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In the terminology of Nazi Germany, Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
(German pronunciation: [ˈfɔlksˌdɔʏtʃə]) were " Germans
Germans
in terms of people or race", regardless of citizenship. The term is the nominalised plural of volksdeutsch, with Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
denoting a singular female, and Volksdeutsche(r), a singular male. The words Volk and völkisch conveyed the meanings of "folk".[1] These terms were used by Nazis to define Germans
Germans
on the basis of their 'race' rather than citizenship and thus included Germans
Germans
living beyond the borders of the Reich, as long as they were not of Jewish origin.[2] This is in contrast to Imperial Germans (Reichsdeutsche), German citizens living within Germany. The term also contrasts with the usage of the term Auslandsdeutsche
Auslandsdeutsche
( Germans
Germans
abroad/German expatriate) since 1936, which generally denotes German citizens residing in other countries.[3] The difference between 'Imperial German' and 'Ethnic German' was that those designated as being ethnic Germans
Germans
did not have paperwork to prove their legal citizenship to work or vote within the country though some were from either Germany or lost territories of Germany taken during and after the First World War. Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
were further divided into 'racial' groups—a minority within a minority in a state—with a special cultural, social and historic development as described by Nazis.[4]

Contents

1 Origin of the term 2 Historical background

2.1 Treaty of Versailles

3 The Nazi era before World War II

3.1 Pre-war relations with the Nazis 3.2 Internal propaganda 3.3 Collaboration with the Nazis

4 During World War II

4.1 'Volksdeutsche' in German-occupied western Poland 4.2 Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
in the territories annexed by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in 1939–1940 4.3 After the German invasion of the USSR 4.4 Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
in Hungary 4.5 Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
in Romania 4.6 'Volksdeutsche' in Serbia
Serbia
and Croatia

5 Expulsion and exodus from Central and Eastern Europe at the end of the war 6 Legacy 7 See also 8 Notes 9 References 10 Bibliography 11 External links

Origin of the term[edit] According to the historian Doris Bergen, Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
is reputed to have coined the definition of "Volksdeutsche" which appeared in a 1938 memorandum of the German Reich Chancellery. In that document, the 'Volksdeutsche' were defined as "races whose language and culture had German origins but who did not hold German citizenship." After 1945 the Nazi laws of 1935 in Germany and their relevant paragraphs that referred to the National Socialist concepts of blood and race in connection with the concept of volksdeutsch were rescinded. For Hitler and the other ethnic Germans
Germans
of his time, the term "Volksdeutsche" also carried overtones of blood and race not captured in the common English translation "ethnic Germans". According to German estimates in the 1930s, about 30 million Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
and Auslandsdeutsche
Auslandsdeutsche
(German citizens residing abroad, see McKale 1977: The Swastika Outside Germany, p. 4) were living outside the Reich. A significant proportion of them were in Central Europe: Poland, Ukraine, the Baltic states, and Romania, Hungary and Yugoslavia, where many were located in villages along the Danube, and Russia. Many of their ancestors had migrated to non-German-speaking European countries in the 18th century, invited by governments that wanted to repopulate areas decimated by the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
occupation and sometimes by disease. The Nazi goal of expansion assigned the Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
a special role in German plans, to bring them back to German citizenship and elevate them to power over the native populations in those areas. The Nazis detailed such goals in Generalplan Ost.[5] In some areas, such as Poland, specific lists were compiled and people registered as ethnic Germans
Germans
in the "Deutsche Volksliste". Historical background[edit] Main article: Ostsiedlung In the sixteenth century Vasili III invited small numbers of craftsmen, traders and professionals to settle in Russia
Russia
from areas that would later become Germany so that Muscovy could exploit their skills. These settlers (many of whom intended to stay only temporarily) were generally confined to the German Quarter
German Quarter
in Moscow (which also included Dutch, British and other western or northern European settlers whom the Russians came to indiscriminately refer to as "Germans"). They were only gradually allowed in other cities, so as to prevent the spread of alien ideas to the general population.[citation needed] In his youth, Peter the Great spent much time in the 'German' quarter. When he became Tsar, he brought more German experts (and other foreigners) into Russia, and particularly into government service, in his attempts to westernise the empire. He also brought in German engineers to supervise the construction of the new city of Saint Petersburg. Catherine the Great, herself ethnically German, invited Germanic farmers to immigrate and settle in Russian lands along the Volga River. She guaranteed them the right to retain their language, religion and culture. Ethnic Germans
Ethnic Germans
were also sent by her in organised colonisation attempts aiming at Germanisation of conquered Polish areas. Also in other areas with an ethnic German minority people of other than German descent assimilated with the ethnic German culture and formed then a part of the minority. Examples are people of Baltic and Scandinavian descent, who assimilated into the minority of the Baltic Germans. Jews
Jews
of Posen province, Galicia, Bukovina
Bukovina
and Bohemia, with their Yiddish
Yiddish
culture derived in part from their German heritage, often mingled into the ethnic German culture, thus forming part of the various ethnic German minorities. But anti-Semitic Nazis later rejected Jewish ethnic Germans
Germans
and all Jewish German citizens as 'racially' German. Frederick the Great
Frederick the Great
(reigned 1740–1786) settled around 300,000 colonists in the eastern provinces of Prussia, acquired in the First Partition of Poland of 1772, with the intention of replacing the Polish nobility. He treated the Poles with contempt and likened the "slovenly Polish trash" in newly occupied West Prussia
West Prussia
to Iroquois, the historic Native American confederacy based in the state of New York.[6][7] Prussia encouraged a second round of colonisation with the goal of Germanisation after 1832.[8] Prussia passed laws to encourage Germanisation of the Prussian Partition
Prussian Partition
including the provinces of Posen and West Prussia
West Prussia
in the late 19th century. The Prussian Settlement Commission relocated 154,000 colonists, including locals. Treaty of Versailles[edit] Main article: Treaty of Versailles The reconstitution of Poland following the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
(1919) made ethnic German minorities of some Prussian provinces of the German Empire citizens of the Polishnation state. Ethnic German inhabitants of provinces of the dissolved Austro-Hungarian Empire, such as Bukovina
Bukovina
Germans, Danube Swabians, Sudeten Germans
Sudeten Germans
and Transylvanian Saxons, became citizens of newly established Slavic or Magyar nation-states and of Romania. Tensions between the new administration and the ethnic German minority arose in the Polish Corridor. The Austrian Germans
Germans
also found themselves not allowed to join Germany as German Austria
German Austria
was strictly forbidden to join Germany as well as the name "German Austria" was forbidden so the name was changed back to just "Austria" and the First Austrian Republic
First Austrian Republic
was created in 1919. The Nazi era before World War II[edit]

