Friday, August 24, 2018

Mattogno takes on the Jäger Report (well, he tries) – Part 3

Author: Roberto Muehlenkamp
Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5 (1)

Part 5 (2)

This article and the following will address what Mattogno’s calls his "critical examination" of the 2nd Jäger Report.[47]



"Justifications" for the mass killing of Jews

After pointing out the supposed formal "anomaly" that was already addressed in the first article of this series,[48] Mattogno argues that, in a report about a wholesale extermination plan, there would be no need to "justify" specific executions. Why was this nevertheless done on occasion?

Besides the killing of non-Jews on account of some characteristic, action or circumstance that made them undesirable in a specific case (because they were communists, mentally disabled, partisans, NKVD agents, Gypsies, "terrorists", criminals, villagers who had helped partisans, etc.), and the occasional mentions that communists or prison inmates shot were (also) Jews or vice-versa, there are the following cases in which a "justification" for killing Jews was stated:

• 18.8.41 Kauen - Fort IV: 711 "intellectual" Jews from the ghetto killed as "a reprisal for an act of sabotage."
• 26.9.41 Kauen-F.IV: 1,608 Jewish men women and children who were "sick" or "suspected of carrying epidemics."
• 4.10.41 Kauen-F.IX: 1,845 Jewish men, women and children killed in a "punitive action" for a German policemen having been "fired on in the ghetto."
• 29.10.41 Kauen-F.IX: 9,200 Jewish men, women and children killed because they were "superfluous" in the ghetto.
• 29.11.41 Kauen-F.IX: 17 Jews and 1 Jewess killed because they had "violated the ghetto laws."
• 2.9.41 Wilna-Stadt: 3,700 Jewish men, women and children killed in a "special action because a German soldier had been fired on by Jews."

What all these "justified" killings have in common is that they took place in one of the large Jewish ghettos in Kaunas and Vilnius,[49] whereas no "justification" was invoked for any of the large massacres of the RKH’s murder campaign in the Lithuanian province, starting with the massacre of 3,200 Jews at Rokiskis (Rokiškis) that Jäger recorded under the date 16.8.41.[50] So the stated "justifications" probably had something to do with the victims being ghetto inhabitants.

The small action on 29.11.1941 took place after the mass killing in Kaunas had stopped, pursuant to the insistence of civilian and military authorities that essential laborers and their families, contrary to the intentions of Jäger and his superior, be kept alive.[51] The killing of those 18 Jews therefore had to be justified, and there is no indication that the reason given (violation of the ghetto laws) was, from Jäger’s point of view, a mere pretext.

Jäger, Stahlecker et al. may have only wanted to kill as many Jews as possible, but the Wehrmacht and the civilian administration (also) saw the ghettos as a pool of essential labor and accordingly sought to restrict EK3’s murder campaign – with success regarding a large part of the ghetto inhabitants, as Jäger ruefully pointed out in his 2nd report. In this context Jäger may have wanted to convey the message (e.g. for the benefit of what discussions his superior, who expressly mentioned the same "problem", might have with who was interested in preserving Jewish labor) that no valuable workers had been destroyed, but only Jews that were a threat to public health or just "superfluous" had been killed.

Moreover these "justifications" were not just made up for the sake of reporting, but corresponded to the criteria actually applied when deciding which Jews to kill right away and which to let live a little longer. In the 4 October 1941 massacre in Kaunas, in which the "small" ghetto was destroyed, Jews who had work certificates were spared, those who had none killed, and the ghetto’s hospital for infectious diseases was burned down.[52] The massacre on 29 October was preceded by a selection of able-bodied Jews among the "large" ghetto’s entire population, apparently until a predetermined quota of "useful" or "superfluous" Jews had been reached.[53]

The 18 August "intelligence action" in Kaunas took place a few days after the constitution of the city’s ghettos had been completed, and its apparent purpose was to eliminate right off those Jews who might become leaders of resistance.[54] Invoking an alleged act of sabotage, Jäger ordered that on the morning of 18 August 1941 500 intelligent and well-dressed Jewish men present themselves at the Viljampole ghetto gate. The "graduates" were made to believe that they would be employed in the town hall archives and the ministries' archives, but then taken to Fort IV and shot there. [55] This means that, just like the "carriers of epidemics" and "superfluous Jews" explanations, the alleged "reprisal" was not just made up for the sake of the report. It had previously been "sold" to the ghetto’s inhabitants. The same applies regarding the Kaunas action on 26 September, which was dressed up towards the ghetto as a reprisal for shots allegedly fired on German policeman Paul Koslowski.[56] The Vilnius action on 2 September, which was later called the "Great Provocation" by the ghetto’s Jews, commenced with the setting up of posters in the ghetto whereby German soldiers had been fired upon and the whole Jewish population would thus be subject to the severest countermeasures.[57] The alleged reprisal character of this massacre was also known to outsiders.[58]

The purpose of these "reprisal" actions was apparently one of eliminating or discouraging potential resistance and paving the way for subsequent actions, by turning those ghetto inhabitants not yet killed in the "reprisals" into leaderless, cowed, depressed and thus completely helpless victims of what followed. Indicative of this is also the timing of the "reprisal" actions. Each of them marked a certain phase in the history of the respective ghetto. The "intelligence" action in Kaunas (18.8.41) followed immediately upon the ghettos’ constitution and deprived the Jews of potential leaders. The Koslowski "reprisal" on 26.9.41 initiated the destruction of the "small" ghetto and the decimation of the "large" ghetto up to an intended quota. The "Great Provocation" in the Vilnius ghetto was the overture of a series of large massacres in which 20,556 ghetto inhabitants (according to Jäger’s figures, including the "Great Provocation" deaths) were killed between 2 September and 6 November 1941. None of the subsequent mass executions in Vilnius was claimed to have been a reprisal in the 2nd Jäger Report, because none had been dressed up as such towards the targeted population. After the shock of the "Great Provocation" massacre, no further pretexts were deemed necessary.

Bottom line, the pseudo-justifications of the mentioned large massacres in the 2nd Jäger Report correspond to the actual background of each of these massacres, which in turn was a (further) step in the gradual extermination of the Kaunas and Vilnius ghettos’ inhabitants. Mattogno might have found that out himself if he had consulted (or properly read) the corresponding literature.

Operations of the Hamann Rollkommando

To Mattogno’s mind the operations of the Rollkommando Hamann (RKH) in the Lithuanian province are the most dubious aspects of the Jäger Report. Before addressing Mattogno’s argument, let’s take a look at how the RKH was made up.

According to the 2nd Jäger Report (p.1) the RKH was led by Hamann and 8-10 experienced men from RK3. The report further mentions that Hamann carried out his executions in cooperation with the Lithuanian "partisans" (same page) and that Hamann managed to assure the cooperation with the Lithuanian "partisans" and the local civilian authorities. In his 1959 interrogation Jäger mentioned an execution detachment of 50-100 men commanded by a Lithuanian, Lieutenant Norkus, subordinated to Hamann (p. 11 of the interrogation record), and that Hamann had been constantly in contact with the local Lithuanian police authorities or requested by these to perform executions (p. 24 of the interrogation record).

The Lithuanians that made up all or most of the RKH’s rank and file were members of the National Labor Service Battalion No. 1(13) (Lithuanian: Tautinio darbo apsaugos batalionas, abbreviated TDA), which had been put together in Kaunas in late June and early July 1941. The battalion consisted mainly of former "partisans" and officers from the former Lithuanian armed forces. As of 4 July 1941, it had 724 officers and soldiers.[59] The 1st and 3rd companies of this battalion are known to have taken part in mass executions of Jews, the former mainly in Kaunas, whereas the latter was the core of the RKH, and members of this company were accordingly assigned to the RKH’s operations in the Lithuanian province.[60] There is no information about the strength of the TDA’s 3rd Company, but as a company may have 100 to 250 soldiers, a battalion is made up of two or more companies and the TDA has 724 officers and soldiers, the strength of the 3rd Company is likely to have been in this range, which in turn means that the lower of the figures mentioned by Jäger in his interrogation (50) is too low and higher figure (100) is more realistic.

