Who killed my family?

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parik
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Who killed my family?

Post by parik » 13 Apr 2007 20:02

All my Father's family were killed by the Germans and local inhabitens of the village of Ratno or Ratne, in Western (Zapado Ukraina) Ukraine (once Volyn, a part of pre war Poland) in June 1941. Ratno is near Kobrin and Kowel.
The region is known also as:
* Volenskii
* Volin
* Volinskaya
* Volinski
* Volyn
* Volynska (Russian)
* Wolenskj
* Wolenskja
* Wolin (Yiddish)
* Wolina
* Wolinsk
* Wolinski
* Wolyn (Polish)

Among the victims were His parents, Grandparents, 8 sisters and brothers, uncels, cusins etc,
My Father (85) is the only survivor from his family. He escape to the forests. became a Partisan and fought the Nazis and the local colaborators/
I am trying to find out which Einsatzgruppe unit (maybe under Paul Blobel?) was responsible for the killing of the Jews in Ratne
(Ратне).
Thanks in advance
Parik

P.S.
details about Ratno in Hebrew wikipedia:
http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%A8%D7%98%D7%A0%D7%94

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Post by David Thompson » 14 Apr 2007 18:48

parik -- There were a number of killings at Ratno/ Ratne. Most of the killings took place August 25, 1942, by which time the Einsatzkommandos had moved out of the area. The most likely culprits for that massacre are shooting units from German or collaborator police battalions. See http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/pinkas_ ... 0187b.html

You might also want to check out this book: Ratno - "Ratne; Sipura Shel Kehila Yehudit she-Hushmedah" (Ratne; the Story of a Jewish Community that was destroyed). The Editor is Nahman Tamir who lives in Tel Aviv and the Ratno Society in Israel, published the book in 1983. The book is not translated into English yet.

The Ratno Society, mentioned above, may be able to give you some additional help.

parik
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The final days of Ratno

Post by parik » 14 Apr 2007 20:36

Well thank you for the reply. I have the book you mentioned, in Hebrew.
I have also a book that was writen in Yidish by Jews from Ratno that left before the war to Argentina.
I know the chairman of Ratno society but no one of the Ratno people in Israel know who were the Germans that enter the town.
The Germans enterd Ratno on 23 of June 1941. At the same day the killed 30 Jews, among them many of my father family.
Some other 110 Jews were executed on 16/6/1942. The rest of the Jews were executed on 26/8/1942, on Prohod hils near Ratno.
We think that the German unit was part of Enizatsgruppe c. It must be the same unit that killed the Jews in Rovno (or Rovna).
Part of the job was done by the the Banderovchik Ukrainians who enjoyed themselves very much killing Jews.
It so happened that my father in law is also from Ratno but he has no idea about the Germans in Ratno (or Ratne in Yidish).
Maybe someone who can read and write Ukrainian language can send a mail the the local municipality and ratno and try to find out.
Thanks a lot
Last edited by parik on 14 Apr 2007 22:41, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by David Thompson » 14 Apr 2007 22:14

parik -- Thanks for letting me know what research you have already done. We always appreciate it, since it keeps readers who'd like to help from having to duplicate your work or tell you something you already know. As you are probably aware, the first 7 Einsatzgruppen Operational Situation Reports USSR, covering the 22 Jun-1 Jul 1941 period, have not been found (or if they have, I'm not aware of it), and Report No. 9 is also missing.

For that reason, it's difficult to piece together the routes of the different Einsatzkommandos and Sonderkommandos in the first week of Operation Barbarossa. By 1 Jul 1941, Blobel's Sonderkommando 4a was in Lvov. (See Operational Situation Reports USSR No. 10 at http://www.einsatzgruppenarchives.com/osr10.html ). If the members of your family were killed in the 23 Jun 1941 executions, my initial suspicions would fall on the murder units in the Brest-Litovsk area, which by my maps is closer to Ratno/Ratne than Lvov. Another distinct possibility is Vorkommando Lublin, a "for special purposes" unit mentioned in Operational Situation Reports USSR No. 28 at viewtopic.php?p=450962#450962 . Its line of march from Lublin would have taken it to Kovel', just a few kilometers south of Ratno/Ratne. This unit also carried out executions in Rovno, per that report.

Apparently the Operational Situation Reports USSR were compiled from reports sent to the SS-RSHA (SS Reich Security Main Office) from the individual units, but if these reports survived, they haven't been published in English.

