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The key difference that emerges when comparing the cases of persecution
between “asocials” and “socially harmful elements” is the magnitude of vio-
lence, which, in turn, suggests that violence served different purposes. Both
political systems responded to extreme socioeconomic crisis with intense repres-
sion. In the Soviet Union, social discipline was restored by employing the most
violent of methods: repressing the uprooted, declassed, and the marginalized.
This holds in Germany, as well “ although, here, property offenses increased
much less markedly after 1929 than Nazi (and public) perception suggests.64
Many of the groups persecuted in both countries were also identical: the home-
less, criminals, prostitutes, and so on. The registration of such groups also
played an important role in both states. In Germany, too, there were quotas
for the arrest of “asocials,” at least in some instances.65 Forced labor was also
a common means of punishment. And, at some point, “asocials” or “socially
harmful elements” represented a major, if not the largest, segment of inmates
within the concentration camp and Gulag systems (for example, in 1938“9).

For the latter point, Herbert, “Von der Gegnerbekampfung,” 74.

Wagner, Volksgemeinschaft, 375.

Ayaß, Asoziale, 219“20.

Ibid., 110“12 and 224“5.

This argument has already been stressed by Detlev Peukert, Volksgenossen und Gemeinschafts-

fremde: Anpassung, Ausmerze und Aufbegehren unter dem Nationalsozialismus (Cologne:
Bund-Verlag, 1982).
Wagner, Volksgemeinschaft, 30“8 and 214“19.

Gellately, Hingeschaut, 142, for “operation work-shy in the Reich.”
State Violence “ Violent Societies 151

In both cases, violence against “asocials” was related to both restoring social
order and creating a new social order. But, while the latter aspect was of minor
importance in Nazi Germany, change was central to Soviet society. It was less
the capacity of the Nazi state to implement social policy measures than the abil-
ity of an already industrial society to reintegrate itself that marked the decisive
difference with the Soviet Union, hence the lower levels of actual violence. The
USSR, a developing economy undergoing rapid, forced industrialization and
confronted with mass internal migration, proved incapable of integrating its
millions of uprooted and impoverished other than by extreme violence. Given
that the persecution of “socially harmful elements” represented a signi¬cant
proportion of internal Soviet violence (unlike in Germany), it seems justi¬ed to
label this sort of mass violence “developmental” violence.

Ethnicity-Based Resettlements
The establishment of a new ethnic order in Eastern Europe was central to Nazi
ideology. In Mein Kampf, Hitler adamantly refused to recognize the validity
of the reestablished pre-1919 borders in Eastern Europe, especially as they
related to the territory of the Soviet Union. He envisioned a German empire
in the East, as it was only there that suf¬cient “living space” could be found.
Conquering this space and resettling it with Germans, mainly farmers, would
allow for racial, social, and moral improvement, all of which were necessary for
Germany to prevail in the ethnic “struggle for survival.”66 Of course, a major
expansion of German territory into the East (and the subjugation of Eastern
Europe to German economic interests) was also one of the key German war
aims during the First World War, a policy supported by many in¬‚uential ¬gures.
During the Second World War, though, the principal objective of virtually every
German ethnicity-based resettlement project “ with the notable exception of
those relating to Jews67 “ was to settle Germans in the place of non-Germans.
In the early years of the Third Reich, settlement policy was dominated by the
Reich Ministry for Food and Agriculture and a number of related parastatal
organizations, such as the State Peasant Organizations and the Reichsstelle fur
Raumordnung (Reich Of¬ce for Area Planning). These institutions sought to
combat overcrowding and poverty in the countryside and to arrest rural out-
migration. The military, on the other hand, wanted to actively settle veterans,
including war disabled, in the German countryside.68 Between 1938 and 1941,

Hitler, Mein Kampf, 641“67.

Another exception was a population exchange with the Soviet Union in 1939, when 35,000

Ukrainians and Byelorussians chose to move to the USSR, whereas 15,000 Poles moved
from there to German-occupied Poland. In addition, 40,000 to 60,000 Ukrainians moved
from the German-annexed parts of western Poland eastward to the German-occupied General
Government of Poland. Czeslaw Madajczyk and Berthold Puchert, Die Okkupationspolitik
Nazideutschlands in Polen 1939“1945 (Cologne: Pahl-Rugenstein, 1988), 244.
For the ¬rst fact see Michael G. Esch, “Gesunde Verhaltnisse”: Deutsche und polnische

