Einsatzgruppe affidavit of Walther Schellenberg

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Einsatzgruppe affidavit of Walther Schellenberg

Post by David Thompson » 03 Oct 2004 00:17

This interesting text can be found as "Document 3710-PS [translation]", in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume VI, US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1946. pp. 420-424.

In it, SS-Brigadefuehrer und Generalmajor der Polizei Dr. jur. Schellenberg says this:
Today I read the "Operational and Situational Report No. 6 of the Combat Groups of the SIPO and SD in the USSR (covering the period from 10/1-31/1941)," as well as the "Comprehensive Report of Combat Group A up to 10/15/1941." The whole substance of these reports shows that the prime mission of the Combat Groups and Combat Commandos of the SIPO and SD was to undertake and carry out mass executions of Jews, Communists, and other elements of resistance.
For our readers, the "Comprehensive Report of Combat Group A up to 10/15/1941" is the subject of a thread at:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=60197
SWORN STATEMENT

In the middle of 5/1941, as far as I remember, the Chief of Amt 4 of the RSHA (SS-Brigadefuehrer Mueller), in the name of the Chief of the RSHA (SS-Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich), held discussions with the Generalquartiermeister of the Army (General Wagner) about questions connected with the operations of the SIPO and SD within the bounds of the Field Army during the imminent campaign against Russia. Wagner could come to no agreement with Mueller and therefore asked Heydrich to send another representative. I was at that time Chief of Section E in Amt 4 of the RSHA under Chief of A; Mueller and was selected by Wagner because of my experience in matters of protocol to be sent to Heydrich for the purpose of drawing up the final agreement. According to the instructions given to me, I was supposed to make sure that this agreement would provide that the responsible headquarters in the Army would be firmly obligated to give complete support to all activities of the Combat Groups and Combat Commandos of the SIPO and SD. I discussed the problem of this mutual relationship in great detail with Wagner. In accordance with this discussion I then presented him with the completed draft of an agreement, which met with his full approval. This draft of an agreement was the basis for a final discussion between Wagner and Heydrich towards the end of 5/1941.

The contents of this agreement, as far as I remember, were substantially as follows. Its basis was the Fuehrer's command, mentioned at the very beginning of the agreement, that the SIPO and SD should operate within the combat elements of the Field Army, with the mission of utterly smashing all resistance in conquered front-line areas as well as in conquered rear supply zones by every means and as quickly as possible. The various areas were then set down in which the SIPO and SD were to be active and operating. The individual Combat Groups were then assigned to the army groups which were to take part in the campaign and the individual Combat Commandos to the respective armies which were to take part in the campaign.

The Combat Groups and Combat Commandos were to operate in detail:

(1) In front-line areas: In complete subordination to the Field Army, tactically, functionally, and administratively;

(2) In rear operational areas: In merely administrative subordination to the Field Army, but under the command and functional control of the RSHA;

(3) In rear Army areas: Arrangement as in (2);

(4) In areas of the civil administration in the East: Same as in the Reich.

The tactical and functional authority and responsibility of front-line headquarters of the Field Army over the Combat Commandos found no limitation in the agreement and therefore needed no further clarification.

The agreement made it clear that the administrative subordination embraced not only disciplinary subordination but also the obligation for rear headquarters of the Field Army to support the Combat Groups and Combat Commandos in matters of supply (gasoline, rations, etc.) as well as in the use of the communications network.

This agreement was signed by Heydrich and Wagner in my presence. Wagner signed it either "acting for" or "by order of" the OKH.

After Wagner and Heydrich had affixed their signatures, both of them asked me to leave the room for half an hour. Just while leaving I heard how they both wanted to discuss in complete privacy the Fuehrer's command, which was apparently known in advance by each of them personally, and its far-reaching implications. After the half hour was over I was called in once more just to say goodbye.

