Himmler's Auxiliaries: The Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle and the German National Minorities of Europe, 1933-1945

By Valdiso Lumans | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TEN
The Resettlement, III Home in the Reich

When the resettlers answered the call of the Führer, packed their belongings on wagons, trains, and boats, and bid a final farewell to their ancestral homelands, they had some misgivings about their future, but overall they felt confident that their lives would somehow go on. Few, however, could have imagined what awaited them. As they experienced the harsh realities of life in the Third Reich, the euphoria of the initial welcomes, especially for those privileged to have someone of Himmler's stature present at their arrival, quickly dissipated.

They first encountered a bewildering series of physical, racial, occupational, and political examinations to determine their degree of Germanness. They soon learned that in the eyes of Himmler's SS racial examiners, all Germans were not equal. Physiognomic features such as nose size, prominence of cheekbones, the color and texture of hair, and the potential for propagating positive racial traits determined their value and, accordingly, their final placement. Those passing the tests with the highest marks had the dubious privilege of colonizing the new Lebensraum, the conquered east. For many of those not selected as colonists, a final settlement never materialized. Provisional camp internment became their permanent way of life in the Third Reich. Vomi, responsible for the resettlers' care and housing, participated both directly and indirectly in every step of the process that carried them from their homelands to their final settlement.

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