Chapter VII: The Role of the "Einsatzgruppen" in the Occupied Eastern Territories

1. Initial Situation

Since, according to orthodox historians, the Germans in the occupied Soviet territories are supposed to have pursued a policy of systematic extermination of Jews, we must deal with the objection that at the end of the day it does not matter whether the Jews were gassed in Poland in extermination camps or, after their deportation to the east, were shot there. For this reason we will now turn to the question of whether this systematic extermination of Jews in the eastern territories actually occurred. In clarifying this question, the examination of the Einsatzgruppen and their missions will play a central role.

Soon after the German invasion into the USSR, four Einsatzgruppen altogether numbering 3,000 men - including non-combat troops such as vehicle drivers, interpreters, and radiomen[576] - became operational in the conquered regions. One of their missions indisputably consisted of securing the rear, i.e., fighting against partisans. According to the official historiography, however, other, more sinister tasks were assigned to the Einsatzgruppen beyond this. By referring to a post-war affidavit by Otto Ohlendorf,[577] leader of Einsatzgruppe D, Raul Hilberg summarizes as follows:[578]

"According to Ohlendorf, the commanders of the Einsatzgruppen were briefed by Himmler personally. They were informed that an important part of their task was the elimination [Beseitigung] of Jews - women, men, and children - and of Communist functionaries."

According to Hilberg, the Einsatzgruppen killed over 900,000 Soviet Jews, which corresponded to approximately "two-thirds" of the Jewish victims in the territories conquered by the Germans; the rest were killed by Wehrmacht, SS, police units, as well as Rumanians allied with the Germans, or died in camps and ghettos.[579]

As proof for the several hundred thousand murders committed by the Einsatzgruppen, first and foremost are cited the so-called "Ereignismeldungen" (Event Reports), which fall in the period from June 1941 to May 1942 and mention numerous massacres with victims occasionally numbering in five digit figures. The documents are supposed to have been found by the Allies in the offices of the Berlin Reichssicherheitshauptamt. That the Germans let this sort of incriminating material fall into the hands of their enemies, although they could have easily burned the few stacks of papers in time, is strikingly odd. In fact, some revisionist researchers have expressed doubt in the authenticity of the incident reports and are of the opinion that at least in a portion of them we are dealing with manipulated documents. The main argument for this thesis lies in the absence of evidence for mass killings of the scope claimed; we shall return to this question. Further grounds are advanced by Arthur Butz:[580]

"They [the documents] were mimeographed, and signatures are most rare and, when they occur, appear on non-incriminating pages. Document NO-3159, for example, has a signature of a R. R. Strauch, but only on a covering page giving the locations of various units of the Einsatzgruppen. There is also NO-1128, allegedly from Himmler to Hitler reporting, among other things, the execution of 363,211 Russian Jews in August-November 1942. This claim occurs on page 4 of NO-1128, while initials said to be Himmler 's occur on the irrelevant page 1. Moreover, Himmler's initials were easy to forge: three vertical lines with a horizontal line drawn through them."

Udo Walendy adds:[581]

"As the American military court in the OKW Trial [Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, General Headquarters] already stated, even this court was surprised at how conspicuously vague the existing 'USSR Event Reports' were with respect to location, point in time, units, and other details such as troop strength, armaments, auxiliary forces, logistics etc. Merely the number on a piece of paper, which was written or is supposed to have been written in Berlin, is too little a proof for an historian, even if the report itself is possibly authentic and only the number legible today on this piece of paper may have been manipulated, which at a closer examination of the documents seems to be the case."

A still more weighty argument is that a policy of mass extermination in the occupied Soviet territories would have stood in glaring contrast not only to the National-Socialist policy of resettlement of the Jews to the east (cf. Chapters VI and VIII), but also to several reports of the Einsatzgruppen themselves. We have already determined that the "reports from the occupied eastern territories" no. 9 from June 26, 1942, following a description of the ghettoization measures taken by the Security Police and the steps toward exploitation of the work force of the Ruthenian Jews, conclude as follows:[582]

"With these measures, the foundations for the later intended final solution of the European Jewish question have been created for the White Russian territory as well."

Event Report no. 52 from August 14, 1941, proposed employing the great mass of the Jews in the following project:[583]

"Cultivation of the Pripyet marshes and the marshes on the northern Dnieper as well as the Volga."

In the following, we restrain ourselves from taking any position regarding the authenticity of the Event Reports and merely examine the question of whether the content of the documents, independent of their authenticity, reflects historical facts.

It can hardly be seriously contested that the Einsatzgruppen committed numerous mass shootings. For our subject, however, there are only two issues of decisive significance:

Did the Einsatzgruppen receive the task of systematically exterminating the Soviet Jews?

Were the western Jews, which had been deported into the eastern territories, treated like the Soviet Jews?

2. Reasons for Mass-Shootings

With regard to the first of the two questions we have raised, it can be validly affirmed that the policy of the shooting of Jews was not directed against all eastern Jews and also was not generally directed against Jews as such. In a memorandum written on April 29, 1941, Alfred Rosenberg had laid out:[584]

"The Jewish problem, whose temporary transitional solution must be settled (compulsory labor of the Jews, ghettoization, etc.), calls for a general treatment."

On May 7, 1941, Rosenberg established in his "Instructions for a Reichskommissar in the Ukraine":[585]

"After the removal of the Jews from all public positions, which will occur as a matter of course, the Jewish problem will experience a crucial solution through the establishment of ghettos or labor gangs. Compulsory labor is to be introduced."

The 'Brown Portfolio,' in the paragraph "Class of Population," distinguished two categories of eastern Jews:[586]

"In the individual Reich Kommissariats and within these in the General Kommissariats, Jewry comprises a variously large portion of the general population. For example, in White Russia and in the Ukraine there are millions of Jews who have been resident here for generations. In the central territories of the USSR, on the other hand, a far greater portion of the Jews has moved there only during the Bolshevist era. A special group is formed by Soviet Jews, who have intruded into eastern Poland, western Ukraine, western White Ruthenia, the Baltic countries, Bessarabia, and Bukovina in the train of the Red Army in 1939 and 1940. To a certain extent, a varied manner of handling these different groups is in place.

First and foremost, the Jews who have moved into the territories newly occupied by the Soviets in the past two years, insofar as they have not fled, are to be removed with severe measures. Since these groups have made themselves hated to a great degree due to their terrorizing of the populace, their elimination has already been taken care of for the most part by the populace itself at the appearance of German troops. These sorts of retaliatory measures are not to be opposed. The rest of the resident Jewish population is first of all to be registered by the introduction of the obligation to report. All Jews are being marked by visible symbols (yellow Jewish stars)."

The "Soviet Jews" were shot, while the great majority of the remaining resident Jewish population was ghettoized. But also many other eastern Jews were killed: on account of sabotage, anti-German activities, as carriers of diseases, and above all as retaliatory measures for partisan attacks.

This emerges clearly already from the first reports of the Einsatzgruppen. Here is an excerpt from one of these reports:[587]

"[White Russia.] In Gorodnia, 165 Jewish terrorists and in Chernigov 19 Jewish Communists were liquidated; another 8 Jewish Communists were shot in Beresna.

It was found frequently that Jewish women displayed especially rebellious behavior. For this reason, 28 Jewesses in Krugloye and in Mogilev 337 Jewesses had to be shot.

In Borissov 331 Jewish saboteurs and 118 Jewish looters were executed.

In Bobruisk 380 Jews were shot who had been conducting, right up to the end, defamatory and atrocity propaganda against the German occupation troops.

In Tatarsk the Jews had arbitrarily left the ghetto and returned to their old quarter, where they were attempting to drive out the Russians meanwhile billeted there. All male Jews and 3 Jewesses were shot. At the establishment of a ghetto in Sandrudubs the Jews in part resisted, so that 272 Jews had to be shot. Among them was a political Commissar.

The Jews in Mogilev also tried to sabotage their resettlement into the ghetto. 113 Jews were liquidated.

In addition 4 Jews were shot for refusal to work, and 2 Jews because they mistreated wounded German soldiers and had not put on the prescribed symbol.

