Austria, Britain, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Poland and the United States
Jews and Poles in the German-Occupied East: Two Scenes from the First World War
In contrast to the “forgotten front” in Eastern Europe,2 the newly conquered territories in the East loomed large in public debate – larger than ever before – not only to the soldiers who served there, but also to German population in general.3 The territories attracted interest as a locus of possible professional, economic, and political exploration as well as a space of identity-forming endeavors and humanitarian activities. After the German invasion of Warsaw, the Berliner Lokal-Anzeiger [daily newspaper] sought to dampen popular expectations in its evening issue of 28 August 1915 by announcing that there was “[n]o demand for officials for the administration in Poland,” as many candidates were already on waiting lists. The East soon became the target of modern, state-organized public relations, including study tours for “multipliers,” such as politicians and journalists. In his memoirs published after the war, Sammy Gronemann, who served in the Press Department of the Army Command in the northeastern areas (called Ober Ost – Upper East) ridiculed the “visitors from Germany,” including the “saviors of the East European Jews” (1924: 139), whom he had to look after and protect from “unauthorized people” (141). But the first to import their images of the occupied East to the German public were the war correspondents, who were likewise mocked by Gronemann (182).
Fritz Wertheimer, the author of the report collection entitled Im polnischen Winterfeldzug mit der Armee Mackensen [In the Polish winter campaign with ← 127 | 128 → the Mackensen army] (1915), was such...
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