Maruo Itaru on conditions in German-occupied former Polish territory (so called “Third Report”) in 1941


Document Text

  1. English


  1. General

This trip to Warsaw is the fourth one I undertook after the outbreak of the German-Polish War (December 1939, March and August 1940). I must say that my impression of the German rule becomes more pessimistic each time. Namely, the public sentiment in the German-occupied areas, under the General Government, deteriorates more and more. The high-handed policies of the German authorities, coupled with the complex economic situation particular to this area, are fanning anti-German sentiment among the local population. On the other hand, the progress of the so-called rebuilding program is producing expected results thanks to the earnest efforts of the authorities. However, on the whole, its pace is extremely slow, and there is nothing really impressive.

1a Transportation

Except for the Jews, travel within the General Government is allowed. However, a special permit is required to travel between Germany proper and the General Government area by those other than government or military personnel on official business. Poles in principles are forbidden to travel outside the General Government area.

1b. Post

…re-organization of personnel (Poles are replaced by Germans), confiscation of radio sets (Germans, Ukrainians, Belarussians, and White Russians are exempted from this).

1c. Monopoly

1d. Currency

1e. Mining and Industry

1f. Labor Coupon

1g. Agriculture and Forestry

1h. Judicial Matters

1i. Public health

1j. Press and Publication


Among the newspapers listed above, Gazeta Judoska published its first issue in mid-July 1940. It is the Polish-language newspaper for Jews under the General Government (hence there is no newspaper in Hebrew).

Its content is roughly the same as other Polish-language newspapers, and mainly consists of articles relating to the Jews. While it publishes articles pertaining to General Government’s policies concerning Jews, there are also sections on literature and children. In the Politics sections, it prints German reports without adding any commentary.

To name something of interest to us, the second issue of this newspaper published on July 22, 1940 printed an item with considerable details under Necessary Procedures for Emigrating to Shanghai.

1k. Radio

Based on Regulations Concerning Confiscation and Returning of Radio Sets of December 15, 1939, Jews and Poles are ordered to turn in all radio sets by January 15, 1940. Those in violation will be tried under special courts and may be fined or subject to long-term corporeal punishment. Germans, Ukrainians, Belarussians, and White Russians may possess radios.

1l. Cinema and Theater

1m. Education of Germans

1n. Other

In Warsaw the water supply and sewage are only partially restored. The same is with the telephone; although it is being partially restored, the number of its users has fallen to 1/20 of the prewar level.

The streets are still full of collapsed houses from artillery attacks by the German army and chaotic. Moreover, as many human and animalcorpses are buried under the rubbles, the city shrouded in a certain stench. In March 1940 I saw dead horses in the middle of the street; now they are gone.

Immediately after the war in 1939 plans were drawn up to move Jews to the east and to rebuild urban Warsaw. Concerning the former, no further concrete decisions have been revealed and the plan has been shelved; as for the latter, except the opening of a few news streets, it appears the plan has been grounded. It can be imagined rebuilding has many difficulties ahead.

Lublin and its vicinity were designated as area of Jewish residence. However, subsequently no movement of Jews from Warsaw and the Krakow region have taken place. This plan seems to have been abolished. There has been no rebuilding or restoration in Lublin. Water supply and sewage are being restored in Krakow, where rebuilding effort has developed the furthest.

1o. Summary

While the rebuilding efforts have just started under the General Government as stated above, given the abundant labor force and the superior organizational capacity of the authorities, the efforts should bear fruit. At the party congress held in Krakow at the beginning of 1941 Governor General Dr. Frank outlined major rebuilding projects for 1941 and underscored their importance. This plan includes the dredging of the Vistula River, re-organization of industries, and building of housing and roads.

  1. Politics

2a. Administration

2b. Policies

The policy of the German authorities toward Poles in areas under the General Government has always been total oppression. Its ultimate political objective appears to be erasing Polishness from Eastern Europe, or at least preventing Poles from becoming a political force in the future. This is done through depriving them of ethnic identity by destroying their cultural roots so that they are reduced to a mere geographical existence.

2c. Compulsory Labor

2d. Destruction of Human Culture by means other than Compulsory Labor

2e. Restrictions on Education

2f. Destruction of Museums and Statues

2g. Control of Books

  1. Economy

    1. Currency
    2. Prices (a list is attached)
    3. Living Conditions
    4. Peasants
  1. Ethnicities

Population under the jurisdiction of General Government by ethnicity is as follows:

Poles 17 million

Jews 2 million

Ukrainians 1 million

In addition, there are about 250,000 Germans, 20,000 Belarussians, totally approximately 20 million.