Entry to Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
office in Kraków
Kraków
1940.

During the Nazi years, the German Nazis used the term "Volksdeutsche", by which they meant racially German since they believed in a German 'race' or 'Volk', to refer to foreign nationals of some German ethnicity living in countries newly occupied by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
or the Soviet Union. Prior to World War II, more than 10 million ethnic Germans
Germans
lived in Central and Eastern Europe. They constituted an important minority far into Russia. Because of widespread assimilation some people whom the Nazis called Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
could no longer speak German and in fact were culturally regionalized as Poles, Hungarians, Romanians, Czechs, Slovaks, etc. Pre-war relations with the Nazis[edit] In 1931, prior to its rise to power, the Nazi party established the Auslandsorganisation der NSDAP/AO
NSDAP/AO
(Foreign Organisation of the Nazi Party), whose task it was to disseminate Nazi propaganda among the ethnic German minorities viewed as Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
in Nazi ideology. In 1936, the government set up the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle
Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle
(Ethnic Germans' Liaison Office), commonly known as VoMi, under the jurisdiction of the SS as the liaison bureau. It was headed by SS-Obergruppenführer Werner Lorenz. In 1936 the Nazis set up an office to act as a contact for the foreign ethnic Germans. According to the historian Valdis Lumans,

"[one of Himmler's goals was] centralising control over the myriad of groups and individuals inside the Reich promoting the Volksdeutsche cause. Himmler did not initiate the process but rather discovered it in progress and directed it to its conclusion and to his advantage. His principal instrument in this effort was an office from outside the SS, a Nazi party organ, the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle
Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle
(VoMi), translated as the Ethnic German Liaison Office."[9]

Internal propaganda[edit] Nazi propaganda used the existence of ethnic Germans
Germans
who they called Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
in foreign lands before and during the war, to help justify the aggression of Nazi Germany. The annexation of Poland was presented as necessary to protect the ethnic German minorities there.[10] Massacres of ethnic Germans, such as Bloody Sunday, or alleged atrocities, were used in such propaganda, and the film Heimkehr
Heimkehr
drew on such putative events as the rescue of Volksdeutsche by the arrival of German tanks.[11] Heimkehr's introduction explicitly states that hundreds of thousands of Poles of German ethnicity suffered as the characters in the film did.[12] Main article: Heimkehr Menschen im Sturm reprised Heimkehr's effort to justify the invasion of Slavonia, using many of the same atrocities.[13] In The Red Terror, a Baltic German
Baltic German
is able to avenge her family's deaths, but commits suicide after, unable to live with meaning in the Soviet Union.[14] Flüchtlinge depicted the sufferings of Volga German
Volga German
refugees in Manchuria, and how a heroic blond leader saved them; it was the first movie to win the state prize.[15] Friesennot depicted the suffering of a village of Volga Germans
Germans
in the Soviet Union;[16] it also depicted the murder of a young woman for an affair with a Russian—in accordance with Nazi principle of Rassenschande—as an ancient German custom.[17] Sexual contact between what the Nazis viewed as different 'races' followed by remorse and guilt was also featured in Die goldene Stadt, where the Sudeten German
Sudeten German
heroine faces not persecution but the allure of the big city;[18] when she succumbs, in defiance of blood and soil, she is seduced and abandoned by a Czech, and such a relationship leads to her drowning herself.[19] Collaboration with the Nazis[edit] Main article: Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz

Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz
Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz
Bydgoszcz
Bydgoszcz
(Bromberg), 1939.

