WORLD WAR II: by Joseph PoprzecznyNews Weekly
Odilo Globocnik, forgotten co-author of the Holocaust
, October 17, 2009
Everyone has heard of Adolf Eichmann, the bureaucrat responsible for organising the mass deportation of millions of European Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in Nazi-occupied Poland. Few people, however, have heard of Odilo Globocnik (pronounced Glob-otsnik), an Austrian-born Nazi directly responsible for setting up the Nazis' three main extermination camps.
Odilo Globocnik (1904-45) may be named as one of the pre-eminent industrial-style killers of the 20th century. He was the general manager and chief executive officer of Aktion Reinhardt
, the Nazi codename for the extermination of European Jewry, a program in which a large proportion of six million victims perished by gassing.
A one-time construction supervisor, he built, staffed, administered, and otherwise directed three major killing centres in occupied Poland - Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec - where between 1.5 and 2 million European Jews, not to mention countless thousand non-Jewish Poles, were gassed to death.
Globocnik, a southern Austrian of part-Slovene ancestry, passionately embraced Adolf Hitler's racial worldview and desire for the German Reich to settle Aryans across European Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and the Czech lands, after first expelling all Slavs beyond the Urals.
He was an ultra-nationalist activist in the 1920s, a leading member of Austria's illegal Carinthian Nazi Party during the 1930s, and a secret member of Heinrich Himmler's SS.
After leaving his home city of Klagenfurt for Vienna, he intensified his clandestine activities for the emergent Hitler Reich. During these "dark years", he betrayed his homeland by conspiring with Berlin to destroy Austria's independence by undermining the Schuschnigg Government.
This even included secretly meeting Hitler in his mountain hideaway in the Bavarian Alps overlooking Salzburg during the putsch for an Anschluss
that saw Austria incorporated into the Reich. His reward was to be made Vienna's Gauleiter
. But he held the post for only six months, since he was a corrupt bungler and was promptly removed.
However, Himmler came to his rescue since he saw a role for Globocnik in the future demographic reshaping of Eastern Europe.
In November 1939, a month after Poland was overrun by German and Soviet forces, Globocnik emerged as SS and Police Chief of Poland's Lublin District. Here he first assisted in creating the short-lived Lublin Reservation earmarked to become a huge rural concentration camp where Jews would be subjected to "death through labour". All Polish resistance was harshly suppressed.
Like other Nazi and SS district leaders of occupied Poland, Globocnik confined Jews to ghettos in major towns and extracted from the enslaved non-Jewish Polish population labour, grain and other farm produce.
Lublin District saw a rapid growth in slave labour camps. The inmates were conscripted to work on the repair and construction of roads, river drainage and other projects.
Crucially Globocnik employed a team of SS academic specialists to man in Lublin a well-funded Research Centre for Eastern Settlement (Forschungsstelle fur Ostunterkunfte
This "think tank" began planning the settlement of millions of Reich and other Germans across all of occupied Poland and the Soviet Union.
This was the top secret General-plan Ost
, the Nazi plan of genocide and ethnic cleansing to be pursued over a 25-year span. Globocnik was designated head of this huge top secret Nazi demographic venture.
Reich-based euthanasia killing units were transferred to Lublin to become senior staffers at the new Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec "terminal stations", then well under construction.
One should never downgrade the prominent role of the notorious Auschwitz-Birkenau, to which Globocnik's units dispatched my mother after her expulsion from her village during the Zamosc Lands ethnic cleansing action.
Nevertheless, Dutch historian Louis de Jong makes an important distinction.
He says: "Unlike Auschwitz-Birkenau, which served as both concentration and extermination camp, Sobibor was simply an extermination camp, one of three Vernichtunglager
- Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka - set up in the spring of 1942 by SS-Sonderkommando des Einsatzstab Reinhardt
(Special SS-Detachment of the Reinhardt
American historian Michael Thad Allen is a rare scholar since he identifies that last century's biggest frontline genocidal killer was Globocnik, and it was Globocnik who was set to also become history's biggest ever ethnic-cleanser after pioneering his methods on the 100,000 inhabitants he expelled from Poland's Zamosc Lands.
Allen write: "It deserves mention that the SS, believing in the racial superiority that underlay eastern settlement policy, also took charge of 'cleansing' the east of those who did not qualify as 'Aryans'.
"The first death camps and the first SS settlements arose simultaneously, at the same place, under the supervision of the same [Globocnik-led] SS officers at Lublin, in Poland."
Although a handful of specialist articles highlighting Globocnik's role have appeared since the war, he's largely unknown to Poles, which is surprising since he was directly responsible for murdering so many of them.
As previously mentioned, it was Globocnik who, on behalf of Hitler and Himmer, launched the top secret Generalplan Ost
- the Germanisation through settlement of the so-called East - the reason behind Germany's invasion, first of Poland in 1939, then of the Soviet Union in 1941.
