Einsatzgruppen Operational Situation Reports USSR

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
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Postby David Thompson » 23 Oct 2004 04:59

Michael -- You said:
The proposed utilisation of the mass of the Jewish population in the conquered Soviet territories for swamp-clearance and agricultural work contradicts the thesis that the Einsatzgruppen entered the Soviet Union with a mission to exterminate all Jews who fell into their hands.

As stated, the utilisation of the Jewish masses for labour was to be a temporary measure, awaiting the "final solution of the Jewish question" for the entire continent of Europe, which could only be implemented after the final German victory.

Statements by German political and police leaders at this period (August 1941) show that the "final solution" envisaged at that point was the removal of all Jews from Europe to some external destination, either a colony in Africa or across the Urals into Siberia.


I think it is clear from the authorities quoted in my post

viewtopic.php?p=557853#557853

on the Galicia thread that the instructions of the Einsatzgruppen were to kill as many Jews as possible in the occupied areas of the USSR, so long as the crime could not be laid publicly at the door of the Nazi occupiers and did not panic or unsettle the population in the newly-conquered areas. I have seen nothing to suggest that the Nazis thought that the 'final solution of the Jewish question' for the Nazi-occupied portion of the continent of Europe could only be implemented after the final German victory.

Quite the contrary, the policy appears at first to have been to kill as many as they could find and shoot, turning into a policy of expedience mixing outright murder with annihilation through forced labor, short rations and a refusal to provide adequate medical care. There's no real surprise here, since they intended to apply the "expedience" policy to the population of the USSR which had fallen into their hands. This can be seen in the documents at: viewtopic.php?t=61454
for example:
1. The war can only be continued if all armed forces are fed by Russia in the third year of war.

2. There is no doubt that as a result many millions of people will be starved to death if we take out of the country the things necessary for us.

viewtopic.php?p=552129#552129
and
Many tens of millions of people in this area will become redundant and will either die or have to emigrate to Siberia. Any attempt to save the population there from death by starvation by importing surpluses from the black soil zone would be at the expense of supplies to Europe. It would reduce Germany's staying power in the war, an would undermine Germany's and Europe's power to resist the blockade. This must be clearly and absolutely understood. The manufacturing industries in Belgium and France are much more important for Germany and the German war effort than those in Russia.

viewtopic.php?p=552155#552155

The details of Nazi slaving practices in the occupied east beginning in 1942 can be seen on that thread, with additional materials available at:

Nazi Slave Labor Program
viewtopic.php?t=14625

By the summer of 1941, and probably for some months earlier, the idea of removing all Jews from Europe to some external destination was a fairy tale, meant by Hitler, Himmler and their criminal associates to deceive their own people and those fighting against them. The "removal" was real enough, but the destination wasn't somewhere else. The "evacuation" was from the world of the living, and the "resettlement" was to take place locally, under the earth -- in mass graves.

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Postby michael mills » 23 Oct 2004 06:31

Quite the contrary, the policy appears at first to have been to kill as many as they could find and shoot, turning into a policy of expedience mixing outright murder with annihilation through forced labor, short rations and a refusal to provide adequate medical care.


In fact, the EG reports posted here demonstrate quite clearly that the initial German policy was not to kill as many Jews as the German security forces could find and shoot.

The reports show that in the first months after the German invasion the German security forces proceeded against the Jewish population on a very selective basis, shooting those that fell within the criteria set by Heydrich while leaving the rest to be ghettoised by the German civilian authorities.

That is why the reports from the first months show small numbers of Jews being shot for reasons that fall within the security criteria. The reports do not show the Jewish population being targeted for global extermination.

It was EK 3 of EG A that first began to exceed the initial guidelines set down by Heydrich and to deliberately disobey the orders of the civilian authorities. As stated in a quote I posted on the Galicia thread, it appears that Jäger was in competition with other German security force commanders.

I have previously stated the opinion that it was the anti-Communist and anti-Jewish zeal of the Lithuanians that made the German authorities aware of the possibilities for mass extermination, an opinion that I derived from the historian Dina Porat.

The same anti-Communist, anti-Jewish animus was displayed by the Russian population of Borisov; I doubt that the report by was contrived in any way, since he also honestly reported the fear of the population when they witnessed the reality of mass slaughter.

Furthermore, the mass-dying of the surplus population in the occupied Soviet areas (which of course included unwanted elements such as the Soviet Jews) was not seen by the German authorities as absolutely inevitable. The alternative of emigration to Siberia was also explicitly named, in the excerpt posted, eg:

Many tens of millions of people in this area will become redundant and will either die or have to emigrate to Siberia.

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Postby David Thompson » 23 Oct 2004 07:29

Michael -- I think it is necessary to draw a distinction between the reports which were sent to Heydrich by his subordinates, and the reports which Heydrich had prepared and sent out to his superiors and institutional "outsiders" (the Operational Situation Reports USSR, some of which are reproduced on this thread).