Before and during World War II, some ethnic Germans
Germans
gathered around local Nazi organizations (sponsored financially by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Third Reich),[20][21] actively supported the Nazis in countries such as Czechoslovakia, Poland and Yugoslavia. During the social and economic tensions of the Great Depression, some had begun to feel aggrieved with their minority status. They participated in espionage, sabotage and other Fifth column
Fifth column
means in their countries of origin, trained and commanded by Abwehr.[22] In November 1938 Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
organized German paramilitary units made out German minority members in Polish Pomerania
Pomerania
that were to engage in diversion, sabotage as well as political murder and ethnic cleansing upon German invasion of Poland.[23] Reich intelligence was actively recruiting ethnic Germans
Germans
and the Nazi secret service "SicherheitsDienst" (SD) was forming them as early as October 1938 into armed unit that were to serve Nazi Germany[24] Historian Matthias Fiedler typified ethnic German collaborationists as former "nobodies" whose major occupation was the expropriation of Jewish property.[25] Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
remarked that whatever objections ethnic Germans might have against serving in the Waffen-SS, they would be forced into conscription in any case.[26] According to head of recruitment for the Waffen SS, Gottlob Berger, no one in Germany or elsewhere cared for what happened with the ethnic Germans
Germans
anyway, making forced recruitment easy to force upon ethnic German communities.[27] Among the indigenous populations in the Nazi-occupied lands, Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
became a term of ignominy. During the early years of the Second World War (i.e., before the US entered the war), a small number of Americans of German origin returned to Germany; generally they were immigrants or children of immigrants, rather than descendants of migrations more distant in time. Some of these enlisted and fought in the German army. During World War II[edit]

Poles of German ethnicity decorated Golden Party Badge
Golden Party Badge
by Adolf Hitler in Berlin
Berlin
after Invasion of Poland
Invasion of Poland
in 1939. From left: Ludwig Wolff head of Deutscher Volksverband
Deutscher Volksverband
from Łódź, Otto Ulitz from Katowice, Gauleiter
Gauleiter
Josef Wagner, Mayor Rudolf Wiesner from Bielsko-Biała, Obergruppenführer Werner Lorenz, senator Erwin Hasbach from Ciechocinek, Gero von Gersdorff from Wielkopolska, Weiss from Jarocin.

Arthur Greiser
Arthur Greiser
welcoming the millionth resettler of German ethnicity during the "Heim ins Reich" action from Central and Eastern Europe to occupied Poland - March 1944.

Ethnic Germans
Ethnic Germans
throughout Europe benefited financially during World War II from the Nazi policies of genocide and ethnic cleansing, and profited from the expulsion and murder of their non-German neighbors.[28] throughout Eastern Europe. For example, in Ukrainia the Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
directly participated in the Holocaust
Holocaust
and were involved in deportation of local farmers and their families; Volksdeutsche figures like Arthur Boss from Odessa (Blobel's right-hand man) or Becker brothers became integral part of Nazi Holocaust
Holocaust
machine.[29] 'Volksdeutsche' in German-occupied western Poland[edit] In September 1939 in German occupied Poland, an armed ethnic German militia called Selbstschutz
Selbstschutz
(Self-Defence) was created. It organised the mass murder of Polish elites in Operation Tannenberg. At the beginning of 1940, the Selbstschutz
Selbstschutz
organization was disbanded, and its members transferred to various units of the SS, Gestapo and the German police. Throughout the invasion of Poland, some ethnic German minority groups assisted Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
in the war effort. They committed sabotage, diverted regular forces and committed numerous atrocities against civilian population.[30][31] After Germany occupied western Poland, it established a central registration bureau, called the German People's List (Deutsche Volksliste, DVL), whereby Poles of German ethnicity were registered as Volksdeutsche. The German occupants encouraged such registration, in many cases forcing it or subjecting Poles of German ethnicity to terror assaults if they refused.[32] Those who joined this group were given benefits, including better food as well as a better social status.

Nur für Deutsche
Nur für Deutsche
(Eng. "Only for Germans") on the tram number 8 in occupied Kraków.

The Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle
Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle
organised large-scale looting of property and redistributed goods to the Volksdeutsche. They were given apartments, workshops, farms, furniture, and clothing confiscated from Jewish Poles and Poles of Polish ethnicity. In turn, hundreds of thousands of the Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
joined the German forces, either willingly or under compulsion. During World War II, Polish citizens of German ancestry, who often identified with the Polish nation, were confronted with the dilemma of registering in the Deutsche Volksliste. Many ethnic Germans
Germans
had families who had lived in Poland for centuries; even the more recent immigrants had arrived 30 years or more before the war. They faced the choice of registering and being regarded as traitors by other Poles, or not signing and being treated by the Nazi occupation as traitors to the Germanic "race". Polish Silesian Catholic Church authorities, led by bishop Stanisław Adamski
Stanisław Adamski
and with agreement from the Polish Government in Exile, advised Poles to sign up to the Volksliste in order to avoid atrocities and mass murder that happened in other parts of the country.[33] In occupied Poland, the status of Volksdeutscher gave many privileges, but one big disadvantage: Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
were subject to conscription into the German army. In occupied Pomerania, the Gauleiter
Gauleiter
of the Danzig- West Prussia
West Prussia
region Albert Forster
Albert Forster
issued a secret order which mandated a creation of a list of people who were considered to be of German ethnicity, in 1941. Since the number of supposedly ethnic Germans
Germans
who signed up voluntarily was insignificant by 1942, in February of that year Forster made signing of the Volksliste mandatory and empowered local police and other authorities to employ various methods, including physical force and threats, to implement the decree. Consequently, the initially insignificant number of signatories rose to almost a million persons, or about 55% of the population by 1944.[34]

Origin of ethnic German colonisers, resettled into German-annexed and occupied Poland during "Heim ins Reich" action. Poster superimposed with the red outline of Poland missing from the original print.