222 Jews were shot in Talka on account of anti-German propaganda, and 996 Jews in Marina Gorka because they were sabotaging orders issued by the German occupation authorities.

Another 627 Jews were shot at Shklov because they took part in acts of sabotage.

Due to extreme danger of infection, the liquidation of Jews lodged in the ghetto in Vitebsk was begun. There were approximately 3,000 Jews."

As we shall see in the following section, there are good reasons to doubt the preceding figures. But the text does prove that the Einsatzgruppen were not given the mission of the complete extermination of the Jews, since otherwise the distinction between the Jews executed for specific reasons and the rest of the Jews would of course have been totally superfluous.

The most logical argument for the mass shootings actually carried out by the Einsatzgruppen might therefore be that, which the Jewish historian Arno Mayer summarizes as follows:[588]

"Even so, and notwithstanding the unparalleled magnitude of the Jewish suffering, the extermination of eastern Jewry never became the chief objective of Barbarossa. The fight for Lebensraum and against bolshevism was neither a pretext nor an expedient for the killing of Jews. Nor was it a mere smoke screen to disguise the Jewish massacres as reprisals against partisans. The assault on the Jews was unquestionably intertwined with the assault on bolshevism from the very outset. But this is not to say that it was the dominant strand in the hybrid 'Judeobolshevism' that Barbarossa targeted for destruction. In fact, the war against the Jews was a graft onto or a parasite upon the eastern campaign, which always remained its host, even or especially once it became mired deep in Russia.

When they set forth on their mission, Einsatzgruppen and the RSHA were not given the extermination of Jews as their principal, let alone their only, assignment."

According to Mayer, the massacres of the eastern Jews was not part of a comprehensive plan of extermination, but occurred as the result of the inexorable radicalization of the war in the east and because the eastern Jews were classified by the SS as carriers of Bolshevism.

3. The Scale of the Shootings

The shootings carried out by the SS in no way possessed the scope ascribed to them by the orthodox historians, for the numbers mentioned in the relevant reports can not be confirmed objectively and in many cases are demonstrably wrong. We now cite some examples:

a. The Number of Jews Killed in Latvia

In a long general report concerning the activity of Einsatzgruppe A the following data were given:[589]

"The total number of Jews in Latvia in the year 1935 was: 93,479 or 4.7% of the whole population. [...]

At the entry of German troops there were still 70,000 Jews in Latvia. The rest had fled with the Bolshevists. [...]

Up until October 1941, about 30,000 Jews were executed by this Sonderkommando. The remaining Jews, still indispensable due to economic importance, were collected in ghettos. Following the processing of criminal cases on the basis of not wearing the Jewish star, black marketing, theft, fraud, but also on account of preventing danger of epidemics in the ghettos, further executions were carried out afterwards. Thus, on November 9, 1941, 11,034 were executed in Dünaburg, 27,800 in Riga at the beginning of December 1941 by an operation ordered and carried out by the Senior SS- and Police Chief, and 2,350 in Libau in mid-December 1941. At this time there are Latvian Jews in the ghettos (aside from the Jews from the Reich) in:

Rigaapproximately2,500
Dünaburg"950
Libau"3,000."

Let us summarize:

Jews present at the entry of German troops:70,000
Jews shot up to October 1941:30,000
Ghetto Jews shot (11,034+27,800+2,350=):41,184
Ghetto Jews still living (2,500+950+300=):3,750

But if we add together the numbers of those shot (30,000 + 41,184 =) 71,184 and those still living in the ghettos (3,750), we get 74,934 Jews, a number which is higher than the number allegedly present at the entry of the Germans into Latvia. In a table that summarizes the report and bears the title "Number of executions carried out by Einsatzgruppe A up to February 1, 1942," the number of those shot is stated as 35,238, to which are added 5,500 Jews killed "by pogroms," but "from December 1, 1941;"[590] we therefore have 40,738 Jewish victims. Although this figure includes an additional 5,500 Jews killed in pogroms not mentioned in the report, the total number of those shot is far lower: 40,738 as opposed to 71,184.

b. The Number of Jews Killed in Lithuania

No less strange are the corresponding figures for Lithuania:[591]

"According to one census, up until the entry of the Bolshevists 153,743 Jews were living in Lithuania in the year 1929, which thus constituted 7.58% of the entire population. [...]

In many single actions a total of 136,421 Jews were liquidated. [...]

Jews in the ghettos:

Kauenapproximately15,000 Jews
Vilna"15,000 Jews
Schaulen"4,500 Jews."

In adding the numbers of those shot (136,421) and those still living in the ghettos (34,500), we arrive at a figure in this case as well, which is higher than the initial number (153,743). If, however, one assumes that, as in the case of Latvia, approximately 25% of the Jewish population had fled with the Bolshevists, then the number of Jews still present in Lithuania at the entry of the Germans would have been far lower: approximately 115,000.

c. Lithuanian Jews in Territories Annexed by the Reich

Gerald Reitlinger writes that up to the point in time when Franz Stahlecker, head of Einsatzgruppe A, composed his report, 50,000 Jews had been living in Latvia and Lithuania (as opposed to the 38,250 mentioned by Stahlecker), but that the number of surviving Jews was significantly higher because some Lithuanian areas - the Memelland and the region around Suwałki and Grodno - had been incorporated into the Reich. Approximately 40,000 Jews lived in the two ghettos of Grodno, and 18,435 Jews were still living in the Königsberg district, to which Memel and Suwałki belonged, at the end of 1942, consisting almost exclusively of "Soviet Russian Jews"[592], according to the Korherr Report.

d. Simferopol and the Manstein Trial

General Field Marshall Erich von Manstein was Commander of the Eleventh Army and was fighting on the Black Sea and in the Crimea. In 1949, he came before a British military court in Hamburg on charges of complicity in the massacres committed by Einsatzgruppe D. His defense counsel was the Englishman Reginald T. Paget, who wrote a book - translated into German the year after - about the trial in 1951.[593] In it, he reports the following concerning the activities of Einsatzgruppe D in the Crimea:[594]

"It seemed to me that the S.D. claims were quite impossible. Single companies of about 100 with about 8 vehicles were reporting the killing of up to 10,000 and 12,000 Jews in two or three days. They could not have got more than about 20 or 30 Jews who, be it remembered, thought they were being resettled and had their traps with them, into a single truck. Loading, travelling at least 10 kilometres, unloading and returning trucks would have taken nearer two hours than one. The Russian winter day is short and there was no travelling by night. Killing 10,000 Jews would have taken at least three weeks.

In one instance we were able to check their figures. The S.D. claimed that they had killed 10,000 in Simferopol during November and in December they reported Simferopol clear of Jews. By a series of cross checks we were able to establish that the execution of the Jews in Simferopol had taken place on a single day, 16th November. Only one company of S.D. were in Simferopol. The place of execution was 15 kilometres from the town. The numbers involved could not have been more then about 300. These 300 were probably not exclusively Jews but a miscellaneous collection of people whe were being held on suspicion of resistance activity. The Simferopol incident received a good deal of publicity because it was spoken of by the prosecution's only witness, an Austrian corporal called Gaffa who said that he heard anti-Jewish activities mentioned on an engineers' mess when he was oderly and had passed the scene of the Simferopol execution. As a result we received a large number of letters, and where able to call several witnesses who had been billeted with Jewish families and also spoke of the functioning of the local synagogue and of a Jewish market where they bought icons and similar bric-a-brac right up to the time that Manstein left the Crimea and after.

It was indeed clear that the Jewish community had continued to function quite openly in Simferopol and although several of our witnesses had heard rumours about an S.D. excess committed against Jews in Simferopol, it certainly appeared that this Jewish community was unaware of any special danger.

Ohlendorf had reported that not only Simferopol but the whole Crimea was cleared of Jews. He was clearly a man who was prepared to say anything that would please his employers. The Americans found him a perfect witness."

e. Babi Yar

In the "Activity and Situation Report no. 6 of the Einsatzgruppen of the Securty Police and the SD in the USSR," we read this concerning the time period from October 1 to 31, 1941:[595]

"In Kiev all the Jews were arrested and on September 29 and 30, a total of 33,771 Jews were executed."

