Einsatzkommando operations in Lithuania 1941-1942

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Einsatzkommando operations in Lithuania 1941-1942

Postby David Thompson » 04 May 2005 18:05

This is a documentary thread, dealing with murders and executions committed by various Einsatzkommandos and Lithuanian police and paramilitary units in the 1941-1942 period. The first set of documents are taken from Arad, Yitzak, Shmuel Krakowski and Shmuel Spector (editors), The Einsatzgruppen Reports, Holocaust Library. New York: 1989.

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 8 June 30, 1941

On June 28 Vorkommando has moved into Kaunas. It has started its activity, occupying the former trade union building, the NKVD Building, as well as two other houses. During the night, exchange of heavy fire between Lithuanian insurgents, Jews, and irregulars. Very difficult to secure the prisons, which are totally overcrowded. During the last 3 days Lithuanian partisan groups have already killed several thousand Jews.

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Postby David Thompson » 04 May 2005 18:06

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 10 July 2, 1941

EK 7a
Location: Vilnius

Confiscation of numerous documents in NKVD Building. National Lithuanian activists have established city committees after the German troops marched in. Leader Zakovasius. For the time being, the committee is recognized by the field commandant. Activists strive for independence as in Slovakia. They appear to be ready to make sacrifices. On July 2, 1941, Commander of Einsatzgruppe C and SS-Brigadeführer Nebe, in coordination with Army Group Center initiated the settlement of this matter. According to a suggestion of the Einsatzgruppe leader, Army Group Center issued the following order on June 30, 1941:

"Civilian prisoners have according to our information, been freed by the Army. They are said to be, at least partially, Soviet political prisoners. Mostly criminal convicts, they are said to have freed themselves from another prison. It is requested that the troops be informed that prisoners are not to be freed. On the contrary, prisoners are to be secured by the Army until they are taken over by the officers of the security police. Care should be taken that prisoners do not free themselves under any circumstances."
EK 7a has initiated arrest actions against Communists and Jews. There are about 8,000 Jews in Vilnius. Most of the leading Communists have escaped. EK 7b still near Pruzhana, will proceed towards Baranovichi.

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Postby David Thompson » 04 May 2005 18:07

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 11 , July 3, 1941

* * *
Einsatzkommando 1 b: Location Kaunas
* * *
Einsatzkommando 3
Location July 3: Kaunas (Communication by radiogram)
* * *
Einsatzgruppe C:
Location: July 3: Volkovisk.

The group commander reports the result of the conference with Army Group Central Sector about the recognition of the Lithuanian Committee by the field commander. There is unanimity on this. Army Group Central Sector immediately issued a corresponding order.

Einsatzkommando 7a:
Location: Vilnius

Officials of the Komsomol and Jewish officials of the Communist Party were liquidated. The Einsatzkommando is trying to push forward to Minsk as fast as possible.

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Postby David Thompson » 04 May 2005 18:08

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 12 July 4, 1941

EK 1b
Location July 4, 1941: Kaunas

Only insignificant destruction in Kaunas. Strong sniper activity, particularly in the area of Tauroggen.
Stapo Tilsit has so far carried out 200 shootings. Lithuanians have less trust in Lithuanian ambassador Skirza in Berlin (under house arrest in Berlin, as already reported) than in General Rastikis. The latter is very popular.
2 groups of partisans (1) in Kaunas:
(a) under leadership of Klimaitis, 600 men, mainly civilian workers
(b) under leadership of the physician Dr. Zigonys, about 200 men

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Postby David Thompson » 04 May 2005 18:09

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 14 July 6, 1941

EK 1b
Location: Kaunas

Reports:

Public feelings among the Lithuanians in Kaunas are good and are pro-German. The Lithuanian population does not agree with the self-proclaimed Lithuanian government under Colonel Skirpa. The government is defined as a group of the army who has vested interests, first of all to take advantage of the presently unclear conditions, and to gain material profits. Former Lithuanian parties have already attempted to make contacts. The Roman Catholic Bishop Brizguys, who holds an influential position in Lithuanian circles, was won over. He maintains a close relationship with General Rastikis. The followers of Woldemaras are starting to be somewhat active. Basically they reject General Rastikis, because he is close to Christian-Democratic circles. They strive only for a limited Lithuanian independence, i.e., they want only cultural and economic freedom and are ready to leave foreign politics to the Greater German Reich. General Rastikis will immediately dissolve the temporary Lithuanian government.

