Einsatzgruppen Operational Situation Reports USSR

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David Thompson
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Postby David Thompson » 29 Oct 2004 16:59

WalterS -- Please try to keep expressions of your personal vituperation to a minimum in posting. This is a research area of the forum, not The Jerry Springer Show.

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WalterS
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Postby WalterS » 30 Oct 2004 04:15

Jerry Springer should be so lucky :wink:

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Postby michael mills » 31 Oct 2004 02:01

Concerning the Activity and Situation Report of 31 July 1941 posted by David Thompson:

(Note that the Activity and Situation Reports [Tätigkeits- und Lagemeldungen] were monthly reports that summarised the daily Incident Reports USSR [Ereignismeldungen UdSSR], the latter being what is usually meant by the unofficial and imprecise term "Einsatzgruppen Reports").

It is noteworthy that nothing in the report indicates the existence of a German policy of general extermination of the Jewish minority in the occupied Soviet territories, as at the date of the report.

All references are to the liquidation of the Jewish leadership and intelligentsia, persons that fitted within Heydrich's category of "Jews in State and Party positions".

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.


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. .................. A Jewish Council was established in order to register the Jewry, and the formation of ghettos was initiated.


Even in Lithuania, where, as I have repeated ad nauseam, EK 3 was the first Einsatzgruppe unit to go over to a more general slaughter of the Jewish population, Heydrich's guidelines were still being observed as of 31 July, and EK 3 was "screening" the Jewish population (which indicates examining the Jews to weed out those that fitted within the categories for summary execution), rather than shooting them all unselectively.

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 I have repeatedly stated, the crucial issue is to explain why EK 3 went beyond the guidelines set by Heydrich, and began a more general slaughter of the Jewish population of Lithuania, ie not only persons who could reasonably be classed as "Jews in State and Party positions" (which of course could also include females) or as belonging to any of the other categories designated for summary execution, but the slaughter of the entire Jewish populations of small towns scattered throughout Lithuania.

In my view, Dina Porat has correctly identified the Lithuanian desire for revenge against the Jews whom they considered to share responsibility for the traumatic and brutal Soviet occupation, as the vital factor that caused the "Holocaust" to begin in Lithuania. Some of her other assumptions about German Government plans as at the time of the german entry into Lithuania are open to question, but I believe she is correct in relation to the crucial significance of the attitudes and actions of Lithuanian nationalists.

The role of EK 3 and its leader Karl Jäger are well summed up by Michael McQueen in Chapter 7 of the book "Bitter Legacy: Confronting the Holocaust in the Soviet Union" (ed. Zvi Gitelman, Indiana University Press, 1997).

In the conclusion to that chapter ("Nazi Policy toward the Jews in the Reichskommissariat Ostland, June-December 1941: From White Terror to Holocaust in Lithunia"), McQueen writes (p. 101):

One might further speculate that Jäger engaged in a competition with the other Einsatzkommando leaders, in the expectation that demonstrated zeal in the pusuit of the racial goals of Nazi policy, above and beyond the guidelines established by Heydrich in his orders, would be rewarded. It is clear that he and the other EK leaders expressly violated the orders on the treatment of the Jews issued by the civilian administration of the Reichskommissariat Ostland and military-economic apparatus of the Wehrmacht.


The very title of McQueen's chapter indicates his opinion (which is also mine) that there was a radicalisation of German policy from July to December 1941, and that that policy at the beginning of the campaign to overthrow the Soviet Union was not one of extermination but of "white terror", ie killing the Bolshevik leaders and operatives.
Last edited by michael mills on 31 Oct 2004 02:02, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby David Thompson » 31 Oct 2004 04:03

Michael -- You said:
It is noteworthy that nothing in the report indicates the existence of a German policy of general extermination of the Jewish minority in the occupied Soviet territories, as at the date of the report.

Just as noteworthy is the fact that Heydrich was distributing these reports to outsiders. I pointed out this salient fact in an earlier post, at: viewtopic.php?p=560414#560414

Here is the distribution list, just for the German Foreign Office (many others were on it), headed by everyone's best friend in the NSDAP hierarchy, Joachim von Ribbentrop. Note the distribution to eight separate departments in the Foreign Ministry, with an additional specific handwritten referral by Pausch to the Reich Foreign Office's Referat (legal advisor). Under those circumstances, it should come as no suprise that the monthly reports have been somewhat "sanitized" by Heydrich:

1. To be submitted for information to:
Under Secretary of State Political Division [initial] W [Woermann];
Dirigent Political Division [initial] E [Erdmannsdorf];
Section I Political Division [illegible initial];
Section V Political Division [illegible initial];
Economics Division [illegible initial];
Division Deutschland Section III [illegible initial];
Information Division [illegible initial] especially see p. 19 [illegible initial];
Press Division; Broadcasting Division [illegible initial].

