Nowy Sącz district under the German rule. The district starosty and occupant’s civil institutions

Dawid Golik

The defeat of Poland in 1939 led to the Nowy Sącz district being seized by the German troops. Initially, the authority over occupied Polish lands was exercised by the Wehrmacht, but after the fights were over, it was to be taken over by the so-called “Civil Administrations” created specially for this purpose under each of the Army Groups. On 9 September 1939 the staff of the Civil Administration of gen. Wilhelm List’s 14th Army found itself in Kraków, where it began forming the occupation administration in the territories of Lesser Poland already occupied by the army.

Already on 15 September 1939 Dr. Hans Frank became the Chief of Civil Administration of the so-called occupied Eastern lands. Three weeks later, on 8 October 1939, the decree of Adolf Hitler entered into force, under which Pomerania, Greater Poland, part of Masovia, Kuyavia and Suwałki region, as well as Silesia and western parts of the pre-war Kraków voivodeship were incorporated directly into the Reich. From the remaining Polish territories under German occupation, the General Government with the capital in Krakow was created on 26 October (it was done by Hitler’s decree of 12 October 1939).

Formally full authority in the GG was held personally by the governor, and the body supporting him was the Office of the General Governor, which was transformed in 1940 into the Government of the General Government. It was headed by Dr Josef Bühler, who coordinated the work of its administrative department and individual departments – internal affairs, treasury, justice, economy, food and agriculture, forests, labor, propaganda, science and education, construction, railroad and mail. The institution structures subordinate to the particular departments had their own representation in the various districts of the GG, and they also had their agendas on the poviat level.[1]

The General Government was divided into four districts (Kraków, Radom, Warsaw and Lublin), to which the Distrikt Galizien was added in 1941, formed from some of the lands occupied by the German army after their aggression against the USSR. The Kraków district did not cover the exact territory of pre-war Kraków voivodeship – its area added up to 26.000 km², so it was larger than the former administrative unit by almost 9.000 km². It was also inhabited by a much larger number of people (3.660.000 in 1940).[2] The district itself consisted of one city-poviat (Stadhauptmannschaft) in Kraków and the so-called district poviats (Kreishauptmannschaften): Kraków (rural poviat), Miechów, Tarnów, Dębica, Rzeszów, Jarosław, Nowy Targ, Nowy Sącz, Jasło and Sanok. In 1941, two other district poviats were added – Przemyśl and Krosno. The remote departments of the poviat administration, known as the land commissariats (Landkommissariat), also functioned in Limanowa, Gorlice and Rabka[3], and additionally in some cities municipal commissariats (Stadtkommissariat) were created. At the lower level of the administration, the offices of mayor (Bürgermeister), wójt (Vogt) and sołtys (Schulze) were retained, but they were not elected, instead they were appointed by the Germans. In most cases, the officials of the lowest level were left in their positions, only in special situations, they were replaced with new people.[4]

The Germans included the pre-war Limanowa poviat in the newly established Nowy Sącz district (Kreishauptmannschaft Neu-Sandez). To improve their administrative efficiency, they created a land commissariat there (Landkomissariat Limanowa), as a remote department of the starosty. The entire district territory in 1942 was a total area of 2.510 km² and was inhabited by about 315.000 people. The district consisted of 7 cities – Nowy Sącz (officially referred to as Neu-Sandez with 27.037 inhabitants)[5], Krynica (Bad-Krynica), Stary Sącz (Alt-Sandez), Piwniczna, Muszyna, Grybów and Limanowa – and 26 rural communes: Chełmiec, Dobra, Grybów (village), Jodłownik, Kamienica, Kobyle-Gródek, Korzenna, Krynica (village), Limanowa (village), Łabowa, Łącko, Łososina Dolna, Łukowica, Mszana Dolna, Mszana Górna, Muszyna (village), Nawojowa, Nowy Sącz (village), Niedźwiedź, Piwniczna (village), Skrzydlna, Stadło, Stary Sącz (village), Tylicz, Tymbark and Ujanowice.[6]

