Albert Forster

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Albert Forster
Albert Forster in white uniform.jpg
Full Name: Albert Maria Forster
Origin: Fürth, Bavaria, Germany
Occupation: Gauleiter of the Free City of Danzig (1930 - 1939)
Reichsstatthalter of Danzig-West Prussia (1939 - 1945)
Goals: Exterminate the Poles (failed)
Exterminate all Jews in Danzig and Prussia (failed)
Crimes: War crimes
Mass murder
Ethnic cleansing
Crimes against humanity
Type of Villain: Nazi War Criminal

Jews are not humans, and must be eradicated like vermin. Mercy towards Jews is reprehensible. Any means of destruction of Jews is desirable.
~ Albert Forster

Albert Maria Forster (26 July 1902 – 28 February 1952) was a Nazi German politician, member of the Schutzstaffel and war criminal. Under his administration as the Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter of Danzig-West Prussia (the other German-annexed section of occupied Poland aside from the Warthegau) during World War II, the local non-German population of Poles and Jews was classified as sub-human and subjected to extermination campaign involving ethnic cleansing, mass murder, and in case of some Poles with German ancestry, forceful Germanisation. Forster was directly responsible for the extermination of non-Germans and was a strong supporter of Polish genocide, which he had advocated for before the war. Forster was tried, convicted and hanged in Warsaw for his crimes, after Germany was defeated.


Early life and career

Albert Forster attendended the Humanistische Gymnasium in Fürth from 1912 to 1920. He became member of the Sturmabteilung of Fürth in 1923, and observed the high treason process against Erich LudendorffAdolf Hitler and further eight accused of participating in the Beer Hall Putsch, which took place from 26 February to 1 April 1924, in the court of Munich.

He became Gauliter (governor) of the province Danzig-West Prussia from 1939 to 1945. He persued a policy of assimilation of the Poles in his area of responsibility, in which he simply declared them to be German. This policy was in direct contrast to what was going on in the Warthegau by Gauliter Arthur Greiser. Griser zealously persued a policy of ethnic cleansing and had complained to SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler that Forster's assimilation policy was against Nazi racial theory. When Himmler threatened Forster over this issue, Forster simply ignored him, realizing that Hitler allowed each Gauliter to run his area as he saw fit.

World War II

Forster was one of those responsible for the mass murders in Piaśnica, where approximately 12,000 to 16,000 Poles, Jews, Czechs and even Germans were killed in the winter of 1939-1940. Forster personally encouraged such violence; in a speech at the Prusinski Hotel in Wejherowo he incited ethnic Germans to attack Poles by saying "We have to eliminate the lice-ridden Poles, starting with those in the cradle. In your hands I give the fate of the Poles; you can do with them what you want". The crowd gathered before the hotel chanted "Kill the Polish dogs!" and "Death to the Poles". The Selbstschutz later participated in the massacres as Piaśnica.

When the Holocaust got underway, Forster declared that "Jews are not humans, and must be eradicated like vermin...mercy towards Jews is reprehensible. Any means of destruction of Jews is desirable." Jews were killed locally or deported to the General Government. By November 1939 Danzig-West Prussia was declared "Judenfrei". It is estimated that up to 30,000 Jews from Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany in Pomerania and attached to Danzig-West Prussia were murdered during the war.

Despite his relatively mild administration of occupied Polish Territory, Forster was responsible of expulsion of several hundred thousands Poles to the General Governement and Stutthof concentration camp. He was also one of the responsibles for mass murder at Piasnica, where approximately 60 000 Polish and Kashub inteligentsia were killed.

Around 70 camps were set up for Polish people in Pomerania where they were subjected to murder, torture and, in the case of women and girls, rape before being executed. Between the 10th and 15th of September, Forster organised a meeting of top Nazi officials in his region and ordered the immediate removal of all "dangerous" Poles, all Jews, and all Polish clergy. In some cases Forster ordered executions himself. On the 19th of October he reprimanded Nazi officials in the city of Grudziadz for not "spilling enough Polish blood."

The total number of victims of what Christopher Browning calls an "orgy of murder and deportation" cannot be precisely estimated. Forster reported that 87,000 people had been "evacuated" from the region by February 1940.

After the war

At the end of the war, Forster took refuge in the British Occupation Zone of Germany. The British handed him over to the People's Republic of Poland.

In 1948, Forster was condemned to death by the Polish court for war crimes (the Supreme National Tribunal) and crimes against humanity. He was held and had his sentence deferred. The Polish president denied clemency on 21 February 1952 and Forster was moved from Gdańsk to Mokotów Prison in Warsaw, where he was hanged on 28 February 1952. His wife, who had not heard from him since 1949, was informed of his death in 1954.