Meyer and war crimes in Modlin and Kharkow? - Axis History Forum

Meyer and war crimes in Modlin and Kharkow?

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Postby Marcus Wendel » 01 Aug 2008 20:24

Can anyone provide any more information about the accusations against Kurt Meyer mentioned below?
In der Tat wurde [Kurt] Meyer vorgeworfen, 1939 als Kompaniechef bei Modlin in Polen 50 Juden erschossen zu haben und 1943 by Charkow ein ganzes Dorf niedergebrannt und alle Bewohner ermordet zu haben

The source of the quote is "Konventioneller Krieg oder NS-Weltanschauungskrieg?: Kriegführung und Partisanenbekämpfung in Frankreich 1943/44", page 159, by Peter Lieb.
The footnote gives this information:
Vgl. TNA, TS 26/856, Report of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. Court of Inquiry. Shooting of Allied Prisoners of War by 12 SS Panzer-Division (Hitler-Jugend) in Normandy, France 7-21 June 1944.



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Postby steve248 » 03 Aug 2008 15:37

Re Modlin:
Lt Alfred Lengenfeld, 14/Fallsch Jg Regt 8 (3 Para Div), was captured "by Armee Blanche 4 Sep 44 [at] Hasselt" and brought to the UK for interrogation, 21 Sept 1944. Lengenfeld had been with Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler from Nov 1937 and with them in the Polish campaign. "This offr PW was ordered by his coy comd, Hptstuf Kurt MEYER, 14/LSSAH, at MODLIN, in Oct 39, to shoot 50 Polish Jews as a reprisal... PW refused to carry out the order and after a court-martial, was dismissed the service ('Ausstoss mit Schimpf und Schande') and declared 'wehrunwürdig'. He was furthermore, sentenced to two years detention in a concencentration camp and served his sentence at Buchenwald."

Kurt Meyer further identified as coming from the Magdeburg area (actual place mentioned is unclear) and "later became C.O. of the Recce Bn of the LSSAH Div with the rank of Obersturmbannführer... This offr is identical with the present G.O.C. 12 SS Pz Div 'Hitler Jugend' Oberführer Kurt Meyer."

After serving his sentence, within two months Lengenfeld was called up by the Luftwaffe in Feb 1943; in Feb 1944 he was "Re-instated in his rank" so presumably a Ustuf or Ostuf with LAH in Poland. He was posted to the 14.Fallschirm Jg Regt in Sept 1944 and didn't waste much time in being captured; he did not desert.

Re HJ in Normandy
The reference quoted is a "Treasury Solicitors" (TS) file and available at UK National Archives, Kew. From memory there are 30 or so British courts of enquiry into shootings/illtreatment of captured British personnel in the Normandy area and the HJ Div is the subject of more than one such court of enquiry.

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Postby steve248 » 06 Aug 2008 17:48

HJ crimes in Normandy, June 1944 (TS 26/856):
This was a SHAEF Court of Enquiry about the shooting of captured, uniformed and unarmed Allied soldiers by 12 SS Pz Div (HJ) in Normandy between 7-21 June 1944. There were 20 separate incidents involving 140 victims. The two main incidents investigated were:

7 June 1944
at Authie and Buron when 27-33 men from North Nova Scotia Highlanders (of 3 Canadian Inf Div) were shot in 12 different incidents;
units responsible: III Bat/25.SS-Pz Gren Regt (under SS-Ostubaf Karl Heinz Mylius) and "Prinz" Batl/12 SS Pz Div (under SS-Stubaf Prinz - later KIA)

8 June 1944
near Pavie and Putot-en-Bessin when 40-42 men from Royal Winnipeg Rifles (incl one officer) were shot in 3 different incidents;
unit responsible: 12.SS-Aufkl.Abt (under SS-Stubaf Gerhardt Bremer).