DR Walter Hübschmann became the first civilian administrator of the future Nowy Sącz district of GG (formally as a district commissioner), and from 13 December 1939 until the end of the war, the office of the staroste was held by Dr. Reinhard Busch.[7] He lived in an official apartment located in the starosty building at Jagiellońska 33 Str.[8] Otto Bauer, who was his deputy from 1941, lived at that time at Czarnieckiego-boczna 5 Str. In 1940 the land commissioner in Limanowa was Dr. Heinz Georg Neumann, who was replaced in 1942 by Viktor Muegge, while the city commissioners (Stadtkomissar) of Nowy Sącz were Dr. Ernst Hein (until October 1940), Dr. Friedrich Schmidt (from October 1940 to January 1942) and Dr. Herbert Hüller (until January 1945).[9] The great part of the city officials worked in the Town Hall, while they were mostly accommodated in official apartments at Jagiellońska, Czarnieckiego and Czarnieckiego-boczna Strs. For example, in 1942, the commissioner’s official apartment was located at Czarnieckiego-boczna 3 Str. A separate municipal commissariat also functioned in Krynica, which received a special status as a health resort. From 15 April 1940 the municipal commissioner (Stadtkommissar) and at the same time the director of the health resort was Dr. Georg Nave.[10]

In addition to the starosty main headquarters, there were also starosty departments and other offices connected with it located in separate buildings in the city. Opposite the starosty building, at Jagiellońska 26 Str. (the building of the pre-war Municipal Savings Bank) there was the Food and Agriculture Department (Amt für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft), headed by Paul Dorsch. His private apartment was located at Czarnieckiego 5 Str. Other locations worth mentioning was that of the Labour Office at Jagiellońska 28 Str. (moved there from Konarskiego 6 Str.), and that of the Road Administration (Strassenbauamt) and the District Council – both were located at Dunajewskiego 11 Str.[11] Other relevant offices were: the Remote Department of the Central Technical Office in Kraków (Jagiellońska 12 Str.), the Tax Office (Jagiellońska 52 Str.) and the Issuing Bank Branch (Jagiellońska 56 Str.).[12] One can also not forget about objects important for propaganda and Germanization, such as the Parteihaus (former Gen. Pieracki Riflemen’s House) or the German House at Jagiellońska 14 Str.[13]

Another service directly connected with the district administration in Nowy Sącz was the Sonderdienst (Special Service), which was established with the 1940 regulation of Hans Frank. It was a particular type of police or auxiliary paramilitary organization subordinate to the GG administration. Its members were Germans and the Volksdeutsche. Therefore the Sonderdienst could have been seen as a special formation protecting the staroste and other officials in Nowy Sącz. As Grzegorz Olszewski, a Nowy Sącz historian wrote, based on the account of Maria Giza-Podgórska who worked in the starosty: Few people, recruited only from the non-local Volksdeutsche, served in it. They wore blue and green uniforms.[14] In 1942 The Sonderdienst was incorporated into the Orpo, and in September 1944 a large part of its members were made soldiers of the Wehrmacht.

During the war the command of the Nowy Sącz Sonderdienst was located at Jagiellońska 32 Str. The number of members of this formation varied over the years, but there is no detailed information on this subject, apart from the intelligence gathered by the Home Army, according to which in December 1944 there was 30 Sonderdienst officers in Nowy Sącz.[15] In August 1944, all Sonderdienst battalions were ordered to join the works on fortifications construction and to collect overdue quotas in the entire General Government. At that time, as many as 3 battalions of the formation were stationed in the Krakow district (1st, 7th and 8th). None of them was in the area at that time, but because of the reorganization of the 5th (Lviv) battalion os Sonderdienst, withdrawn from the east in July, one of its platoons (counting one officer and 50 servicemen) was sent to Nowy Sącz.[16]

Although in theory Sonderdienst was supposed to serve the local civil administration, it sometimes also became a problem for it. In January 1941, the staroste of Nowy Sącz complained to his superiors that some members of the formation had to be dismissed and went to prison due to abuse of their power. There have been cases of officers unlawfully entering private apartments of Poles, seizing their property and appropriating it for private purposes, as well as of unjustified use of violence (including cases of beatings).[17] These cases and the lack of adequate knowledge on the uniforms and functions of various German police units, resulted in some of the actions of the Sonderdienst being perceived as done by the security police; members of this organization were sometimes also called “Gestapo officers”.

