Bromberg Bloody Sunday
The “Bydgoszcz Blood Sunday” was an event on September 3 and 4, 1939 , during which a considerable number of Germans residing in the city of Bydgoszcz, which has belonged to Poland since 1920 , as well as many Poles were killed. This took place two days after the German invasion of Poland . The historians' statements about the number of dead vary considerably; There are also contradicting statements about the reasons for the events.
The events in Bromberg on September 3rd and 4th, 1939
In the first days of the war the German 3rd Infantry Division approached the Vistula through the Bromberg area . Large parts of the Polish Pomerellen army were crushed in the battle of the Tucheler Heide . The Polish authorities in the city of Bydgoszcz feared a quick occupation of the city and set up a kind of “vigilante” with volunteers, including members of paramilitary units and scouts . On September 3rd, large numbers of Polish soldiers and civilians were already moving through the city. There was panic on the central Danziger Strasse. In this situation, rumors spread: German saboteurs had shot at Poland from the towers of the Protestant churches. The rumors sparked a hunt for local Germans. Polish soldiers and armed Polish civilians took action against ethnic Germans who were suspected of cooperating with German troops. After the situation had calmed down in the afternoon, the "vigilante" continued their actions during the night and the following day, until German troops marched into the city on the morning of September 5th. Houses were looted and a church was set on fire. However, the individual acts can no longer be reconstructed in retrospect. It is not clear whether German provocateurs or local ethnic Germans actually smuggled in, or whether panic arose out of hysteria.
The National Socialist propaganda immediately began to exploit the “sufferings of the ethnic Germans”. Since the beginning of 1939, a press campaign about alleged crimes of Poles against ethnic Germans, which was controlled by the Reich Ministry of Propaganda, had been in progress. The events in Bydgoszcz were presented as a continuation of the anti-German policies of Poles since 1919. The Deutsche Rundschau coined the term “Bromberger Blutsonntag” on September 8, 1939.
The propaganda unit 689 kept from 4 to 15 September 1939 mainly in the area of Bydgoszcz on. She reported on the events and took numerous photographs of bodies. On September 7th, the German News Office spread the first reports about "Bromberg - City of Horror". The photographs fulfilled the task of illustrating the alleged sadism of the Poles. On September 7th, the Propaganda Ministry invited ten selected foreign journalists to a press trip to Bromberg. There they were taken to the bodies of female victims and selected witnesses were given to them. However, it is not certain whether the victims shown were really murdered ethnic Germans, since the Wehrmacht, Feldgendarmerie and police in Bromberg and the surrounding area shot 200 to 400 civilians, including women, from September 5th to 9th. While the pictures of the propaganda company showed victims of acts of violence, the accompanying National Socialist texts spoke of “Polish hordes” as perpetrators. Not least based on the publication of “horror images” of dubious authenticity, the propaganda established a self-image of Germans as victims of Polish attacks and Poles as bestial perpetrators. A partisan psychosis was fomented among the German soldiers, which made acts of violence appear as "retribution".
The Wehrmacht investigative body , military judges and forensic doctors carried out investigations in Bromberg. A “grave center” was set up in Poznan. The director, Kurt Lück , spoke of around 1,000 ethnic Germans murdered in Bromberg in October 1939. For the whole of Poland, the number of ethnic German victims in November 1939 was given as 5,437. On the instructions of the Reich Ministry of the Interior on February 7, 1940, there was always official talk of 58,000 German victims.
On behalf of Joseph Goebbels ' wrote Edwin Erich Dwinger the book Death in Poland. The Volksdeutsche Passion (1940). In Dwinger's version, the “Bromberger Blutsonntag” was a pogrom of the Polish army against the German population that had been ordered in Warsaw for a long time and which Polish civilians had joined. Dwinger drew comparisons with the proscriptions of Sulla , Bartholomew's Night and Genghis Khan and spoke of the allegedly following “death marches”. With his gross distortion of historical facts he wanted to prove a racial inferiority of the Polish nation.
Official Polish investigations
According to an English witness, parts of a Polish artillery detachment in retreat were shot at around 4 p.m. while marching through the “German House” in Bromberg. They returned fire, but shortly afterwards they were also targeted from the tower of the Jesuit church. Any civilian found with a weapon is said to have been shot by the soldiers afterwards. Parts of the German and Polish civilian population have fled to the forests. The place was meanwhile under constant German air raids.
Official Polish sources later stated that 238 Polish soldiers and 223 "members of a fifth column " had been killed. In later reprisals by the National Socialists, 10,500 Poles were killed and 13,000 were deported to concentration camps.