The special case of Polish Pomerania, where terror against civilians was particularly intense, and where, unlike in rest of occupied Poland, signing of the list was mandatory for many people, was recognised by the Polish Underground State
Polish Underground State
and other anti-Nazi resistance movements, which tried to explain the situation to other Poles in underground publications.[34] The Deutsche Volksliste
Deutsche Volksliste
categorised non-Jewish Poles of German ethnicity into one of four categories:[35][36]

Category I: Persons of German descent committed to the Reich before 1939. Category II: Persons of German descent who had remained passive. Category III: Persons of German descent who had become partly "Polonised", e.g., through marrying a Polish partner or through working relationships (especially Silesians and Kashubians). Category IV: Persons of German ancestry who had become "Polonised" but were supportive of "Germanisation".

Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
of statuses 1 and 2 in the Polish areas annexed by Germany numbered 1,000,000, and Nos. 3 and 4 numbered 1,700,000. In the General Government
General Government
there were 120,000 Volksdeutsche. Volksdeutsche of Polish ethnic origins were treated by the Poles with special contempt, but were also committing high treason according to Polish law.[citation needed]

Annexed area Deutsche Volksliste, early 1944

Cat. I Cat. II Cat. III Cat. IV

Warthegau 230,000 190,000 65,000 25,000

Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia Note: In Polish Pomerania, unlike in the rest of occupied Poland, signing of the list was mandatory for a good portion of the population.[34] 115,000 95,000 725,000 2,000

East Upper Silesia 130,000 210,000 875,000 55,000

South East Prussia 9,000 22,000 13,000 1,000

Total 484,000 517,000 1,678,000 83,000

Total 2.75 million on Volkslisten plus non-German population (Polish) of 6.015 million- Grand Total 8.765 million in annexed territories.

Source: Wilhelm Deist, Bernhard R Kroener, Germany (Federal Republic). Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt, Germany and the Second World War, Oxford University Press, 2003, pp. 132,133, ISBN 0-19-820873-1, citing Broszat, Nationalsozialistische Polenpolitik, p. 134

Because of actions by some Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
and particularly the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany, after the end of the war, the Polish authorities tried many Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
for high treason. In the postwar period, many other ethnic Germans
Germans
were expelled to the west and forced to leave everything. In post-war Poland, the word Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
is regarded as an insult, synonymous with "traitor". In some cases, individuals consulted the Polish resistance first, before signing the Volksliste. There were Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
who played important roles in intelligence activities of the Polish resistance, and were at times the primary source of information for the Allies. Particularly in Polish Pomerania
Pomerania
and Polish Silesia, many of the people who were forced to sign the Volksliste played crucial roles in the anti-Nazi underground, which was noted in a memo to the Polish Government in Exile which stated "In Wielkopolska
Wielkopolska
there's bitter hatred of the Volksdeutshe while in Silesia
Silesia
and Polish Pomerania
Pomerania
it's the opposite, the secret organization depends in large measure on the Volksdeutshe" (the memo referred to those of Category III, not I and II).[34] In the turmoil of the postwar years, the Communist
Communist
government did not consider this sufficient mitigation. It prosecuted many double-agent Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
and sentenced some to death. Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
in the territories annexed by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in 1939–1940[edit] Further information: Nazi-Soviet population transfers, Heim ins Reich, and Expulsion of Poles by Nazi Germany The secret protocols of Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
created domestic problems for Hitler.[37] Supporting the Soviet invasion became one of the most ideologically difficult aspects of the countries' relationship.[38] The secret protocols caused Hitler to hurriedly evacuate ethnic German families, who had lived and the Baltic countries for centuries and now classified as Volksdeutsche, while officially condoning the invasions.[39][40] When the three Baltic countries, not knowing about the secret protocols, sent letters protesting the Soviet invasions to Berlin, Ribbentrop returned them.[41]

Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
resettling after the Soviet occupation of Central and Eastern Poland

Volkdeutsche resettling after the Soviet occupation of Bukovina
Bukovina
and Bessarabia
Bessarabia
in 1940 [42]

Resettled Baltic Germans
Baltic Germans
take possession of their new homes in Warthegau
Warthegau
after the forced abandonment by the legitimate Polish owners.

