Decision to kill Polish Jews: Mid-March 1942?

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michael mills
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Decision to kill Polish Jews: Mid-March 1942?

Post by michael mills » 28 Jul 2006 06:47

On 7 March 1942, Josef Goebbels made the following entry in his diary ("Die Tagebücher von Josef Goebbels", Munich 1987, I/4, 115-116):

Ich lese eine ausführliche Denkschrift des SD und der Polizei über die Endlösung der Judenfrage. Daraus ergibt sich eine Unmenge von neuen Gesichtspunkten. Die Judenfrage muß jetzt im gesamteuropäischen Rahmen gelöst werden. Es gibt in Europa noch über 11 Millionen Juden. Sie müssen später einmal zuerst im Osten konzentriert werden; eventuell kann man ihnen nach dem Krieg eine Insel, etwa Madagaskar, zuweisen. Jedenfalls wird es keine Ruhe in Europa geben, wenn nicht die Juden restlos aus dem europäischen Gebiet ausgeschaltet werden.

My translation:

I am reading a detailed memorandum of the SD and Police about the Final Solution of the Jewish Question. A huge number of new points of view are gleaned from it. The Jewish Question must now be solved in the pan-European framework. There are still over 11 million Jews in Europe. Later they must first be concentrated in the East; after the war an island, maybe Madagascar, can possibly be assigned to them. In any case there will be no rest in Europe if the the Jews are not totally excluded from the European area.


The SD-Police memorandum that Goebbels read was probably circulated in the wake of the Wannsee Conference, and enumerated the policy which Heydrich considered had been accepted at that venue. The basic points made in the memorandum, as described by Goebbels, reflect the deportation plan outlined in the minutes of the Conference; all the Jews of Europe are to be deported to the East (= the conquered Soviet territories) and concentrated there. Even the grossly exaggerated estimate of the number of Jews in Europe (including the Soviet Union), 11 million, is repeated.

It is noteworthy that the memorandum made no mention of any plan to physically liquidate the Jews concentrated in the east, or even hint at it. Instead, it appears to have stated that the concentration in the East was to be a temporary stage until the end of the war, when, with an assumed German victory, the Jews were to be sent to a destination outside Europe. That replicates the policy stated in the Stahlecker letter to Lohse of August 1941, when a similar concentration of Soviet Jews pending their expulsion to an extra-European destination after the war was described.

It seems unlikely that a decision to exterminate the Jews concentrated in the East in whole or in part would have been concealed from a Government Minister like Goebbels, or why, if it had been revealed to him, he would have concealed it in his private diary.

The most likely interpretation is that as of the date of Goebbels' diary entry, while a decision to deport all Jews under actual and potential German control into conquered Soviet territory had been approved by Hitler, no decision to kill them had yet been made.

The diary entry of 7 March may be concentrated with the better-known entry of 27 March, three weeks later, in which Goebbels describes the commencement of the extermination of the Polish Jews unusable for labour, being carried out by Globocnik. That entry shows that Goebbels did not shy away from talking about extermination in his diary, which supports the interpetation that he was not concealing a policy of extermination in his entry of 7 March.

It may be inferred that between 7 and 27 March 1942, a decision was made to add an element of extermination to an existing policy of deportation, to the extent that Jews assessed as unusable for labour were no longer to deported into the occupied Soviet territory, but killed at points situated along the deportation routes. The background to that decision remains unclarified, but it is possible that it resulted from opposition by the German authorities in the occupied Soviet territories to having the entire Jewish population of German-occupied Europe dumped on them.

It is clear from what Goebbels says in his diary entry of 27 March that if a decision was made between 7 and 27 March, it was one for partial, not total, extermination; Goebbels states that 60% of the Polish Jews were to be liquidated as unusable for forced labour. What is unclear is whether the putative decision applied only to the Jews of the Generalgouvernement, or to all the Jews of German-occupied Europe.

