Gleiwitz incident

The attack on the Gleiwitz radio station on 31 August 1939 was a sham by the SS by the alias company Tannenberg. He is the best known of a series of incidents that served as a pretext for the propaganda campaign in Poland, the beginning of the Second World War.

Case history

In Hitler’s speech before the commanders on 22 August 1939, expressed Hitler before the assembled commanders:

On 10 August 1939 the chief of the SD Reinhard Heydrich, the SS-Sturmbannf├╝hrer Alfred Naujocks, ordered an attack on the radio station at Gleiwitz fake near the Polish border, and make it appear as if Poland had been the aggressor.


Naujocks had been held since mid-August 1939 in the hotel “Upper Silesia” in Gleiwitz and waited for his deployment order. On the afternoon of 31 August 1939 against 16 clock he received a call from Berlin “dead grandmother” with the slogan.
Against 20 clock Naujocks then penetrated five or six SS men armed with machine guns in civilian clothes, representing Polish partisans (the “false flag”), a building in the transmission of the transmitter Gleiwitz. Two police officers at the gate were in on the action, the guard had left his post. In the operating room of the transmitter overpowered the four men and took them tied up in a basement room. The Gleiwitz radio station broadcasted no specific program, but took over the kingdom of the station Wroclaw. Therefore, had the SS detail, in which there was only a telecommunications technician to interrupt with some difficulty feeding program and obtain what is called a thunderstorm microphone that had to be found, access to the station. Via the station was finally in German and Polish language, an alleged uprising of the Polish minority proclaimed: “Caution! Attention! Here is Gleiwitz. The transmitter is in Polish hands … The hour of freedom has come!” The following announcement was read out prepared. It lasted just under four minutes. The show ended with the call: “Long live Poland!” The action lasted only a few minutes, then disappeared Naujocks and his men again.

What remained was a dead man. It was the 41-year Oberschlesier Franciszek (Francis) Honiok. His body was to serve as evidence of an alleged Polish attack in the transmission system.
Of the Gestapo known as poland friendly representatives for farm equipment had been arrested the day before in a nearby village of Gliwice, since a person was needed as an alleged perpetrator, the one zutraute a raid on the station and an anti-German speech on the radio. Honiok was brought from custody at police headquarters in the Gleiwitz radio station, after him, the SS doctor, Dr. med Horst Strasbourg, a numbing injection was administered. He was taken unconscious at the broadcasting center. Whether he died or was killed by the syringe or another Naujocks present SS unit is still not known.

Propagandistic exploitation

At 22.30 clock first reported the Reich radio about the attack on the Gleiwitz radio station and other border incidents.
The next day, across the German press, the message appeared from the alleged assault. The VB wrote under the heading “The incredible band attack on the Gleiwitz radio station” that has “the Polish mob” to “get carried away to cross the frontier to attack a German radio station, and put the torch of war on a powder keg, whose existence will have to answer to the history of the Poles once. ”

Hitler mentioned Gliwice not directly. In his speech to the Reichstag on the radio transmitted the morning of the 1st September:

The Foreign Office later published a list of official messages 25th over several dozen serious border incidents with deaths at the German-Polish border since August 1939. Eleven entries at 31 August (incl. morning of September 1) relating to two incidents in Gliwice:

Since the Gleiwitz radio station clock 20 or Polish insurgents are given, can the Hitler speech with tonight or regular soldiers barely relate to the message 4, but rather the messages 7 and 8, the state police station in Legnica, where each of the death laid by German customs officials Polish troops to load:

The often to-read statement, the participating members of the SS were wearing Polish uniforms, is controversial. Although the SS had worried ahead of the action Polish Army uniforms of the defense, they were however in one of the other two in the same night, which takes place directly on the Polish border productions used: Besides another “attack” in the late evening on a forester’s lodge in the border area town Pitschen by “Polish partisans” was about 4 clock in the morning a firefight between German and Polish border police troops at the customs house in Hochlinden or “Hoflinden” simulated. According to the U.S. aid Prosecutor Major Warren F. Farr on 20 December 1945, the SS members wore Polish uniforms. He relies on the statements by the head of the German division of the Office sabotage operations / defense Erwin Lahousen.


The event in 1961 was the subject of the documentary feature film The Gleiwitz Case of DEFA. After the screening of the film at the Hamburg Film Club to display Naujocks was refunded and an investigation was opened. Naujocks pointed blame back on the death of Franz Honiok. It was also difficult to prove Naujocks complicit in the killing of Franz Honiok as other SS units were present during the attack. Moreover Naujocks died during the investigation, so the case was closed the 1966th

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