Himmler orders on 30 November 1941

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Boby
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Himmler orders on 30 November 1941

Post by Boby » 17 Sep 2005 21:49

Why Himmler attempt to stop the liquidation of jews in Riga arrived from Berlin?

Hitler orders?

Regards

Boby,

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iwh
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Re: Himmler orders on 30 November 1941

Post by iwh » 18 Sep 2005 13:49

Boby wrote:Why Himmler attempt to stop the liquidation of jews in Riga arrived from Berlin?

Hitler orders?

Regards

Boby,


because at this time there was no official extermination policy for the western jews from German high command. The official policy was still deportation to ghettos in the east. The trouble was that many lower echelon men receiving the deportees had their own ideas on how to handle the jews. They carried out their own exterminations, mainly due to a lack of directives from above. According to Browning, Jeckeln received a reprimand from Himmler for killing the Berlin jews at Riga because he had not yet given him official permission to do so. This changed by 4th December when Jeckeln informed Himmler that Riga was now clear of jews.

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Post by David Thompson » 19 Sep 2005 00:42

Here is the testimony of Adolf Eichmann on the subject, taken from the trial transcript available online courtesy of the Nizkor Project, at: http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/e/eic ... anscripts/

While Eichmann does not explain the basis for Himmler's order, he does provide considerable background for the readers.

Dr. Servatius: I turn now to exhibit T/294, document No. 1193. These are notes about a consultation presided over by Heydrich on 10 October 1941, with regard to solving the Jewish Question in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.

The introduction lists the participants in the consultation. In the middle of page 2, it says - I quote: "In the next few weeks, the five thousand Jews should be evacuated from Prague. SS Brigade Commanders Nebe and Rasch could receive Jews at the camp for Communist prisoners in the operations area. This has already been initiated, according to information from SS Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann." Witness, give us your position on this statement in the document.

Accused: Yes. This involves the negotiations and discussions with the Reich Ministry of Transport on the drawing up of a timetable. These had been ordered, and were taking place at the time. As to the fact that the Jews evacuated to Riga or Minsk were killed, that is something of which Section IVB4 had no idea, neither was IVB4 told about this. In this connection, I should like to refer to an operational situation report; unfortunately, I do not have the T number, it is State Attorney No. 1092...

Presiding Judge: That is exhibit T/305.

Dr. Servatius: T/305, if the number is correct. I have noted document No. 192, which would be T/292.

Accused: No, 192 is wrong. It should be 1092. On the last page, in the last paragraph, it says that "the Higher SS and Police Leader in Riga, SS Obergruppenfuehrer Jeckeln, has, in the meanwhile, set in motion a shooting operation and on Sunday, 30 November 1941, eliminated some" - it is not very clear, it might be 14,000 - "14,000 Jews from the Riga Ghetto and an evacuation transport from the Reich. Originally the action should have..." etc. - the rest is... So here, the Higher SS and Police Leader in Riga made use of his powers and his authority on the spot.

At this time, Regulation 11 of the Reich Citizenship Law had not yet been issued. The Wannsee Conference had not yet taken place. And thirdly, I believe I remember that these transports were to be provided with all sorts of items of equipment. And lastly, I believe I remember the order stating at the time that in the East large camps were to be built to house the Jews from the area of the Reich, so that it was the understanding and opinion even of Section IVB4 that the Jews deported to the East from the Reich would be assembled in these camps.

Judge Halevi: Is that not in contradiction to your previous answer that you had seen the exterminations in the East.

Accused: Yes, it is really, but it was then that, in line with Heydrich's statement, I received information to the effect that it was the local Jews who were involved in the East, whereas everybody believed that, since in this instance, Jews from the area of the Reich with German Reich citizenship were involved, these Jews did not fall under the provisions which applied to the Special Operations Units.

(Session 78, Part 3 of 5)
http://www.nizkor.org/ftp.cgi/people/e/ ... ion-078-03

* * * * *

Dr. Servatius: I am sorry, I accept the correction.

I now turn to a section on "Evacuation." First we have exhibit T/734, document No. 119. This is a report of a Duesseldorf police inspector, dated 9 March 1942, on a discussion in Section IVB4, Berlin, with comments by Eichmann.

Presiding Judge: Are you following the sequence of your lists now, Dr. Servatius?

Dr. Servatius: I am following the order according to my list. According to this report, Eichmann stated that a further 55,000 Jews would be evacuated from the Old Reich, Austria, Bohemia and Moravia, including 20,000 from Prague and 18,000 from Vienna.

It says that Eichmann referred to the directives with regard to persons whom it was permitted to evacuate, and he also drew attention to the fact that people had been wrongly evacuated, and that the Jewish Elder from Riga had intervened accordingly with the higher authorities. The matter went as high as Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich, who insisted that the directives should be respected.

In the penultimate paragraph it says, and I quote:

"In order to avoid individual Stapo stations being exposed to the temptation to deport inconvenient elderly Jews, Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann stated that, for the sake of reassurance, it should be said that those Jews who remained in the Old Reich would, in all probability, be deported during the summer or autumn of this year to Theresienstadt, which was designated as an 'Old People's Ghetto.' This town was now being evacuated, and some fifteen to twenty thousand Jews could provisionally be transferred there immediately from the Protectorate. This is in order to 'save face with the outside world'."

Witness, would you comment on this statement.
(Session 79, Part 4 of 5)
http://www.nizkor.org/ftp.cgi/people/e/ ... ion-079-04

Accused: Yes. At the time these forms of words were ordered by Himmler under the title of "Sprachregelung" (prescribed usage), and, in accordance with these orders, which came through the Head of the Security Police and Mueller, they were to be used for the files. Now, this order was not always observed, for a simple reason, that is to say, in dictation it was often overlooked and forgotten. However, in most cases, when the Chief of Department IV went through the files, he would make a note of it and require the necessary changes to be made.

As a further explanation, I would add the following: This document is directly connected with the outcome of the Wannsee Conference. And, in turn, this document is also directly connected with document T/730, which was dealt with at the beginning of today's session, in which it is stated that the individual local stations are to report to the Head Office for Reich Security the numbers of the Jews liable to evacuation, with the exceptions laid down in that decree. Consequently, these figures were available. On the basis of these figures my Section, in accordance with orders, had to draw up the timetable together with the Reich Ministry of Transport, since the deportation itself had been decided on at the Wannsee Conference. I would point out, by the way, that this was the third wave of evacuations; two had already taken place before in 1941. Now, in these two waves of evacuation in 1941 - the two major evacuation waves of Jews from the area of the Reich to the East - there had been difficulties which came to the notice of the Chief of the Security Police and Security Service, Heydrich, himself, and so, in the future, he made the individual Heads of the State Police Stations personally responsible for ensuring that these directives were strictly obeyed.

(Session 79, Part 5 of 5)
http://www.nizkor.org/ftp.cgi/people/e/ ... ion-079-05

* * * * *

Q. You determined the destination of Minsk and Riga for the deportees of the Reich, didn't you?

A. No, I did not determine them, they were determined at the time by Heydrich. They were the first two destinations indicated to me, when for the first and last time I was free to choose between the Generalgouvernement and Litzmannstadt, to choose for reasons of the timetable.

Q. But the reports were sent to you?

A. The reports, the notification had to be made by Section IVB4.

Q. And you knew what horrible fate awaited these people dispatched to Minsk and Riga? Execution by the Operations Units.

Accused: No, at that time I did not know that, I read about it here in the summary report from the occupied Russian territories, where it says that the Higher SS and Polish Leader in the area himself issued the order to kill these Jews.

