General Government

The General Government in 1942
Hans Frank, head of the General Government, at a police parade in Kraków during the German occupation of Poland
The General Government in 1942
German-Soviet border drawn in the aftermath of the Nazi-Soviet invasion of Poland, signed in Moscow by Stalin and Ribbentrop during the Second Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact known as the Frontier Treaty of September 28, 1939
Orange and yellow areas of former Austrian part after Third Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Union in 1795 roughly correspond with Generalgouvernement
Official proclamation of the General-Government in Poland by Germany, October 1939
Hans Frank with district administrators in 1942 – from left: Ernst Kundt, Ludwig Fischer, Hans Frank, Otto Wächter, Ernst Zörner, Richard Wendler
Announcement of the execution of 60 Polish hostages and a list of 40 new hostages taken by Nazi authorities in Poland, 1943
Part of Hans Frank's ordinance from 31 October 1939 on "counteracting the acts of violence in the General Government"
Nazi anti-semitic propaganda poster
German Polish-language recruitment poster: "'Let's do farm work in Germany!' See your wójt at once."
Ujazdów Avenue Public execution memorial table, Warsaw
Administrative map of the General Government, July 1940 (before Barbarossa)
Administrative map of the General Government, July 1941 – January 1944 following Barbarossa
So-called "Góral"- 500 złoty banknote used in the territories of the GG
Flag of the Home Army
German announcement of the execution of 9 Polish peasants for unfurnished contingents (quotas). Signed by the governor of Lublin district on 25 November 1941
Nazi extermination camps in occupied Poland, marked with black and white skulls. General Government in beige. Death camp at Auschwitz (lower left) in the neighbouring new German Provinz Oberschlesien
The wall of the Warsaw Ghetto being built under the orders of Dr. Ludwig
The Warsaw Ghetto (1940-1943)
Announcement by the Chief of SS and Police 5.09.1942—Death penalty for Poles offering any help to Jews
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, April 1943: Jews being held at gunpoint by SS troops (from a report written by Jürgen Stroop for Heinrich Himmler)
Polish inmates of Pawiak prison hanged by Germans in Leszno Street, Warsaw, February 11, 1944 (photo taken secretly from tram by a member of the Polish Home Army)
Warsaw Uprising: Polish soldiers in action, August 1, 1944
Polish civilians murdered by SS troops during the Warsaw Uprising, August 1944
Aerial view of the city of Warsaw, January 1945
Portrait of a Young Man by Raphael, stolen at the behest of Hans Frank in 1939 and never returned; one of over 40,000 works of art robbed from Polish collections
Polish hostages being blindfolded during preparations for their mass execution in Palmiry, 1940
A mass execution of Poles in Bochnia, December 18, 1939
The Warsaw Uprising, 1944

German zone of occupation established after the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, Slovakia and the Soviet Union in 1939 at the onset of World War II.

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The District of Galicia (green), from 1941–1944

District of Galicia

The District of Galicia (green), from 1941–1944
Administrative division of the district

The District of Galicia (Distrikt Galizien, Dystrykt Galicja, ) was a World War II administrative unit of the General Government created by Nazi Germany on 1 August 1941 after the start of Operation Barbarossa.

Left to right, top to bottom: Luftwaffe bombers over Poland; attacking the Westerplatte; Danzig Police destroying the Polish border post; German tank and armored car formation; German and Soviet troops shaking hands; bombing of Warsaw.

Invasion of Poland

Attack on the Republic of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union which marked the beginning of World War II.

Attack on the Republic of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union which marked the beginning of World War II.

Left to right, top to bottom: Luftwaffe bombers over Poland; attacking the Westerplatte; Danzig Police destroying the Polish border post; German tank and armored car formation; German and Soviet troops shaking hands; bombing of Warsaw.
Vyacheslav Molotov signs the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, a German–Soviet non-aggression pact.
Planned and actual divisions of Poland, according to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, with later adjustments
The map shows the beginning of World War II in September 1939 in a European context.
Polish Infantry
Bofors 37 mm anti-tank gun on the fire post during exercises
Polish PZL P.11 fighter aircraft
Polish PZL.37 Łoś medium bombers with crews
Polish 7TP light tanks in formation during maneuvers
Dispositions of the opposing forces on 31 August 1939, with the German order of battle overlaid in pink.
Deployment of German, Polish and Slovak divisions immediately before the German invasion.
A camouflaged Polish P-11 fighter at a combat airfield
Peking Plan: Polish destroyers evacuate the Baltic Sea en route to the United Kingdom.
Map showing the advances made by the Germans, and the disposition of all troops from 1 to 14 September
Wieluń was destroyed by Luftwaffe bombing.
Front page of French newspaper Paris-Soir, France Declares War on Germany, 3 September 1939
Hitler watching German soldiers march into Poland in September 1939.
Cheerful German and Slovak soldiers posing with a group of local Lemkos in Komańcza, September 1939.
Polish infantry in attack
Bombed Polish Army column during the Battle of the Bzura
German troops during the fighting in the streets of Warsaw
Disposition of all troops following the Soviet invasion.
Polish antiaircraft artillery in Lwów, 1939
Red Army enters the provincial capital of Wilno during the Soviet invasion, 19 September 1939
Nurses care for infants in a makeshift maternity ward at Saint Sophia Hospital in besieged Warsaw. During bombardment.
A girl cries over the body of her 14-year-old sister who was strafed by the Luftwaffe
Hitler attends a Wehrmacht victory parade in Warsaw on 5 October 1939
German and Soviet troops shaking hands following the invasion
Polish troops withdrawn to Hungary in September 1939
German soldiers removing Polish government insignia
1st Polish Corps on exercise in Scotland in 1941
Battlefield at Krojanty
Polish uhlan with anti-tank rifle (Wz. 35), 1938
Polish soldiers with anti-aircraft artillery near the Warsaw Central Station in the first days of September 1939.
American embassy in Warsaw during the German air raid in September 1939. Visible shattered window.