For comparison, the population by ethnicity in Poland before the war is

Total population of Poland 33 million

Poles 22 million

Jews 4 million

Ukrainians 5 million

Belarussians 1 million

Germans 1 million

Accordingly, compared with the ethnic breakdown of population under the jurisdiction of General Government, approximately one million Poles, two million Jews, one million Belarussians, four million Ukrainians have been assigned to the new Soviet territory, whereas approximately four million Poles and one million Germans assigned to new German territory (namely the corridor and Upper Silesia).

4b. Hierarchy of Ethnic Groups

4c. The Tragedy of Ethnic Groups (pp. 109-

  1. The two-million Jews ruled by the General Government are experiencing a tragedy which they had never imagined. Namely,

    1. according to the Regulation concerning armbands of Jews dated November 23, 1939, Jewsover the age of ten are obligated to wear Stars of David (a combination of two blue triangles over white) on their right arms. Those in violation are subject of long-term hard labor or a large fine(its amount not specified)
    2. Based on Laws of Implementing Forced Labor against Jews dated October 26, 1939, the First and Second Regulations of Implementation of the above law dated December 1 and December 12 of the same year, all Jews under the jurisdiction of the General Government, between the age of twelve and the age of sixty, regardless of gender, in principle, are subject to forced labor immediately. The term of labor is two years (but rules of extension exist). In addition, from January 1, 1940, change of residence is forbidden. A curfew between 9pm and 5am is established.
    3. In January 1941 the Law of Confiscating Real Estate Property of Jews is promulgated.
    4. The Jewish area of residence in Warsaw is surrounded by a concrete wall of 2[?] meters. Contact with the outside is completely cut off.
    5. No school system exists.
    6. Limitation of food is extremely severe.
    7. As they cannot receive work coupon that was established in January 1941, they cannot find employment
    8. By the decree of the Magistrate of the Warsaw region, half of the business tax that have been levied in the past goes to the budget of the Judenrat, a special tax is to be paid….. This special tax is to be paid by those Jews and Jewish entities who are obligated to pay business tax for engaging in business or running commercial or industrial enterprise in the Jewish area. This tax is paid one year in advance in one lump sum (without the benefit of paying in installments)

2. The tragedy of the Jews is physical tragedy; the tragedy of Poles is mainly spiritual tragedy. Namely, (1) as the Poles are sent to Germany by the compulsory labor system, their tragedy is a separation of families. As Jews engage in labor in areas of their residence, they do not experience such tragedy. (2) The repeated mass arrests [of Poles] without any justification everywhere mean permanent separation of victims from their families. Such arrests are limited to Poles; on this issue the Jews are doing better.

4d. Resistance of Ethnic Groups (pp. 114-

  1. The Question of the Jewish people

Currently, approximately two million Jews live under the General Government. The authorities are taking a cautious consideration in dealing with them. Namely, initially they were to be concentrated in certain parts (Lublin District) so as to be cut off from interactions with the German and Polish peoples. Due to technical difficulties, this was not a success. Hence, the policy of local (settlement) was adopted, so as to deal with them in their current areas of inhabitance. The law forbidding Jews to use the railway, enacted on January 26, 1940, is an affirmation of the principle of local rule. However, Jews were expelled from Krakow (August 1940). It appeared like the principle of local 1Note 1 : illegiblewas to be abandoned. However, no further development has happened till the present. In Warsaw, a relatively high concentration of Jews live. It is worth noting that in Warsaw, Radom, Lublin and other major cities, the Jewish areas are completed cut off from the rest by concrete walls. The authorities set up administrative units called Judenrat to deal with the Jews. By controlling the masses through Judenrat the authorities seek to simplify their rule.

These Judenrat are based on the Law establishing Judenrat, promulgated on November 28, 1940. The content of this law is as follows:

  1. Judenrat is to be established in each city, town, and villages
  2. Localities with 10,000 or less residents shall select twelve members; localities with over 10,000 residents shall select 24 members from Jews residing in these localities.
  3. Judenrat shall select a Chairman and a Vice Chairman from the members.
  4. Mayors (or heads of districts in the city) can order the replacement of members of Judenrat.
  5. Through its Chairman and Vice Chairmen, the Judenratis obliged to follow orders from the German Authorities; it is also responsible for fully implementing these orders. Jews must faithfully follow orders issued by Judenrat so as to implement the orders from the German Authorities. Although Judenrat vary in size from locality to locality, they generally have the following agencies:

    1. Department of Public Affairs
    2. Department for Refugee Relief
    3. Committee for Jewish Assistance
    4. Finance Department
    5. Department of POW Assistance

Other public welfare facilities concerning the Jews (hospitals, orphanage, senior citizens’ home, facilities for malnourished children and so on) are under the jurisdiction of Judenrat. However, as Nazi Germany knows international Zionism very well from its bitter experience in the past, it pursues repressive rule vis-à-vis the two millions Jews by introducing Force Labor system or confiscation of their property. It is believed that (the German authorities) strives for a final solution of the question of the Jewish question


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