New Series of Posts Himmler’s Auxiliaries: The Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle and the German National Minorities of Europe, by Valdis O. Lumans 1933 – 1945 Post 9

This post contains significant information quoted and paraphrased from resources at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Library and Archives. They focus on the topic: the history of Germans in Lithuania. They are shared here for their scholarly and historical perspective.

Part II: Chapters 6, 8, and 9

Chapter 6: VoMi and the Minorities, II The Baltic, the Southeast, the West, and the Soviet Union

Page 101: Some of the Volksdeutsche may have wanted to reunify with the Reich but that was not part of Hitler’s plan.

Chapter 8: The Resettlement, I Italy, the Baltic States, and Poland

Page 158: The Baltic Germans (Estonians and Latvians) were descendants of crusading knights, associated with the romantic Drang nach Osten of the medieval past and evoked volkish emotions. (Page 170 refers to the Baltic Germans of Latvia and Estonia “their forefathers seven centuries earlier” = 1300s.)

Plans for the evacuation of Estonia’s and Latvia’s Germans were well underway by the fall of 1939.

Stalin intended to include Lithuania in these plans, but since it lay within the German “sphere of interest” he wanted to exchange it for the Lublin and Warsaw districts in Poland. Germany (Ribbentrop) agreed with one condition: that Germany would keep a strip of southwestern Lithuania bordering East Prussia where the majority of Lithuania’s Germany lived.

Thus, there was no urgent need to resettle Lithuania’s Volksdeuteche along with those of Latvia and Estonia.

Page 165: By the end of 1939 more than 60,000 Baltic Germans from Latvia and Estonia had been resettled. By June 1940 those who had ignored the Fuhrer’s summons for resettlement, were in trouble. Many people became “German” overnight, hoping for German protection from the Soviets and resettlement in the Reich.

Page 166: It was now apparent that the Lithuanian Germans also needed to be evacuated and resettled. Since most lived in the small strip assigned to Germany, the Reich expected to acquire them through annexation. As for those living in the interior, the Reich had adopted a wait and see attitude. However, the Soviets seized the strip where the Volksdeutsche lived.

Lithuanians soon equated the Russians with the Germans and the Volksdeutsche and plans for evacuation and resettlement were approved by Ribbentrop and Himmler. No documents verify Hitler’s role other than the assumption that he was consulted.

Page 167: VoMi decided to relocate entire villages in Lithuania to East Prussia and Danzig, West Prussia. VoMi would register the resettlers, transport them to the Reich, and build camps in East Prussia. Himmler suggested meetings with local Nazi officials, called Gaulieters.

In a July 11 meeting German officials made it clear that Germans living in the disputed border strip , now occupied by the Soviets, would not be affected by the resettlement. This would help the Reich’s claim to this land as part of the Reich sphere of interest.

Two days later Stalin announced that the Soviets would keep this land. He also suggested that the Germans living there could be relocated along with the rest of Lithuania’s Germans.

On August 7 the Soviets decided to negotiate a treaty for the resettlement of Lithuanian Germans. Although not mentioned in the Soviet offer, the strip of territory would also be discussed.

Page 168: On January 10, 1941, a treaty was signed about the Lithuanian settlement. Another agreement transferred the strip of disputed Lithuanian land to the Soviets. The fate of 50,000 Volksdeutsche was at stake during these negotiations which also included a second resettlement of remaining Latvian and Estonian Germans, and economic agreements of the value of German property in the Baltic.

Contrary to the evacuation of Latvian and Estonia Germans, which had relied on local manpower, the Lithuanian German evacuation was carried out by trained teams from the SS barracks at Stahnsdorf.

These teams registered the resettlers and their property and assembled them for evacuation.

Page 169: Both Germans and Soviet officials had to approve each resettler. Many non-Germans were among the 50, 904 people from Lithuania approved and departed by March 1942.

(The second wave of Estonians and Latvians were declared refugees which would not entitle them to property compensation and other privileges.)

Chapter 9 The Resettlement, II The Southeast, the West, and the Soviet Union

Page 171: The primary reason for resettling the Volksdeutsch of …the Baltic states… was Hitler’s concern that they could create difficulties with his allies, Stalin and Mussolini, and would thereby disrupt his foreign policy plans.

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About suwalkigermans

I started family research in 1993. My first two books focused on my maternal grandparents. Both families came from Kreis Rosenberg, West Prussia, to Big Rapids, Michigan. I left the Spurgats from Wylkowiszki in the Russian Empire as the third book because of the difficult and challenging research it required. After I published the book in 2010, I wondered what to do next. I thought I might try to share some of my research with others and maybe at the same time, by going digital, someone would find me. When you read the comments, you will see that happened. The best part of all this is helping others.
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