Partisans in Kaunas and its surroundings have been disarmed on June 28 by order of the German Feldkommandatur. An auxillary police force consisting of 5 companies has been created from reliable partisans. Two of these companies were subordinated to the Einsatzkommando. Of these, one company guards the Jewish concentration camp. In the meantime, In Kaunas, Fort VII has been established where executions are carried out. The other company, with the agreement of the Field Commander of the Einsatzkommando, is to be employed for regular police tasks.

In Kaunas reserves of meat and flour will last for 6 more weeks. Fort VII in Kaunas will be organized as a Jewish concentration camp with two sections:
1. male Jews
2. female Jews and children.

Presently about 1,500 Jews are kept in the fort. Guard duty is performed by Lithuanian guard formations. In the central prisons there are:
1860 Jews
214 Lithuanians
134 Russians
1 Latvian
16 Poles

Another concentration camp for Jews is planned for in Fort IX - Kaunas.


For more on the "followers of Woldemaras," referred to above, see:

The "Woldemaras Supporters" of Lithuania
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Postby David Thompson » 04 May 2005 18:10

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 17 July 7, 1941

Special report on the political situation and activity in the area of Vilnius Police Matters The Lithuanian police branches in Vilnius, subordinated to the Einsatzkommando, were given the task of drawing up current lists of names of Jews in Vilnius; first intelligentsia, political activists, and wealthy Jews. Subsequently, searches and arrests were made and 54 Jews were liquidated on July 4, and 93 were liquidated on July 5. Sizeable property belonging to Jews were secured. With the help of Lithuanian police officials, a search was started for Communists and NKVD agents, most of whom, however, are said to have fled.

A search was also started for hidden weapons of the Polish secret military organizations, of which the Lithuanian police has yet not made an accurate estimate. The establishment of a Jewish quarter is being prepared. Upon suggestion of the EK, the Jewish quarter will be declared to be out of bounds to military personnel by order of the Field Command HQ.

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Postby David Thompson » 04 May 2005 18:12

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 19 July 11, 1941

In the border region of Lithuania, the Stapo Tilsit carried out further large-scale operations. Thus, on July 2, 133 persons were shot in Tauroggen; on July 3, 322 persons (among them 5 women) in Georgenburg; in Augustowo 316 persons (among them 10 women); and in Mariampol 68 persons.

I addition, the following executions were carried out:
1. GPP. Schirwindt
in Wladislawo (Newstadt) and vicinity 192 persons
2. GPP. Laugszargen
in Tauroggen and vicinity 122 persons
3. GPK. Memel or GPP. Bajohren
in Krottingen and vicinity 63 persons
4. GPP Schmalleningken 1 person

Thus, till now a total of 1743 persons have been shot. The higher SS and Police Commander, the commander of the Army's Rear Area North, SS-Gruppenführer and Generalleutnant (Lieutant General) of the Police Preutzmann reports:

The commander of the Army Area North offered to take over security in the area from the border of the Reich to the line Grodna-Kaunas-Jubarkas-Tauroggen-Rietavas-Darbona-Baltic Sea to the temporary Corps Headquarters 1, together with his forces. The commander of the Army Rear Area has proposed a corresponding motion to the Quartermaster General. The area to be covered has become too large, as a consequence of the fact that the eastern boundary of the Army's Rear Area has been moved forward. Thus, I have ordered the commander of the ORPO in Königsberg/Prussia, in accordance with the authorization given by the Reichsführer-SS and Chief of the German Police and Chief of the ORPO, to take over the area of Lake Wystit-Mariampol-Kaunas-Jurbarkas-Tauroggen-Tietaveas-Barbenai-Baltic Sea with his own forces. An agreement with the commander of the Army Rear Area North and the commander of the ORPO Köningsberg/Prussia, the forces needed have been determined. The area will probably be taken over on July 12 or 13, 1941. Otherwise the situation in the area of Kaunas is quiet. Only in isolated cases members of the Red Army who had been separated from their units were lying in ambush and shooting at units. This is the reason why up to now the Wehrmacht and the Police did not carry out more severe measures. The members of the Red Army who were hidden in the woods and in other hiding places, driven by hunger, surface and surrender, in most cases by showing the white flag. The attitude of the Lithuanian population is friendly towards the Germans so far. They help the German soldiers, the police officials, and the other organizations already functioning in this area as much as possible. Their cooperation consists chiefly in looking for and turning over Lithuanian Communists, dispersed Red Army soldiers, and Jews. After the retreat of the Red Army, the population of Kaunas killed about 2,500 Jews during a spontaneous uprising. In addition, a rather large number of Jews was shot by the Auxiliary Police Service.