Also, British signals intelligence may have picked up the radio transmissions from the responsible unit. These reports have been highly publicized recently, but I don't think they've been published. It may be that one of our readers can be of greater assistance than I have been. Good luck!

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Carnaro
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Post by Carnaro » 14 Apr 2007 23:10

Some word about the killings on 1942.

On the base of the available documents, I think that it’s almost impossible - for the moment, to identify for sure the unit that perpetrated the killings in Ratne.
Anyway we could to advance some hypotesis.
On summer 1942 the area between Brest Litowsk, Kobryn and Maloryta was controlled by Reserve-Polizei-Kompanie “Nurnberg”. This kompanie had – for example, a security post in Mokrany, some km north of Ratne. Seems that sometimes during the summer 1942, in a near village, at least 20 jews were killed. Following the statement of an ex-policeman from RPK “Nurnberg”, jews were usually killed, during this “anti-partisans” operations.
Again, RPK “Nurnberg”, on September 1942, was involved (with Polizei-Bataillon 310 and gendarmerie units) in the destruction of Kortelitsy, 20 km north of Ratne.
More, on late October 1942 in Samary (near Kortelitsy) a company from Polizei-Bataillon 310 killed 74 jews, mostly coming from Ratne & Kortelitsy.
Consider also that this kind of “operations” usually were perpetrated under control of Gestapo/SD: the closest Sichereitspolizei unit was the SD-Aussenstelle in Brest-Litowsk.
On need, non-german units also were involved as reinforcement: usually ukrainische Schuma-Einzeldienst, taken from little gendarmerie posts (and - following Gerlach, a polish schuma unit also was involved in destruction of Brest Litowsk ghetto).

On my opinion – but it’s a speculation only – the most likely pepetrator (better, one of the perpetrators) was the Reserve-Polizei-Kompanie “Nurnberg”, under control of SD-Kommando.

Hope this help
Max

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Post by David Thompson » 15 Apr 2007 01:06

Thanks for the assist on those 1942 murders, Carnaro. Do you know the name of the Brest-Litovsk SD-Aussenstelle commander at that time?

parik
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Its a small world

Post by parik » 15 Apr 2007 06:45

Its realy a small world.
My brother in law has just retuen from roots-voyage in Maloryta. His father was born there.
He met an old guy (Bielo-russian) that told him about the extrimination of the Jews there.
According to him around 2883 Jews from Malorita Getto were murderd on 7/7/42 by an SD unit - Comando Nuremberg- under Major Rosa. They came from Luck.
They were assistend by a local Ukrainian Police (in Malorita there was a Police Academy) under Polkovnik Kwiatkovsky or Schwatz. The Ukrainian commander immigrate after the war to Canda.
I wrote about Ratno and Malorita in the Hebrew Wikipedia.
Here is the link for Malorita (or Maloryta).
http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%9E%D7% ... 7%98%D7%94
I uploaded some pictures my brother in law took there shoing the mass graveyard of Maloritas Jews.

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Carnaro
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Post by Carnaro » 15 Apr 2007 09:14

Well, some little precisations to my post.
Brest Litowsk had a KdS-Aussenstelle controlled by KdS in Rovno.
Under it existed some little SD-Officies (SD-Dienstelle) in the nearest localities. For example:
- SD-Dienstelle in Brest Litowsk itself
- SD-Dienstelle in Maloryta
- SD-Dienstelle in Kobryn
I know that existed also a post in Dywin or Dzivin (very close to Kortelitsy & Samary), but I don’t know to what level…
Till the end of May 1942 a new position – the KdS-Aussenstelle Pinsk – was opened, again under KdS Rovno

Probably more informations are contained into ZStD 45 Js 4/74 vom 4/11/75 gegen Z. und andern (from KdS-Aussenstelle Brest Litowsk), but unfortunately I have not this file.

Consider also that usually SD-Kommandos from many localities came on-call to the objective of the “operation”: they represented the “brain”; instead, units as ordnungspolizei, gendarmerie, schuma etc, represented the “arm”.
In this way we could speculate that the “SD unit - Comando Nuremberg- under Major Rosa” quoted by Parik could be split into two:

- an SD-Kommando from Lutsk
- elements from RPK “Nurnberg”

Probably this Major Rosa (more likely an SS-Sturmbannfuhrer) was an SD, not an Ordnungspolizisten: in fact RPK “Nurnberg” was commanded by a Captain: Hptm Josef E. (my source obliterate the name for german law on privacy).

