Occupied Poland (1939) - let's make quick money

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wm
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Occupied Poland (1939) - let's make quick money

Post by wm » 08 Nov 2021 20:38

The Ringelblum Archive
Volume II
Accounts from the Borderlands, 1939-1941
part one
General situation of refugees at the Soviet-occupied territories
31 August 1941, Warsaw, ghetto. Account by Natan Koniński
---
After the "raid of Poland", as the Germans called der Feldzug in Polen, a shared border between German- and Russian-occupied territories was established on the former Polish territory. That boundary ran roughly along the line of the Bug River. To the west, the German army held authority, and lands to the east of the Bug were in the hands of the Soviets. Therefore, the Bug, as a river dividing two such diametrically different regimes and states, which only artificially and under the false mask of friendship had formed a non-aggression pact in August, became a border of great significance to the Jewish population.

It marked the limit of the territory in which Jews suffered many restrictions and persecutions, while the area that stretched on the opposite shore was meant to ensure freedom and equality for the Jewish community.
Good news was coming from Jews living in cities on the Soviet side, such as Bialystok, Lvov, Brzesc, and others, saying that they were able to settle comfortably, that they enjoyed civil rights on an equal footing with other residents, and that their Jewish nationality did not present obstacles for them nor prevent them from holding any kind of position and office.
Such news, coupled with the situation in German-occupied areas, caused thousands of Jews from various villages to decide to attempt to get to the other side and settle in the Soviet Union. It should also be noted that in the case of some Jews the decision was greatly influenced by their political beliefs. ...
Entire families, and especially the youth, left the city with the intention of reaching Russia.
...
Young people were enticed primarily by the prospect of being able to continue their interrupted studies, as well as by the availability of jobs in their respective professions, and — first and foremost — by freedom and liberty, the lack of which they felt so badly there. Those young people had been brutally and suddenly torn from their normal way of living and were affected by the recent great shocks and changes. Banished from their permanent places of residence, or voluntarily parted from their families, thousands of young people flocked to that land of promise, to Russia.
While even in Kalisz some people were planning to go across the border and prepared for such trip, in Warsaw the rush was almost universal.

I remember that when I finally arrived in Warsaw in November 1939, traveling to Russia was a major topic of conversation. Graduates and students left to be able to continue their studies, men left their wives and families hoping to settle in Russia to make a living, although there was no hiding the fact that many were enticed by the possibility of making quick money.
On the other side, one could get very high prices for textile goods, footwear, clothing, watches, etc., so Jews took these goods to Russia, where they sold them, and then returned to Warsaw with quite a large profit.
In any case, from October to December traveling to Russia was very popular among the Jews of Warsaw.
...
In Warsaw alone there were people who knew of various safe passages across the border, and for a few hundred zlotys they would take others to the other side. They usually took several people and left, returning more or less after a week for the next group. Some of them gained considerable trust and people would wait several weeks for such a guide to take them.
The latter, realizing how much demand there was for their services, raised their prices from week to week and earned real fortunes.

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Re: Occupied Poland (1939) - let's make quick money

Post by Futurist » 08 Nov 2021 21:54

In hindsight, the real smart move would have been to move from Poland to the Russian interior. That would have been a guaranteed way to escape the subsequent Holocaust. But Polish Jews couldn't actually see the future, unfortunately.

I wonder just how many Jews the Jewish Autonomous Oblast (JAO) could have successfully accommodated back then. Let's say that Stalin decides to have open borders for Polish Jews but requires them to settle in either the JAO or somewhere else in the Soviet interior. Just how many more would come and subsequently get saved from the subsequent Holocaust?

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Re: Occupied Poland (1939) - let's make quick money

Post by wm » 08 Nov 2021 22:52

In 1939 even Hitler himself didn't see the future so they didn't either.

In this case, only young people migrated, their families didn't for the simple reason they would lose everything in the process - their homes, businesses, wealth.

Some said later they knew because they read Mein Kampf. It's all lies - there were rants against Jews in Mein Kampf but no executions, gas chambers, or ovens.

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Re: Occupied Poland (1939) - let's make quick money

Post by Futurist » 09 Nov 2021 01:52

wm wrote:
08 Nov 2021 22:52
Some said later they knew because they read Mein Kampf. It's all lies - there were rants against Jews in Mein Kampf but no executions, gas chambers, or ovens.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler did talk about using poison gas on the 12,000-15,000 "Hebrew corrupters of the people" who were allegedly making German troops defeatist:
"If at the beginning of the War and during the War twelve or fifteen thousand of these Hebrew corrupters of the people had been held under poison gas, as happened to hundreds of thousands of our very best German workers in the field, the sacrifice of millions at the front would not have been in vain."
There's also this quote from Mein Kampf:
“If the best men were dying at the front, the least we could do was to wipe out the vermin.”

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Re: Occupied Poland (1939) - let's make quick money

Post by wm » 09 Nov 2021 02:40

Well, that's quite a creative citation.
It wasn't Jews but Jewish communists.
The entire rant is against the communists protected by the (mentally debilitated) bourgeoisie.
To save the motherland the Jewish core of the German communist movement had to be eliminated.

There were 560,000 German Jews - not 12,000-15,000.

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Re: Occupied Poland (1939) - let's make quick money

Post by Futurist » 09 Nov 2021 05:40

Quite interesting that Hitler talked about exterminating Jewish Communists while extending his hatred to all Jews, even if he didn't advocate outright extermination for the rest of them yet.

And Yes, I know that there were over half a million German Jews by then. My point is that Hitler already fantasized about exterminating the worst of them with poison gas even back in the 1920s.

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Re: Occupied Poland (1939) - let's make quick money

Post by wm » 09 Nov 2021 16:10

Gas chambers, electrocution were the most modern and progressive methods. At that time they chopped off heads with an ax in Germany.

Violent rhetorics were employed by basically everybody and weren't unusual at all. It wasn't like the other side held back - "when the revolution comes you will be first against the wall."
And in Hitler's case, even his friend Kubizek noticed that sixteen-year-old Hitler loved to rage on the most mundane subjects.

Hate is the wrong word, hate has its reasons too.
Hitler genuinely feared Jews and their political and economic destructiveness.
His fear and paranoia resulted in the Holocaust, it wasn't a genetic phobia.

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