If a decision was made in March 1942 to kill part of the Jewish population of the Generalgouvernement, it was preceded by an authorisation given some months previously by Heydrich and Himmler, possibly in October 1941, to Reichsstatthalter Greiser, on the latter's application, to kill 100,000 of the Jews of Reichsgau Wartheland, ie about one-third of the Jews of that area. Subsequent events show that the selection of the one-third to be killed was made on the basis of inability to be used for labour, so it is possible that the decision to kill similarly unusable Jews of the Generalgouvernement was prompted by that earlier authorisation.

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Post by Boby » 28 Jul 2006 09:39

Hello michael

In any case there will be no rest in Europe if the the Jews are not totally excluded from the European area


In my copy of Goebbels Diary (Louis Lochner (Ed.), 1947), the word is "Eliminated".

One day before, Goebbels write:

"An SD report informed me about the situation in occupied Russia. It is, after all, more unstable that was generally assumed. The Partisan danger is increasing week by week. The Partisans are in command of large area in occupied Russian and are conducting a regime of terror there. The national movements, too, have become more insolent than was at first imagined. That applies as well to the Baltic States as to the Ukraine. Everywhere the Jews are busy inciting and stirring up trouble. It is therefore desirable that many of them must pay with their lives for this. Anyway, I am of the opinion that the greater the number of Jews liquidated, the more consolidated will the situation in Europe be after this war. One must have no mistaken sentimentality about it. The Jews are Europe's misfortune. They must somehow be eliminated, otherwise we are in danger of being eliminated by them."


Source: http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/g/goebbels-joseph/goebbels-1948-excerpts-02.html#1942-mar-6

I think that the references to "Madagascar" and "Central Africa" (Diary entry of 30 May (not private meeting with Hitler)) are simple cynical by March-May 1942.

You think that the decision to "liquidated" the 60% of jews in GG are related to the foodstuff crisis (Frank speaks about that to his Cabinet in May or July)?

Best regards
Boby,

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Post by michael mills » 28 Jul 2006 11:33

I think that the references to "Madagascar" and "Central Africa" (Diary entry of 30 May (not private meeting with Hitler)) are simple cynical by March-May 1942.


Bear in mind that the 7 March diary entry by Goebbels was summarising a memorandum from the SD and Police. There is no obvious reason for him to be cynical about it.

It is quite likely that the memorandum did not mention Madagascar at all, and simply said that after the war, the Jews concentrated in the East would be sent to a place outside Europe. Goebbels is surmising that it could be Madagascar, since he was well aware of the planning done by the RSHA in 1940 with the specific goal of sending four million Jews to that island.

Goebbels' diary entry of the preceding day I thinks backs up my interpretation of the diary entry of 4 March. On the previous day, he was not describing German Government policy, but his own opinion; ie he was saying "I think it would be a good thing if as many Jews as possible were eliminated". That shows that he was not shy about committing to his diary sentiments about the destruction of Jews.

Accordingly, if the memorandum from the SD-Police he was referring to in his 7 March diary entry had said anything about a decision or plan to wipe out the Jews concentrated in the East, Goebbels would no doubt have said "Great! My desire to have as many Jews as possible eliminated is finally going to be realised". But he said no such thing, which suggests that the memorandum made no reference to physical elimination of the Jews, but only to their concentration in the East and postwar banishment from Europe.

So neither the diary entry of 7 March nor that of the day before document any decision to physically destroy the Jews deported to the East.

By the way, the phrase "aus dem europäischen Gebiet ausgeschaltet" clearly means "excluded from the European area", or "sent out of the European area". It has a geographical meaning; there is a geographical area, namely Europe, in which Jews should not be allowed to live, and from which they should be removed. The "Ausschaltung" desired by Goebbels is to be achieved by sending the Jews out of Europe after the war, perhaps to an island, as Goebbels suggests.

