Goralenvolk - was germanization action of Gorals started in occupied Poland. During the German occupation of Poland in World War II attempts to divide the Polish nation by the new rulers led to the postulation of a separate ethnicity called "Goralenvolk". Derived from the Polish word "Górale" (the Highlanders), it designated the population of the region of Podhale in southern Poland near the Slovakian border.
The Gorals (Górale) were considered by the Nazis to be a part of the "Greater Germanic Race". Nazi ideology claimed that a significant fraction of their ancestry was descended from ethnic Germans who allegedly settled in this region during medieval times. For example, the 1885 Meyers Lexicon entry under Goralen states, that Germans (also) lived in that area in the 11th century and were slavicized.
The region inhabited by Górale (pre-war Polish Nowy Targ County in Podhale) was annexed by Germany immediately after the Invasion of Poland in 1939. Later, attempts were made by the German authorities to assimilate the population into the body of Volksdeutsche, and to encourage collaboration with the occupying forces. Soon, a group of collaborators formed, under the leadership of Henryk Szatkowski, Witalis Wieder, Wacław Krzeptowski and Józef Cukier. The latter two proposed to establish a separate state for Goralenvolk during a visit to Governor-General Hans Frank in November 1939.
Even though the idea was met with great enthusiasm by the German authorities, a census conducted in 1940 showed that only 18% of the local population did not consider themselves to be Polish, a result that was a great disappointment to the collaborators and the occupiers alike. After attempts to revive the idea during the following years proved unsuccessful, the project was almost entirely abandoned in 1943. With the arrival of allied troops towards the end of the war, the short-lived existence of the mostly hypothetical Goralenvolk finally became a footnote of history.