Q. When were you in Minsk?

A. In Minsk - that was the winter of 1941, and also 1942.

Q. Which month?

A. I cannot say which month, I know that I wore a thick leather coat, that is my sole recollection, and I would conclude from this that it must have been in the cold season of the year.

Q. As of June 1941 your Section, that is to say, you, received the reports about the murders by the Operations Units?

A. First of all, I did not receive them regularly, and secondly not immediately.

Q. Did you receive them from June 1941 or not?

A. No, I did not receive them as of June 1941.

Q. As of when did you receive them?

A. The documents show...

Q. As of when did you receive them, according to your memory - forget the documents.

A. According to my memory around autumn, this can be checked properly by means of the documents.

Q. No, according to your memory, not according to the documents.

A. It may have been - let us say, around September 1941.

Q. September 1941 - very good. When you received the report in T/302, was that in December 1941? This marking, for every four Jews perpendicular lines, and for the fifth - a diagonal line. Did you know that this related to the murders by the Operation Groups?

Accused: I have never denied that I knew that the Operation Groups received the order to kill, but I did not know that Jews from the Reich were subjected to the same measures. That I did not know.

Q. Did the Fuehrer's order apply to Jews of a certain type only, or did it apply to all Jews?

A. It applied to all Jews, of course, but...

Q. To all Jews, including the Jews of the Reich?

A. Basically yes, but at that time, because we were so unaccustomed to the matter, we assumed that the Jews from the Reich would not be treated in that way. That was also contradicted by the orders that these Jews were to be provided with all sorts of equipment.

Q. That was in order to deceive them. They were told that they were going to some settlement project, just as the Operation Groups reported sarcastically to you that they had totally mistaken ideas, totally wrong ideas about what awaited them.

A. I did not order any methods of deception to be used. I would also like to point out that had I known that these transports were to be shot in Riga and Minsk, even then I would not have seen any possibility of holding up these transports on my own initiative. I had no way of doing this. What I am trying to say is that I am really not trying to evade anything or withdraw anything, or cowardly retract anything today, which cannot be retracted at all, since I did have my orders. Whether they were to be killed or not, they had to be carried out, they were dealt with by administrative procedure, I only had to deal with a tiny part of them, the other tiny parts which had to be handled before a transport like this could be sent off, were dealt with by all sorts of other sections.

Q. The order was an order of the Fuehrer's, was it not? And all the others were the persons who implemented it?

A. Yes, that is how it began.

(Session 93, Part 5 of 5)
http://www.nizkor.org/ftp.cgi/people/e/ ... ion-093-05


* * * * *

Attorney General: [To Accused] Your Section issued instructions and ordinances, did it not?

Accused: Yes, if so ordered, it did.

Q. And when some persons were to be excepted from the evacuation to Minsk and Riga, your Section did that too, did it not, just as it fixed the destinations?

A. No, the destinations were not fixed by my Section, and as for exceptions to the evacuation, they were only dealt with by my Section if things exceeded the framework at that end, and were of importance to the Reich, that is to say, where the Foreign Ministry with its primary responsibility for the Jews with foreign nationality handled things and lay down rulings accordingly. And it was only in this framework, as far as I am aware, that IVB4 issued ordinances at all, for the Generalgouvernement and the so-called occupied Russian territories.

Q. For example, the instruction to exclude from deportation to Minsk and Riga those Jews who had been wounded in the First World War. I do not suppose that had anything to do with the Foreign Ministry?

A. Of course not. These were the directives for implementing the deportations in general, which were drawn up by my superior, that is to say, the points were laid down and the points were then compiled by IVB4 into a - what shall we call it - memorandum, called "directives," in accordance with the orders.

Q. For example, let us take T/739, document No. 1288. This is an instruction with your signature to the State Police Regional Headquarters to exclude from the deportations to Minsk the disabled of the First World War, and also from the deportations to Riga.

I understand that first of all your Section passed on the instruction to carry out deportations to those places, and that then the instruction was issued not to deport so-and- so.

A. Yes, that is also true. But the Section did not issue the instruction on its own initiative, as the Section was in fact totally unable to fix the destinations itself.

(Session 95, Part 1 of 5)
http://www.nizkor.org/ftp.cgi/people/e/ ... ion-095-01

* * * * *

Q.All right. So if you sent Jews from Duesseldorf to Minsk and Riga, you already knew that there it was a matter of murdering them, did you not?

A. I still did not know at that time, because I have said that I had seen the preparatory arrangements; I did not in fact see the first killings until I went to Kulm...

Presiding Judge: No, the question was, here you endeavoured to send the transport to Litzmannstadt, and the Attorney General gathers from this that you knew that consignments which went to the East, transports to the East, were destined for extermination.

A. Yes, I did know that in principle, because I had seen the preparatory arrangements.

Q.Who were Nebe and Rasch?

A. Nebe and Rasch?

Q.Nebe and Rasch.

A. Nebe was the head of the Reich Criminal Police and Chief of Department V, Chief of the Reich and Criminal Police.

Q.When, during which period?

A. I do not know, but later on he was a Group Commander in the East.

Q.Rasch?

A. For a while Rasch was the leader of the Security Service Head Office in the Danube area of the Security Service. After that, I do not know, I lost sight of him and read in these documents that he was also said to have been a Group Commander in the East.

Q. And when you suggested at the meeting on 10 October 1941, that Jews be sent to the camps for communists run by Nebe and Rasch, you knew perfectly well that it was your proposal that Jews be sent to the areas where the Operations Units operated, for extermination, is that not true?

A. Yes, I must admit that, but with the qualification that I did not make the suggestion about sending them to Minsk and Riga, but I received the order that Minsk and Riga was to be the final destinations, unlike the first deportation order, which was to the Generalgouvernement or to Lodz.

Q. It says here that you set the absorption capacities of the camps for Nebe and Rasch. That is T/294 on page 23.

A. Yes, if it says so there, then it is correct...

Q. It is only right if it says so!

A. Today, I no longer remember, but this was part of the overall drawing-up of the deportation timetable; that was the case not only for Minsk and Riga, but for all locations, for all timetable arrangements.

Q. How did you know that there were possibilities of absorption or room in Nebe and Rasch's camps - did you go there?

A. No, but that was ascertained in each case in writing, by enquiries. After all, in every...

Q. What correspondence was there between you and the Operations Units?

A. There was no correspondence; when the deportation arrangements were made and the destinations had been established and fixed, a telegram had to be sent, in order to ascertain the absorption capacity, the numbers, and then it was determined how many were to be deported and the time was ascertained, and the timetable was then prepared accordingly by IVB4. This can also be seen from the documents.

Q. You will agree with me that on 10 October 1941, you had already received a large number of reports from the Operations Units about what Messrs. Nebe and Rasch had achieved out there as commanders of the Operations Units there. Is that correct?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. And so, if it says the following in the report, "SS Brigade Commanders Nebe and Rasch could also include Jews in the camps for communist prisoners in the operations area. According to SS Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann's information, this has already started," that means that you knew that your proposal was tantamount to sending Jews to certain death. Is that true?

A. No. I must repeat...it was not my proposal to send them there, first of all, and secondly I did not know that Jews from Reich territory who were evacuated to that area were also killed. Because I could have known that at the earliest - although today I do not remember - in January of the following year, when one of these reports from the East said that the Higher SS and Police Leader had carried out shootings on his own authority.