One of the most interesting aspects of the Operational Situation Reports which Heydrich sent out is how few Einsatzgruppen massacres get mentioned at all. On the other hand, the reports which survived and which Heydrich received (and used to prepare the Operational Situation Reports) are not short on Einsatzgruppen massacre stories. This can be easily demonstrated by comparing Stahlecker's reports with the descriptions of Einsatzgruppe A's activitities in the Operational Situation Reports USSR for the same time period. Stahlecker's reports can be seen at:

viewtopic.php?p=540402#540402 and
viewtopic.php?p=548236#548236

The Heydrich reports can be seen on this thread and the Electric Zen Einsatzgruppen website at:

http://www.einsatzgruppenarchives.com/einsatz.html

This substantial discrepancy in accounts strongly suggests that Heydrich received one set of facts, and disseminated another -- a practice which was certainly well within his character, and had the feature of protecting him as well.

As for the fact that
The alternative of emigration to Siberia was also explicitly named, in the excerpt posted

an observant reader would have to wonder just how many of the starving "many tens of millions" of Russians would get there, given the fact that the Nazi plan was to seize the local motor vehicle transportation and livestock, and the railway trains were to be employed exporting the seized foodstuffs of the area back to the Reich. Under those circumstances, the "alternative of emigration to Siberia" looks a lot more like a death march to nowhere than a realistic alternative to the planned Nazi-imposed famine.

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Postby WalterS » 24 Oct 2004 07:38

Michael Mills wrote:

I have previously stated the opinion that it was the anti-Communist and anti-Jewish zeal of the Lithuanians that made the German authorities aware of the possibilities for mass extermination, an opinion that I derived from the historian Dina Porat


This is a gross misrepresentation of Porat's essay "The Holocaust in Lithuania." The point of Ms Porat's essay was that the Nazis found willing partners in their efforts to murder Jews when they invaded the Soviet Union and she cites what happened in Lithuania as an example. Mr Mills would have us believe that the Lithuanians were to blame for the German efforts to exterminate the Jews. What is interesting here is that Mr Mills actually admits that there was, indeed, a concerted effort to exterminate Jews. He just wants to blame somebody, anybody, else.

I would also point out that in other threads, Mr Mills has dismissed the Stahlecker report of activities of Einsatzgruppen A. Those reports detail the systematic mass murder of Jews in the Baltic states. That report is also cited by Ms. Porat in her essay to support her thesis that the Jews of Lithuania were first in line to be exterminated. So, Mr Mills once again "cherry picks" among sources, twisting and distorting them until they seem to agree with him. If the Stahlecker report is invalid, how can Porat's essay, which relies in part upon Stahlecker's figures, be a beacon of support for Mr Mills?

What Mr Mills has done, again, is to take a writer's views, turn them upside down and claim that they support his own view. Nowhere does Ms Porat place responsibility for the mass extermination of Jews anywhere but on the Germans. She refers to the Einsatzgruppen as "killing squads" (not intelligence gatherers) and she points out that the Germans harnessed the Lithuanian anti-Semitism, forming police battalions of Lithuanians and turning them loose upon the Jewish communities.


The number one job of the Einsatzgruppen was murder, and nothing in Ms Porat's essay disputes that.

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Postby michael mills » 24 Oct 2004 09:37

Actually, nothing I have written misrepresents Dina Porat's essay in any way.

She specifically states that the mass extermination of the Jews of Lithuania resulted from a sort of symbiosis between the Lithuanians and the German occupiers, with the former providing the emotional motivation for the slaughter, based on their hatred of the Jews, and the latter providing the justification and the organisation.

She also specifically states that there was a sharp conflict between the Lithuanians and the Jews in their midst, resulting from the former's experience of Soviet rule which was supported by the latter, and that conflict led to the willingness of the Lithuanians to participate in a major way in the slughter of the Jews.

She specifically states that the Lithuanians showed the Germans how to kill women and children, and perhaps made them accustomed to it.

Furthermore, I have not rejected the two Stahlecker reports, at least in so far as they document numbers killed. What I have said is that they cannot be accepted unreservedly as documenting German Government policy at the beginning of the invasion of the Soviet Union, since they are written with hindsight, after a number of changes had occurred due to the failure of the German Blitzkrieg to achieve its objectives.

The Hamann Rollkommando, the mobile execution squad consisting of Lithuanian volunteers commanded by a few German officers of EK 3, may justly be described as a "killing squad". But that does not alter the fact that one of the main tasks of the Einsatzgruppen was intelligence gathering, as is demonstrated by a pile of documentation, including their own reports.

Once again, WalterS has engaged in unscrupulous and dishonest distortion of what I wrote, a characteristic he shares with some other malicious posters.

Typical of his dishonesty is the claim that I was seeking to blame the Lithuanians and Latvians for the slaughter of the greater part of the Jewish population in those two countries by the end of 1941.

