Tuesday, January 05, 2016

War Crimes in Belorussia, mid-1943

Nuremberg exhibit NO-3028 is a series of reports raising concerns about atrocities committed in anti-partisan operations in White Ruthenia. These were posted here by David Thompson in 2004. The most pertinent is perhaps that of 'party member' Lange:
I am submitting the following private communication for your information. Dr. Walkewitsch, the acting head of WSW came to me.

He was informed by Mr. Sakowitsch, the former territory head [Gebietsvorsitzender] of the WSW Minsk--County that on 27 May 1943 at 1400 hours the SS and/or Ukrainians had driven the inhabitants of Krjvsk together into two houses and afterward set fire to the houses so that those inside burned to death.

The same thing happened to the village of Krashyn on 24 May 1943. Both villages are located in the district of Woloshin of the Vilijka territory.
Typically, Himmler's office dismissed such concerns. In the last document in the exhibit, Brandt states that "[Himmler] requests that the Reich Minister of the East be informed that the campaign against the partisans is going quite according to schedule and Volhynia and Podolia will be the next on the list." The subtext was advising Rosenberg to tell his subordinates to quit their complaining. See Leo Alexander's excellent analysis of this exchange, published here in 1948.


  1. "anti-partisan warfare" seemed to be a pretext in many areas (especially on Koch's turf) for the gradual reduction of the "subhuman" population.

  2. I agree, especially since most of the partisans seemed to escape while most of the victims were innocent bystanders. I read during one of these partisan actions the Germans only confiscated 20 weapons but killed thousands.

  3. Yes, but I guess that many of the non-combat civilians, where helping the partisans with food, cloths, materials, hideaways and so on. So I guess it make sense from a brutal, but logical view to murder civilian populations, or many of them, to in that why also combat the partisans, because then civilians would probably not help the partisans if they would be punished in that way?

  4. The partisans were just the excuse. The Germans were going to kill them anyway. There's a well known directive from Hitler that said as much. "Stalin’s order for Partisan warfare gives us justification to kill whoever they want".

    It's stupid to say that it's justified to kill civilians because they're "helping the partisans". Reprisal killings are illegal, especially with ratios like 100 to 1. Plus, the Germans invaded their country and oppressed them. Of course there's going to be partisan resistance. I guess you'd think it's better if they kept their heads down and took it.


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