The shadow of Goebbels at the background of the ”Bloody Sunday” in Bydgoszcz

The provocation called ”Blutsonntag”, i.e. ”Bloody Sunday”, was conducted by Hitler following Goebbels’ advice as early as 1932. It was directed against Prussia and Prussian politicians controlling the ”Weimar Republic of Germany” in Berlin. This was Altonauer Blutsonntag” – the ”Bloody Sunday of Altona” dated June 17, 1932.

Altona is a port city – a city of workers – dockers – with a developed communist movement in the area of Prussia of those days. The city witnessed the provocative march of S.A. armed groups [Sturmabteilungen – Eng. ”Assault Detachments”], of the Nazi national-socialist party, in the workers’ district of the city. The provoked workers attacked the marching Nazis from southern Germany, chanting anti-communist slogans, wearing brown shirts, and armed. This provocation resulted in bloody riots as anticipated, with fatalities. 18 people were killed, and about 100 people were injured.

Following Goebbels’ advice, Hitler found a perfidious way to get rid of his Prussian enemies in his drive for unlimited power. After the ”Bloody Sunday of Altona”, he addressed the public with a loud, cynical propaganda that the Prussian government ruling in Berlin is not capable of managing law and order in its own country, Prussia.

Prussian ministers in Berlin were replaced by the ”Reich’s commissioners”.

The republican system of Germany was replaced with Nazi dictatorship. This provocation brought results justifying the introduction of the fascist ideology into the country.

The ”Bloody Sunday” in Bydgoszcz was not sabotage but provocation or provocative sabotage. Its objective was not military but political and propagandist, i.e. to provoke Poles to shed the ”innocent” German blood,

  1. – to justify – towards Germans and the world – the defensive military intervention in Poland (the word war was forbidden), essential for saving the murdered and oppressed Volksdeutsche;

  2. – to justify occupation atrocities and the necessity of liquidation of the Bydgoszcz ”subhumans’;

  3. – to expunge the concept of Polish-German assimilation in Bydgoszcz, which used to be brought into effect by the Volksdeutsche in Bydgoszcz for centuries, which was in contradiction to Hitler’s strict order (”keine Assimilierung”);

  4. – to convince the still resistant Wehrmacht at that time to a ”total war’ with destruction of the Slavonic savages; at that time, the army was not ready to co-operation with the police authorities, and this was the background of frequent conflicts.

Hitler did not hesitate to sacrifice the life of the Germans for the effectiveness of his actions.

Not the first time.

Did Hitler value the life of the Bydgoszcz Volksdeutsche?

The answer to this question can be found in his speech from November 1941, when the spectre of Germany’s defeat started to appear: I don’t care. If the German nation is not strong enough and is not ready to make sacrifices and to give blood in the name of the Reich, it should perish and be extinguished. I will not shed a single tear for the German nation.

Joseph Goebbels (1897 – 1945)

Head of propaganda of the NSDAP starting from 1933, minister of public enlightenment and propaganda of the Third Reich.

Three reflections of his activities:

  1. official – written press directives – propaganda in newspapers, on the air, in newsreels, brochures, books, and posters,

(The book of the IPN Institute of National Remembrance from 2008 [5] limits itself only to an analysis of newspapers. Unintentionally, the IPN published only what Goebbels had wanted. That’s why the topic of the reasons for the organisation of the provocation action in Bydgoszcz requires an extension with confidential and classified documents concerning Goebbels. Written orders will not be found. The majority of the most important ”inhuman” decisions were made orally by the pair Hitler – Goebbels.)

  1. unofficial – confidential instructions during almost everyday press conferences for a small trusted circle of journalists (see the photo),

  2. classified – Goebbels’ diaries – everyday notes for himself (and for posterity), he stored them in a strongbox, keeping the key by himself.

Confidential conferences with trusted journalists

He wrote his diaries from June 27, 1924 to the end of April 1945. Their publication includes 20 volumes.

Near the end of his life, he wrote:

- ”we shall go down in history as the greatest statesmen of all time or as the greatest criminals”,

- either way ”I will engrave my name in history”.

He was a top student in schools he attended and one of the most intelligent figures, who worked together with Hitler. A convincing speaker – co-author of Hitler’s success in the 1933 elections. A brilliant liar with exceptional inventiveness in manipuling facts and making up events in order to achieve Hitler’s successes, and in creation of his ”genius”.

In operations of a given secrecy level, he meticulously took care of destroying evidence and fabricating deceiving ”evidence”.

Examples of provocations

- in the beginning of September 1939:

On September 3, 1939, a Nazi U-boat torpedoed the British passenger vessel ”Athenia”, on board of which there were many US citizens, mistaking it for an armed cruiser. Goebbels announced that it was Churchill’s criminal provocation. This operation was allegedly ordered by him to blame the Germans later because he wanted this way to force the USA to declare war on Germany as soon as possible.

Another example:

Goebbels spread abroad the rumour about an alleged bombardment of Jasna Góra by Luftwaffe at the beginning of September in 1939. When the western press had bought and spread this sensation as its own, he brought a group of foreign correspondents from Berlin in order to become convinced on-site about the vicious methods used by Polish propaganda, accusing the Germans of the bombardment of the Poles’ sanctity.

From the documents and publication of fragments of his diaries, it appears indirectly that Goebbels knew already from 1942 that there was no rescue for the Third Reich.

1945 – The Reich Ministry for Propaganda 1945 – the burnt corpse of Goebbels


  1. Eugeniusz Guz, ”Goebbels o Polsce i sojuszniczym ZSRR” [Goebbels about Poland and the allied USSR ],Warszawa, 1999

  2. Viktor Reimann, “Dr Goebbels“, Molden Verlag, Wien-München-Zürich, 1971

  3. Elke Froehlich, “Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels Saemtliche Fragmente“, Teil I, Aufzeichnungen 1924 – 1941 in vier Baenden, K.G. , München – New York – London – Paris, 1987

  4. Janusz Sobczak, ”Polska w propagandzie o polityce III Rzeszy” [Poland in the propaganda about the politics of the Third Reich], Instytut Zachodni, 1998

  5. Book of the IPN Institute of National Remembrance ”Bydgoszcz 3-4 września 1939” [Bydgoszcz – September 3-4, 1939] published in 2008

  6. and many other books – in accordance with bibliographies included in the above-named books