The truth, which he has maliciously twisted, is that I have presented the view that when the German forces entered the Soviet Union in June 1941, the policy of the German Government was to weed out and liquidate the Jewish leadership and other Bolshevik Jews, and to imprison the Jewish masses until the final expulsion of the Jews out of Europe after the German victory.

Further, I have presented the view that when the German forces in the Baltic area observed the hatred large sections of the local populations bore for the Jews in their midst bcause of the latter's perceived collaboration with the Soviet occupiers, and their willingness to kill Jews, the possibility of a more immediate and more radical solution dawned.

I see that symbiosis between German aims and Lithuanian emotion as the reason why the German security forces in Lithuania went over to a more generalised liquidation of the greater part of the Jewish population many months before a similar development occurred in the rest of the occupied Soviet territories.

For example, in late August, when security forces in the Baltic had already begun a general liquidation of the Jewish population, EG D was pushing back into Romania the Jews that the Romanian authorities had expelled.

If he can show that Dina Porat did not make the statements I have said she made, then let him speak up.

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Postby WalterS » 24 Oct 2004 20:21

One of the standard tactics used by Holocaust deniers such as Mr. Mills is to pluck a quotation from a source, turn it around and use it to “prove” that the author of the piece supports the denier’s position when just the opposite is the case. Mr. Mills has done this again, this time regarding the essay “The Holocaust in Lithuania: some unique aspects,” by Dina Porat which appears in the book “The Final Solution: Origins and Implementation,” edited by David Cesarani.

Here are the opening lines from Ms Porat’s essay:

“ The Final Solution- the systematic overall physical extermination of Jewish communities one after the other- began in Lithuania. This was not the only country which German forces and their Allies invaded on 22 June 1941, later continuing their way southward, eastward and northward, but it was in Lithuania that the German killing squads, the Einsatzgruppen, following in the footsteps of the army unit, began organizing the murder of the Jews. A report sent to Berlin by the Einsatzgruppe A commander, SS General Walter Franz Stahlecker, identifies as the ‘first pogrom’ the violence that took place in Kovno on the night of 25-26 June 1941, only four days after the invasion started, when 1,500 Jews were killed.”

[ibid, p.159]

So, we can clearly see from this that Ms Porat believes that there was a “Final Solution,” that its goal was the physical extermination of the Jews and the Einsatzgruppen were “killing squads.” Mr. Mills does not believe that the goal of the “Final Solution” was the physical extermination of the Jews nor does he believe that the Einsatzgruppen were “killing squads.” Mr. Mills does not believe that the Einsatzgruppen engaged in “…organizing the murder of the Jews.” In other words, Ms Porat does not share Mr. Mills's views on these fundamental issues.

The bulk of Ms Porat’s essay deals with the situation in Lithuania. Here she describes the unique confluence of the Germans’ intent to murder Jews and the vicious anti-Semitism of the Lithuanian population which culminated in the near eradication of Lithuania’s Jews in a relatively short time.

“No other Jewish community was so extensively and comprehensively affected. About 95 per cent or 96 per cent of the Jewish group was murdered following Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union.”


[ibid p. 160]

“Such an almost total annihilation, carried out with such speed, was possible not only because the implementation of the Final Solution began in Lithuania immediately following the German invasion. The intense involvement of the local population, in large numbers, in the murder of the Jews, entailed a fatal combination of Lithuanian motivation and German organization and thoroughness.

“The reports of Einsatzgruppe A testify to the eagerness the Lithuanians demonstrated. This is a significant testimony because the purpose of these reports was to display German, not Lithuanian, determination and devotion to their so-called mission, despite the many ‘difficulties’ which the Nazi authors emphasized.”


[ibid, p. 162]

Of course, Mr. Mills has dismissed the importance of the EG A reports as mere “hindsight,” yet Ms Porat quotes extensively from these reports. Obviously she believes that they are relevant to the discussion.

Ms Porat discusses the involvement of Lithuanian “Police Battalions” set up by the Germans to take advantage of Lithuanian anti-Semitism. The zeal and brutality displayed by the Lithuanians surprised even some Germans.

“A number of questions are worth mentioning in this context. First, the possibility that Germans who served on the civil administration, and especially in reserve battalions, were more reluctant to back the Lithuanians than were other German units such as the Einsatzgruppen, who had quite a record of their own brutality. It seems that at least some of the civil German commanders thought that the zeal of the Lithuanian police battalions surpassed their own by far.

“The question at stake is whether German civil and reserve units, who did not receive the training for murder given to the Einsatzgruppen, accepted, at least during the first months of the invasion, the Nazi regime’s presentation of the killing of Jews as a necessity- but not a task which civilized people would indulge in with pleasure.

“Second, even the Einsatzgruppen, after being trained for murder, were still murderers only in theory. Once the killings started, they became practical murderers, and the Lithuanians were the first ones to provide them with this transition from theory to practice. The Lithuanians showed them how to murder women and children and perhaps made them accustomed to it.


