Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Demographics and Killing in Volhynia-Podolia (Part 2: 1942)

Author: Jonathan Harrison
Further to Part 1, below I present eight sources of evidence that converge on the conclusion that the Germans exterminated the remaining Jews of Volhynia-Podolia during the period August-October 1942.

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1) There were 326,000 Jews in the Volhynia-Podolia region in May 1942:
NAW RG 238, T- 1 75, roll 235 Report from the occupied eastern territories No. 5, 29 May 1942 gives the figure of 326 000 Jews for Volhynia-Podolia (Dean, p.195)
2) Puetz to Aussenstellen der Sipo/SD, 31/8/42 [Browning, p.136]:
The actions are to be accelerated, so that they are completed within your area within five weeks. At the meeting of the Gebeitskommissaren in Luzk from August 29-31, 1942, it was explained in general that in principle a 100% solution is to be carried out.
3) Meldung 51:
c) Jews executed [Aug-Sep-Oct-Nov-Total] 31246 165282 95735 70948 363211
Kruglov breaks down the 363,211 as follows:

a) The November total is mainly Bezirk Bialystok

b) Of the 292,263 killed before November, approximately 70,000 were in the present-day Belarus part of the RKU, the rest were in present-day Ukraine

The concentration of killings into September matches Puetz's instruction to carry out the actions "within your area within five weeks."

4) Browning
Monthly report of the military armaments commando, Volhynia-Podolia, October 1942, in: Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv Freiburg, RW 30/15. (Im Oktober 1942 fanden nun in Wolhynien die grossen Judenevakuierungen statt, durch die aus allen Betrieben die Juden restlos entfernt wurden, sodass die Betriebe auf kürzere oder längere Zeit vollkommen zum Erliegen kamen, bezw. die Fertigung bis auf Bruchteile zusammenschrumpfte.)
Then, in October 1942, there were large-scale Jewish evacuations in Volhynia as a result of which every Jew was removed from all the factories, and the factories came to a complete standstill for a shorter or longer time, or production dwindled to a mere fraction.
This indicates that the final stages of the killing actions initiated by Puetz were completed in October.

5) German police reports copied in Polish archives (Shmuel Spector, p.173; Dean, p.93)

6) Interrogation of Sturmscharfuehrer Wilhelm Rasp 18 Dec 1961 (ZSL 204 AR-Z 393/59 Vol. II, pp. 173-94) confirming details of police actions (Dean, p.93).

7. The mass graves investigations in Nick's blog Mass Graves in the Polesie

8. Browning shows that the killings were ordered over the heads of the civilian administration, who protested that they still needed Jewish labour:
Informed of the impending "overall resettlement of the Jews" (generelle Umsiedlung der Juden), the SS and Polizeistandortführer in Brest-Litovsk, Friedrich Wilhelm Rohde, pleaded: "Insofar as the Jewish question is solved in Brest, I foresee severe economic damage resulting from the lack of labor." He was supported by the local commissioner (Gebietskommissar) Franz Burat: "Although the total resettlement of the Jews from the Kreisgebiet is desirable from the political standpoint, from the standpoint of labor mobilization, I must plead unconditionally for leaving the most needed artisans and manpower."53

These appeals were in vain. On October 15-16, 1942, the 20,000 Jews of Brest, including 9,000 workers, were shot.54 The war diary and reports of Police Regiment 15 show that the Jews working in camps and on state farms in the region were also executed.
Thus the local autonomy aspect of the Holocaust had clear limits in Volhynia-Podolia, as elsewhere.

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