Einsatzgruppe A
Location: Riga

1. In Kaunas, up to now a total of 7,800 Jews have been liquidated partly through pogroms and partly through shooting by Lithuanian Kommandos. All of the corpses have been removed. Further mass shootings are no longer possible. Therefore, I summoned a Jewish committee and explained that up to now we had no reason to interfere with the internal arrangements between Lithuanians and the Jews.

Foundations for a "New Order":

The establishment of a Jewish ghetto; identifying all the Jews with a yellow Star of David, 8 by 10 cm. in size, to be worn on the left breast; and the separate housing of women and children, for possible release on our orders by the Lithuanians and by a Jewish Relief Committee in the new ghetto. The town of Viliampol was designated as the location of the ghetto. The resettlement must be carried out within 4 weeks. Prisons now are being searched once more. Some Jews, for special reasons, are being arrested and shot. This will involve a minor number of executions, only 50 to 100 persons. To prevent Jews from returning to Kaunas, an agreement was made with the Higher SS and Police Leader that the ORPO draw a cordon around Kaunas not allowing any Jews to enter the town. If necessary, Jews will be fired upon. All Wehrmacht agencies were informed of the directives. About 250 men of the Lithuanian [anti-Soviet] partisans were left and are being sustained by us as a Sonderkommando and are being employed for future executions outside the town.

2. Units of Einsatzkommando 3 are presently working at Mariampol and Raseinial. After finishing their tasks, they will rejoin the Hauptkommando.

3. The Wehrmacht has received a new directive ordering it not to recognize the newly formed Lithuanian Government, but to make use of it.

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Postby David Thompson » 04 May 2005 18:13

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 21 July 13, 1941

In Vilnius by July 8th the local Einsatzkommando liquidated 321 Jews. The Lithuanian Ordnungsdienst which was placed under the Einsatzkommando after the Lithuanian political police had been dissolved was instructed to take part in the liquidation of he Jews. 150 Lithuanian officials were assigned to this task. They arrested the Jews and put them into concentration camps where they were subjected the same day to Special Treatment. This work has now begun, and thus about 500 Jews, saboteurs amongst them, are liquidated daily. About 460,000 rubles in cash, as well as many valuables belonging to Jews who were subject to Special Treatment, were confiscated as property belonging to enemies of the Reich. The former Trade Union building in Vilnius was secured for the German Labor Front (DAF) at their request, as well as the money in trade union bank accounts, totaling 1.5 million rubles. The arrest of several repeatedly convicted armed robbers indicated that in the future we shall have to reckon with such bandits. The Einsatzkommando was informed by Lithuanians that the Poles residing in Vilnius at the time of Bolshevik rule had formed armed cadres with a total strength of 12,000 men who had amassed considerable ammunition supplies. A search for these hordes of ammunition has been started. Einsatzkommando 2 in Vilnius has confiscated vast documentary materials in the local Jewish museum which was a branch of the central Moscow Institute for Jewish Culture.

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Postby David Thompson » 04 May 2005 18:13

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 24 July 16, 1941

Einsatzkommando 9
Location: Vilnius

Has orders to send an advance unit to Vileyka. Because of a short surprise fire fight against the Vilnius Security Police Headquarters a special liquidation was carried out in excess of daily liquidation quotas.

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Postby David Thompson » 04 May 2005 19:26

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 31 July 23, 1941

5. Einsatzkommando 9
Location: Vileyka

Mood and Situation in the Occupied Territories

* * *

Continued tension persists between Lithuanians and Poles in the Vilna district, but no open clashes occur, due to the German Army's presence. Many rumors are circulating concerning imminent Polish action. Four additional Lithuanian-organized groups were uncovered which have, so far, not been active, according to our information. The control of the sermons in Vilnius has resulted in a generally positive political attitude.

