaw and try to prevent a Communist take-over. The AK, led by Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski
Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski
General Count Tadeusz Komorowski , better known by the name Bór-Komorowski was a Polish military leader....

, launched the Warsaw Rising on August 1 in response both to their government and to Soviet and Allied promises of help. However Soviet help was never forthcoming, despite the Soviet army being only 18 miles (30 km) away, and Soviet denial of their airbases to British and American planes prevented any effective resupply or air support of the insurgents by the Western allies. After 63 days of fighting the leaders of the rising agreed a conditional surrender with the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

. The 15,000 remaining Home Army soldiers were granted POW status (prior to the agreement, captured rebels were shot), and the remaining civilian population of 180,000 expelled.

The Holocaust in the General Government

During the Wannsee conference
Wannsee Conference
The Wannsee Conference was a meeting of senior officials of the Nazi German regime, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942. The purpose of the conference was to inform administrative leaders of Departments responsible for various policies relating to Jews, that Reinhard Heydrich...

 on January 20, 1942, The State Secretary of the General Government, Dr. Josef Bühler
Josef Bühler
Josef Bühler was a Nazi war criminal, secretary and deputy governor to the Nazi-controlled General Government in Kraków during World War II.- Background :...

 pushed Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich , also known as The Hangman, was a high-ranking German Nazi official.He was SS-Obergruppenführer and General der Polizei, chief of the Reich Main Security Office and Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia...

 to implement the "final solution
Final Solution
The Final Solution was Nazi Germany's plan and execution of the systematic genocide of European Jews during World War II, resulting in the most deadly phase of the Holocaust...

" in the General Government. As far as he was concerned, the main problem of General Government was an overdeveloped black market that disorganised the work of the authorities. He saw a remedy in solving the "Jewish question" in the country as fast as possible. An additional point in favor was that there were no transportation problems here.

In 1942, the Germans began the systematic extermination of the Jewish population. The General Government was the location of four of the seven extermination camps in which the most extreme measures of the Holocaust, the genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

 by gassing of undesired "races", chiefly millions of Jews from Poland and other countries, was carried out between 1942 and 1944.

See also

  • Ernst Lerch
    Ernst Lerch
    Ernst Lerch was one of the most important men of Operation Reinhard , responsible for "Jewish affairs", and the mass murder of the Jews in the General Government .-Life and early career:...

  • German camps in occupied Poland during World War II
    German camps in occupied Poland during World War II
    The German camps in occupied Poland during World War II were built by Nazi Germany in the course of its Occupation of Poland both in areas annexed by Germany and in General Gouvernment...

  • Gestapo-NKVD Conferences
    Gestapo-NKVD Conferences
    The Gestapo–NKVD conferences were a series of meetings organized in late 1939 and early 1940, whose purpose was the mutual cooperation between Nazi Germany and Soviet Union...

  • Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany
    Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany
    At the beginning of World War II, nearly a quarter of the pre-war Polish areas were annexed by Nazi Germany and placed directly under German civil administration, while the rest of Nazi occupied Poland was named as General Government...

  • Territories of Poland annexed by the Soviet Union
  • World War II evacuation and expulsion
    World War II evacuation and expulsion
    Forced deportation, mass evacuation and displacement of peoples took place in many of the countries involved in World War II. These were caused both by the direct hostilities between Axis and Allied powers, and the border changes enacted in the pre-war settlement...


External links

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