Q.Just a moment. A few minutes ago you told us that you sent Jews from the Reich to Litzmannstadt, in September or the beginning of October, because you knew that if they were not sent to Litzmannstadt, they would go to their death, because they were Jews from the Reich. You said this explicitly, and that is what it says in the document. And you claim that you wanted to save these Jews, and that you saved them by sending them to Litzmannstadt. That is what you said, is it not?

A. Yes, but with the proviso that I...that at that time there had not as yet been any killing, since when I heard that for the first time, the preliminary arrangements for killing had been started.

Q. Very well, let us assume that there was no killing as yet on the spot, but that the killing did not start until a week, two weeks or a month later. In any case you maintained that, in order to save these Jews from the death awaiting them, you sent them to Litzmannstadt. That is correct, is it not?

A. That was the first wave, not the Riga-Minsk wave, but that was the wave which preceded this wave. Here I had two possibilities, but for Riga and Minsk I had absolutely no possibilities at all...

Q. Very well. I am not talking about possibilities. I am talking about what you did. So, for the first transport, you maintain, you had an alternative, and you chose the alternative which allowed you to save Jews. And in order to save Jews, you were even prepared to take decisions, because if they were not to go to Litzmannstadt, but to Minsk or Riga, they would be killed, and if not immediately, then some weeks later. That is what you said.

A. Yes, that is more or less correct.

Q. And now, when on October 10, that is after the first wave, it says here - and this is what you said - that Jews may be sent to the Communist camps of Nebe and Rasch, that means they are to be sent to localities where - even if not on the spot, nevertheless in the very near future - death awaits them. This is what appears as a record of what you said. Is it correct?

A. Yes, that is also correct. I am not denying it. And even if I had known that they were to be killed on the same day, I could not have done anything about it, because the orders I received laid down the destinations. I had no possibility of doing anything else.

Q. Very well. In any case, what it says here cannot be correct, can it? Let me read out your answer in German, on page six. You were replying to Judge Halevi in Court here: "Is that not in contradiction with your previous answer?" At the top of the page you replied:

"Yes, it is really, but it was then that in line with Heydrich's statement I received information to the effect that local Jews in the East were concerned. But everybody was of the opinion that since here Jews from the area of the Reich with Reich German citizenship were involved, these Jews did not fall under the provisions which applied to the Operations Units."

Does that mean that what you said here is not correct?

A. Yes it is, and I also said as much five minutes ago. That, at the time, was the assumption. Everyone knew that Jews were being killed in the East. But no one knew that the Jews from the Reich were being killed. And I said so just five or ten minutes ago.

Q. So why did you send Jews to Litzmannstadt? Against the wishes of the local commander, who claimed that you were treating him like a horse dealer - if you could have sent these same Jews to Minsk or Riga, where they would be safe, because they came from the Reich, and Jews from the Reich were not being killed there?

A. But the practices applied in the East were known approximately, even though they were not known for sure, nevertheless it was somehow...somehow it was...

Q. Felt?

A. Yes, that is the right term. And in Litzmannstadt it was again known that the Jews were remaining in the ghetto. So, in this way, what I said today entirely coincides with what I said the other day.

Presiding Judge: If the public wishes to remain in the courtroom, they must remain seated, otherwise the Session will be adjourned. If anyone is unable to stand that, he should leave the courtroom.

Attorney General: And there was no problem in feeling this? It was not difficult to feel this, because you received the Operations Units' reports steadily from the end of June 1941 onwards?

Accused: Not steadily, but yes, I did receive them. And it was also known that in the East - there need only be a local difficulty of some sort, the local authorities proceeded very strictly, that was known, I would say.

Q. But the question was whether Jews from the Reich could also be sent there, and that was ascertained in the meanwhile.

A. Yes, I had received my orders - Minsk and Riga as destinations.

Q. But first of all you ascertained from Nebe and Rasch whether they could take Jews from the Reich, and after receiving a positive reply, the destinations were fixed, just as you said earlier, is that not true?

A. Yes, earlier I...previously I explained how such matters were dealt with through official channels.

(Session 98, Part 5 of 6)
http://www.nizkor.org/ftp.cgi/people/e/ ... ion-098-05

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Post by David Thompson » 19 Sep 2005 01:30

Here's a little more information on the executions at Riga, this time from the local Higher SS and Police Leader, Friedrich Jeckeln. The passage is taken from Gerald Fleming, Hitler and the Final Solution, University of California Press, Berkeley: 1984, chapter 10 (pp. 95-100). Note that Jeckeln was not asked about, and did not mention, the attempt by Himmler to stop the executions:

10 The Interrogation of Friedrich Jeckeln

In his interrogation on 14 December 1945,[1] the Higher SS and Police Leader Jeckeln detailed the operations that fell within the framework of the Final Solution in the East:

The shootings were carried out under the direction of Colonel Dr. Lange, Commander of the SD and Gestapo in Latvia. Knecht was in charge of security at the liquidation sites.[2] I, Jeckeln, took part in the shootings on three occasions; the same holds for Lange, Knecht, Lohse, and Lieutenant Colonel Osis, commander of the traffic police in Riga.

Q : Who did the shooting?

A : Ten or twelve German SD soldiers.

Q : What was the procedure?

A : All of the Jews went by foot from the ghetto in Riga to the liquidation site. Near the pits, they had to deposit their overclothes, which were washed, sorted, and shipped back to Germany. Jews—men, women, and children—passed through police cordons on their way to the pits, where they were shot by German soldiers.
_____________________________________________

[1.] Minutes from Jeckeln's interrogation on 14 December 1945 (Major Zwetajew, interrogator; Sergeant Suur, interpreter), pp. 8-13, Historical State Archives, Riga.
[2.] Max Knecht was the commander of the municipal police in Latvia.

95

The Interrogation of Friedrich Jeckeln

Q : Did you report the execution of the order to Himmler?

A : Yes, indeed. I notified Himmler by phone that the ghetto in Riga had been liquidated. And when I was in Lötzen,
East Prussia, in December 1941, I reported in person, too.[3] Himmler was satisfied with the results. He said that more
Jewish convoys were due to arrive in Latvia, and these were to be liquidated by me also.

Q : Go into more detail.

A : At the end of January 1942,[4] I was at Himmler's headquarters in Lötzen, East Prussia, to discuss organizational matters regarding the Latvian SS legions. There Himmler informed me that additional Jewish convoys were due to arrive from the Reich and from other countries. The destination point would be the Salaspils concentration camp, which lay one and a quarter miles from Riga in the direction of Dunaburg. Himmler said that he had not yet determined how he would have them exterminated: whether to have them shot on board their convoys or in Salaspils, or whether to chase them into the swamp somewhere.

Q : How was the matter resolved?

A : It was my opinion that shooting would be the simpler and quicker death. Himmler said he would think it over and then give orders later through Heydrich.

Q : What countries were the Jews in Salaspils brought from?

A : Jews were brought from Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Czechoslovakia, and from other occupied countries to the Salaspils camp. To give a precise count of the Jews in the Salaspils camp would be difficult. In any case, all the Jews from this camp were exterminated. But I would like to make an additional statement while we are on this topic.
________________________________________________
[3.] I.e., to Himmler's "Hochwald" headquarters in Lötzen.
[4.] I.e., 25 January 1942, 11:30 A.M. -1:00 P.M.; per RFSS appointments book, NS 19 DC/vorl.12, Bundesarchiv, Koblenz.
On the same day Himmler made the following handwritten entry, re: his telephone conversation "from the Wolfsschanze 17 [i.e., 5:00 P.M.] SS Gr.F. Heydrich Prague: Jews into the concentration camps" NS 19/neu 1439 Bundesarchiv, Koblenz.