The question of the food-shortage was handled by Frank's Cabinet in August 1942. In that month, Frank decided to cut off all food supplies to 1.2 million of the Jews of the G-G, providing them only to the 0.3 million Jews working for the german war effort. In regard to that decision, Frank stated openly that his decision condemned 1.2 million persons to death by starvation. He also said that he hoped that his decision would lead to an acceleration of the deportation of Jews.

The deportations from Lublin Distrikt to Belzec had been underway since March. It may be that Goebbels' reference to the liquidation of the unemployable 60% applied only to the Jews of Lublin Distrikt. In any case, Frank's comment that his decision condemned 1.2 million Polish Jews to death would have no sense if a decision to kill all the Jews of the G-G had already been in place.

One possible interpretation is that the food crisis led to an extension of a March decision to liquidate part of the Jewish population of Lublin Distrikt to the whole G-G, and also to increase the proportion to be liquidated from 60 % to 80% (1.2 million out of 1.5 million).

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Post by Boby » 28 Jul 2006 11:46

Hi michael

So neither the diary entry of 7 March nor that of the day before document any decision to physically destroy the Jews deported to the East.


Reading the context of his entry, perhaps Goebbels is referring to the jews supporting or being involved in partisan activities. There are the most dangerous to the German forces.

Best Regards
Boby,

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Post by szopen » 28 Jul 2006 14:47

Boby wrote:Hi michael
There are the most dangerous to the German forces.

As far as I know, most of both Jewish and Soviet partisans were not really dangerous to German forces, as they were at that time (1942) mostly engaged in robbing local population, and rarely fighting with local police and self-defense units .

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Post by David Thompson » 28 Jul 2006 15:22

For interested readers -- Extensive previous discussions of Mr. Mills' theory on the dating of the policy decision to exterminate the Jews in the occupied eastern territories can be seen at:

Heydrich said: Czechs to guard Jews in White Sea region
viewtopic.php?t=42326
and
Einsatzgruppen Operational Situation Reports USSR
viewtopic.php?t=50368
beginning at viewtopic.php?p=451004#451004

The question of whether certain officials, such as Hinrich Lohse, were kept "out of the loop" of information relating to the policy of mass murders in the east until about 1 December 1941 or later can be seen at:

viewtopic.php?p=560414#560414
viewtopic.php?p=774866#774866

and Lohse's correspondence in Official Resistance to War Crimes at:

viewtopic.php?t=14313

See also Stahlecker's summary of his instructions from the onset of Operation Barbarossa at:

viewtopic.php?p=692518#692518

Whether or not Stahlecker's summary is accurate is discussed beginning at viewtopic.php?p=540473#540473

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Post by michael mills » 29 Jul 2006 03:33

Please note that I am talking about a decision to kill Polish Jews, or more specifically the Jews of the Generalgouvernement.

Decisions to kill other groups of Jews obviously occurred earlier than March 1942; for example, authorisation to kill about one-third of the Jews of Reichsgau Wartheland appears to have been given by Himmler and Heydrich between October and December 1941.

Authorisations to kill whole groups of Soviet Jews, including women and children, ie extending the orders given at or just before the commencement of Barbarossa, were given even earlier. For example, Einsatzgruppe C operating in Lithuania must have received an authorisation to kill all the Jews in its area of operation, except for working Jews held in a number of ghettos such as Kaunas, in the middle of August 1941, since that is when its Lithuanian auxiliaries began their slaughter of whole Jewish communities.

It is apparent that no authorisation to kill German Jews deported to the East had been given as at the end of 1941, given the reprimand issued to HSSPF Jeckeln for his slaughter of a transport from Berlin arriving in Riga on 30 November of that year. Yet by May 1942, such authorisation must have been given, since the German Jews held in the Lodz Ghetto began to be sent to the killing stattion at Chelmno in that month (previously they had been exempted, despite their high average age and unfitness for labour), and transports of German Jews arriving in the Minsk area were subject to selection, with the unfit being shot in nearby forests.