Today I read the "Operational and Situational Report No. 6 of the Combat Groups of the SIPO and SD in the USSR (covering the period from 10/1-31/1941)," as well as the "Comprehensive Report of Combat Group A up to 10/15/1941." The whole substance of these reports shows that the prime mission of the Combat Groups and Combat Commandos of the SIPO and SD was to undertake and carry out mass executions of Jews, Communists, and other elements of resistance. It is also clear from the above-cited "Comprehensive Report," which embraces no more than the first four months of these operations, that the cooperation of the respective Oberbefehlshabers with Combat Group A was "in general good and in individual instances, for instance that of Panzergruppe 4 under Colonel General Hoeppner, very close, in fact almost cordial" (page 1). From an inclosure to this same report, bearing the title "Summary of the Number of Executed Persons," particularly from the figures arranged according to the successively conquered areas, it is evident that the SIPO and SD operated in front-line areas so as to fully carry out their prime function of conducting mass executions of all elements of resistance even from the very beginning of the advance against Russia. I acknowledge the reliability and authenticity of both of the above-cited reports. Therefore I must today express my firm conviction that during the secret oral discussion between Wagner and Heydrich the extensive future activity of the Combat Groups and Combat Commandos within the combat elements of the Field Army was obviously discussed and delineated so as to include even planned mass executions. The close cooperation between the Field Army and the Combat Groups cited above as taking place even in the first weeks of the Russian campaign makes me today give expression to my firm conviction that the Oberbefehlshabers of the army groups and armies which were to take part in the Russian campaign were accurately informed through the normal OKH channels of communication about the extensive future mission of the Combat Groups and Combat Commandos of the SIPO and SD as including planned mass executions of Jews, Communists, and all other elements of resistance.

In the beginning of 6/1941 all of the Ic counterintelligence officers, and, as far as I remember, all of the Ic officers of all army groups, armies, army corps, and some of the divisions which were to take part in the coming Russian campaign were called in by Wagner, together with Heydrich and the Chief of the Amt for Counterintelligence Abroad in the OKW (Admiral Canaris) for a general conference in the OKW Building at Berlin. The responsible leaders of the Combat groups and Combat Commandos of the SIPO and SD were for the most part likewise present. I was also there. The essential substance and purpose of this meeting was to outline the military strategy against Russia and to announce the above-mentioned details of the written agreement reached by Wagner and Heydrich.

This group of Ic counterintelligence officers and Ic officers remained at Berlin a few days longer and was carefully instructed in several additional conferences, at which I was not present, about further details of the coming Russian campaign. I assume that these discussions were concerned with the exact delineation of the Fuehrer's command "to smash utterly all resistance in occupied areas by every means and as quickly as possible," including even planned mass executions of all elements of resistance. Otherwise the cooperation between the Field Army and the Combat Groups, which in the above-cited documents is clearly revealed as existing but a few weeks thereafter, could not in my opinion have been forthcoming. In any event there is hardly any reason to doubt that these Ic counterintelligence officers, immediately upon their return from Berlin, accurately informed their own superiors, including all Oberbefehlshabers of the army groups and armies which were to march against Russia, about the full extent of the agreements.

[signed] WALTER SCHELLENBERG 9/26/1945

CITY OF NURNBERG: SS

Before me, Paul A. Neuland, Major, QMC, ASN O-385720, an officer duly qualified to take oaths, appeared Walter Schellenberg. to me known, who in my presence signed the foregoing statement consisting of five pages in the German language, and who swore that the same was true on 11/26/1945.

I further certify that the two reports cited on pages 2-3 of the foregoing statement are documents contained in the official files of the Documentation Section of the Office of the US Chief of Counsel at Nurnberg, Germany. I further certify that the document whose title is "Taetigkeits" und Lagebericht Nr. 6 der Einsatzgruppen der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD in der UdSSR (Berichtszeit vom 1. 10/31/1941)" is document No. R102, and that the document bearing the title "Gesamtbericht der Einsatzgruppe A bis zum 10/15/1941" is document No. L- 180.

[signed] Paul A. Neuland
PAUL A. NEULAND Major, QMC O-385720

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Post by michael mills » 05 Oct 2004 07:31

If Schellenberg had stated on oath that he had been present at planning meetings before the commencement of the invasion of the Soviet Union at which it had been revealed to the participants that the "prime mission of the Combat Groups and Combat Commandos of the SIPO and SD was to undertake and carry out mass executions of Jews, Communists, and other elements of resistance", then his statement to that effect made on 26 September 1945 could have some historical value in assessing the task assigned to the Einsatzgruppen.

But Schellenberg does not make such a statement. Although he details his personal knowledge of the agreement signed between the RSHA and the Wehrmacht before the start of the invasion, confirming that he was present at discussions between Heydrich and Wagner, and later at briefings of the Ic officers of various Wehrmacht units, he claims that he only became aware on what he states to be the "prime mission of the Combat Groups and Combat Commandos" on the day of his statement itself, "today" = 26 September 1945, and that the way in which he became aware of that "prime mission" was through reading two reports given to him by his interrogator.

Accordingly, Schellenberg's statement that he became aware of the "prime mission" of the Einsatzgruppen only on 26 September 1945, long after the Einsatzgruppen had been dissolved, is essentially valueless for historical purposes, although it may have had legal value in incriminating the Wehrmacht in a criminal conspiracy, which is the obvious purpose of the affidavit.