Whatever the number of men subordinated to Hamann and Norkus was, it was not enough to carry out large-scale executions without assistance. While the number of shooters sent to one or the other killing site may have been sufficient (the shooting proper is obviously the least time- and/or labor-intensive part of a mass execution), all preparatory and auxiliary work (digging the graves, rounding up the victims and taking them to the killing site, cordoning off that site, etc.) had to be (and was) done by someone else, namely by the local Lithuanian authorities and what local "partisans" were available. This local cooperation renders moot one of the dreariest pieces of Mattogno’s writing, as he fills up almost two pages with considerations about what impracticable distances the RKH would have had to cover within short times if the whole unit had travelled from one killing site to the next.[61] The exercise ends with Mattogno’s reasoning that his distance calculations would not apply if one assumes that Hamann divided his forces, followed by the claims that
1. there is nothing to support such assumption (il che però non è attestato),
2. the distances to be covered would still be considerable,
3. the executions would still have been organized in a chaotic manner, some here and some there, and
4. there were executions so large that even the whole RKH couldn’t have carried them out.

Let’s examine these claims in turn.

The first is another of those abysmal parts of Mattogno’s research. If he had bothered to consult the available literature, especially the works of Arūnas Bubnys and Christoph Dieckmann about the Holocaust in Lithuania, he might have realized that what is hard to find (if existing at all) is a mass execution in which the whole RKH participated.[62] Bubnys describes the RKH’s usual modus operandi as follows (emphases added):
J. Hamann’s flying squad did not function permanently nor it had its special place of location. Generally speaking it would be formed for carrying out specific operations involving several German Gestapo officers and several dozens soldiers of the TDA. J. Hamann himself very often refrained from going to the executions in the province and limited his duties to charging the soldiers of the 1st Battalion with this task (i.e. Lieutenants A. Dagys, J. Barzda, and B. Norkus). One might guess that the following officers of SS would often represent the German side: Hauptsharführer Porst, Stuetz, Salzmann, Mack and Planert. SS Hauptsharführer H. Rauca was J. Hamann’s deputy.
The so-called flying squad would go on missions only when all the preparatory work was completed, i.e. the Jews condemned to death were gathered in one place, all local police and “partisans” were charged with guarding them, a more remote place is chosen for the execution of the Jews (often in a forest or remote fields), and ditches were dug.[63]

So the men sent by Hamann to a given killing site only had to do the shooting proper, while everything else was or had been taken care of by local Lithuanian authorities and "partisans". And even the killing itself they didn’t have to do alone, if at all. Here are some examples of local cooperation:

• At Kėdainiai (2,076 killed Jews recorded under 28.8.41 in the 2nd Jäger Report), the killing was done by Lithuanian policemen and railway workers under the direction of men from EK3. The pits were dug by Soviet prisoners of war at the orders of the local Lithuanian authorities.[64]
• The Marijampolė massacre on 1.9.41 (5,090 killed) was carried out by EK3, Reserve Police Battalion 11, Lithuanian police and insurgents.[65]
• At Garliava on 2.9.41, no Germans are known to have been present in the killing of 247 Jews recorded by Jäger. It is likely that everything was done by the men from the 3rd Company of the TDA, local policemen and "partisans".[66]
• At Jieznas (called "Jesuas" in Jäger’s Report), on 2.9.41, not only did local policemen and "riflemen" do all the preparatory work, but some of them also took part in the shooting of 144 Jews.[67]
• At Jonava (1,556 Jews killed on or ending on 2.9.41 according to Jäger), the local Saugumas (Lithuanian Security Police) was decisively involved. Their commander instructed the command of the local "partisans" to make available men for the executions.[68]
• The massacre at Ukmerge (Ukmergė) on or ending on 5.9.41 (4,709 Jews killed, thereof 1,123 men, 1849 women and 1,737 children) was carried out by members of the RKH together with Lithuanian police and "partisan" units from Ukmergė and nearby villages. The "direct" participants (probably meaning the shooters) were about 20 Germans and 100 Lithuanians.[69]
• At the biggest massacre of Alytus Jews on 9 September 1941 (1,279 Jews killed according to Jäger), the victims were gunned down by a squad from Kaunas under the command of B. Norkus and J. Obelenis (ca 20–30 men). The victims were driven to the place of killing and were guarded by local policemen and "white-bands" (aka "partisans").[70]
• At Butrimonys on the same day, the killing of 740 Jews was carried out by 20 RKH members who arrived from Alytus. Local policemen and "white bands" had on the previous day locked all the victims in the town’s primary school, and on the day of the killing took them to the pits and guarded them as they awaited execution.[71]
• Local "white bands", besides having done the preparatory work, also took part in the shooting of 854 Jews at Merkinė on 10.9.41.[72]
• The massacre at Žagarė on or ending on 2.10.41 (2,236 Jews killed according to Jäger) was carried out by the 14th (Lithuanian) Schutzmannschaft Battalion from Šiauliai, commanded by one Lt. Kolokša, plus auxiliary police from Linkuva. Three SS-men, two lieutenants and one NCO, commanded the operation.[73]
• At Lazdijai, the 1,535 Jews recorded by Jäger under 3.11.41 were killed by RKH members and Lithuanian police.[74]
• At Varėna (831 Jews shot on 10.9.1941, according to the 2nd Jäger Report), local policemen and "white armbanders" forced the Jews into the small town’s synagogue, where they were held for several days. On September 10, 1941, the Chief of the Security Police of the Alytus region, Pranas Zenkevičius, his deputy Juozas Kvedaravičius, and 30–40 troops arrived in Varėna to shoot the Jews. According to witnesses, several Varėna residents also took part in the shootings. [75] Apparently no one from the RKH, German or Lithuanian, was present at this massacre.[76]

Members of the TDA’s 3rd Company were not involved in the killing in all provincial areas mentioned by Jäger, according to Bubnys. It is possible that the Jews from quite a few places of Lithuania (Varėna, see above, seems to have been one of these) were killed by local police and "partisan" squads, without the RKH taking part.[77]

Bottom line, the RKH managed to successfully conduct its extermination campaign because its commanders could send some men here and others there, [78] and because wherever they went the labor-intensive preparatory work had already been taken care of by local Lithuanians, who sometimes also did some or even most of the shooting. Without the willing cooperation of Lithuanian local authorities and "partisans", the RKH could not have accounted for nearly as many Jews killed as it actually did.

The RKH’s dependence on local cooperation at all killing sites is also the reason why Mattogno’s argument about the supposedly "chaotic" conduct of the executions is moot. For the RKH’s pace and schedule accordingly depended on when their local auxiliaries could have things ready for shooters from the RKH (especially the 3rdCompany of the TDA) to arrive and pull the trigger or command the shooting, and that in turn depended on decision-making processes and availability of resources at local level, which the RKH could not necessarily influence. Nevertheless, allocating the killing sites to the respective Gebietskommissariate shows that the executions followed a certain regional and temporal pattern. Between the middle and the end of August 1941 the main area of the RKH’s activity was clearly the GBK Ponewesh/Panevėžys, where 8 of the 17 mass executions between 15 and 31 August took place (vs. 3 in the GBK Schaulen/Šiauliai, 4 in the GBK Kauen-Land and 2 in the GBK Wilna-Land).[79] Between 1 September and 15 November 1941, almost all the RKH’s killing took place in the GBK Kaunas-Land, with only one more "visit" to the GBK Ponewesh/Panevėžys[80] and three more "visits" to the GBK Schaulen/Šiauliai.[81]

Even with the indispensable local cooperation and the resulting possibility of dividing his forces, Hamann’s task was never an easy one, as Jäger pointed out himself when comparing the "parade shooting" ("Paradeschießen") of Jews at Kaunas itself with "the often enormous difficulties" ("den oft ungeheuerlichen Schwierigkeiten") that had to be overcome outside (page 8 of the 2nd Jäger Report). But was there any reported execution that an RKH squad and its local auxiliaries could not have handled within the reported time?

To claim that this would have been an insurmountable problem, Mattogno refers to Jäger’s statements on p. 7 of the report whereby the execution site was on average 4-5 km from the collection point and the Jews were brought there in groups of 500 each with a distance of at least 2 km between groups. He also quotes a statement by Yitzhak Arad about a new organization method that allowed for killing 100 persons per hour.

The latter is a somewhat-less-than-honest out-of-context quote, for Arad is referring not to German mass executions in general, but to mass executions in a particular setting and situation, namely that of the execution of several hundred male Jews per day by EK9 and its Lithuanian auxiliaries in the pits at Paneriai/Ponary near Vilnius in July 1941, in which the death candidates were collected in one pit and then taken in small groups from that pit to another in which they were shot, with the shooters being instructed to kill by rifle shots at individual victims and not by machine-gun fire so as to eliminate the chance of men being only wounded or remaining unhurt.[82] It stands to reason that this situation cannot be projected to any given mass killing site.

