The Info List - Volksliste

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The DEUTSCHE VOLKSLISTE (German People's List) was a Nazi Party institution whose purpose was the classification of inhabitants of German occupied territories into categories of desirability according to criteria systematized by Heinrich Himmler . The institution was first established in occupied western Poland. Similar institutions were subsequently created in Occupied France and in the Reichskommissariat Ukraine
Reichskommissariat Ukraine
. Volksdeutsche meeting in occupied Warsaw

_ Volksdeutsche _ (ethnic Germans ) were people of German ancestry living outside Germany. Though 'Volksdeutsche' did not hold German or Austrian citizenship, the strengthening and development of ethnic German communities throughout east-central Europe was an integral part of the Nazi vision for the creation of Greater Germany (_Großdeutschland_). In some areas, such as Romania, Croatia, and Yugoslavia/Serbia ethnic Germans were legally recognized in legislation as privileged groups.


* 1 Pre-war Nazi contact with ethnic Germans

* 2 Motivation for creating the list

* 2.1 Germanization * 2.2 Multiple ad hoc categorization schemes * 2.3 Himmler\'s solution

* 3 Implementation in Poland

* 3.1 Upper Silesia
* 3.2 Benefits of registration * 3.3 Polish response * 3.4 Results

* 4 Implementation in other countries * 5 Postwar * 6 See also * 7 References


In 1931, prior to its rise to power, the Nazi Party
Nazi Party
established the Auslandsorganisation der NSDAP (Foreign Organisation of the German National Socialist Workers Party), whose task was to disseminate Nazi propaganda among the German minorities living outside Germany. In 1936, the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle ( Ethnic German Welfare Office), commonly known as VoMi, was set up under the direction of Himmler
as RKFDV of the German Schutzstaffel (SS) as the liaison bureau for ethnic Germans and was headed by SS- Obergruppenführer Werner Lorenz .



According to the testimony of Kuno Wirsich:

The aim of the German People's List was that those people who were of German descent and of German ethnic descent were to be ascertained and were to be Germanized.

When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, it annexed the western part of the country (basically the Gaue of Danzig/West Prussia, the Wartheland , and parts of Upper Silesia
as well as East Prussia
East Prussia
), and created a new entity, the General Government
General Government
, for the administration of the rest of its own occupied part of the country .

The plan for Poland, as set forth in Generalplan Ost
Generalplan Ost
, was to "purify" the newly annexed regions in order to create a Germanized buffer against Polish and Slavic influence. This entailed deporting Poles
from these westernmost areas to those under General Government control, and settling the region with ethnic Germans from other places including from the General Government
General Government
area, from within the pre-war German borders and from various areas that came under the control of Soviet Russia (Baltic States, eastern Polish territories, Volhynia, Galicia, Bukovina, Bessarabia and Dobrudscha).

To further its objective of Germanization, Nazi Germany endeavoured to increase the number of ' Volksdeutsche ' in the conquered territories by a policy of Germanising certain classes of the conquered people, mainly those among the Czechs, Poles, and Slovenes who had German ancestors. Thus, the Nazis encouraged the Polish offspring of Germans, or Poles
who had family connections with Germans, to join the 'Volksliste', often applying pressure to compel registration. Those who joined enjoyed a privileged status and received special benefits. Registrants were given better food, apartments, farms, workshops, furniture, and clothing—much of it having been confiscated from Jews and Poles
who were deported or sent to Nazi concentration camps .

Determining who was an ethnic German was not easy in regions that had Poles, ethnic Germans, and individuals of German ancestry who had been Polonised . There were many in western Poland who claimed German ancestry and resisted deportation to the General Government
General Government
on the basis of it. Similar ambiguities occurred in all other eastern areas, such as Bohemia and Moravia , Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, and Serbia. Even Himmler
was impressed by this and said that such resistance must be evidence of their Nordic qualities. Furthermore, Nazi officials in charge of the various annexed territories from Poland did not want to see too many economically valuable local nationals sent eastwards, so they, too, desired some form of criteria that would allow them to avoid deporting any skilled Poles
with German blood. Poles
who were considered to be suitable for Germanization were sent to the Reich as labourers. A "racial assessment" was also performed with regard to the ethnic German returnee with often disappointing results.

In 2006, German historian Götz Aly said the Nazi policy was based on French Republic selection criteria that were used after the First World War to expel ethnic Germans from Alsace.