The crucial point here is that Globocnik was the central demographic executor of World War II.
First, he was in charge of ridding Nazi-occupied Europe of all Jews that Nazism's founder so despised. Second, in November 1942, he launched his first ethnic cleansing action, expelling over 110,000 non-Jewish Poles from homes and villages on Poland's historic Zamosc Lands, south-east of Lublin, for displacement by Germanic settlers.
This was the opening gambit of Generalplan Ost
, which envisaged the forcible removal of over 100 million Poles, Czechs, Ukrainians, Russians, Belarusans, Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians into western Siberia, beyond the Ural Mountains.
Anyone within those national categories deemed to be carriers of so-called "lost Germanic blood", as determined by racial classification officers from Himmler's Race and Settlement Office (Rasse-und Seidlungshauptamt
), would not be deported to Siberia but instead be subjected to so-called re-Germanisation.
Thereafter the entire ethnically-cleansed Eastern Europe - from Berlin to the Urals - would be methodically settled by Germanics, so a new global and racially pure SS-controlled empire, supposedly stronger and more efficient than the communist state Lenin created, would emerge.
That, not the Jewish genocide alone, was why Hitler opted for war less than seven years after gaining power.
However, on seeing an opportunity, under cover of warfare in the East (i.e., the German invasion of the Soviet Union) to rid Europe of all Jews, Hitler promptly gave Globocnik the all-clear to launch this genocide by whatever means.
Hitler believed Aryans were conveyers of progress and civilisation into the East but that they had been steadily displaced by a racially mixed conglomerate of untermenschen
(subhumans), that is, Slavs, Mongols, Tartars and, of course, Jews.
He believed that any lasting and admirable achievements across Eastern Europe had arisen since the early Middle Ages as a result of the efforts of "Aryan" architects, stonemasons, town planners, engineers, farmers, foresters, irrigators and others.
Jews, however, were viewed as destroyers of such allegedly high Aryan achievements.
Hitler particularly held Jews solely responsible for the imposition, after 1917, of Communist rule across Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, and for seeking to extend this new method of tyranny to enslave the rest of mankind.
This was, of course, utterly false. It ignored the complicity of Germany's foreign office and high command during World War I in helping put Lenin's Bolsheviks into power in Russia in the first place.
Far from being a Jewish conspiracy, the return of Lenin and his Communist Party colleagues to Russia (not to mention the German provision of a large quantity of gold) was engineered primarily by the German high command, headed by General Erich Ludendorff, later a Hitler crony in the 1920s.
The Germans, in Churchill's memorable phrase, in April 1917 secretly transported Lenin in a sealed train "like a plague bacillus into Russia". This plot, which saw the overthrow of Kerensky's short-lived democratic government, nearly ensured Kaiser Wilhelm's Germanic Empire won that war by removing Russia's army from the conflict.
The Kaiser's wartime Germany fomented several such plots worldwide, including one in Ireland, involving Sir Roger Casement; another one to coax Mexico into invading the United States; and the Hindu-German Conspiracy involving the Indian Independence Committee and German Foreign Office, with agents in Punjab, Turkey, Singapore and even the United States, which was to have begun in February 1915 - two years before they sent Lenin into Russia - to topple British rule in India.Joseph Poprzeczny is a Perth-based historian and freelance journalist. He is author of Hitler's Man in the East, Odilo Globocnik, the first such biography in English, which, using information drawn from more than 30 international archives and a wealth of correspondence, details every aspect of Globocnik's life from his ancestry to his suicide after being captured. The Czech Academy of Sciences has recently acquired publishing rights to release it in the Czech language.REFERENCES:
Siegfried J. Pucher, Odilo Globocnik - Kämpfer für den Anschluß und Vollstrecker des Holocaust [ Odilo Globocnik - Warrior for the Anschluss and Executor of the Holocaust]
. (Master's Thesis, Klagenfurt, 1997).Michael Thad Allen, The Business of Genocide: The SS, Slave Labor, and the Concentration Camps (University of North Carolina Press, 2001).
Joseph Poprzeczny, Hitler's Man in the East, Odilo Globocnik
(Jefferson, North Carolina/London, UK: McFarland Publishers, 2003).
Ralf Meindl, Ostpreußens Gauleiter: Erich Koch - eine politische Biographie [East Prussian Gauleiter: Erich Koch - a political biography] (Osnabrück: Fibre Verlag, 2007).Berndt Rieger, Creator of Nazi Death Camps: The Life of Odilo Globocnik (Portland, Oregon: Mitchell Vallentine & Company, 2007).Stephan Lehnstaedt. Review of Meindl, Ralf, Ostpreußens Gauleiter: Erich Koch - eine politische Biographie and Rieger, Berndt, Creator of Nazi Death Camps: The Life of Odilo Globocnik. H-German, H-Net Reviews (Humanities and Social Sciences Online) April, 2009.