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German-Occupied Territories 1939-1945

Last modified: 2005-04-09 by santiago dotor
Keywords: third reich | german-occupied territories | ostland | reichskommissariat |
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In fact local flags were tolerated in the occupied territories under some circumstances: the classic example is the white-red-blue of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. I think I am right in saying that in some of the western occupied territories local flags were sometimes allowed. I know I have seen a picture of a propaganda poster from the German-occupied Netherlands which showed the Dutch tricolour in the context of trying to drum up support for the occupying regime. In the Channel Islands local ships were required to use the Jersaise and Guernsaise flags, as obviously using the Red Ensign would not have been permitted (or safe).

The other Reichkommissariaten covered the Ukraine, Norway and the Netherlands. They are usually shown in maps of Hitler's Europe as being outside the boundaries of the Reich, unlike Bohemia and Moravia and the General-Government of Poland which are usually shown inside.

Roy Stilling, 5 June 2000

National flags were used as shoulder patches by some of the foreign legions of the Third Reich — I have seen the Netherlands, Flanders (the Flemish lion), Wallonia (the Belgian tricolour), and France. (...) As far as I know a Reichkommissariat was an occupied territory under civil administration. E.g. Belgium had a military administration, and was no Reichkommissariat. The plan of Hitler was to divide (the European part of) the Soviet Union in four Reichkommissariaten:

By the way, the Reichkommissar Ostland was Hinrich Lohse, Gauleiter of Schleswig-Holstein and the Reichkommissar Ukraine was Erich Koch, Gauleiter of East Prussia. Source: Raum im Osten in Bericht van de Tweede Wereldoorlog.

Mark Sensen, 6 June 2000

Ostland 1941-1944

Reichskommissariat Ostland

I am working on a project focusing on the military histories of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. My current research efforts are centered around Germany's Ostland from 1941 to 1945. To date I have not been able to ascertain whether Ostland ever was issued its own flag or standard during the war. In addition, in the event of a German military victory over the Soviet Union, was Ostland to have received its own flag? My quest is more in the lines of political administration flags than flags of the various combat elements which were created and fielded during the German occupation era (1941-1945).

Arvo L. Vercamer, 3 June 2000

Ostland was not an overinflated East Prussia (this was rather the Bialystok region which was annexed directly to the so-called Greater German Reich and organised into a Gau). The Reichskommissariat Ostland consisted of the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and the north-western portion of what is now Belarus. I am not entirely sure what its status was. I would doubt very much it had a flag of its own, except perhaps for some flag of office of the Reichskommissar. However, it is possible that puppet regimes in some of the territories that made it up may have had flags. If I remember correctly the Third Reich authorities did allow some sort of very limited self-government in the Baltic states, at least for a time, although the eastern occupied territories were of course treated far more harshly than the western ones.

Roy Stilling, 5 June 2000

In all of the documents and photographs I have seen from the era, the German Reichsfahne [probably the swastika flag] is the most commonly used one in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Of interest is that Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian pre-war flags were tolerated in Ostland; they even flew below the German flag on many German special event days. Baltic district and county flags were also allowed to be displayed during the German occupation era. My guess is that since many of these local flags often contained elements from German heraldry or other German influences from their past 700 years of sitting in the Baltics, they really did not have too many objections about that.

Part of my thoughts for my posting came from this little oddity [an alternate history webpage] I saw a few days ago. With the exception of the German national flag, the rest were a bit "new" to me. I can not find any authoritative references to the existence of these flags.

Arvo Vercamer, 7 June 2000

Several of the five volumes of Uniforms, Organization and History of the Waffen-SS, R. James Bender Publishing, San Jose (California), include references to volunteer units from the three Baltic states which are shown displaying their national flag or variants of it, both in flag and emblem forms. I know however of no joint flag or emblem for Ostland.

Santiago Dotor, 7 June 2000

Netherlands 1941-1944

Reichskommissariat Niederlande

I know I have seen a picture of a propaganda poster from the German-occupied Netherlands which showed the Dutch tricolour in the context of trying to drum up support for the occupying regime.

Roy Stilling, 5 June 2000

The Dutch flag was allowed, although the use was restricted (at least since ca. 1942/1943). (...) The Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging used the Princevlag, i.e. with orange instead of red. I have never seen a special flag for the Reichkommissar for the Netherlands, the Austrian-born Seyss-Inquart. But that does not mean there wasn't such a flag.

Mark Sensen, 6 June 2000