Among those HJ men appearing before 1945 Court of Enquiry were:
SS-Brig Kurt Meyer
SS-Ustuf Wilhelm Stremme (born 1911, Trun; 4.SS-Pi Bn 12)
SS-Ostuf Paul Kuret (2.Komp./12 SS Pz Bn)
SS-Ustuf Karl-Walter Becker (2.Komp./Aufkl.Abt)

The main thrust of the Court of Enquiry was to establish that there existed an order to shoot all captured Allied soldiers, in other words "take no prisoners", and that such an order was given.

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Postby Penn44 » 07 Aug 2008 00:15

steve248 wrote: ... units responsible: III Bat/25.SS-Pz Gren Regt (under SS-Ostubaf Karl Heinz Mylius) ...

Whatever became of Milius?

He was implicated in the murder of a captured Jewish-American airman in Nov 44, but as far as I know, never questioned by the Americans.


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Postby Reader3000 » 08 Dec 2008 21:50

This, indeed, is an interesting detail I did not know about Meyer before.

However, the source has to be seen quite critically, since that man seems to have been put out of service directly by Meyer's report to LAH's staff (at least from that description above).

Are there other details about that incident at Modlin?

I know that there are some accusations towards the LAH and also Meyer's Aufklärungsabteilung (Recce-Btl.) regarding Kharkov (which timeframe? 1941 or 1943? ) and also Taganrog (Oct. 1941), where they very quickly put in Einsatzgruppe men after the LAH passed through fighting.

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Postby steve248 » 09 Dec 2008 09:55

There was no question of "Taganrog (Oct. 1941), where they very quickly put in Einsatzgruppe men after the LAH passed through fighting". The "Einsatzgruppe" involved was Einsatzgruppe D and its unit in the Taganrog area was Sonderkommando 10a. Its job was to "pacify and liberate" newly conquered areas and SK 10a was independent of the LAH. The fact that these two SS units were in the same area at the same time is not indicative of anything more than that. Both units had taken very different routes to Taganrog.

Both units subsequently overwintered 41/42 in Taganrog but did not carry out operations together of any great extent.

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Postby Reader3000 » 09 Dec 2008 12:34

Err, I did not put that out in a thesis - I just reported what I read and what is discussed in the scientific research. :?

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Postby seaburn » 23 May 2013 14:00

I'm Interested in resurrecting this thread as it is now linked to the Wiki page of 'Kurt Meyer' using it as a source of further information on suspected war crimes by Meyer in Modlin and Kharkow. Apologies if this is old hat to others but I'm trying to get to the bottom of the allegation which in some places I have read are being quoted as fact. From what I understand from the other posts above, Lt Alfred Legenfeld was captured by the British in Sept 44 and under interrogation told them that he was court martialed in 1939 for refusing an order from Kurt Meyer LSSAH to shoot 50 Jewish prisoners In Modlin Poland. I have not read this British report, has anyone else ? It there any information anywhere as to what happened to the 50 jewish captives after Legenfeld refused to carry out the order?
Is it stated anywhere that they were executed ? Is there any details that have emerged subsequently from Poland to corroborate this atrocity ? Is there any record in German archives about this ?

So far I can only find this one man's word that has apparently made it into Peter Lieb's book "Konventioneller Krieg oder NS-Weltanschauungskrieg?: Kriegführung und Partisanenbekämpfung in Frankreich 1943/44", page 159. As I do not read German, I have not read this myself, has anyone else who can give further information ?

This source appears to have been then re-quoted by Antony Beevor as fact, as here in the UK newspaper 'Daily Mail' from 3rd June 2009(available online) in relation to the fighting in Normandy......'.Many of its key commanders came from the 1st SS Panzer-Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler. They had been formed in the Rassenkrieg, or 'race war' of the eastern front. Kurt Meyer, the divisional commander, had shot 50 Jews near Modlin in Poland in 1939. Later, during the invasion of the Soviet Union, he ordered a village near Kharkov to be burned to the ground. All its inhabitants were murdered. Nazi propaganda and the eastern front had brutalised them, and they saw the war in the west as no different." So as you can see here, Meyer is now stated as having carried out the killing himself. Have I missed the information that supports this?