The number of people that could be shot within a given time at one of the killing sites where the RKH was active would depend on the size of the killing site (namely the mass graves in or into which the victims were shot), the factors mentioned by Jäger and the number and armament of the shooters, whose work would be the least time-consuming part of the job. The preferred walking speed of human beings being about 5 km per hour, each group of 500 would take at most an hour to arrive at the place of shooting, probably much less as the escorting Lithuanian policemen and partisans would make them quicken their pace.[83] Assuming a 45-minute wait between groups including 15 minutes for the victims to undress themselves where that was done, the shooters would have 500 victims in front of them every (60+45 =) 105 minutes. If there were, say, 50 shooters with automatic weapons at the pit, how long would they take to gun down 500 helpless people, especially if they didn’t necessarily deliver immediately fatal shots? Five minutes (10 victims per shooter, 2 every minute) seems a generous assumption. So every batch of 500 people would be "processed" within two hours at most. 3,000 within 12 hours, 3,500 within 14 hours, 4,500 within 18 hours, 6,000 within 24 hours. Double the number of shooters and have the shooting done on two batches à 500 at two places on the killing site instead of one, and you can double each number. Reduce the intervals between groups, and you can further increase the output.

The largest massacre involving the RKH was the one at Panevėžys, where 7,523 people were killed. One description of the massacre reads as follows:
"The major mass murder of the Jews of Panevėžys took place on August 23, 1941. Two pits about 40 meters long were dug in the forest. Before the massacre, German SS-Obersturmführer Joachim Hamann delivered a speech in which he stressed that, according to the decree of the Führer, all Jews must be destroyed. They were brought to the pits in groups and shot. Jews were brought to the shooting place by troops of the Panevėžys (10th) battalion. The Germans selected some Lithuanians to do the shooting; they carried out the execution. According to one participant in the massacre, about 70 soldiers of the battalion and 30 Germans did the shooting. Colonel P. Genys and commander of the 1st Unit of the battalion lieutenant V. Aižinas were present at the murder site. Before the shooting, each killer was given 200 grams of vodka. The Lithuanians used rifles and the Germans used machine guns. The massacre took all day. A total of 7,523 Jews were shot (1,312 men, 4,602 women, 1,609 children). Jews from different rural districts of Panevėžys district were murdered along [with] the prisoners of the Panevėžys ghetto."[84]

A day’s work with two killing spots à 50 shooters and 500 victims per batch and spot, assuming that the killing site was 4-5 km from the collection point and there was a 2 km interval between batches. However, there are sources according to which the massacre lasted longer. [85] Also on this occasion, according to the above account, local forces (troops of the Panevėžys (10th) battalion) not only conducted the victims to the pits but also took part in the shooting (actually making up the majority of the shooters). The account further illustrates the fact that the shooting proper was not what required the most manpower in the execution. The shooting proper could be done by about 100 killers, whereas the rest of the execution work required a whole battalion.

Jäger’s 2nd report (pp. 7-8) suggests that the RKH ran into trouble when the local authorities failed to provide the necessary manpower for conducting the victims to the execution site and cordoning off the same, in which case some of the local "partisans" meant to participate in the shooting had to be employed in these preparatory tasks. During the execution described on these two pages, the one at Rokiskis (Rokiškis) on 16.8.41, the RKH apparently had counted on 80 local "partisans" to take part in the shooting, but as the local authorities had not provided sufficient other forces for preparatory tasks, 60 "partisans" had to help out there in order to get things done within 24 hours, and only 20 could do the shooting proper together with Hamann’s men. Where local authorities provided sufficient personnel for the preparatory work and the local "partisans" could carry out or help in carrying out the killing itself, things must have gone more smoothly. The Rokiškis massacre was the first on a four-digit scale (3,207 victims, thereof 3,200 Jews) that was conducted or commanded by RKH forces. Experience gained there probably helped to better organize later massacres on a similar or larger scale.

Experience also mattered as concerns the participants in the massacre, including without limitation the shooters themselves. The local "soldiers" that made up most of the killing squad at Panevėžys apparently had none, and their being inebriated (probably in order to steel their nerves) didn’t help. Thus many of the victims fell into the pits while still alive.[86] At Kaunas, one the other hand, there were sufficient "fairly trained partisans" ("einigermassen ausgebildete Partisanen") according to the 2nd Jäger Report (page 8), which meant that the preparatory work could be done more efficiently and less shooters were required to do the same amount of killing.[87] During the largest massacre in Kaunas, the killing of 9,200 ghetto inhabitants on 29.10.1941, it was nevertheless necessary to do without the intervals between batches that according to Jäger were practiced by the RKH in the province, [88] and to use machine guns for the shooting – dozens of them according to a surviving witness. [89]

Bottom line, there were no difficulties in the large-scale massacres mentioned in the 2nd Jäger Report that could not be overcome with the available resources, contrary to Mattogno’s claims. Neither was there any insurmountable difficulty in the RKH’s scheduling of massacres. Mattogno’s "examination" of the RKH’s operations in the Lithuanian province is fraught with the familiar mixture of faulty reasoning, ignorance of some important sources and misreading of others.

Jewish children and other "inconsistencies"

Of the 135,391 Jews killed that Jäger’s figures add up to, 29,391 are stated to have been children. The number of children killed was actually higher, given that regarding a number of places only the total number of Jews but not their subdivision into men, women and children is stated.

The systematic extermination also of Jewish children poses another problem for Mattogno’s argument about EK3’s massacres having been committed in a "political-military" context rather than a racially motivated extermination policy. He tries to tackle that problem by pointing out that, according to a census conducted in Vilnius at the end of May 1942, out of 14,545 counted Jews 3,693 (25.4 % of the total) were children up to the age of 15 – and that the school-age children, go figure, even went to school.[90] This, so Mattogno argues, is in stark contrast with the policy of wholesale extermination that becomes apparent from the 2nd Jäger Report. It surely is, but then Jäger, as he pointed out himself in his report, was kept by German civilian and military authorities from wiping out certain working Jews and their families, which according to his report (page 7) numbered 34,500 in total (15,000 in each of the Kauen/Kaunas and Wilna/Vilnius ghettos and 4,500 in the Schaulen/Šiauliai ghetto). The intervention of German civilian and military authorities that restrained EK3’s killing still doesn’t explain, so Mattogno, why the "useless eaters", namely the children, were kept alive. However, it doesn’t take too much imagination to figure out in what sense the children were not "useless eaters" at al. They were the working Jews’ essential motivation for performing as well they possibly could and not contemplating resistance or suicide. Working men and women who had lost what was dearest to them would be more likely to perform badly due to depression, to kill themselves as their life had lost all meaning, or to somehow rise up against and try to take revenge on the killers. Parents who knew that any such action would mean not only their end but also that of their children, on the other hand, would be compliant and hard-working in order to save their families by remaining essential to the German war effort.

Already before the mass killings were suspended the German authorities issued so-called Jordanscheine to the inhabitants of the Kaunas ghetto. In each such certificate two adults and two children of a specialized worker’s family could be entered. During the subsequent mass killings, being entered or not in a Jordanschein made the difference between life and death.[91] The Vilnius ghetto’s equivalent of the Jordanscheine were the so-called gelbe Scheine or Gelbscheine, in each of which a specialized worker’s family (the parents and two children aged 2 to 16) could be entered. The awareness that being or not on a Gelbschein meant the difference between life and death led to a "tragic masquerade" as the ghetto inhabitants attempted by all means to gain possession of such certificate or be entered into one. Mass killings after 24 October, known as the "Gelbe-Schein-Aktionen", targeted Jews whose names were not entered into one such (temporarily) life-saving certificate. [92]

Also for the German civilian administration, keeping alive Jewish specialized workers (and their families as an incentive to be compliant and work well) was only meant to be a temporary solution. In a letter sent to the Generalkommissare and the HSSPF of the RKO on 9 December 1941, Lohse’s representative Frundt emphasized the need to prevent the liquidation of Jewish specialized workers who for the time being could not be replaced by non-Jews, but at the same time urged to speed up the training of replacements.[93]

