The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants
Hans Frank
(Part 8 of 10)

[Page 642]

Whatever encroachments there were on private property rights in the General Government fell squarely within the policy which Frank in an interview on 3 October 1939 stated he intended to administer as General Governor:

"Poland can only be administered by utilizing the country through means of ruthless exploitation, deportation of all supplies, raw materials, machines, factory installations etc. which are important for the German war economy. *** [It was Frank's opinion] that the war would be a short one and that it was most important now to make available as soon as possible raw materials, machines and workers to the German industry, which was short in all of these. Most important, however, in Frank's opinion, was the fact that by destroying Polish industry, its subsequent reconstruction after the war would become more difficult, if not impossible, so that Poland would be reduced to its proper position as an agrarian country which would have to depend upon Germany for importation of industrial products." (EC-344-16 & 17)

The basic decree under which property in the General Government was sequestered was promulgated by Frank on 24 January 1940. This decree authorized sequestration in connection with the "performance of tasks serving the public interest," the seizure of "abandoned property," and the liquidation of "antisocial or financially unremunerative property." It permitted the Higher S.S. and Police Chief to order sequestrations "with the object of increasing the striking power of the units of the uniformed police and armed S.S." No legal recourse was granted

[Page 643]

for losses arising from the enforcement of the decree, compensation being solely in the discretion of an official of the General Government- It is clear that the undefined criteria of this decree empowered Nazi officials in the General Government to engage in wholesale seizure of property. (2540-PS)

(4) Principle of collective responsibility. It was no part of Frank' policy in administering the General Government that reprisals should be commensurate with the gravity of the offense. Frank was, on the contrary, an advocate of drastic measures in dealing with the Polish people. At a conference of Department Heads of the General Government on 19 January 1940, he explained:

"My relationship with the Poles is like the relationship between ant and plant louse. When I treat the Poles in a helpful way, so to speak tickle them in a friendly manner, then I do it in the expectation that their work performance redounds to my benefit. This is not a political but a purely tactical-technical problem. *** In cases where in spite -of all these measures the performance does not increase, or ! where the slightest act gives me occasion to step in, I would not even hesitate to take the most draconic action." (2233-PS)

At a subsequent meeting of Department Heads on 8 March 1940 Frank became even more explicit:

"Whenever there is the least attempt by the Poles to start anything, an enormous campaign of destruction will follow. Then I would not mind starting a regime of terror, or fear its consequences."

At a conference of District Standartenfuehrer at Cracow on 18 March 1942 Frank reiterated his policy:

"Incidentally, the struggle for the achievement of our aims will be pursued cold bloodedly. You see how the state agencies work. You see that we do not hesitate before anything, and stand whole dozens of people up against the wall. This is necessary because here simple consideration says that it cannot be our task at this period when the best German blood is being sacrificed, to show regard for the blood of another race. For out of this one of the greatest dangers may arise. One already hears today in Germany that prisoners-of-war, for instance with us in Bavaria or in Thuringia, are administering large estates entirely independently, while all the men in a village fit for service are at the front. If this state of affairs continues then a gradual

[Page 644]

retrogression of Germanism will show itself. One should not underestimate this danger. Therefore, everything revealing itself as a Polish power of leadership must be destroyed again and again with ruthless energy. This does -not have to be shouted abroad, it will happen silently." (2233-R-PS)

And on 15 January 1944 Frank assured the political leaders of the NSDAP at Cracow:

"I have not been hesitant in declaring that when a German is shot, up to 100 Poles shall be shot too." (2233-BB-PS)

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