Gleiwitz Radio Station

When Hitler had decided to invade Poland, he needed an event in which Poland was portrayed as the provocateur. This incident would then be used when he addressed the Reichstag and the outside world that Germany acted in self-defence and that Poland was responsible for the outbreak of war. Hitler therefore turned to the head of SD, Reinhard Heydrich, who was tasked with staging a ”polish” attack on Germany. Heydrich’s plan was to stage a number of incidents against German border posts and radio stations along the border. The most famous of these ”incidents” was the one against the radio station in Gleiwitz August 31, 1939. Heydrich compiled a group led by SS-Sturmbannführer Alfred Naujocks.

The assignment was codenamed Grossmutter gestorben (Grandma is dead), which was also the signal to the group to begin the attack. The group ”siezed” the radio station through a simulated shooting that went out into the airwaves and was followed by an anti-German message. To further reinforce the impression of a ”polish” attack, the Nazis had placed a corpse at the radio station. The corpse was a German murdered from Silesia called Franz Honiok. The corpse had been dressed in a Polish uniform and prepared with gunshot wounds and was shown to the international press as evidence of a Polish attack. However, the selected press was sceptical about the event, but Hitler defended it all by saying that the winner does not have to be held accountable for whether it was right or wrong.

Current status: Preserved with museum (2013).

Location: 50°18'46.66" N 18°41'22.93" E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

It is not only the mast and the room where the ”attack” took place that is preserved, the interior is also preserved. Hitler understood that the credibility of the attack was not watertight, but for Hitler this did not matter. He only needed one reason to justify his attack, there will still not be anyone who questions whether the winner had been right or wrong.

Follow up in books: Moorhouse, Roger: Poland 1939: The Outbreak of World War II (2020).