Valley of Death (Bydgoszcz)
|Valley of Death in Bydgoszcz|
Commanders of the new Selbstschutz battalions of German executioners in Bydgoszcz. From the left: SS-Standartenführer Ludolf von Alvensleben, chief of the Selbstschutz inspectorate in Płutowo. SS-Obersturmbannführer Erich Spaarmann, chief of the Selbstschutz inspectorate in Bydgoszcz (to November 1939). SS-Obersturmbannführer Hans Kölzow, chief of the Selbstschutz inspectorate in Inowrocław. SS-Sturmbannführer Christian Schnug, chief of the Selbstschutz inspectorate in Bydgoszcz since December 1939.
|Mass killings of civilians|
|Period||October and November 1939|
|Part of||Intelligenzaktion in Pomerania|
Valley of Death (Polish: Dolina Śmierci) in Fordon, Bydgoszcz, northern Poland, is a site of Nazi German mass murder committed at the beginning of World War II; and a mass grave of 1,200 – 1,400 Poles and Jews murdered in October and November 1939 by the local German Selbstschutz and the Gestapo. The murders were a part of Intelligenzaktion in Pomerania, a Nazi action aimed at the elimination of the Polish intelligentsia in Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia, which included the former Pomeranian Voivodeship ("Polish Corridor"). It was part of a larger genocidal action that took place in all German occupied Poland, code-named Operation Tannenberg.
Victims, mainly Polish intelligentsia: teachers, priests, office workers, were listed on so called Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen (a list of people destined to be executed, made by Third Reich officials before World War II) and another list made by Gestapo during the war.
The perpetrators were mainly from the new Selbstschutz battalions called the Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz, a paramilitary formation of civilian shooters composed of men from the German minority of pre-war Poland, as well as the Einsatzkommando 16 of SS Einsatzgruppen under command of SS-Sturmbannführer dr Rudolf Tröger. Between September 1939 and April 1940 Selbstschutz - together with other Nazi-German formations - murdered tens of thousands of Poles in Pomerania.
Established investigations point to Ludolf von Alvensleben and Jakub Löllgen, as the main organizers of the mass murder. Other Germans involved in the crime were: Sturmbannführers Erich Spaarmann, Meier, Schnugg, SS-Sturmbannführer dr Rudolf Tröger, SS man Baks, and a number of Volksdeutsche including Wilhelm Neumann, Herbert Beitsch, Otto Erlichmann (Nazi mayor of Fordon), and Walter Gassmann.
Notes and references
- History of Fordon 1939-1945 (Polish)
- Extermination of Polish intelligentsia on Pomerania (Polish)
- Valley of Death - pictures and short description (Polish)
- Jochen Böhler, Klaus-Michael Mallmann, Jürgen Matthäus: Einsatzgruppen in Polen. Warszawa: Bellona, 2009. ISBN 978-83-11-11588-0
- Jochen Böhler, Klaus-Michael Mallmann, Jürgen Matthäus (2009), Zbrodnie Wehrmachtu w Polsce. Wrzesień 1939 (PDF file, direct download 432 KB) (in Polish), Translated by Patrycja Pieńkowska-Wiederkehr, Wydawnictwo Znak, pp. 44–45, ISBN 9788324012251, retrieved 20 January 2014,
from German: Auftakt zum Vernichtungskrieg: Die Wehrmacht in Polen 1939, ISBN 3596163072.