My surmise is that authorisations or decisions to kill different groups or categories of Jews were issued progressively, with the demand for such authorisations initially coming from the German forces in the field, until eventually the extermination action became well-nigh all-encompassing. The indications are that the authorisation/decision to kill the Jews of the Generalgouvernement assessed as unfit for labour (or perhaps only those of Distrikt Lublin) was given some time in March 1942.

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Post by David Thompson » 29 Jul 2006 06:57

Michael -- You wrote:
Please note that I am talking about a decision to kill Polish Jews, or more specifically the Jews of the Generalgouvernement.

Thanks for the clarification. This part of your initial post (at viewtopic.php?p=932041#932041 ) wasn't that specific, and misled me into thinking your theory was more general:
It is noteworthy that the memorandum made no mention of any plan to physically liquidate the Jews concentrated in the east, or even hint at it. Instead, it appears to have stated that the concentration in the East was to be a temporary stage until the end of the war, when, with an assumed German victory, the Jews were to be sent to a destination outside Europe. That replicates the policy stated in the Stahlecker letter to Lohse of August 1941, when a similar concentration of Soviet Jews pending their expulsion to an extra-European destination after the war was described.

It seems unlikely that a decision to exterminate the Jews concentrated in the East in whole or in part would have been concealed from a Government Minister like Goebbels, or why, if it had been revealed to him, he would have concealed it in his private diary.

The most likely interpretation is that as of the date of Goebbels' diary entry, while a decision to deport all Jews under actual and potential German control into conquered Soviet territory had been approved by Hitler, no decision to kill them had yet been made.

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Re: Decision to kill Polish Jews: Mid-March 1942?

Post by AliasDavid » 29 Jul 2006 14:13

michael mills wrote:On 7 March 1942, Josef Goebbels made the following entry in his diary ("Die Tagebücher von Josef Goebbels", Munich 1987, I/4, 115-116):

It is noteworthy that the memorandum made no mention of any plan to physically liquidate the Jews concentrated in the east, or even hint at it. Instead, it appears to have stated that the concentration in the East was to be a temporary stage until the end of the war, when, with an assumed German victory, the Jews were to be sent to a destination outside Europe.

That may be true for that memorandum. But the Wannsee protocol itself clearly mentions such a plan:
In the course of the final solution and under appropriate leadership, the Jews should be put to work in the Easet. In large, single-sex labor columns, jews fit to work will work their way eastward constructing roads. Doubtless the large majority will be eliminated by natural causes. Any final remnant that surviives will dobutless consist of the most resistant elements. They will have to be dealt with appropriately, because otherwise, by natural selection, they would form the germ cell of a new Jewish revival. (See the experience of history).

The plan outlined at Wannsee was not exactly the one that was finally implemented. However, it clearly shows that the RSHA was far from still being committed to the extradiction approach at the beginning of 1942.

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Post by michael mills » 30 Jul 2006 05:41

AliasDavid,

Your translation of the relevant part of the Wannsee Protocol is inaccurate, and rather tendentious.

The original term uses the term "natürliche Verminderung", which is a demographic concept, "natural decrease", an excess of deaths over births over a specific time period. The translation used by you, "the large majority will be eliminated by natural causes" is inaccurate and misleading. A more accurate translation would be "the greater part will be lost through natural decrease".

Given that the sexes were to be kept separate, the birth-rate would fall to zero, meaning that as deportees died they would not be replaced, and their numbers would reduce over time.

When Heydrich refers to the remainder, representing the fittest, needing to be "appropriately treated", he is expressing his view of what will have to be done at some point in the future, ie after the number of deportees has been reduced through natural decrease. The words he uses suggests that he no longer believes that deportation to some distant destination will be feasible or sufficient; but by the same token, they are cast in the form of a proposal rather than the conveying of an order.

The crucial phrase Heydrich uses is "bei Freilassung", on release, ie if the remaining Jewish deportees concentrated in the East, ie the youngest and fittest, given that the old and sick would have died off, were released, there would be a danger of a rebirth of Jewish power and influence somewhere. Accordingly, Heydrich is warning that the young, fit Jewish deportees cannot be released.

