After Germany attacked Poland on 1 September 1939, the Nazi regime intensified its persecution of the organized Polish minority in Germany. Branded as enemies of the state and potential agitators, the officials and activists in Polish organizations like the "Union of Poles" were among the first victims of the war in the Third Reich. All Polish organizations were banned and stripped of their assets. Up to 2,000 activists were arrested by the Gestapo and deported to concentration camps, primarily to Sachsenhausen and Ravensbrück, but some to Buchenwald, as well.
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the attack on Poland and the beginning of World War II, this bilingual exhibition, jointly created by German and Polish researchers, presented photographs, documents and original items that shed light on the fate of the prisoners. After opening at the Sachsenhausen Memorial, the exhibition went on tour to several Polish and German cities.
Many people in Germany today - and also in Poland - are unaware of the suffering the Polish minority endured in the German empire. The persecution of the officials of the Polish minority is one of the desiderata of historic research on concentration camps. Consequently, this exhibition hopes to break new ground and provide impetus for further German-Polish research, as well as increase the awareness of the history of Poles in Germany.

Curator: Sebastian Nagel

Venue and schedule: Oranienburg, Memorial and Museum Sachsenhausen: 25 October 2009 - 28 February 2010

Additional venues: April-May 2010 – Zielona Góra/ Grünberg, July-August 2010 Memorial Ravensbrück, September-October 2010 Senate of the Republic of Poland in Warsaw, November-December 2010 Oppelner Museum.


Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten


16515 Oranienburg