michael mills wrote:
Neither of those two missions involved the extermination of the entire Jewish minority.
Well, basically they eliminated almost the entire male Jewish population in the first phase. Men in the 16-60 age bracket were killed left and right in the first phase.
Specified groups of Jews, ie those in State and Party positions, were included in the categories designated by Heydrich for summary execution, but not the entire Jewish population.
For some reason Mr. Mills wants to emphasise that the Jews in state and party positions were targeted. That is true, but most of the party officials, Jews or gentiles, left with the Soviet troops, so there weren't that many to apprehend and kill.
Also, he tends to forget that Heydrichs orders were extremely broad in their definition of who was to be executed. In addition to the state and party officials the EGs were supposed to execute: "other radical elements (saboteurs, propagandists, snipers, assassins, agitators, etc.)." The Germans were very adept at blaming the Jews for anything.
As one of Mr. Mills' favourite historians Peter Longerich writes (and I have quoted this passage before):
- "This order is certainly not to be interpreted as meaning that Heydrich intended to limit executions to those Jews who held 'Party and State posts'. Given the fact that in the course of war preparations the supposedly close connection between Jews and the Soviet system was repeatedly emphasised, it can be concluded that the instructions to execute 'other radical elements' was primarily directed against the Jewish population. Even the last word of this list, 'etc.' shows that the circle of 'other radical elements' was by no means clearly delineated.
The idea that efforts were made from the beginning to limit the set of Jewish victims specifically to 'all [...] Jews in Party and State posts' is also incompatible with the intention of allowing collaborators to initiate these 'self-cleansing operations', or pogroms and massacres. A pogrom once begun could not be confined to specific Jewish victims chosen according to their function."
(Peter Longerich: The Unwritten Order: Hitler's Role in the Final Solution, p. 66)
Reports from EG B, C and D during the first months of the German occupation show them complying with their mission statements. In most cases, the Jews reported as being executed fell into the defined categories.
If Mr. Mills means that these EGs killed only Jews in Party and State posts, could Mr. Mills show us the proof of this?
In the EG reports the Jews are mostly listed as a separate entity of 'partisans, saboteurs, etc.' In fact the reports themselves tell us that the Germans knew that most of the Party and State officials had fled with the Soviet troops.
I have specifically written that EG A was the first to depart from Heydrich's guidelines,
Indeed you have, but you haven't succeeded in proving that this is true. This is exactly the kind of distortion, I believe, WalterS was referring to. He is entirely correct.
As we only have the 2nd of July instructions by Heydrich and the EG trial evidence to tell us who the targets were, I see no reason to claim that EG A was "departing from Heydrich's guidelines."
with EK 3 in Lithuania commencing a more generalised massacre including large numbers of women and children from 15 August 1941 onward.
Although smaller scale massacres of women and children had been going on even earlier.
I have written that the departure of EG A from Heydrich's guidelines, and the extermination of the majority of the Jews of the Baltic States by the end of 1941, contrasted with the fact that in the remainder of the occupied Soviet territories the mass of the Jewish population remained alive until a more generalised liquidation commenced in the summer of 1942, needs to be explained.
Again, you haven't proven that EG A departed from Heydrich's guidelines. In fact, I would argue that since the EG A interpretation of the guidelines was adopted a bit later by the other EGs that this was in fact what the three 'H's (Hitler, Himmler and Heydrich) wanted.
And again I find that Mr. Mills is distorting the historical facts. Nearly all Baltic Jews were killed by the end of 1941 and a considerable number of Soviet Jews also. The second sweep that began in the Spring of 1942 finished basically the rest off. Only a handful of local Jews survived beyond this.
Those passages in fact refer to independent actions by Lithuanian nationalists.
And you seem to forget that the very same Heydrich guidelines tell the EGs to incite pogroms and "self-cleansing efforts" that wouldn't betray that the Germans were in fact behind them.