From the beginning of the German occupation of Poland , a number of categorization schemes were developed at the local level, leading to confusion. For example, in October 1939, the governor of the Warthegau , Gauleiter Arthur Greiser , established a central bureau for the registration of _Volksdeutsche_, the _Deutsche Volksliste_ (_DVL:_ German Peoples List), also known as the _Volksliste_. At the beginning of 1940, distinctions were introduced to divide those registered in the DVL into four categories: ethnic Germans active on behalf of the Third Reich, "other" ethnic Germans, Poles
of German extraction (Poles with some German ancestry), and Poles
who were related to Germans by marriage.


Himmler's solution to the confusing and competing categorization schemes was the Deutsche Volksliste
(DVL), a uniform categorization scheme that could be applied universally. The Racial Office of the Nazi Party
Nazi Party
had produced a registry called the _Deutsche Volksliste_ in 1939, but this was only one of the precursors of Himmler's final version.

The Deutsche Volksliste
was categorized into four categories:

* Category
I: _Volksdeutsche_ (German > "Ethnically German") —Persons of German descent who had engaged themselves in favour of the Reich before 1939. * Category
II: _Deutschstämmige_ (German > "of German Descent") — Persons of German descent who had remained passive. * Category
III: _Eingedeutschte_ (German > "Voluntarily Germanized") — indigenous persons considered by the Nazis as partly Polonized (mainly Silesians and Kashubs ); refusal to join this list often lead to deportation to a concentration camp. * Category
IV: _Rückgedeutschte_ (German > "Forcibly Germanized") — Persons of Polish nationality considered "racially valuable", but who resisted Germanization.

Those members of the population rated in the highest category were tapped for citizenship and concomitant compulsory military service in the German Armed Forces. At first, only Category
I were considered for membership in the SS (Schutzstaffel). Similarly, women recruited for labor in Germany as nannies were required to be classified as Category
I or II, because of their close contact with German children and the possibility of sexual exploitation, and so of children; Himmler
praised it as a chance to win back blood and benefit the women as well.

declared that no drop of German blood would be lost or left behind to mingle with an "alien race". German blood was regarded as so valuable that any "German" person would necessarily be of value to any country; therefore, all Germans not supporting the Reich were a danger to it. Persons who had been assigned to one of these categories but who denied their ties to Germany were dealt with very harshly, and ordered to concentration camps. Men who had "a particularly bad political record"—had supported persecutions or boycotts of ethnic Germans—were to be sent to concentration camps immediately; their children were to be removed for Germanization, and their wives either sent to the camps as well, if they had also supported the actions, or removed for Germanization.

Persons of categories III and IV were sent to Germany as labourers and subject to conscription into the Wehrmacht


had the plan prepared and then ordered it to be administered by Wilhelm Frick
Wilhelm Frick
's Interior Ministry. The _Deutsche Volksliste_ was mandated in March 1941 by decrees of the Minister of the Interior of the Reich (Frick) and of Heinrich Himmler in his function as Kommissar für die Festigung des deutschen Volkstums (Commissioner for the strengthening of Germanhood). Thus, Himmler's plan was finally implemented a year and a half after the ad hoc categorization processes had begun in Poland. On 3 April 1941 it was expanded to all western Polish areas ( Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia , Upper Silesia
, and parts of East Prussia
East Prussia


The nationality policy in Upper Silesia
was different from the one applied in other Polish areas included into Reich. The motivation for the difference was the different local economic conditions and the necessity to keep qualified manpower essential to Silesian heavy industry. In some historical analyses, it has also been noticed, although less explicitly, that nationality policy of local German elites was also deliberately different. Apparently, Gauleiter Josef Wagner , as well as his successor, Fritz Bracht , saw the necessity to exclude Silesian people from qualification made only on the basis of race criteria which were emphasized by Heinrich Himmler when he was a Reich commissar for strengthening the Germanhood.

Fritz and Bracht used also political criteria, which made the situation similar to Pomerelia (former West Prussia
West Prussia
, annexed to Danzig- West Prussia
West Prussia
) and areas annexed by Germany in Western Europe (such as Alsace-Lorraine
). This resulted in a comparatively low number of deportations and in the majority of Upper Silesians (both Silesian West-Slavs as well as ethnic Poles
) being eligible for German citizenship, although their rights are alleged to have been limited compared to those of other German citizens.