Baltic German
Baltic German
settlers are shown around their Nazi-appropriated farmhouse in occupied Poland in November 1939 during action "Heim ins Reich"

In August 1940, Soviet Foreign minister Molotov told the Germans
Germans
that, with the government change, they could close down their Baltic consulates by 1 September.[41] The Soviet annexations in Romania caused further strain.[41] While Germany had given the Soviets Bessarabia
Bessarabia
in the secret protocols, it had not given them North Bukovina.[41] Germany wanted guarantees of the safety of property of ethnic Germans, security for the 125,000 Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
in Bessarabia and North Bukovina, and reassurance that the train tracks carrying Romanian oil would be left alone.[40] In October 1940, Germany and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
negotiated about the Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
in Soviet-occupied territories and their property.[43] Instead of permitting full indemnification, the Soviets put restrictions on the wealth that the Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
could take with them and limited the totals that the Soviets would apply to the Reich's clearing accounts.[44] The parties discussed total compensation of between 200 million and 350 million Reichsmarks for the Volksdeutsche, while the Soviets requested 50 million Reichsmarks for their property claims in German-occupied territories.[45] The two nations reached general agreement on German shipments of 10.5-cm flak cannons, gold, machinery and other items.[45] On 10 January 1941, Germany and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
signed the German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement
German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement
to settle all of the open disputes which the Soviets had argued.[46] The agreement covered protected migration to Germany within two and a half months of Volksdeutsche, and similar migration to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
of ethnic Russians, Baltic and "White Russian" "nationals" from German-held territories.[47] In many cases, the resulting population transfers resulted in resettlement of Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
on land previously held by ethnic Poles or Jews
Jews
in now German-occupied territories. The agreement formally defined the border between Germany and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
areas between the Igorka River and the Baltic Sea.[47]

Heim ins Reich
Heim ins Reich
1939–1944[48]

Territory of origin Year Number of resettled Volksdeutsche

South Tyrol
South Tyrol
(see South Tyrol
South Tyrol
Option Agreement) 1939–1940 83,000

Latvia
Latvia
and Estonia 1939–1941 69,000

Lithuania 1941 54,000

Volhynia, Galicia, Nerewdeutschland 1939–1940 128,000

General Government 1940 33,000

North Bukovina
Bukovina
and Bessarabia 1940 137,000

Romania
Romania
(South Bukovina
Bukovina
and North Dobruja) 1940 77,000

Yugoslavia 1941–1942 36,000

USSR
USSR
(pre-1939 borders) 1939–1944 250,000

Summary 1939–1944 867,000

After the German invasion of the USSR[edit] Further information: Operation Barbarossa After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the government granted the Volga Germans
Germans
an autonomous republic. Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
abolished the Volga German ASSR after Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the USSR. Most of Soviet Germans
Germans
in the USSR
USSR
were deported to Siberia, Kazakhstan, and Central Asia
Central Asia
by Decree of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR
USSR
of August 28, 1941, and from the beginning of 1942 those Soviet Germans
Germans
who were deemed suitable for hard work (men aged from 15 to 55 and women from 16 to 45) were mobilised for forced labour into Working columns where they lived in a prison-like environment, and sometimes, together with regular inmates, were put in prison camps. Hundreds of thousands died or became incapacitated due to the harsh conditions. Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
in Hungary[edit] A significant portion of Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
in Hungary joined the SS, which was a pattern repeated also in Romania
Romania
(with 54,000 locals serving in the SS by the end of 1943).[49] The majority of 200,000 Volksdeutsche from the area of Danube who served with the SS were from Hungary. As early as 1942, some 18,000 Hungarian Germans
Germans
joined the SS.[49] In the diaspora, they have been called Danube Swabians. After World War II, approximately 185,000 Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
fled or were expelled from the region in 1946–48 by the Soviet-installed communist government of Hungary.[49] They were called 'Svabo' by their Serbian, Hungarian, Croatian, and Romanian neighbors, especially in the area now part of the Vojvodina
Vojvodina
in Serbia. Other ethnic Germans
Germans
in Hungary during World War II were Transylvanian Saxons. Today they have virtually all become assimilated or left the region. Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
in Romania[edit] After Romania
Romania
acquired parts of Soviet Ukraine, the Germans
Germans
there came under the authority of the Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
Mittelstelle, which deployed SS personnel to several settlements. They eventually contained German mayors, farms, schools and ethnic German paramilitary groups functioning as police called Selbstschutz
Selbstschutz
("Self-protection"). German colonists and Selbstschutz
Selbstschutz
forces engaged in extensive acts of ethnic cleansing, massacring Jewish and Roma populations. In the German colony of Shonfeld, Romas were burned in farms. During the winter of 1941/1942, German Selbstschutz
Selbstschutz
units participated in the shooting, together with Ukrainian People's Militia
Ukrainian People's Militia
and Romanian gendarmes, of some 18,000 Jews. In the camp of Bogdanovka, tens of thousands of Jews
Jews
were subject to mass shootings, barn burnings and killing by hand grenades. Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
was sufficiently impressed by the Volksdeutsche communities and the work of the Selbstschutz
Selbstschutz
to order that these methods be copied in Ukraine.[50] 'Volksdeutsche' in Serbia
Serbia
and Croatia[edit] In the former Yugoslavia, the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen was formed with about 50,000 ethnic Germans
Germans
from the Banat region of Serbia. It was conspicuous in its operations against the Yugoslav Partisans
Yugoslav Partisans
and civilian population. About 100,000 ethnic Germans
Germans
from the Nazi-conquered former Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
joined the German Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
and Waffen-SS, the majority conscripted involuntarily as judged by the Nuremberg Trials. Yet "[a]fter the initial rush of Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
to join, voluntary enlistments tapered off, and the new unit did not reach division size. Therefore, in August 1941, the SS discarded the voluntary approach, and after a favourable judgement from the SS court in Belgrade, imposed a mandatory military obligation on all Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
in Serbia-Banat, the first of its kind for non-Reich Germans."[51] In the former Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
a majority of ethnic Germans
Germans
became members of the Schwäbisch-Deutscher Kulturbund (Shwovish cultural association), and reprisals on this group by Tito's partisans resulted in many immediate revenge killings in 1944 and incarceration of approximately 150,000 ethnic Germans
Germans
in 1945.[52] Expulsion and exodus from Central and Eastern Europe at the end of the war[edit]