This deals with the (in)famous 'Massacre of Babi Yar.' However, as Udo Walendy and Herbert Tiedemann have proved, this did not happen, at least not remotely in the scope claimed.[596] Presumable near Kiev, as in Simferopol, several hundred people were shot. We will come back to the case of Babi Yar.

f. Jews in Lithuanian Ghettos and Camps who Were Unfit for Work

The reports of the Einsatzgruppen are not only questionable with respect to the number of Jews shot, but also with respect to their category.

In the "General Report from October 16 to January 31, 1942," the presence of (allegedly) 34,500 Jews in the ghettos of Kaunen, Vilna, and Schaulen is explained as follows:[597]

"Since the complete liquidation of the Jews was not to be carried out for reasons of work assignment, the ghettos were formed, which are presently filled as follows [the numbers cited above are given here]. These Jews are employed in work essential for defense purposes."

According to this, only Jews still fit for work had been permitted to live in the three ghettos named; by this logic, those unfit for labor, especially the children, would all have had to be killed. But according to a census carried out at the end of May 1942, 14,545 Jews whose names (together with date of birth, occupation, and address) have been published by the Jewish Museum of Vilnius (the Lithuanian name of the city) were living in Vilna. It emerges from these documents that of these 14,545 Jews, no fewer than 3,693 were children of 15 years of age or less. The number of children per age group is shown in the following table:[598]

Year of Birth Age Number of Children
1927 15 567
1928 14 346
1929 13 265
1930 12 291
1931 11 279
1932 10 216
1933 9 226
1934 8 195
1935 7 227
1936 6 229
1937 5 182
1938 4 188
1939 3 181
1940 2 117
1941 1 172
1942 a few months 12
  Total: 3,693

Furthermore, among the Jews registered by the census there were also 59 persons 65 years of age or older. The eldest was the 90-year-old Chana Stamleriene, born in 1852.

The children lived with their families in the ghetto. For example, the Michalowski family, which lived in Dysnos house 5-10, consisted of Nachman, born 1905, Fruma, born 1907, Pesia, born 1928, Niusia, born 1932, Sonia, born 1935, Mane, born 1904, Sonia, born 1903, Motel, born 1930 and Chana, born 1933.[599] The Kacew family, residence at Ligonines house 11-8, included the following members: Chaim, born 1909, Chava, born 1921, and Sloma, born 1941.[600] The Schimelevitsch family, living at Rudninku house 7-12, consisted of Abram, born 1896, Chawa, born 1909, Sora, born 1938, and Riva, born 1941.[601] Finally, the Cukerman family, residence at Stasuno house 12, had the following members: Kosel, born 1916, Sima, born 1912, Kusia, born 1932, Malka, born 1934, Abram, born 1904, Syfra, born 1909, and Bluma, born 1930.[602]

Since the 3,693 children were living with their families, it is clear that the number of those unfit for work and those not able to be employed (mothers who had to care for their children) was even higher.

If the Einsatzgruppen had to liquidate all Jews or at least all Jews unfit for labor, then how is it that these 3,693 children were not murdered at the (alleged) dissolution of the Ghetto no. 2 in October 1942?

How little the threat of death was hovering over these children can be gathered from the following description of the school system in the ghetto of Vilna, furnished by Abraham Foxman:[603]

"Some days after the establishment of the ghetto, in 1941, a group of teachers founded a 'Farein,' [Verein = association/club] which later organized the educational system of the ghetto. At the first enrollment for the school, 3,000 children were registered. In the beginning, participation in classes was voluntary. In April 1943, it then became obligatory:

'Directive no. 3, issued by the ghetto deputies on April 28, 1943, announces the attendance at the ghetto schools to be obligatory. All children from five to thirteen must attend the ghetto schools, which are free of cost. [...] The block chief is responsible for seeing that all children of obligatory school age take part in classes.'

In the first year of the ghetto, more than twenty educational units were founded, which comprised over 80% of the school-age children of the ghetto. Schools as well as H.K.P. - work institutions - were also founded in Kauen. Gens [604] received permission from the Germans to fence-in an area in the woods outside of the ghetto. The teachers walked with groups of 100 to 150 children into the woods four times a week. Due to the outbreak of a scarlet fever epidemic, there was a delay in opening the schools in 1942. In October they resumed operation, and 1,500 to 1,800 children took part in classes. Apparently there were 60 teachers who gave 42 hours each week. The remaining 18 hours were devoted to work in the kitchen, visiting students and parents in their home, the repair of books and notebooks, as well as the conducting of various assemblies."

On May 12, 1944, 'Russian bandits' attacked several institutions in Lithuania and looted them, among them:[605]

"At the Bohumelischki Jewish camp - 1592 - approx. 300 women, men and children, 5 to 6 MPI, some rifles."

g. Jews Unfit for Work in the Ghetto of Brest

There are also other cases of ghettos, in which exclusively Jews fit to work ought to have been permitted to live, but where quite a high percentage of old people and children resided as well. In the ghetto of Brest, among the somewhat more than 9,000 Jews whose ages are known, there were 932 old people more than 65 years of age who belonged to the following age groups:

Year of Birth Age Number of Persons
1872-1876 66-70 years 397
1867-1871 71-75 " 309
1862-1866 76-80 " 152
1857-1861 81-85 " 57
1852-1856 86-90 " 14
1850-1851 91-92 " 3
Total: 932

Furthermore, there were in the ghetto 380 children 15 years of age (birth year 1927), 128 of 14 years (1928), 4 of 13 years (1929), one of 12 years (1930), one of 10 years (1932), and two of nine years (1933).[606]

h. Jews Unfit for Work in the Ghetto of Minsk

In a list from 1943 (month not given) of 878 Jews from the ghetto of Minsk, there are no fewer than 227 children of the following age groups:

Year of Birth Age Number of Children
1928 15 years 45
1929 14 " 28
1930 13 " 28
1931 12 " 17
1932 11 " 23
1933 10 " 10
1934 9 " 4
1935 8 " 9
1936 7 " 11
1937 6 " 17
1938 5 " 12
1939 4 " 17
1940 3 " 4
1941 2 " 2
total: 227

The list also contains about a dozen elderly persons, of whom the oldest was born in 1857 and thus was 86 years of age.[607]

i. Transfers of Baltic Jewish Children to Stutthof

In the summer of 1944, numerous transports of Jews went from the former ghetto of Kaunas (Lithuania)- transformed into a concentrations camp in fall 1943 - and from the ghetto of Riga (Latvia) to Stutthof. From July 12 to October 14, ten transports with a total of 10,458 Jews from Kaunas and six transports with a total of 14,585 Jews from Riga[608] arrived in that camp located east of Danzig (today called Gdansk). As has already been established earlier, in these transports, whose lists of names are fragmentarily preserved, there were quite a number of Baltic Jews (but others as well) of 15 years of age and under, who were designated on the lists as boys or girls. In the transport of July 12, 1944, which included 3,098 deportees (510 of them are known by name), there were 80 children of this category. On the list of July 19, there are 88 children among 1,097 deportees (all but two known by name). The following table gives information about the number of children and their respective age groups.

Age Transport of

July 13, 1944

Transport of

July 19, 1944

15 years 3 -
14 years 7 4
13 years 4 28
12 years 8 13
11 years 2 6
10 years 4 9
9 years 10 2
8 years 4 6
7 years 5 7
6 years 9 8
5 years 7 -
4 years 8 3
3 years 8 2
2 years 1 -
Total: 80 88

On July 26, 1944, 1,983 prisoners were transferred to Auschwitz from Stutthof, for the most part Lithuanian Jews. Among them were 546 girls and 546 boys as well as 801 "women who were the mothers of the children."[609] A considerable portion of the list of names of this transport is preserved. Of 1,488 prisoners whose age is known, 850 were children of the following age groups:[610]

Year of Birth Age Number of Children
1929 15 years 31
1930 14 " 117
1931 13 " 146
1932 12 " 94
1933 11 " 36
1934 10 " 61
1935 9 " 26
1936 8 " 58
1937 7 " 44
1938 6 " 61
1939 5 " 54
1940 4 " 60
1941 3 " 52
1942 2 " 8
1943 1 year 2
Total: 850

On this list, 24 of the 80 children mentioned in the transport of July 13 are recorded and 84 of the 88 children mentioned in the transport of July 19.