2. To be resubmitted to Referat [initial] F. Berlin, 23 December 1941,
[Signed] Pausch, [Illegible initial].

[Handwritten note] Returned from Information Div. without changes through exchange [Illegible initial].

viewtopic.php?p=564957#564957

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WalterS
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Postby WalterS » 01 Nov 2004 21:09

Michael Mills wrote:

The very title of McQueen's chapter indicates his opinion (which is also mine) that there was a radicalisation of German policy from July to December 1941, and that that policy at the beginning of the campaign to overthrow the Soviet Union was not one of extermination but of "white terror", ie killing the Bolshevik leaders and operatives.


I think I smell more euphemisms here. Mr. Mills, please define for us this "radicalisation of German policy from July to December 1941..."

You have stated over and over in this forum that the Nazi German government had no plan or intent to exterminate the Jews in Europe. You have stated that the EG were only engaged in murdering certain groups. You have questioned the existence of homicidal gas chambers. And you have stated your belief that Heydrich convened the conference at Wannsee in order to discuss the establishment of Jewish camps on the White Sea.

In this current thread you have argued that the EG did not enter the Baltic states with the intent of murdering all Jews, just those that were Bolsheviks, or held party offices, etc. You have stated that German policy in the Soviet Union was merely one of "White Terror" just murdering so-called leaders and operatives, but not of general extermination. So, what was this "radicalisation?"

Are you now saying that the German policy, having experienced this "catharsis" in Lithuania, evolved from one of selective mass murder to one of extermination? Is that what "radicalisation" means?

Are you now saying that the German government decided, in late 1941, to "radicalize" its policy toward Jews and expand it to mean extermination of all Jews?

If the EG had already succeeded in slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Jews in the Baltics, going far beyond Heydrich's guidelines, as you have said, what need was there for "radicalization?" If the intent all along was, as you have stated over and over, merely the elimination of Jewish intelligentsia and Bolsheviks, etc, why "radicalize" the policy? It obviously was a success.

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Sergey Romanov
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Postby Sergey Romanov » 01 Nov 2004 23:19

IMHO Mills is correct about radicalization in principle, it is historical consensus that EG were not given orders to murder Jews before 22.06.41. But if he thinks that December marked some change in policy of EG, then it's wrong, the month was more probably August, when the systematic murder of women and children began.

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Postby Earldor » 02 Nov 2004 14:59

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


I believe this matter was proven by WalterS in his post.

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.


The reaction by Lithuanian and Latvian nationalists was basically a pogrom so typical of the former Russian Empire. They lashed out at the defenseless and innocent Jews.

As the Ereignismeldungen attest, it was increasingly difficult to incite any more pogroms after the initial stage. It is also true that the Germans planned on inciting them even before the invasion and use the nationalists to help them to attack their perceived main enemies, i.e. Communists in every form and Jews.

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.


There you go again, you're claiming that the Lithuanians were the ones who duped the Germans into killing women and children. They most certainly didn't need an example from the Lithuanians or anyone else. The Germans were more careful in the beginning of the invasion and executed mainly Jewish men (16-60), but they were mostly executed on racial grounds, not because they were Communist functionaries or "Bolsheviks by blood."

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.


"No documented plan." That doesn't mean that there wasn't such a document nor does it mean that such a document would have been needed.

The guidelines, and we do have those, give a lot of room for interpretation to the Einsatzgruppen. You didn't protest much in my previous post, but you seem to have, again, forgotten that the "other radical elements (saboteurs, propagandists, snipers, assassins, agitators, etc.)" were to be shot. And the Germans used all kinds of excuses to initiate the shooting of Jews for the tiniest infraction, they even invented them if no excuse presented itself. Being Jewish was enough to condemn you to death. I agree that the executions expanded in the August of 1941, when the civilian authorities took over, but that reflects in my opinion the stability created by the advance of the troops more than some fundamental change in the plan to eradicate the Eastern Jews.

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,


Give me the numbers. How many thousands of Jews were in leadership position in the Baltics or the Ukraine or Belorussia? How many were Communists? How many were "intelligentsia"? Was it enough to be a school teacher, doctor or the local rabbi to be included in the "intelligentsia?" How were these people screened, when the EG screening parties to certain POW camps executed even muslims by mistake. Tell me, Michael, what was the criteria there?

As you very well know, most of the Soviet officials and party members left like a shot out of the areas occupied by the Germans. The numbers left behind were very small and they most certainly were not all Jewish. Still the main victims of the EGs by a vast margin were Jewish! From the first day of the invasion.

with the Jewish masses being confined to ghettos pending their expulsion to a destination outside Europe after the expected German victory.


The EGs realized at some stage that they couldn't complete the enormous task of killing all the Eastern Jews by the end of 1941, so they "took a breather" and continued their killing spree in the Spring of 1942. Earlier when the civilian authorities realized that Jews in many cases comprised the main bulk of skilled labor in numerous locations, they were faced with the prospect of halting the entire society and that saved some of the Jews temporarily. But only temporarily.