In June 2004, the Polish Institute for National Remembrance (IPN) began an investigation into the events in Bydgoszcz between September 3rd and 5th, 1939. In 2008 the IPN published a white paper in which it compiled evidence. Jochen Böhler wrote in 2009:
“Great emphasis was placed on reports from the Polish Army and on statements by soldiers who unanimously reported about German irregulars sighted in Bromberg. But the validity of such documents must be questioned. [...] With absolute certainty, even on the basis of the recently published evidence - as the authors themselves admit - it is not possible to prove that Germans shot at Polish troops on September 3 and thus provoked the attacks known as 'Bydgoszcz blood Sunday'. But it cannot be ruled out either. Now that all the relevant archives […] have been sifted through, it would be time to close the files. The attacks in Bydgoszcz […] largely affected bystanders, which the Polish side now also admits. This would be a good starting point to finally find a common form of commemoration to the victims of the 'Bromberg Bloody Sunday'. "
Number of victims and various explanations
It is undisputed that there was shooting in Bromberg. What is disputed, however, is who and whether they were German provocateurs or Polish partisans. A number of Germans that cannot be precisely determined were killed in this context.
Christian Zentner writes that the Polish military commander from Bromberg ordered a massacre of several thousand German Brombergers. Hugo Rasmus - a native of Bydgoszcz - made a list of the Germans murdered in the city of Bromberg. This list contains the names of 358 people, including 39 women and 55 old people. Those murdered in the surrounding villages of Bydgoszcz and in other parts of Poland are not included.
Overall, the information on the number of ethnic German victims in the literature usually ranges between 700 and 1200 people. The fluctuations often result, among other things, from the question of whether only the victims in the city of Bromberg itself were counted or whether the victims in the surrounding communities were included.
Since the National Socialists did not award any awards or other honors to members of military units or special units for actions in the period in question in the Bromberg area and the presence or absence of regular German troops in this area on September 3, 1939 has not yet been proven Most historians excluded participation of the SS or the Wehrmacht in the murders. Jürgen Runzheimer states that there is no evidence whatsoever that it could have been a provocation of the German SD . This view contradicts recent results of the IPN , which identified an employee of the Abwehr -stelle Stettin among the victims. According to Erich Kuby , the presence of German provocateurs in Bromberg can not be ruled out from the documents found about planned and possible acts of sabotage and attacks by the German defense, which arose in the course of the pre-war tensions .
The riots in Bromberg are part of the Polish attacks on ethnic Germans in Poland at the beginning of the attack on Poland . In a documentation from the Foreign Office from November 1939, the total number of members of the German minority in Poland murdered during these events was given as 5,437 dead. Hans Roos speaks of a total of 7,000 dead. Christian Jansen and Arno Weckbecker summed up in 1992 that a total of almost 4,500 ethnic Germans perished during the war in 1939, including as members of the Polish military and as victims of the German air raids.
“Mass arrests according to prepared lists, haphazard marches on which the elderly and children in particular fell victim to the strain, executions, murders and arson were the order of the day. The climax was the infamous 'Bydgoszcz Blood Sunday' on September 3, when around 1,000 Germans were murdered on the pretext that they had shot at Polish troops. A total of around 13,000 ethnic Germans were killed. Later exaggerations of the National Socialist propaganda led to reports about what actually happened internationally meeting with unbelief at all. "
- Markus Krzoska : Blood Sunday in Bromberg. Unclear facts, clear interpretations . In: Hans Henning Hahn , Robert Traba (ed.): German-Polish places of memory . Vol. 2. Shared / Together . Schöningh, Paderborn 2014, ISBN 978-3-506-77339-5 , pp. 351-363.
- Markus Krzoska: The "Bromberger Blutsonntag" 1939. Controversies and research results. In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte . Volume 60, 2012, No. 2, pp. 237–248, (PDF; 552 kB) .
- Hans-Erich Volkmann : The Bromberger Blutsonntag - or of the presence of history. In: Bernd Rill (ed.): National memory in Germany and Poland (= arguments and materials on current events. Volume 73). Hanns Seidel Foundation, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-88795-381-2 , pp. 61–70, (PDF) ( Memento from July 14, 2014 in the Internet Archive ).
- Volker Rieß: Bromberg Bloody Sunday. In: Wolfgang Benz , Hermann Graml and Hermann Weiß (eds.). Encyclopedia of National Socialism. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 9783608918052 , pp. 404-405.
- Jürgen Runzheimer : Bromberg Bloody Sunday ; in: Wolfgang Benz: Legends, Lies, Prejudices. A dictionary on contemporary history . dtv, Munich 1992,; ISBN 3-423-03295-2 , pp. 47-49.
- Włodzimierz Jastrzębski : The Bydgoszcz Bloody Sunday. Legend and reality. Instytut Zachodni, Poznań 1990, ISBN 83-85003-38-X .
- Günter Schubert : The company "Bromberger Blutsonntag". Death of a legend. Bund, Cologne 1989, ISBN 3-7663-2101-3 .
- The “Bromberger Blutsonntag” as a Polish film: Neighbors
- The "Bromberger Blutsonntag" as a film
- Thomas Kees: “Polish atrocities”. The Third Reich's propaganda campaign against Poland ; Saarbrücken: Saarland University, Master's thesis, 1994
- Markus Krzoska : The "Bromberger Blutsonntag" 1939. Controversies and research results. In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte . Volume 60, 2012, No. 2, p. 238 f.
