Friday, April 22, 2011

The Holocaust in Lida, 1942-43

The fate of the Jews of Lida was documented in the trial of Werner and Windisch, the findings of which are reproduced by Irene Newhouse here. On 8th April, 1943, GebK Hanweg reported:
Das Gebeit Lida hatte eine Zahl von 20000 juden. Sie wurden in einer einmaligen aktion von fuenf Tagen im Mai vorigen jahres bis auf einen Rest von 4500 erledigt.[Gerlach, Kalkulierte Morde, p.695n.).
Newhouse translates this as:
The district of Lida had a population of 20,000 Jews. They were done away with [erledigt], but for 4,500 of them, in a one-time, 5-day Aktion in May of the previous year.
Hanweg then reported that 4,419 Jews remained alive as of 8th April, 1943.
Hanweg's report converges with Kube's letter to Lohse (3428-PS), which states:
In the predominantly Polish area of Lida, 16,000 Jews were liquidated, in Slonim, 8,000, etc.
Most of the 4,419 survivors were deported to the Lublin region in the Autumn of 1943. The fate of those sent to Sobibor was revealed by German engineer, Otto Weissbecker, cited in Schelvis, Sobibor, p.219, who testified that "A woman told me that the Jews would end up in the rose garden" and that:
Although I had been promised skilled laborers, I got 630 workers without any experience, including women. The children stayed back at Sobibor. The commandant assured me that they would be allowed to visit their relatives every six weeks. In the dining barracks there was a large map of the camp from which I could tell that the 1,400 Jews who had been brought in by Bache the day before could not possibly have been housed in the barracks that were there. When I asked the commandant where he would house the Jews I was to leave behind, he explained that none of the 1,400 Jews from the day before were still there. I was ordered to bring the Jews in my charge to Trawniki, and half of them did actually stay there. I took the rest back to Lublin into a camp that was a Haltstelle [emphasis mine - JH].
Part of Weissbecker's testimony, as quoted by Schelvis, appears in Mattogno, Graf and Kues' Sobibor on page 310 but the key text that reveals the fate of the Sobibor Jews is omitted. They have an ellipsis where the text from "The commandant assured me" to "he explained that none of the 1,400 Jews from the day before were still there" would have fitted. This indicates that MGK regard that omitted passage as incriminating their Nazi heroes.

In conclusion, the evidence presented above converges with other facts that we already know about White Ruthenia/Belorussia. Most Lida Jews were killed in May 1942, as reported not only by Hanweg but also by Kube. There were only 16,000 Jews left in the whole of White Ruthenia in July 1943 (NO-1831), and thousands of these were in Lida working for the Wehrmacht. The deportation of the Jews to the Lublin area is documented not only by Weissbecker and other witnesses, but also by KdS Erich Isselhorst, as shown here. Weissbecker's evidence tells us that, although some work Jews were granted a delayed death in Trawniki and other labor camps, the children from his transport were killed on arrival at Sobibor, as was obviously the intention. Children were not being resettled in the "Russian East" in the Autumn of 1943; death can have been the only fate of these children. This is obviously why MGK cannot bear to quote the incriminating part of his testimony.

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