[ibid p. 165]

The underlined sentence is the sentence that Mr. Mills quotes to support his view that the EG were not tasked to commit mass murder, but learned it from the Lithuanians. He also uses this sentence to claim that Ms Porat supports his view. As can be seen by reading the sentence in context, the exact opposite is the case. Ms Porat’s point is that the EG went into Lithuania fully intending to murder Jews, saw that the Lithuanians had started murdering Jews and adopted some of their methods and incorporated many Lithuanians into the EG’s campaign of extermination. Nowhere in her essay does Ms Porat dispute the view that the purpose of the EG was to commit mass murder against the Jewish population. Nowhere in her essay does Ms Porat support Mr. Mills’s views. His attempts to portray Ms Porat’s essay as something that it is not is intellectually dishonest, but not unusual for him.

Finally, Mr. Mills trots out the old “malicious poster” line every time his misrepresentations, deceptions and frauds are exposed. Standard stuff for him.

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Postby michael mills » 25 Oct 2004 00:53

Again WalterS engages in mendacious distortions.

For example, he writes:

Mr. Mills does not believe that the Einsatzgruppen engaged in “…organizing the murder of the Jews.”


A bare-faced lie. I have specifically written that EG units organised massacres of Jews, generally using units seconded from other police and Wehrmacht formations to do the rounding up, guarding and often the shooting. I have also written that in many cases those massacres were organised by EG units at the request of other German authorities, either military or civil, eg the massacre of Kiev Jews as a reprisal on 29 and 30 September 1941.

I have written that when the Einsatzgruppen entered Soviet territory from June 1941 onward, they had two main missions:

1. An intelligence-gathering mission; and

2. an executive "search-and-destroy" mission, consisting of identifying and summarily executing specific groups of people defined by Heydrich as the main supporters of the Communist system and opponents of the German occupation.

Those two missions were also described by Keitel.

Neither of those two missions involved the extermination of the entire Jewish minority. 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.

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.

I have specifically written that EG A was the first to depart 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. That was at a time when the other Einsatzgruppen were organising the ghettoisation of the bulk of the Jewish population, and suggesting that the Jewish masses could be used for swamp-clearance and other agricultural labour, pending a general solution of the Jewish Question after the expected German victory.

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.

I consider that Dina Porat has made a contribution to that explanation in her exposition of the independent initiative shown by Lithuanian nationalists, of their motivation and desire to get rid of the Jews living in their midst that was independent of German policy.

I would not disagree fundamentally with anything in the passages from Porat's essay quoted by WalterS.

Those passages in fact refer to independent actions by Lithuanian nationalists. For example, Porat refers to a reluctance on the part of the German civil administration to back the Lithuanians. 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.

Stahlecker, in his second report (posted by David Thompson) also refers to Lithuanian units carrying out executions of Jews on their own, without being under German command.

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.

However, certain of the statements made by Porat are factually incorrect, in particular her statement that the Einsatzgruppen were "trained for murder".

In fact, there is no hard evidence of the Einsatzgruppen being "trained for murder" before being sent on their mission.

The Einsatzgruppen were cobbled together at very short notice before the commencement of Barbarossa. Only the leaders were selected; the personnel was provided by asking the branch offices of the Sipo and SD throughout Germany to release any staff members who could be spared from other duties.

I recommend the book "Die Gestapo im Zweiten Weltkrieg", which has a chapter on the Einsatzgruppen showing the haphazard manner in which they were thrown together.

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.

The fact is that the personnel of the Einsatzgruppen were given no prior training in the killing of innocent civilians. The groups that they were instructed to execute summarily were the sorts of enemies that they had previously pursued in Germany, Poland and other occupied countries, and no real training for that task was required.

The statement that "the EG went into Lithuania fully intending to murder Jews" is true as far as it goes, but is misleading in that it does not state the whole truth, only a part of it. 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.

It is historically false to claim that EG A entered Lithuania with the intention of killing all the Jews living in that country. In fact, Stahlecker's own words written at the beginning of August 1941 indicate that the German intention at that time was to confine Soviet Jews in rural camps and to use them for agricultural labour until such time as they, together with the whole Jewish population of Europe, could be expelled to an extra-European destination.

The Lithuanian nationalists, suddenly freed from a year of traumatic Soviet occupation, clearly regarded all the Jews of Lithuania as collaborators with the Soviet occupiers, and hence deserving of punishment. In other words, from the Lithuanian nationalist point of view, all the Jews of Lithuania belonged to the category of "Bolshevik supporters" that the Einsatzgruppen had been instructed to seek out and destroy. 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.

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.

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Postby Dan » 25 Oct 2004 02:05

Mr. Mills does not believe that the Einsatzgruppen engaged in “…organizing the murder of the Jews.”


Where's the chip on your shoulder coming from, Walter? None of us following these threads can agree with your statement.

