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An Ominous Setting in a City

Having chosen Kraków as the capital of the General Government, the German occupier had to prove that it was an ancient German city reclaimed for the Third Reich.  This appropriation was carried out by way of ubiquitous Nazi symbols.


The symbolic taking over of the city space began in the first days of September 1939 when a flag with a swastika was hung at the Wawel Castle. Dr Monika Rydiger and Prof. Jacek Purchla talk about the transformation of Krakow into a model German city in the East with the help of visual propaganda that included battalions of flags with swastikas, posters, slogans, and the images of the Nazi eagle placed all over the city. March music was played and death sentences were announced through megaphones, street names were changed, monuments were toppled, and "Nur für Deutsche" placards were put in many places forbidding Polish residents to use stores, eating establishments, streetcars, and even city benches or parks. The regularly organised marches and nearly theatrical celebrations of Nazi anniversaries and holidays, such as the anniversary of the outbreak of war or Adolf Hitler's birthday, also reminded the citizens of the overwhelming presence of the occupying forces.


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