Thursday, September 25, 2008

How Many Perpetrators in the USSR? - Part Six: Zhytomyr

Having discussed the regions of Belorussia and Ukraine, I now discuss the findings of the more localised study within Ukraine by Wendy Lower, which focussed on the Zhytomyr oblast. This complements the work of other Ukraine specialists such as Pohl, Berkhoff and Dean, available in this collection, but with greater detail in this particular oblast.

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Lower begins with the period under military administration, and notes (p.56) how the following structure was implemented, consisting of three Wehrmacht Security Divisions and associated Police Battalions:

1. In Zhytomyr, Security Division 454 incorporated Police Battalion 82, and also contained Infantry Regiment 375, Geheime Feldpolizei [army secret field police] units 708, 721 and 730, and Landesschuetzen [defence unit] Battalions 286, 406 and 566; and Regiment 102;

2. In Berdychiv, Security Division 213 collaborated with Police Battalions 318 and 45;

3. In Vinnytsia, Security Division 444 worked with Battalions 45, 311 and 314.

4. In addition, the 1st SS Infantry Brigade (Waffen-SS Infantry Regiments 8 and 10) joined forces with the 6th Army in the northern part of the region.

Battalion 82 conducted its first "manhunts" in Zhytomyr from July 19, 1941, on the orders of Wehrmacht city commander Josef Riedl.

On August 7, 400 Jews were massacred in Zhytomyr following the public execution of two Jews in the market square. Significantly, those involved in organizing this massacre included Blobel (Sk 4a) and the Sixth Army medical staff, most notably Dr. Panning, who had tested live explosives on prisoners.

In September, Battalion 45 worked alongside Jeckeln's Stabskompanie
in the massacre at Berdychiv, which was partially organized by the city's ethnic German mayor, Reder, and his Ukrainian chief of police, Koroliuk (p.77). In the same month, HSSPF units liquidated 3,353 Jews in the Ovruch part of the region (p.78).

As in Belorussia and across other parts of Ukraine, local auxiliaries and administrators were crucial to Nazi policy. Each gendarme station had between 50 and 80 Schutzmannschaften (p.104). By September 1942, the number of Schutzmaenner in the Zhytomyr region had grown to 5,200, but this more than tripled again to reach 16,400 by April 1943, whilst the number of gendarme leaders by that latter date had grown to approximately 1,100 (p.135).

1 comment:

  1. The Josef Riedl mentioned above, as you know, was also the Feldkommandant who in Byelaya Tserkov seems to have initiated the murder of the Jewish population in August, culminating in the infamous massacre of ~90 children (aged 6 und under or so). He was an old Nazi, from what I have been able to find out, from Austria and an SA man in the past. He served as a career officer in the k.u.k. army. Obviously the killings were not driven only by him. I am curious about what ties if any existed between him and people like HSSPF Jeckeln, SK 4a commander Paul Blobel, among others operating in the area. Together, they seem to have been major drivers of the acceleration in the scope and quantity of mass murder in July and August 1941.


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