European Jews deported to "Ukrainian marshes".

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michael mills
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European Jews deported to "Ukrainian marshes".

Post by michael mills » 20 Jun 2003 07:36

Here is a quote from a private letter of 21 June 1942 from Walter Foehl, deputy head of the Department of Population Management and Welfare of the General-Gouvernement, to his "SS comrades" in Berlin.
Every day we have trains coming in with more than 1,000 Jews a time from all over Europe. The medics patch them up, and we either house them here temporarily or mostly ship them on into the Ukrainian marshes, in the general direction of the Arctic Ocean, where - assuming they survive (which the Jews from the Kurfuerstendamm or Vienna or Bratislava ertainly won't!) - they are all being collected together to await the end of the war, though not without having built a few autobahns in the meantime. (But we're not supposed to talk about that!)
The letter is in the Federal Archive/BDC, personal file of Walter Foehl, and is quoted on page 135 of the book "Architects of Annihilation", by the German leftist historian Goetz Aly.

Aly points out that the language used in the letter contains clear echoes of the minutes of the Wannsee Conference. The words in the minutes that Aly refers to are "....the able-bodied Jews will be taken off to build roads in these territories, where large numbers will undoubtedly be lost through natural wastage".

One might wonder about the reference to the arriving Jews being patched up by the medics. That could possibly be a hint at a process of selection by German doctors, with those assessed as fit for labour being sent onward into Ukraine to be used for road-building, as Foehl states.

His reference to "Housing them here temporarily" might possibly be a hint at the killing of those assessed as unfit for labour, but that can only be a conjecture. The literal sense of the letter suggests the concentration of the Jews in transit camps awaiting despatch to the "Ukrainian marshes", perhaps after undergoing a selection process.

Whatever the case may be, this letter is a piece of documentary evidence from a senior official in the Generalgouvernement indicating that at least some of the Jews deported there were sent further into the Occupied Eastern Territories for use as forced labour.

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Post by viriato » 20 Jun 2003 11:13

Michael Mills, what may one understand by "in the general direction of the Arctic Ocean"??? Was Walter Fohl assigned to Galicia? If so there was some logic in the "direction". Otherwise it baffles me.

And what about the "more than 1,000 Jews a time"? Which time? A day, a week, a month or were the trains being dispatched at random?

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Post by michael mills » 22 Jun 2003 04:57

Reply to Viriato's questions:

Walter Foehl was stationed at Krakow, the seat of the administration of the Generalgouvernement. Therefore, he was not in Galicia (or more precisely, he was in what used to be West Galicia before the First World War, when the area was an Austiran province; but not in what was generally called Galicia (= Lemberg District) in 1942).

Foehl refers to trains carrying Jews arriving every day, but does not say how many. Presumably there was at least one train per day.

His reference to at least 1000 Jews I interpret to mean that each train carried at least 1000.

The reference to the Arctic Ocean is drawn from an original German plan to deport the Soviet Jws (those who who had not been killed in the initial sweep, and had been ghettoised) to the White Sea area (the White Sea is a branch of the Arctic Ocean) where the first Soviet concentration camps had been set up in 1918, under the Red Terror. The German Government regarded the Bolshevik regime in Russia and the Red Terror as having been brough about by a Jewish conspiracy, and the opponents of Soviet Power who had been sent to those first Soviet concentration camps, such as Solovetskii, as victims of the Jews; accordingly, deporting Jews to that area was seen as "poetic justice".

Obviously, the Grman occupiers never deported Jews to the White Sea area since that area never came under their control. However, the Ukrainian marshes had been occupied, and thus Jews could be sent there. There was a German plan to drain the marshes and create new farmland, to which the surplus agricultural population of Poland could be transferred; but I have seen no data indiating that Jews wre ever used for such work in any numbers. However, deported Jews were used in large numbers on road-building projects in the occupied Ukraine, eg Durchgangsstrasse IV.

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Roberto
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Re: European Jews deported to "Ukrainian marshes".

Post by Roberto » 22 Jun 2003 14:20

michael mills wrote:Here is a quote from a private letter of 21 June 1942 from Walter Foehl, deputy head of the Department of Population Management and Welfare of the General-Gouvernement, to his "SS comrades" in Berlin.
Every day we have trains coming in with more than 1,000 Jews a time from all over Europe. The medics patch them up, and we either house them here temporarily or mostly ship them on into the Ukrainian marshes, in the general direction of the Arctic Ocean, where - assuming they survive (which the Jews from the Kurfuerstendamm or Vienna or Bratislava ertainly won't!) - they are all being collected together to await the end of the war, though not without having built a few autobahns in the meantime. (But we're not supposed to talk about that!)
The letter is in the Federal Archive/BDC, personal file of Walter Foehl, and is quoted on page 135 of the book "Architects of Annihilation", by the German leftist historian Goetz Aly.

