Górny Śląsk; Katowice; Nazizm; II wojna światowa (1939-1945)
Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
The author presents the collective biography of German government elites in Katowice region
belonging to the Polish territory annexed to the Reich after 1939. He introduced the attitudes of those
Germans who had a crucial influence on decision-making processes on the occupied territory. Hitherto,
the differences in formulating the political tasks on the annexed territory were perceived as an effect of
activities of central government o f totalitarian state, and not as a result of conscious and realized on
purpose policy of local leader’s groups.
Therefore, during the World War II Upper Silesia was described in former historiography as an
area treated differently only owing to the needs of war economy what was of advantage to Fritz Bracht
- the gauleiter of Upper Silesian province recognized as the representative o f specific economic pragmatism.
The author proves in the paper that the first Silesian g a u le ite r - Jo sef Wagner was the founder
of the integration programme of Upper Silesia into the Reich and his successor only adopted his plans
in 1941. Upper Silesia was supposed to become a m odel province (Musterprovinz) and, therefore, civil
servants, managers and party officials who were supposed to realize the policy based on agreement
with the local population were selected carefully on this area.
In differentiated in historiography people’s attitudes on the territories annexed and occupied by
Germans which situate between resistance movement (Widerstand), adaptation to the existing conditions
(Anpassung) and collaboration (Kollaboration) the elites o f power on Upper Silesia distinctly
aimed at m assive acceptability o f new regime. When taking into account the plans concerning economy,
urban planning and nationalist policy this was a consciously realized project o f final integration of
Upper Silesia into Germany not only in respect of administration, but also achieving lasting effects in
changing Upper Silesians’ attitudes and reversing unfavourable for Germans, nationalist processes
which started in the 19th century by Polish national revival. There was consistently realized the policy
o f building the homogeneous “Volksgemeinschaft” understood in Katowice region as the continuation
of assimilation and integration proceedings of German state.
The motives of Wagner’s and then Bracht’s behaviour and the description of executors of this
policy, people from their environment enabled to re-create the circle which was swept up not only in
Nazi ideology but also in still vital nationalistic re-sentiments. In the paper, at the same time, there was
performed the sociological analysis of this group and the comparison with elites of government on
other Polish territories annexed to the Reich - a special attention was paid to the more and more widely
observable at the close of the war phenomenon of the concentration o f power in the hands of leaders'
groups shaped aroung the gauleiter. The process that started with bestowing on the gauleiter special
powers on the annexed territories led to disintegration of central authorities and opposite phenomenon
on a local scale - taking over all the competing groups of businesses in the Reich by one decision centre
on the territory of province submitted to it. The totalitarianism of the weakening, totalitarian state w as
replaced by the regional totalitarianism of the gauleiter.