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Postby Earldor » 27 Oct 2004 01:03

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/jsource/Holocaust/Einsatz_Baltic.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."
[emphasis mine]

(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.

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Postby michael mills » 28 Oct 2004 03:25

Earldor wrote:

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


Once again Earldor engages in malicious falsification of my position, a tactic commonly engaged in by those who dislike what I write.

When did I ever write that members of EG A, or any other German agencies, were duped by Lithuanians?

Of course the Germans from the start had the same belief as the Lithuanian nationalists, namely that Bolshevism was a Jewish plot and that the Jews of Lithuania had been the main collaborators in the Soviet occupation of that country. It was not a case of the Lithuanian nationalists deceiving the Germans, and nowhere have I claimed that it was.

But what I have said, following the theses of Dina Porat, is that the Lithuanian nationalists had a much greater emotional motivation to take revenge on the Jews in their midst than did the incoming Germans, since they had personally experienced the trauma of a brutal Soviet occupation. Bacause of that emotional motivation, the Lithuanian nationalists were prepared to kill all the Jews they could, including women and children, in thus provided an example to the German security forces.

Certainly the Germans entered Lithuania with the intention of making it "Jew-free", like the rest of the Soviet territory that they planned to occupy.

But at that initial stage, there was no documented German Government plan to massacre the entire Jewish population of the territories to be occupied, and the orders issued to the Einsatzgruppen at the beginning of barbarossa reflect that fact.

The only documented German plans at that early stage involved the liquidation of members of the Jewish intelligentsia and leadership occupying positions in the Soviet system of domination, with the Jewish masses being confined to ghettos pending their expulsion to a destination outside Europe after the expected German victory.

It was the motivation of the Lithuanian nationalists to take revenge on the Jewish minority in their country by killing them that made the German police authorities aware of the possibility and feasibility of achieving :Jew-free" status through general massacre.

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.


That is a counter-factual generalisation. Although large numbers of Jewish men of military age were killed in 1941, it is not true that all males in that age-bracket were.

Even in Lithuania, where general massacre of the Jewish population began first, well before any other occupied area, the ghetto in Kaunas, which included many younger men as well as women, children, and men over 60, was preserved until the German retreat, at which point the surviving ghetto inhabitants were evacuated to camps in Germany, including Bergen-Belsen. Earldor should read the account of the Kaunas Ghetto by Avraham Tory.

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Postby WalterS » 28 Oct 2004 15:13

Once again Mr. Mills backpedals and dissembles.

When did I ever write that members of EG A, or any other German agencies, were duped by Lithuanians?



True enough. Mr. Mills did not use the word “dupe.” But he did say this:

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.


Mr. Mills is clearly implying that the Germans were not at fault for the murder of hundreds of thousands of Baltic Jews. The Germans were merely going about their business of conquering countries when those bad old Lithuanians started murdering people and the Germans just couldn’t help themselves. I am quite surprised that we have not heard any protests from our Baltic friends over this transparent effort to transfer blame. It is quite clear that the Germans’ intent to murder Jews was greatly assisted by various local communities, but it is also quite clear that the Germans quickly assimilated those efforts into their own campaign of extermination.

Mr. Mills also writes

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, i.e. those in State and Party positions.



Mr. Mills has repeated this line often, as though sheer repetition might make it so. According to the very EG reports that Mr. Mills cites, or dismisses depending on whether or not they support his particular point, over 200,000 Baltic Jews were murdered in the first few months following the German invasion of the USSR. I was unaware that Jewish children could hold “State and Party positions.”

Mr. Mills’s point in all this is to attempt to insulate Heydrich and the German hierarchy from complicity in these and other events in order to further his notion that there was no Holocaust, no plan and no intention on the part of the Nazi government to murder the Jews of Europe, and others. This is why he persists in twisting and distorting the historical record in an effort to explain away all these unpleasant realities.

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Postby Erik » 28 Oct 2004 16:10

The Jäger Report tells that the Germans indeed weren’t ”duped” by the partisans – notice the second sentence in the following quote:

Girls aged 13 to 16 were locked up because they, in order to get work, had applied for admission to the Communist youth. Here it was necessary, through drastic measures, to hammer the proper sense of direction into the heads of the responsible Lithuanian circles. The inhabitants of the prison were assembled in the prison courtyard and checked on the basis of lists and documentation. Those who as a result of harmless offences had been locked up for no reason were assembled in a special group. Those whom we sentenced to 1-3 and 6 months because of their offences were also specially set off, as were those who were to be liquidated, such as criminals, Communist functionaries, politruks and other such riffraff. In addition to the announced punishment, some, according to the offence, especially Communist functionaries, received 10 to 40 lashes with the whip, which were meted out immediately. After completion of the examination, the prisoners were led back to their cells. Those who were to be let free were led in a platoon to the marketplace and there, after a short speech in the presence of many inhabitants, let go. The speech had the following content (it was immediately translated sentence by sentence by an interpreter into Lithuanian and Russian): “If we were Bolshevists, we would have shot you, but because we are Germans, we give you your freedom.” Then followed a severe admonition to abstain from all political activity, to report to the German authorities any hostile activities that came to their attention and to intensively and immediately busy themselves in reconstruction, especially in agriculture. Should one of them again be found guilty of an offence, he would be shot. Then they were released. One cannot imagine the joy, gratitude and enthusiasm that our measures triggered in those who were freed and in the population. We often had to deflate the enthusiasm with sharp words, when women, children and men with tear-filled eyes sought to kiss our hands and feet.
(emphasis added.)
http://veritas3.holocaust-history.org/w ... 009.htm.en