96

The Interrogation of Friedrich Jeckeln

Q : What statement would you like to make?

A : I would like to state for the record that Goring shares in the guilt for the liquidations of Jewish convoys that arrived from other countries. In the first half of February 1942 I received a letter from Heydrich. In this letter he wrote that Reich Marshal Goring had gotten himself involved in the Jewish question, and that Jews were now being shipped to the East for annihilation only with Göring's approval.

Q : This does not diminish your guilt. Describe your role in the Jewish liquidations in Salaspils.

A : I have already said that I discussed the extermination of Jews in Salaspils with Himmler in Lötzen. That alone makes me an accessory to this crime. Beyond that, Jews were shot in the Salaspils camp by forces recruited from my SD and Security Police units. The commander of the SD and Gestapo in Latvia, Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Lange, was directly in charge of the shootings. Other officers who reported to me on the shootings of Jews in the camp were the commander of the SD and Gestapo in the Baltic States, Major General Jost; Colonel of Police Pifrader; and Colonel of Police Fuchs.

Q : Specifically, what did they report to you?

A : They reported that two to three convoys of Jews were to arrive per week, all subject to liquidation.

Q : Then the number of Jews shot in Salaspils ought to be known too, isn't that correct?

A : Yes, of course. I can give you the approximate figures. The first Jewish convoys arrived in Salaspils in November 1941. Then, in the first half of 1942, convoys arrived at regular intervals. I believe that in November 1941, no more than three convoys arrived in all, but during the next seven months, from December 1941 to June 1942, eight to twelve convoys arrived each month. Overall, in eight months, no less than fifty-five and no more than eighty-seven Jewish convoys arrived at the camp. Given that each convoy carried a thousand men, that makes a total of 55,000 to 87,000 Jews exterminated in the Salaspils camp.

Q : This figure sounds low. Are you telling the truth?

97

The Interrogation of Friedrich Jeckeln

A : I have no other, more exact figures. It should be added, however, that before my arrival in Riga, a significant number of Jews in the Ostland and in White Ruthenia were exterminated. I was informed of this fact.[5]

Q : By whom, specifically?

A : Stahlecker; Prutzmann; Lange; Major General Schröder, the SS and Police Leader in Latvia; Major General Möller, the SS and Police Leader in Estonia; and Major General Wysocki, the SS and Police Leader in Lithuania.

Q : Be specific. What did they report?

A : Schröder reported to me that over and above those Jews who had been exterminated in the ghetto in Riga an additional 70,000 to 100,000 Jews were exterminated in Latvia. Dr. Lange directly oversaw these shootings. Möller re-ported that in Estonia everything was in order as far as the Jewish question was concerned. The Estonian Jewish population was insignificant, all in all about 3,000 to 5,000 and this was reduced to nil. The greater part were exterminated in Reval. Wysocki reported that 100,000 to 200,000 Jews were exterminated—shot—in Lithuania, on Stahlecker's orders. In Lithuania, the Jewish exterminations were overseen by the commander of the SD and Gestapo, Lieutenant Colonel of Police Jager. Later Jager told me that he had become neurotic as a result of these shootings. Jager was pensioned off and left his post for treatment. All told, the number of Jews exterminated in the actions in the Baltic East reached somewhere in the vicinity of 190,500 to 253,500.[6]


Such were the words of the Higher SS and Police
__________________________________________________________
[5.] Jeckeln was promoted on 31 October 1941 to Higher SS and Police Leader for northern Russia (H. Q. Riga); Jeckeln, personnel file, Berlin Document Center. A second promotion to the rank of Leader of the SS Upper Section, "Ostland," occurred on 11 December 1941 (Bundesarchiv, Koblenz [NS 19 neu12846]).
[6.] In reply to telegram number 1331 from the Security Police of Riga (dated 6 February 1942), SS-Standartenführer Karl Jager reported the following from Kovno on 9 February 1942: "Re: executions through 1 February 1942, by the Einsatzkommando 3A: Jews: 136,421. Total: 138,272, of these, women: 55,556; children: 34,464" (Institut fur Zeitgeschichte 3253/63 Fb 76[a]).

98

The Interrogation of Friedrich Jeckeln

Leader Friedrich Jeckeln in his interrogation of 14 December 1945. A telegram from the High Command of the Northern Army Group, Section Ilb, delivered "by courier" to the OKH and dated 17 August 1944,[7] indicates that on 27 January 1942, Jeckeln received the KVK (Kriegsverdienstkreuz, or war service cross) First Class with swords, as "a token of appreciation for services rendered in this war that we have waged under compulsion, recognition for which cannot be expressed by conferment of the Iron Cross."[8] Evidently, the Kriegsverdienstkreuz was also bestowed upon participants in "executions" and special actions. This fact emerges from the following correspondence, dated 14 and 20 November 1941, between the camp commandant of Gross-Rosen and the inspector of concentration camps:[9]

re: Conferment of the Kriegsverdienstkreuz.
re: My telegram to you, no. 2719, of 14 Nov. 1941.
The Commandant's Office has submitted to date two lists recommending the conferment of the Kriegsverdienstkreuz. In both of these appear SS personnel who participated in executions. We herewith request confirmation as to whether these names should be listed once again in the roll currently under preparation. Further requested is in-formation as to whether in the recommendation lists under "Reasons and Comments of Immediate Superior" there should be specified, "Execution, i.e., special action" or whether a general, routine reason should be given.
The Camp Commandant
Signed, Rödl
SS Obersturmbannfuhrer

_______________________________________________________________
7. Personal Data for the Nomination of SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Jeckeln for the Knight's Cross, 18 August 1944, per telegram: Reichsführer-SS Himmler, 2. Gruppenführer Fegelein, Führer's Headquarters. Bundesarchiv-Militararchiv, Freiburg.
8. E. Döhle, 1943, p. 25, as reported to author by Dr. Adalbert Rückerl, Zentrale Stelle für Landesjustizverwaltungen, Ludwigsburg, 22 Au-gust 1979.
9. Zentrale Stelle fur Landesjustizverwaltungen 436/31, 437/31.

99

The Interrogation of Friedrich Jeckeln

This inquiry was answered on 20 November 1941 by the acting inspector of concentration camps,
SS-Obersturmbannführer Liebehenschel:

In the lists of recommendation for the conferment of the KVK to SS members who participated in the executions, under "reasons" enter: "completion of vital war assignments." The word "execution" should under no circumstances be mentioned. In the lists to be handed in, the names already submitted should be cited once again.
I.V. [by order of the Chief Inspector]
Signed, Liebehenschel
SS Obersturmbannfuhrer


During the prosecution of liquidation camp personnel, it was repeatedly acknowledged that the persons referred to in the correspondence above were given the KVK.[10] There can be no doubt that the Higher SS and Police Leader Friedrich Jeckeln received the KVK First Class with swords in recognition of his faithful performance: his organization of the mass shootings in Riga, "on orders from the highest level" (auf höchsten Befehl).
_____________________________________________
10. Dr. Adalbert Rückerl to author, 22 August 1979.

100

Boby
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Post by Boby » 19 Sep 2005 08:56

Thanks iwh and David for this interesting info!

