So write our regular customers Carlo Mattogno and Jürgen Graf on page 211 of the screed Treblinka. Vernichtungslager oder Durchgangslager? , available for free online download here.
On the following pages, they proceed to explaining what they mean by their allegation that the Einsatzgruppen reports are inaccurate in respect to the «category» of the Jews shot: in the Vilna ghetto, go figure, Jews unfit to work were alive even though, according to a corresponding report, as interpreted by Mattogno & Graf, they should have been dead:
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
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.
As Nick has already pointed out in his article More Misrepresentations from Graf: Lithuania, there is no contradiction whatsoever between the contents of the “General Report from October 16 to January 31, 1942,” and the presence of Jews unfit to work in the Vilna ghetto until long after this report had been issued, and whoever sees such a contradiction thereby reveals (at best) ignorance of the history of the Vilna ghetto, where working Jews issued corresponding permits were for a time entitled to register three additional family members with them. However, what looks even worse on Mattogno and Graf is that they need not even have delved into the history of the Vilna ghetto – which perhaps is too much to ask of these two dedicated «researchers» – in order to avoid the blunder of making a fuss about the supposed inconsistency in the Einsatzgruppen report in question. All they had to do was look at a document related to the same set of killings as the “General Report from October 16 to January 31, 1942,”. This document, which may have largely served as a basis for said «General Report», has long been available to the public, an English translation of it being included in the 1988 English edition, with the title The Good Old Days, of a document collection put together by German researchers Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen and Volker Riess. This so-called Jäger Report, which can be viewed online here, is a document of undisputable authenticity that was written at the request of Franz Walter Stahlecker, the commander of Einsatzgruppe A, by Karl Jäger, the commander of Einsatzkommando 3, one of the subunits of Einsatzgruppe A. It provides the detail, day by day, location by location and specifying the victims’ breakdown into men, women and children, of most of the executions covered by the «General Report». On its last page, the Jäger Report then refers to the Jews that its author regretted having been kept from killing. Jäger wrote the following (translation by THHP, emphases are mine):
I can state today that the goal of solving the Jewish problem for Lithuania has been achieved by Einsatzkommando 3. In Lithuania, there are no more Jews, other than the Work Jews, including their families. They are:
In Schaulen around 4,500
In Kauen “ 15,000
In Wilna “ 15,000
I also wanted to kill these Work Jews, including their families, which however brought upon me acrimonious challenges from the civil administration (the Reichskommisar) and the army and caused the prohibition: the Work Jews and their families are not to be shot!
We find here the same 34,500 Jewish inhabitants of the ghettos of Schaulen, Kauen («Kaunen») and Wilna (Vilna) that are mentioned in the “General Report from October 16 to January 31, 1942,”, plus a clear statement that these 34,500 Jews are not the working Jews alone, but the working Jews and their families, which demolishes the claim that the presence of non-working Jews in the Vilna ghetto following the 1941 murder campaign of Einsatzgruppe A calls in question the accuracy of this unit’s reported killing record. Why the working Jews’ family members are not mentioned in the «General Report», as quoted by Mattogno & Graf, can only be surmised, but Jäger certainly had no reason to invent them (on the contrary, it would probably have made him look more «successful» in the eyes of his superior if only the Jews strictly necessary for the war effort had been spared), and the evidence referred to in Nick’s above-mentioned article, as well as that adduced by Mattogno & Graf themselves, confirms the accuracy of Jäger’s statement.
Why, now, did Mattogno & Graf fail to take into account the Jäger Report, which makes their high-handed fuss about the presence of non-working Jews in the Vilna ghetto look quite ridiculous? Was it a deliberate omission of a document not fitting their stance, which they hoped nobody would notice? Or was it just the elaborate incompetence of two bumbling charlatans, vigorously digging out material they thought might support their preconceived notions and failing to spot a document long in the public domain that renders their efforts pointless? In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I’ll give them the benefit of doubt and assume the latter.