A Jewish-Polish secret organization exists in Vilnius and its environs. It has set itself the task of reestablishing by force Polish sovereignty. The organization which is said to be very large in number is divided into sections in the town and country of the Vilnius district. They are said to have machine guns, rifles, pistols and hand grenades. The organization is also said to possess a secret transmitter. An agent was planted in the organization. We expect to uncover it within 2-3 days.

There exists complete agreement with the commander of the Rear Army Area concerning the treatment of partisans and soldiers in civilian clothes. Large actions are initiated with participation of the security police. Proceedings are carried out with utter ruthlessness.

The number of liquidations reported on July 14, 1941 is 4,243 and by July 19 has increased by an additional 3,386.

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Postby David Thompson » 04 May 2005 19:38

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 36 July 28, 1941

e. The antagonism between Poland and Lithuania continues in the district of Vilnius. Poles feel disadvantaged in the distribution of goods. Lithuanians believe that they have the right to arrest Poles and to confiscate their belongings. There is, however, a general agreement with the measures taken by the Germans, particularly with the proceedings against the Jews. It was established that the above-mentioned Lithuanian organization has dissolved spontaneously with the advance of the German forces. The active forces went over to the activist [collaborating] groups. Activity of Schaulists has increased in the university. Tension between Fascist and Catholic groups can be noticed there. Fascist groups are in the minority.

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Postby David Thompson » 04 May 2005 19:54

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 40 August 3, 1941

Einsatzgruppe A: Location: Novoselya

B. Concerning the People

It was very easy to convince the Lithuanian circles of the need for self-purging actions to achieve a complete elimination of the Jews from public life. Spontaneous pogroms occurred in all the towns.

* * *

D. Details

In the self-cleansing actions in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia over 20,000 Communists and Jews were liquidated by the self-defense organizations (Selbstschutz-organisationen). These organizations are now being dissolved as part of the reorganization of the official order and security matters in these regions. These forces will be taken over in smaller numbers by the local auxiliary order-police.

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Postby David Thompson » 05 May 2005 04:41

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 48 August 10, 1941

Einsatzgruppe A
Location: Novoselye

Security Police work develops according to plan. Both in Kaunas and Riga efficient offices have been set up which may be considered to be permanent. At the same time, accommodations for the men of the operational units and married quarters for later use (sufficient for the time being), were provided. The mopping up of the rear zone, partly with the assistance of Lithuanian and Latvian auxiliary units, continues according to plan. In all 29,000 persons were liquidated in this district. As the combat troops had gained only little terrain during the past fortnight, the forces of the security police in the combat zone proper, with the armored group of the 16th and 18th Armies, were busy mopping up what little terrain had been gained, and fighting the partisans.

During his stay in Riga, the SS Reichsführer mentioned that he intends to set up police formations consisting of Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Ukrainians, etc., employing them outside of their own home areas. This is possible right away if this is done here in the old Soviet areas. After this task is completed, they will be used as police units, also outside their own home areas. Since the Army Group urgently demands a quick solution because of the difficult situation with the partisans and the difficulties involving the dual front, the Einsatzgruppe urgently asks for general instructions how to deal with this question.

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Postby David Thompson » 05 May 2005 04:53

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 53 August 15, 1941

Einsatzgruppe A
Location: Riga

A. General Matters

The sub-units of the EK la entered Pernau and Dorpat on the first day of occupation and were under enemy fire, and are now finally free of contact with enemy forces. The EK lb that was assigned to the 16th Army advances with its frontline units.

The preparations of the EG-A units which are supposed to enter Petersburg is taking place in Novoselye, 1 km to the northeast of Pskov. The main units of EK 2 and 3 continue their pacification work in Riga and Kaunas.

Every day in the North Estonian and old-Soviet-Russian areas there is an increasing number of partisan groups consisting of 5-30 men. There are constant reports of railway lines and bridges that have been blown up; of smaller columns and single vehicles that were attacked by day and night. Reports arrive from villages about partisan groups that terrorize and extort food from the inhabitants and threaten them. Sub-units of the Einsatzkommandos had to be employed again and again against such groups in order to secure the continuation of the pacification work. This happened particularly in the area of Novoselye and in the area around the location of the 4th Armored Group's H.Q in Strugi. In the last few days, two security divisions of the Army Group North and a battalion of the Police Regiment North were dispatched to pacify the endangered areas.