If Legenfeld was telling the truth, his bravery in standing up to Meyer and the unjustness of the order should be acknowledged. Did any jewish organisations ever investigate this and commend him for this action? Has anybody got access to any records to see if Legenfeld actually existed and corroborate that he was serving in Poland at the time ? Is there a record that anyone has seen in relation to the charges brought against him? It's not that I disbelieve that this happened but I am very uncomfortable taking one man's story as gospel especially if he was in captivity at the time and this story would have shed a favourable light on him. I am also uncomfortable with the fact that this allegation has transcended into fact, but I acknowledge that I have not seen the information and I would be interested to see if anyone else can offer further info to back this up ?

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Postby seaburn » 26 May 2013 13:50

Just want to update my progress on this enquiry. I have had no luck with anyone coming back as you can see but I have PM'd some other venerable members and so far one has provided me with valuable information. I have also done some more digging and I want to appeal again to members who may be in a position to provide answers.

The Facts so far:
(1) Antony Beevor wrote an article in the Daily Mail (June 2009) which stated that ''. Kurt Meyer, the divisional commander, had shot 50 Jews near Modlin in Poland in 1939. Later, during the invasion of the Soviet Union, he ordered a village near Kharkov to be burned to the ground. All its inhabitants were murdered''.
He also apparently put this claim into his book (D Day and the battle for Normandy) It appears on page 181 and the source is referenced as:

(2) Peter Lieb's book: (2007)
Konventioneller Krieg oder NS-Weltanschauungskrieg ? (Page 159)(available on google search with source refs)

“in der Tat wurde Meyer vorgeworfen, 1939 als Kompaniechef bei modlin in polen 50 juden erschossen zu haben und 1943 bei Charkow ein ganzes dorf niedergebrannt und alle Bewohner ermordet zu haben.”

Google translates this as follows:
‘in fact Meyer was accused of having shot and killed in 1939 as a company commander at Modlin in Poland 50 Jews and 1943 in Kharkov burned down an entire village and killed all the inhabitants.’

Source:Vgl.TNA.TS 26/856 Report of the supreme Headquarters of the Allied expeditionary force. Court of enquiry. Shooting of Allied prisoners of war by the 12th SS Panzer division (Hitler Jugend)in Normandy France 7-21 June 1944.

I have ordered this document TS26/856 from the British archives but it looks like I will have to wait a while to see it as the quote to get it can take up to 10 days. I have however, been given a another relevant report from a fellow member which is the interrogation report of Alfred Legenfeld who stated that he had been court martialed due to his refusal to carry out the murder of 50 Jews in Modlin by his commander Kurt Meyer. This report it numbered TS208/4295 and in the most part is quoted in the 2nd post on this thread. At this stage I am presuming that this document is included in the source doc that I have ordered and that there has to be other documents which bridge the gap from Legenfeld's story that he refused to carry out this order to the assertion of Lieb and Beevor that Kurt Meyer carried out the killing.

With regard to the incident itself, I am having great difficulty finding out any other source for this atrocity. I have searched Jewish and Polish memorial sites which list killings in Modlin in this time frame (albeit only in English) I have found one account that lists a bands master from the LSSAH being charged with ordering his troops to kill Jews, he was charged with this crime by his superiors but after the intervention of Adolf Hitler, the charges were dropped. (SS Leibstandarte: The history of the first SS division 1939-1945 by Rupert Butler) there were also reports that 500 polish soldiers and 100 civilians were killed in the moat of the fortress of Modlin when the siege ended, I have not fully investigated this as nothing points to this being the atrocity Meyer is accused of. Nothing yet has surfaced to verify that this killing of 50 Jews even took place. Legenfeld also claimed it happened in October 39, but the LSSAH received orders to move out on Oct 1st (Grenediers, Kurt Meyer page 8).

So my appeal is as follows: :roll:

Does anyone have a copy of TS26/856 which I think would mainly deal with war crimes by the 12th SS in Normandy but should also have details of these crimes in Modlin and Kharkov.?

