General Government

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Detailed map of the General Government. Without Galicia and part of Cracow region, it roughly equated to Congress Poland.

The General Government (German: Generalgouvernement für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete, a name that is usually translated as "General Government for the Occupied Polish Territories"; Polish: Generalne Gubernatorstwo) was, during World War II, the remaining part of totally defeated Poland which was not formally annexed by National Socialist Germany or the Soviet Union. The Generalgouvernement was nevertheless administered by Germany with the lawyer Hans Frank as Governor. This Government must not be confused with the German General Government of Warsaw (Generalgouvernement Warschau) of World War I.


In October 1939, Germany annexed most of western Poland. Liberated German territories and the Free City of Danzig were incorporated into the new province of Danzig-West Prussia. The district of Zichenau, directly to the south of Allenstein, East Prussia, was attached to the German province of East Prussia. The former Prussian province of Posen and part of Lodz were combined into a new province called the Warthegau. Finally, the Polish part of Upper Silesia, a small area of southwestern Poland including the cities of Katowice and Oswiecim (Auschwitz), was incorporated into the German province of Silesia.

The remainder of partitioned Poland that fell to Germany under the secret provisions of the German-Soviet agreements of August and September 1939 was organized into the General Government of occupied Poland on 26 October 1939, based on a Führer decree from 12 October 1939. The Germans placed the Generalgouvernement under civilian authority with the seat in Krakau rather than in Warsaw for security reasons. The chief administrator was Governor General Hans Frank, a lawyer and longtime follower of Adolf Hitler. The area was divided into four administrative districts with seats at Krakow, Warsaw, Radom, and Lublin.

Operation Barbarossa

After the invasion of the Soviet Union by Germany on 22 June 1941, that part of the territory annexed by the Soviet Union from Poland in September 1939 (Galicia – which was a League of Nations Mandate before the Soviet invasion) was also transferred to the General Government.