On the transport, which departed Stutthof for Auschwitz on September 10, whose list of names can be partially reconstructed on the basis of the registration book,[611] there were at least 345 predominantly Lithuanian Jewish children and youths between the ages of 12 and 17, whose age distribution was as follows:

Year of Birth Age Number of Children
1927 17 years[612] 56
1928 16 " 136
1929 15 " 119
1930 14 " 26
1931 13 " 6
1932 12 " 2
Total: 345

Since the transport lists are incomplete, the number of the boys and girls transferred from Kaunas and Riga must actually have been significantly larger than the approximately 1,250 documented cases. That these children stayed in Kaunas and Riga in the summer of 1944 categorically refutes the claim, according to which the Einsatzgruppen had been conducting a total extermination of the Jews or at least of those unfit for labor.

But there is a still more compelling objection to the claims of mass extermination: the lack of material traces.

4. Operation 1005

After the discovery of the mass graves of Katyn and Vinnitsa by the Germans, Soviet propaganda switched over to a counter-attack by mainly using two ploys: it attempted to place the blame for atrocities committed by the Soviet secret service, the NKVD (predecessor of the KGB), on the Germans, and it claimed it had discovered mass graves of victims of the Germans.

As is well known, on April 13, 1943, in the forest of Katyn not far from Smolensk, the Germans, following directions from the local populace, found seven mass graves with a total of 4,143 bodies of Polish officers who had been shot. Between April and June, these were examined by a commission, which included medical doctors from 12 European nations, and further by a commission of the Polish Red Cross and by American, British, and Canadian officers who were prisoners of war. The Germans published an extraordinarily well-documented official dossier afterwards, which contained all the forensic results of the investigation, 80 photographs, and the names of the victims identified.[613]

The massacre of Vinnitsa (Ukraine) was uncovered by the Germans at the beginning of June 1943. At three different discovery sites, a total of 97 mass graves, they found the mortal remains of 9,432 Ukrainians who had been murdered by the Soviets. No fewer than 14 commissions, 6 foreign ones among them, examined the graves in the period from June 24 to August 25. In this case, too, the Germans publicized the results of the examinations in a substantial documentation of 282 pages with 151 images, forensic expert opinions as well as names of the victims.[614]

After the Soviets had retaken the area around Smolensk, they exhumed the bodies of Katyn a second time and summoned an investigatory commission consisting exclusively of Soviet citizens (the Burdenko Commission), which then charged the Germans with the massacre. On January 15, 1944, this commission also invited a group of western journalists.

This attempt, heavily freighted with propaganda, at falsification of history is also evidenced by means of the 38 dossiers with documents dealing with the Katyn case, which can be found today in the archives of the Russian Federation in Moscow.[615] At the Nuremberg Trial, where the Soviets brazenly blamed the Germans for the crime, the subject of Katyn came up at several sessions,[616] while the mass murder of Vinnitsa was mentioned only a single time, and then only tangentially by the Bulgarian court doctor Marko A. Markov, a member of the investigatory commission on Katyn called by the Germans three years before.[617]

In order to make the crimes of Katyn and Vinnitsa forgotten or at least to suppress them, the Soviets carried out a thorough investigation of all actual or invented crimes, which the Germans had committed in the territory reconquered by the Red Army. For this purpose, an investigatory commission was established at literally every small town. Since the Soviets had learned from Katyn the enormous propaganda effect of pictures, these commissions photographed all mass graves and bodies found. If, however, the bodies were too small in number, then they resorted to the trick of photographing them several times from different angles in order to create the impression that their number was greater.

The case of Osarichi illustrates this manipulatory technique especially tellingly.

On March 12, 1944, the Commander of the 35th Infantry Division of the Wehrmacht, Lieutenant General Richter, ordered the White Russian populace of that area to be interned in two camps not far from the village of Osarichi. There was no infrastructure in these camps and those confined there had to hold out under the open sky until March 18, the day of their liberation. The German historian Hans-Heinrich Nolte reports:[618]

"The camps were picked up by Soviet propaganda; several newspaper articles reported on them. The 'Extraordinary State Commission for the Determination of the Crimes of the German Fascist Conquerors' dispatched an investigatory group."

Military correspondents, who took numerous photographs after the liberation of the two camps,[619] belonged to this investigatory group. The number of victims being bruited about by diverse Soviet commissions diverge wildly and range from 8,000,[620] past 9,000[621] and up to 20,800,[622] 30,000,[623] 37,526,[624] even 49,000.[625]

600 bodies were supposedly discovered lying on the ground;[626] moreover, a mass grave 100 m long and 1.5 to 2 m wide, in which "a large number of bodies" was lying, is supposed to have been discovered in Camp 1,[627] but in another report it says that the prisoners were forced by the Germans[628]

"to dig enormous trenches of 6 × 3 × 2 m, in which 14 bodies that had been shot had already been thrown."

The committee for the planning of a memorial monument of Osarichi maintained that the bodies had either been left lying on the ground or had been heaped up in open pits:[629]

"The dead were not buried: the people still living had no strength for it. At first the guarding soldiers forced them to throw or to stack the bodies into the pits especially excavated for that purpose near the fence. But with each day there were more and more bodies, and they remained lying among the living."

Thus, the bodies were neither removed nor concealed, but could be seen by anyone. When the Army photographers arrived at the scene, they sure found a horrible tableau, yet not quite horrible enough. The heart-rending sight was that of a group of seven bodies - four children and three adults - who were lying a short distance from one another on the ground. This sad find was excellently suited for purposes of propaganda, but the number of bodies was too small. For this reason the photographers resorted to a trick: they photographed the bodies from nine different angles and the photos then gave the impression that one was looking at several dozen dead bodies.[630] A single body, which was lying somewhat off to the side of the rest, was photographed four times.[631] In four other photos, an additional seven bodies not far distant from the rest can be recognized.[632] In all, the first 15 photographs, which surely constitute the most terrible scenes to be found in the camp, show 15 bodies. Another horrible view was that of a ditch, of which one can see only the end in the photo; it is basically empty in the rear, and in the foreground are 7 or 8 bodies. The picture is a good fit for the 6 m × 3 m × 2 m pit previously described and contains 15 bodies.[633] Further 14 photos show a total of 16 bodies.[634]

Doubtless this photographic documentation was somewhat too meager in order to confirm the death of between 8,000 and 49,000 human beings or - which flatly contradicts this number - the presence of even 600 bodies on the camp property!

A no less typical case is Babi Yar. As we have already emphasized, a report of the Einsatzgruppen speaks of 33,771 Jews shot there. According to the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, the bodies were exhumed and burned by a 327-man 'Sonderkommando' between August 18 and September 19, 1943.[635]

On November 9, 1944, Major Lavrenko, member of the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Kiev, questioned the Jewish witness Vladimir K. Davidov. The latter stated that on August 18, 1943, he, along with 99 other prisoners, for the most part also Jewish, had been selected from the Siretzki concentration camp 5 km from Kiev. The 100 prisoners were taken to Babi Yar and there were forced to dig up the bodies of the Jews shot in 1941. According to him, 70,000 bodies had been in the mass graves of Babi Yar. The prisoners had exhumed these and burned them on 'ovens' afterwards, which consisted of granite blocks - procured from the Jewish cemetery of Kiev - with train rails laid upon them. On these a layer of wood was piled and on top of this the bodies, so that an enormous stack of bodies 10 to 12 m high resulted! In the beginning there was merely a single 'oven,' but then 75 of them (literally seventy-five) were built.

The bones did not completely burn; they were ground up and tossed into the trenches, from which the bodies had been taken. The witness reports:

"On September 25 and 26,[636] when the work was nearly finished, the construction of another oven was ordered, upon which we ourselves were supposed to be cremated. We deduced this from the fact that there were no more corpses in Babi Yar, but we had built an oven nevertheless."

