Polish culture during World War II
Polish culture during World War II was suppressed by the occupying powers of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Policies aimed at cultural genocide resulted in the deaths of thousands of scholars and artists. The occupiers looted and destroyed much of Poland’s cultural and historical heritage, while persecuting and murdering members of the Polish cultural elite.
About Polish culture during World War II in brief
Polish culture during World War II was suppressed by the occupying powers of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Policies aimed at cultural genocide resulted in the deaths of thousands of scholars and artists. The occupiers looted and destroyed much of Poland’s cultural and historical heritage, while persecuting and murdering members of the Polish cultural elite. Despite severe retribution by the Nazis and Soviets, Polish underground cultural activities, including publications, concerts, live theater, education, and academic research, continued throughout the war. In 1795 Poland ceased to exist as a sovereign nation and throughout the 19th century remained partitioned by degrees between Prussian, Austrian and Russian empires. Not until the end of World War I was independence restored and the nation reunited, although the drawing of boundary lines was, of necessity, a contentious issue. Independent Poland lasted for only 21 years before it was again attacked and divided among foreign powers. Subsequently, Poland was partitioned again—between these two powers and remained under occupation for most of the war, including during the occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany in 1939 and 1940. In March 1940 Polish schools beyond middle vocational levels were closed, as theaters and many other cultural institutions were also closed. The only Polish-language newspaper published in occupied Poland was also closed, and Polish intellectuals began, all cultural activities under the control of the General Government’s Department of People’s Education and Propaganda was changed a year later to the Department of Chief Propaganda. The Catholic Church and wealthy individuals contributed to the survival of some artists and their works.
The Polish Underground State, subordinate to the Polish government-in-exile, was soon formed. By 1 October, Nazi Germany annexed the western areas of pre-war Poland and, in the remainder of the occupied area,. The Soviet Union had to temporarily give up the territorial gains it made in 1939 due to the German invasion of the Soviet Soviet Union, but permanently re-annexed much of this territory after winning it back in mid-1944. Over the course of the War, Poland lost over 20% of its pre- war population amid an occupation that marked theend of the Second Polish Republic. The basic policy was outlined by the Berlin Office of Racial Policy in a document titled Concerning the Treatment of the Inhabitants of the Former Polish Territories, from a Racial-Political Standpoint. Slavic people living east of the pre-War German border were to be Germanized, enslaved or eradicated, depending on whether they lived in the territories directly annexed into the German state or in the General government. German officials and military officers were initially not given any clear guidelines on the treatment of Polish cultural institutions, but this quickly changed. One of the earliest decrees prohibited the organization of all but the mostprimitive cultural activities without the Department’s approval, including those of an erotic or pornographic nature, without the prior approval of the Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels. The Department’s policies reflected the policies that had been outlined by Frank and Goeb bels during the previous autumn.