In order to emphasize that he had solved the "Jewish problem" in Lithuania, Jäger reported numbers of surviving Jews in three ghettos that apparently corresponded to pre-determined quotas. These numbers are too low. The number of surviving Jews in Lithuania after EK3’s extermination campaign is likely to have been about 43,500, thereof 20,000 in Vilnius, 17,500 in Kaunas, 5,500 in Šiauliai and about 500 in Švenčionys. This means that Jäger’s total of 34,500 Jews surviving on the territory of Lithuania as of the date of his report was about 9,000 lower than the actual figure. Further Jews were added to the Generalbezirk Litauen in April 1942 as it took over territory that until then had belonged to the Generalbezirk Weißruthenien. In April 1943 the KdS for Lithuania reported that in the Generalbezirk (including the territories added in 1942) there were 44,584 Jews left; as this was after the liquidation of Švenčionys and other smaller ghettos and the murder of about 4,000 of their inhabitants at Paneriai/Ponary,[94] the number prior to this massacre must have been in the order of 48,500.[95] Mattogno somehow arrives at a total of about 51,000 and, oblivious of the aforementioned territorial changes, gleefully remarks that 51,000 – 34,500 = 16,500 Jews were still alive who according to Jäger should have been dead, obviously implying that this casts doubts on the accuracy of Jäger’s killing figures. The territorial fallacy in Mattogno’s arithmetic aside, such innuendo is not exactly pertinent as Jäger’s numbers of dead Jews were obviously arrived at by counting and not by any before-minus-after subtraction, and moreover they can be checked against other sources, including such that I have already mentioned[96] and others that I will mention further on in this series.

Mattogno concludes his "critical examination" with the remark that the most important test of the Jäger Report’s reliability is whether a commensurate number of corpses have been found at EK3’s killing sites. Actually that’s quite irrelevant; Mattogno might as well claim that the death toll attributed to Stalin’s Gulag camps, purges and other mass executions depends on how many of their victims have been exhumed and investigated, in which case he would be left with little more than the corpses unearthed at Katyn and Vinnytsia and become a Stalin apologist besides one of Hitler’s willing defense attorneys.

The disappearance of Lithuania’s Jews under Nazi rule is unequivocally proven by demographic data, contemporary documents[97] and other evidence, and there’s no evidence that any significant number of these ended up anywhere else than in the mass graves made by the various German killing agencies and their Lithuanian collaborators and executors. Thus it doesn’t matter how many of these mass graves were actually dug up. Nevertheless, it is known from the available evidence that some of the killing sites were investigated following the Soviet re-conquest of Lithuania, and there are interesting documents about public health concerns of the local administration regarding the mass graves that littered Lithuania in the wake of the German-Lithuanian extermination campaign in 1941. Some of these will be shown in the last two articles of this series. But before I’ll take a look at Mattogno’s arguments regarding another of his "Revisionist" concerns, the massacre of German and Austrian Jews in Kaunas in November 1941.

Notes

[47] GE1, pp. 182-188.
[48] See there note 27.
[49] The Kaunas ghetto was formed between July and August 15, 1941, the Vilnius ghetto in early September 1941.
[50] The dates mentioned in the 2nd Jäger Report are not necessarily the dates on which the respective massacres were committed. They may also be the commencement or end dates of massacres that lasted several days. For instance, the Panevezys (Panevėžys) massacre of 7,523 Jews recorded under 23.8.1941 lasted three days (24 to 26 August) according to some sources (Dieckmann, Besatzungspolitik, p. 816, note 53).
[51] As mentioned on p. 7 of the 2nd Jäger Report and on pp. 31-32 of the 1st Stahlecker Report. Regarding the temporarily spared working Jews see also my article The Jäger Report (7).
[52] Dieckmann, Besatzungspolitik, pp. 950-951. What is strange is that not this massacre with an apparent "public health" purpose (suggested by the burning of the hospital for infectious diseases), but the earlier massacre on 26 September was "justified" by Jäger as having been directed against the sick and suspected carriers of infectious diseases. This suggests that "justifications" got mixed up in the 2nd Jäger Report, and that the 26 September action was actually the "punitive action" (which also seems to be Dieckmann’s assessment, see Besatzungspolitik, p. 949) whereas the one on 4 October was meant to remove diseased Jews.
[53] Dieckmann, Besatzungspolitik, pp. 951-958. Regarding the actions on 26.9, 4.10 and 29.10 see also my article The Jäger Report (5), with translations of witness testimonies quoted in Wette’s biography of Jäger.
[54] As above, p. 942.
[55] Wette, Jäger, pp. 99-101. Wette’s account of this operation is cited in my article The Jäger Report (2).
[56]Dieckmann, Besatzungspolitik, p. 949. As mentioned above, the "justifications" for the massacres on 26 September and 4 October apparently got mixed up in the report.
[57] As above, pp. 974-975.
[58] Polish journalist Kazimierz Sakowicz, who kept a diary about the mass killings at Ponary that he observed or otherwise learned about, noted the following under 2 September (the day of the massacre): "These shootings were a punishment for the bogus shooting at German soldiers in Wilno on Sunday, August 31. There, on the outskirts of the city, Hingst announced that Jews would be punished for the shooting on the previous Sunday." (Ponary Diary 1941-1943. A Bystander’s Account of a Mass Murder. Kazimierz Sakowicz. Edited by Yitzhak Arad. 2005 Yale University Press. P. 29).
[59] Dr. Arūnas Bubnys, "Lithuanian Police Battalions and the Holocaust (1941-1943)", pp. 7-8.
[60] Bubnys, as above, pp. 12-14.
[61] GE1, pp. 183-184.
[62] See the overviews of executions and perpetrators that I published here (based on Dieckmann, Besatzungspolitik, pp. 792-1008) and here (based on Bubnys, "Holocaust in Lithuanian Province in 1941").
[63] Bubnys, Province, pp. 19-20. See also Bubnys, Police Battalions, pp. 12-13, and Dieckmann, Besatzungspolitik, p. 872.
[64] Dieckmann, Besatzungspolitik, p. 882.
[65] As above, p. 878.
[66] As above, p. 27.
[67] As above, p. 9.
[68] As above, p. 876. According to Bubnys (Holocaust, p. 22), the Chief of Jonava Security Police, Jr Lieut. J. Jurevičius appointed 16 men from his squad to carry out the execution. The Jews were driven to the place of the massacre in the Giraitė forest in groups. Soldiers of a "self-defence battalion" escorted the Jews to the killing site. After the first group of the condemned had been killed, TDA Battalion Lieutenants B. Norkus and Vladas Malinauskas came to Giraitė forest from Kaunas. They continued commanding in the execution jointly with a Gestapo chief. The shooting was done not only by the members of Jonava squad but also by "partisans" from other areas and several Germans who were all dressed as civilians.
[69] As above, p. 368.
[70] Bubnys, Province, p. 6.
[71] As above, p. 8.
[72] As above, p. 12.
[73] As above, p. 846.
[74] As above, p. 890.
[75] Holocaust Atlas of Lithuania, Mass Murder of the Jews of Varėna. Thanks to Jonathan Harrison for pointing out this link.
[76] The fact that local Lithuanians had done the killing may have been what shocked Varėna priest Jonas Gylys into holding a sermon on 14.9.1941, in which he called the Lithuanian officials butchers. He reportedly said: "Innocent people, among them old folk and pregnant women, were pushed about and kicked by Lithuanians in uniform. The forest of Varena was soaking in the blood of innocent people. The blood had not dried yet, when they rushed at the property of their victims." The Chief of Varėna I Police Station, J. Kvaraciejus, reported this to the Chief of the Alytus District Police, stating that the priest’s sermon had been "directed against the government". Kvaraciejus’ report, with the archival reference LCVA, 1436/1/30, fl. 366, is reproduced in German translation in the collection Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der europäischen Juden durch das nationalsozialistische Deutschland 1933 – 1945 Band 7 Sowjetunion mit annektierten Gebieten I Besetzte sowjetische Gebiete unter deutscher Militärverwaltung, Baltikum und Transnistrien, compiled by Bert Hoppe and Hildrun Glass, Oldenbourg Verlag München 2011 (Dok. 192, pp. 539-540). An English translation is available in the collection Documents Accuse, compiled and commented by B. Baranauskas and K. Rukšėnas, edited by E. Rozauskas, translated from Lithuanian by L. Valeika and A. Aukštikalnienė, from German by Vl. Grodzenskis, English version edited by Vl. Grodzenskis, Vilnius: Gintaras, 1970 (Document Nr. 95). Thanks to Nick Terry for making both document collections available to me.
[77] As above, p. 20.
[78] The RKH usually operated from Kaunas, whose strategic central location meant that most killing sites could be reached more quickly from there than from previous killing sites (as shown in this overview). In some cases, however, it was more advantageous to operate from another place. Thus the squad sent for the Jews of Butrimonys, for instance, came from nearby Alytus (Bubnys, Province, p. 8).
[79] Rokiskis/Rokiškis (16.8.41), Ukmerge/Ukmergė (19.8.41), Panevezys/Panevėžys (23.8.41), Obeliai (25.8.41), Seduva (Šeduva), Zarasai and Pasvalys (26.8.41), Utena and Moletai/Molėtai (29.8.41).
[80] Ukmerge /Ukmergė, 5 September 1941.
[81] Rasainiai/Raseiniai and Georgenburg/Jurbarkas on 6 September, Zagare/Žagarė on 2 October.
[82] Yitzhak Arad, Ghetto in Flames. The Struggle and Destruction of the Jews in Vilna in the Holocaust. Yad Vashem, 1980. Pp. 75-77; the part about the "method" is on p. 76. A description of this Ponary killing method is also provided in my article Mattogno on the Mass Graves at Ponary (Part 4).
[83] The German author of the Meurin Report recalled how, in the detraining and marching to Minsk of German Jews that his unit has escorted there, the local Latvian police "behaved so as to speed up the process". And that was not at an execution site.
[84] Holocaust Atlas of Lithuania, second entry for Panevėžys .
[85] Dieckmann, Besatzungspolitik, p. 816, note 53. This account also describes a three-day massacre, starting on 24.8 and ending on 26.8.1941. It claims that the killing was done in batches of 200 each instead of the 500 each mentioned by Jäger, which seems improbable considering the scale of the massacre.
[86] Dieckmann, Besatzungspolitik, p. 816.
[87] According to Bubnys (Police Battalions, p. 11) almost all of the Lithuanian 1st Police Battalion took part in the largest Kaunas massacre on 29.10.1941, and the killing proper was done by several dozens of the 3rd Company’s soldiers and about 20 German officers and "soldiers". Bubnys maintains (p. 17) that there is no reliable evidence that another Lithuanian police unit, the 3rd Battalion, also took part in the killing of Kaunas Jews. However, according to Dieckmann (Besatzungspolitik, p. 957), the files of an investigation conducted against Lithuanian non-commissioned officer Kazys Pagalys of the 3rd Battalion prove that this unit also took part in the massacre.
[88] As above, pp. 956-957. Sometimes a batch of victims would be pushed into a pit while the previous one was still being shot.
[89] See the account of Kuki Kopelman provided to his friend Solly Ganor and recorded in the latter’s memoirs (quote in Wette, Jäger, pp. 122-24, translation in my article The Jäger Report (5)).
[90] GE1, pp. 186-187.
[91] Dieckmann, Besatzungspolitik, p. 946.
[92] As above, p. 996-1004. Mattogno seems to have never heard of either the Jordanscheine or the gelbe Scheine. At least I didn’t find these terms in a keyword search in his book.
[93] As above, p. 1010. The document is also quoted in Verfolgung, Band 7, p. 583 (Dok. 218).
[94] See my article How many people were killed at Ponary?.
[95] Dieckmann, Besatzungspolitik, p. 1009. Update, 21.09.2018: A copy of the mentioned report is kept in the Lithuanian Central State Archives in Vilnius. The archival reference of the relevant page is LCVA-R1399-1-26, fl. 56. A color copy, a transcription and a translation of this page are available here.
[96] See my previously mentioned article and the article Mattogno’s Marijampolė Mass Graves Controversy.
[97] Besides the Jäger reports these include, among others, the minutes of a meeting on 1.9.1943 about labor force availability and losses in the Lithuania, whereby 156,000 potential laborers had been lost due to the "Judenumsiedlung" ("resettlement" of Jews). (Dieckmann, Besatzungspolitik, p. 1009).