The most cursory reading of Schellenberg's affidavit shows that he was fulfilling a requirement from his interrogator to supply evidence incriminating the Wehrmacht while at the same time avoiding self-incrimination.

In order to accomplish those two aims, he had to reveal personal knowledge of the pre-invasion agreement on co-operation between the Wehrmacht and the Einsatzgruppen, while denying any pre-invasion knowledge of the criminal purposes of the latter.

The mechanism by which Schellenberg achieves his double purpose is to divide the meetings dealing with the agreement into two parts;

1. an open part, at which he is present and at which the RSHA-Wehrmacht agreement is discussed but not any criminal purpose, and

2. a secret part to which he is not privy at the time of its occurrence, and at which he agrees with his interrogator that the criminal purpose must have been revealed.

Thus he claims to have been present at a meeting between Heydrich and Wagner at which the agreement was signed, but not at a subsequent private meeting between Heydrich and Wagner.

Thus he claims to have been present at pre-invasion briefings of Wehrmacht Ic officers at which the agreement was announced, but not at subsequent briefings.

Schellenberg insinuates that the criminal purpose of the Einsatzgruppen must have been revealed and/or discussed at the private meeting between Heydrich and Wagner, and at the subsequent briefings of the Wehrmacht Ic officers.

But since he claims not to have been present at either of the two occurrences, he cannot have had any personal knowledge of what was discussed at those occurrences, if they in fact took place. Furthermore, he implies that he only became aware of what allegedly took place at those occurrences long after the event, when he read two reports on 26 September 1945.

Accordingly, the conclusions drawn by Schellenberg from reading two reports on 26 September 1945 have no more historical value than similar conclusions drawn by somebody reading those same reports in 2004.

In any case, Schellenberg's insinuations about the "prime purpose" of the Einsatzgruppen are clearly contradicted by the EG C report of 17 September 1941, in which it is explicitly stated that the main task (Hauptaufgabe) of the Einsatzgruppen is the destruction of the Communist system, not the killing of Jews (würde man die Hauptaufgabe der Vernichtung des kommunistischen Apparates zugunsten der arbeitsmäßig leichteren Aufgabe, die Juden auszuschalten, in die zweite oder dritte Reihe stellen).

This affidavit by Schellenberg is a shining example of the need to analyse very carefully such post-war statements by senior Gertman officials, rather than just plucking excerpts from them to support a particular position.

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Post by Michael Miller » 05 Oct 2004 13:59

Mr. Mills wrote:
"...clearly contradicted by the EG C report of 17 September 1941, in which it is explicitly stated that the main task (Hauptaufgabe) of the Einsatzgruppen is the destruction of the Communist system, not the killing of Jews (würde man die Hauptaufgabe der Vernichtung des kommunistischen Apparates zugunsten der arbeitsmäßig leichteren Aufgabe, die Juden auszuschalten, in die zweite oder dritte Reihe stellen)."
Even this, explicit though it may be, is subject to interpretation. The Nazis routinely defined communism as a Jewish system, asserting that the two went hand-in-hand. So even in spite of this explicit statement, in the minds of many, including, presumably, Einsatzgruppen officers, the killing of Jews helped to accomplish the destruction of the Communist system. In any case, in the month this EG C report was issued a Skdo. (4b) of that EG was responsible for the shooting of over 33,000 Kiev Jews.

~ Mike Miller

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Post by michael mills » 06 Oct 2004 04:19

Except that in the report of EG C, a clear distinction was made between the "main task" (Hauptaufgabe) = destroying the Communist apparatus, and the "task easier to accomplish" (arbeitsmäßig leichtere Aufgabe) = eliminating the Jews.

The writers of the report clearly distinguished between the two tasks. They saw that German security forces were substituting the easier task for the main task.

Certainly in National Socialist ideology Communism was considered to be a Jewish system, as it was by many other conservatives, including Winston Churchill in 1920.

That is why one of the groups listed for summary execution was "Jews in high Party and State positions". It was those Jews who were considered to be the administrative backbone of the Communist system in the Soviet system. (As a matter of fact, according to the Soviet census of 1939, 40% of the Soviet Jewish population were bureaucrats or their dependants).

But killing Jews in high Party and State positions, killing members of the Jewish intelligentsia, killing Jews in the Soviet armed forces, was a means to the end of destroying the Communist apparatus, not an end in itself.

What the EG C commanders were complaining about was that German security forces were making the killing of large numbers of Jews an end in itself because it was easier. Obviously it was easier to round up a group of Jewish civilians at random and shoot them all rather than to hunt down Jewish members of the Communist bureaucracy. But as the EG C commanders pointed out, that represented a diversion from the main task of destroying the Communist apparatus, which, as the intelligence agents of EG C had discovered, was not maintained solely by Jews but also by members of other ethnic groups.

