On 20 June 1939 while Adolf Hitler was visiting an architectural bureau in Würzburg am Main, his attention was captured by a project of a future German town – Warsaw (German: Warschau, Polish: Warszawa).
The project was soon to be included as a part of the great germanization plan of the East, the infamous Generalplan Ost. What is worth noting here, is the fact that the destruction of Polish capital was already planned before its final destruction in 1944, even before the start of World War II.
On October 8, 1939 western areas of Poland were annexed by the Third Reich and later on October 12, 1939 the east areas of Poland was incorporated into the General Government by Hitler’s decrees. The capital of the Gubernia was to be set in Kraków (Krakau, Cracow) for security reasons. Occupying German elites were clearly afraid of unsubdued Warsaw, calling the Polish capital the City of Bandits (Banditenstadt Warschau).
On 6 February 1940 German President of the town Dr. Dangel gave a very unusual gift to the General Gubernator Dr. Hans Frank. The gift was a full documentation of the new German town Warsaw (Neue deutsche Stadt Warschau), so-called Pabst Plan, prepared by German architects Hubert Gross and Otto Nurnberger.
This new town was to be built in place of destroyed Polish capital. The plan had been prepared before World War II in Würzburg am Main and after the start of military operations and the fall of the capital into German hands the project was updated, incorporating the city's partial destruction in the September offensive of 1939.
The project included 15 separate plans and photos, and solid pre-build documentation. Some parts of the project that were showing Warsaw’s development from the half of XVII century until the year 1935 were based on Polish documentation from 1935 and presumably on scientific sources prepared for Warsaw’s Territorial Development of Communication and Transportation by Prof. O. Sosnowski. All these sources were skillfully extracted from the source long before the war. At early stage thanks to German conning based on false pretension of doing a scientific research, the German planners covered the hidden agenda necessary for creating such a plan.
Among all the pages of the project the most important is colored plan of the future town which was created by German architects in 1:20 000 scale, titled: Die neue deutsche Stadt Warschau.
The plan of the new town covered a 6 km² built-up area plus 1 km² of the centuries-old Warsaw’s Prague district, for a total of 7 km² area, with parks and green areas bringing to a total of 15 km². The 7 km² of buildings was just 1/20 of the existing Polish capital city and was very different from the actual existing road network of 1939.
The "German Varsavia" was planned to be a quite new, provincial German town built on the crossroad of German highways and railroad networks. Of the original Polish capital, only the remains of the Old Town district (without the Polish King’s Castle, of course), and modified parts of the Vistula riverside buildings would have been saved. King’s Baths Palace (pl. Łazienki Królewskie) and Belvedere (pl. Belweder) were also to be saved.
The whole town center was to be built into a net of narrow, picturesque streets, resembling a planning of a typical German town. The modern and wide Polish capital avenues (like Ulica Marszałkowska, Twarda, Mokotowska, Dzika, Oś Saska, Oś Stanisławowska) would have been erased forever with all their monumental and beautiful buildings and palaces. The plan aimed at creating a new German town for 130,000 exclusively ethnic German inhabitants.
It must be mentioned here that Warsaw’s population in 1935 was around 1.3 million, consisting of Poles, Jews and other minorities. Therefore, to put the new urbanization plan to work all the inhabitants had to be removed.
German ingenuity and precision resulted in implementing the plan in stages. One of the parts for the plan, so-called Demolition of Polish town and Building of German town (Abbau der Polen-Stadt und der Aufbau der Deutschen Stadt), included a list of the Polish capital’s centers of life destined for destruction, put in chronological order based on planned liquidation date. In the interim stage, the Jewish Ghetto was planned to accommodate around 30,000 of the Jewish origin inhabitants of the capital. German planners assumed to remove the Jews (Judenaussiedlung) from the area of around 482 hm² and put them in an area which was 3.5 times smaller, i.e. 143 hm² (Judenviertel). In the so-called Small Plan (Kleine Planung), the population of Warsaw would be limited to 500,000 people.
German planners decided to use the destructions by bombings and fires during the September 1939 seizure of the city as a pretext for the urbanistics changes. Another part of the plan included detailed map of anticipated destruction showing almost all buildings destroyed coincidently according to the original plan. Therefore, Warsaw was to be rebuilt anew, German way.
In reality only 10 percent of buildings was destroyed in 1939, with total civil and military losses of around 12,000 killed and 66,000 wounded.
The next step for decreasing of the original population of the city was the systematic displacement of people captured and destined for either slave labor in the Third Reich or extermination in concentration and labor camps. Among the 2 857 500 Poles working as slave labor in Third Reich during World War II, a significant percentage was composed of Warsaw and Warsaw province’s inhabitants.
The next step of Warsaw’s population extermination was launched in the autumn of 1942. On October 9, 1942 Heinrich Himmler ordered the creation of Warsaw concentration camp (Konzentrationslager Warschau - KL Warschau) which consisted of Koło district camp (Kriegsgenangenenlager Warschau, 1939), two other camps in the proximity of Dworzec Zachodni (Western Train Station, 1942), Gęsia camp (Geese Street Camp, 1943), Bonifraterska camp (Bonifraterska Street Camp, 1943).
KL Warschau was functioning until August 28, 1944 when the German government of the city ordered evacuation of its prisoners into the Third Reich, for the fear that the ongoing Warsaw Uprising might result in freeing them. The prisoners were transported to concentration camps in Third Reich: Dachau, Landsberg, Muhldorf, Kaufering, Gross-Rosen and Ravensbrück.
- Stanisław Jankowski, Adolf Ciborowski "Warszawa 1945 i dziś" Publisher: Wydawnictwo Interpress, Warszawa, 1971,
- Andrzej Leszek Szcześniak "Nowe niemieckie miasto Warschau" Warschau muss sterben Adolf Hitler, Nasza Polska, 18.09.2002
- Niels Gutschow, Barbara Klain, "Zagłada i utopia. Urbanistyka Warszawy w latach 1939-1945" (katalog wystawy), Muzeum Historyczne, Warszawa 2003
- Niels Gutschow, Barbarta Klain: Vernichtung und Utopie. Stadtplanung Warschau 1939–1945, Hamburg 1994, ISBN 3-88506-223-2