Bevolkerungspolitik in Ostmitteleuropa 1939“1950 (Marburg: Herder-Institut, 1998), 88“92
Christian Gerlach and Nicolas Werth

the SS assumed responsibility for most settlement-related policies. Rather than
expanding the old SS™s Head Of¬ce for Race and Settlement, though, entirely
new bodies and agencies were erected, agencies like the Reichskommissar fur ¨
die Festigung deutschen Volkstums (Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening
of Germandom [RKF]) and the Umwandererzentralstelle as well as the Ein-
wandererzentralstelle (the Central Bureaus for Emigration and Immigration,
respectively). Preexisting agencies dealing with settlement policy, such as the
Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle, which dealt with ethnic Germans from abroad,
were placed under SS authority.69 However, the suborganizations of the SS
still had to cooperate with “ and often struggle against “ regional authorities.
From 1939 to 1942, plans for settlement and resettlement became increas-
ingly radical “ a tendency that culminated between the summer of 1941 and late
1942 with the drafting of the Generalplan Ost (General Plan for the East) and
a Generalsiedlungsplan (General Plan for Settlement) for large parts of Poland
and portions of the Soviet Union. The Generalsiedlungsplan also encompassed
Slovenia, Bohemia and Moravia, Alsace, Lorraine, and Luxembourg. The plans
submitted by the RKF “ which concentrated on Poland “ and the Reichssicher-
heitshauptamt (Head Of¬ce of Reich Security) envisioned the settlement of
12.4 million Germans in these regions over a thirty-year period. In order to
create space for these settlers, it was estimated that between 31 and 51 million
people, chie¬‚y Slavs and explicitly excluding Jews, would need to be resettled,
most likely to inner Russia and Siberia.70 In what was the most extensive of all
known Nazi settlement plans, the Arbeitswissenschaftliches Institut (the Insti-
tute for Labor Science of the German Labor Front) anticipated that 100 million
Germans would be needed to settle the East over the next hundred years. At
the conclusion of the century, according to this plan™s vision, the only people

(Esch provides an interesting comparison of German and Polish policies of restructuring and
resettlement); the role of the army is stressed by Rolf-Dieter Muller, Hitlers Ostkrieg und
die deutsche Siedlungspolitik (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1991), esp.
With a different view, emphasizing the importance of the Head Of¬ce of Race and Settlement,

see Isabel Heinemann, Rasse, Siedlung, deutsches Blut: Das Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt der
SS und die rassenpolitische Neuordnung Europas (Gottingen: Wallstein, 2003). For the RKF,
see Robert L. Koehl, R.K.F.D.V.: German Resettlement and Population Policy 1939“1945
(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1957).
“Dispositionen und Berechnungsgrundlagen fur einen Generalsiedlungsplan,” 29 October

and 23 December 1942, in Mechtild Rossler and Sabine Schjleiermacher, eds., Der “Gener-
alplan Ost: Hauptlinien der nationalsozialistischen Planungs- und Vernichtungspolitik (Berlin:
Akademie Verlag, 1993), 96“117; Czes‚aw Madajczyk, ed., “Generalplan Ost,” Polish Western
Affairs 3, no. 2 (1962): 391“442; Helmut Heiber, “Der Generalplan Ost,” Vierteljahrshefte
fur Zeitgeschichte 6 (1958): 281“325; Czes‚aw Madajczyk and Stanislaw Biernacki, Vom
Generalplan Ost zum Generalsiedlungsplan (Munich: Saur, 1994). The most comprehensive
overview, though sometimes with questionable conclusions, is Karl Heinz Roth, “˜Generalplan
Ost™ “ ˜Gesamtplan Ost™: Forschungsstand, Quellenprobleme, neue Ergebnisse,” in Der “Gener-
alplan Ost,”: Hauptlinien der nationalsozialistischen Planungs- und Vernichtungspolitik, eds.
Mechtild Rossler, Sabine Schleiermacher, and Cordula Tollmein (Berlin: Akademie Verlag,
1993), 25“95.
State Violence “ Violent Societies 153

residing in all of Eastern Europe, right up to the Ural Mountains, would be
German.71 Plans to settle 1 to 3 million Dutch in the Soviet Union (mainly in
the Pripet marshes) never materialized.72 But, again, this lack of correlation
between plan and reality was nothing unusual in settlement policy. Indeed,
actual resettlements were only loosely based on plans laid out by the RKF,
the main settlement planning authority. The reason: regional settlements and
settlement policies were heavily in¬‚uenced by the interests of powerful regional
administrators; thus actual settlements only partially adhered to central plans.
There was a further gap between plan and reality. Plainly stated, ful¬lling
the settlement plans as proposed would have required more Germans than
actually existed. Planners responded by increasing the numbers of those able to
be “germanized” (Eindeutschungsfahige) by “discovering” millions of Poles,
Czechs, and others of allegedly “German blood.” In November 1939, Hitler
prohibited the RKF from resettling Germans from the Greater German Reich
(Reichsdeutsche) in the eastern territories during the war, so as not to distract
German soldiers from their immediate objectives.73 The only group allowed to
act as settlers were ethnic Germans from abroad, virtually all of them from East-
ern and Southeastern Europe. Processing and relocating hundreds of thousands
of ethnic Germans from abroad, however, proved too large and complex a task
for the bureaucratic apparatuses of the SS, the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle, and
local administrations to organize in a wartime environment.
Between October 1939 and the end of 1942, 629,000 ethnic Germans were
moved into German occupied territories “ the majority (465,000) prior to
December 1940. In accordance with a series of German-Soviet treaties, most of
the 629,000 (429,000) were from territories annexed by the USSR in 1939“40
(eastern Poland, northern Romania, the Baltic republics); the rest were from
southern Tyrol (Italy; 79,000), Romania (77,000), and Yugoslavia (34,000).
Yet, by late 1942, fewer than 445,000 had actually been “resettled” in the East:
332,000 in the annexed parts of western Poland, 70,000 in the “Old Reich”
(pre-1937 German territory) and Austria, and 13,500 in the annexed areas
of Slovenia. Many of these settlers, furthermore, had received only provisional
homes.74 Given that this was a state-organized and highly bureaucratic process,
hundreds of thousands were mired “ for years on end “ in temporary camps
of the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle, where they were discontent, disillusioned,