The German occupation authorities encouraged Poles
to register with the Volksliste, and in many instances even compelled them to do so. In occupied Poland, the status of _Volksdeutscher_ conferred many privileges but also made one subject to conscription into the German military.


Polish response to the institution of the Deutsche Volksliste
was mixed. Being accepted into Class III could mean keeping one's property, but it might also mean being sent to the Reich as a labourer or being conscripted into the Wehrmacht.

Polish citizens of German ancestry, who often identified themselves with the Polish nation, were confronted with the dilemma of whether to sign the _Volksliste_. This group included ethnic Germans whose families had lived in Poland proper for centuries, and Germans (who became citizens of Poland after 1920) from the part of Germany that had been transferred to Poland after World War I
World War I
. Many such ethnic Germans had married Poles
and remained defiant. Often the choice was either to sign and be regarded as a traitor by the Polish, or not to sign and be treated by the German occupation as a traitor to the Germanic 'race' People who became ethnic Germans were treated by Poles
with special contempt, and the fact of them having signed the Volksliste
constituted high treason according to the Polish underground law . Poles
who preferred to stay with their friends and relatives sometimes resisted Nazi pressures to apply for the DVL, opting for deportation to the General Government
General Government
over Germanization. Their children were often taken for Germanization while they were deported.

In some parts of Silesia, the Volksliste
was compulsory, and both Polish government in-Exile and Bishop of Katowice, Stanisław Adamski , condoned signing it "to mask and save the Polish element in upper Silesia." Ethnic Poles
from Silesia
were also subject to pressure from Nazi authorities to sign category III or IV. In many cases people were imprisoned, tortured and their close ones threatened if they refused to sign; deportation to concentration camps was also common.

In some cases, individuals consulted with the Polish resistance first, before registering with the Volksliste. These Volksdeutsche played an important role in the intelligence activities of the Polish resistance, and were at times the primary source of information for the Allies. However, in the eyes of the postwar Communist
government, having aided the non- Communist
Polish resistance was not considered a mitigating factor; therefore, many of these double-agent Volksdeutsche were prosecuted after the war.


According to Robert Koehl, "By the introduction of the registration procedure known as the German National List (DVL) some 900,000 more 'Germans' were discovered, most of them semi-Polish minorities such as the Kassubians, the Masurians, and the local Upper Silesians whom the Germans called 'Wasserpolen'. A few thousand 're-Germanizeables' ...had also been shipped back to the Reich." By October 1943, around 90 percent (1,290,000) of Silesians signed the DVL.

The total number of registrants for the DVL are estimated to be approximately 2.7 million, with 1 million in classes I and II and the remaining 1.7 million in classes III and IV. In the General Government there were 120,000 Volksdeutsche. Deutsche Volksliste, late 1942


South East Prussia 45,000 8,500 21,500 13,500 1,500

Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia 1,153,000 150,000 125,000 870,000 8,000

Warthegau 476,000 209,000 191,000 56,000 20,000

East Upper Silesia 1,450,000 120,000 250,000 1,020,000 60,000

Total 3,124,000 487,500 587,500 1,959,500 89,500



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

Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia 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

2,762,000 million on Volksliste, plus 723,000 resettlers/Reichsdeutsche and a non-German population of 6,015,000

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


After Germany occupied Yugoslavia
, they partitioned it into various parts including Croatia and Serbia, where ethnic Germans became legalized members of the ruling nationality groups, and so they introduced the 'Volksliste' there. Registered ethnic Germans in Category
1 and 2 living in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
were re-settled through Yugoslavia
back to Germany. There are no articles yet dealing specifically with these groups, and any relevant articles from the Baltic States, and Eastern Europe generally should be linked here.


At the end of the war, the files of the Deutsche Volksliste
were generally found extant in the service registration departments of the respective local authorities. The bulk of these documents are today in Polish archives.

After the collapse of Nazi Germany, some Volksdeutsche were tried by the Polish authorities for high treason. Even now, in Poland the word _Volksdeutsch_ is regarded as an insult, synonymous with traitor.