Sudeten Germans
Sudeten Germans
expelled after World War II

Main article: Flight and expulsion of Germans
Germans
(1944–50) Most ethnic Germans
Germans
fled or were expelled from European countries (Czechia, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary) under the Potsdam Agreement from 1945 to 1948 towards the end and after the war. Both those who became ethnic Germans
Germans
by registering in the Deutsche Volksliste
Deutsche Volksliste
and Reichsdeutsche retained German citizenship during the years of Allied military occupation, after the establishment of East Germany
East Germany
and West Germany in 1949, and later in the reunified Germany. In 1953 the Federal Republic of Germany - by its Federal Expellee Law - naturalised many more East European nationals of German ethnicity, who neither were German citizens nor had enrolled in any 'Volksliste', but had been stranded as refugees in West Germany
West Germany
and fled or were expelled due to their German or alleged German ethnicity. An estimated 12 million people fled or were expelled from the Soviet Union and non-German-speaking Central Europe, many of them being 'Volksdeutsche'.[53][54][55][56] Most left the Soviet-occupied territories of Central and Eastern Europe; they comprised the largest migration of any European people in modern history.[54][57] The then three Allies had agreed to the expulsions during negotiations in the midst of war.[citation needed] The western powers hoped to avoid ethnic Germans
Germans
being an issue again in Central and Eastern Europe.[58][59][60] The three Allies at the Conference of Potsdam considered the "transfer" of "German populations" from Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary an effort to be undertaken (see article 12 of the Potsdam Agreement), although they asked a halt because of the inflicted burden for the Allies to feed and house the destitute expellees and to share that burden among the Allies. France, which was not represented in Potsdam, rejected the decision of the Three of Potsdam and did not absorb expellees in its zone of occupation. The three Allies had to accept the reality on the ground, since expulsions of Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
and Central and Eastern European nationals of German or alleged German ethnicity who never had enrolled as Volksdeutsche, was going on already. Local authorities forced most of the remaining ethnic Germans
Germans
to leave between 1945 and 1950. Remnants of the ethnic German community survive in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. A significant ethnic German community has continued in Siebenbürgen (Transylvania) in Romania
Romania
and in Oberschlesien (Upper Silesia) but most of it migrated to West Germany
West Germany
throughout the 1980s. There are also remnant German populations near Mukachevo
Mukachevo
in western Ukraine.[61] Legacy[edit] The term is generally avoided today due to its usage by the Nazis. Instead, ethnic Germans
Germans
of foreign citizenship living outside of Germany are called "Deutsche Minderheit" (meaning "German minority"), or names more closely associated with their earlier places of residence, such as Wolgadeutsche or Volga Germans, the ethnic Germans living in the Volga basin in Russia; and Baltic Germans, who generally called themselves Balts, and Estländer in Estonia. They were relocated to German-occupied Poland during World War II
World War II
by an agreement between Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
and Joseph Stalin, and most were expelled to the West after the war, under an allied accord called the Potsdam Agreement. See also[edit]

Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
portal

Areas annexed by Nazi Germany Germans
Germans
Abroad Goralenvolk Selbstschutz Imperial Germans, for a discussion of the different concepts and the shift of meaning between them. Fifth column Heimatvertriebene Umvolkung Flight and expulsion of Germans
Germans
(1944–1950) Demographic estimates of the flight and expulsion of Germans World War II
World War II
evacuation and expulsion Pursuit of Nazi collaborators Nur für Deutsche Brandenburgers

Notes[edit]

