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German Occupation Policy in Poland

You know that within the Party the line which is generally adopted is that our Polish policy consists of the deportation of the Poles, their destruction, or their treatment as a mere source of labor. You are also aware that the policy has been largely put into practice. Now, however, things are becoming tremendously complicated in this sphere. The problem arises above all from the fact that the Reich is being forced to transfer large sections of industry from the areas threatened by air attack to the General Government. On the other hand, there is a necessity to ensure the supply of local labor for the plants which are already in the General Government at all costs, to maintain the transport system and the whole administrative apparatus, and to ensure the harvest etc….

It would be desirable if the Reich ministries, the Party agencies, and the territorial authorities could finally decide on a course of action. It simply will not do for some people to say all Poles of whatever sort will be exterminated, and for others to say all Poles of whatever kind, if they are fit for work, must be put to work. There is a complete contradiction here….

Should we exterminate or build things up, should the work be created here or in the Reich, should we give up workers or keep them here, should we let the Poles starve or should we feed them?

From J. Nodkes and G. Pridham, Nazism: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts, 1919-1945 (New York, 1988), Vol. 2, pp. 967—968. Translated from W. Prag and W. Jacobmeyer, eds., Das Diensttagebuch des deutschen Generalgouverneurs in Polen 1939—1945 (Stuggart, 1975), pp. 590-91.