They were the first.
For many recent years about the so-called German "Displaced" due to a proactive activity Erika Steinbach - President of the Union of German Expellees. In the Shadow, often hot discussion, issue caused by E. Steinach planned the creation of the Centre Against Expulsions, is the story of these people who were the first during World War II and were kicked out by the Germans from their homes – inhabitants of Polish Gdynia. Displacement history of Gdynia was little known and marginalized for many years. Currently only different actions are taken in documenting the tragic fate of Gdynia. An important role in this field meets, among others Museum of the City of Gdynia, where in 2009, including you could see the exhibition "Gdynia 1939. The fate of the City and the People ". Time to document is less and less. Wanes witnesses and participants in those events.
Hitler's Third Reich, from its inception sought to territorial changes that would result in separation from the Polish Pomerania, Silesia and Greater Poland. To 31 August 1939 tried to realize their aspirations through political, and from September 1 through armed aggression. At first, the Germans decided to liquidate the Polish intelligentsia, and then make the resettlement of Polish people from the Polish lands that had previously belonged to the Prussian province. With Pomerania were to be expelled all the Poles who came there after 1919. In this way, the plans were to be implemented germanization these lands and settle on them a significant number of Germans. September 21, 1939 at a conference held in Berlin, the commander of the police operation groups SS (Einzatzgruppen) and the security service SD (Sicherheitsdienst - SD), acting on the back of an German army fighting in Poland, received the order to prepare proposals for the mass deportations of Poles and Jews. Previously - September 11 – Heinrich Himmler authorized security service (SD) to start expulsions of Polish people from the area of Gdansk, Gdynia and Poznan. In place of the Poles planned to settle the displaced Germans from the Baltic countries.
Planned by the Nazis shares started in early October 1939. in Gdynia - Orlowo. The expulsion of Gdynia associated with the intention to settle the city, important for sea defense industry (Gdynia became a Navy base), as many Germans. By the end of October 1939 Gdynia left 50 000 people.
The announcement of 12 October 1939 SS police president Christoph Diehm Brigadefuehrer ordered:
"Due to the security command of the Polish population's evacuation Orlowo excluding Kolibki and Little Kack to Thursday 12 October 1939 at. 9:00.
First Population meet at 9 th Street Orlowska in front of the Board of Civil.
The houses should be left open. Keys must remain in the home door locks, flats and rooms. Re-entry to the apartment after 9 : 00 am is considered sabotage.
Generally only allowed to take hand luggage (clothes, linen, cutlery and personal valuables). All furniture and equipment belonging to the apartment must be left in a residential area.
The destruction of homes and their equipment shall be considered sabotage.
Who commits acts of sabotage against the ban and who still has a weapon it will be shot. "
Inhabitants of Orlowo, totally surprised, had 20 minutes to leave the apartment. Longer staying in the house was considered sabotage and threatened with death. On 12 October a total of 4,000 people were displaced, including 1300 children. Some of these people were placed in temporary barracks located in the outlying districts of Gdynia, and some quartered in the homes of Polish families. After organizing transport were deported to the General Government.
The Nazis tried to give the appearance of a voluntary expulsion. On a specially designated police stations were given numbered and signed by the President of the police tickets, which also accounted for the border pass entitling to cross the border, it was said, "to the home country." Gdynia inhabitants used some of these passes, and some moved to other areas of the city, in order to protect themselves from deportation. Familiar with the situation, the German authorities, 24 October 1939 issued "The last regulation" which called on all Poles to voluntarily leave Gdynia. Disobedient were to be forcibly evicted.
Displaced residents gathered at the station from the street Albert Forster Strasse (today: Sea Street) and from there, after a review of personal, daily goods train were taken to the General Government. In this way up to 26 October 1939 forcibly evicted from Gdynia more than 12,000 inhabitants, and "voluntarily" left the city of about 38,000 people. Those who remained were forced to leave their homes and live on the outskirts of the city. Further deportations were carried out in May 1940 and then in September and October 1940 carrying out mass deportations 22,000 people. No workers in German industry and the situation at the front caused the March 16, 1941 Nazi authorities issued the decree to suspend shipments of the General Government, in this way stopping the mass deportations of Poles in Gdynia.
The best example of a situation in which they left Germany Gdynia people thrown from their homes can only be a direct participant's account of those events. The relationship of the materials published in the scientific session, issued by the Association of Displaced Gdynia Inhabitants. The session took place on 19 December 2002 in Gdynia. Says Helena Szwichtenberg from Gdynia:
"In our house, at the tenant Mr. Wisniewski, lived German woman named Emma, who after the German invasion hung the Hakenkreuz flag from our house and put the poster on the door of the house and leaving the immediate deportation. Subsequently on 25-10-1939, early in the morning, when I slept, broke into our apartment with two Gestapo. With shouts of "raus" jerking us, and then thrown out of the house. He barely let us get dressed. Brought us to the displaced columns on the Sea Street and under the guns brought to the train station in Gdynia. The key had to be in the apartment door. We were without any luggage, because we were not allowed to take anything. We were cold, and hungry. It was the end of October. My parents left their belongings whole life: psrcel of land, house and everything in it was. Then we were thrown into a force for cattle, dirty, windowless wagons, how many were able to thrust.
During the trip we were constantly watched by the Gestapo in the booths at the side of the wagon. We did not know where we were going, often leave it for siding and watched. Not opened the door. The journey took about seven to ten days. It was very cold, we were hungry much. He was crying and panic. There were dead bodies, especially infants and the elderly. It was November 1939. Finally, let us out in Lublin. There, we did not know what to do, what to do next, where to go - starvation. We did not have anything to disguise. We have stayed at the station and tunnels, while begging for food and cover ... We wandered on different sides of the General Government seeking rationale, asking people for help, picking ears of corn and frozen potatoes ... Finally, we found ourselves in the vicinity of Sandomierz in the village Lenarczyce. In December 1943 we were arrested by the Germans for the second time. As the internees were deported to the camp in Czestochowa transition, where we passed the selection along with the Jews and the people of the round-up. We assigned to forced labor for the German Otto Grodeck demand in district Olszowka near Tczew. There as a minor I worked very hard until the liberation ... ".
It is difficult to determine, even approximately, the number of Poles expelled from Pomerania, including Gdynia, after the 1 September 1939. The publications of various historians this number is determined on the 120 to 170 thousand people. It is also difficult to find the number of displaced people from the same Gdynia. It is probably connected with the lack of documentation in this regard. The Association of Displaced Gdynia Inhabitants says about 100 thousand Poles were expelled from Gdynia. Even if anyone wanted to discuss these data do not change the fact that Gdynia were the first victims of mass expulsions used by the Nazis against the Poles. Expulsions, which bore the hallmarks of extermination. And as the extermination of the Polish people should be treated.
Photos from the exhibition at the Museum of the City of Gdynia.