As for the massacre of Kiev Jews on 29 and 30 September, that was a reprisal action that EG C had specifically been asked to carry out by the Wehrmacht.

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Post by Earldor » 06 Oct 2004 10:28

michael mills wrote: Certainly in National Socialist ideology Communism was considered to be a Jewish system, as it was by many other conservatives, including Winston Churchill in 1920.
Which doesn't mean, that it was so or is so.
That is why one of the groups listed for summary execution was "Jews in high Party and State positions".
Which, of course, doesn't mean that the bulk of the victims of the Einsatzgruppen were in high Party or state positions or that their socioeconomical background was somehow checked by the Einsatzgruppen outside the initial phase.
It was those Jews who were considered to be the administrative backbone of the Communist system in the Soviet system.
German rationalizations and propagandistic delusions do not entitle them to execute anyone on the basis of their racial background.
(As a matter of fact, according to the Soviet census of 1939, 40% of the Soviet Jewish population were bureaucrats or their dependants).
If you intended this to be an excuse for the killing of around two million human beings, I would at least expect you to provide a source and a more detailed breakdown of the census.
What the EG C commanders were complaining about was that German security forces were making the killing of large numbers of Jews an end in itself because it was easier.
That may have been the rationalization to the critisism from their superiors after they had not been clever enough to pick up the intention of Himmler and Heydrich to expand the killings.
Obviously it was easier to round up a group of Jewish civilians at random and shoot them all rather than to hunt down Jewish members of the Communist bureaucracy. But as the EG C commanders pointed out, that represented a diversion from the main task of destroying the Communist apparatus, which, as the intelligence agents of EG C had discovered, was not maintained solely by Jews but also by members of other ethnic groups.
And which view won in the end?
As for the massacre of Kiev Jews on 29 and 30 September, that was a reprisal action that EG C had specifically been asked to carry out by the Wehrmacht.
I hope you're not claiming that this wasn't an excuse the SK 4a was more than happy to exploit to the fullest and end up shooting over 30, 000 Jewish civilians without any screening besides the racial one?

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Post by Fugazi » 06 Oct 2004 12:28

Earldor, I think you're being a little unfair to Michael Mills. If Mr Mills wants to discuss the motives of the Einsatzgruppen killings and thinks it comes down to the nazis tending to consider Communism a Jewish system, that doesn't imply at all that he thinks that they were correct or that the killings are therefore "excused". He's entitled to make the case that they thought so, and that they had reasons for thinking so (eg, the Soviet census mentioned). The fact that they were wrong doesn't alter the fact that it is what they thought.

People who kill usually have reasons for what they do. Those reasons may have little basis in reality but to the people doing the killing, they're valid. I doubt anyone in the Einsatzgruppen considered himself out to kill because of a thirst for evil acts, there would have been at least some level of rationalisation involved. Attempting to uncover those rationalisations doesn't imply approval for the killings.

Maybe you're basing your assessment of Mr Mills on other posts, but based just on the quotes you've drawn from his current post I don't see that your responses were justified.

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Post by Obserwator » 06 Oct 2004 13:50

Fugazi-Mills clearly takes sides in his views.For example look at this:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... sc&start=0
Some of these former Wehrmacht men turned Polish were sent with the Polish Army units to Scotland for training. There, in the training camps, they encountered a number of Polish Jews who were likewise members of the Anders Army, having been in exile in the Soviet Union, and permitted to join the Army when it was formed after the German invasion. The former Wehrmacht men, having learned the correct attitude to Jews from their German trainers, were understandably upset at finding themselves compelled to serve in the same units as members of that nationality, and took appropriate action. The issue was hushed up at the time; the concept of members of the Polish Army fighting and killing each other on British soil was not one considered fit for public consumption."
I will leave the accusation-the thing that is upseting is the fact that Mills considers this supposed killing of Jews as correct and appropriate in his post. Do you still think he doesn't take sides ?