Aly points out that the language used in the letter contains clear echoes of the minutes of the Wannsee Conference. The words in the minutes that Aly refers to are "....the able-bodied Jews will be taken off to build roads in these territories, where large numbers will undoubtedly be lost through natural wastage".

One might wonder about the reference to the arriving Jews being patched up by the medics. That could possibly be a hint at a process of selection by German doctors, with those assessed as fit for labour being sent onward into Ukraine to be used for road-building, as Foehl states.

His reference to "Housing them here temporarily" might possibly be a hint at the killing of those assessed as unfit for labour, but that can only be a conjecture. The literal sense of the letter suggests the concentration of the Jews in transit camps awaiting despatch to the "Ukrainian marshes", perhaps after undergoing a selection process.

Whatever the case may be, this letter is a piece of documentary evidence from a senior official in the Generalgouvernement indicating that at least some of the Jews deported there were sent further into the Occupied Eastern Territories for use as forced labour.
Assuming, of course, that there is evidence to the transports that took the Jews from Berlin, Vienna or Bratislava to the "Ukrainian Marshes", to their arrival at places in those marshes and to their use as forced labour there. Without such evidence, one might as well see the terminology employed by Foehl as a parallel to the "Russian East" euphemism in the following passage of the Korherr Report:
4. Transportierung von Juden aus den
Ostprovinzen nach dem russischen
Osten: ............................1 449 692 "
Es wurden durchgeschleust
durch die Lager im General-
gouvernement..................... 1 274 166 Juden
durch die Lager im Warthegau..... 145 301 Juden
My translation:
4. Transportation of Jews from the
eastern provinces to the Russian
East: ............................ 1 449 692 "
The following numbers were sifted
through the camps in the General
government ............. ........ 1 274 166 Jews
through the camps in the Warthegau..... 145 301 Jews


I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Aly had reached a similar conclusion.

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Post by viriato » 22 Jun 2003 14:41

Thanks for your answer Michael Mills. According to the letter you quoted from Walter Föhl he said:
...though not without having built a few autobahns in the meantime.
You also talked about a project "Durchgangsstrasse IV". Might it be the same thing? And what exactly was "Durchgangsstrasse IV"? And how many people was involved in the project?

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 22 Jun 2003 14:48

viriato wrote:Thanks for your answer Michael Mills. According to the letter you quoted from Walter Föhl he said:
...though not without having built a few autobahns in the meantime.
You also talked about a project "Durchgangsstrasse IV". Might it be the same thing? And what exactly was "Durchgangsstrasse IV"? And how many people was involved in the project?
Interesting question. I would also like to know the answer. How many Jews, from what places, and what is the evidence?

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Post by michael mills » 23 Jun 2003 03:31

Durchgangsstrasse IV was a military highway that was to be built from Lvov to the Donetsk region in East Ukraine.

In Otober 1941, the project was put under the overall command of Hans-Adolf Pruetzmann, HSSPF Russland-Sued. It lasted until the end of 1943 when it was terminated due to the German retreat, and the labour-camps along its route were dissolved.

The main information about DG IV is in an article by a certain Kaienburg in a German periodical called "1999", to which I do not have access. My information comes from a summary of Kaienburg's article contained in the book "Politik der Vernichtung : eine Gesamtdarstellung der nationalsozialistischen Judenverfolgung", by Peter Longerich.

According to that summary, some 50 labour camps were attached to the DG IV project, 30 in Galicia and 20 in RK Ukraine. Exactly how many Jews in total were sent to those camps is unknown. Apparently the transports of Jews that arrived at those camps also included women and children. Selections were carried out at the camps to weed out those unfit for labour. There was a high death rate due to the harsh slave labour conditions, malnutrition, exhaustion and cold, and also arbitrary killings by the camp guards.

Presumably the surviving Jwish slave labourers were liquidated when the labour camps were dissolved at the end of 1943. It is possible that some were evacuated with the retreating German forces, as happened in the Baltic area.

