Cover Osteuropa 7-8/2009

In Osteuropa 7-8/2009

Between Scylla and Charybdis
The German and Soviet Occupation of Poland 1939–1941

Rafał Wnuk

Deutsche Fassung


The Hitler-Stalin pact is considered proof of the similarity between the totalitarian systems of National Socialism and Stalinism. A glance at the occupation policy in the territories of the Second Polish Republic allows a more differentiated judgement. The Nazis never concealed their intent to destroy the Polish state, to annihilate its elites, and to subjugate the remaining population. The Soviet Union by contrast tried to maintain a semblance of legitimacy and present the annexation of the Polish eastern territories as liberation. The Nazi terror was to have a paralyzing effect, while the Soviet terror was shrouded in silence.

(Osteuropa 7-8/2009, pp. 157–172)