The policy of the German authorities in the occupied territories included maximised usage of their economic potential and natural resources. One of the sectors of industry particularly important for the Third Reich was the wood industry, as wood was needed both for civil construction and for the armaments plants. Due to the large number of forests located in the Nowy Sącz district, numerous offices connected with the wood industry had to be located here. Nowy Sącz was the headquarters of the Forest Supervision Authority, as well as of the forest district office (Walter Philipp was the forest district manager in 1943[18]), the forest guard was also stationed in the city. The offices of these institutions were located at Św Ducha Str.[19], and the Forest Inspectorate was located at Zygmuntowska 8 Str.[20]

It is worth writing a few words to the units of the German forest guard – Forstschutzkommando (FSK), known in short as Forstschutz.[21] It was established in 1939 and its members were recruited from among German officials and forest workers who voluntarily joined the formation, underwent training and were later sent to the GG. Their highest superior was the Reich’s Forest Master and Master Huntsman of the Reich Hermann Göring, who was also the main commander of the German air force Luftwaffe – it was one of the reasons why, the training of the forest guard was carried out by the soldiers of the Luftwaffe and the officers of the German police. Forstschutz was supposed to prevent wood theft, prepare wood transport, supervise sawmills and train Polish foresters and forest workers in the professional techniques. In addition, the guards tasks included catching poachers and people illegally staying in the forests – which in practice meant Polish and Jewish people hiding there and members of the underground. The FSK guards were armed, they could direct cases to German courts and issue fines.[22]

Not much is known about the structure of the German forest guard in the southern poviats of the Kraków district[23], but it was certainly active at larger facilities of the wood industry, and supervised the Polish workers involved in tree logging in the areas of Rabka, Kamienica and Nawojowa. The FSK was subordinate to the Department of Forests (Hauptabteilung Forsten) of the GG Government, headed by Oberlandforstmeister Dr. Eißfeldt.[24] In turn, the forestry department in the office of the head of the Kraków district was directed by Landforstmeister Dr. Schnell.[25] At the end of the war, the head of the combined forest supervision offices for Nowy Sącz, Jasło and the western part of the Krosno poviat was Forstmeister (from 1943 Oberforstmeister) Paul Drosihn.[26]

In 1942, the Forstschutzkommando III/6 was headquartered in Nowy Sącz.[27] In turn the list drawn up by the Home Army in October 1944 descibed the 20-person group of forest guards stationed in the city, as Forstschutzkompanie 6/III and 3/V.[28] The archives also hold a note saying that in January 1945 a group of forest guards from Nowy Sącz area was transformed into a regular unit (Forstschutzkorps III/16; 1 officer, 40 sub-officers and regular guards) and subordinated it to the order police unit of Mjr. Maschlanka (Schuma 206).[29]

The last formation, which is worth mentioning when talking about the operation of central structures of civil administration in the Nowy Sącz district, is the Baudienst (Construction Service). It was a mass organization of forced labor created by the Germans in the GG in the spring of 1940, which employed German officials and instructors. Polish and Ukrainian youth, as a cheap and efficient labor force, was to serve in it, working in the agriculture and for the military. Membership in the formation was mandatory for groups of young men born in specified years (so-called “junaks”). In the period of its greatest development, which falls between 1942 and 1944, the service operated in the Kraków, Radom and Lublin districts, as well as the district of Galicia. It consisted then of about 45.000 people.[30] Nowy Sącz was the location of the Baudiensthauptstelle № 111, with its office at Jagiellońska 7 Str. From 1943 it was headed by Richard Lippke, who lived at Konarskiego 3 Str.

It should be mentioned that in the initial period the conscription into the construction service in the Nowy Sącz district was not going to well for the Germans. Therefore, in October 1940, there was even a decision to choose hostages for the persons who were to be mandatory conscripted; and the task to search for and bring the junaks to the assembly points was jointly performed by the protective police company, the gednarmerie platoon and the Sonderdienst.[31] In the following years, the members of the Baudienst performed various works ordered by the Germans in the entire district and in the city itself. Among others, they installed paving slabs in Nowy Sącz in 1941, they were also responsible for removing snow from the sidewalks.[32]


[1] G. Mazur, W. Rojek, M. Zgórniak, Wojna i okupacja na Podkarpaciu i Podhalu na obszarze inspektoratu ZWZ-AK Nowy Sącz 1939–1945, Kraków 1998, p. 53. See: Das Deutsche Generalgouvernement Polen, Krakau 1940; Struktura organizacyjna urzędu dystryktu (Amt des Distrikts) i starostw (Kreishauptmannschaft) w Generalnej Guberni, Informacja wewnętrzna Nr 12 Ministerstwa Sprawiedliwości – Głównej Komisji Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce, Warszawa 1970.

[2] E. Rączy, Zagłada Żydów w dystrykcie krakowskim w latach 1939–1945, Rzeszów 2014, pp. 71–72; M. Roth, Herrenmenschen. Die deutschen Kreishauptleute im besetzten Polen – Karrierwege, Herrschaftspraxis und Nachgeschichte, Göttingen 2009, p. 441. In 1940, approximately 6% of the district’s population were Jews and 7% were Ukrainians.