It may be that Heydrich was harking back to the Schacht Plan of December 1938, which had proposed that of the 600,000 Jews of Germany (an exaggerated figure), 400,000 representing 150,000 young male Jews and their wives and children, would be transported to Madagascar, while the other 200,000, representing the old and sick, would be allowed to remain in Germany and gradually die off.

Under the plan outlined by Heydrich at the Wannsee Conference, all the Jews of German-occupied Europe, were to be deported into the occupied Soviet Union, the old and sick as well as the young with their families. The old and sick would gradually die off (as they would have under the Schacht Plan), and there would be no more children (a difference from the Schacht Plan, which would have allowed biological reproduction in a Jewish reservation in Madagascar), with the result that a core of younger men and women aged from the teens to middle age would remain. Heydrich may have been suggesting that this core group would have to be actively killed, but the essential point he was making is that they could never be released.

In any case, Heydrich nowhere states that a definitive order or authorisation for the active killing of the Jews to be deported to the East had been given as at the time of the conference. According to Heydrich, all that Hitler had agreed to was the deportation of all European Jews into conquered Soviet territory, as an alternative to further emigration.

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Post by Boby » 30 Jul 2006 10:32

michael

Are you sure that all the jews were to be deported to the East?

Bühler at the Conference

State Secretary Dr. Buehler stated that the General Government would welcome it if the final solution of this problem could be begun in the General Government, since on the one hand transportation does not play such a large role here nor would problems of labor supply hamper this action. Jews must be removed from the territory of the General Government as quickly as possible, since it is especially here that the Jew as an epidemic carrier represents an extreme danger and on the other hand he is causing permanent chaos in the economic structure of the country through continued black market dealings. Moreover, of the approximately 2 1/2 million Jews concerned, the majority is unfit for work.


He is referring to transportation Inside of the Generalgouvernement or Outside his borders?

Regards

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Post by AliasDavid » 30 Jul 2006 16:06

Michael Mills,

michael mills wrote:Your translation of the relevant part of the Wannsee Protocol is inaccurate, and rather tendentious.

The original term uses the term "natürliche Verminderung", which is a demographic concept, "natural decrease", an excess of deaths over births over a specific time period. The translation used by you, "the large majority will be eliminated by natural causes" is inaccurate and misleading. A more accurate translation would be "the greater part will be lost through natural decrease".

Given that the sexes were to be kept separate, the birth-rate would fall to zero, meaning that as deportees died they would not be replaced, and their numbers would reduce over time.

The German original reads
In großen Arbeitskolonnen, unter Trennung der Geschlechter, werden die arbeitsfähigen Juden straßenbauend in diese Gebiete geführt, wobei zweifellos ein Großteil durch natürliche Vermindung ausfallen wird.

"Ausfallen" clearly refers directly to those put to work in the East, not to their progeny. It's an euphemism for "sterben", which means to die. "Natürliche Verminderung" should be mainly associated with starvation, dying from exhaustion and diseases, or the like. Birth control may be implied, but it is certainly not the main idea, given the short-term nature of the envisioned program.

michael mills wrote:The crucial phrase Heydrich uses is "bei Freilassung", on release, ie if the remaining Jewish deportees concentrated in the East, ie the youngest and fittest, given that the old and sick would have died off, were released, there would be a danger of a rebirth of Jewish power and influence somewhere. Accordingly, Heydrich is warning that the young, fit Jewish deportees cannot be released.

It may be that Heydrich was harking back to the Schacht Plan of December 1938, which had proposed that of the 600,000 Jews of Germany (an exaggerated figure), 400,000 representing 150,000 young male Jews and their wives and children, would be transported to Madagascar, while the other 200,000, representing the old and sick, would be allowed to remain in Germany and gradually die off.

