The German Fifth Column in Poland, by Polish Ministry of Information, Aleksandra Rohde (Editor). 2014
The Undeniable Military Significance of the German Fifth Column in 1939 Poland
This small 1941 book is packed with facts:
POLAND’S GERMAN MINORITY (LIKE POLAND’S JEWISH MINORITY) HAD FALSELY WHINED ABOUT HOW BAD THEY HAD IT IN POLAND
Far from being oppressed, the prewar German minority enjoyed, besides wide cultural autonomy, a very disproportionate land ownership and membership in co-operatives. (pp. 24-25). Its leaders were two-faced. For instance, Senator Wiesner pledged German loyalty to Poland while simultaneously justifying the existence of the Hitlerjugend among Poland’s Germans at least two years before the war. (pp. 30-31). During the later German occupation, he hurled the vilest invectives and accusations against Poles. (p. 128).
The events of “Bloody Sunday” (Blut Sonntag), elaborated in my detailed English-language review of DYWERSJA…[link] are confirmed. (p. 50-on). At Bydgoscz (Bromberg) itself, German fifth-columnists killed in the fighting and executed by Poles total less than 400 (p. 50), and more like 160 (p. 61), with no harm done to uninvolved Germans.
Various eyewitnesses including Baker-Beale, a Briton, confirmed the later murderous conduct of the regular German forces near and within Bydgoszcz (Bromberg). They murdered Poles fleeing the town and those in it, including many Boy Scouts. Soon, German propaganda made their bodies out to be those of German civilians massacred and mutilated by Poles. (p. 57). Goebbels’ lie about massive Polish atrocities against German civilians wasn’t even internally consistent. It grew taller and taller: From 2,000 purported Germans murdered in western Poland, to 5,800, then 32,000, and finally, in the spring of 1940, to 65,000. (p, 21).
SCALE OF GERMAN 5TH COLUMN ACTIVITIES IN THE 1939 WAR
German settlements all over Poland became loci of fifth-column activities, and also served as refuges and bases for the operation of German commandos who had infiltrated or been parachuted-in. Snipings at Polish soldiers occurred even from German colonies located in otherwise German-free regions of Poland. (p. 17).
THE SOWING OF DEFEATIST PROPAGANDA
There are many eyewitness reports of Polish-speaking German commandos, often wearing Polish Army uniforms, spreading demoralizing reports about the collapse of Polish military resistance. (e. g., p. 108). [Evidently, this was standard practice. I knew an eyewitness, Paul Szews, from childhood. He told me that, upon entry into his town, the German Army announced that all Polish military units had surrendered. This was disinformation. It was not to happen for another 3 weeks.]
THE GERMAN FIFTH COLUMN CANNOT BE DENIED
Alfred Maurice de Zayas has denied the existence of a German fifth-column in Poland, and asserted that no Germans were ever honored for any such activities. De Zayas has not done his homework. In actuality, Hitler awarded the leaders of the German minority with gold medals for their fifth-column activities, and a photo of this was shown in Voelkischer Beobachter. (see facing p. 134).
Perhaps the strongest proof of the fact that the German fifth column was no Polish imagination or exaggeration is provided by some 1940 articles in Swiss and Italian newspapers. (pp. 46-48). They wrote that German fifth column activity performed by the German minority in Poland, notably the tracking of Polish troop movements by short-wave transmissions, played an unappreciated role in the rapidity of Germany’s victory over Poland in 1939.