Polish Jews in oflags

Polish Jews in oflags: among the 420,000 soldiers of Polish Military that were taken prisoners in September 1939, there were approximately 60,000 of Jews; and among the 17,000 of Polish officers, there were 600-700 Jews (according to the Nuremberg laws). They were imprisoned in several camps with Polish officers. In the spring of 1940, Germans registered Jewish officers in oflags and sent them to Stalag II B in Hammerstein, with the aim of sending them to the ghettos in the General Government. After a few weeks, Germans changed their mind and sent Jews back to oflags. Officers were protected by the Geneva Conventions that guaranteed a decent living conditions, the right to correspond and receive packages, education and cultural life in the camps. The prisoners of war were under the Wehrmacht control. The Geneva Conventions were violated when Germans created 4 ghettos in oflags (separate barracks for Jews) in Woldenburg, Murnau, Neubrandenburg and Dossel, despite the protests of Polish officers and the Red Cross delegation. The life conditions in barracks were worse than those of Polish officers, Jews were denied the right to receive the Red Cross packages. Himmler tried to deprive Jews of the prisoners of war status, but his efforts were objected to by the Oberkommando of Wehrmacht. Most of the Jewish officers survived in oflags until the end of war, but Jewish non commissioned officers and private soldiers almost all died during the extermination.

The term was created within the framework of the project Zapisywanie świata żydowskiego w Polsce [recording the Jewish environment in Poland], whose author is Anka Grupińska, a well-known Polish journalist and writer, specializing in the modern history of the Polish Jews. The project, initiated in 2006 by the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, consists in recording interviews with Polish Jews from all generations.
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