Gau Upper Silesia
|Gau Upper Silesia|
|Gau of Nazi Germany|
|•||Establishment||27 January 1941|
|•||Disestablishment||8 May 1945|
|Today part of||Poland|
The Gau Upper Silesia (German: Gau Oberschlesien) was an administrative division of Nazi Germany from 1941 to 1945 in the Upper Silesia part of the Prussian Province of Silesia. The Gau was created when the Gau Silesia was split into Upper Silesia and Lower Silesia in 1941. The Gau included territory annexed by Nazi Germany after the German invasion of Poland.
The Nazi Gau (plural Gaue) system was originally established in a party conference on 22 May 1926, in order to improve administration of the party structure. From 1933 onwards, after the Nazi seizure of power, the Gaue increasingly replaced the German states as administrative subdivisions in Germany.
At the head of each Gau stood a Gauleiter, a position which became increasingly more powerful, especially after the outbreak of the Second World War, with little interference from above. Local Gauleiter often held government positions as well as party ones and were in charge of, among other things, propaganda and surveillance and, from September 1944 onward, the Volkssturm and the defense of the Gau.
The position of Gauleiter in Upper Silesia was held by Fritz Bracht throughout the short history of the Gau. Bracht, who was not a powerful figure in the Nazi hierarchy, committed suicide in May 1945.
The Auschwitz concentration camp, an extermination camp where more than 1,000,000 people were killed, was located in the Gau Upper Silesia, near Oświęcim. The camp was liberated by the Soviet Army in January 1945.
- Gauliga Oberschlesien, the highest association football league in the Gauliga from 1941 to 1945
- "Die NS-Gaue" [The Nazi Gaue]. dhm.de (in German). Deutsches Historisches Museum. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
- "The Organization of the Nazi Party & State". nizkor.org. The Nizkor Project. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
- "Übersicht der NSDAP-Gaue, der Gauleiter und der Stellvertretenden Gauleiter zwischen 1933 und 1945" [Overview of Nazi Gaue, the Gauleiter and assistant Gauleiter from 1933 to 1945]. zukunft-braucht-erinnerung.de (in German). Zukunft braucht Erinnerung. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
- "Gau Oberschlesien" [Gau Upper Silesia]. verwaltungsgeschichte.de (in German). Retrieved 29 March 2016.
- "Bracht, Fritz". verwaltungsgeschichte.de (in German). Retrieved 29 March 2016.
- "Auschwitz-Birkenau" (PDF). yadvashem.org. Yad Vashem. Retrieved 31 March 2016.