Inter-ethnic Relations in Vilnius Region during Nazi Occupation (1941-1944)
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The strategic aim of the Third Reich towards the Baltic Sea countries was their colonization and germanization.About 1/3 of the Lithuanians were to be germanized. The rest of the Lithuanians and Poles were to be resettled to the East. In the first years of the occupation German administration's policy was favorable towards the Lithuanians. They took the most important posts in the local administration of the Vilnius district, moreover, they held executive power in their hands. On the other hand, the German administration controlled the activity of the Lithuanian administration and did not allow to discriminate Poles, Belorussians and Russians. The Germans tried to take advantage of the Poles and Belorussians to restrain the Lithuanians' political aspirations. All nationalities were incited against Jews. In the second half of 1943 the German policy was already favorable towards Poles. The occupants avoided mass repressions. What is more, the German policy towards Belorussians and Russians was moderate and relatively soft. The Germans supported national rebirth of Belorussians. They tried to take advantage of Belorussian nationalism against Lithuanians and Poles. The German administration supported religious and cultural life of the Russians, propagated Russians' 'trips' to Germany to work there, encouraged them to join the police and army, and tried to separate the Russians from the impact of bolshevism.
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