Can any native speaking Poles and Germans have a look on their language sites to see if they can come up with any details of the killing in Modlin?. At the moment I'm just concentrating on the Modlin one but if anyone has other source evidence on the Kharkov case, it would be welcomed.

Has anyone more details of the 100 civilians killed when the siege ended, what German division was accused of this crime?

Can someone access Legenfelds service record to see if it backs up his story?

Any thoughts or ideas for any other avenues of inquiry on this thread or by PM would be welcome as I am not qualified in this field and my search resources are limited. I will post any further findings I make.

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Postby seaburn » 27 May 2013 15:05

Just another update and clarification on the information I have put on already. I have obtained Antony Beevor's book (D Day the battle for Normandy) today and have checked the relevant passage about the killings in Poland and Kharkov.

Page 181 states as follows:
'Meyer himself was accused of shooting fifty Jews near Modlin in Poland in 1939 and during the invasion of the Soviet Union, he is said to have ordered the burning of a village near Kharkov. All its inhabitants were murdered' (source, Lieb p159 Koventioneller Krieg oder Weltanschauugskrieg?)

Can you spot the difference in the wording below which was published by Beevor in the Daily Mail on June 2nd 2009
(available online through google)

'Kurt Meyer, the divisonal commander, had shot 50 Jews near Modlin in Poland in 1939. Later, during the invasion of the Soviet Union, he ordered a village near Kharkov to be burned to the ground. All its inhabitants were murdered' (no source here).

I would like to know if Antony Beevor has a second source of information for both these atrocities in order to now state that Mayer HAD shot 50 Jews and HE ORDERED a village to be burned to the ground. If not, then in my opinion this word changing is shoddy editing at best and a disservice to historical accuracy at worst.

I continue to dig !

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Postby seaburn » 16 Jun 2013 21:40

I have received and reviewed TS26/856 in the past few days. It contains 305 pages and in the main refers to incidents in Normandy in relation to crimes committed by the 12th Panzer SS HJ. As discussed above, this document was used by Peter Lieb in his book ( Konventioneller Krieg oder NS-Weltanschauungskrieg ? (Page 159) as the source of the allegation that Kurt Meyer was accused of killing 50 Jews in Modlin Poland and that he was also accused of the killing of civilians and the burning down of a village near Kharkov. I was initially only looking at the Modlin incident as I felt it would be easier to prove or disprove. I thought that a crime like the killing of 50 people in the first few weeks of the war would have caused shock waves in the community and would be recorded in spite of the fact that this type of incident would become more commonplace in the coming years. I also felt that the annihilation of an entire village in the snowy isolation of Russia would be harder to prove as there may be no one left to tell the tale. It turns out that I was wrong and that the Kharkov accusation holds more evidence from a number of sources. I’m splitting the two incidents separately here.

So firstly I will deal with Modlin and the evidence contained in TS26/856 to back up this accusation. I was more than surprised to find that there was scant mention and no evidence contained in TS26/856 in relation to Modlin at all. The interrogation that I have seen WO208/4295 (not TS as I wrongly stated earlier) of Alfred Lengenfeld was not included in this document even though the British had it for at least 8 months by the time this document was released. The only mention of it, is that it was recorded under the heading of:

Reported but Unverified against Civilians.
Sub Heading: By Meyer against civilians
1939 / Modlin / 14/LAH/Meyer/ 50 Polish Jews (TS26/856 page 23)

There were 3 other suspected atrocities listed, Arcques, St Martin on Seine and Kharkov and there are details and evidence included for these incidents but nothing on Modlin.

The second mention of Modlin is In Meyer’s interrogation report, he was questioned as follows:

Q. When you were in Poland, do you remember being in a place called Modlin? A. No. There was a strongpoint, a fortress called Modlin but we were not there.
Q. You were not there? A. I was not there, nor as far as I know were the Leibstandarte.
Q. How far from that place did you serve ? A. I can tell you more exactly if I had a map. We were in advance of the fortified area but outside the fortified area itself. 15Km is an estimate. ( Ts26/856 page 84)

This was strange as I had seen mention by Meyer of being in Modlin in his own book: “Polish strength was broken on the 18 September and we were ordered to attack the fortress of Modlin. Heavy fighting developed in the forest area south of Modlin The I./Leibstandarte SS ‘Adolf Hitler’ (mot.) was attacked and surrounded by superior forces….The battle for the old fortress started with a heavy artillery barrage and Stuka attacks. We experienced the destructive impact of our dive-bombers for the first time”…….(Kurt Meyer. Grenadiers, page 7).

