「民族ドイツ人」移住農民の戦時経験 : ナチス併合地ポーランド入植政策から東ドイツ土地改革へ [in Japanese] The Experience of "Ethnic German" Farmers around World War II : From the Nazi Settlement Policy in Annexed Polish Areas to Land Reform in East Germany [in Japanese]
Access this Article
Search this Article
As a result of the Nazi-enforced migration policy at the beginning of WWII, Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans) farmers from Bessarabia, Volhynia, and Galicia as well as Baltic states resettled in the villages of the annexed Polish areas such as Warthegau and Dazig-Westpreussen, after the native Polish peasants had been deported to the Government General. In Japan, the details of this policy, called Heim ins Reich (back to the Reich), are still not very well understood, except those dealing with the phases of the Holocaust. The purpose of this paper is to describe the experience of the resettlement of the "ethnic German" farmers; it could provide a fresh perspective on this wartime settlement policy, further bringing out its historical continuity to land reform in Postwar East Germany. (1) It is important to note that the targets of the Nazi settlement policy were not the Reichsdeutsche (imperial German) but the Volksdeutsche. Through a racial screening conducted by the Schutzstaffel (SS) before entering annexed Poland, it was found that the SS staff disliked and strongly opposed the concept of consanguineous marriage, while insisting that the ethnic norms were not applied as strictly as expected, as it resulted in criticism for a Nazi local party leader who was representing the resettlers and the complaints raised by them; here, we can observe a discrepancy between them with regard to their understanding of Nazi racial ideology. (2) The action program was designed to simultaneously accomplish both settlement and deportation and was executed systematically and quickly -in only half a day- under the command of the SS organs by mobilizing Nazi activists, including assistant staff members from Nazi women societies, county officials, and local community leaders of native resident ethnic Germans (called "native Germans" in this paper). Further, in the allocation of land and housing, the SS allocated multiple small Polish farms to a German resettler's family with the aim of building an independent family farm with a size of more than 15 ha. (3) After the resettlement, there was heightened "ethnic" conflict within the local community, especially between the German resettlers and the native Germans. Such conflict was in contradiction with the Nazi concept of Volksgemeinschaft (national community). The native Germans remained almost as poor as they were before the settlement policy, like the Polish peasants, and this convinced them that they were not treated favorably by the Nazi, because they perceived the non-allocation of additional farmland to them as unfair. Moreover, they used a different language when communicating among themselves, and their lack of fluency in the German language made communication between the resettlers and the natives difficult. For example, the Bessarabia usually spoke the Schwabisch (Swabia) dialect, whereas the natives were more familiar with Polish. (4) As far as farming after resettlement was concerned, the most serious problem for resettlers was how to control Polish servants, both agricultural and domestic. The military conscription of husbands and sons resulted in the shortage of agricultural labor, which forced the farmer's wives to employ Polish labor. Therefore, they suffered extreme physical pain and mental trauma, brought about by the increased passive resistance by the Polish labor. Despite a good harvest in 1942, overall, it had become tougher for resettlers to carry out farming since 1943. (5) The collapse of the Third Reich led to the deportation of the ethnic Germans from the polish settlement and to their migration to Germany as refugee groups. Through land reform in Postwar East Germany, some of them acquired farmland and became newly involved in farming. Interestingly, there were many cases wherein they acquired farms abandoned by other new farmers around the second half of the 1940s, possibly with the help of the old ethnic German's network. Thus, using their connection with their native villages, they intended to resettle in several areas in an attempt to adapt to the strict agricultural policy of Postwar East Germany.
生物資源経済研究 -(17), 39-76, 2012