22 comments:

Jonathan Harrison said...

Another awesome post in an excellent series.

Note on Jewish children: Mattogno has read about the Gelbschein because they are discussed on page 258 of our Critique; but he cites page 258 on page 687 of MGK's 'Aktion Reinhard Camps' without ever mentioning the Gelbschein in the whole of MGK's 1500+ page text, so he already has a prior history of omitting references to the Gelbschein that he has read. Moreover, on page 686 of 'Aktion Reinhard Camps', Mattogno notes the boundary change of April 1, 1942, and acknowledges that the 4,000 Jews killed at Panerai had been in GK Weissruthenien prior to April 1, 1942 (he sources this from Dieckmann, p.1210). Hence Mattogno's claim in GE1 that Jaeger counted Jews from those ghettos as dead who were still alive is made against knowledge he already possesses.

Note also how Mattogno employs deception on that page by claiming that we had specified the 4,000 Jews as coming from the "city" of Vilnius when the text he cites from the Critique (p.259) clearly states "Wilno region." Mattogno also ignores the use of Sonderbehandlung in the killing report.

https://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/2011/12/belzec-sobibor-treblinka-holocaust_3084.html

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

JH - "Mattogno also ignores the use of Sonderbehandlung in the killing report."

So did RM, who only alludes to the report in a footnote [no.25] to his April 2018 article "How many people were killed at Ponary?

RM - "In the related footnote Gerlach mentions, among other sources, a report by the Commander of Security Police and Security Service of Lithuania for April 1943."

RM must've forgotten it's quoted in the book he co-authored.

In lieu of a real source, Gerlach cites 2 books in English [the same 2 mentioned by JH in the WP] and translated excerpt from a third, a 1947 book in Yiddish. Gerlach neglected to mention his first source cites his second as its own source!

I don't know the source, if any, Rozauskas et al. cite for the document.

Can you provide better evidence for this document?

Nicholas Terry said...

The KdS Litauen report for April 1943 is also in Arad et al (eds), Documents of the Holocaust, if I remember correctly.There is a full run of KdS Litauen monthly reports in the Lithuanian national archive (LCVA). Rozauskas lists archival locations. Rozauskas reproduced the table of Abt IV activities with stats for Jews and other target groups (what would now be LCVA 1399-1-61, p.126). The Documents on the Holocaust collection extracts the text portion of the report which discussed this action.

Christoph Dieckmann describes the April 1943 action at Ponary on pp.1264-7 of Deutsche Besatzungspolitik, Bd. 2, quoting the KdS Litauen monthly report from LCVA 1399-1-61. He also quotes Sakowicz, just as Roberto did, plus other ghetto diarists, and interrogations from the EK 3 case.

Gerlach cites from two separate 2 page sections of Arad, Ghetto in Flames; I don't have that book, but it seems unlikely that Arad was solely relying on Rozauskas, especially when Rozauskas' document is simply a statistical table.

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

Dieckmann (whose book I acquired only after I had written the Ponary article) quotes from the KdS Litauen's report for April 1943 as follows (pp. 1266-1267):

"Im Berichtsmonat wurden die dem GK Litauen neu angegliederten Gebiete von Weißruthenen die Kreise Swencionis, Aschmena, Swir und Eischischkes, die Amtsbezirke Jaschunai und Turgelai des Krs. Wilna, die Amtsbez. Rudischki, Onuschki, Aukstadvaris und Semeliskis des Landkreises Traken judenfrei gemacht. Es handelt sich hier um partisanenbedrohte Gebiete, die nun restlos von Juden gesäubert sind. Es entstand dadurch ein 50-80 km breiter Grenzstreifen, der judenfrei gemacht worden ist. Die in den oben erwähnten Gebieten wohnhaft gewesenen Juden wurden zusammengezogen und nach arbeitseinsatzfähigen Kräften gesichtet. Die nicht einsatzfähigen Juden – rund 4000 – wurden am 5.4.1943 in Paneriai bei Wilna sonderbehandelt."

He further mentions that the KdS Litauen recorded 4,230 murdered Jews for April 1943.

Dieckmann gives two archival references:
LCVA-R-1399-1-26, fl. 55
LCVA-R-1399-1-26, fl. 126

The latter seems to be the statistical table reproduced in Documents Accuse, p. 273, which mentions 4,230 Jews under "Special Treatments".

I'll ask the LCVA to send me color copies of fl. 55 and fl. 126.