In order to escape their own murder, Davidov and a number of his comrades (35 to 40) escaped during the night of September 29, in which attempt at least ten of them were killed.[637]

The Black Book of Ilja Ehrenburg and Vassily Grossman summarizes this witness testimony, but alters a few numbers.[638] The statements made in the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust quite obviously have their origin in this source.

This Vladirmir K. Davidov is apparently the only witness who claims to have participated in the cremation of bodies of Babi Yar. His tale is wholly unbelievable. The number of bodies - 70,000 - is more than double the number shot according to the Event Report, which in itself is already hugely excessive. The tale of the 10 to 12 m tall mountain of bodies is technically absurd, as we pointed out in the fourth chapter. The claim, according to which 75 'ovens' of the kind first described by the witness are supposed to have been built, stands in contradiction to the number of victims given by him, since there then would have been (75 × 3,000 =) 225,000 bodies to be burned!

Insofar as the date is concerned, the witness maintains that the cremation of the bodies was finished on September 25 or 26. On this day, the prisoners had built the last 'oven' for themselves. On September 26, the Luftwaffe took an aerial photograph of the area, in which Babi Yar was located. John Ball has published it with the following commentary:[639]

"Photo 2 - September 26th, 1943:

This photo was taken one week after the end of the supposed mass cremations in the ravine.[640] If 33,000 people were exhumed and burned evidence of vehicles and foot traffic to supply the fuel should be evident in the area where the Jewish cemetery meets Babi Yar ravine, however there is no evidence of traffic either on the end of the narrow road that proceeds to the ravine from the end of Melnik Street, or on the grass and shrubbery within or on the sides of the cemetery."

Regarding an enlarged section of the same photograph, Ball says:[641]

"Photo 3 - September 26th, 1943:

An enlargement reveals no evidence that 325 people were working in the ravine finishing the cremation of 33,000 bodies just one week earlier, for many truckloads of fuel would have had to be brought in, and there are no scars from vehicle traffic either on the grass and shrubs at the side of the Jewish cemetery or in the ravine where the bodies were supposedly burned."

Ball deduces from this:[641]

"1943 air photos of Babi Yar ravine and the adjoining Jewish cemetery in Kiev reveal that neither the soil nor the vegetation is disturbed as would be expected if materials and fuel had been transported one week earlier to hundreds of workers who had dug up and burned tens of thousands of bodies in one month."

These findings have all the more value since, according to the sole witness, the cremation of the bodies in Babi Yar is supposed to have been completed on September 25 or 26, corresponding to the same day or the day before the air photos were taken. The Black Book mentions an even later date:[642]

"On September 28, when the work was just completed, the Germans ordered the prisoners to light the fire."

With the data specified in the fourth chapter, the cremation of 33,771 bodies would have required approximately 4,500 tons of firewood and approximately 430 tons of wood ashes and about 190 tons of human ashes would have been generated by the process. Moreover, several dozen tons of granite (gravestones and monuments) would have had to have been transported from the Jewish cemetery to Babi Yar and back again in order to construct the supports for the 75 'ovens.' If the claims put forward about Babi Yar were true, all of this would have had to leave behind unmistakable traces on the air photo of September 26, 1943.

After the Soviets had reconquered Kiev, an investigatory commission made its way to Babi Yar and took some photographs, which were immortalized in an album. Three of the photos supposedly show a first and a second "zone where the bodies were burned."[643] In another, the "remnants of the ovens and the grotto, into which the prisoners who had cremated the bodies had escaped" are allegedly shown.[644] The captions to these pictures are absurd; the only actual, clearly recognizable objects are a few rotted shoes and some rags, which were painstakingly photographed by the Soviets and were described as follows:[643]

"Remnants of shoes and pieces of clothing from Soviet citizens shot by the Germans."

Thus, the most important material evidence for the shooting of 33,771 (or 70,000) Jews and the later excavation and cremation of their bodies, which was discovered at the scene of the crime by the Soviets, consisted of a few shoes and some rags! If, however, the Soviets took such great pains to document things, which had no connection with the charges, what a propaganda circus would they have put on if they had really discovered mass graves with a total of far more than a million murdered Jews (as well as countless non-Jews)? Yet such a propaganda circus failed to occur, since the Soviets found nothing, which would have been comparable to the discoveries made by the Germans in Katyn and Vinnitsa! The objection that they had not been in the position to locate the murder sites would be wholly untenable. Lastly, the Germans, with the assistance of the civilian populace, had discovered 97 mass graves of murdered Ukrainians. As we saw in the third chapter, the Soviets pinpointed three mass graves and 13 individual graves in the area around Treblinka I, and the Poles found 41 mass graves of victims of an epidemic.

If, therefore - to take the number given by Raul Hilberg - the bodies of the barely one-and-a-half million Soviet Jews - killed chiefly by the Einsatzgruppen, but also by Wehrmacht, SS, police units, and Rumanians - as well as the countless non-Jewish victims were not able to be found, they must have been eliminated, i.e. cremated. For that reason, the legal system and historiography needed the 'Aktion 1005' (Operation 1005) or 'Sonderaktion 1005' (Special Operation 1005), about which we have already briefly written in the fourth chapter. This is implicitly conceded even by the official historiography:[645]

"Although burning the bodies from the mass graves did not efface the Nazi crimes, it did cause difficulties in determining the facts of the crimes and in drawing up statistics on the numbers of victims. In many cases, the commissions investigating Nazi crimes in the USSR and in Poland found no trace of the mass graves, and they encountered difficulty in reaching estimates."

In other words: material evidence for the mass murder of an enormous number of people, the 'corpus delicti,' was not found, but this is a mere 'detail'!

The most recent investigations have also led to negative results in this respect. Here is an example. According to a report of December 1, 1941, of the Commander of the Security Police and the SD Einsatzkommando 3, the following persons were shot in Mariampole (Lithuanian: Mariyampol) on September 1, 1941:[646]

"1,763 Jews, 1,812 Jewesses, 1,404 Jewish children, 109 mentally ill, 1 German female national who had married a Jew, 1 Russian female."

Referring to a notice, which appeared in the Lithuanian newspaper Lietuvos Rytas, Germar Rudolf reports:[647]

"In the summer of 1996 the town of Marijampol, in Lithuania, decided to erect a Holocaust Memorial to the tens of thousands of Jews allegedly slaughtered and buried there by German Einsatzgruppen. In order to build the Memorial at the correct location, they tried to find where the mass graves are. They excavated the site described by the witnesses, but did not find a trace."

Every time the Soviets had discovered bodies of victims of the Germans, they photographed them, even in little-known places like the camp Siretzki in the Ukraine.[648] In Auschwitz-Birkenau they found 536 bodies, which were all autopsied.[649] The dead were solemnly interred in the presence of numerous people. Photos were taken of this and many scenes were filmed.[650]

Let us now turn to the question of what the official historiography tells us about the alleged 'Operation 1005' and upon what sources this is based. In the article from the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust it says:[651]

"Operation 1005, code name for a large-scale activity that aimed to obliterate the traces of the murder of millions of human beings by the Nazis in occupied Europe."

The decision to allow this operation to start up is supposed to have been made in Berlin at the beginning of 1942. A letter of February 20, 1942, from the Chief of the Gestapo, Heinrich Müller, to Martin Luther of the Foreign Office,[652] in which the subject of the unsatisfactory burial of corpses is raised and which is supposed to have been written after Müller "had received an anonymous letter complaining about the corpses flooding the Warthegau area," is cited as proof.[651] This letter bears the file designation "IV B 4 43/42 gRs (1005),"[653] and the alleged 'Operation 1005' is supposed to have gotten its name from this document!

But Alfred Streim, who cites the relevant letter based on first-hand knowledge, writes:

"On November 20, 1942, Himmler ordered SS-Gruppenführer Müller, Chief of Department IV in the RSHA, in writing (Zst. Dok. Slg. Ordner 3, Bl. 583): '...You must give me a guarantee that the bodies of these deceased Jews will either be burned or buried in every location, and that nowhere can anything else of any kind happen with these bodies..."