Regards

Boby,

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Post by michael mills » 22 Sep 2005 06:48

In answer to Boby's original question, the most likely reason why on the afternoon of Sunday 30 November 1941, Himmler telephoned Heydrich with the instruction that the convoy of Jews from Berlin scheduled to arrive at Riga on that day (it was the first convoy to Riga) was not to be liquidated, is that he had just been informed of the shooting in Kaunas of the German Jews who had been sent there during November in five convoys.

The shootings in Kaunas had occurred on 25 and 29 November, carried out by Einsatzkommando 3 under the command of Karl Jäger, and Himmler had apparently just heard about them.

As of that date, authorisation had been given by Himmler to liquidate almost all the native Jews of the Baltic States, but that authorisation did not apply to German Jews deported to Kaunas and Riga. The executions of German Jews in Kaunas on 25 and 29 November, and in Riga on the early morning of 30 November, were contrary to orders, as is proved by the reprimand that Himmler sent to Jeckeln a few days after the Riga massacre, in which Himmler warned Jeckeln that any further "Eigenmächtigkeiten" (= arbitrary actions) and "Zuwiderhandlungen" (= acting contrary to orders) would be punished.

Unfortunately, the instruction given by Himmler on the afternoon of 30 November arrived too late to help the Jews on the transport from Berlin; they had already been shot early that same morning.

The transport had arrived the previous night, and was kept waiting in Skirotava Station. At dawn, the Jews were taken off the train by Latvian auxiliaries, and conveyed to Rumbula Forest, where a massacre of the Jews of the Riga Ghetto was being prepared by Jeckeln's men. The German Jews were all shot before the columns of Latvian Jews walking from the Riga Ghetto arrived; a sort of a warm-up.

It is not known why Jeckeln took it into his head to massacre the newly arrived German Jews along with the Jews from the Riga Ghetto, contrary to orders, particularly as all the documentary evidence and witness evidence from other German officials in Latvia at the time points to the fact that the killing of the Latvian Jews from the Riga Ghetto was carried precisely for the purpose of creating space for the 20,000 Jews scheduled to arrive from Germany.

It may be that he had an excess of zeal, and the convoy of German Jews arrived just at the wrong time.

It is also unknown whether the shooting of the German Jews in Kaunas was an intitiative by Jäger, a man who needed to prove himself, or had been ordered by Jeckeln.

The happenings in Kaunas and Riga may be compared with the reception of the 8,000 German Jews who had arrived at Minsk during November. There there had been a massacre of a large number of Soviet Jews held in the Minsk Ghetto, to create space for the arriving German Jews, who were not killed but taken into the ghetto. That is an additional indication that what Jäger and Jeckeln did in Kaunas and Riga was an excess of zeal, contrary to orders.

Himmler's instruction issued on 30 November had its effect. Convoys of Jews from Germany continued to arrive in Riga until the end of January 1942; the Jews from the convoys were all taken into the Riga Ghetto or Jungfernhof concentration camp, and none were killed on arrival.

There was a cull of about 3,000 older German Jews unable to work in February and March 1942 (the "Dünamünde Aktion"), but after that there were no further mass-killings of the German Jews held at Riga, although there was ongoing mortality from sickness, exposure, exhaustion and the occasional arbitrary shooting. An unusually high percentage of the German Jews held at Riga survived to be evacuated by sea to camps in Germany in the summer of 1944, when German forces retreated from Latvia.

The survival of a large number of the German Jews deported to Riga is the sole example of the continuation of the policy in force in 1941, according to which German Jews were to be deported to places in the occupied Soviet Union and held there until the end of the war (expected to be a German victory), at which point they were to be sent to a destination outside Europe.

By contrast, the German Jews sent to Minsk were initially held in the ghetto for over six months, in accordance with the above policy, but were then exterminated in a series of shooting actions, beginning with the "Four-Days' Massacre" at the end of July 1942.

A good book to read on the background to the Rumbula massacres of 30 November and 8 December 1941, and the experiences of the German Jews deported to Riga, is "The Holocaust in Latvia: The Missing Centre", by Andrew Ezergailis.

The reality of what happened to the German Jews sent to Riga proves that the so-called record of interrogation of Jeckeln by Soviet authorities is a clumsy Soviet fabrication, full of historical errors.

In the first place, Jeckeln refers to the camp at Salaspils as a place of extermination for convoys of Jews sent from Germany. Totally false; although the Salaspils Camp was built by deported German Jews, it held only non-Jewish prisoners, mainly Soviet POWs and Latvian Communists. Details on the reality of Sapaspils are provided by Ezergailis.

Secondly, Jeckeln does not mention the reprimand he received from Himmler. Either he did not mention it because he did not want to reveal that he had been acting contrary to orders, or else he did mention it, but was "persuaded" by his Soviet interrogators to omit it from his testimony, since that fact did not fit with their preconceived notion that Latvia had been made a place of extermination for tens of thousands of Jews sent there from Western Europe, by order of Hitler and Himmler.

Third, Jeckeln claims that "eight to twelve" convoys of Jews arrived at Salaspils for extermination every month until June 1942. Totally false; the convoys of Jews ceased at the end of January 1942, and they were not exterminated, apart from the first one contrary to Himmler's orders.

Fourth, he claims that at the end of January 1942, he had received an order from Himmler to exterminate convoys of Jews that were to arrive in Salaspils, by a method not yet determined. The falsehood of that claim is demonstrated by what actually happened; no further convoys of Jews arrived at Riga, and those that had already arrived were not exterminated, a large number of the German Jews surviving to be evacuated in the summer of 1944.

Finally, the whole tone of Jeckeln's statements in the claimed record of interview suggest that he was reading from a script prepared in the usual Soviet style, in which the person being interrogated ritually condemns himself.

I am rather surprised that the moderator has introduced such a manifestly bogus piece of evidence as the Soviet record of interrogation of Jeckeln. Perhaps he simply did not have enough knowledge of what actually happened to the German Jews deported to Latvia to spot the falsehoods in the document.

As for the record of the trial of Eichmann, it is useful in that it shows that in 1941 the German policy in regard to German Jews was one of deporting them to the occupied Soviet Union, not of exterminating them, and that in that regard a clear distinction was made between German Jews and Soviet Jews. It is unfortunate that Eichmann, as a fairly lowly executor of orders, had only a very hazy understanding of German Government policy, and hence was unable to expalin effectively to the court. As a result, the Jewish prosecutor, who refused to accept the truth about the German policy and wanted to prove that the extermination of the deported German Jews was intended from the outset, was able to get Eichmann tied up in all sorts of knots.

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Post by David Thompson » 22 Sep 2005 07:23

Michael -- You said:
I am rather surprised that the moderator has introduced such a manifestly bogus piece of evidence as the Soviet record of interrogation of Jeckeln. Perhaps he simply did not have enough knowledge of what actually happened to the German Jews deported to Latvia to spot the falsehoods in the document.

(1) The purpose of posting the interrogation was to provide additional information on the shootings of 30 Nov 1941, as was obvious from my introduction to the document:
Here's a little more information on the executions at Riga, this time from the local Higher SS and Police Leader, Friedrich Jeckeln.

(2) Your comments about Jeckeln's interrogation do not address the details he provided on the executions at Riga, but instead involve an attempt to discredit his statements on matters unrelated to the topic under discussion -- the executions of 30 November 1941.