This discrepancy is puzzling, why would he deny he was in the area if he clearly states he was in his own book? When he says ‘We’ does he mean the greater German forces, the Leibstandarte or his own unit ? It’s not clear to me at this point if he was actually as far from Modlin as he states, but the Leibstandarte were definitely in the area. In his book, Peter Butler reports that “The forts were pulverised by German artillery. On Sept 25th the men of the Leibstandarte were able with good visibility to witness the dive bombers of the 4 Air Fleet finish the work” ( SS-Leibstandarte: The History of the First SS Division 1933-45, page 49) which indicates there was some distance between them and the fort. It may be a moot point but it still leaves some niggling questions in my mind.

The only other clue included in this document comes from the interrogation of another German POW Sturmbannfue. Jacob Hanreich. Unit A/Tank Bn 12 SS HJ. Captured on the 19th August at Falaise. He Joined the Leibstandarte in 1933 and served with them in Poland in 1939. He was asked about war crimes that he knew the Leibstandarte had been involved with during his career. He proceeded to give details of crimes committed in Poland, Russia and Italy by them and the Einsatzgruppen. The crime he mentioned in Poland was the one about the band master Muller-John that I had found earlier detailed in Peter Butler’s book ( SS-Leibstandarte: The History of the First SS Division 1933-45, page 50) .

Hanreich relates:”‘between 20th and 25th of September 39, at least 50 Jews were murdered by the Music Pl of the L.S. in the area of Burzeum, about 3kms west of Warsaw. The order for the atrocity was given by the then Obermusikmeister of the music Pl, Mueller-John. Those to be murdered had to dig their graves first, were then put in front of it and shot……’.(TS26/856 page 231).

He makes no mention of the allegation that Kurt Meyer ordered 50 Jews to be shot, this was not out of any loyalty to Meyer as he goes on to make an accusation against him in relation to Kharkov.

My Conclusion: As I can find no record of this atrocity in Modlin anywhere except in the uncorroborated story of Alfred Lengenfeld, and the fact that his interrogation report was not included in TS26/856 and that there is no evidence on any Holocaust site that I can find, I assert that this incident in all probability did not happen. I am very disappointed that this document was used as Peter Lieb’s source to assert that an accusation was made against Meyer without any evidence in this document. If he had sourced Alfred Lengenfeld’s accusation from WO208/4295 at least that would have been some substance even if it was uncorroborated. I have to conclude that Lengenfeld’s story is more than likely a fabrication, told with perhaps the other recorded atrocity by Muller John in mind, to shine a positive light on himself. I do believe he knew Meyer and I do believe he was probably court martialled and sent to Buchenwald but not for the reason he stated. In the event of new sourced evidence surfacing to back up his story I would be more than happy to reassess my opinion.
Last edited by seaburn on 17 Jun 2013 16:02, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby seaburn » 16 Jun 2013 21:47

The ‘evidence’ for Kharkov comes in two parts in document TS26/856. Both are accounts from captured German POW’s. I have included their assertions and also Kurt Meyer’s answers when questioned about them. My final source comes ironically from Meyer himself.

Firstly the evidence from Obstlt Muller Rienburg. (there are no details given at all about him other than his name).
“I was on a regimental course at Munster and some of the SS Sheiks were there too from the Leibstandarte and so on, a certain Standartenfuhrer Meyer who had the oak leaves … at the end everyone had to give a lecture of experiences on the front on some interesting subject….and Meyer for example told how at Kharkov for the second time he received orders to let himself be encircled somewhere, with the assurance that he would be extradited again. They set off………the two drivers were killed – otherwise there was no causalities at all…they captured the village, killed everyone, children, women, old men, everyone. Then after the third glass of wine he said something like this: “If it were not for the supreme command, we should have won the war long ago. That is our cancer” He dared to say this to officers who had the Knights cross who had come there”. (TS26/856 page 45).
(As a complete aside I enjoyed the PR spin put on the reason that Meyer was encircled, it was all pre-planned of course!)