[3] G. Mazur, W. Rojek, M. Zgórniak, op. cit., pp. 54–55.

[4]Archiwum Głównej Komisji Ścigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej w Warszawie [later as: IPN GK], 196/281, Akta procesu Josefa Bühlera, Tätigkeitsbericht der Kreishauptmannschaft Neumarkt (Dunajec) vom 17. September bis 31. Mai 1941, p. 160.

[5] This was of course, data for 1943. Already in 1941, in one of official letters the employees of the German starosty in Nowy Sącz noted that there are about 40.000 people living within the city, including 11.000 Jews. See Bundesarchiv Berlin-Lichterfelde [later as: BArch], Obj. 12 ZD 55-1020, Hermann Hammelmann, Personalakten, Der Chef des Amtes, Personalamt, 10.06.1941. Formally, the name of the city of Nowy Sącz was changed to Neu-Sandez only as of 1.10.1941. See: IPN GK 196/302, Änderung von Ortsnamen im Generalgouvernement, Krakau, 15.09.1941, p. 73.

[6] Amtliche Gemeinde- und Dorfverzeichnis für das Generalgouvernement auf Grund der Summarichen Bevölkerungsbestantsaufnahme am 1. März 1943, Krakau 1943, pp. 29–30. According to German data from February 1940, the Nowy Sącz district had an area of 2.535,3 km² and was inhabited by 300.140 people (IPN GK 196/277, Akta procesu Josefa Bühlera, Statistik der Bevölkerungsdichte im Generalgouvernement, p. 26); M. Roth, op. cit., p. 216.

[7] IPN GK 196/267, Akta procesu Josefa Bühlera [later as: IPN GK 196/267], Wykaz nominacji wyższych urzędników zatwierdzonych bezpośrednio przez Josefa Bühlera, p. 299; J. Bieniek, W cieniu swastyki, cz. II…, s. 128–146; M. Roth, op. cit., pp. 463–464, 482.

[8] G. Olszewski, Ziemia sądecka. Monografia historyczna administracji lokalnej, Nowy Sącz 2014, p. 457.

[9] BArch, ZB II, 1429 A02, Distrikt Krakau, Tagebuch des Stadtkomissars von Neu Sandez, Bericht über die Räumung der Kreishauptmannschaft Neu-Sandez, Meißen, 12.02.1945; IPN GK 196/258, Akta procesu Josefa Bühlera [later as: IPN GK 196/258], „Die Dienststellen des Generalgouvernements und Ihre Leiter. Stand vom 1. Juni 1940”, p. 304; IPN GK 196/267, Wykaz nominacji wyższych urzędników zatwierdzonych bezpośrednio przez Josefa Bühlera, p. 270; IPN GK 196/276, Akta procesu Josefa Bühlera [later as: IPN GK 196/276], Lagebericht für den Monat Oktober 1940, Neu Sandez, 29.10.1940, p. 162; F. Grodkowski, Okupacja hitlerowska w Nowym Sączu i Sądeczyźnie w latach 1939–1945, „Rocznik Sądecki” 1964, vol. 6, p. 146; M. Roth, op. cit., pp. 480, 501– 502. It is worth mentioning that before the civil administration was introduced, the first military commander of the city was capt. Behrens. It can also not be ruled out before Dr. Hein the office of the municipal commissioner of Nowy Sącz was held by another German official – a man named Stabdill.  See: J. Bieniek, W cieniu swastyki, cz. II. Starostwo powiatowe w Nowym Sączu, “Rocznik Sądecki” 1995, vol. 23, pp. 130–131; Barch, Obj. 12 ZD 55-1020, Hermann Hammelmann, Personalakten.

[10] BArch, ZR 940, Wnioski odznaczeniowe urzędników GG; IPN GK 196/258, Übersicht über die Dienststellen des Generalgouvernements und Ihre Leiter, 1.09.1941, p. 377; IPN GK 196/276, Lagebericht für den Monat November 1940, Neu Sandez, 29.11.1940, pp. 100–101.

[11] Cf. L. Zakrzewski, Bierna obrona przeciwlotnicza ludności miasta Nowego Sącza w okresie okupacji [in:] Bierna obrona ludności cywilnej Nowego Sącza – zarys dziejów, ed. by L. Zakrzewski, Nowy Sącz 2017, p. 86.

[12] Ibidem, pp. 87–88.

[13] Ibidem, pp. 87, 90.

[14] G. Olszewski, op. cit., p. 457.

