The Info List - Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz

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Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz
(German: ethnic self-defense or self-protection), also known as the Selbstschutz
battalions, were a paramilitary organisation consisting of ethnic German Volksdeutsche mobilized from among the German minority in Poland. Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz
operated before and during the opening stages of World War II in the western half of the Second Polish Republic,[1] and were responsible for and took part in massacres of ethnic Poles, along with the SS Einsatzgruppen.


1 Background 2 History 3 Ethnic cleansing 4 After the conquest of Poland 5 References 6 Bibliography

Background[edit] Throughout the interwar period the Selbstschutz
battalions were deployed by the German intelligence not only in newly reborn Poland but also in Czechoslovakia. Armed with weapons and ammunition smuggled from Germany, they fought on the German side of the Polish/German conflict already in 1921.[2] Both Selbstschutz
and Freikorps mercenaries were sent to fight Polish partisans in the Third Silesian Uprising for political control of Upper Silesia. The Selbstschutz fifth column worked to indoctrinate ethnic Germans locally, while preparations were under way elsewhere, especially in the late 1930s. The Selbstschutz
commandos committed acts of terrorism in the summer of 1938 against the Czech administration of the Sudetenland.[3] In the interwar period, the German minority organizations in Poland included Jungdeutsche Partei
Jungdeutsche Partei
(Young German party), Deutsche Vereinigung (United German), Deutscher Volksbund (German peoples Union) and Deutscher Volksverband (German peoples United). All of them actively cooperated with Nazi Germany in anti-Polish espionage, sabotage, provocations, and political indoctrination. They maintained close contact with and were directed by the NSDAP
(Nazi Party), Auslandsorganisation (Foreign Affairs Organization), Gestapo
(Secret Police), SD (Security Service) and Abwehr
(Defense). It is estimated that 25% of the German minority in Poland were members of these organisations.[2]

Nazi Mayor of Bromberg
Werner Kampe, with Josef Meier and Ludolf von Alvensleben - leader of Selbstschutz
in Pomerania during inspection of Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz
in 1939.

Main article: Special
Prosecution Book-Poland By October 1938, the SD agents from Germany have organized the Selbstschutz
formations in Poland.[2] The ethnic Germans with Polish citizenship have been trained in the Third Reich in various sabotage methods and guerilla tactics. Before the war began, Selbstschutz activists from Poland compiled lists of Poles who were to be removed or executed in Operation Tannenberg. The list was distributed among Nazi death squads as the Special
Prosecution Book-Poland (germ.Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen).[4] History[edit] Main articles: Volksdeutsche
and Hauptamt Volksdeutsche
Mittelstelle Immediately after the invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939, Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz
engaged in attacks against the Polish population and the army, and performed sabotage operations helping the German advance across the Polish state. In mid-September, the chaotic and largely spontaneous activities of this organization were coordinated by SS officers. Himmler's protégé Gustav Berger was placed in charge of the organization. District commanders from the army in occupied zones were put in charge at West Prussia, Upper Silesia and Warthegau.[5]

from Łobżenica

shooters escorting Polish teachers to the Valley of Death, Bydgoszcz

Execution of Polish intelligentsia during the mass murders in Piaśnica

While the SS leadership was limited to overseeing the operations, local units remained under the control of ethnic Germans who had proven their commitment at the beginning of the war.[5] Selbstschutz organized concentration camps for the Poles. They were founded in places where the Wehrmacht
and German police units established camps. There were 19 such camps in the following places: Bydgoszcz (Bromberg), Brodnica
(Strasburg), Chełmno
(Kulm), Dorposz Szlachecki, Kamień Krajeński, Karolewo, Lipno (Lippe), Łobżenica, Nakło (Nakel), Nowy Wiec
Nowy Wiec
(near Skarszewy), Nowe
(over Vistula), Piastoszyn, Płutowo, Sępólno Krajeńskie, Solec Kujawski
Solec Kujawski
(Schulitz), Tuchola (Tuchel), Wąbrzeźno
(Briesen), Wolental
(near Skórcz), Wyrzysk (Wirsitz). The majority of the Poles imprisoned in those camps (consisting of men, women and youth) were brutally murdered.[5] Ethnic cleansing[edit] Main articles: Mass murders in Piaśnica
Mass murders in Piaśnica
and Valley of Death (Bydgoszcz) After German invasion of Poland, Selbstschutz
worked together with the Einsatzgruppen
to massacre Poles. Selbstschutz
took part in the first action of elimination of Polish intelligentsia, the mass murders in Piaśnica, during which 12,000 to 16,000 civilians were murdered. An Intelligenzaktion[6] was a plan to eliminate all Polish intelligentsia and Poland's leadership class in the country. These operations took place soon after the fall of Poland, lasting from the fall of 1939 until the spring of 1940.[2][7] As the result in 10 regional actions 60,000 landowners, teachers, Polish entrepreneurs, social workers, military veterans, members of national organisations, priests, judges and political activists were killed.[8] The Intelligenzaktions were continued by the German AB-Aktion operation in Poland.[9] By 5 October 1939, in West Prussia
West Prussia
alone, Selbstschutz
under the command of Ludolf von Alvensleben
Ludolf von Alvensleben
was 17,667 men strong, and had already executed 4,247 Poles, while Alvensleben complained to Selbstschutz
officers that too few Poles had been shot. (German officers had reported that only a fraction of Poles had been "destroyed" in the region with the total number of those executed in West Prussia
West Prussia
during this action being about 20,000. One Selbstschutz commander, Wilhelm Richardt, said in Karolewo (Karlhof) camp that he did not want to build big camps for Poles and feed them, and that it was an honour for Poles to fertilize the German soil with their corpses[10] There was little opposition or lack of enthusiasm for activities of the Selbstschutz
among those involved in the action.[10] There was even a case where a Selbstschutz
commander was relieved after he failed to account for all the Poles that were required, and it was found that he executed "only" 300 Poles.[10] After the conquest of Poland[edit]