^ As to older meanings of völkisch see Völkisch movement. ^ The Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations: S-Z Cathal J. Nolan, page 1793, 2002 ^ Vokabular des Nationalsozialismus by Cornelia Schmitz-Berning 1998, page 651 ^ Himmler's Auxiliaries: The Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle
Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle
and the German National Minorities of Europe, 1933-1945 by Valdis O. Lumans 1993, page 23 ^ Bergen, Doris. "The Nazi Concept of 'Volksdeutsche' and the Exacerbation of Anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe, 1939-45", Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 29, No. 4 (Oct. 1994), pp. 569-582 ^ Ritter, Gerhard (1974), Frederick the Great: A Historical Profile, Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 179–180, ISBN 0-520-02775-2, It has been estimated that during his reign 300,000 individuals settled in Prussia.... While the Prussian Settlement Commission established in the Bismarck era could in the course of two decades bring no more than 11,957 families to the eastern territories, Frederick settled a total of 57,475.... It increased the German character of the population in the monarchy's provinces to a very significant degree.... in West Prussia
West Prussia
where he wished to drive out the Polish nobility and bring as many of their large estates as possible into German hands.  ^ "In fact from Hitler to Hans we find frequent references to Poles and Jews
Jews
as Indians. This, too, was a long standing trope. It can be traced back to Frederick the Great, who likened the 'slovenly Polish trash' in newly' reconquered West Prussia
West Prussia
to Iroquois". David Blackbourn, James N. Retallack, Localism, Landscape, and the Ambiguities of Place: German-speaking Central Europe, 1860-1930, University of Toronto, 2007 ^ Wielka historia Polski t. 4 Polska w czasach walk o niepodległość (1815–1864). Od niewoli do niepodległości (1864–1918)Marian Zagórniak, Józef Buszko 2003 page 186 ^ Lumans Valdis, Himmler's Auxiliaries: The Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
Mittelstelle and the German National Minorities of Europe, 1933-1945, Chapel Hill, NC and London: University of North Carolina Press, ^ Cinzia Romani, Tainted Goddesses: Female Film Stars of the Third Reich p145 ISBN 0-9627613-1-1 ^ Robert Edwin Hertzstein, The War That Hitler Won p289 ISBN 0-399-11845-4 ^ Robert Edwin Hertzstein, The War That Hitler Won p287 ISBN 0-399-11845-4 ^ Robert Edwin Hertzstein, The War That Hitler Won p292-3 ISBN 0-399-11845-4 ^ Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema pp 44-5 ISBN 0-02-570230-0 ^ Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema p29-30 ISBN 0-02-570230-0 ^ Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema p39-40 ISBN 0-02-570230-0 ^ Richard Grunberger, The 12-Year Reich, p 384, ISBN 0-03-076435-1 ^ Cinzia Romani, Tainted Goddesses: Female Film Stars of the Third Reich p86 ISBN 0-9627613-1-1 ^ Anthony Rhodes, Propaganda: The art of persuasion: World War II, p20 1976, Chelsea House Publishers, New York ^ H. Kennard to Viscount Halifax (August 24, 1939). "The British War Bluebook". 2008 Lillian Goldman Law Library. Retrieved 11 September 2014.  ^ Wacław Uruszczak (2012). Krakowskie Studia z Historii Państwa i Prawa Vol. 5. Wydawnictwo UJ. p. 339. ISBN 8323388687.  ^ Józef Kossecki (1997). "II Oddział Sztabu Głównego II RP (Chapter 3.3)" (PDF). Totalna wojna informacyjna XX wieku a II RP. Kielce: Wydział Zarządzania i Administracji Wyższej Szkoły Pedagogicznej im. J. Kochanowskiego w Kielcach: 102 – via direct download, 808 KB.  ^ Konrad Ciechanowski (1988). Stutthof: hitlerowski obóz koncentracyjny. Wydawnictwo Interpress. p. 13.  ^ Himmler's Auxiliaries: The Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle
Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle
and the German National Minorities of Europe, 1933-1945 Valdis O. Lumans page 98 ^ Wittmann, A.M., "Mutiny in the Balkans: Croat Volksdeutsche, the Waffen-SS and Motherhood", East European Quarterly XXXVI No. 3 (2002), p. 257 ^ Wittmann, A.M., "Mutiny in the Balkans: Croat Volksdeutsche, the Waffen-SS and Motherhood", East European Quarterly XXXVI No. 3 (2002), p. 258 ^ Wittmann, A.M., "Mutiny in the Balkans: Croat Volksdeutsche, the Waffen-SS and Motherhood", East European Quarterly XXXVI No. 3 (2002), p. 259 ^ Mathias Schulze, German Diasporic Experiences: Identity, Migration, and Loss, page 126 ^ Jonathan Petropoulos, John K. Roth, Gray Zones: Ambiguity and Compromise in the Holocaust
Holocaust
and Its Aftermath, page 199. ISBN 1845453026. ^ Maria Wardzyńska, Był rok 1939 Operacja niemieckiej policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce. Intelligenzaktion, IPN Instytut Pamięci Narodowej, 2009 ISBN 978-83-7629-063-8 ^ Browning, Christopher R. The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942, 2007 p. 33 ^ Historia Encyklopedia Szkolna, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i, Warszawa" Pedagogiczne, 1993, pp. 357, 358 ^ Historia społeczno-polityczna Górnego Śląska i Śląska w latach 1918-1945 Maria Wanatowicz - 1994 Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego, 1994, p. 180 ^ a b c d Chrzanowski, B., Gasiorowski, A., and Steyer, K. Polska Podziemna na Pomorzu w Latach 1939-1945 (Underground Polish State in Pomerania
Pomerania
in the years 1939-1945), Oskar, Gdansk, 2005, pgs. 59-60 ^ Georg Hansen, Ethnische Schulpolitik im besetzten Polen: Der Mustergau Wartheland, Waxmann Verlag, 1995, pp. 30ff, ISBN 3-89325-300-9 [1] ^ Bruno Wasser, Himmlers Raumplanung im Osten: Der Generalplan Ost
Generalplan Ost
in Polen, 1940-1944, Birkhäuser, 1993, pp. 109ff, ISBN 3-7643-2852-5 [2] ^ Philbin III 1994, p. 71 ^ Philbin III 1994, p. 129] ^ Shirer 1990, p. 665 ^ a b Ericson 1999, p. 134 ^ a b c d Shirer 1990, p. 794 ^ Among the resettled people were the parents of Germany's former president Horst Köhler ^ Ericson 1999, p. 144 ^ Ericson 1999, p. 138 ^ a b Ericson 1999, p. 149 ^ Ericson 1999, p. 150 ^ a b Johari, J.C., Soviet Diplomacy 1925-41: 1925-27, Anmol Publications PVT. LTD., 2000, ISBN 81-7488-491-2 pages 134-137 ^ Enzyklopädie Migration in Europa. Vom 17. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart, Munich: K.J.Bade, 2007, ss. 1082–1083. ^ a b c Istvan S. Pogany (1997). Righting Wrongs in Eastern Europe. Manchester University Press. p. 53.  ^ Moses, Dirk A. (editor) Empire, Colony, Genocide: Conquest, Occupation and Subaltern Resistance in World History, Berghahn Books, December 2009, ISBN 978-1845457198, p. 389 ^ Valdis O. Lumans, Himmler's Auxiliaries: The Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle and the German National minorities of Europe, 1939-1945 (University of North Carolina Press, 1993), page.235. ^ Wittmann, Anna M., "Mutiny in the Balkans: Croat Volksdeutsche, the Waffen-SS and Motherhood." East European Quarterly XXXVI No. 3 (2002), p. 256-257. ^ Jürgen Weber, Germany, 1945-1990: A Parallel History, Central European University Press, 2004, p.2, ISBN 963-9241-70-9 ^ a b Arie Marcelo Kacowicz, Pawel Lutomski, Population resettlement in international conflicts: a comparative study, Lexington Books, 2007, p.100, ISBN 0-7391-1607-X: "… largest movement of any European people in modern history" [3] ^ Peter H. Schuck, Rainer Münz, Paths to Inclusion: The Integration of Migrants in the United States and Germany, Berghahn Books, 1997, p.156, ISBN 1-57181-092-7 ^ The Expulsion of 'German' Communities from Central and Eastern Europe at the end of the Second World War, Steffen Prauser and Arfon Rees, European University Institute, Florense. HEC No. 2004/1. p.4 ^ Bernard Wasserstein, Barbarism and civilization: a history of Europe in our time, Oxford University Press, 2007, p.419: "largest population movement between European countries in the twentieth century and one of the largest of all time." ISBN 0-19-873074-8 ^ Text of Churchill Speech in Commons on Soviet=Polish Frontier, The United Press, December 15, 1944  ^ Detlef Brandes, Der Weg zur Vertreibung 1938-1945: Pläne und Entscheidungen zum "Transfer" der Deutschen aus der Tschechoslowakei und aus Polen, Munich: Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, 2005, pp. 398ff, ISBN 3-486-56731-4 ^ Klaus Rehbein, Die westdeutsche Oder/Neisse-Debatte: Hintergründe, Prozess und Ende des Bonner Tabus, Berlin, Hamburg and Münster: LIT Verlag , 2005, pp. 19,20, ISBN 3-8258-9340-5 ^ Grushenko, Kateryna. Kyiv Post. Oct 14, 2010. World in Ukraine: German heritage alive in Transcarpathian Ukraine. http://www.kyivpost.com/news/guide/world-in-uktaine/detail/86372/

