New Series of Posts The Resettlements of Germans from Lithuania during World War II Post 11 By Piotr Lossowski

The following post contains significant information quoted and paraphrased from resources at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Library and Archives. It focuses on the history of Germans in Lithuania and is shared here for the scholarly and historical perspective which may help provide a political and social history to the family history we all seek.
1. The Lithuanian Germans are separate from the Estonian and Latvian Germans.
2. The Germans were never dominant in Lithuania, but they influenced the economy more than the politics of the nation.
3. Germans started to appear at the end of the 18th century, and their migration continued throughout the 19th century.
4. They settled mainly near the border of East Prussia. Sakiai with 4.2%, and Taurage with 3.4%. Specifically mentioned is Vilkaviskis with 12.5% of the population. This small agglomeration was a part of Lithuanian villages.
5. The land was fertile and communication network more advanced.
6. These Germans generally bought small or mid size farms, but did not develop whole villages. Craftsmen settled in the towns.
7. In 1923 there were 23, 231 Germans in Lithuania not counting those Germans in the Memel (today Klaipedia) region.
8. Their religious and social life centered around the evangelische parishes. In 1923 there were only 16 pastors in Lithuania but their school system (centered around their churches) was substantial.
9. The Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Treaty on August 23, 1939, led to the evacuation of
Germans in Estonia and Latvia, but the Lithuanian Germans were not affected by this pact.
10. The small strip of land in the southwestern part of Lithuania (the part of Suwalki Province near the East Prussia border) mostly populated by Germans remained a center of Nazi interest. Vilkaviskis is specifically named. One third of Lithuania’s Germans lived in this exact area.
11. German officials planned no political or social changes until the spring of 1940. The Lithuanian-German border remained undetermined so the removal of Germans in Lithuanian was not critical.
12. Meanwhile, the Kulturverband established numbers and lists of the Germans.
13. In June 1940 the German officials began specific plans to remove the German population from Lithuania, much to Russia’s delight.
14. The exchange of Germans, Poles, and Lithuanians began, but Lithuanians in the Memel and Suwalki regions were expected to come to Lithuania.
15. In July Himmler, “as the Commissioner of the Reich for the establishment of the German character” gave instructions on how to resettle the Germans from Lithuania through the Volksdeutsch Mittelstelle (VoMi) before the end of winter in 1940-41.
16. Very exact terms were determined by VoMI to insure that holding German evacuees was fairly evaluated.
17. Between February 2 and March 23, 1941, over 50,000 “Germans” were evacuated from Lithuania. Lithuanians became part of this evacuation because of the fear of Soviet repercussions. False documents or “family relationships” bolstered these numbers. German officials pretended not to notice the excessive number of “Germans” evacuating and Soviet officials could not prevent it.
18. Germans were sent to transit camps: 10,000 to Mecklenburg; 11,500 to Pomerania; 4,500 to Eastern Prussia, and 23,300 to Wartheland for their political and racial usefulness. Their several month stay provided an opportunity for Nazis to determine their political and racial usefulness.
19. The Third Reich in the East would ultimately determine the fate of the Germans from Lithuania.

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.
This entry was posted in Articles, East Prussia, Ethnicities, Germany, history, Lithuania, Research, Resources, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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