[15] Muzeum Krakowa [later as: MK], Zbiory Andrzeja Szczygła, Zespół 1. psp AK, 1/VII do 2/I, Uzupełnienie do O de B npla, 15.12.1944.

[16] IPN GK 196/380, Akta procesu Josefa Bühlera, Einsatz der Sonderdienstes, Krakau, 15.08.1944, pp. 229–230.

[17] IPN GK 196/269, Akta procesu Josefa Bühlera [later as: IPN GK 196/269], Auszug aus den Lageberichten der Kreis- und Stadthauptleute für den Monat Januar 1941, Krakau, 28.02.1941, p. 303.

[18] IPN GK 196/267, Wykaz nominacji wyższych urzędników zatwierdzonych bezpośrednio przez Josefa Bühlera, p. 301.

[19] MK, Zbiory Andrzeja Szczygła, Zespół 1. psp AK, c/10 do c/0014, O de B npla, 4.10.1944.

[20] L. Zakrzewski, op. cit., p. 90.

[21] IPN GK 196/265, Akta procesu Josefa Bühlera, Umbenennung des Forstschutzkommando, Krakau, 8.10.1943, k. 346. From 1.10.1943 Forstschutzkommando was renamed to Forstschutzkorps – forest guard corps, which was motivated by the fact that the formation also operated outside the GG borders.

[22] IPN GK 196/289, Akta procesu Josefa Bühlera, Das Forstschutzkommando (FSK) im Generalgouvernement, Krakau, 3.06.1941, pp. 243–245; T. Sudoł, Poligon Wehrmachtu „Południe”, Rzeszów 2009, pp. 107–108.

[23] Amtliches Fernsprechbuch für den Distrikt Krakau, Krakau 1942, p. 18. Its headquarters was then located in Kraków at Karolinger-Seitenstrasse 9.

[24] IPN GK 196/259, Akta procesu Josefa Bühlera, „Dienststellen des Generalgouvernement mit Namens- und Anschriftenverzeichnis (Stand: 1. September 1941)”, p. 293. In other German documents the name is sometimes also spelled differently – Eissfeldt.

[25] IPN GK 196/258, „Die Dienststellen des Generalgouvernements und Ihre Leiter. Stand vom 1. Juni 1940”, p. 303.

[26] BArch, ZA VI, 1902 A11, Vorläufiges – Kriegstagebuch 14.1. – 28.1.1945. IPN GK 196/267, Lista urzędników mianowanych przez Józefa Bühlera, pp. 256, 328; Archiwum Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej w Krakowie [later as: IPN Kr] 075/1, Wywiad i kontrwywiad niemiecki, vol. 17, underground note concerning officials in the district of Krakow GG, p. 155. In 1940, the structure of forest offices in the Kraków district was completely different. Forest supervision offices (Forstinspektionen) at that time were located in Kraków, Rabka, Zakopane, Stary Sącz and Nowy Sącz as well as in Miechów, Tarnów, Mielec and Jasło (IPN GK 196/258, “Die Dienststellen des Generalgouvernements und Ihre Leiter. Stand vom 1. Juni 1940”, p. 306).

[27] Amtliches Fernsprechbuch für den Distrikt Krakau, op. cit., p. 47. According to a testimony of a Sipo officer from Nowy Sącz, Johann Gorka, the local branches of Forstschutzkommando were used, among others, in the ghetto liquidation operations and the executions of Jewish population living in the Nowy Sącz district. See: IPN KR 075/1, vol. 39, Zeznania Jana Górki, 10.10.1945, p. 143.

[28] MK, Zbiory Andrzeja Szczygła, Zespół 1. psp AK, O de B nieprzyjaciela na terenie inspektoratu Nowy Sącz z 4.10.1944 r.

[29] Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv Freiburg im Breisgau, BAMA, RH 53-23/48, Karten der vorbereiteten Stellungen mit geplanter Besetzung 1944 – Januar 1945, Einsatz „Ziethen”, Div.z.b.V. 601 [as at 6.01.1945], p. 2.

[30] For more information on the Construction Service in GG see: M. Wróblewski, Służba Budowlana (Baudienst) w Generalnym Gubernatorstwie 1940–1945, Warszawa 1984

[31] IPN GK 196/276, Lagebericht für den Monat Oktober 1940, Neu Sandez, 29.10.1940, p. 32.

[32] IPN GK 196/269, Auszug aus den Lageberichten der Kreis- und Stadthauptleute für den Monat January 1941, Krakau, 28.02.1941, p. 303.