References[edit]

Ericson, Edward E. (1999), Feeding the German Eagle: Soviet Economic Aid to Nazi Germany, 1933-1941, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 0-275-96337-3  Philbin III, Tobias R. (1994), The Lure of Neptune: German-Soviet Naval Collaboration and Ambitions, 1919–1941, University of South Carolina Press, ISBN 0-87249-992-8  Roberts, Geoffrey (2006), Stalin's Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939–1953, Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-11204-1 

Bibliography[edit]

Nazi Fifth Column Activities: A List of References, Library of Congress, 1943 The German fifth column in the Second World War, by L. de Jong The German Fifth Column in Poland, London: Hutchinson & Co Ltd, Luther, Tammo (2004): Volkstumspolitik des Deutschen Reiches 1933-1938. Die Auslanddeutschen im Spannungsfeld zwischen Traditionalisten und Nationalsozialisten, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2004 Douglas, R.M.: Orderly and Humane. The Expulsion of the Germans
Germans
after the Second World War, Yale University Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-300-16660-6. Franzel, Emil: Sudetendeutsche Geschichte, Mannheim: 1978. ISBN 3-8083-1141-X. Franzel, Emil: Die Sudetendeutschen, Munich: Aufstieg Verlag, 1980. Meixner, Rudolf, Geschichte der Sudetendeutschen, Nuremberg: 1988. ISBN 3-921332-97-4. Naimark, Norman: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe, Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press, 2001. Oltmer, Jochen: "Heimkehr"? " Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
fremder Staatsangehörigkeit" aus Ost-, Ostmittel- und Südosteuropa im deutschen Kaiserreich und in der Weimarer Republik, EGO – European History Online, Mainz: Institute of European History, 2011, retrieved: June 16, 2011. Prauser, Steffen and Rees, Arfon: The Expulsion of the "German" communities from Eastern Europe at the End of the 2nd World War, Florence: European University Institute, 2004.

External links[edit]

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Fifth column
in Czechoslovakia Hitler's Fifth column
Fifth column
in Croatia

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