B. Political Situation

Clarification of the general political situation in the entire occupied area has not yet been achieved. The uncertainty of the population leads to rumors, although everywhere there are voices advocating an attitude of patience, waiting until the end of the fighting.

Since July 25th the Reichskommissar for Ostland, Gauleiter Lohse, and the Military Commander, Lieutenant-General Bremer, are operating in Kaunas. District commissars have been assigned to Lithuania and to the areas west of the Dvina, and they have gradually started their work. It appears that nowhere are there concrete plans and guiding principles. The commissars started their work in various ways. While the town commissar in Kaunas proceeded promptly in [initiating] the first actions, in a manner similar to those in Polish areas, district commissars approached the competent Einsatzkommandos with the request to execute Communists and Jews. Elsewhere, among them Kaunas, talks were arranged between the responsible commanders of the Security Police and the district commissars which will, hopefully, result in successful cooperation.

The Reichskommissar for Ostland in Kaunas has prepared a draft of a decree concerning guidelines for the treatment of Jews in the area of the Reichskommissariat Ostland and has handed it to the Higher SS and Police Commander.

The draft is similar to those issued in Holland, the Polish areas, etc. We foresee its distribution among the Higher SS and Police Commandos. However, it doesn't mention the cooperation with or the competence of the Security Police.

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Postby David Thompson » 05 May 2005 05:01

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 54 August 16, 1941

Einsatzgruppe A
Location: Riga
EK 3
Kaunas

Organization of the Catholic Church in Lithuania

The attitude of the Church regarding the Jewish question is, in general, clear. In addition, Bishop Brisgys has forbidden all clergymen to help Jews in any form whatsoever. He rejected several Jewish delegations who approached him personally and asked for his intervention with the German authorities. In the future he will not meet with any Jews at all. Conversion of Jews to the Catholic faith did not take place so far. The Church would also object to this type of conversion. It is convinced that the Jews would not come [to be converted] out of conviction but because of the possible advantages connected with it.

Executive Activity

Special actions (Sonderaktionen) were carried out as follows:

July 22, 1941: Pagirai: 1 Jew liquidated

July 23, 1941: Kedainiai: 125 persons (83 Communist Jews, 12 Communist Jewesses, 14 Russian and 15 Lithuanian Communist officials, 1 Politruk liquidated)

July 25, 1941: Mariampol: 103 Jews (90 men, 13 women) liquidated

July 28, 1941: Panevezys: 288 persons (234 Jews, 15 Jewesses, 19 Russian and 20 Lithuanian Communist officials)

July 29, 1941: Raseiniai: 257 persons (254 Jews, 3 Lithuanian Communist officials) liquidated

July 30, 1941: Agriogola: 30 persons (27 Jews and 11 Lithuanian Communist officials) liquidated

July 30, 1941: Wendziegola surroundings: 15 persons (Jews and 2 murderers)

July 31, 1941: Utena: 256 persons (235 Jews, 16 Jewesses, 2 Lithuanian Communist officials, 1 double robber and murderer)

August 1, 1941: Ukmerge: 300 persons (254 Jews, 42 Jewesses, 2 Lithuanian Communist officials, 1 former mayor of Janova who had set fire to the town, 1 Political Commissar)

August 2, 1941: Kaunas: 209 persons (171 Jews, 74 Jewesses, 4 Lithuanian Communist officials, among them one Jewish couple)

Between July 22 and August 3 the Kommando has liquidated 1592 persons.

The auxiliary police service companies were taken over by the regular police. They were given green armbands marked "Schutzmannschaften."

Again, vast political material was captured in Kaunas. Besides, political material was secured in offices and flats.

The ghettoization of the Jews in Kaunas, numbering about 25,000, is in full swing. Altogether, about 10,000 Jews have been resettled. The registration office (of the Lithuanian Sipo) has completed, under German supervision, a card index containing data on all Jews in Kaunas. The Jewish committee will also report soon on the financial situation and the professional use of the individual Jews.


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