So far he still refuses to answer how the children murdered by Reich Germany were part of the fantasy Jewish conspiracy.
He also clearly refuses to accept the fact that Nazis believed that other ethnic groups were untermenschen and thus destined to be extermniated by them(or at least i have never have seen him taking this as one of reasons for the murdered of milions of Jews and Poles in concentration camps)

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Post by Fugazi » 06 Oct 2004 15:12

I will leave the accusation-the thing that is upseting is the fact that Mills considers this supposed killing of Jews as correct and appropriate in his post. Do you still think he doesn't take sides ?
Obserwator, I know this is going to sound stupid and phony and I've no idea how I could clearly explain it, but I'm going to try. I think we have a language misunderstanding here. I speak the same version of English as Mr Mills, and I can see that he isn't himself trying to say this was correct and appropriate, he's saying that's how those Germans saw it. I'm not sure how I can see that, don't know how to describe it, but it's there for someone who speaks the same "dialect" as Mr Mills. I'm not sure even an American English speaker would pick up on it, so it's probably pretty unwise of Mr Mills to write like that to so many people who have English as a second language. It's really easy to do it though - I outraged Helly Angel the other day with a phrase I didn't think was at all offensive. With hindsight, the ease with which it could be misunderstood was clear, but because English is my normal everyday language I didn't think about it before I hit "Submit". I believe we're looking at the same situation with the Mills post you've quoted.

I think Mr Mills does take sides, but we all do, we can't help it. Hopefully, none of us takes the fascists' side. I'm sure you think Mr Mills does, but I wouldn't like to judge after only one week on the forum.

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Post by David Thompson » 06 Oct 2004 17:23

From my experience with the English language, Mr. Mills' statement appears to be ironical in nature, although it is susceptible of an offensive interpretation.

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Post by boobazzz » 06 Oct 2004 23:41

David Thompson wrote:From my experience with the English language, Mr. Mills' statement appears to be ironical in nature, although it is susceptible of an offensive interpretation.
? Just of couriosity: So is it of offensive or ironical in nature? or do we just witness double standards being applied here?
Besides, David bear in mind that many posters do not command English as a first language, so the niuances behind it might be slightly or totally impossibel to be uncovered to them.

Personally I find mr. Mills attitude to be extremely biased one.
cheers.
b.

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Post by David Thompson » 07 Oct 2004 01:22

boobazzz -- You asked:
? Just of couriosity: So is it of offensive or ironical in nature? or do we just witness double standards being applied here?
You read my post. One of the problems with trying to be impartial is that hotheads on either side of any question think that there's a double standard involved. Mills isn't happy with my moderating either, so at least you both agree on something.
Besides, David bear in mind that many posters do not command English as a first language, so the niuances behind it might be slightly or totally impossibel to be uncovered to them.
This is a great opportunity for them to acquire nuance proficiency.

Finally, you remarked:
Personally I find mr. Mills attitude to be extremely biased one.
So what? The purpose of this forum is to provide informed, fact-based and robust debate on historical topics. It is his privilege to be biased. If you find him biased, counter his argument. Mr. Mills is a skilled debater. I often disagree with him. But neither you nor any other poster should expect me to "fix" or "rig" the outcome of a discussion by handcuffing and gagging him through some hypertechnical application of the rules. If your skills are not up to the contest for now, grow stronger.

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Post by Dan » 07 Oct 2004 01:57

You read my post. One of the problems with trying to be impartial is that hotheads on either side of any question think that there's a double standard involved. Mills isn't happy with my moderating either, so at least you both agree on something
.

But David! When people lean on you from both sides, at least you stay up!

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Post by walterkaschner » 07 Oct 2004 08:37

Vive le David perpandiculiare! Long may he stand!

Regards, Kaschner

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Post by boobazzz » 07 Oct 2004 09:15

David,

Actually I don't think you're bad moderator at all. I just wanted to know, which was also triggered by the fact that mr. Mills is not always prompted for sources for his often insulting claims (for example allegded Polish terrorist acts against German civilians in 1916-1919; he failed to provide even one tiniest evidence of it), as it is stipulatred by the rules.

It is very hard to debate with someone neglecting the convencion of civilised debate, which mr. Mills often exerxcises, like ignoring counter arguments, or changing the topic all of the sudden. Not ot mention that mr. Mills very often reveals lack of basic knolwdge on discussed topics (like the case of his mistake on Kaunas and Vilnius while maintaining the whole argumentation) So to me to grow stronger is not the issue here, as this is not going to anywhere in case of mr. Mills. I prefer ignoring him.

Anyway, I agree, with your conclusion on acquiring nuance proficiency, so I do everyday. I just wanted to point out the fact that such a sort of language application may be very confusing to those who are not able to distinguish irony from insult within the meanders of foireign language.Maybe it might help if one expressed her/hikself more clearly.
But naturally I understand there always is the question of style, which I do not want to supperss at all and by no means.

And morever, I never wanted nor suggested to " handcuffing and gagging him [mr. Mills] through some hypertechnical application of the rules". Not at all!. I just expect them [the rules] to be applied on an equal basis, regardless 'skilled debaters' and noobs.

Sorry for this o.t., I promise there will be no more on mr. Mills from my side.
best regards.
b.

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