- Volker Riess: Bromberger Blutsonntag. In: Wolfgang Benz, Hermann Graml and Hermann Weiß (eds.). Encyclopedia of National Socialism. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 9783608918052 , p. 404.
- Jürgen Runzheimer : Bromberger Blutsonntag ; in: Wolfgang Benz : Legends, Lies, Prejudices. A dictionary on contemporary history . dtv, Munich 1992,; ISBN 3-423-03295-2 , p. 48.
- Markus Krzoska: The "Bromberger Blutsonntag" 1939. Controversies and research results. In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte . Volume 60, 2012, No. 2, p. 239.
- Markus Krzoska: The "Bromberger Blutsonntag" 1939. Controversies and research results. In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte . Volume 60, 2012, No. 2, p. 240 f.
- Miriam Y. Arani: How enemy images were made. On the visual construction of "enemies" using the example of the photographs of the propaganda companies from Bromberg in 1939 and Warsaw in 1941. In: Rainer Rother and Judith Prokasky (eds.). The camera as a weapon. World War II propaganda images. edition text + kritik, Munich 2010, ISBN 9783869167244 , pp. 150–163, here pp. 151–153.
- Miriam Y. Arani: How enemy images were made. On the visual construction of "enemies" using the example of the photographs of the propaganda companies from Bromberg in 1939 and Warsaw in 1941. In: Rainer Rother and Judith Prokasky (eds.). The camera as a weapon. World War II propaganda images. edition text + kritik, Munich 2010, ISBN 9783869167244 , p. 154.
- Miriam Y. Arani: How enemy images were made. On the visual construction of "enemies" using the example of the photographs of the propaganda companies from Bromberg in 1939 and Warsaw in 1941. In: Rainer Rother and Judith Prokasky (eds.). The camera as a weapon. World War II propaganda images. edition text + kritik, Munich 2010, ISBN 9783869167244 , p. 156.
- Miriam Y. Arani: Photographic self- and external images of Germans and Poles in Reichsgau Wartheland 1939–45. With special attention to the Wielkopolska region. in two volumes. Publishing house Dr. Kovač, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 9783830030058 , pp. 175–225, 773 f.
- Jürgen Heyde: History of Poland. 3. Edition. CH Beck, Munich 2011, ISBN 9783406508851 , p. 104.
- Markus Krzoska: The "Bromberger Blutsonntag" 1939. Controversies and research results. In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte . Volume 60, 2012, No. 2, p. 242.
- Jay W. Baird: Hitler's War Poets. Literature and Politics in the Third Reich. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2008, ISBN 9780521876896 , pp. 151-153.
- Erich Kuby: When Poland was German. 1939-1945 ; Ismaning near Munich: Hueber, 1986; ISBN 3-19-005503-3 ; Pp. 64-65.
- Jochen Böhler: Prelude to the war of extermination. The Wehrmacht in Poland in 1939 ; Frankfurt: Fischer TB, 2006; P. 136, note 577; ISBN 3-596-16307-2 . New documents and archive sources are said to show that Polish troops were shot at by anti- defense agents and members of the German minority. Between 40 and 50 Polish soldiers were killed. In the following pogrom, it is estimated that between 100 and 300 German residents died in the city of Bydgoszcz.
- see also z. B. Jan C. Behrends: Review of Böhler's book
- Jochen Böhler: Prelude to the war of extermination. The Wehrmacht in Poland in 1939 ; Frankfurt: Fischer TB, 2006; Pp. 118-120; ISBN 3-596-16307-2 .
- Christian Zentner: The Second World War ; Rastatt: Moewig 1998; ISBN 3-8118-1625-X ; P. 46
- Hubert Fischer: Der deutsche Sanitätsdienst 1921–1945 , Vol. 1; Osnabrück 1982; P. 236
- Jürgen Runzheimer : Bromberger Blutsonntag ; in: Wolfgang Benz : Legends, Lies, Prejudices. A dictionary on contemporary history ; Munich: dtv 1992; Pp. 47-49; ISBN 3-423-03295-2
- Erich Kuby: When Poland was German. 1939-1945 ; Ismaning near Munich: Hueber, 1986; ISBN 3-19-005503-3 ; P. 64 ff.
- Hans Roos: History of the Polish Nation. 1918-1988 ; Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1979; ISBN 3-17-004932-1
- Christian Jansen, Arno Weckbecker: The "Volksdeutsche Selbstschutz" in Poland 1939/40 . R. Oldenbourg, Munich 1992, p. 28.
- Horst Rohde: Hitler's first "Blitzkrieg" and its effects on Northeast Europe ; in: Klaus A. Maier, Horst Rohde, Bernd Stegemann, Hans Umbreit: The German Reich and the Second World War , Volume 2: The establishment of hegemony on the European continent ; Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1979; ISBN 3-421-01935-5 ; P. 144.