Ludolf von Alvensleben
Ludolf von Alvensleben
as führer of Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz
in 1939

The organization was ordered to be dissolved on 26 November 1939, but the changeover continued until the spring of 1940. Among the reasons were instances of extreme corruption, disorderly behaviour and conflicts with other organizations. Members were instructed to join Schutzstaffel
and Gestapo
instead. In the summer of 1940, the new Sonderdienst
battalions were formed in place of Selbstschutz
and assigned to the head of the civil administration in the new Gau.[11] The existence of a large paramilitary organization of ethnic Germans with Polish citizenship that engaged in widespread massacres of Poles and helped in the German attack on Poland later served as one of the reasons for the expulsion of Germans after the war.[8] According to German researcher Dieter Schenk, some 1,701 former members of Selbstschutz
who committed mass atrocities were identified in postwar Germany. However, there were only 258 cases of judicial investigations, and 233 of them were cancelled. Only ten Selbstschutz members were ever sentenced by the German courts. This situation was described by Schenk as a "disgrace for the German court system".[12]


^ Christian Jansen, Arno Weckbecker: Der “Volksdeutsche Selbstschutz” in Polen 1939/40. München: R. Oldenbourg, 1992. ISBN 3-486-64564-1 ^ a b c d Redakcja (2009). "Piąta kolumna". Kampania Wrześniowa 1939.pl. Mapa serwisu – via Internet Archive. Na wielką skalę działała hitlerowska piąta kolumna w Polsce opierająca się na organizacjach hitlerowskich: Jungdeutsche Partei
Jungdeutsche Partei
(na terenie całej Polski), Deutsche Vereinigung (Pomorze Poznańskie), Deutscher Volksbund (Śląsk), Deutscher Volksverbarid (Łódzkie), oraz ich filialnych stowarzyszeniach i związkach (wszystkie zrzeszały 25% mniejszości niem.). Organizacje te bezpośrednio lub pośrednio utrzymywały tajne kontakty z partyjnymi i państwowymi centralami berlińskimi: NSDAP, Auslandsorganisation, Gestapo, SD, Abwehrą i in., prowadząc wg ich instrukcji wrogą działalność dywersyjną (szpiegowską, sabotażową, prowokacyjną, polityczno-destrukcyjną).  ^ Sidney S. Alderman (Associate Trial Counsel for the United States). "Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Vol. 3 - Eleventh Day". The Avalon Project. In both Austria and Czechoslovakia
the Nazi conspirators planned to undermine the will to resist by propaganda and by Fifth Column activities, while the actual military preparations were being developed.  ^ Digital version of "Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen" in Śląska Biblioteka Cyfrowa "Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen", hrsg. vom Reichskriminalpolizeiamt, Berlin 1939. ^ a b c Konrad Ciechanowski, Monografia. KL Stutthof (Auffangslager, Zivilgefangenenlager) (in Polish) ^ Meier, Anna "Die Intelligenzaktion: Die Vernichtung Der Polnischen Oberschicht Im Gau Danzig-Westpreusen" VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, ISBN 3-639-04721-4 ISBN 978-3639047219 ^ Encyklopedia PWN ^ a b *Maria Wardzyńska "Był rok 1939 Operacja niemieckiej policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce. Intelligenzaktion" IPN Instytut Pamięci Narodowej, 2009 ISBN 978-83-7629-063-8 ^ Meier, Anna "Die Intelligenzaktion: Die Vernichtung Der Polnischen Oberschicht Im Gau Danzig-Westpreusen" VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, ISBN 3-639-04721-4 ISBN 978-3-639-04721-9 ^ a b c The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942 Christopher R. Browning University of Nebraska Press 2007 page 33 ^ Browning, Christopher R. (1998) [1992]. "Arrival in Poland" (PDF file, direct download 7.91 MB complete). Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. Penguin Books. pp. 51, 98, 109, 124. Retrieved May 1, 2013. Also: PDF cache archived by WebCite.  ^ Biuletyn IPN 2003-2004 Nr 12-1(35-36) page 23 Paweł Kosiński, Barbara Polak: "Nie zamierzam podejmować żadnej polemiki – wywiad z prof. Witoldem Kuleszą".