Then I'll update note 25 of my Ponary article.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

NT - "Gerlach cites from two separate 2 page sections of Arad, Ghetto in Flames; I don't have that book, but it seems unlikely that Arad was solely relying on Rozauskas,"

In both Ghetto in Flames [p.365] and Holocaust in the Soviet Union [p.316] Arad only cites Rozauskas for this document.

NT "especially when Rozauskas' document is simply a statistical table."

No, it's not. Following is the entire excerpt quoted by Rozauskas on pp.271-272, followed by his source:

"[Document] No. 133
From the Report of the Chief of the German Security Police and the Security Service in Lithuanua to the Reich Head Office in Berlin on the situation in Lithuania in April 1943.

4) Jews.
Department chief: SS-Obersturmführer Müller.
Referendary: SS-Hauptscharführer Stütz.

During the month covered by the present report the Byelorussian areas incorporated into the General District of Lithuania, i.e. Švenčionys, Ašmena, Svir, Eišiškės, Jašiūnai & Turgeliai districts of Vilnius Gebiet and & Turgeliai districts of Vilnius Gebiet and Rudiškės, Onuškis, Aukštadvaris & Semeliškės parishes of the district of Trakai, have been cleared of Jews. These areas which are under constant partisan menace are now completely clear of Jews. As a result we have now a border zone 50 to 80 kilometres wide which is free of any Jews.

The Jews who resided in the areas in question were concentrated at one place and sifted for people fit for work. The Jews which were found to be not fit for work, some 4,000, underwent special treatment at Paneriai on April 5, 1943. In this special action the Vilnius commando was seconded by representatives from Kaunas SS-Obersturmführer Müller, Sturmscharführer Porst, the Hauptscharführer Bornack and Stütz, Unterscharführer Wille and Reserve Police Seargent Heck. Unterscharführer Wille was attacked by a Jew who stabbed him twice in the back and once in the head. He was at once brought to the military hospital in Vilnius. His life is in no danger. A Lithuanian police officer was shot and wounded seriously during an attempted escape by some fifty Jews.

Two men and their Jewish wives tried with all the means at their disposal to camouflage their half-breed children as pure Aryans, and they had already succeeded in their endeavours though partially. With the help of documents, falsified biographies and official questionnaires they managed to get a job at German offices and to procure Aryan identity cards.


LTSR CVA, f. 1399, ap. 1, b. 26, l. 55. Original."


RM - "The latter seems to be the statistical table reproduced in Documents Accuse, p. 273, which mentions 4,230 Jews under "Special Treatments"."

How did you miss the text on previous two pages?

Nicholas Terry said...

Fine, I didn't turn the pages. My bad.

Publishing a table of stats on its own is something other East Bloc document collection compilers used to do quite often, e.g various examples in Norbert Mueller's Deutsche Besatzungspolitik.

BRoI: "In both Ghetto in Flames [p.365] and Holocaust in the Soviet Union [p.316] Arad only cites Rozauskas for this document."

But Gerlach's reference is to Arad 1980, S. 342-348, 357-68. Which is 18 pages.

His main text references the fact that Jews concentrated six months before in Oszmiana/Oschmiany were taken to Ponary; and that 1500 able-bodied Jews were taken to labour camps or the Wilno ghetto; neither of these pieces of information is in the Rozauskas extract of the April 1943 report in that form.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

NT - "But Gerlach's reference is to Arad 1980, S. 342-348, 357-68. Which is 18 pages."

The first range is within "PART FOUR — The 'Period of Stability,' January 1942 - March 1943", specifically: "Chapter 20. The Selective Aktionen". The second's within "PART FIVE — The Twilight and End of Vilna Jewry", specifically: "Chapter 21. The Liquidation of Small Ghettos and Labor Camps".

NT - "neither of these pieces of information is in the Rozauskas extract of the April 1943 report in that form."

Arad cites different sources re. other issues, unsurprisingly.

I can see no further mention of the April report other than on p.365.

Arad does cite "YIVO Archives, Occ, E3b-96" for the 31 July 1943 "Report of the Kommandeur der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD for Lithuania", p.368 and 369.

He repeatedly cites the 1947 Yiddish book Gerlach found a quote from, although it's not cited with regard to the April report.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

NT - "The KdS Litauen report for April 1943 is also in Arad et al (eds), Documents of the Holocaust, if I remember correctly."

It's not, but it does feature the aforementioned 31.07.43 report. This time Arad cites "YIVO Archives OccE3ba-96"
http://fotos.fotoflexer.com/7b8f77aa7d7ec48ff21f2dcd0ac1ef0e.jpg

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

«RM - "The latter seems to be the statistical table reproduced in Documents Accuse, p. 273, which mentions 4,230 Jews under "Special Treatments"."

How did you miss the text on previous two pages?»

Secondly because I only have an incomplete OCR of Documents Accuse, where this text appears without a page number after a blank page following page 265 and before a number of blank or mostly blank pages preceding page 273:

of Lithuania, i. e. Svencionys, Asmena, Svir, Eisisk.es, Ja- siunai & Turgeliai districts of Vilnius Gebiet and Rudiskes, Onuskis, Aukstadvaris & Semeliskes parishes of the district of Trakai, have been cleared of Jews. These areas which are under constant partisan menace are now completely clear of Jews. As a result we have now a border zone 50 to 80 kilometres wide which is free of any Jews.
The Jews who resided in the areas in question were concentrated at one place and sifted for people fit for work. The Jews which were found to be not fit for work, some 4,000, underwent special treatment at Paneriai on April 5, 1943. In this special action the Vilnius commando was seconded by representatives from Kaunas SS-Ober- sturmfiihrer Muller, Sturmscharfiihrer P o r s t, the Hauptscharfiihrer B o r n a c k and S t ii t z, Unterschar- fiihrer W i 11 e and Reserve Police Seargent Heck. Unter- scharfiihrer Wille was attacked by a Jew who stabbed him twice in the back and once in the head. He was at once brought to the military hospital in Vilnius. His life is in no danger. A Lithuanian police officer was shot and wounded seriously during an attempted escape by some fifty Jews.
Two men and their Jewish wives tried with all the means at their disposal to camouflage their half-breed children as pure Aryans, and they had already succeeded in their endeavours though partially. With the help of documents, falsified biographies and official questionnaires they managed to get a job at German offices and to procure Aryan identity cards.
LTSR CVA, f. 1399, ap. 1, b. 26, 1. 55. Original.
Vincas Grybas, one of Ihe most gifted Lithuanian scuiptors, was
also killed by the fascists.
Some 400 people were killed by the nazi invaders on the right bank of the Ne- munas, near Vilkija, in the summer of 1941.
UETUVIU LIAUD1S AM2IN Ai PR1SIM1NS FASlS TJNIO TERORO AUKAS
At the 6th fort in Kaunas the nazis starved to death some 35,000 prisoners of war.


And firstly because I have a more recent source than Documents Accuse (Dieckmann's book), where the relevant parts of the text appear in the original German and the current archival reference ("LCVA" instead of "LTSR CVA") is given.

With this archival reference, we'll hopefully have copies of the original pages (LCVA-R-1399-1-26, fl. 55 and fl. 126) very soon. I presume they are pages of a long report written by the KdS Litauen, so I'll also order copies of fls.1 to 4, to get the file’s cover page(s) and hopefully the first 2 or 3 pages of the report. And maybe the last page, if it's not fl. 126.

Nicholas Terry said...

BRoI: so basically, your original side-swipe at Gerlach - "In lieu of a real source, Gerlach cites 2 books in English and translated excerpt from a third, a 1947 book in Yiddish. Gerlach neglected to mention his first source cites his second as its own source!" - isn't justified.

Gerlach was working on Belorussia, not Lithuania, but Oszmiana went from one to the other, so he wrote part of a paragraph covering this border area. Instead of hassling his friend and co-editor Christoph Dieckmann for an archival document, he cited a published document edition with a translated source that specified an archival reference, which is pretty normal, and summarised chunks of Arad's book plus some Yizkor book extracts that he found in archival files, which informed the few sentences he wrote to put the Oszmiana-Ponary April 1943 shooting action into context.

Thanks for correcting me re: Documents of the Holocaust - I remembered there was a KdS Litauen report, but evidently not the April 1943 one.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Dieckmann gives two archival references:
LCVA-R-1399-1-26, fl. 55
LCVA-R-1399-1-26, fl. 126


Are you absolutely sure Dieckmann's quoting from the document?

Does he also cite *non-archival references*, say, Documents Accuse, and it's possible the quote is a reverse-translation?