On 8 October, after an initial period of military administration, Germany directly annexed western Poland and the former Free City of Danzig and placed the remaining block of territory under the administration of the newly established General Government.

Kraków

Second-largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland.

Second-largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland.

Tomb of Casimir III the Great at Wawel Cathedral. Kraków was the capital of Poland from 1038 to 1596.
The Church of St. Adalbert is one of the oldest churches in the city, dating from the 11th century.
Woodcut of Kraków from the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493
View of Kraków (Cracovia) near the end of the 16th-century
Tadeusz Kościuszko takes the oath of loyalty to the Polish nation in Kraków's market square (Rynek), 1794
Act of granting the constitution to the Free City of Krakow. After the Partitions of Poland, Kraków was independent city republic and the only piece of sovereign Polish territory between 1815 and 1846.
Flower vendors in Rynek. First autochrome in Poland, dated 1912
Kraków Ghetto, 1942—a German checkpoint during operation Aktion Krakau
Kraków's territorial growth from the late 18th to the 20th century
Camaldolese Hermit Monastery in Bielany
Convent of Norbertine Sisters in Kraków-Zwierzyniec and the Vistula River during the summer season
The Renaissance Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) in Main Market Square
The Kraków Barbican dating from around 1498 was once a fortified outpost of the inner medieval city.
Kanonicza Street, at the foot of the Wawel Castle
View of Kraków from St. Mary's Basilica in the Market Square
Palace of Art at Szczepański Square is an example of Art Nouveau architecture in central Kraków.
Basztowa Street, filled with some of the most unique historical buildings in all architectural styles; part of the Royal Route of Kraków
Pawilon Wyspiański 2000 is a rare example of Postmodern architecture present in Kraków's Old Town.
Planty Park, which surrounds Kraków's Old Town
A pavilion within the Planty Park during winter
The New Town Hall of Podgórze, which used to be a self-governing independent town until its incorporation into Kraków in 1915
Entrance to the Wielopolski Palace from 1560, the seat of Kraków's mayor, administration and city council
Matejko Square, featuring the Grunwald Monument at Kleparz, is one of the city's most important public spaces.
Socialist-realist district of Nowa Huta
The Center for Business Innovation office complex in Kraków
Unity Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the city
Bombardier city tram on Piłsudski Bridge
PKP Intercity train at the Main Railway Station
Wawel Cathedral, home to royal coronations and resting place of many national heroes; considered to be Poland's national sanctuary
Saint Anne's Church is the leading example of Baroque architecture in Poland.
Kraków University of Economics
Collegium Maius, Jagiellonian University's oldest building
Leonardo da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine, at the Czartoryski Museum
The National Museum in Kraków is one of Poland's finest galleries of art.
Kraków Congress Centre – the business and cultural flagship of the city
Kraków's renowned Juliusz Słowacki Theatre
Concert hall of the Kraków Philharmonic
Wisła Kraków Stadium
Tauron Arena Kraków
Cracovia Stadium
Wawel Castle
German concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau
Wieliczka Salt Mine
Pieskowa Skała castle
Benedictine Tyniec Abbey

After the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany at the start of World War II, the newly defined Distrikt Krakau (Kraków District) became the capital of Germany's General Government.

Hans Frank

Head of the General Government in occupied Poland
Announcement of the execution of 50 Polish hostages as a reprisal for blowing up railway lines near Warsaw
Frank visiting Stanislau (now Ivano-Frankivsk). Ukrainian nationalists parade in the streets of the city, October 1941
Nazi death camps in occupied Poland (marked with black and white skulls)
Hans Frank's corpse after his hanging

Hans Michael Frank (23 May 1900 – 16 October 1946) was a German politician and lawyer who served as head of the General Government in Nazi-occupied Poland during the Second World War.

