The faithful could not believe their ears when they heard what the pastor announced from the pulpit of St. Martin: All the inhabitants of the city would have to leave their homes and had to pull the trigger just 48 hours time.

Shortly thereafter, the parish messenger, Otto Mecklenborg went through the streets and proclaimed loudly the same message: “The clearing area to make it of all the people and animals free. Taken may be: valuables, clothes, food, top of the beds without the mattresses and without the so-called pad cushion. To remain on the furniture, Stoves and ovens, kitchen appliances, plates and cups, pots and pans, as well as the necessary number of best corner in the apartments“. Exciting, but just no time?

Now save articles for later, in “the Pocket”

The scene was not played in a village somewhere deep in the Soviet Union or in Poland, where the Germans during the war, evacuated the Jewish population, they were deported either in a ghetto or in a death camp like Auschwitz brought and murdered.

Mecklenborg was Haren, the parish messenger of the town. This 4000-strong community with the oversized neo-Baroque Church of St. Martinus is located in the West of Germany, near the Dutch border. And it was the Germans, but the poles came also. They are not occupied only Haren, but a of about 6500 square kilometres large area in the North-Western part of Germany between Bentheim Cloppenburg and Papenburg, the Emsland region, with the towns of Lingen and Meppen included, as well as several villages.

In the Emsland region, many poles held on

Actually, this area belonged to the English zone of occupation. The British had liberated the North-Western Germany from the Nazi Terror, and here’s your Zone. However, in this area, some 30,000 poles were. They had been prisoners in the notorious Emsland camps or in the women’s camp Oberlangen.

Here were kept the German 1700 Polish women, who were involved in 1944 in the brutal quelling of the Warsaw uprising, taken prisoner. Or you had to make as a forced laborer for German farmers service. In addition, approximately 13,000 soldiers of the 1 were. Polish tank army, which were invaded with the British and Canadians in the area.

It was a colorful mixture of Poland, who lived at the end of the war, in the Emsland region, far away from home. The Problem: no one knew what to do with all these people. They were regarded as so-called Displaced Persons. Home they could not, because there was no transport capacity. Many wanted to, but was not back to Poland, that makes, in the meantime, Stalin’s area, and where the Communist dictatorship was established.

The citizens of Harens not allowed in your city

In the Not a canadian General fell in with the idea of Could not be left to the British a small part of their Zone to the poles? The Plan was presented to the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and agreed to. From the end of may, the poles moved into their occupation zone. The center of the small town of Haren, which had to be completely of the German residents vacated was.

Around 1000 families, nearly 4,000 people had to leave their homes and head over heels in the surroundings of a shelter. Many came with friends or Relatives, but many others had to also take with barns or potato halls Do. The access to Haren it was forbidden for them, as well as the visit to the Catholic mass in St. Martinus.

It is no surprise against this Background that the poles were in the German hated. The national socialists had vilified them as “Polacks” and “sub-humans” and had stayed in many of the German hang. Now, however, they occupied their houses and took away almost everything they possessed. The Polish historian Jan Rydel stated: “It is an unusual change of roles in the German-Polish history. Poland as occupiers in Germany. Still: it’s not about disputed territories. It’s a German core territory“. Each week provides you FOCUS Online with the most important news from the knowledge Department. Here you can subscribe to the Newsletter.

Haren was renamed in Maczków

Had believed the Locals and the occupying forces would soon leave, so they were deceived. A couple of weeks after the move-in Haren, the new residents of the city gave it a Polish name: Maczków. It was derived from the Polish General Stanislaw Maczek, who had commanded the Polish forces in Fighting in Belgium and the Netherlands.

The poles were in Maczków. Many of the Camps liberated people were almost in a Paradise. In the city of Polish structures emerged, with police, fire, administration, and justice. Likewise, schools and even a Gymnasium. As Haren was back to English, it should last another 29 years, until the city got again a Gymnasium.

Yehudi Menuhin gave a concert in Maczków

The new Polish community began to grow rapidly. In the approximately three years of occupation, there were 479 Baptisms, 101 deaths and 289 weddings. And there is a large cultural offer for the new inhabitants was born. This includes two theatres, a cinema, a bookstore, and Polish-language Newspapers included, among other things. Concerts were organized regularly. In the summer of 1945 guest in the world even famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin and the also very well-known English composer Benjamin Britten in Maczków.

Menuhin described much later in his memoirs the positive impressions he gained of Maczków: “a picture out of this defeated, destroyed and defeated country has stayed with me because it was completely different than anything else: Ben and I were in a small clean town, which was just been of the poles taken. The former German inhabitants had been driven from their homes. (…) A happier, seemingly carefree living city, it has not likely given. In a fort feasts were celebrated, weddings and birth days; floral plaid around with aufgezäumten horses, horse-drawn carriage to parade in the streets. Misery and hardships of war were over only a few days, but the joy of life was restored“.

“Poland slut,” slurred women decades

silent look At the life, only the Polish occupiers were not able, however, to the displaced Locals to be met. And since they had no access to the city, they also had no idea what was going on there. Problems, there were some with Displaced Persons still living in the Camps and in the Polish Zone of burglaries committed.

In the Zone as a whole, the relations between German and Poland were eager to see. However, were born soon children with German mothers and Polish fathers. This “Poland slut” referred to women not talked decades later about their relationships with Polish men.

In February 1946, it came to the first really bad voltages. Background the great flood, which was looking for weeks in the Winter of the year, the Emsland home was. In Haren many of the houses were full of water. The residents do not care about the elimination of the damage, which increased the anger of the actual house owner. As Poland contributed furniture from public buildings to use as firewood, it came to the loud protests of the Germans.

Many poles would like to be in the Emsland remained

The German authorities to put pressure on the British occupation authorities to the native population left in the city, and the houses and the poles would clear the zone of occupation. The Englishman gave in and at the end of Maczków was not possible to maintain. In September 1948, the last of Poland, withdrew. Most would have stayed forever in the Emsland region. Many, who did not want to go to a now Communist Poland, moved to England, a very few only stayed in Germany.

The actual residents moved back into their homes, clean and redeemed the time of the Polish occupation, if possible, from your memory. Only in the last few years, Haren’s efforts to remember this curious and exciting story from our own history. Cayman Islands-ridden swamp! Who leaves the boat, signs death sentence