The issue posed by this thread becomes more challenging and interesting day by day.
, I would like to take the liberty of clearing up a misconception, which seems to have lingered on despite my last post.
Earldor wrote (with regard to my post):
You are saying that the Aktion Reinhardt was "primarily an economic" endeavour, and say that the US court case is correct in stating so. I disagree with the primacy of the economic side of things.
No, that is not
what I was saying. What I said was that I thought Mr. Mills had correctly construed the court's holding - in other words, I think the court held what Mr. Mills said it held. I nowhere said I necessarily agreed with that holding - indeed I stated in my original post that:
That conclusion on my part does not, however, mean that I necessarily accept the findings of the Tribunal as unassailable gospel. I've been a lawyer far too long for that, particularly where a court's finding is mere obiter dicta and is not crucial to its basic holding.
and went on to remark:
So where does that leave me? Unfortunately as much up in the air as ever as to this precise issue
I tried to be more precise in my last post:
I readily confess that I claim no scholarship in this area and do not profess sufficient knowledge to provide a definitive answer to this question, but based on what I do know of the relevant original materials and sources, my tentative [my new emphasis] answer would have to be - both:
I presently think that Operation or Action Reinhard/t - however one wishes to name it or spell it - was an economic adjunct to the ideological decision to eliminate all Jewry from the face of Europe, which latter was reflected in the proceedings of the Wannsee Conference in January 1942. IMHO the methodology reflected by that decision was, in effect, a compromise between the ideological desire to get rid of the Jews, one way or another, as rapidly as possible, (which was to be the mission of the RSHA) and the economic demands to employ their wealth, of which their potential labor represented a significant portion, to the benefit of the Reich (which was to be the mission of the WVHA).
why I don't believe the four pieces of "new" evidence proferred by Earldor are conclusive.
A.) The first two are lists of individuals recommended, and granted promotions, who were stationed and active in one or more of the three extermination camps in the Lubin District, and who were designated on the lists as members of or having participated in Aktion/ Einsatz Reinhard. Well, it is indisputable that there was in fact such an Aktion/Einsatz - whatever its principal purpose - and that Goblocnik headed it up. But assuming for the moment that its principle purpose was economic, and that to fulfill it at the KZ/Extermination Camp level individuals had to be assigned the responsibility of collecting, safeguarding, storing, itemizing and shipping the loot pillaged from the victims, I see nothing inconsistent with listing those individuals as members of or participants in the Aktion/Einsatz, even if such was only a part of their normal duties - nor, indeed, if it was a duty superimposed upon their regular duties, why it should not be grounds for a recommendation for promotion.
B.) So the list of Globocniks' Headquarters Staff names 5 individuals with specific responsibilities for Sonderaktion Reinhard - so what? That is telling evidence that such an Aktion existed - which we knew anyway - but nothing about the purpose of the Aktion itself.
C.) The same applies to the Oaths of Secrecy, although I will admit that without knowing whether such an oath was commonly employed in other special SS endeavors, it could raise one's suspicions that something particularly bad was going on.
D.) The British decode of the intercept. I find this weightier than the other evidence proffered, but here again I don't think it is conclusive
proof that the death toll attributed to Einsatz Reinhart was not an incidental, albeit inevitable, result of another purpose.Third
, So what do I at least think is pretty much certain?
Globocnik had been busily killing Jews in the Lublin District of the General Gouvernement, athough on a scale considerably smaller than what came later. Sometime in October, 1941, Chelmno (aka "Kulmhof" in the Warthegau) and Belzec (in the Lublin District) were selected as sites for extermination camps. Although the notion as to Belzec may have originated with Globotnik, it must have received approval somehow in Berlin, as demonstrated by the early transfer of T-4 personnel to Lublin.
Whatever the date of of Hitler's final decision to eliminate the Jews of Europe, it is pretty clear - both from Goebbels' diary and from Hans Franks' announcement to his GG subordinates, that Hitler announced the basic decision to top party leaders on December 12, 1941 in a meeting in his apartment.
And whatever the reason for the postponement of the Wannsee Conference until January 20, 1942 and whatever its original purpose might have been, we have the resulting Protocol and Eichman's testimony about it, a fair reading of which I believe compels the conclusion that the Final Solution there invisioned was the complete (with arguably minor exceptions) elimination of the Jews of Europe, basically by working those capable of it until they dropped, and by murdering ("Sonderbehandlung")those incapable of work.
We also have the urging of State Secretary Dr. Bueler, as reported in the Wannsee Protocol, that the final solution should start in the General Gouvernement.
Of the three so-called Reinhardt Camps, all in Globocnik's Lublin District:
-Belzec (already under construction) commenced extermination operations in March, 1942;
-Sobibor began operations in April, 1942; and
-Treblinka (which had begun as a forced labor camp in 1941) began extermination operations in July, 1942.
But Chelmno and Auschwitz in the Warthegau had also started extermination operations by the Spring of 1942 with, as far as I know, no special code name being assigned to them. Which raises the question: Why was a code name such as "Einsatz Reinhardt" thought necessary to refer to the extermination activities going on in the Lublin District, and not elsewhere? --- and the suspicion that perhaps the code name was intended to refer to something else.