(3) To try and discredit Jeckeln on the unrelated matters, you made a series of unsourced factual claims, followed by your characterization of the interrogation as "a manifestly bogus piece of evidence." Certainly Prof. Fleming, from whose book I reproduced the interrogation, did not share your opinion of the document.

(4) Given our past discussions, I am not inclined to accept your characterizations without checking specific references to sources and documents, which you have failed to provide here. As you are aware, a general citation to a book without page references is inadequate under the section rules:

Undocumented claims undercut the research purposes of this section of the forum. Consequently, it is required that proof be posted along with a claim. The main reason is that proof, evidence, facts, etc. improve the quality of discussions and information. A second reason is that inflammatory, groundless threads attack, and do not promote, the scholarly purpose of this section of the forum.

This requirement applies to each specific claim. In the past, some posters have attempted to evade the proof requirement by resort to the following tactics, none of which are acceptable here:

A general reference to a website, or a book without page references; citations or links to racist websites; generalized citations to book reviews; and citations to unsourced articles.

Noncomplying posts are subject to deletion after warning.

H&WC Section Rules
viewtopic.php?t=53962

(5) I am particularly disinclined to accept your characterization here without detailed proof, since your assertions in regard to Jeckeln and Salaspils largely track those you made about a year and a half ago, in the thread "Heydrich said: Czechs to guard Jews in White Sea Region" at viewtopic.php?p=384672#384672
and which were trashed by the poster Earldor in his reply to you at viewtopic.php?p=386064#386064
after which you offered no rebuttal.

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Post by michael mills » 23 Sep 2005 01:25

Oh dear, it looks as if someone's ego is at stake here.

I suggest having a look at this thread of April last year:

viewtopic.php?t=47303

Oleg Grigoryev asked:



Posted: Sat Apr 10, 2004 11:10 am


Does anybody know about demographics of victims in this KZ?


To which Luca responded:

Posted: Sun Apr 11, 2004 1:00 pm


The camp was built by jews from the Riga ghetto and from KZ-Jungfernhof between december 1941 and February 1942. Initially there were only jews in KZ-Salaspils, who numbered 1.550 in March 1942. In September 1942 the camp was finished with a total of 44 buildings, many of them service and workshop barracks.
Gentile Latvian political prisoners, also some from Hungary, Poland and Romania, were imprisoned in KZ-Salaspils. The capacity of the camp was about 2.000, the number imprisoned in March 1943, and by then only a few jews remained.
During 1943, KZ_Salaspils served as a work and transit camp for non-jewish prisoners, e.g. Ostarbeiters from Belorussia on their way to Germany, and in 1944 as a camp for Latvian resistance fighters, draft-dodgers and deserters. There was also a subcamp of KZ-Salaspils in a stone quarry in Sauriesi holding ca. 300 prisoners and 16 guardsmen. The exact date for the closing of KZ-Salaspils is not know, but soviet forces re-occupied Riga district in October 1944.
To a large degree Latvian SD forces served as guards in KZ-Salaspils. Among them was the famous Arajs Command, suspected for killing of 26.000 civilians in Latvia, and another unit know as Madona SD. The camp Commandant in 1942 was Richard Nickel, and from 1943-1944 Otto Teckmemeir.
It is assumed that ca. 7.000 men and women died in KZ-Salaspils.

Luca


To which David Thompson responded:

Posted: Sun Apr 11, 2004 1:23 pm


Thanks, Luca, for your interesting and informative post. Even the 4-volume Encyclopedia of the Holocaust did not have an entry for that camp.


So it appears that back in April last year the moderator was informed of the true history of Salaspils camp, although he may well have forgotten the details over the past 18 months and that is why on this more recent occasion he did not notice the totally false picture of it as an extermination camp for Jews brought to Latvia painted in the alleged record of interview of Jeckeln.

However, it is surprising that the moderator was quite pleased to be informed of the true history of Salaspils camp by Luca, but rather less pleased to be reminded of that same true history by me 18 months later.

As for the post by Earldor linked by the moderator, it contains this quote from Richard Rhodes "Masters of Death; the Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Final Solution", p. 212-213:

Jeckeln repeated the Aktion on 8 December 1941 to clear the rest of the Riga ghetto. The weeklong delay had puzzled historians. It occurred because of the conflict between Jeckeln and Himmler over the liquidation of the transport of one thousand Berlin Jews. (My emphasis) Himmler spoke to Heydrich on the day of the first massacre, 30 November 1941, specifically excluding the transport from the Aktion. He made a note after the phone conversation: "Jewish transport from Berlin, no liquidation." Since the Berlin Jews had already been murdered by then, Himmler was probably responding to a call Heydrich had made prior to that date. When Himmler learned that Reich Jews had been massacred, he radioed Jeckeln and read him the riot act. He told Jeckeln he would punish "unauthorized actions or actions contrary to directives issued either by me or by the Reich Security Main Office under my authority" concerning "treatment of Jews resettled in the Ostland." In a second message the same day he ordered Jeckeln to meet with him at his headquarters in East Prussia on 4 December 1941. Jeckeln's travels account for the gap in time between the first and second Rumbula massacre. On 8 December 1941 the remaining ten thousand Riga Jews were murdered.


I rather think the interpretation by Rhodes backs up my own, and is not a refutation of it.

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Post by michael mills » 23 Sep 2005 02:41

The post by Earldor linked by the moderator also contains the following quotation from Richard Breitman "Architect of Genocide; Himmler and the Final Solution" p.216-217:

In early November the RSHA announced that the Ostland would soon receive fifty thousand German and Czech Jews. Half would go to Minsk, the other half to Riga. Apparently because the concentration camp at Salaspils, near Riga, was not yet ready, the first transports would arrive in Minsk beginning November 10. The Jews scheduled to reach Riga more than a week later might have to be diverted to Kowno if there was no space for them in Riga. Himmler made it quite clear to Jeckeln in November that all Jews in the Ostland would have to be killed. He also noted Prützmann's report that Lohse had opposed executions and liquidation of the Riga ghetto, and stated that the ghetto had to be liquidated whether or not Lohse approved: "Tell Lohse it is my order, which also reflects the Führer's wish.


Breitman's interpretation contains a number of errors that are corrected in the book by Ezergailis, who had access to records in Latvian that were unavailable to Breitman.

According to the account by Ezergailis, in October 1941 the Reichskommissar Ostland, Hinrich Lohse, had issued an order to create a ghetto in Riga, in which the surviving Latvian Jews would be immured. Lohse's concept was that it would be a working ghetto, since the Latvian Jews who had survived the massacres of the summer of 1941 were mainly young and fit for labour.

However, on 24 October, Lohse was informed by Rudolf Lange, Sipo chief in Latvia, that large numbers of German Jews were to be deported to Riga, and that the Latvian Jews were to be liquidated to make room for the incoming German Jews.

Lohse was opposed to that plan, since it would ruin his concept of a working ghetto, the German Jews being disproprotinately old and unfit for labour due to the pre-war emigration of the younger German Jews, and on 25 october he announced his intention of flying to Berlin to protest directly to Hitler.

That is the true background to Himmler's words to Jeckeln, "Tell Lohse it is my order, which also reflects the Führer's wish". Himmler was responding to Lohse's protest about the decision to send German Jews to Riga and to liquidate the remaining native latvian Jews to create room for them.

Thus, Himmler's words to Jeckeln in November 1941 constituted an authorisation to kill off most of the remaining Latvian Jews in the Riga Ghetto (and also in the other ghettos in Latvia, eg at Liepaja), despite the objections of Lohse, who wanted to retain those Jews as forced labour.