The Geman original reads
Der allfällig endlichverbleibende Restbestand wird, da es sich bei deisem zweifellos um den widerstandsfähigsten Teil handelt, entsrpechend behandelt werden müssen, da es sich bei deisem zweifellos um den widerstandsfähigsten Teil handelt, entsprechend behandelt werden müssen, da dieser, eine natürliche Auslesee darstellend, bei Freilassung als Keimzelle eines neuen jüdischen Aufbaues anzusprechen (sic!) ist.

In my eyes, the crucial term is "entsprechend behandelt werden". It's a variant of "Sonderbehandlung" (special treatment), the typical euphemism for murder. A native speaker wouldn't associate "entsprechend behandeln" with life-long imprisonment, but with a one-time measure, such as execution.

UlrichH

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Post by michael mills » 31 Jul 2006 02:25

Ulrich H,

You are making a lot of unwarranted assumptions in your interpretation of the Wannsee Protocol.

In the first place, why do you assume that a short-term process is being talked about? Nowhere in the Protocol is a time-frame mentioned, so it can be assumed that the Jews sent to the East were to be kept there for some considerable time.

Furthermore, the term "natürliche Verminderung" is a demographic terminus technicus, specifically indicating an excess of deaths over births. If the birth rate were reduced to zero, as was intended by the separation of the sexes, then an excess of deaths over births would occur naturally. If the death rate among the old and sick, and perhaps among the very young were increased through poor living conditons and lack of medical treatment, then the excess of deaths over births would be greater, and the rate of natural decrease would be higher, leading to a fairly rapid reduction in the size of the population.

Given the presumably harsh conditions in the areas where the deportees were to be confined (and by analogy with preceding mass deportations in the same region carried out by the Soviet Government), it may be reasonably assumed that 10 years after the deportation almost all the persons aged 40 and over and under five at the time of deportation would have died from natural causes, leaving a core of persons aged between 15 and 50. That core would have been much smaller in numbers than the original deported population; that is what Heydrich meant when he said " ein Großteil wird ausfallen", a large part will be lost.

Heydrich is saying that if that core of relatively young and fit persons were released in the future, it would be able to create a new Jewish population centre (which according to the anti-Semitic national Socialist ideology would represent a threat to the "Aryan" peoples). Accordingly, the core cannot be released, and Heydrich is saying that it will have to be "appropriately treated", ie in such a way that it cannot pose a future threat. He is not specifically saying that the surviving core will be actively killed, but it is entirely possible, indeed likely, that he is suggesting to the participants at the conference that the logical conclusion of the imperative not to release the remaining Jews is that they will need to be killed at some future date.

It is also historically incorrect to claim that the term "entsprechend behandeln" was simply a variant of "Sonderbehandlung". The historically demonstrable fact is that in the official usage of the RSHA, the term "Sonderbehandlung" had a very specific meaning that was defined in a memorandum sent out by Heydrich to all Stapo offices late in 1939. It indicated summary execution of a defined person or group of persons by the Security Police, without a preceding judicial procedure, solely with the authorisation of the head of the RSHA, ie Heydrich himself.

The very fact that Heydrich did not use the official term "Sonderbehandlung" in the Protocol suggests that a definite decision to summarily execute the Jews deported to the East had been made at the time of the Wannsee Conference. The fact that he used an expression that did not have any official definition, that could suggest active killing but did not necessarily do so, supports that interpretation, and the further interpretation that in the absence of a definitive decision Heydrich was inferring that eventually it would have to be made.

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Post by nickterry » 31 Jul 2006 09:59

michael mills wrote:Ulrich H,

You are making a lot of unwarranted assumptions in your interpretation of the Wannsee Protocol.

In the first place, why do you assume that a short-term process is being talked about? Nowhere in the Protocol is a time-frame mentioned, so it can be assumed that the Jews sent to the East were to be kept there for some considerable time.