Kindness and leniency towards Communists collaborators were greeted with ”enthusiasm” of an order that the Germans had to ”deflate”.

Earlier, the Report tells:

One of the most important tasks of Einsatzkommando 3, besides the Jewish operations, was the inspection of the mostly overcrowded prisons in the individual locations and cities. On average, in every city in the district, there were 600 people of Lithuanian affiliation in prison, although there was no actual reason for their incarceration. They were taken into custody because of simple denunciations, etc. by partisans.


The Germans (or at least Jäger) had a more humanitarian approach to ”people of Lithuanian affiliation” than the Lithuanian partisans had. ”Simple denunciations” wouldn’t do. Applying ”for admission to the Communist youth” was apparently ”no actual reason for their incarceration”.

Jäger sobbed:

Nobody looked after them.
:cry:

This is, of course, ”besides the Jewish operations”, where the partisans, on the other hand, apparently had been ”lenient” to a degree:

Jews liquidated by
pogroms and executions,
exclusively by partisans, before the assumption of security police tasks by Einsatzkommando 3

4,000
(Compare the ”Total” of Jäger’s statistics: 137,346!!!)
http://veritas3.holocaust-history.org/w ... 006.htm.en

Compare, too:
On average, in every city in the district, there were 600 people of Lithuanian affiliation in prison, although there was no actual reason for their incarceration.


But they let 137,346 of the ”Bolshevist collaborators” to the Germans to take care of.

I can state today that the goal of solving the Jewish problem for Lithuania has been achieved by Einsatzkommando 3.


Why didn’t the Lithuanian partisans see ”more” of the ”Jewish problem” to be solved – than a "meagre" 4,000?

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Postby michael mills » 29 Oct 2004 00:11

Why didn’t the Lithuanian partisans see ”more” of the ”Jewish problem” to be solved – than a "meagre" 4,000?


Because the German forces took full control of Lithuania within a few days after the Soviet withdrawal.

The Soviet administration and the Red Army packed up and fled from Lithuanian territory on 21 June 1941, the day before the German invasion, so as to avoid being cut off by the German advance which they knew was scheduled for 0300 the following day.

The Soviet departure left the way open for Lithuanian nationalists to come out of hiding and begin to take revenge on those collaborators who had not managed to escape (because of the very rapid Soviet flight). As the Jäger Report shows, many ethnic Lithuanians accused of collaboration were thrown into the prisons from which imprisoned anti-Soviet Lithuanians had just been liberated.

The advance guard of the German Army arrived almost immediately, and within a couple of days full German police control had been established. Since the German authorities wanted to prevent at all cost the emergence of an independent Lithuanian regime, the bands of Lithuanian nationalists which had been carrying out a pogrom against collaborators with the previous Soviet occupiers were brought under firm German control and converted into auxiliary police units.

During the couple of days in which bands of Lithuanian nationalists were free to rage at will, before they came under German control, they killed an estimated 4,000 persons, according to the Jäger Report. Those persons were mainly Jews accused of being members of the Soviet security forces or collaborators in other ways.

Jäger is quite specific in saying that the 4,000 were killed "exclusively by partisans, before the assumption of security police tasks by Einsatzkommando 3". (The word "partisan" denotes Lithuanian nationalists operating independently).

Once the Lithuanian nationalist bands had been brought under the control of EG A and converted into police auxiliaries, they continued, under German direction, to execute persons belonging to the categories specified by Heydrich.

It was presumably during that period, during the month of July, that the Lithuanian auxiliaries demonstrated the hatred of Jews and the willingness to slaughter women and children that so impressed their German controllers, and made the latter aware of the possibility of solving the Jewish Question in the Baltic States by an all-encompassing mass slaughter, something that was not envisaged in the instruction issued to the Einsatzgruppen and other German security forces at the time of their entry into the Soviet Union.

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Postby David Thompson » 29 Oct 2004 06:59

Letter from the Chief of the Security Police and SD to von Ribbentrop, 30 October 1941, Transmitting the First Five Reports of the Einsatzgruppen, in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 13: United States of America v. Ernst von Weizsaecker, et al. (Case 11: 'Ministries Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1952. pp. 177-180.

Partial Translation of Document NG-2651, Prosecution Exhibit 1731.