Longerich's summary does not give any information on the places of origin of the Jews sent to the DG IV camps. I note that the article "Ukraine" in the 1943 Jewish Universal Encyclopedia reported that Jews deported from a number of named places in Belgium had arrived in Ukraine in October 1942; those transports may have had some connection with DG IV, but that is only conjecture on my part.

Another piece of evidence is Horst Ahnert's report on a meeting held on 30 August at RSHA HQ in Berlin to discuss the progress of the deportations. At that meeting, Eichmann informed the assembled men from the RSHA branch offices in the occupied countries (Ahnert was from Gestapo HQ Paris) that a camp for Jews was to be built in Russia; the construction components were waiting at The Hague, and would be sent progressively with each transport of Jews (who presumably would build the camp and be held there, although Ahnert did not spcifically report that). The camp referred to by Eichmann may have been one of those connected with DG IV, which would mean that Jews from the Netherland were sent there, or it may not. It any case, Ahnert's report indicates that Jews from Western Europe were being transported to places in the occupied Soviet Union.

There were also Durchgangsstrassen in White Russia. Gerlach, in his book "Kalkulierte Morde", refers to Durchgangsstrassen VI and VII as I recall, although he does not say whether Jews were used as labour in their construction. In any case, it is apparent that several Durchgangsstrassen were planned, and construction was commenced on many of them; Jewish slave labour was certainly used on some of them.

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Post by michael mills » 23 Jun 2003 03:40

Roberto wrote:
Assuming, of course, that there is evidence to the transports that took the Jews from Berlin, Vienna or Bratislava to the "Ukrainian Marshes", to their arrival at places in those marshes and to their use as forced labour there. Without such evidence, one might as well see the terminology employed by Foehl as a parallel to the "Russian East" euphemism in the following passage of the Korherr Report:
It is understandable that euphemisms would be employed in an official report that was ultimately destined to be seen by the Fuehrer, and would be preserved on file (where it was eventually found).

But the passage written by Foehl occurred in a private letter, written to "SS comrades" in Berlin, who would not need to be kept in the dark. There would be no real need for euphemism in such a private communication not intended to be kept for posterity. In fact, examples of private letters and diaries written by Germans posted to the East are remarkably frank in their dscriptions of what the writers witnessed, and are by no means always euphemistic. It is noteworthy that Foehl does not conceal the prospect that the death rate among the "soft" Grman Jews deported to the Ukrainain swamps as slave labour on road-building projects will be very high, nor his obvious glee at it.

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Post by Roberto » 23 Jun 2003 11:51

michael mills wrote:Roberto wrote:
Assuming, of course, that there is evidence to the transports that took the Jews from Berlin, Vienna or Bratislava to the "Ukrainian Marshes", to their arrival at places in those marshes and to their use as forced labour there. Without such evidence, one might as well see the terminology employed by Foehl as a parallel to the "Russian East" euphemism in the following passage of the Korherr Report:
It is understandable that euphemisms would be employed in an official report that was ultimately destined to be seen by the Fuehrer, and would be preserved on file (where it was eventually found).

But the passage written by Foehl occurred in a private letter, written to "SS comrades" in Berlin, who would not need to be kept in the dark. There would be no real need for euphemism in such a private communication not intended to be kept for posterity.
Here's what Mills, never one to mind contradicting himself, wrote in his first post on this thread:
One might wonder about the reference to the arriving Jews being patched up by the medics. That could possibly be a hint at a process of selection by German doctors, with those assessed as fit for labour being sent onward into Ukraine to be used for road-building, as Foehl states.

His reference to "Housing them here temporarily" might possibly be a hint at the killing of those assessed as unfit for labour, but that can only be a conjecture.
michael mills wrote:In fact, examples of private letters and diaries written by Germans posted to the East are remarkably frank in their dscriptions of what the writers witnessed, and are by no means always euphemistic. It is noteworthy that Foehl does not conceal the prospect that the death rate among the "soft" Grman Jews deported to the Ukrainain swamps as slave labour on road-building projects will be very high, nor his obvious glee at it.
Exactly, Mr. Mills. Foehl was being sarcastic. It would not be far-fetched to assume that he was playing a pun on the mandated Sprachgebrauch when gleefully writing that
[…]they are all being collected together to await the end of the war, though not without having built a few autobahns in the meantime. (But we're not supposed to talk about that!)
But this possibility wouldn’t enter a dissident researcher's considerations, would it?

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