IMHO the Baltic Jews suffered their fate for several reasons. They had been part of the independent Baltic nations for several decades. They didn't fear the Germans in the same way as the Soviet Jews did. The Baltic countries were occupied very fast. Most of the Jews didn't want to go or didn't have the chance to follow the Soviet troops. Stahlecker's troops rolled back and forth several times over in the Baltics. There are other reasons as well, but it might be useful to discuss why the other EGs were able to execute fewer Jews.

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.


The Germans were planning on inciting pogroms and being the puppet master before the invasion. That doesn't support your view that they somehow just got the idea from the Lithuanian nationalists.

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.


How about if you go through the July-August Ereignismeldungen and tell me the number of Jewish men of military age killed and then tell me what percentage that makes from the total number of executed people...

Your point is a red herring in the matter under discussion.

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Postby WalterS » 08 Nov 2004 16:52

Please note that Mr. Mills has not defined for us this "radicalisation of German policy from July to December 1941..." , nor has he answered Earldor's questions.

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Postby WalterS » 13 Nov 2004 05:57

From a Wehrmacht Report on the Extermination of Jews in Ukraine

December 2, 1941
Armament in the Ukraine
Inspector


Secret
To: The Office of Wi Rü [Industrial Armament Department]
OKW [High Command of theWehrmacht]
General of the Infantry Thomas
Berlin


...c. The Jewish Question

Settling of the Jewish Question in Ukraine has been made more difficult because in the cities the Jews constituted a major part of the population. What we have here is therefore - just as in the Government-General -a massive population policy problem. Many cities had more than 50 percent Jews. Only the rich Jews fled before the German troops. The great majority of the Jewish masses remained under the German Administration. The entire situation was complicated by the fact that these Jews carried out almost all the work in the skilled trades and even provided part of the labor for small - and medium-sized industries; apart from trade, some of which had become superfluous as the result of the direct or indirect effects of the war. [Their] elimination was therefore bound to have profound economic consequences, including even direct effects on the military economy (supplies for troops).

From the outset the attitude of the Jewish population was anxious-willing. They tried to avoid anything that might displease the German Administration. That they hated the German Administration and the Army in their hearts is obvious and not surprising. However, there is no evidence that the Jews, either as a body, or even in any considerable numbers, have taken part in sabotage, etc. Without doubt there have been some terrorists or saboteurs among them, just as there have been among the Ukrainians. But it cannot be claimed that the Jews as such present any kind of danger for the German Wehrmacht. The troops and the German Administration have been satisfied with the work output of the Jews, who are of course motivated by no emotion except fear.

Immediately following the military operations, the Jewish population remained undisturbed at first. It was only weeks, in some cases months, later that systematic shooting of the Jews was carried out by units of the Order Police specially set up for this purpose. This Aktion moved in the main from east to west. It was carried out entirely in public, with the assistance of Ukrainian militia; in many cases, regrettably, also with the voluntary participation of members of the Wehrmacht. These Aktionen included aged men, women, and children of all ages, and the manner in which they were carried out was appalling. The gigantic number of executions involved in this Aktion is far greater than any similar measure undertaken in the Soviet Union up to now. Altogether about 150,000 to 200,000 Jews may have been executed in the section of Ukraine belonging to the RK [Retchskommissariat]; up to now no consideration was given to the interests of the economy.

To sum up it could be said that the solution of the Jewish Question as carried out in Ukraine, evidently motivated by ideological principles, has had the following consequences:

a) Elimination of some, in part superfluous, eaters in the cities.
b) Elimination of a part of the population which undoubtedly hated us.
c) Elimination of urgently needed craftsmen, who were in many cases indispensable for the requirements of Wehrmacht.
d) Consequences in connection with foreign propaganda that are obvious.
e) Adverse effects on troops which in any case have indirect contact with executions.
f) Brutalizing effects on the units (Order Police) which carry out the executions...




Source: Nuremberg Documents PS-3257, as cited in Yitzak Arad, Yisrael Gutman and Abraham Margaliot, eds. Documents on the Holocaust (Jerusalem and Oxford: Yad Vashem and Pergamon Press, 1987) p. 417 (Document 190


emphasis added

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Postby David Thompson » 13 Nov 2004 06:21

WalterS -- Thank you for posting that excerpt. I've taken the liberty of scanning the full text and adding it to the collection of documents on Nazi occupation policies in the USSR at: viewtopic.php?p=575008#575008

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Postby Der Alte » 05 Mar 2005 00:31

Are these reports avaible german?

Regards Holger

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Postby David Thompson » 05 Mar 2005 03:51

Der Alte -- The originals are available in German, on microfilm from the US-NARA. I understand that they have also been published in German, in multiple volumes, but I can't recall the title.

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Postby Der Alte » 05 Mar 2005 23:45

Thanks David, Ill try to find them on print.

Regards holger

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Re: Einsatzgruppen Operational Situation Reports USSR

Postby Arto O » 18 Mar 2012 22:18

Just to simpfly the operations of Einsaztzgruppen for those (like me), here an interesting map
einsatzgruppen-nazi-death-squads-ww2-german-brutal-011.jpg
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