A word about June 1941 killings.
Seems to me hard that perpetrators could be elements from Einsatzgruppe zbV – Kommando “Lublin”, as it was formed after 24 June 1941. The date of forming probably was around the last days of June: on July 2 they arrived in Brest Litowsk (SS-Ustuf. Schmidt with 14 men), then in Pinsk.
Consider also this info: (Ronald Headland – Messages of murder, pg. 111)
“One week after the war started [against URSS – my note], Sonderkommando 7b reported the friendly attitude of the population of Brest Litowsk”.
This info is taken form EM 8.
Sonderkommando 7b was part of EG B, not EG C. (at this time was not yet decided to detach the Brest-Pinsk region from Belarus and to assign it to Ukraine).

Again my opinion (another one speculation!!!): killers in Ratne on June 1941 could have been local pogromists, istigated/supported/not interfered by elements from SK 7b.

Max

parik
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Post by parik » 15 Apr 2007 09:48

Thanks for your research!
For one thing I am sure: the perpetrators of the killing on June 1941were Germans. According to the Ratno survivors testimonies Ratno was ocupiied by the Germans on 23 of June 1941 but the German army just went through the town on its way to the Ukraine and Bielorussia.
On 6 of July armed Ukrainian bandits enter the town and started a Pogrom. When the German army commanders in Kowel learned about the anarchy in Ratno they send there one company that exchange fire with the bandits, but the German later blamed the Jews for the shooting, so on Tuesday 9/7/1941 they round up all the Jews in the Market place. After few hours they released the older people, women and childrens under the age of 13, but than they blame the Jews for the shooting and they decided to shoot on the spott 60 people: 30 Jews and 30 Ukrainians but later they agreed to kill 30 Russians POW instead of the Ukrainians. They took them to Kowel street and shoot them there. The 30 Jews were taken to same place and were executed later. Two of the Jews manage to escape.

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Carnaro
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Post by Carnaro » 15 Apr 2007 12:21

Ok, then the ultimate date of the first-one massacre in Ratne is July 9, 1941: this bring us back to David's original hypotesis: perpetrators could have been members of Einsatzgruppe zbV - Kommando "Lublin".
About this, we know that within July 17, by this Kommando, Troops were displaced also in Pinsk, Lutzk, Rovno, Kovel and Rawa Ruska (EM 25).

At this point David's hypotesis seem to me also the most likely....

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Re: Who klilled my family?

Post by Jonathan Harrison » 10 Apr 2009 18:46

“Nurnberg” was commanded by a Captain: Hptm Josef E. (my source obliterate the name for german law on privacy).


His name was Josef Eisele. Source: Yehuda Bauer, "Rethinking The Holocaust", p.160.

The key units and personnel in the region were:

SSPF Luzk Wilhelm Günther
KdS Rovno/Luzk Karl Pütz
Leiter der Sipo-Aussenstelle Brest-Litowsk Ernst Berger
SS and Polizeistandortführer Brest-Litowsk Friedrich Wilhelm Rohde
Head of Gendarmerie Brest Lieutenant Ernst Deuerlein
Leader of 48th motorised police company Hermann Heise
Leader of ‘Nuernberg’ unit Josef Eisele

I have written four blogs on the Brest region using various sources:

http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot. ... abel/Brest

An incomplete table of killing actions in the Brest and Kobryn regions with killing units. I will add to this as I obtain more sources:

http://rodohforum.yuku.com/topic/6818

michael mills
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Re: Who klilled my family?

Post by michael mills » 11 Apr 2009 03:28

On the of Parik's most recent information, it appears that the shooting of 30 Jews of Ratno in either June or July 1941 was not an exterminatory action, since the the extermination of the Jews of that town did not occur until one year later, in August 1942.

The shooting of the 30 Jews on 9 July 1941 seems to have been a reprisal action, a response to somebody firing on the company of German soldiers sent to the town between 6 and 9 July to suppress fighting between Jews and Ukrainians.

Most probably the shooting of the 30 Jews was carried out by that company, which most probably also shot the 30 Soviet POWs. Accordingly, it need not have been a Waffen-SS or police unit at all, it may have been an ordinary Wehrmacht unit. The fact that the German unit originally proposed to shoot equal numbers of Jews and Ukrainians suggests that it was not particularly anti-Jewish, just interested in intimidating all the inhabitants of the town.