However, they were not an authorisation to kill the German Jews who were being deported to Kaunas at that time, and later to Riga. The German Government policy at that date was to deport German Jews to holding camps in the occupied Soviet Union and keep them there pending a successful conclusion to the war. That is indicated by Eichmann's testimony, and also by Himmler's furious reaction to the news that German Jews deported to Kaunas and Riga had been killed.

It is possible that Jeckeln misunderstood what Himmler said to him in November, but more likely that he simply took into his own head to extend the order to liquidate the remaining Latvian Jews to the deported German Jews.

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Post by Boby » 23 Sep 2005 09:02

Thanks Michael for this excelent info

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Post by Pieter Kuiper » 23 Sep 2005 09:51

michael mills wrote:That is indicated by Eichmann's testimony, and also by Himmler's furious reaction to the news that German Jews deported to Kaunas and Riga had been killed.
What furious reaction? This one?
Image

If Himmler was furious, he must have controlled his anger very well. The telegram does not say that Jeckeln had exceeded orders. It just says hypothetically (würde) that Himmler would punish going against orders if such a thing occurred.

And two weeks later, Himmler promoted the man who had just killed a few thousand citizens of the Reich.

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Post by David Thompson » 23 Sep 2005 17:26

Michael -- You said:
Oh dear, it looks as if someone's ego is at stake here.

Apparently, judging from your reply to my post asking for documentation. That reply failed to prove your characterization of Jecklen's interrogation as "a manifestly bogus piece of evidence," nor did it rehabilitate your claim from the earlier trashing by Earldor at at viewtopic.php?p=386064#386064

Readers interested in finding out more about the Rumbula Forest massacres may find this site of interest:

Remembering Rumbula November 30, 1941- December 8, 1941
http://www.rumbula.org/remembering_rumbula.htm

The chapter on the Rumbula Forest massacres from Andrew Ezergailis's book The Holocaust in Latvia can be seen here:
Rumbula
http://www.rumbula.org/Chapter_8_Rumbula.doc

For those interested in the author, Andrew Ezergailis has a webpage at: http://www.ithaca.edu/faculty/ezergail/ where the Rumbula chapter and an essay on collaboration in Latvia are available.

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Post by michael mills » 24 Sep 2005 13:32

In his chapter on Rumbula, Ezergailis has only very little to say about the convoy of Jews deported from Germany that was massacred at the same time (which is the subject of this thread):

The first Jews to die in Rumbula were not those of Rîga, but a trainload of Reich Jews. They had arrived in Skirotava station on the night of November 29. There was no housing for them and thus they were liquidated in the early hours of the morning before the column of the Rîga Jews arrived. The railroad tracks were only a hundred meters from the Rumbula killing grounds.


Nowhere in his book does he show any awareness of the reprimand that Jeckeln received from Himmler a couple of days after the first Rumbula massacre. That is not surprising, since the Bletchley Park decrypt of Himmler's intercepted telegram was not discovered in the Public Records Office until a few years ago.

Accordingly, Ezergailis did not know that the massacre of the German Jews along with the native Jews of the Riga Ghetto was carried out by Jeckeln contrary to Himmler's orders, and thus he had to speculate as to a reason for it.

He surmises that the reason was that there was no housing for the newly arrived German Jews. However, the removal of most of the native Jews from the Riga Ghetto left plenty of room for the German Jews, and in fact some of the subsequent convoys of German Jews arriving at Riga were housed in the former ghetto. Thus, Ezergailis' surmise about the massacre of the German Jews was incorrect, based on insufficient information.

Apart from that, his chapter on the two Rumbula massacres is excellent. He shows that there was conflict between Lohse, who wanted to retain the native Jews of the Riga Ghetto for labour, and Jeckeln, who wanted to liquidate the ghetto, and that Lohse only submitted when he received confirmation from Himmler in November that the liquidation had been ordered by him, and was the Führer's wish.

Now a word on the purpose of the Salaspils Camp.

I have demonstrated that the moderator has been aware for the last 18 months that the Salaspils Camp was not an extermination centre for Jews brought there from Germany and other places, since he had been given a full description of its purpose and operation by Luca.

Therefore, the moderator musy have been aware of the falsehood of the following statements made by Jeckeln in the record of his interrogation by Soviet interrogators:



At the end of January 1942,[4] I was at Himmler's headquarters in Lötzen, East Prussia, to discuss organizational matters regarding the Latvian SS legions. There Himmler informed me that additional Jewish convoys were due to arrive from the Reich and from other countries. The destination point would be the Salaspils concentration camp, which lay one and a quarter miles from Riga in the direction of Dunaburg. Himmler said that he had not yet determined how he would have them exterminated: whether to have them shot on board their convoys or in Salaspils, or whether to chase them into the swamp somewhere.

Q : How was the matter resolved?

A : It was my opinion that shooting would be the simpler and quicker death. Himmler said he would think it over and then give orders later through Heydrich.

Q : What countries were the Jews in Salaspils brought from?

A : Jews were brought from Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Czechoslovakia, and from other occupied countries to the Salaspils camp. To give a precise count of the Jews in the Salaspils camp would be difficult. In any case, all the Jews from this camp were exterminated.

...................................................................



Q : ................ Describe your role in the Jewish liquidations in Salaspils.

A : I have already said that I discussed the extermination of Jews in Salaspils with Himmler in Lötzen. That alone makes me an accessory to this crime. Beyond that, Jews were shot in the Salaspils camp by forces recruited from my SD and Security Police units. The commander of the SD and Gestapo in Latvia, Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Lange, was directly in charge of the shootings. Other officers who reported to me on the shootings of Jews in the camp were the commander of the SD and Gestapo in the Baltic States, Major General Jost; Colonel of Police Pifrader; and Colonel of Police Fuchs.

Q : Specifically, what did they report to you?

A : They reported that two to three convoys of Jews were to arrive per week, all subject to liquidation.

Q : Then the number of Jews shot in Salaspils ought to be known too, isn't that correct?

A : Yes, of course. I can give you the approximate figures. The first Jewish convoys arrived in Salaspils in November 1941. Then, in the first half of 1942, convoys arrived at regular intervals. I believe that in November 1941, no more than three convoys arrived in all, but during the next seven months, from December 1941 to June 1942, eight to twelve convoys arrived each month. Overall, in eight months, no less than fifty-five and no more than eighty-seven Jewish convoys arrived at the camp. Given that each convoy carried a thousand men, that makes a total of 55,000 to 87,000 Jews exterminated in the Salaspils camp.


For comparison, here again is chapter and verse on the history of the Salaspils Camp, as provided by Luca on 11 April 2004:

The camp was built by jews from the Riga ghetto and from KZ-Jungfernhof between december 1941 and February 1942. Initially there were only jews in KZ-Salaspils, who numbered 1.550 in March 1942. In September 1942 the camp was finished with a total of 44 buildings, many of them service and workshop barracks.
Gentile Latvian political prisoners, also some from Hungary, Poland and Romania, were imprisoned in KZ-Salaspils. The capacity of the camp was about 2.000, the number imprisoned in March 1943, and by then only a few jews remained.
During 1943, KZ_Salaspils served as a work and transit camp for non-jewish prisoners, e.g. Ostarbeiters from Belorussia on their way to Germany, and in 1944 as a camp for Latvian resistance fighters, draft-dodgers and deserters. There was also a subcamp of KZ-Salaspils in a stone quarry in Sauriesi holding ca. 300 prisoners and 16 guardsmen. The exact date for the closing of KZ-Salaspils is not know, but soviet forces re-occupied Riga district in October 1944.
To a large degree Latvian SD forces served as guards in KZ-Salaspils. Among them was the famous Arajs Command, suspected for killing of 26.000 civilians in Latvia, and another unit know as Madona SD. The camp Commandant in 1942 was Richard Nickel, and from 1943-1944 Otto Teckmemeir.
It is assumed that ca. 7.000 men and women died in KZ-Salaspils.