He does not say that this letter bore the heading "IV B 4 43/42 gRs (1005)," does not assign to it the designation '1005,' and confines himself to the following comment:[654]

"The undertaking received - in accord with a nomenclature procedure of the RSHA - the designation '1005.'"

Thus, the letter concerned dates from November 20, 1942, and not from February 20. This would mean that the designation '1005' for the operation would have been assigned a full five months after its start! On the other hand, in the letter the Jews are referred to as "dead," not 'shot' or 'killed.' Moreover, the disposal of the bodies could take place by cremation or burial, which means that the Himmler letter need have no connection with the excavation and cremation of corpses of Jews who had been shot, and what we are dealing with here is a primitive hoax.

According to official historiography,[651] SS-Standartenführer Paul Blobel took charge of 'Operation 1005' and "The operation commenced in June 1942 with attempts to burn the corpses in the Chełmno extermination camp."[651] In the initial phase, the bodies in the alleged eastern extermination camps are supposed to have been exhumed and cremated. We have dealt with this issue in detail in Chapter IV, in the prototypical case of Treblinka.

The second phase is supposed to have lasted from the beginning of June 1943 until the end of July 1944. During its course, the mass graves on Soviet and Polish territory are supposed to have been emptied and the traces of the massacres eradicated.

The Encyclopedia of the Holocaust shows a map with the most important locations where these activities are supposed to have transpired. This is a huge area, which extends from north to south across approximately 1,500 km (from the North Sea to the Black Sea) and from west to east across about 1,300 km (from west Poland to the German-Soviet front).[655] Beginning with the camp Janowska at Lemberg, this area is supposed to have been assigned its own 'Sonderkommado 1005,' which consisted of officers of the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) and from the Sicherheitspolizei (SIPO, Security Police), of men from the Ordnungspolizei (regular police) and of dozens or hundreds of - mostly Jewish - prisoners, whose task was the hands-on execution of the work. 'Sonderkommando 1005-A' and 'Sonderkommando 1005-B' are supposed to have been active in Kiev. Both, so it is said, were then transferred. 'Sonderkommando 1005-Mitte' supposedly began its work in Minsk. Other 'Sonderkommandos 1005' were allegedly deployed in Lithuania, in Estonia, in the Białystok district, in the General Gouvernement and in Yugoslavia.[656]

Now, if one considers that according to the most comprehensive studies on this subject that exist, the Einsatzgruppen alone are supposed to have shot 2,200,000 people (Jews and non-Jews),[657] that Wehrmacht, SS, and police units are also accused of hundreds of thousands of murders, and that - as already emphasized - neither the Soviets nor the Poles have found any mass- graves with even only a few thousand bodies, the 'Sonderkommandos 1005' must have exhumed and burned between one-and-a-half and three million bodies. This means that within a period of 13 months they had to have emptied thousands of graves at hundreds of locations, which were scattered over an enormous area - all of this without leaving behind any material or documentary traces!

Without having thousands of maps, on which the graves were marked, it would quite obviously have been impossible to locate those thousands of mass graves in a territory of more than 1.2 million square kilometers, but neither are such maps mentioned in even a single Einsatzgruppe report or any other document, nor have such maps ever been found among the German documents captured by the victors of World War II. And if - as the witnesses report - thousands of pyres were burning during the night despite blackout regulations, no Soviet reconnaissance plane discovered and photographed them - for otherwise the photographs would have been exploited at once for propaganda purposes.

Thomas Sandkühler plays this down:[658]

"Due to the extreme secrecy of the 'Operation 1005,' written sources on this are very rare."

In other words, there are none! Sandkühler 's statement reflects the total embarrassment, which orthodox historians feel in the face of this outrage, while simultaneously serving up the customary stale explanation: the documents do not exist "due to the strict secrecy"! This hypothesis stands in glaring contrast to a fact, which Gerald Reitlinger describes:[659]

"The original series [of Einsatzgruppen reports] consisted of nearly two hundred reports with a circulation list of sixty to a hundred copies each. [...]

It is not easy to see why the murderers left such an abundant testimony behind them, [...]"

The Event Reports USSR comprise a total of "over 2,900 typewritten pages,"[660] and each of them was distributed with a minimum circulation of 30 copies. The Germans are therefore supposed to have distributed tens of thousands of pages of documents concerning the mass shootings committed by the Einsatzgruppen, then quite suddenly have grasped the necessity of exhuming and burning the bodies, but have forgotten to destroy the incriminating documents!

The fact is, the story of 'Operation 1005' is based upon some few completely unreliable witness statements. The first of them were collected by Soviet commissions or journalists and printed in the Black Book edited by Ilja Ehrenburg and Wassili Grossman. This is a propagandistic collection of tales from alleged eyewitnesses. Aside from the Vladimir K. Davidov already mentioned, one finds here the (hearsay) testimony of Shimon Ariel and Zalma Edelman about Białystok,[661] that of a few (according to their own statements) escapees from Kaunas,[662] and that of a Y. Farber about Ponari (Lithuania).[663] These witnesses know nothing to report about any 'Operation 1005' or a 'Sonderkommando 1005.'

The designation 'Sonderkommando 1005' was invented by the Soviets. At the proceedings of February 9, 1946, at the Nuremberg Trial, the Senior Counsel Smirnov read out excerpts from the protocol "of the interrogation of Gerhard Adametz (Exhibit USSR-80, Document Number USSR-80), taken by an American army lieutenant, Patrick McMahon," in which there was talk of the activities of the "Sonderkommando 1005-A" and "1005-B."[664]

In 1946, the work written by Leon Weliczker Brygada Śmierci (The Death Brigade), the longest and most detailed witness report about the 'Brigade 1005,' appeared in Lodz, which Thomas Sandkühler, once again politely using understatement, rates as follows:[665]

"The horrifying notes of Weliczker have only insignificant evidentiary value."

Or, to put it another way, they have none!

The SS-Standartenführer Paul Blobel was, however, unknown to this witness. He was connected to the 'Operation 1005' by an Erwin Schulz, who had been the leader of Einsatzkommando V of the Einsatzgruppe C of the Sicherheitspolizei from the beginning of the Russian Campaign until September 1941 and served under SS-Brigadeführer Rasch. But Schulz did not know the name of the alleged huge operation for the excavation and cremation of the bodies, since this was first settled upon in 1947. On December 20, 1945, he stated:[666]

"About 1943 I learned during my activity as Chief of Department I of the RSHA that at this time the SS-Standartenführer Blobel had to make the mass graves unrecognizable of those who had been shot and liquidated in the territories to be evacuated by the Wehrmacht. If I recall correctly, the cover-name for these mass graves was 'water sites.'"

Now all that remained was to put the individual parts together.

In November 1946, Rudolf Höß wrote in the Krakow prison:[667]

"Standartenführer Blobel had been authorized to seek out and obliterate all the mass graves in the whole of the eastern districts. His department was given the code number '1005.'"

Finally, at the preliminary examinations of the trial against the Einsatzgruppen, which took place in Nuremberg from September 29, 1947, to February 12, 1948, Paul Blobel judged it expedient to 'confess' what had already become 'facts determined by virtue of official authority' for the prosecutors. In a 'statutory declaration' made at Nuremberg on June 6, 1947, he stated for the record:[668]

"In June 1941, I became Chief of Sonderkommando 4 A. This Sonderkommando was assigned to Einsatzgruppe C, the latter was under the command of Dr. Rasch. The special region assigned to me was located in the area of the 6th Army, which was commanded by field marshal von Reichenau. In January 1942, I was relieved as Chief of Sonderkommando 4 A and was transferred to Berlin for disciplinary reasons. I remained there for some time with no work. I was under the supervision of Department IV, under the former Gruppenführer Müller.

In the Fall of 1942, I was given the mission as Müller 's deputy to drive into the occupied eastern territories and eradicate the traces of the mass graves which came about from the executions of the Einsatzgruppen. This was my mission up to the summer of 1944."