* Expulsion of Germans from Poland after World War II * Flight and expulsion of Germans (1944–1950) * History of Poland (1939-1945) * Volksdeutsche


* ^ Testimony of Prosecution Witness Kuno Wirsich, _Nuremberg Military Tribunal_, Vol. IV, p. 714 * ^ _A_ _B_ Longerich, Peter (2012). _Heinrich Himmler_. Oxford University Press. pp. 444–450. ISBN 978-019959232-6 . * ^ "Hitler\'s Plans for Eastern Europe" * ^ retrieved from Götz Aly: The logic of horror - signandsight, article appeared first in Zeit
, June 2006 ; quote: "_... it was in fact Republican France that invented some of the selection criteria later used as the basis for the so-called "Deutsche Volksliste" (German ethnic list) in the areas of Poland annexed by Germany. Later Nazi German criteria were created by their own racist scientists. In 1919, the population of the reclaimed Alsace region were sorted into four groups: full, three-quarter and half French, and Germans. On this basis, Alsatians were accorded full, limited or zero civil rights. In the case of those belonging to Group IV (the Germans), the French authorities ordered expulsion over the Rhine bridge._" * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression Volume I Chapter XIII Germanization National Archives and Records General Services Administration, Washington, D.C., 1973 * ^ Lynn H. Nicholas , _Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web_ p255-6, ISBN 0-679-77663-X * ^ learning from history - Home * ^ Kaczmarek, Ryszard: "Niemiecka polityka narodowościowa na Górnym Śląsku (1939–1945)" (German nationality policy in Upper Silesia
(1939-1945)") in _Remembrance and Justice_ (2 (6)/2004) pp. 115–138 * ^ _A_ _B_ Lynn H. Nicholas, _Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web_ p 247 ISBN 0-679-77663-X * ^ Lumans, Valdis. (1993) Himmler's Auxiliaries: The Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle and the German National Minorities of Europe, 1933-1945. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1993. * ^ _A_ _B_ M. Fidelis. (2010). _Women, Communism, and Industrialization in Postwar Poland_. Cambridge University Press. pp. 135-136. * ^ Koehl, Robert. _RKFDV: German Resettlement and Population Policy, 1939–1945_ (Cambridge, 1957), p. 87 * ^ 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 * ^ Ryszard Kaczmarek, _Polacy w Wehrmachcie_, Wydawnictwo Literackie, Kraków 2010, p.412, ISBN 978-83-08-04488-9

* v * t * e

Heinrich Himmler

* _ Reichsführer-SS _ * Chief of German Police * Minister of the Interior


* Himmler\'s service record * Ideology of the SS * Personal Staff Reichsführer-SS * Freundeskreis Reichsführer-SS ("Circle of Friends of the Reichsführer-SS") * Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
* Reinhard Heydrich (Chief of the RSHA) * Ernst Kaltenbrunner (successor as Chief of the RSHA) * Karl Wolff (Chief of Personal Staff) * Hedwig Potthast (secretary) * Rudolf Brandt (Personal Administrative Officer to RFSS) * Hermann Gauch (adjutant) * Werner Grothmann (aide-de-camp) * Heinz Macher
Heinz Macher
(second personal assistant) * Walter Schellenberg (personal aide) * Karl Maria Wiligut (occultist)


* Schutzstaffel * Gestapo
* Ahnenerbe
* Lebensborn * Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion

Responsibility for the Holocaust

* The Holocaust
The Holocaust
* Porajmos * Crimes against Poles
* Crimes against Soviet POWs * Persecution of Slavs in Eastern Europe * Persecution of homosexuals * Action T4 * Persecution of Serbs * Suppression of Freemasonry * Persecution of Jehovah\'s Witnesses * Persecution of black people * Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS * Volksliste * Operation Reinhard * Hegewald * Posen speeches
Posen speeches
* Himmler-Kersten Agreement


* Margarete Himmler
(wife) * Gudrun Burwitz (daughter) * Hedwig Potthast (mistress) * Gebhard Ludwig (older brother) * Ernst (younger brother) * Katrin Himmler
(great-niece) * Heinz Kokott (brother-in-law) * Richard Wendler (brother-in-law)


* Operation Himmler
* Army Group Oberrhein * Army Group Vistula * Operation Nordwind


* Václav Morávek * Claus von Stauffenberg * Henning von Tresckow


* Erhard Heiden (predecessor as Reichsführer-SS) * Karl Hanke (successor as Reichsführer-SS) * Falk Zipperer (closest friend) * Karl Gebhardt (personal physician) * Felix Kersten (personal masseur) * Hugo Blaschke (dentist) * Sidney Excell (man who arrested Himmler)

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