[A memorandum of 8 January 1942, transmitting to defendant von Weizsaecker these five Einsatzgruppen reports along with other related materials, was also a part of this document found in Foreign Office files. This memorandum is reproduced later in this section according to its chronological order.]

The Chief of the Security Police and the SD,
IV A 1--B.
Nr. 24 B/41 gRs.
Please indicate this file number and date in your reply.

Berlin, SW 11, Prinz Albrecht Strasse 8,
Telephone: Local 12 00 40, Long Distance 12 64 21.
[Stamp] Top Secret.

30 October 1941

To the Reich Foreign Minister.
Subject: Activity and Situation Reports
Enclosures: 5 Reports.

By order of the Chief of the Security Police and the SD I am ending you herewith the Activity and Situation Reports completed so far, Nr. 1-5, of the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and the SD in the USSR for your information. [More extensive extracts from Einsatzgruppen reports are reproduced in the materials on Einsatzgruppen case, Volume IV, this series. In the Ministries case, 10 of 11 different Einsatzgruppen reports were introduced in evidence with various exhibit numbers (Pros. Exhs. 1731-1736 and 1738-1741, Documents NO-2651-2666 and 2658-2662). These reports are dated between 31July 1941 and 31 March 1942. In addition to the extracts reproduced in this document, extracts from Einsatzgruppen Report 6 are reproduced below as a part of Document NO-2666, Prosecution Exhibit 1736. Extracts from the testimony of defendants Lammers, Schwerin von Krosigk, and von Weizsaecker concerning the Einsatzgruppen are reproduced later in this section.]

As Deputy:
Signed: Mueller.

[Enclosure]
The Chief of the Security Police and the SD
Berlin,
31 July 1941.

Top Secret.
Activity and Situation Report of the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and the SD in the USSR and the behavior of the Communists in the Reich and in the occupied territories:

Index: A. General notes about the deployment [Einsatz] of the Security Police and the S.D.: Page 1-4;

-Assignment of the Einsatzgruppen: Page 1-2;

-Cooperation with the Wehrmacht: Page 3;

-State of Health: Page 3-4.

B. Police Tasks carried out: Page 5-18;

-Baltic Countries: Page 5-7;

-White Ruthenia: Page 7-12;

-Ukraine: Page 12-15; Einsatzgruppe D: Page 15-18;

--a. Attitude of the Hungarians in the occupied territories: Page
15-17;

--b. Attitude of the Rumanian in the occupied territories: Page 17-18.

C. Economic Situation: Page 19-24;

-Baltic Countries: Page 19-20;

-White-Ruthenia: Page 20-21;

-Ukraine: Page 22-24.

D. Attitude of the Ethnic Groups: Page 25-38;

-Latvia: Page 25-26;

-Lithuania: Page 27-29;

-White-Ruthenia: Page 29-32;

-Jewry in White-Ruthenia: Page 32-34;

-Ukraine: Page 34-38.

E. Effects upon the Reich and the occupied territories: Page 39-41.

A. General notes about the deployment of the Security Police and SD. Assignments of the Einsatzgruppen: The four Einsatzgruppen (A, B, C, and D), formed pursuant to an agreement between the Chief of the Security Police and the SD and the High Command of the Army [Evidence concerning this agreement between the Chief of the Security Police and SD and the High Command of the Army is reproduced in the materials on the High Command case (Vols. X and XI of this series). Reference is to the so-called Wagner-Heydrich Agreement, NOKW-2080.] have, upon the outbreak of the war, moved into the USSR attached to units of the German Army. The Einsatzkommandos under their command are at present on the march to their assigned areas with the advancing army units.

Cooperation with the Wehrmacht: The connection with the different army groups is being kept up by the Higher SS and Police Leader who is attached to the Commander of the Army Group Rear Area and who received current reports on the measures of the Security Police within the operating theatre of the respective army group. According to the reports from the Einsatzgruppen, the cooperation with the Wehrmacht is excellent. The Einsatzgruppen take great pains that this state of affairs is being kept up through personal contact and by going about their work the correct way.

The connections with the GFP [Secret Field Police] and the Counterintelligence III units are loyally and fully handed over to the Einsatzgruppen, while on the other hand, everything of military importance is handed over to the Wehrmacht.

White Ruthenia

In White Ruthenia the towns of Bialystok, Grodno, Lida, Minsk, Nowogrodek, Slonim, Sluzk, and Vilna were occupied by Einsatzgruppe B and screened for Security Police purposes.

Same as in the Baltics, the entire local political leader-corps had fled before the advancing Wehrmacht and the Vorkommandos [advance units] of Einsatzgruppe B. Although the political material had either been destroyed or evacuated to the rear areas, it was possible to secure numerous documents in the Minsk Soviet Building, the only public building left intact. But here also, the NKWD material and the documents of the Communist Party had been burned.