There are apparently respectable historians who believe that that "something else" was a special mission which Himmler had conferred upon Globocnik to gather up, sort, safeguard, and manage or distribute the property of the Jews who had been rounded up for extermination in the East. E.g:
Richard Breitman, the author of "The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution," New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991 writes: "Belzec was the first pure extermination camp to begin operations in the region. There were only a few hundred worker Jews there (at a time), most used in the killing facilities or in the recovery of clothing and items of value from the dead. The first SS men showed up at Belzec in October 1941 to recruit construction workers to build the facilities. Himmler's office had reported the progress of the SS- und Polizeiführer für den Distrikt Lublin - SS- and Police Chief for the district of Lublin, Globocnik to SS Obergruppenführer - SS Lt. General Oswald Pohl, head of what soon became the SS Economic-Administrative Main Office (WVHA), preparing Pohl for cooperation with Globocnik. Pohl's office had reported to Himmler that it could no longer obtain sufficient clothing or textiles for the Waffen-SS and for the concentration camps. Himmler replied that he was able to make available a large mass of raw materials for clothing, and he gave Globocnik the responsibility for delivering them."
The well-known hypothesis of Robert L. Koehl, Uwe Dietrich Adam, Wolfgang Benz, the Institut für Zeitgeschichte München, et al. that Einsatz or Aktion Reinhardt was named after State Secretary of Finance Fritz Reinhardt is highly questionable.
Source: Ealdor's post of 10:30 A.M. December 18 above.
Topography of Terror: Gestapo, SS and Reichssicherheitshauptamt on the >> Prinz-Albrecht-Terrain<<; a Documentation", published by the Topography of Terror Foundation International Documentation and Study Centre, edited by Reinhard Rürup.
The book is patently not revisionist.
Closing Account for "Operation Reinhard" of December 15, 1943 pertaining to the "Financing and Material Property Assets" from April 1, 1942 until December 15, 1943
[O.R. was the code name for a major (authorised) looting operation of Jewish property in the eastern territory]
Source: Michael Mill's post of 9:02 AM December 9 above.
As Sergey Romanov has indicated above, Aktion Reinhardt extended beyond the extermination camps in the Lublin District, and indeed, beyond the General Gouvernement itself.
From a 1943 report of Fritz Katzmann (Head of the SS-Police for the District of Galicia, which became a part and separate District of the GG in mid-1941):
Gleichsietig mit den Aussiedlungsaktionen wurden die Erfassung der jüd. Vermögenswerte durchgeführt. Ausserordentliche Werte konnten sichergestellt und dem Sonderstab "Reinhard" zur Verfügung gestellt werden. Ausser der erfassten Mobeln [sic] und grossen Menge an Textilien usw. wurden in einzelned erfasst und Sonderstab "" Reinhard"" abgeführt:
[here follows a long list of jewlery, valuables and currency]
My rough translation:
Contemporaneously with the resettlement operations the confiscation of the valuable assets of the Jews was carried out. It was possible to make secure exceptional valuables and place them at the disposition of the "Reinhard" Special Staff. Apart from furniture and a huge quantity of textiles etc, the following items were confiscated and turned over to the "Reinhard" Special Staff:
[here follows a long list of jewlery, valuables, and currency]
Rudolph Höß (Commandant at Auschwitz) himself stated in Cracow, 1946, that :
Aktion Reinhard war ein Geheimname und bedeutete: Sortierung der den liquidierten Juden abgenommenen Sachen.
Bei Beendigung der Sortierung nach jeder grosseren Aktion werden die Wertsachen, wie Geld, in Koffer verladen und auf Lastautos ins SS Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt nach Berlin geführt, dessen Leiter SS Obergrruppenführer Pohl war.Von dort wurden sie der deutschen Reichs- bank übergeben. Diese hatte eine spezielle Abteilung, die sie sich mit den den Juden weggenommenen Wertsachen befasste.
My rough translation:
Action Reinhard was a secret name and meant: the sorting of the things taken from the liquidated Jews.
At the end of each major Operation, the valuables, such as money, were packed into a trunk and tacken by trucks to the SS Economic Administration Headquarters in Berlin, whose Chief was Obergruppenführer Pohl. It had a special Section which occupied itself with the valuables taken from the Jews.
Source: http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/specialcol/ ... r98z3.html
http://motlc.wiesenthal.org/specialcol/ ... r99z3.html
We also know from various sources, that Globocnik was given overall responsibility for the management of various business enterprises previously owned by the Jews, some of which were consolidated into Ostindustrie GmbH ("Osti"), which was under the management of Globocnik until its dissolution.
what do I conclude from the above and the views and materials that others have posted?
I just don't think the evidence is sufficient to draw a definitive final conclusion as to the principal purpose of Aktion/Einsatz Reinhard/t, as such. Certainly it was associated
with extermination but also smacks- and very strongly - of economic exploitation.
I can not believe, however, that the differences in spelling or terminology demonstrates the existence of two (or three?) separate organizations. Haste, sloppy spelling, poor proofreading of dictated memos, the shroud of secrecy spread over the operation can readily account for such differences - and the existence of two or three separate operations with such similar names would simply have been too potentially confusing to be tolerated.
I do, however, at present and only tentatively
think it possible
and even perhaps more likely than not, that Globocnik was assigned a special duty, in addition to that of building the three extermination camps and exterminating the Jews from the GG who were sent there - which may have been to arrange for the logistics of their "resettlement", which I believe meant their transfer to a work camp or to a death camp, which ever seemed individually appropriate, to exploite Jewish labor to the maximum degree, and to take hold of the properties of the Jews so resettled - which latter extended beyond the confines of the Lublin District and even beyond the GG, and was specifically under the control and supervision of the SS-WVHA - the bulk of which duty was economic.
But I also think there is a lot more to know than I presently do and would welcome any further leads to original materials which may bear on the issue.
Again, too long a post, but with regards, Kaschner