Operation Główki

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This was a Polish programme by the Armia Krajowa (Home Army) to assassinate Nazi officials who had been sentenced to death by the resistance ‘special courts’ for crimes against Polish citizens 1943/44).

The undertaking was thus the resistance’s response to the Nazi terror effort to destroy the Polish intelligentsia and leadership, and to suppress the rest of the Polish population. In Warsaw alone, between 1942 and 1944, about 400 Poles were rounded up every day. Tens of thousands, including an estimated 37,000 people at the Pawiak prison complex run by the Gestapo and thousands of others in the ruins of the Warsaw ghetto, were killed in mass executions.

In retribution for these acts, and also the public execution of hostages, the resistance prepared lists of Nazi leaders who should be killed for these crimes. The targets of this operation were members of German administration, police, SS, SA, Gestapo and labour office. Because of the police’s brutality, the Home Army killed 361 gendarmes in 1943, and another 584 in 1944. From August to December 1942 the Home Army carried out 87 attacks on the German administration and members of its terror apparatus. In 1943 these numbers grew radically. During the first four months of 1943, the Home Army increased the attacks to 514.

Anton Hergel was a Nazi commissioner of printers who controlled press and publishers in the General Gouvernement, and resistance fighters wounded him twice in separate actions during 1943. Franz Bürkl was an SS-Oberscharführer, Gestapo officer and commandant of Pawiak, and was killed on 7 September 1943. August Kretschmann was an SS-Hauptscharfuhrer and commandant of the Gęsiówka prion camp, and was killed on 24 September 1943. Stephan Klein was an SS-Scharführer and on the staff of the Pawiak prison, and was killed in 1943. Franz Kutschera was an SS-Brigadeführer and Generalmajor der SS heading the police in the Warsaw district, and was killed on 1 February 1944. Ernst Weffels was an SS-Sturmmann and on the staff of the Pawiak prison, and was killed on 1 October 1943 for cruelty and executions in the women’s prison at Pawiak.

Ludwig Fischer was governor of the Warsaw District during the period of the General Gouvernement. Shots were fired at his car in 1944 but he survived to be hanged after the war. Albrecht Eitner was a secret agent working for the Abwehr, and was killed on 1 July 1944. Willi Lübbert worked at the unemployment office and organised round-ups of Poles to be sent to labour camps, and was killed on 1 July 1944. Wilhelm Koppe was an SS-Obergruppenführer and head of the Höhere SS und Polizei Führer, and was wounded on 11 July 1944 in Kraków. Willy Leitgeber was an officer of Kripo (criminal police) section assigned to fight the Polish underground, and was wounded in one action and killed in a second. Michajło Pohołowko was a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator of the Komitet Ukraiński, and was killed on 31 March 1944.

Walter Stamm was an SS-Sturmbannführer, IV Department Gestapo and head of the SD in Warsaw, and escaped assassination on 5 May 1944. Eugen Bollodino was a member of the unemployment office and organised round-ups of Poles to be sent to labour camps, and was killed in 1944. Karl Freudenthal was a Kreishauptmann and responsible for the murder of Jews and Poles in Garwolin and also for the deportation of Jews to the ghettos, and was killed on 5 July 1944.