Poland September 1939-July 1941
This volume, the first of three in the series focusing on the persecution and murder of the Jews in occupied Poland, documents the developments from the attack on Poland in September 1939 up to July 1941. It covers the territories of western and northern Poland annexed to the Reich as well as the General Government. With the attack on Poland, around two million Polish Jews came under German rule. Jews were immediately subjected to stigmatization and humiliation, exposed to arbitrary acts of violence, deprived of their livelihoods, subjected to forced labour and forcibly displaced. In July 1940, a report by representatives of Polish Jews on the situation in the annexed territories of Poland sent to the US embassy in Berlin described a ‘downcast, stigmatized Jewish population’, terrorized and powerless in face of displacement, expulsions and the increasing incarceration of the Jewish population in ghettos, and it predicted that ‘the process of destruction is not yet complete’.
The volume documents the drive by the occupiers systematically to confiscate the property of the Polish Jews, and the different, often chaotic and conflicting strategies for displacing Jews in the annexed territories and in the General Government. The volume shows a range of reactions by the non-Jewish population of Poland to the escalating persecution of the Polish Jews. It also shows the efforts by Jewish organizations to publicize their plight abroad, to withstand the onslaught on their communities and to manage daily life in the increasingly desperate conditions of the ghettos.