Intelligenzaktion was a german action against the Polish intelligentsia in Upper Silesia – Kattowitz district 1939-1940.
“Only a nation whose leadership will be destroyed can be pushed to the role of slaves” – these words of the Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler best reflect the goals of the action. From the very first moments of the war, the Polish intelligentsia (the cultural and political elite along with the clergy) experienced severe repressions. The Germans did not spare landowners, entrepreneurs and the other professionals who inhabited Upper Silesia and the regions incorporated into the Kattowitz governmental district (the part of Third Reich).
The exhibition consists of twenty-four boards presenting the phases of the action, profiles of the victims and German concentration camps – places of persecution. For the first time, photographs and documents obtained from the private collections of the descendants of the action victims have come to light. The illustrations are accompanied by materials received from the Archdiocese Archives in Katowice, Archives of the parish of st. Szczepanaw in Katowice, State Archives in Katowice, Silesian Library, Central Military Archives, Museu d’Història de Catalunya – Fons Amical de Mauthausen, Institute of National Remembrance, National Digital Archives, Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and The US National Archives and Records Administration.
The premiere of the exhibition took place at the seat of the Polish Parlament in Warsaw in March 2018. It was also presented throughout Poland – in Katowice and Opole, Bielsko-Biała, Piekary Śląskie, Świętochłowice, Strzegom and the former German concentration camp Gross-Rosen. In April 2019, in cooperation with Polish communities in Germany and the Polish Consulate in Cologne, the exhibition was presented for the first time in Germany in Essen. In September 2019, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, the exhibition was presented in Berlin.
The idea of the exhibition came from the historian and journalist Dr Andrzej Krzystyniak. It was written and designed by Łukasz Kobiela. The exhibition serves as the first stage of the project, which includes publication of a book and further investigation of the fate of the victims of “Intelligenzaktion”.