“The extermination plans were appalling. In the first phase of the GPO, the Germans wanted to kill about 100 million people” – says prof. Grzegorz Kucharczyk, a historian from the Polish Academy of Sciences and an expert in the history of the Third Reich.
Interview originally published in Polish in the Polish weekly Do Rzeczy on 5 June 2023 and translated in full into English on Sovereignty.pl. To see the full version in English on Sovereignty.pl, click here.
Piotr Włoczyk: Why did the Zamojszczyzna region become a kind of prelude to the nightmarish German General Plan East?
Prof. Grzegorz Kucharczyk: The Germans carried out what can even be called the “pilot action” of the General Plan East (Generalplan Ost – GPO) in the Zamojszczyzna region. This was a huge German colonization campaign, which at the same time was to be one big genocide against the Slavs living in the eastern areas of Europe. The GPO was to be carried out after the final German victory in the war.
Zamojszczyzna was part of the Lublin District of the General Government. The head of the German terror apparatus there was Odilo Globocnik, the man responsible for the extermination of Polish citizens of Jewish origin in death camps such as Belzec and Sobibor. The Germans had a well-developed Holocaust machine in the nearby vicinity, which is why they chose Zamojszczyzna.
Piotr Włoczyk: How large a scale of victims are we talking about in the context of the GPO?
Prof. Grzegorz Kucharczyk: The extermination plans were appalling. In the first phase of the GPO, the Germans wanted to kill about 100 million people. The Polish nation was to be reduced ultimately to a collective of several million people (after all, no longer a nation), who were to be used for slave labour. The rest of the Poles were to be murdered on the spot or deported beyond the Urals. A similar fate was to befall ethnic Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians. All those Slavs who inhabited the areas that were to become part of the German empire in Central and Eastern Europe were to be killed. This was the so-called Lebensraum that Adolf Hitler wrote about in “Mein Kampf”.
Piotr Włoczyk: How did the SS specialists plan to murder so many millions of people?
Prof. Grzegorz Kucharczyk: In addition to murder in the extermination camps, the Germans also intended to exterminate tens of millions of people through devastating, torturous labour and starvation.