Hegewald (colony)

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Location of the Hegewald colony, situated directly south of Zhytomyr

Hegewald was a short-lived German colony in Reichskommissariat Ukraine near Zhytomyr during World War II. Its purpose was to hold Poles and Ukrainian settlers who had been classified as Volksdeutsche for Germanization.[1] Heinrich Himmler's original plans to recruit settlers from Scandinavia and the Netherlands were unsuccessful.[2]

The initial plans were difficult to implement, owing to partisan activities, but elaborate guidelines were set up to prepare the location.[3] The new settlers were to receive the homes of killed or evicted Ukrainians, and their furniture, livestock, and food, and schools were to be built.[3] This required a massive deportation effort, mostly on foot.[4]

Many Ukrainians and Poles did arrive, forcibly removed from their homes on trains, to be doled out plots of land and informed of their quotas.[5] They received use, but not ownership, of the land assigned to them.[6]

Neither the deported Ukrainians nor the ethnic Germans received more than a few hours' notice of their relocation.[6]

Despite damage to the houses, most could be made functional before snowfall.[7] Elaborate Christmas pageants were set up, deliberately irreligious, to celebrate the return of light and link it to the "dark powers" surrounding Germany, and gifts and food were provided.[8]

All did not go as planned. The intended preparations were undermined by flinching of craftsmen, and neither food nor clothing arrived as promised.[9] Furthermore, many evicted Ukrainians returned to the area.[10] Efforts were made to continue, with the League of German Girls members being sent even when they had to receive gas masks and soldier escorts, but by November 1943, the inhabitants were in flight before the Red Army.[10] These were the first of massive flights from Eastern Europe.[11]

Villages[edit]

The colony consisted of 27 villages situated along the Zhytomyr-Berdychiv road:[12]

  • Schröbelesberg
  • Neuheimat
  • Bubenhausen
  • Neubiesing
  • Pfenningstadt
  • Heimkehr
  • Troja
  • Reichstreu
  • Preuersdorf
  • Arbeit
  • Fleiß
  • Au
  • Zehnhub
  • Neuposen
  • Altposen
  • Bosfershof
  • Wertingen
  • Heinrichsfeld
  • Reinharding
  • Am Hügel
  • Klein Lüneburg
  • Neu Trudering
  • Mödersdorf
  • Tiefenbach
  • Sachsenhard
  • Maienfeld
  • Ichstingen

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p 336, ISBN 0-679-77663-X
  2. ^ Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p 330-1, ISBN 0-679-77663-X
  3. ^ a b Nicholas, p 331
  4. ^ Nicholas, p 331-2
  5. ^ Heather Pringle, Heinrich Himmler: The Nazi Leader's Master Plan
  6. ^ a b Karel C. Berkhoff, Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine Under Nazi Rule p 45 ISBN 0-674-01313-1
  7. ^ Nicholas, p 336
  8. ^ Nicholas, p 336-7,
  9. ^ Nicholas, p 338
  10. ^ a b Nicholas, p 339
  11. ^ Nicholas, p 434
  12. ^ Lower, Wendy: Nazi empire-building and the Holocaust in Ukraine, p. 176. University of North Carolina Press, 2005.