This put me in mind of something I had read in ‘Soldaten”: “ Meyer’s radicalism had already shocked Wehrmacht officers at a training seminar in Fall 1943. One of the participants remembers him declaring, after a third glass of wine the “the soldier must become a heathen, a fanatic fighter who hates every Frenchman, Englishman and American (Or whoever nationality the enemy was) so that he wants to jump at the enemy’s throat and drink his blood. The soldier has to hate every (enemy), every one must be his mortal foe. Only so we can win the war’. (Sonke Neitzel, Harald Welzer Soldaten Page 299… their source WO208/4168). The author of this assertion is not named but I think it’s interesting that he mentions the phrase ‘after the third glass of wine’. Could it be Obstle Muller Rienzburg? The occasion and the date match, If its not him, there may have been an urban myth circulating about Meyer shooting his mouth off after ‘the third glass of wine’.

Meyers interrogation on this matter:

Q. Did you at any time lecture at a regiment course in Munster? A. No, after the course I went to Belgium where the division was formed up. I took command of a regiment. (TS26/856 page 85)
Q. Now do you know whether regiment courses were conducted at Munster? A. I do not know of any course in Munster, Munster in Germany?
Q. Yes, do you say that there were no courses conducted there or you do not know of any? A. I say that none took place there. In what period could that have been? There were no regimental courses held for my regiment in Munster, nor were there any divisional courses while I had anything to do with the division.
Q. I should imagine from the information we have that this would not be a course conducted for regiments as a whole but probably for the officers. The information we have is that you were one who was called to give lectures at the course. A. No.
Q. You did give lectures on your experience in the Russian campaign did you not? A. No.
Q. Do you mean to say seriously that with your reputation and experience that you came back from Russia and were not called upon at any time to give talks and lectures to other officers on your experience? A. The only talks I have given at all have been to the older children in certain schools when I was on sick leave in Germany. Apart from that, I have never addressed groups of offices on tactical or operational questions of any sort. Nor have I taken part in any courses. This applies to both Russia and to the West. I did attend one course at the armoured troop school in 1943, as I said yesterday, but I did not take any part in the giving of the lecture. I would add that I have not been in Munster since 1940. ( all TS26/856 pages 154/155)

The second piece of evidence included comes from Interrogation report of Jacob Hanreich: (This man served in the LSSAH from 1933 and a full record of his service was put on the Phil Nix forum many years ago and is still there if anyone needs to view it). He gives his interrogators plenty of information with regard to war crimes committed by the Leibstandarte, including Jochaim Peiper’s battalion being christened the ‘soldering lamp bln’ for burning villages, he also includes details of crimes against Jews by the Einsatzgruppen and other incidents when he served in Italy and as above in Poland.

But it is the following paragraph about Kharkov that is of interest to me: “The Recce btn of the LSAH, made an advance at the end of Feb, towards the east and reached the village of Jefremovka (?). There they were surrounded by Russian forces, POL and ammo run out (sic) and they were supplied by air until they were ordered to try and break through to the west. Before trying to do so, the entire civil population was shot and the village burnt to the ground. The Recce Btln at that time was lead by Obstr Kurt Meyer…..”(TS26/856 page 232)

Meyers interrogation in relation to this:

Q. When was it that you left Russia? A. About June or July 1942
Q. Now at that time what position did you hold and in what unit did you belong? A. I was a Major and in command of a Recce unit which I had formed in Metz.
Q. In the Leibstandarte ? A. Yes in the Leibstandarte
Q. Was your unit at a place called Jefremovka? A. May I ask in what part of the front that is?
R. I understand it is in the neighbourhood of Kharkov. A. We were in Kharkov to the north of that place, I have never seen the name Jefremovka. (TS26/856 page 84)
Further questions were put the following day
Q. Do you say in your own experience that German troops shooting Russian prisoners ? A. Not among my troops.
Q. Does this also apply to civilians ? A. Yes civilians have not been attacked
Q. Do you say then, that at no time within your knowledge or experience have any troops connected with your command executed civilians in Russia ? A. Yes I can say that with confidence. (TS26/856 page 118)
And again
Q. Did you at any time in your military history authorise or direct the punishment of a village by the shooting of the men and the burning of the buildings? A. No.
Q. And does that answer apply to the campaign in the East and as to your experience in Russia and elsewhere? A. Yes, of course I expect the blowing up of bridges which has sometimes been necessary.
Q. Did you at anytime tell anyone that you were responsible for the destruction of a village in that manner? A. No
Q. Are you prepared to take an oath to that effect? A. Yes (TS26/856 page 160)

I then reread Meyer’s own autobiography as his story was a familiar one, I had read about the Recce group being surrounded, running out of ammo and fuel, being supplied by air, being relieved, fighting back west, “ at midday a reconnaissance plane circled us and dropped a message attached to a smoke canister. We had been surrounded by the advancing Soviets. We reached Alexejewka 24 hours later and went over to an all round defence….The Russian superiority hardly bothered us, but the lack of fuel, our immobility and the impending lack of ammunition brought us close to desperation…..We heard the sound of engines, they were circling above us…supply containers fell from the sky but unfortunately only a few remained intact….At that point I abandoned all hope. The available fuel was apportioned among a few assault fund and armoured cars….The sound of fighting to our rear, that is, to the west of Alexejewka, transformed our mood into one of happy excitement. The sound could only mean Max Wünsche’s advance had been successful….bringing us ample fuel and ammunition. We were completely operational again…..(Grenadiers pages .168,170,171,172)

Now the most ominous paragraph……..”During the fighting back to the west we got to know a new phase of this inhuman war. It was impossible to distinguish Soviet soldiers from harmless civilians. For the first time soldiers were ambushed in towns and in the countryside without being able to identify enemy units. We became nervous. The locals did not dare to betray the concealed Red Army solders. The Soviet’s enthusiasm and the attitude of the population demanded special watchfulness on our part. My old comrade, Fritz Montag, who has been given command of the acting headquarters company, drove into a minefield and lost both legs above the knee. He was brought to me fully conscious in a motorcycle sidecar……The fighting had taken on a treacherous character.” (Grenadiers pages 172, 173).

And just in case we are left in any doubt that Meyer indeed fought in the area in question, he later states “ We began a new phase of our own attack. The avenue of advance was switched to the northwest; the first objective was the line of high ground between Bereka and JEFREMOWKA,. The terrain in front of the SS Panzer Korps was well known to us as a result of the fighting in February” (Grenadiers page 184)

My conclusion: While I believe there is some truth in Obstlt Muller Rienburg’s statement, I am sceptical that Meyer would have been so foolhardy to tell a room of Wehrmacht officers that he had killed women and children. He was too astute for that and it would have been frowned upon by his superiors. But I do think he may have shot his mouth off later after ‘the third glass of wine’. The accusation of Jacob Hanreich holds much more substance for me, he was a very early recruit to the Nazi cause and would have known Meyer well, he seemed very frank in his accusations and many of them are published and excepted as fact in other books. He was not with the group that was encircled or relieved them as far as I can see, but he was in Russia with the LAH at the time. From Mid May 1941 until March 1942 (TS26/856 page 230) and he would no doubt have got the news hot off the presses.

Finally, I feel that Meyer has implicated himself by discussing the issue of ‘inhuman war and civilians’ in the same paragraph in relation to this timeframe, he also confirms he was in the Jefremowka area although he denied it in his interrogation. He was the senior commander at the time with this group, if there was an attack on civilians it would no doubt have been done on his orders, there would be no shirking away from responsibility by saying he wasn’t aware of what his subordinates did. I feel that there is a definite basis for this accusation and there must be documents relating to this incident in the Russian archives, perhaps it is just one of thousands, some day I hope they will come to light and the whole truth about this matter is recorded properly.