The American inquisitors gave every appearance of being unsatisfied with this 'confession' and forced Blobel to give a further 'statutory declaration.' This time he expressed himself in more detail:[669]

"After I had been relieved from this assignment, I had to report in Berlin to SS Obergruppenführer Heydrich and Gruppenführer Müller and in June 1942 was entrusted with the mission by Gruppenführer Müller of eradicating the traces of executions of the Einsatzgruppen in the east. My orders were to report personally to the commander of the Sicherheitspolizei and SD and to orally pass on to them Müller 's order and to supervise its performance. This order was a secret Reich matter, and it was ordered by Müller that due to the strictest secrecy of this mission, no kind of written exchanges are to be permitted."

This version, with the new date ("in June 1942" instead of "in the fall of 1942") was elevated to being the pivotal point of official historiography. That Blobel in neither of his two declarations spoke of an 'Operation 1005' or a 'Sonderkommando 1005' played no role, for these little gaps were naturally closed by the historians!

It should be well understood that we do not wish to claim by what we have said here that there was no opening of mass graves and cremation of bodies, any more than we are claiming that there were no shootings of Jews. But we are very much questioning the enormous scale, which the official historiography attributes to these occurrences.

5. The Fate of the Western Jews in the East

The western Jews deported into the occupied eastern territories did not share, at least in the beginning, the fate of the 'Soviet Jews.' Christopher R. Browning concedes:[670]

"By the very fact that Hitler decided to kill all Russian Jews,[671] he broke through the vicious circle, which consisted of the fact that with every new military success a continually increasing number of Jews fell under German control. But the Jewish policy of the Nazis in the rest of Europe experienced thereby no direct alteration. They also continued speaking of emigration, deportation, and plans for a future Jewish homeland."

In the "General Report of October 16, 1941, to January 21, 1942," already mentioned, there is a section on the topic "Jews from the Reich," in which it says:[672]

"Since December 1940 [the correct year is 1941], transports of Jews were arriving from the Reich at short intervals. Of these, 20,000 Jews were directed to Riga and 7,000 to Minsk. The first 10,000 Jews evacuated to Riga were accommodated partly in a provisional reception camp, partly in a newly established hut-camp in the vicinity of Riga. The remaining transports were at first sent into a detached section of the Riga ghetto.

The building of the hut-camp is being managed using all Jews fit for labor, so that in the spring all deported Jews who live through the winter can be sent to this camp.

Of the Jews from the Reich, only a small portion are fit for labor. Approximately 70-80% are women and children as well as old persons not able to work. The mortality figures are climbing all the time, also as a result of the unusually harsh winter.

The output of the few Jews from the Reich who are fit for work is satisfactory. As a work force they are more desirable than the Russian Jews on account of their German language and their relatively greater cleanliness. The adaptability of the Jews is remarkable, with which they attempt to shape their life to conform to their circumstances.

The present crowding together of the Jews in the smallest space in all ghettos naturally causes a greater danger of epidemics, which is most effectively countered by the employment of Jewish physicians. In special cases, Jews who have become contagiously ill were isolated under the pretext of sending them to a Jewish old people's home or hospital and executed."

In a letter of July 21, 1942, from Reichskommissar Lohse to the Standartenführer Siegert of the RSHA, it says regarding a "work training camp" in Latvia:[673]

"Of the Jews evacuated from the Reich there are at present still 400 in the camp and employed in transportation and excavation work. The rest of the Jews deported to Riga have been accommodated elsewhere."

These western Jews were therefore by no means systematically killed, although the majority of them were unfit for labor. This stands in striking contrast to the alleged mass liquidations described in the same report of indigenous Jews of Latvia already mentioned by us.

No doubt, the natural mortality among these Jews was very high, and occasionally they also ran the danger of being killed, but a portion of them survived the war. On the fragmentary lists of names of the Jews deported from Kaunas and Riga to Stutthof in the summer of 1944, there are at least 959 German Jews. One of them, Berthold Neufeldt, was born on June 17, 1936;[674] he therefore had been deported at the age of 5 or 6 and was still alive in the summer of 1944.

In addition, at least 102 survivors are known from the Jewish deportations from Theresienstadt to Riga of January 9, 1942, and 15 survivors of the deportation of January 15 of the same year, besides 40 from the deportation of September 1, 1942, to Estonian Raasiku. These Jews were liberated at the following locations:

Bergen-Belsen, Bratislava, Bromberg, Buchenwald, Burggraben, Bydhost, Dachau, Danzig, Gottendorf, Gottenhof, Hamburg, Jagala, Kaiserswald, Kattowitz, Kaufering, Kieblasse, Kiel, Langenstein, Lauenburg, Libau, Magdeburg, Neuengamme, Neustadt, Raasiku, Raguhn, Riga, Sachsenhausen, Salaspis, Sophienwalde, Straßenhof, Stutthof, Terezin (Theresienstadt), Torun (Thorn). In addition, 7 survivors of the transport from Theresienstadt of November 16, 1941, to Minsk were liberated in Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, Flossenbürg, and Theresienstadt.[675] The transports had included not isolated individuals but entire groups who must have exhibited a certain strength, since for example in Magdeburg Jews from the transport of January 15, 1942, and 5 from that of January 9 were liberated, in Buchenwald 3 Jews from the transport of January 15 and 7 from that of January 9.

These people had also survived the catastrophic hygienic and sanitary conditions, which prevailed in the German camps in 1945. Thus, the number of those surviving in 1944 must have been even significantly higher.


