After the German attack on Poland in 1939, vast swathes of Polish territory, including Warsaw and Krakow, were occupied by the Nazis in an administration which became known as the 'General Government'. The region was not directly incorporated into the Third Reich but was ruled by a German regime, headed by the brutal and corrupt Governor General Hans Frank. This was indeed the dark heart of Hitler's empire. As the first genuine Nazi colony, the General Government became the principal 'racial laboratory' of the Third Reich. As such, it was the site, and main source of victims, of Aktion Reinhard, the largest killing operation in human history in which at least 1.7 million Jews were murdered in just 18 months, and of a campaign of terror, exploitation and ultimately ethnic cleansing against the Polish population which was intended to serve as a template for the rest of eastern Europe. It was a place where 42,000 people could be shot in two days, where thousands of children could be abducted from their families, never to see their homeland again, and where guidebooks could invite German tourists to enjoy the culture and nightlife of cities that were 'now free of Jews'.
This book provides a thorough history of the Nazi occupation regime and the experiences of the Poles, Jews and others who were trapped in its clutches. Employing sources ranging from diaries and testimony to previously underused material such as travel guides and poetry, Martin Winstone provides a unique insight into the occupation regime which dominated much of Poland during World War II with such disastrous consequences.