Himmler's Auxiliaries: The Volksdeutsche and the
German National Minorities of Europe: 1933-1945
Book review by Edna Boardman, Bismarck, North Dakota
Lumans, Vladis O. Himmler’s Auxiliarties: The Volksdeutsche and the German National Minorities of Europe: 1933-1945. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 1993.
This book tells of Hitler's long-term plans for the lands he planned
to conquer and annex to Germany. Ethnic Germans--Volksdeutsche--wherever
they lived in the world, but especially in all the countries of
Europe--were objects of his attention. They, including ethnic Germans
living in South Russia, would have a place in the new German Reich
he was planning. The task of identifying them and bringing them
back began early and was assigned to Heinrich Himmler.
Representatives would go to ethnic German Soviet communities that
had not been deported by Stalin and, in 1941, proceed to register
them and often bring them to Germany. Each family and each individual
coming into Germany was evaluated for wealth (many owned land and
other possessions), political viewpoint, and, with great care, racial
characteristics. The examination was disguised as a health examination.
Some were not deported back to Germany because they already lived
in the lebensraum that Germany hoped to make theirs. It was an ambitious,
very well organized undertaking and records or copies of the forms
that were filled out still exist. Each person was assigned a reference
number, which makes it easy to follow an individual from form to
form. The persons most exhibiting Aryan characteristics were given
choice land near Germany. These had the designation 100% discreetly
scribbled on the form. Those who rated 75% or 50% or less were placed
further to the east, where invaders were likely to attack first.
Something that helped the registration was that the Volksdeutsche,
to varying degrees, had maintained awareness of their Germanness.
Many of the Volksdeutsch, especially if they were experiencing hardship
and other pressures, including being blamed for Nazi excesses, welcomed
the overtures from the exciting new Reich which was being created
for them. Many attached themselves passively to the Third Reich.
Small wonder that questions about loyalty grew up.
A presentation by Ted Becker, given at the 1999 Germans from Russia
Heritage Society convention, was based on the information given
in this book. He also had slides (not from the book) of examples
of completed forms as used by Himmler's officials, with the percentage
designation. He drew from microfilm held by the National Archives
in the United States. Indexing is a problem, as there are thousands
of rolls of film. Ted commented that the only enduring value of
all this record-keeping is that genealogists have another detailed
source to consult. The book has extensive chapter notes and a bibliography.
to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested
by contacting Michael