After all, the German company was not sent to Ratno specifically to kill Jews, but to suppress inter-ethnic fighting that was going on, in the course of which they were shot at. By whom? Ukrainians or Jews? Who knows for sure. Obviously, Jews would be more likely to shoot at German troops arriving in their town than Ukrainians would be. If that was the case, then it is a fair bet that Jewish survivors from the town would not admit it. Whatever the truth of the matter, both Jews and Ukrainians in Ratno could well have had access to arms abandoned by the retreating Red Army.

The upshot is that the shooting of the 30 Jews was not a typical SS-police action, and may well have been carried out by the Wehrmacht. Looking for SS-police units in the area is likely to be a red herring.

A more interesting question is how the 30 Jews shot as a reprisal were chosen. Did the local people of the town play a role in the selection, ie were they asked to identify specific Jews? If so, on what basis was the selection made? For example, the Jews selected for execution may have been identified by local people as having been collaborators with the previous Soviet occupation.

parik
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Re: Who klilled my family?

Post by parik » 11 Apr 2009 08:45

Well Mr Mills.
Since there are evidence from Ratno survivors, including my father and my father in law, who are still alive, and there is a written history of the extremination of Jewish Ratno (a book that was published in Israel in 1984) we do not have to guess about the massacare that took place on July 41.
According to Abraham Berg Ratno was ocuppied by the Germans on 23/6/1941. At the begining the ocupation was srtategic only. The German Army continue deep into The Ukraine and into Byelorussia.
Ratno itself was abandon for 2 weeks until the first Pogrom by the Ukrainians para military gangs. They enter the town on Sunday 6 of July killed some jews and robed shops and houses for 2 days. Than the rumors about the pogeom came into the knowledge of the Germans headquarter in Kovel. They send some forces to stop the anarchy. When they enter the town they open fire aiming at the Ukrainians bandits. They thought that the the fier came from Jewsh so they returned fire .
None of the Germans was injured or killed but 10 of the Pogromchiks were shot dead but since they open fire on the German army the Germans decide ti punish them.
So they gothered the all jewish populatin and the said that they decided to kill 70 people: Since 10 were already killed the will execute "only" 60: 30 jews and 30 Ukrainiens but instead of the Ukrainiens they were raedy to execute 30 Russians POW and 30 Jwes.
They choose randomly from the crowd only men. 2 escaped and the other 28 were excecuted on the spot by the German army unit.
Amogd the dead were some relatives of my father.
The rest of the Jews were killed during 1942. The first big maascre took place in 27.8.1942 on the Prochod Hills on the edge of Ratno by the Germans and local police.

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wm
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Re: Who klilled my family?

Post by wm » 11 Apr 2009 12:27

michael mills wrote: After all, the German company was not sent to Ratno specifically to kill Jews, but to suppress inter-ethnic fighting that was going on, in the course of which they were shot at. By whom? Ukrainians or Jews? Who knows for sure. Obviously, Jews would be more likely to shoot at German troops arriving in their town than Ukrainians would be.
No it's not obvious at all. It wan't inter-ethnic fighting it was a pogrom. Ratno was 50% Jewish, the rest were Ukrainians. A few Poles lived there, too.
Living in hostile environment Jews had no chance to arm themselves. For example one of the resisting Jews killed a looter with just an axe.

In Ratno Ukrainians had weapons even before WWII. On September 27, 1939 in Ratno Ukrainian nationalists opened fire on retreating Polish Army on two distinct occasions. ( from Siemiaszkos collaborative work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W%C5%82ady ... _Siemaszko )

And a minor correction, Ratno was't a village it was a town from 1440. In Ukrainian SSR it received the rank of cелище міського типу (something between village and town).
Ratno coat of arms:
Image

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Re: Who killed my family?

Post by Peter K » 11 Apr 2009 21:10

In Ratno Ukrainians had weapons even before WWII. On September 27, 1939 in Ratno Ukrainian nationalists opened fire on retreating Polish Army on two distinct occasions.
Hard to say that they just "opened fire".

It was a regular battle between the Polish Army and Ukrainian sabotage-terrorist units.

Poles were forced to involve two battalions supported by one artillery unit / squadron (dywizjon) to destroy Ukrainian forces - battalion KOP "Sarny" and battalion KOP "Bereźne" supported by artillery dywizjon under command of major Stefan Czernik.

Ukrainians were most probably supported by some regular Soviet troops, because they had got machine guns and even artillery.

Both sides suffered heavy casualties.

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