in Poland: Selbstschutz


Barbara Bojarska: Eksterminacja inteligencji polskiej na Pomorzu Gdańskim (wrzesień-grudzień 1939). Poznań: Instytut Zachodni, 1972. Christopher R. Browning: The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939 – March 1942. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-1327-1. Keith Bullivant, Geoffrey Giles: Germany and Eastern Europe: Cultural Identities and Cultural Differences. Rodopi Bv Editions, 1999. ISBN 978-9042006881. Christian Jansen, Arno Weckbecker: Der “Volksdeutsche Selbstschutz” in Polen 1939/40. München: R. Oldenbourg, 1992. ISBN 3-486-64564-1. Włodzimierz Jastrzębski, Jan Sziling: Okupacja hitlerowska na Pomorzu Gdańskim w latach 1939–1945. Gdańsk: Wydawnictwo Morskie, 1979. ISBN 83-215-71840. Tadeusz Jaszowski, Czesław Sobecki: „Niemy świadek”. Zbrodnie hitlerowskie w toruńskim Forcie VII i w lesie Barbarka. Bydgoszcz: Kujawsko-Pomorskie Towarzystwo Kulturalne, 1971. Georges Jerome : Les milices d'autoprotection de la communauté allemande de Pomérélie, Posnanie et Silésie polonaise 1939 - 1940. Revue Guerres Mondiales et Conflits contemporains n° 163 juillet 1991. Paweł Kosiński, Barbara Polak. Nie zamierzam podejmować żadnej polemiki – wywiad z prof. Witoldem Kuleszą. „Biuletyn IPN”. 12-1 (35-36), grudzień – styczeń 2003–2004. Roman Kozłowski (1992): Mniszek – miejsce kaźni. Dragacz: Gminny Komitet Ochrony Pomników Walki i Męczeństwa. Mirosław Krajewski: W cieniu wojny i okupacji. Ziemia Dobrzyńska w latach 1939–1945. Rypin: Dobrzyński Oddział Włocławskiego Towarzystwa Naukowego w Rypinie, 1995. OCLC 750495343. Stanisław Nawrocki: Policja hitlerowska w tzw. Kraju Warty 1939–1945. Poznań: Instytut Zachodni, 1970. Dieter Schenk: Albert Forster. Gdański namiestnik Hitlera. Gdańsk: Wydawnictwo Oskar, 2002. ISBN 83-86181-83-4. Piotr Semków. Martyrologia Polaków z Pomorza Gdańskiego w latach II wojny światowej. „Biuletyn IPN”. 8 – 9 (67 – 68), sierpień-wrzesień 2006. Irena Sroka: Policja Hitlerowska w rejencji katowickiej w latach 1939–1945. Opole: Instytut Śląski, 1997.

v t e

and Einsatzkommandos



Reinhard Heydrich Ernst Kaltenbrunner

Commanders of Einsatzgruppen

Humbert Achamer-Pifrader Walther Bierkamp Horst Böhme Erich Ehrlinger Wilhelm Fuchs Heinz Jost Erich Naumann Arthur Nebe Otto Ohlendorf Friedrich Panzinger Otto Rasch Heinrich Seetzen Franz Walter Stahlecker Bruno Streckenbach

Commanders of Einsatzkommandos, Sonderkommandos

Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski Rudolf Batz Ernst Biberstein Wolfgang Birkner Helmut Bischoff Paul Blobel Walter Blume Friedrich-Wilhelm Bock Otto Bradfisch Werner Braune Friedrich Buchardt Fritz Dietrich Karl Jäger Friedrich Jeckeln Waldemar Klingelhöfer Wolfgang Kügler Walter Kutschmann Rudolf Lange Gustav Adolf Nosske Hans-Adolf Prützmann Walter Rauff Martin Sandberger Hermann Schaper Karl Eberhard Schöngarth Erwin Schulz Franz Six Eugen Steimle Eduard Strauch Martin Weiss Udo von Woyrsch

Other members

August Becker Lothar Fendler Joachim Hamann Emil Haussmann Felix Landau Albert Widmann


Viktors Arājs Herberts Cukurs Antanas Impulevičius Konrāds Kalējs Algirdas Klimaitis



SS RSHA SD Orpo 8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz Sonderdienst


(Belarusian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian) Arajs Kommando Lithuanian Security Police Rollkommando Hamann TDA Ypatingasis būrys



Łachwa Ghetto Minsk Ghetto Slutsk Affair




Burning of the Riga synagogues Dünamünde Action Jelgava Pogulianski Rumbula Liepāja (Šķēde)


Ninth Fort Kaunas June 1941 Kaunas 29 October 1941 Ninth Fort
Ninth Fort
November 1941 Ponary


Operation Tannenberg Intelligenzaktion AB-Aktion Operation Reinhard


Gully of Petrushino Zmievskaya Balka Lokot Autonomy


Babi Yar Drobytsky Yar Drohobycz Kamianets-Podilskyi Lviv pogroms Mizocz Ghetto Odessa


The Black Book Commissar Order Einsatzgruppen
trial Generalplan Ost Jäger Report Korherr Report Special Prosecution Book-Poland
Special Prosecution Book-Poland
(Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen) Eins