Up to the present, the executive police actions in the White Ruthenian region were being carried out on the principle of striking effectively against the Jewish leadership circles without, however, disturbing more than absolutely necessary the economic situation in the interest of warfare. It was also taken into account that the spiritual dissociation of the White Ruthenian population from the Bolshevist system should not be impeded by police measures.

In retaliation for arson, plundering, and murder, a total of 8000 persons were liquidated in the area of Einsatzgruppe B, a great number of whom belonged to the Jewish intelligentsia. White Ruthenians were only liquidated when unmistakably verified as Bolshevist officials or agents. Among the liquidated persons are Russians, Poles, and Asiatics (Kirghiz, Tatars, Tibetans, etc.,) who had evidently been resettled into White Ruthenia by the Bolshevist leaders for the purpose of undermining work and for carrying out executions. A Jewish Council was established in order to register the Jewry, and the formation of ghettos was initiated.

Near Minsk, the same as in Kowno, two of the old fortifications were transformed into Jewish concentration camps in order to facilitate the screening of the Jews.

As a distinguishing mark, yellow armlets were introduced for the Jews, and they were ordered to hand over their radio sets under threat of death.

Under the circumstances described, the seizure of the higher Bolshevist officials can follow only after a certain period of time and on the basis of a thorough intelligence network still to be established. It can be assumed that these officials are keeping in hiding in localities in other areas. From the start special attention therefore has been directed toward the setting up of an intelligence network.

So-called information stations were established to induce the non-Bolshevist population to take part in these search actions, and the people were publicly invited to disclose the hiding places of their former oppressors.

Ukraine; Similar circumstances prevailed in the Ukraine. Here also the main activity of Einsatzgruppe C was directed toward the liquidation of all Jews and Bolshevists responsible for the murderous terror in these parts.

Rumania:

A similar situation is reported from the Bessarabian front. The lack of discipline in Rumanian units and the absence of a proper authority resulted in large-scale looting by the civilian population who had stayed behind, particularly the Rumanians, and everything that was not nailed down was stolen from the deserted dwellings.

The Rumanian police are working under the orders of the local German Einsatzkommando.

There is no system in the way in which the Rumanians are dealing with the Jews. No objections could be raised against the numerous executions of Jews if the technical preparations and the execution itself were not totally inadequate. The Rumanians usually leave the executed persons where they have been shot without burying them. The Einsatzkommando has issued instructions to the Rumanian police to proceed somewhat more systematically in this direction. For disobedience to orders from the Security Police and as reprisal for attacks on German military personnel, the Jewish Council of Elders in Beltsy and other Jews, altogether 45, were liquidated.

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Postby WalterS » 29 Oct 2004 16:14

Mr. Mills's latest post is almost comical. Now he proposes to tell us that the Germans had no plans for the wholesale slaughter of Baltic Jews. In fact, Mr. Mills would have us believe, the Germans actually stopped the mass murders by Lithuanians by organizing them into police battalions and channeling their murderous tendencies only toward select groups.

Mr. Mills wrote:

Once the Lithuanian nationalist bands had been brought under the control of EG A and converted into police auxiliaries, they continued, under German direction, to execute persons belonging to the categories specified by Heydrich.



This, of course, is another effort to exonerate Heydrich. I remind readers that Mr. Mills has repeatedly quoted the essay "The Holocaust in Lithuania" by Professor Dina Porat to support his notion that it was the Lithuanians who started all the mass murdering of Jews.

In direct contradiction of Mr. Mills's assertions that the Lithuanians were used only against select groups "specified by Heydrich" Ms Porat has this to say:

The activities of the Lithuanian 'partisans' were so much in line with German plans that by the end of July 1941 the German command began the establishment of twenty police battalions. About 8,400 men, all volunteers, were charged with the murder of local Jews, under the supervision of Franz Lechthaler, commander of the 11th Battalion of the German reserve police. By the end of the year, after most of the Lithuanian Jews had been killed, some of the battalions were sent to Byelorussia and poland, where they perpetrated killings in a string of towns, camps and ghettos, including Treblinka and Maidanek, and took part in the annihilation of the Warsaw Ghetto with General Strrop's troops.


"The Final Solution: Origins and Implementation," ed. by David Cesarani, p. 164 (underlining added)

Ms Porat also writes:

The wave [of killings] that hit most of the Lithuanian Jews not only diminished the major communities to half (Kovno) or even a third (Vilna) of their former size. It erased the small towns, the famous Jewish Lithuanian Shtetles, almost to the last person, in a few months. Like the rest of the Jews in the German-occupied areas in the Soviet Union they were shot near pits and in woods close to their former places of residence, and were not sent to death camps.


ibid, p. 162

So, even after the much heralded, by Mr. Mills, German takeover of the Lithuanian 'partisans' and organizing them into police units, the mass murders continued unabated until, as Jaeger put it, "There are no Jews in Lithuania."

Mr. Mills's pathetic efforts to side-step these facts and word smith them into something that they are not are once again exposed.


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