Michael Hepp, “˜Die Durchdringung des Ostens in Rohstoff- und Landwirtschaft™: Vorschlage ¨

des Arbeitswissenschaftlichen Instituts der Deutschen Arbeitsfront zur Ausbeutung der UdSSR
aus dem Jahre 1941,” Sozial Geschichte 2, no. 4 (1987): 96“134.
Koos Bosma, “Verbindungen zwischen Ost- und Westkolonisation,” in Der “Generalplan Ost,”

eds. Mechtild Rossler, Sabine Schleiermacher and Cordula Tollmien (Berlin: Akademie Verlag,
1993), 198“214. About 1,000 Dutch were taken to the German-occupied Soviet territories and
served there as managers on model farms, agents of trade companies, ¬shermen, and artisans
in Byelorussia and Ukraine.
Muller, Hitlers Ostkrieg und die deutsche Siedlungspolitik, 87.

Figures in this paragraph are taken from “Einleitung,” in Peter Witte, ed., Der Dienstkalender

Heinrich Himmlers 1941“1942 (Hamburg: Christians, 1999), 13“98, here 81“2.
Christian Gerlach and Nicolas Werth

and angry.75 There they were categorized into four different groups, based
upon the “German People™s List,” and screened according to political and
cultural criteria. Most also received a “racial screening” by the SS, where they
were classi¬ed as “Z-cases” (to be resettled in the new territories), “A-cases”
(suitable for the Old Reich only), or “S-cases” (“special cases,” many of whom
were deported to concentration camps).
The situation in these camps put signi¬cant pressure on regional authori-
ties to make room for settlers. By the end of 1942, 365,000 Poles and Jews
had been deported from their homes in annexed western Poland and moved
into the General Government. From the incorporated territories of Alsace,
Lorraine, and Luxembourg, 100,000 persons were relocated either to France or
to Germany. With the annexation of Slovenia, 54,000 Slovenians were forcibly
deported to Serbia or Croatia or placed in forced labor camps. Hundreds of
thousands of Poles, beyond the ¬gures mentioned above, shared the fate of the
latter or were displaced (verdrangt) within their region to make room for ethnic
Germans “ more than 194,000 were displaced in the Wartheland in western
Poland alone.76
By and large, the ¬nal settlement of ethnic Germans was con¬ned to former
Polish, French, Yugoslavian, and, in a few cases, Czechoslovakian territories
annexed by Germany. In three notable exceptions, ethnic Germans settlers
were destined for other occupied areas. (1) Some 20,000 ethnic Germans were
resettled in the counties of Zamosc and Lublin in the General Government,
for which 108,000 Poles were deported (of an estimated 400,000 required
to allow the complete resettlement of the region). In what was considered
a model operation, the latter were categorized into three groups: one went to
Germany as forced labor; another was transferred to other areas of the General
Government; and, a ¬nal group was destined for Auschwitz concentration
camp. Of the 30,000 children deported from the Zamosc region in the course
of this operation, 10,000 died. (2) Roughly 20,000 ethnic Germans, who had
been resettled from Lithuania in 1939“40, were resettled back into Lithuania
in 1942 and 1943. And (3) of the 200,000 Soviet Germans, whom the German
Army found in the conquered parts of the Ukraine and southern Russia, at
least 43,000 were locally resettled in new, though preliminary, villages in the
northern Ukraine in late 1942.77 An estimated 50,000 to 70,000 Ukrainians

Pathbreaking on this is Gotz Aly, ˜Final Solution™: Nazi Population Policy and the Murder of

European Jews, trans. Belinda Cooper and Allison Brown (London and New York: Oxford
University Press, 1999).
Witte, ed., Dienstkalender, 82; Madajczyk, Okkupationspolitik, 405“21; Report Stapoleitstelle

Litzmannstadt [Lodz] for October 1944, 1 November 1944, in Czeslaw Luczak, ed., Poloze-
nie ludnosci Polskiej w tzw. Kraju Warty w okresie Hitlerowskiej okupacji (Poznan: Instytyt
Zachodni, 1990), 158“60.


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