The Vilna ghetto may have been an exceptional case in that there was a period of relative calm following the murder actions from October to December 1941 (liquidation of «Ghetto 2», Gelbschein-Aktionen and subsequent smaller «actions»), which lasted until Himmler’s order of 21 June 1943 to liquidate the remaining ghettos of the Reichskommissariat Ostland. However, it was by no means the only Jewish ghetto in the German-occupied areas of either the Soviet Union or Poland that still had a sizable population of non-working Jews following the great exterminatory sweeps of 1941 (in the occupied Soviet territories) and 1942 (in the occupied Soviet territories, the area of Poland that made up the Generalgouvernement, and the Polish territories annexed to the German Reich). In the Generalgouvernement, this was related to a phenomenon known as the second ghettoization (Zweitghettoisierung), which is described as follows by historian Frank Golczewski (my translation from Frank Golczewski, «Polen», in: Wolfgang Benz (editor), Dimensionen des Völkermords, 1996 Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, München, pages 411 to 497, here: page 471):
At a conference (20-22 September 1942), at which there had been a dispute between Armament Minister Speer and Himmler about the organization of the armament industry, Hitler had agreed to Fritz Sauckel’s request to transitorily continue employing qualified Jewish workers in the Generalgouvernement. Himmler, whose SS – and police organs had meanwhile been given the overall competence in Jewish matters, thereupon ordered on 9 October 1942 to gather all Jews working for army requirements in special work camps. The purpose of this «reorganization» was also pursued by the so-called second ghettoization. The State Secretary of the Government in the Generalgouvernement, SS-Obergruppenführer Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger, decreed the installation of what is called «secondary ghettos» (getta wtórne) in Polish literature. On 28 October 1942 Krüger signed the «Police Decree about the Creation of Jewish Residential Quarters in the Districts Warsaw and Lublin»; a further decree of 10 November 1942 named additional locations in the remaining districts Cracow, Radom and Galicia. Of the 650 locations in Poland in which Jews had still lived at the beginning of 1942, only 54 had remained. They were parts of former Jewish ghettos which – geographically reduced – were now quasi-confirmed. They were mostly divided: in the «A» ghettos lived the Jews able to work, in the «B» ghettos the Jews unfit for work. Thus the ensuing murder measures were already facilitated and foreseeable.
However, the few surviving deportees clung to the hope that the deportations had been cancelled and the last ghettos now had a sort of existence guarantee. Sometimes those who had been living illegally in hiding reported in these new living quarters in order to escape the constant stress of illegality (and the sometimes enormous costs extorted by their «hosts»). The deportations were temporarily interrupted due to the winter [1942/43, translator’s note]. Because of Stalingrad an interdiction of transports for other than armament goods was decreed. The term «ghetto» was now only rarely used; the Jewish quarters were now called «Jewish residential quarters» in NS-terminology, which was to give them a kind of «humanity» and deceive the inhabitants. Actually the consolidation was just a brief stage before the final deportation of the remainder to the extermination installations.
If Jews fit to work were transitorily allowed to continue living in the «Jewish residential quarters» along with Jews working for the German war effort, this was probably based on tactical considerations: the presence of family members in a «B» ghetto encouraged working Jews in the «A» ghetto in their belief that they would be spared and thus not only spurred their work performance, as they tried to make themselves as useful as possible in order to save themselves and their families, but also kept them from contemplating resistance. This may help explaining why what resistance eventually occurred, when the deportations continued in 1943, was limited to some of the remaining ghettos, as a look at the ghetto histories accessible under this link shows. At any rate, most remaining ghettos in Nazi-occupied Poland and the Soviet Union were liquidated in the course of 1943, and by the end of August 1944 even the last remaining ghetto, the Lodz ghetto, had ceased to exist.
Now, what about Mattogno & Graf’s other claim quoted at the beginning of this post, regarding the numbers stated in the Einsatzgruppen reports? We will get to that in the next part of this article.
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