Nazi Germany

The German state between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party controlled the country, transforming it into a dictatorship.

The German state between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party controlled the country, transforming it into a dictatorship.

Germany's territorial control at its greatest extent during World War II (late 1942):
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Adolf Hitler became Germany's head of state, with the title of Führer und Reichskanzler, in 1934.
Germany's territorial control at its greatest extent during World War II (late 1942):
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While the traditional German states were not formally abolished (excluding Lübeck in 1937), their constitutional rights and sovereignty were eroded and ultimately ended. Prussia was already under federal administration when Hitler came to power, providing a model for the process.
Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
A Nazi propaganda poster proclaiming that Danzig is German
German soldiers march near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, 14 June 1940
Death and destruction during the Battle of Stalingrad, October 1942
German refugees in Bedburg, near Kleve, 19 February 1945
Map of the Greater German Reich with administrative divisions set by the Nazi Party, 1944
Public execution of 54 Poles in Rożki, Masovian Voivodeship (near Radom), German-occupied Poland, 1942
Heinrich Himmler, Hitler and Viktor Lutze perform the Nazi salute at the Nuremberg Rally, September 1934
Hitler, Göring, Goebbels and Rudolf Hess during a military parade in 1933
Chart showing the pseudo-scientific racial divisions used in the racial policies of Nazi Germany
A meeting of the four jurists who imposed Nazi ideology on the legal system of Germany (left to right: Roland Freisler, Franz Schlegelberger, Otto Georg Thierack, and Curt Rothenberger)
A column of tanks and other armoured vehicles of the Panzerwaffe near Stalingrad, 1942
IG Farben synthetic oil plant under construction at Buna Werke (1941). This plant was part of the complex at Auschwitz concentration camp.
Autobahn, late 1930s
(from left) Hitler; Robert Ley, head of the German Labour Front; Ferdinand Porsche, armaments manufacturer; and Hermann Göring, head of the Four Year Plan (1942)
Woman with Ostarbeiter badge at the IG Farben plant in Auschwitz
German loot stored at Schlosskirche Ellingen, Bavaria (April 1945)
Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses, April 1933. The posters say "Germans! Defend yourselves! Don't buy from Jews!"
Poster from the Nazi Party's Office of Racial Policy: "60 000 RM is what this person with hereditary illness costs the community in his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money too."
A wagon piled high with corpses outside the crematorium in the Buchenwald concentration camp liberated by the U.S. Army, 1945
Soviet prisoners of war in Mauthausen
The Nazi salute in school (1934): children were indoctrinated at an early age.
Young women of the Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls) practising gymnastics in 1941
Statues representing the ideal body were erected in the streets of Berlin for the 1936 Summer Olympics.
Prisoner barracks at Dachau Concentration Camp, where the Nazis established a dedicated clergy barracks for clerical opponents of the regime in 1940
General Erich Hoepner at the Volksgerichtshof in 1944
A Nazi book burning on 10 May 1933 in Berlin, as books by Jewish and leftist authors are burned
Plans for Berlin called for the Volkshalle (People's Hall) and a triumphal arch to be built at either end of a wide boulevard.
Leni Riefenstahl (behind cameraman) at the 1936 Summer Olympics
Defendants in the dock at the Nuremberg trials

Extended offices of the Reichskommissariat took control of Nazi-conquered areas and a German administration was established in the remainder of Poland.

Reichsgau Wartheland

Nazi German Reichsgau formed from parts of Polish territory annexed in 1939 during World War II.

Nazi German Reichsgau formed from parts of Polish territory annexed in 1939 during World War II.

Map of Nazi conquest showing administrative subdivisions (Gaue and Reichsgaue) with Warthegau area (bright yellow, right).Occupation of Poland 1941.png Reichsgau Wartheland (burgundy) on the map of occupied Poland
Poles being led to trains under German Army escort, as part of the ethnic cleansing of western Poland annexed to the Reich immediately following the invasion of 1939
Map of Nazi conquest showing administrative subdivisions (Gaue and Reichsgaue) with Warthegau area (bright yellow, right).Occupation of Poland 1941.png Reichsgau Wartheland (burgundy) on the map of occupied Poland
Counties (Regierungsbezirk) and districts (Kreis), 1944
Heim ins Reich re-settlement in Warthegau. Map of the Third Reich in 1939 (dark grey) after the conquest of Poland; with pockets of German colonists brought into Reichsgau Wartheland from the Soviet "sphere of influence" – superimposed with the red outline of Poland missing entirely from the original print.

After the invasion of Poland, the conquered territory of Greater Poland was split between four Reichsgaue and the General Government area (further east).