Notes

[576]Raul Hilberg, op. cit. (note 17), p. 289. From October 15, 1941, to February 1, 1942, the strength of Einsatzgruppe A sank from 990 to 909 men; the percentage of combat troops fell from 725 men (= 73.2% of the total strength) to 588 (64.7%). Ibid. (Oct. 15, 1941), and RVA, 500-4-92, p. 183, "Total Strength of Einsatzgruppe A on 1 February 1942."
[577]PS-3710. - However, Alfred Streim, Director of the Ludwigsburg Central Office for the Resolution of NS Crimes, wrote regarding this: "Ohlendorf 's testimony and submissions concerning the inauguration of the 'Führer Order' [...] are false. In the Einsatzgruppen Trial the former Head of Einsatzgruppe D was able to get his co-defendants to submit to a line of defense put forward by him with the suggestion that if one had, from the very beginning, carried out the extermination operations against the Jews on 'order of the Führer,' one could count upon a more lenient sentence. (A. Streim, "Zur Eröffnung des allgemeinen Judenvernichtungsbefehls gegenüber den Einsatzgruppen", in: E. Jäckel, J. Rohwer, op. cit. (note 276), p. 303.)
[578]Raul Hilberg, op. cit. (note 17), p. 290.
[579]Ibid., p. 390.
[580]Arthur Butz, op. cit. (note 109), p. 243.
[581]Udo Walendy, "Einsatzgruppen im Verband des Heeres. 1. Teil", in: Historische Tatsachen no. 16, Vlotho 1983, p. 5. The second part of this study appeared in no. 17 of the same journal (1983).
[582]See Chapter VI, Section 6.
[583]See Chapter VIII, Section 5.
[584]PS-1024.
[585]PS-1028.
[586]In: Grüne Mappe, op. cit. (note 541), pp. 348f.
[587]Activity and Situation Report no. 6 of the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and the SD in the USSR (period of report from October 1 to 31, 1941). RGVA, 500-1-25/1, pp. 221f.
[588]Arno Mayer, Why did the Heavens not Darken? The "Final Solution" in History, Pantheon Books, New York 1988, p. 270.
[589]"Einsatzgruppe A, Gesamtbericht vom 16 Oktober 1941 bis 31 Januar 1942", RGVA, 500-4-92, pp. 57-59.
[590]Ibid., p. 184.
[591]Ibid., pp. 59-61.
[592]G. Reitlinger, op. cit. (note 181), p. 233f., as well as NO-5194.
[593]Von Manstein was acquitted of the charge of complicity in the massacre of Jews but was found guilty of not having protected the lives of the civilian population, and on December 19 was sentenced to 18 years in prison. The length of sentence was later decreased to 12 years and von Manstein was released in May 1953.
[594]Reginald T. Paget, Manstein. His Campaigns and his Trial, Collins, London 1951, p. 170f.
[595]102-R. IMT, Vol. XXXVIII, pp. 292f.
[596]Udo Walendy, "Babi Jar - Die Schlucht 'mit 33,771 murdered Jews'?", in: Historische Tatsachen no. 51, Verlag für Volkstum und Zeitgeschichtsforschung, Vlotho 1992. Herbert Tiedemann, "Babi Jar: Critical Questions and Comments", in: Germar Rudolf (ed.), op. cit. (note 81), pp. 501-528.
[597]Einsatzgruppe A. General Report from October 16 to January 31, 1942, RGVA, 500-4-92, pp. 60f.
[598]Vilnius Ghetto: List of Prisoners, Volume 1. Vilnius 1996, p. 212, no. 163. (Text in Lithuanian, Russian, and English).
[599]Ibid., p. 85.
[600]Ibid., p. 150.
[601]Ibid., p. 213.
[602]Ibid., p. 329.
[603]Abraham Foxman, "Vilna - Story of a Ghetto," in: Jacob Glatstein, Israel Knox, Samuel Marghoshes (eds.), Anthology of Holocaust Literature, Atheneum, New York 1968, pp. 90f.
[604]Jacob Gens, Chief of the Jewish Council of Vilnius.
[605]"Report of the Kauen Sipo" of May 12, 1944. RGVA, 504-1-7, p. 41.
[606]Raissa A. Tschernoglasova, Tragedja Evreev Belorussi v 1941-1944 godach, Minsk 1997, pp. 274-378.
[607]Judenfrei! Svobodno ot Evreev!, op. cit. (note 570), pp. 289-310.
[608]Cf. the transport lists in: Jürgen Graf and C. Mattogno, Concentration Camp Stutthof and its Function in National Socialist Jewish Policy, Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago, IL, 2003, p. 22.
[609]Telephone conversation of the Kommandant of Stutthof, Paul Hoppe, with the Kommandant of Auschwitz on July 26, 1944. AMS, I-IIC4, p. 94. 'Procedure for taking charge' of the transport of July 26 and 27, 1944. AMS, I-IIC-3, p. 43.
[610]AMS, I-IIC-3, list of names of the transport of July 26, 1944.
[611]AMS, transport list, microfilm 262.
[612]The 17-year-olds had been 14 years old when the Einsatzgruppen advanced into Lithuania.
[613]Amtliches Material zum Massenmord von Katyn, Berlin 1943.
[614]Amtliches Material zum Massenmord von Winniza, Berlin 1944.
[615]GARF, 7021-114-1/38.
[616]Cf. for example IMT, Vol. VII, p. 425-428 (Conclusions of the Soviet Investigatory Commission), and Document USSR-54. Cf. also Robert Faurisson, "Katyn à Nuremberg," Revue d'Histoire Révisionniste, August-September-October 1990, pp. 138-144.
[617]IMT, Vol. XVII, p. 357. Markov was interrogated by the Soviet Chief State Counsel Smirnov and gave the desired testimony, which was supposed to weaken the results of the German investigatory commission.
[618]Geiseln der Wehrmacht. Osaritschi, das Todeslager. Dokumente und Beleg, National Archives of the Republic of Belarus, Minsk 1999 (book in Russian and German), p. 272.
[619]Ibid., p. 14.
[620]Ibid., p. 36.
[621]Ibid., p. 34.
[622]Ibid., p. 146. Here it says that of 52,000 internees, 40% were killed.
[623]Ibid., p. 154.
[624]Ibid., p. 38. Here it says that of 70,960 internees, 33,434 survived.
[625]Ibid., pp. 148-150. Here it says that of 70,000 internees, 70% died.
[626]Ibid., p. 50.
[627]Ibid., p. 34.
[628]Ibid., p. 44.
[629]Ibid., p. 8.
[630]Ibid., photos 1-8 and 11, photo documents on unnumbered pages.
[631]Ibid., photos 8-11.
[632]Ibid., photos 12-15.
[633]Ibid., photo 22.
[634]Ibid., photos 16-21, 22-26, 28, 31f. In Photo 18, "Leiche eines unbekannten Mädchens", a body stretched out on straw is recognizable whose face is in an advanced state of decomposition. In the background one sees the first two beams of a wooden barracks. This photograph has nothing to do with Osaritschi: in the first place, a body does not decay within one week in the still cold White Russian March (in nearly all photographs one sees snow), and in the second place there were no barracks in the two camps of Osaritschi.
[635]Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, op. cit. (note 18), vol. I, p. 134f.
[636]The word "August" appears in the text, which however is an obvious error. Four lines later September is mentioned in connection with the escape of the prisoners.
[637]GARF, 7021-65-6.
[638]Ehrenburg, V. Grossman, Le Livre Noir, op. cit. (note 24), pp. 80f. According to the Black Book, not 100 but 300 prisoners were employed in excavating the bodies; the 'ovens' held 2,000 bodies instead of 3,000; not 10 but 280 escapees were killed.
[639]John Ball, Air Photo Evidence, op. cit. (note 102), p. 107.
[640]"Yar" is Russian for ravine.
[641]John Ball, Air Photo Evidence, op. cit. (note 102), p. 108.
[642]Ehrenburg, V. Grossman, Le Livre Noir, op. cit. (note 24), p. 81.
[643]GARF, 128-132. Photo album without pagination.
[644]Enzyklopädie des Holocaust, op. cit. (note 101), Vol. I, pp. 13f. This picture does not seem to be included in the English edition, op. cit. (note 18).
[645]Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, op. cit. (note 18), p. 14.
[646]RGVA, 500-1-25/1, p. 151.
[647]Dissecting the Holocaust, op. cit. (note 81), p. 44f.
[648]GARF, 128-132, photo album without pagination. Three of the photographs show a few dozen bodies spread out on the ground, another permits a "ditch partly filled with bodies" to be recognized.
[649]GARF, 7021-108-21. Collection of individual autopsy reports.
[650]Cf. for this the photos in KL Auschwitz. op. cit, (note 472), pp. 228f.
[651]Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, op. cit. (note 18), article "Aktion 1005," vol. I, p. 11.
[652]According to C. Gerlach, this letter was written by Himmler to Müller! (op. cit. (note 419), p. 773.)
[653]Thomas Sandkühler, Endlösung in Galizien. Der Judenmord in Ostpolen und die Rettungsinitiativen von Berthold Beitz 1941-1944, Verlag H. J. V. Dietz Nachfolger, Bonn 1996, p. 277.
[654]Streim, "Die Verbrechen der Einsatzgruppen in der Sowjetunion", in: A. Rückerl (ed.), NS-Prozesse, op. cit. (note 251), p. 78.
[655]Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, op. cit. (note 18), article "Aktion 1005," Vol. I, p. 12.
[656]Ibid., pp. 11-14.
[657]H. Krausnick, Hans Heinrich Wilhelm, Die Truppe des Weltanschauungskrieges. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1981, p. 621.
[658]T. Sandkühler, op. cit. (note 653), p. 278.
[659]G. Reitlinger, op. cit. (note 181), p. 213.
[660]H. Krausnick, H. H. Wilhelm, op. cit. (note 657), p. 333.
[661]Ehrenburg, V. Grossman, Le Livre Noir, op. cit. (note 24), pp. 434-439.
[662]Ibid., pp. 634-636.
[663]Ibid., pp. 827-851.
[664]IMT, Vol. VII, pp. 593-596, Document USSR-80.
[665]T. Sandkühler, op. cit. (note 653), p. 522.
[666]NO-3841.
[667]Rudolf Höß, The Commandant of Auschwitz, Phoenix Press, London 2000, p. 188. The relevant section was presented as Document NO-4498b in Nuremberg.
[668]NO-3842.
[669]NO-3947.
[670]Christopher R. Browning, "La décision concernant la solution finale," in: L'Allemagne nazie et le génocide juif, op. cit. (note 253), p. 198.
[671]As already stressed, there is no evidence of any kind for such a decision.
[672]RGVA, 500-4-92, p. 64.
[673]RGVA, 504-2-8, p. 192.
[674]AMS, I-IIB-10, p. 176.
[675]These details are taken from the book already cited, Terezinská pametni kniha, op. cit. (note 570), p. 569).