Written by Jagoda Urban-Klaehn Thursday, 31 December 2009 14:46
This is the third article devoted to World War II in Poland for a series started in the September edition on the anniversary of the war. Read the first article Long Shadows of War - Poland and World War II . This is also a first part of mu Uncle Franek memoirs.
As I already pointed out in the previous article, the majority of Poles in the regions annexed to Germany during World War II, especially in Upper Silesia, were treated like second-class German citizens. The whole Silesian population was divided into four categories - the first two included people who were members of German political, cultural or sport organizations or had pure German blood. The third category, so-called "volksdeutch" (folk Germans or country Germans) were people of mixed blood and mixed culture who spoke either German or Silesian at home. The Silesian language is just a Polish dialect, mixed with some German and Czech words. These people, according to Nazi standards, were not completely germanized but had lived in the region of Silesia for generations. Originally, there was an idea that all of these people should be sent to the Reich in order to germanize them, but this task was simply impossible since there were so many people who would need "germanization." They therefore received temporary German citizenship for a period of ten years. Commonly, people who belonged to this group had all the duties of the first and the second categories: they were required to send their men to Wehrmacht, but they were denied the special privileges of the two higher class.