Why do you assume a long-term process is being discussed? The best contrast is with one of your other bete noires, which was scheduled to be completed over decades, and which resulted in a pilot project beginning in late 1942 and early 1943. By contrast, Jews were underway already to the east, and within two months to Lublin, within three to five months to Vernichtungstaette where they were immediately killed, such as Maly Trostinets, Sobibor, Treblinka, Belzec and Auschwitz.

Furthermore, the term "natürliche Verminderung" is a demographic terminus technicus, specifically indicating an excess of deaths over births.


And what a brillliant way to euphemise mass murder, eh? Of course, you could explain why an RSHA-generated document would even begin to use demographics.

If the birth rate were reduced to zero, as was intended by the separation of the sexes, then an excess of deaths over births would occur naturally. If the death rate among the old and sick, and perhaps among the very young were increased through poor living conditons and lack of medical treatment, then the excess of deaths over births would be greater, and the rate of natural decrease would be higher, leading to a fairly rapid reduction in the size of the population.

Given the presumably harsh conditions in the areas where the deportees were to be confined (and by analogy with preceding mass deportations in the same region carried out by the Soviet Government), it may be reasonably assumed that 10 years after the deportation almost all the persons aged 40 and over and under five at the time of deportation would have died from natural causes,


'Natural causes', folks, does not include deaths from starvation, disease and maltreatment in places of confinement. Please notice how Mills concedes this fact in one paragraph then reverts to type in the next.

leaving a core of persons aged between 15 and 50. That core would have been much smaller in numbers than the original deported population; that is what Heydrich meant when he said " ein Großteil wird ausfallen", a large part will be lost.

Heydrich is saying that if that core of relatively young and fit persons were released in the future, it would be able to create a new Jewish population centre (which according to the anti-Semitic national Socialist ideology would represent a threat to the "Aryan" peoples). Accordingly, the core cannot be released, and Heydrich is saying that it will have to be "appropriately treated", ie in such a way that it cannot pose a future threat. He is not specifically saying that the surviving core will be actively killed, but it is entirely possible, indeed likely, that he is suggesting to the participants at the conference that the logical conclusion of the imperative not to release the remaining Jews is that they will need to be killed at some future date.


Waffle, waffle.

It is also historically incorrect to claim that the term "entsprechend behandeln" was simply a variant of "Sonderbehandlung". The historically demonstrable fact is that in the official usage of the RSHA, the term "Sonderbehandlung" had a very specific meaning that was defined in a memorandum sent out by Heydrich to all Stapo offices late in 1939. It indicated summary execution of a defined person or group of persons by the Security Police, without a preceding judicial procedure, solely with the authorisation of the head of the RSHA, ie Heydrich himself.

The very fact that Heydrich did not use the official term "Sonderbehandlung" in the Protocol suggests that a definite decision to summarily execute the Jews deported to the East had been made at the time of the Wannsee Conference. The fact that he used an expression that did not have any official definition, that could suggest active killing but did not necessarily do so, supports that interpretation, and the further interpretation that in the absence of a definitive decision Heydrich was inferring that eventually it would have to be made.


Oh dear, Mills just walked into a door.

EM 73, 4.9.41: „Vom EK 9 wurden in Janowitschi 149 Juden als NKGB-Spitzel und politische Funktionäre ermittelt und entsprechend behandelt. Ein Teil dieser Juden hatte zudem die Massnahmen der Wehrmacht sabotiert und sich versteckt gehalten, um nicht zur Einbringung der Ernte und zum Strassen- und Flugplatzbau herangezogen zu werden.“

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Post by David Thompson » 31 Jul 2006 12:37

For our non-German speaking readers -- The German passage at the end of Nick Terry's post, above, comes from Operational Situation Report USSR No. 73, translated at:
viewtopic.php?p=454168#454168

It reads:
Einsatzkommando 9 found 149 Jews of Yanovichi to be NKGB informers and political functionaries who were handled accordingly. Some of these Jews sabotaged German projects. They stayed in hiding in order not to be drafted to gather the harvest, and for road and aerodrome construction work.

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