The April 1943 massacre at Ponary is discussed a vast number of times, in separate entries, by different authors, in the 2000-odd pages of the USHMM EoC&G vol.2 [pts.1 & 2]. Dieckmann's 2002 PhD dissertation—which has the same title as his 2011 book: Deutsche Besatzungspolitik in Litauen 1941– 1944—is cited scores-upon-scores of times, Dieckmann even co-authors several articles in the encyclopedia. Not once is this document ever mentioned let alone cited. The references provided for the massacre are Arad, Documents Accuse, the diarists, books in Yiddish or [presumably] Lithuanian, and indirectly, post-war Soviet or German trial records.

GB freeview reveals that Joachim Tauber in Arbeit als Hoffnung: Jüdische Ghettos in Litauen 1941-1944 [2015] cites the report at least four times; providing info I've not read elsewhere but not—seemingly—quoting the original text of the part Arad made famous:

"Jetzt lebten noch rund 44 000 Juden in Litauen, von denen um die 30 000 im Arbeitseinsatz standen.[2572] Die Bedeutung dieses Einsatzes war auch den Polizeibehörden klar, denn der SD berichtete gleichzeitig mit der Liquidierung der kleinen Ghettos über den Bedarf an jüdischen Arbeitern, die weitere Durchführung von Facharbeiterkursen in den Ghettos und die verstärkte Heranziehung von Frauen zur Arbeit.[2573]
2572. Vgl. LCVA R-1399, ap. 1, b. 26, Bl. 55, Der Kommandeur der Sicherheitspolizei u. d. SD — Litauen — an das Reichssicherheitshauptamt — Kommandostab, Betr.: Lagebericht für die Zeit vom 1. bis 30.4.1943 vom 30. April 1943: ,... im Ghetto Kauen 15 875, im Ghetto Wilna 23 950 und im Ghetto Schaulen 4 759 ..., [...]
2573. Vgl. LCVA R-1399, ap. 1, b. 26. BI. 55, Der Kommandeur der Sicherheitspolizei u. d. SD - Litauen — an das
[remainder unavailable]"


"Als die Liquidierung der kleinen Ghettos im April 1943 in Vilnius bekannt wurde, schürte das die, wie sich bald zeigen sollte, berechtigte Angst vor neuen Aktionen.[216: Vgl. LCVA R-1399, ap. 1, b. 26, Bl. 55, Der Kommandeur der Sicherheitspolizei u. d. SD - Litauen - an das Reichssicherheitshauptamt - Kommandostab, Betr.: Lagebericht für die Zeit vom 1. bis 30.4. 1943 vom 30. April 1943.]"


"Im Frühjahr 1943 wurde die endgültige Liquidierung der verbliebenen kleineren Ghettos und Arbeitslager in Vilnius-Land durchgeführt. Zwischen dem 26. März und dem 2.April 1943 wurden 1250 Menschen aus diesen Ghettos, darunter auch dem in Svenäonys, in das Ghetto Vilnius transportiert [90: Arad, Ghetto, S.359], ein weiterer Teil (1459 Personen) wurde in andere Ghettos gebracht, die übrigen Ghettoinsassen (ca. 4000 Menschen) wurden in Paneriai bei Vilnius am 5.April 1943 ermordet.[91: Vgl. LCVA R-1399, ap. 1, b. 26, Bl. 55, Der Kommandeur der Sicherheitspolizei u. d. SD - Litauen - an das Reichssicherheitshauptamt - Kommandostab, Betr.: Lagebericht für die Zeit vom 1. bis 30.4. 1943 vom 30. April 1943. Vgl. auch Arad, Holocaust, S. 315ff. Der Bericht eines Vilniuser Juden, der in Paneriai nach den Morden auf Anweisung von Martin Weiss „Ordnung" schaffen mußte, bei Kaczerginski, Hurbn, S. 22f. Zu den Liquidierungen vgl. auch Arad, Ghetto, S. 355ff.]"





Nicholas Terry said...

No, Dieckmann cites from LCVA for the KdS Litauen reports. He has a table in Bd. 1 presenting the arrests/executions for all categories across 1943, drawn from the series of reports.

There's an extract from the 4.43 KdS Litauen report in Ludwigsburg's Dokumentensammlung UdSSR, in B 162/5624. No coversheet, the extract starts with 4.) Juden on p.52 of the *German* pagination. The stats are paginated as p.61, the top of each page is clipped so any Lithuanian archival pencilled-in pagination is not visible in these copies.

I would guess that the stat tables were collated at the end of the file for some reason.


The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

re. Gerlach. Well, perhaps. I should have restricted the persiflage to RM — for citing Gerlach when his own book features Gerlach's accessible sources.

Okay, so you're on record stating that Dieckmann ONLY cites docs in the LCVA for the 30.4.43 report quote, and the statistics table. I'll hold you to that. Presumably Dieckmann provides the actual date of the report, as Tauber did. Can you quote him doing it so, with the vol. and page nos?

The ZSL made-do with a copy of a single page from a multiple paged report! What a joke.

Does "B 162/5624" concern any particular investigation and trial? I see JuNSV:FGR:6:192a:p.79 states "Sie verwandten dabei den bei der Dienststelle gebräuchlichen Meldestil, der statt der Bezeichnung "Erschiessung" den Ausdruck "Sonderbehandlung" vorsah." Would that be a reference to the 30.4 report and the table, even though they both, apparently, state "Sonderbehandelt"?

It would be interesting to know if Dieckmann features the quote, table, and same citations, in his PhD dissertation. Considering the absence of any mention of them in the EoC&G that relies heavily on his study, and in which he co-authored an article with the senior editor that discuses Ponary. Can you access it?

Nicholas Terry said...

Gerlach, Roberto, Jon's citations regarding Oszmiana-Ponary show there are many ways to skin a cat. The references all got the job done.

Dieckmann doesn't cite the 4.43 report from anywhere other than LCVA. This is Deutsche Besatzungspolitik, Bd. 2, pp.1264-1267, notes 70-85, the April 1943 report is quoted on pp.1266-7, note 81, citing as Roberto said LCVA, R 1399-1-26, Bl. 55, 126; an aside in the previous note 80 regarding injured SS men is backed up with p.55. The text portion on p.55 says 'rund 4.000' and 'sonderbehandelt'. The stats table says 4.230 Jews sonderbehandelt in the month - some could well have been executed elsewhere that month for all I know.

The Dokumentensammlungen aren't necessarily linked to any specific trial; however Dokumentensammlung Verschiedenes includes a variety of document volumes *from* specific trials, copied from prosecutors' offices to Ludwigsburg. Case files very often include copies of relevant documents, and some have document volumes attached.

B 162/5624 has a variety of documents re Wilno and Lithuania, but this doesn't mean that another file might not have a fuller set. The document volumes can indeed sometimes throw in fragments - the documents were copied and sent out, or sent back, and so sometimes things are a mess, but they're invaluable supplementary resources. The typical copies from Polish/Soviet archives generally include file cover sheets; by contrast the preservation of folder coversheets or microfilm start-sheets from NARA copies is more inconsistent, and the archivists do what I used to do namely write on the top of the first page which reel the source came from; usually lopping off the frame count stamp at the top.

Case 192a was a 1967 retrial of a 1950 case, which means documents from Lithuania might have been available, but investigators asked about 'Sonderbehandlung' a lot, from 1945 onwards. The YIVO Occ E3 ba-96 copy of KdS Litauen's July 1943 report could easily have been passed on to the relevant prosecutors, since there are multiple copies of the YIVO Occ documents for the Ostland in different case files and document collections in Ludwigsburg.

Not every relevant source is included in the USHMM Encyclopedia, so the omission of any particular source doesn't mean that much. Transfers to Oszmiana come up in a number of entries, and at least one entry cites Sakowicz's diary on this. USHMM have had a microfilm copy of LCVA fond R 1399/1 since 2000: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn502491

Dieckmann had undoubtedly done his basic LCVA research by the time he finished his PhD; he's been publishing on Lithuania extensively since the 1990s. I've known him since 2002, and gave him a few leads and copies of Wehrmacht sources which found their way into the book, which is why I'm in the index for thanks in notes on p.187 and 375 of Bd. 1. But the notion that he hadn't looked at LCVA R1399-1-26 for his dissertation is risible. German PhDs of his vintage would be accessible through the relevant university library, in his case, Freiburg.

