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Goralenvolk (1939), Poland
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image by Chrystian Kretowicz, 12 Dec 2001
Goralenvolk proposed flag (1939)
This is quite a rarity - the aborted nation of Goralenfolk.
Gorale - Goralen - Highlanders Mountain people of Tatra region (Podhale)
in southern Poland on the Slovak border. Main towns: Nowy Targ, Zakopane
and Zywiec (very good beer - may be because of that it got promptly annexed
to the 3rd Reich and excluded from Podhale region).
Some historians traced their origin to ancient Sarmatians, others to
Alans. Others yet, Rajasthani professors and linguists, discovered
in 1930s the roots of distinctive words in their dialect in Sanskrit. Linking
all this together, von Ribbentrop nominated them to be potential members
of the "Great Germanic Race"(a total nonsense). After Germans completed
occupation of Tatra region in October 1939, a group,which included dr Henryk
Szatkowski ( a volksdeutsch, sports and tourism activist from Zakopane),
Witalis Wieder (a reichsdeutsch-former captain in Polish Army), Waclaw
Krzeptowski - prominent Highlander, chairman of Peasant Party in Nowy Targ
before the war) and Jozef Cukier (president of Highlander Union before
the war) concocted the crazy idea of the formation of the mini-state for
Highlanders under the protection of Grossdeutschland for the next thousand
years. The Germans, independently, were toying with similiar projects,
not only for Highlanders-Goralen, but also for Kashubians -the Kaschubenvolk.
In November 1939, Krzeptowski and Cukier visited their new master, GG governor
Hans Frank, at Wawel Castle in Cracow and received an enthusiastic support
for their looney idea. Both, governor and Goralenfuehrer-to be,
delighted discussing similiarities of Nazi and Goralen swastikas. The later
ones were used as grave markings from ancient and long-forgotten times.
Krzeptowski managed even to impress the governor with his eagerness to
fight at the side of the Nazis against the"greatest threat to our civilization
- bolshevism". And it was still two years before it was to happen. What
a vision! Hans Frank revisited his brand-new "Germanic" compatriots just
few days later in Zakopane, approved the new flag of Goralenvolk proposed
by Cukier and authorized re-establishment of the Highlanders Union giving
them also a go-ahead to conduct the census in 1940 to find out how many
willing Goralen there were.
It was a great dissapointment for the Goralenfuehrer and his cohorts,
but only 18 % of the Highlanders accepted "G" cards (as opposed to "P"
cards for the Poles. Neverless, Hans Frank activated a Highlander Committee
in 1942 as a nucleus of the government for the Goralenvolk. Krzeptowski's
efforts to enlist some young people to the "Goralenlegion" failed miserably
and by the end of 1943 the Goralenvolk project was practically abandoned.
Krzeptowski withdrew from the Committee, refused German offer to evacuate
to the Reich and took refuge in the mountains. Wieder and Szatkowski were
moved to Germany for their safety. Soon after, the special unit of the
Home Army (AK) arrived in the Tatra region to dispense justice to Waclaw
Krzeptowski for high treason. They tracked his hide-out in the wild mountains
and hung him from a tree, ending his incomplete career as a Goralenfuehrer,
a chief, but without enough injuns- I mean Goralen.
Attached is Cukier's proposal for the flag of Goralenvolk, well liked
by Hans Frank, but never officially adopted. The Higlanders, very
often isolated and of very independent spirit,never developed any separate
flags or emblems, and always
proudly displayed Polish colors.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 12 Dec 2001
The text about the demise of Waclaw Krzeptowski is not very accurate
and needs clarification. Yes, the AK were after him - his brothers (a very
large family of 14 brothers and sister) and relatives (close cousins) were
in the AK and also couriers and guides over the Tatra mountains (they also
used the same route in the 1950's + Cold war to smuggle politicos out),
but he never betrayed them or even their whereabouts.
His brother Julian Krzeptowski held the 'trial' in the family
home and Waclaw was hung from a beam in the house.
I am named after my granduncle 'Julian' the judge who after
the war had a distinguished career as a lawyer and judge. Waclaw is not
mentioned in family discussions to this day.
Julian M Hoseason, 25 Aug 2004