Stolperstein for Zikmund Slatner, deported from Ostrava to Nisko.

Nisko Plan

Operation to deport Jews to the Lublin District of the General Governorate of occupied Poland in 1939.

Operation to deport Jews to the Lublin District of the General Governorate of occupied Poland in 1939.

Stolperstein for Zikmund Slatner, deported from Ostrava to Nisko.
Odilo Globočnik
Heinrich Himmler
Labor camp in Bukowa, Lublin Voivodeship, near Nisko

The idea for the expulsion and resettlement of the Jews of Europe into a remote corner of the Generalgouvernement territory, bordering the cities of Lublin and Nisko, was devised by Adolf Hitler and formulated by his SS henchmen.

World administrative levels

Governorate

Administrative division of a country.

Administrative division of a country.

World administrative levels

During the time of the Third Reich, a "General Government for the Occupied Polish Areas" (German: Generalgouvernement für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete) existed.

Map of Nazi Germany showing its administrative subdivisions, the Gaue and Reichsgaue and annexed areas in 1944

Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany

Annexed by Nazi Germany and placed directly under the German civil administration.

Annexed by Nazi Germany and placed directly under the German civil administration.

Map of Nazi Germany showing its administrative subdivisions, the Gaue and Reichsgaue and annexed areas in 1944
Arthur Greiser in German occupied Poznań, 2 October 1939
Photo from Nazi-occupied Łódź just after its renaming as "Litzmannstadt" (1940). A board announcing a new name for a city.
Expulsion of Polish civilians, autumn 1939
Ghettoization of Jews, Litzmannstadt 1941
Nazi Germany in 1940 (dark grey) after the conquest of Poland together with the USSR, showing pockets of German colonists resettled into the annexed territories of Poland from the Soviet "sphere of influence" during the "Heim ins Reich" action. – The Nazi propaganda poster, superimposed with the red outline of Poland missing entirely from the original German print.
Arthur Greiser welcoming millionth Volksdeutscher resettled during "Heim ins Reich" action from the East Europe to occupied Poland – March 1944
A Nazi official assigns a Polish house in Warthegau to Baltic German resettlers
German warning in occupied Poland 1939 – sign "No entrance for Poles!"
German Wehrmacht soldiers remove Polish signs in Gdynia, renamed Gotenhafen, September 1939.
Poles deported for forced labour in a camp in Germany proper
Execution of Poles in Kórnik, Warthegau; 20 October 1939
"Baltenlager" (transit camp for Baltic Germans), Poznań 1940

The rest of Nazi-occupied Poland was renamed as the General Government district.

Reichskriegsflagge, the war flag and naval ensign of the Wehrmacht (1938–1945 version)

Wehrmacht

The unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945.

The unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945.

Reichskriegsflagge, the war flag and naval ensign of the Wehrmacht (1938–1945 version)
Reichswehr soldiers swearing the Hitler oath in August 1934
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Common themes in Nazi propaganda revolved around national humiliation after the Treaty of Versailles, seen as a diktat (dictation) by Germans. This poster expresses that the corridor of "Danzig is German"; ceded to Poland as maritime access, it simultaneously divided East Prussia from the rest of Germany.
An Afro-Arab soldier of the Free Arabian Legion
Wehrmachthelferinnen in occupied Paris, 1940
Structure of the Wehrmacht (1935–1938)
Structure of the Wehrmacht (1939–1945)
"Foot-mobile" infantry of the Wehrmacht, 1942
A tank destroyer battalion, part of the 21 Panzer Division of the Afrika Korps
German paratroopers landing on Crete
Karl Dönitz inspecting the Saint-Nazaire submarine base in France, June 1941
An army Oberleutnant with a SS-Hauptsturmführer from the Waffen-SS in 1944
German troops in the Soviet Union, October 1941
German soldiers in occupied Paris
German tanks during a counter-attack in North Africa, 1942
80% of the Wehrmacht's military deaths were in the Eastern Front.
A German war cemetery in Estonia
Civilians executed by German paratroopers in Kondomari
German troops marching civilians to execution
Sixteen blindfolded Partisan youth awaiting execution by German forces in Serbia, 20 August 1941
Martin Bormann, Hermann Göring, and Bruno Loerzer surveying the damage made by the 20 July plot
German Instrument of Surrender, 8 May 1945 – Berlin-Karlshorst
Former Wehrmacht generals Adolf Heusinger and Hans Speidel being sworn into the newly founded Bundeswehr on 12 November 1955

They were placed under the same authority as (Hiwis), auxiliary personnel of the army (Behelfspersonal) and they were assigned to duties within the Reich, and to a lesser extent, in the occupied territories, for example in the general government of occupied Poland, in France, and later in Yugoslavia, in Greece and in Romania.