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jso ... altic.html
- "1)Encouragement of Self-cleansing Aktionen (Selbstreinigungs-aktionen)*
Basing [oneself] on the consideration that the population of the Baltic countries had suffered most severely under the rule of Bolshevism and Jewry while they were incorporated into the U.S.S.R., it was to be expected that after liberation from this foreign rule they would themselves to a large extent eliminate those of the enemy left behind after the retreat of the Red Army. It was the task of the Security Police to set these self-cleansing movements going and to direct them into the right channels in order to achieve the aim of this cleansing as rapidly as possible. It was no less important to establish as unshakable and provable facts for the future that it was the liberated population itself which took the most severe measures, on its own initiative, against the Bolshevik and Jewish enemy, without any German instructions being evident. In Lithuania this was achieved for the first time by activating the partisans** in Kovno. To our surprise it was not easy at first to set any large-scale anti-Jewish pogrom in motion there. Klimatis, the leader of the partisan group referred to above, who was the first to be recruited for this purpose, succeeded in starting a pogrom with the aid of instructions given him by a small advance detachment operating in Kovno, in such a way that no German orders or instructions could be observed by outsiders.... After the disarmament of the partisans the self-cleansing Aktionen necessarily ceased."
(It is also curious that not a single Baltic member of the forum says a thing in opposition when Mr. Mills tries to blame Lithuanians or Latvians for teaching the Germans to kill women and children [and conveniently forgetting that Ukranians and Belorussians sometimes did the same] but when one argues for the guilt of a single member of these "nationalists" they try their best to whitewash them.)
For example, Porat refers to a reluctance on the part of the German civil administration to back the Lithuanians.
Most of the time the German civil and military officials were more than happy to support the EG actions. Is there a particular incident Porat refers to and can you extrapolate a general policy from that?
Basically the civil authorities were usually worried about the labor shortage and the SS usually won the argument and was allowed to eliminate most of the Jewish population. What does that say about the goals?
That formulation indicates that Lithuanians were acting on their own initiative, and that the German authorities could to support that initiative or not to support it; Porat says that EG A chose to support the initiative of Lithuanian nationalists in slaughtering their Jewish population, and that is quite correct.
As we have seen the local collaborators were mostly given the authority to act by the Germans, they were controlled by the Germans and they used by the Germans to do their dirty work. The authority came from Heydrich.
Furthermore, Porat clearly states that the motivation for killing the Jews came from the Lithuanians, and that the Lithuanians provided the Germans with the transition from the theory to the practice of murder, showing the Germans how to murder women and children.
Yes, some nationalistic groups and people were anti-Semitic and it was easy to incite pogroms in Lithuania, but it wasn't that easy after the first stage and in fact they basically stopped after July 1941.
Could you also explain why the Germans needed to be taught to kill women and children? They were quite capable of doing so in Poland.
However, certain of the statements made by Porat are factually incorrect, in particular her statement that the Einsatzgruppen were "trained for murder".
So you agree with Porat where her words seemingly bolster your hypothesis and disagree when they do not fit it.
In fact, there is no hard evidence of the Einsatzgruppen being "trained for murder" before being sent on their mission.
How do you train for murder? Some of the EG leaders had taken part in the EG actions in Poland. But I agree, the first month of the Operation Barbarossa was the basic training period for most of these men. However, Porat's words can be understood to mean in the first months of the Operation Barbarossa, not necessarily before its launch.
The contention made by a number of EG leaders at their post-war trial that when they assembled at Pretzsch they were given an order by Heydrich to exterminate the Jews, including women and children, has been shown to be false.
Has it? I've seen some historians doubt the veracity of the statement but I haven't seen it fully falsified.
A more accurate formulation would be that the EG entered Lithuania fully intending to identify and summarily execute persons belonging to defined groups, including specific groups of Jews, ie those in State and Party positions.
Since you keep forgetting, here is a reminder: And 'other radical elements, etc.'...
It may be that that view of the Jewish minority in Lithuania was adopted by EK 3, which then proceeded to provide the groups of Lithuanian nationalist partisans, which had formed independently, with the organisation and backing for an indiscriminate slaughter, and that other units of EG A followed the lead set by Jäger.
So, the poor, upstanding Einsatzgruppe members were duped by the vicious Lithuanians into believing that the Jews were to blame for the occupation of the Baltic states and all the ills of the world and this led to the killing of all the Baltic Jews... Pull the other one.
One thing is clear; once units of EG A began to follow the lead of the Lithuanian nationalists in slaughtering Jewish women and children, the German Government raised no objection. Objections were only raised when over-zealous German security policemen started killing German Jews deported to Kaunas and Riga.
One other thing is quite clear, the EG A template was adopted by the other EGs soon enough (August/September) so it must have been what the German leadership wanted, since they were fully aware of the events in the East.