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

«Dieckmann gives two archival references:
LCVA-R-1399-1-26, fl. 55
LCVA-R-1399-1-26, fl. 126

Are you absolutely sure Dieckmann's quoting from the document?

Does he also cite *non-archival references*, say, Documents Accuse, and it's possible the quote is a reverse-translation?»


I didn’t see any non-archival reference for the excerpt from the KdS report or the information that the KdS recorded 4,230 specially treated Jews for April 1943, so I consider that unlikely. Anyway, there’s a good chance that we’ll soon have the original text from the LCVA, so you can compare it with Dieckmann’s translation.

«re. Gerlach. Well, perhaps. I should have restricted the persiflage to RM — for citing Gerlach when his own book features Gerlach's accessible sources.»

Big deal, also because I didn't write that chapter of “my own book”, and that "book" was published quite a while ago.

What’s the purpose of your “persiflage”, by the way? Do you get kicks out of wisecracking?

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

«Dieckmann’s translation»

That was meant to read "transcription", of course.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

NT - "investigators asked about 'Sonderbehandlung' a lot, from 1945 onwards. The YIVO Occ E3 ba-96 copy of KdS Litauen's July 1943 report could easily have been passed on to the relevant prosecutors,"

The excerpt quoted in Documents of the Holocaust doesn't feature any variation of "special treatment", and outright states Jews were shot. So, it's an unlikely candidate for what the judgment I quoted was referring to: "Sie verwandten dabei den bei der Dienststelle gebräuchlichen Meldestil, der statt der Bezeichnung "Erschiessung" den Ausdruck "Sonderbehandlung" vorsah."

As you didn't answer my request for Dieckmann's dating of the report, I'll have to take it he doesn't give the precise date Joachim Tauber gives, 30.04.43, and just goes with April 1943.

NT -"the notion that he hadn't looked at LCVA R1399-1-26 for his dissertation is risible."

Having read his overview of the archival material concerning the Holocaust in Lithuanian, I agree that such a notion is indeed risible.

The black art of citing original docs whilst actually quoting from a secondary source, including old and potentially suspect photostats, is a notorious minefield—as well as being completely unethical—even if a person did once see the original, but neglected to transcribe/photocopy it for themselves.

----------------------

RM - "Anyway, there’s a good chance that we’ll soon have the original text from the LCVA, so you can compare it with Dieckmann’s"

Perhaps you'll consider persuading NT to give you the the BArch's old photostats from his USHMM microfilm and posting them alongside your new LCVA copies.

RM - Do you get kicks out of wisecracking?
Yes, Baron von Richthofen, I do.
https://youtu.be/mlWhswW2fEA?t=57s

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

«RM - "Anyway, there’s a good chance that we’ll soon have the original text from the LCVA, so you can compare it with Dieckmann’s"

Perhaps you'll consider persuading NT to give you the the BArch's old photostats from his USHMM microfilm and posting them alongside your new LCVA copies.»

Nick may want to post them himself, or not.

«RM - Do you get kicks out of wisecracking?
Yes, Baron von Richthofen, I do.
https://youtu.be/mlWhswW2fEA?t=57s»

Is that supposed to be humor? Duh …

Nicholas Terry said...

@BRoI: I'd have to look up the judgement to see the exact context for the quote about Sonderbehandlung, and the case file would make it clear whether the investigators had copies of documents from Lithuania by 1966-67 for the retrial.

As a rule of thumb, documents might come from republics like Belorussia earlier on, but the Moscow archives weren't accessed by West Germans until 1968-1969, which is when big batches of documents from the Osboyi Arkhiv and ChGK arrived - these became ZStL Dokumentensammlung UdSSR, film numbers in the low 400's.

As an aside, YIVO Occ E3ba-96 is not a monthly report but was titled 'Allgemeine Lage und Stimmung der Bevoelkerung'. YIVO OCC E3ba-97 is however a KdS Litauen Lagebericht fuer die Zeit vom 1. bis 31.3.1944, 31.3.1944 monthly report, with the familiar table of stats including Sonderbehandlung.

I forgot to comment on the dating - but you are right that Dieckmann did not include the date of the April 1943 report when discussing Oszmiana-Ponary, he does however include the dates of other KdS Litauen Lageberichte in some tables presented in Bd.1.

"Perhaps you'll consider persuading NT to give you the the BArch's old photostats from his USHMM microfilm and posting them alongside your new LCVA copies."

The access agreement for the Bundesarchiv copies (from whichever site, Berlin-Lichterfelde or Ludwigsburg) via USHMM would require seeking further permission to publish any documents. Roberto has sought permission from LCVA to publish documents he's ordered from there, including this latest file.

I forgot that the Lithuanian archives portal has an online exhibition of selected documents on the Vilnius ghetto and it so happens that Doc 21 presents the coversheet and p.55 of the April 1943 report: http://www.archyvai.lt/lt/lya_parodos/vilniaus-getas.html
but doesn't present the stats table. However this is from LYA, f. K-1, ap.46, b. 1290, l. 30, 32, so there seem to be two copies of the document in the

The ZStL copy is obviously the same report that is presented here, in any case.

Nicholas Terry said...

Note that the online copy from LYA, f. K-1, ap.46, b. 1290, l. 30, 32 has '55' crossed out and replaced with '32', LYA = LIETUVOS YPATINGASIS ARCHYVAS, Lithuanian Special Archive, so this version is probably a copy, the LCVA R 1399-1-26 file presumably holds the original.

Nicholas Terry said...

BRoI: "The black art of citing original docs whilst actually quoting from a secondary source, including old and potentially suspect photostats, is a notorious minefield—as well as being completely unethical—even if a person did once see the original, but neglected to transcribe/photocopy it for themselves."

I've been working in archives for nearly 20 years now, experiencing the transition from photocopying/printing to scanning and digital cameras, and now to fully digitised files.
There isn't a 'black art' as you put it, but mistakes do happen, and were more likely to happen in the old era of note-taking/photocopying, than in the current era of increasing digitisation.

Since 2000 when I first started working with Nuremberg document photostats, the issue of copies vs originals has arisen. The proliferation of copies for trials and investigations, not to mention the digitisation of personal papers on Yad Vashem which might include photocopies of certain documents, mean that the same source could be cited from several different places, and these days there are sources I have from multiple locations.

A couple of examples. There is a famous report by the Gebietskommissar Slonim, Erren, from January 1942, discussing the November 1941 action there. The original is in CDJC, now Memorial de la Shoah. I looked it up on the CDJC microfilms at USHMM, but found that the copy was totally unreadable and I did not take a print-off. Martin Dean wrote the USHMM Encyclopedia article on Slonim, but he cites WCIU files, and the WCIU practice was to get certified copies for investigations - he cites this doc from CDJC. The document is excerpted in Schoenberner, Wir haben es gesehen, and was more recently included in VEJ 8. I recently found this in the ZStL case on Slonim, in a copy from the StA Hamburg Sonderbaende, which is where Gerlach cites this from in Kalkulierte Morde. So now I'd cite from BArch B 162, and might make a bracketed aside about the unreadable USHMM microfilm of the CDJC original if I had space. I might make a note of the VEJ 8 transcription, but they cite from CDJC.

The KdS Litauen 4.43 report I'd have cited until recently from Rozauskas, a straightforward document edition citation. Since the LYA exhibition is online and looks permanent enough, I'd use this likely together with the B 162/5624 citation. The latter doesn't have the coverpage, and in cases where the *original* archival document lacks the coversheet one paraphrases a description. Here it's not necessary. But I'd be uncomfortable about writing 'KdS Litauen III A 1, Lagebericht, 30.4.1943, BArch B 162/5624' since that file doesn't have the coversheet. I'd cite this as

KdS Litauen III A 1, Lagebericht, 30.4.1943, BArch B 162/5624, p.x (fragment), also LYA K-1-46-1290, pp.30, 32, online at http://www.archyvai.lt/lt/lya_parodos/vilniaus-getas.html (Doc. 21)

If Roberto gets the scans from LCVA and shared them, I'd cite it as
KdS Litauen III A 1, Lagebericht, 30.4.1943, LCVA R 1399-1-26, pp.55, 126 (I thank Roberto Muehlenkamp for copies), fragment also BArch B 162/5624, p.x, partially facsimiled online
from LYA K-1-46-1290, pp.30, 32 at http://www.archyvai.lt/lt/lya_parodos/vilniaus-getas.html (Doc. 21)
and cut the latter two references if there were space issues.