VoMi and the Minorities, III The War Years
After prewar territorial changes, resettlements, and the earliest hostilities, only seven major groups of Volksdeutsche remained as national minorities into the war years: in Slovakia, Hungary, Rumania, the two successor states of Yugoslavia ( Croatia and Serbia-Banat), Denmark, and the Soviet Union. The term minority, with its negative connotation of second-class citizens, referred only to their numerical size. The Reich's military presence and dominant influence in these states helped elevate them to a privileged status equal to or even superior to that of the majority nationalities. They paid a price for their improved status, however, in contributions to the Reich's war effort. And it was Himmler and the SS, specifically VoMi, that directed these contributions, in ways usually beneficial to the SS.
The declaration of Slovakia's independence on 14 March 1939 was a bitter disappointment for its estimated 130,000 Carpathian Germans. Many had hoped that Slovakia, like the Protectorate of BohemiaMoravia, would come under direct Reich rule. But Hitler's support for Slovak independence determined that at least for the time being, they would remain a national minority. It was small consolation that in Nazi