It can immediately be seen that Jeckeln's statements about Salaspils are sheer nonsense.

He gives a figure of 55,000 to 87,000 Jews exterminated in the Salaspils Camp. In fact, the best estimates of historians are that only about 7,000 persons died in that camp, and the great majority of those persons were not Jews.

Jeckeln also states that the first convoys of Jews arrived at the Salaspils Camp in November 1941, a minimum of three according to him. False; only one convoy of Jews arrived at Riga in November 191, on Sunday 30, and it did not go to the Sapaspils Camp.

He also states that from December 1941 onward, eight to twelve convoys of Jews arrived at the Salaspils Camp for a period of seven months until June 1942. False; convoys of Jews from Germany continued to arrive at Riga until the end of February 1942, but they were taken into either the Riga Ghetto or the Jungfernhof Concentration Camp, not to Salaspils.

He also states that a minimum of 55 and a maximum of 87 convoys of Jews arrived at the Salaspils Camp. False; approximately 20 convoys of Jews arrived at Riga, and thye did not go to the Sapaspils Camp.

So why did Jeckeln give all that false information to his Soviet interrogators? The only rational conclusion is that the Soviet interrogators had made up their minds that the Salaspils Camp was an extermination centre for tens of thousands of Jews brought from Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Czechoslovakia and other occupied countries, and therefore "coached" Jeckeln to give answers to corroborate what they wanted to believe.

Ezergailis, in his book, refers to a Soviet claim that Latvia was a major extermination centre for Jews brought there from Western Europe, and that the total number of such Jews brought to Latvia for extermination was over 100,000. He believes that this claim was a falsehood designed to calumniate the Latvians as major collaborators in the extermination of Jewry. According to him, the total number of foreign Jews brought to Latvia was in the order of 20,000.

Accordingly, we can dismiss Jeckeln's claim that he was given an order to kill the German Jews brought to Latvia. In fact, the opposite is true; Himler ordered him not to kill the German Jews in the same way as the Latvian Jews, and when Jeckeln disobeyed him, for whatever reason, Himmler "read him the riot act", to use the words of Richard Rhodes.

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Post by iwh » 24 Sep 2005 15:36

In my opinion, Ian Kershaw seems to have hit the nail on the head. According to him, in his book Hitler Nemesis,(p 486) Jeckeln and others had been told early in November 1941 that all Jews in the east (Ostland) were to be exterminated down to the last one. Jeckeln was quite willing to carry this act out, including the killing of those coming newly from the west. Other leaders like Kube and Lohse were not too sure who this killing order actually refered to. Lohse wanted clarification from German high command as to whether economic criteria were to come into play (were Jewish skilled workers to be included etc).

Kube did not feel that the western jews deserved the same fate as the more "brutish" eastern jews. Were decorated former jewish German soldiers to be killed? etc. These questions flooded back to German high command, and it is these questions that may have caused Himmler to try to stop the liquidation of those western jews arriving in Riga on the 30 November.

As I said earlier, there was a lack of clarity of instruction from the top, allowing those further down the chain to interpret as they thought fit. Unfortunately the 1,000 German jews, many elderly, some holders of the Knights Cross from WW1, were murdered on arrival. Himmler severely reprimanded Jeckeln, but that was all. He was not demoted, replaced, and indeed within a short time he was decorated.

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 25 Sep 2005 02:30

What is more important to the interpretation of history than what happened to Jeckeln is what happened to the German Jews deported to Ostland, and when.

During November 1941, several convoys of German Jews arrived at Minsk. They were not killed on arrival, even though a mass slaughter of Soviet Jews held in the Minsk Ghetto took place at the same time. Rather, the German Jews were housed in the ghetto, in place of the Soviet Jews who had just been liquidated.

In the same month, five convoys of German Jews arrived at Kaunas. They were all killed at Fort IX by Jäger's men, in two massacres on 25 and 29 November.

Thus, there was a marked difference in the treatment of German Jews arriving at two different destinations in Ostland, indicating that local initiative was at play.

It is clear that the treatment of the German Jews arriving at Minsk in November accorded with German Government policy while that accorded to the Jews arriving at Kaunas did not, since Himmler telephoned Heydrich to warn him that there was to be no liquidation of the transport of German Jews due to arrive at Riga. When that order arrived too late and the Jews on that transport were killed, Himmler followed up with a stinging reprimand to Jeckeln, threatening punishment for any future exceeding of orders.

After that, convoys of German Jews continued to arrive at Riga until the end of January 1942, but none were liquidated. The deported Jews were taken into the Riga Ghetto or Jungfernhof Concentration Camp.

The whole sequnce of events indicates that as of the end of 1941, there was as yet no authorisation from the German Government to kill German Jews deported into the occupied Soviet Union, and any killings carried out on the initiative of local Sipo leaders were regarded as "Eigenmächtigkeiten" and "Zuwiderhandlungen".

Gradually there was a change in policy, which at first permitted the culling out of the older deported German Jews, those unusable for labour. The first sign of that change was the selection and killing in February 1942 of about 1,000 of the German Jews held at Riga.

In March, there was a further cull of the German Jews held at Riga, the so-called "Dünamünde-Aktion", which took the lives of about 3,500. The kilings were carried out in the Bikierniki Forest.

Then, in May 1942, German Jews held in the Lodz Ghetto were for the first time included in the selections for removal to the killing centre at Chelmno. That indicated a considerable delay, since native Jews held in the Lodz Ghetto had been subject to such selection since January.

Finally, German Jews held in the Minsk Ghetto were subjected to mass-killing for the first time in July 1942, in the so-called "Four-Days' Massacre" at the end of that month.

Eventually all the German Jews held in the Lodz and Minsk Ghettos were killed, along with the native Polish and Soviet Jews, except for a small handful of survivors.

By contrast, a sizable proportion of the German Jews held in Riga survived until the summer of 1944, when they were evacuated by ship to camps in Germany.

German Government policy toward the German Jews deported to holding centres in the occupied Soviet Union seems to have progressed through a number of stages. At first the deported Jews were to be held in ghettos and camps pending the end of the war.

Then, starting in February 1942, the German Government permitted the culling out of a set number of the deported Jews too old and sick to be used for labour. That may have been a result of pressure from local authorities, who did not want to house and feed a large number of Jews who were not working.

Finally, the total liquidation of the German Jews was authorised, equating their treatment with that meted out to the Soviet Jews.

However, in the case of the German Jews held at Riga, that final stage was never reached, and the surviving Jews were evacuated back to Germany.

Thus it may be seen that the actions of Jäger at Kaunas and Jeckeln at Riga in November 1941 anticipated eventual German Government decisions. Nevertheless, at the time they were performed they were contrary to policy, and hence subject to reprimand.

It is the task of historians to identify as accurately as possible the timing of the chnages in German Government policy, the factors inducing those changes, and the reasons why there were variations between different locations.

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