(with special thanks to fellow member Steve248 who provided me with valuable info and tips and looked up info for me while doing his own research ,even though my amateur bumblings must have set his teeth on edge)
Last edited by seaburn on 17 Jun 2013 16:11, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby history1 » 17 Jun 2013 10:39

seaburn wrote:[...] the first objective was the line of high ground between Bereka and JEFREMOWKA,. [...]

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Postby Orlov » 17 Jun 2013 21:15

Controversy has accumulated around the part of the battle SS-Standarte "Deutschland" (part of Pz.Div. "Kempf"). The soldier SS-VT last time attacked September 28, 1939, the Polish positions at Zakroczym, where soldiers 2. Inf.Div.Leg. prepared to lay down their arms. Then, "[...] German unit using the cease-fire, crossed without resistance of the Polish branch line, he came over to the platoon, which rested against unarmed  shelter and opened fire without warning" - reported comm. 4 Inf.Rgt.Leg. According to Germany was to be a rematch for keeping the fight is not fair (legionaries had to shoot German parliamentarians in the back?). Captain Tadeusz Wojciech Dorant, commander of III./2. Inf.Rgt.Leg. its soldiers took part, was burnt alive by the German flamethrower along with some of his subordinates. At least 54 soldiers from the 32nd pp died in the trenches, and the next twelve at Nowowiejska Street in Zakroczym. Other unconfirmed versions talked about the murder of the "whole platoon" of prisoners, and others of executions under the wall of the Jewish cemetery in Zakroczym and Gałachach. Germany to treat other prisoners brutally, like officers who tried to intervene in defense of its soldiers. In addition, soldiers of 14./SS-Standarte "Deutschland" under the command of SS-Obersturmführer Kurt Meyer shot 50 Jews in occupied Zakroczym.
According to the memoirs Benigna Kołodziejski residents Zakroczym: "[...] In the early days buried in the ground soldiers shot where they lay: in fields, backyards. Two of them, Captain Tadeusz Dorant and Sergeant Thaddeus Drechny, buried in the monastery cemetery. [.. .] " (quoted in Szczerbatko K., Zakroczym, Zakroczym 1999, p 45).
Next sources: Szymon Datner: Zbrodnie Wehrmachtu na jeńcach wojennych w II wojnie światowej (Crimes of the Wehrmacht prisoners of war in World War II). Warsaw: Wydawnictwo MON, 1961, s. 60-61; Głowacki L., Obrona Warszawy i Modlina na tle kampanii wrześniowej 1939 (Defense of Warsaw and Modlin against the September 1939 campaign), Warszawa 1985, s. 282; Kazimierz Szczerbatko: Za życie oddane w ofierze (The life given in sacrifice). Zakroczym: Urząd Gminy w Zakroczymiu, 2002, s. 34;

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Postby seaburn » 17 Jun 2013 22:05

Thank you for your information,but I'm a little puzzled about the reference to "Deutschland", is this not referring a different division ? Kurt Meyer was in the Leibstandarte at this time, were they also know as 'Deutschland' ? Can someone explain if this could be true?

Is this a reference to the soldiers and civilians killed at the end of the siege of Modlin which is documented?
Obviously the reference { In addition, soldiers of 14./SS-Standarte "Deutschland" under the command of SS-Obersturmführer Kurt Meyer shot 50 Jews in occupied Zakroczym} is of interest, Can you tell me the source of this particular claim? I need to know if its a local source and not the claim of Alfred Lengenfeld being retold.

Its interesting that the location is Zakroczym and not Modlin although they are very near each other. A quick look at a holocaust site does not make a claim that Jews were killed here at that time other than being caught up in the fighting with other civilians, but I acknowledge that you are Polish and have more access to local information in your own language.
Last edited by seaburn on 18 Jun 2013 13:24, edited 1 time in total.

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