Exhibition “The Polish Action” in the Braunschweig City Library
The history of the so-called “Polish Action” can currently be seen as a traveling exhibition in the Braunschweig City Library until February 29, 2024. The frightening thing about the historiography is the references to the current situation in Germany. In a country where, almost 80 years after the Second World War, a movement is planning to repeat cruel processes under the code name of remigration. It’s about October 28, 1938, the day on which 25,000 Jews of Polish nationality were expelled from the German Reich. The world press informs, humanity remains silent.
Failed attempt despite meticulous preparation
Although the whole operation was once again well prepared by the Nazi regime, the calculation was made without the innkeeper. In this case without the Polish government. The country was in an economic crisis and was unable to accommodate so many people. The “March Law” was intended to remedy this. Accordingly, all Poles who have stayed abroad for more than five years should have their citizenship revoked. The law was passed on October 6, 1938, and October 30, 1938 was set as the deadline for the withdrawal. In response to the expulsion of Jewish Poles, the country in eastern Central Europe began expelling Imperial German citizens. The action was initially stopped by the Germans.
The world public
News has a limited lifespan. Bad news is overshadowed by more bad news. That’s how it is in this case too. For about ten days the world press was occupied with reports about this inhumane deportation operation. Then the November programs dominate the reports. The German population is silent. There is occasional support for those being persecuted. Great Britain is taking in around 150 children and the Jewish community is trying to support those affected with donations and supplies. In a second wave, which took place in 1939, more Poles of Jewish faith were deported. It is estimated that there were around 12,000 people. Those who could afford it fled to Great Britain, Belgium or the USA.
Life paths and fates
The lives and fates of individual families from Braunschweig, Dortmund and other cities are told on biographical panels. It is not uncommon for only one child who managed to escape abroad to survive the terrible events. Even refugees who made it to Belgium were not safe there. They were often taken to concentration camps by the Germans a few years later. Stays that were rarely considered.
Should this inhumane behavior really happen again?