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General Government administration

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General Government administration

General Government administration (in German Generalgouvernement für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete) - government and administration of General Government created on part of area of the Second Republic of Poland under Nazi German rule during the duration of World War II between 1939 and early 1945.



"No government protectorate is anticipated for Poland, but a complete German administration. (...) Leadership layer of the population in Poland should be as far as possible, disposed of. The other lower layers of the population will receive no special schools, but are to be oppressed in some form". - The excerpts of the minute of the first conference of Heads of the main police officers and commanders of operational groups led by Heydrich`s deputy, SS-Brigadefuhrer Dr. Werner Best, Berlin 7 September 1939.

After Invasion of Poland the first German administration on occupied Polish areas was set by German military Wehrmacht. Subordinated to them was improvised civilian "Chiefs of Civil Administration" (Chefs der Zivilverwaltung, CdZ) led by Hans Frank. After ending of military actions between October and November 1939 Germans created 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). His chief was General-Governor (Dr. Hans Frank) 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. Several other individuals had powers to issue legislative decrees in addition to the General Governor, most notably the Higher SS and Police Leader of General Government (Friedrich Wilhelm Krüger, later Wilhelm Koppe). All members of the first office:

  • 1. Hans Frank - Generalgouverneur
  • 2. Josef Bühler - Chief of the Government,
  • 3. Friedrich Wilhelm Krüger - Chief of the Police,
  • 4. Otto von Wächter - Gouverneur of the Kraków District,
  • 5. Friedrich Schmidt - Gouverneur of the Lublin District,
  • 6. Karl Lasch - Gouverneur of the Radom District,
  • 7. Ludwig Fischer - Gouverneur of the Warsaw District,
  • 8. Wilhelm Heuber - Power of attorney (niem.„Bevollmächtigter des Generalgouverneurs“) of the General Government in Berlin.
  • Status

    The General Government had no international recognition. The territories it administered were never either in whole or part intended as any future Polish state. According to the Nazi government the Polish state had ceased to exist, in spite of the existence of a Polish government-in-exile. Its character was that of a puppet state. It was not a Polish puppet government, as there were no Polish representatives above the local administration.

    Administrative division

    General Government was divided on 5 districts:

  • 1. Kraków District, led by SS-Brigadeführer Dr Otto von Wächter (between 26 October 1939 to 22 August 1942) and SS-Brigadeführer Dr Richard Wendler from 31 August 1942 to 26 Mai 1943
  • 2. Lublin District, led by Friedrich Schmidt (from 1939 to March 1940), Ernst Zörner (from 31 March 1940 to 10 April 1943) and Richard Wendler (from 27 Mai 1943 to July 1944)
  • 3. Radom District, led by Karl Lasch from 26 October 1939 to July 1941 and Ernst Kundt from September 1941 to 16 August 1945,
  • 4. Warsaw District, led by Ludwig Fischer from 26 October 1939 to 17 August 1945,
  • 5. Galicia District (from 1 September 1941), led by dr Karl Lasch from 1 September 1941 to 6 August 1942 and SS-Gruppenführer Otto von Wächter from 1 February 1942 to July 1944.
  • Organisation of Government

    The government seat of the General Government was located in Kraków (German: Krakau) rather than the traditional Polish capital Warsaw 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 ease of administration. The Polish police, with no high-ranking Polish officers (who were arrested or demoted), was renamed the Blue Police and became subordinated to the Ordnungspolizei. 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 Government of the General Government has 12 departments:

  • I Hauptabteilung Innere Verwaltung - Department of Interior, led from October 1939 - September 1940 Friedrich Siebert, between September 1940 - November 1940 Ernst Kundt, November 1940 - January 1942 Eberhard Westerkamp, from February 1942 to January 1943 Ludwig Siebert, January 1943 - October 1943 Ludwig Losacker and between November 1943 - 1945 Harry Georg von Crausshaar,
  • II Hauptabteilung Finanzen - Department of Finance, led between March 1940 - January 1942 Alfred Spindler and from January 1942 - 1945 by Hermann Senkowsky
  • III Hauptabteilung Justiz - Department of Justice led from Mai 1942 to 1945 by Kurt Wille
  • IV Hauptabteilung Wirtschaft - Department of Economy, led by Richard Zetsche and Walter Emmerich,
  • V Hauptabteilung Ernahrung und Landwirtschaft - Department of Food and Agriculture,
  • VI Hauptabteilung Forsten - Department of Forests, October 1939 - 1945 Kurt Eissfeldt,
  • VII Hauptabteilung Arbeit - Department of Labour, led by between November 1939 - November 1942 Max Frauendorf, from November 1942 to August 1943 Alexander Rhetz and between August 1943 - 1945 Wilhelm Struve,
  • VIII Hauptabteilung Propaganda - Department of Propaganda, led by Max du Prel.
  • IX Hauptabteilung Wissenshaft und Unterricht - Department of Science and Education,
  • X Hauptabteilung Bauwesen - Department of Building from August 1940 to 1945 led by Theodor Bauder,
  • XI Hauptabteilung Eisenbahn - Department of Railways, led from October 1939 to December 1942 Hellmut Körner, from December 1942 - 1945 Karl Naumann,
  • XII Hauptabteilung Post - Departament of Post led by Richard Lauxmann
  • Collaborators

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


    General Government administration Wikipedia

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