Operational Situation Report USSR No. 47; August 9, 1941
I. Security Police Activities in the Former Polish-Russian Area.
The Einsatzkommando in Brest-Litovsk liquidated 510 persons, and in Bialystok 296 persons. 1500 persons were arrested. Groups of bandits continue their attacks in full strength. Agents [partisans] near Lutsk tried to disrupt the harvest by active Communist propaganda. About 200 parachutists were dropped between Rovno and Lutsk, and most of them were caught. They all made the same statement, namely, that they were ordered to sabotage and, in particular, to disrupt the German supply forces, destroy the harvest, etc.
Jews continue to display hostile behavior: they sabotage German orders, especially where they are strong in numbers. As was previously done, Ukrainian commanders of the [Auxiliary SS] Militia have persons shot who displease them. They demand more ammunition and uniforms in order to protect themselves against alleged Communist attacks. They increasingly make false statements.
1. Manner of Action of Einsatzkommandos
In agreement with the commander of Einsatzgruppe D, a small squad of 15 executive officials with an additional 15 members of the Waffen-SS has been sent to Chernovtsy. The main task of the squad, after the withdrawal of Kommando l0a of the Einsatzgruppe D, is to take care of the interest of the absolutely unprotected and helpless Ukrainians.
Owing to the slow progress of the military operations the task of
the Einsatzkommandos has been rendered rather difficult insofar as Security Police matters are concerned. The whole of the present operational area of the group was systematically evacuated by the Soviets and their party followers long before the German forces had arrived. The Kommandos are, therefore, for the time being, advancing, so to speak, into empty areas. For instance, in Vinnitsa, it was found that the NKVD had left 11 days before the occupation by the Germans and had systematically either taken with them all essential records or destroyed them. A thorough search of the houses of the functionaries or of the Jews has yielded hardly any material. Under these circumstances the present operations of the Einsatzkommandos must necessarily follow a different course. As a primary measure the Kommandos are searching the small villages away from the main roads. Here the population is continually complaining that at night, bands of marauding troops loot and rob them under threats of violence. As far as they can, the Kommandos, whose members are limited, successfully carry out the systematic clearing of the woods in the vicinity of the villages.
In Vinnitsa a search of the town for leading Jews was unsatisfactory. For this reason, the leader of Einsatzkommando 4b resorted to new methods. He called the town's most prominent rabbi ordering him to gather within 24 hours all of the Jewish intelligentsia. He then told the rabbi that they would be required for work. When this first group was judged insufficient, the assembled intellectuals were sent back with the order to collect the remaining intellectuals and to appear with them on the following day. This method was repeated for a third time. In this manner nearly the entire intelligentsia was trapped and liquidated.
Furthermore, at the present time all civilian persons are systematically searched on the highways. This proved again and again that many former prisoners of war were incorrectly discharged on the basis of their uncorroborated claims that they were Ukrainians. A large percentage of suspected elements among these people have been found. Apart from the language, the best test for the investigation is a painstaking interrogation concerning the immediate surroundings of their alleged home. All Asiatics found on the highways are also liquidated. The news evidently had spread that the Einsatzkommandos would, immediately following the advance of the German troops, systematically search the occupied areas. Therefore, for the time being, the Kommandos changed their methods, postponing actions on a
larger scale. They first concentrated their efforts to look for reliable agents coming chiefly from Ukrainians and ethnic Germans. Then, after a lapse of time they carried out systematic actions. It soon became apparent, in the meantime, that some of the inhabitants with bad political records had returned; they could now be apprehended. At times, a search of the prisoner camps was carried out systematically. These searches disclosed that sometimes camp commanders gave special preference to ethnic-German prisoners for administrative assignments.
Last but not least, systematic reprisals were carried out against marauders and Jews. Particularly, in Jewish houses the searches, time and again, produced stolen goods. In Berdichev, in 45 Jewish houses, stolen goods were secured which were distributed among the suffering Ukrainian population. Furthermore, in Berdichev they found spacious underground passages which the Jews used not only for their meetings but also for storing their loot. Under the pretext of trying to locate their husbands in the prisoner camps, hundreds of women of the surrounding villages were frequently seen loitering about the town. They then took advantage of every opportunity to steal everything that was not nailed down from unoccupied houses. When the luggage they carried was searched, stolen goods (especially textiles, leather goods, foodstuff and tobacco) were brought to light.
Carefully planned attempts made at an earlier date to incite pogroms against Jews have unfortunately not shown the results hoped for. They were successful in Tarnopol and in Chortkov, where 600 and 110 Jews respectively were disposed of. The reason for this failure may be the fact that the Ukrainian population is still too fearful in view of the strong position the Jews held formerly. They are also still afraid of a possible return of the Soviets.