LSSAH, Oct. 1941 - Take no prisoners

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Rob - wssob2
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LSSAH, Oct. 1941 - Take no prisoners

Post by Rob - wssob2 » 11 Mar 2004 06:05

[Split from "Torture and looting of Waffen-SS PoWs"]




Also, in http://www.wssob.com/atrocities.html, there is this statement:
Quote:
LSSAH, Oct. 1941, Taganrog, Soviet Union. Sepp Dietrich orders all surrendering Soviet troops shot for a 3-day period in reprisal for the capture, torture and murder of 6 SS solders.



FYI folks - the incident is mentioned on p. 133 & 273 of George Stein's The Waffen-SS and cites Gerald Reitlinger's The SS: Alibi of a Nation 1922-45 as the source. I think there might be references to this particular "take no prisoners" order in Master's of Death and Destruction of the European Jews as well, but would need to confirm.

Reitlinger quotes as former LAH officer (sorry, don't know which one) as estimating that 4,000 Red Army men attempting to surrender or having surrendered were killed by Dietrich's troops during the 3 day period in question in March 1942.

Charles Messenger's book Hitler's Gladiator mentions the bodies being found, citing Rudolf Lehmann's Leibstandarte III book, on p 108. Messenger does not mention the execution order, which is not unusual given his "kid-glove" treatment of his biographical subject.

I don't know much about the specific circumstances, but I doubt that Dietrich was "forced" to carry out a "take no prisoners" order. It sounds like it was a spontaneous command issued in the heat of the moment when the SS bodies were found in the GPU building (the SS men were former members of 3rd Company, I Battalion of the LAH). It certainly was well in the spirit of the "Commissar Order" and the general ideological nature of the Eastern Front.

When the LAH killed the estimated 4,000 Red Army PWs in revenge for 6 of their guys in 1942, the SS troops probably never dreamed that they end up on the losing side of WWII. Unfortunately for them, those who are unwilling to show mercy should expect little in return.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 11 Mar 2004 13:33

Messenger also presents the following though:

(1)The original atrocity claim was made by Erich Kern in 1948,a former Viennese journalist and veteran of the Leibstandarte.Kern also claims two companies of the presumed neighbouring 16th Motorised Division went missing before the event and that the bodies of these 103 Germans were found 'strung' up in a cherry orchard.I don't think any verification of this claim has been made and its further source as a catalyst could be doubted.

(2)The six members of the Leibstandarte found dead at the Taganrog GPU office were in fact found in March 1942,seven months after the events of 1941.

(3)Rudolf Lehmann ,Leibstandarte historian,could find no evidence of the divisional order to shoot Soviet Pows at Taganrog in the archives---"he then went to the length of placing the matter before the State Justice Adminstration Department in Ludwigsburg and obtained the reply that no such execution had taken place between 16-18 August 1941...".

Confusion further abounds because Messenger quotes Kern etc as refering to an August 1941 date for the supposed execution of 4,000 Soviet prisoners,not October.

Doubts certainly exist on the validation of this warcrime.

Rob - wssob2
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Post by Rob - wssob2 » 11 Mar 2004 17:35

Doubts certainly exist on the validation of this warcrime.


But the claim is in keeping with other documented war crimes committed by the German Wehrmacht in the USSR during Barbarossa. Rhodes' book Masters of Death on p.143-45 mentions a similar incident circa Sept 16, 1941, in which the Germans found 6 of their men mutilated and hung from a tree near Vinnitsa (Kiev). Himmler ordered 10,000 Jews to be killed in reprisal. Rhodes account is based on the testimony of Oberleutenant Erwin Bingel and includes a transcript of Himmler's order. There was a similar incident in Nov 1941 in Kharkov, in which 200+ city residents were killed in reprisal for the death of the Heer 60th ID commander and several staff officers which is described in the book The German Army and Genocide

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Juha Hujanen
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Post by Juha Hujanen » 12 Mar 2004 17:34

I've Kern's book and its very vague of dates.Sometimes only a month is mentioned.IMHO the book is almost like mix of fiction/facts.

However Kern says that ...an order was received by Division to the effect that all prisoners captured during the last three days were to be shot... (page 60).

So if POW's were indeed shot,it seems that Dietrich received an order to shoot POW's.But there's that time gap that Moulded pointed out.

/Juha

Rob - wssob2
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Post by Rob - wssob2 » 12 Mar 2004 18:26

Hi Juha - it's certainly possible that Dietrich could have received an order to take no prisoners. Messenger in Hitler's Gladiator p 108 mentions:

"...On 28 March, the bodies of the six members of No 3 Company, (1st Battalion) were discovered in the former GPU headquarters in Taganrog, presumably uncovered by the thaw, since it was believed they had been captured the previous October and a detailed report on the tortures which had been inflicted on them was forwarded direct to Himmler


Messenger then cites the sentence with footnote 41, citing vol II, p 292-94 of Lehman's divisional history.

If that's the case, Himmler could have read the report and replied with a "take no prisoners" directive - he certainly had issued similar command in the past. What's interesting about this particular allegation it that it seems to concern Red Army troops attempting to surrender rather than having surrendered and specifies a 72 hour period rather than an number of Red Army soldiers to be shot in reprisal. The hours vs. bodycount element of this allegation makes me wonder if Himmler perhaps ordered reprisals to take place and Deitrich ordered an arbitrary time frame for them.

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