Sunday, December 25, 2011

Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. Holocaust Denial and Operation Reinhard. Chapter 2: Nazi Policy (6). Killing of Soviet Jews, August–December 1942.

Killing of Soviet Jews, August-December 1942

Policy developments in the second half of 1942 took place against the backdrop of a massive killing action in GK Wolhynien-Podolien, which contained most of the Polesie province and the entire Wolyn (Volhynia) province that had formerly belonged to Poland.[243] The killings are particularly significant because they prove that Nazi policy was now to kill working Jews as well as non-working ones. The number of Jews in this region was recorded as 330,000 in March 1942[244] and 326,000 in May 1942.[245] Most of those Jews were dead by the end of November. Their deaths were included in Himmler’s Meldung 51, whose total of 363,211 deaths also included approximately 70,000 Jews from Bezirk Bialystok.[246]
The largest killing actions occurred after a meeting in Lutsk on August 28-30, 1942. This was headed by Koch's representative Paul Dargel and attended by Pütz, and ordered a "100% solution" to the Jewish Question in the region, to be implemented within five weeks, with just a two-month stay of execution for 'specialists' after each Aktion.[247] The first major Aktion in the Polesie following this conference took place in Domachevo, a spa town 25 miles south of Brest which had 3,316 Jewish inhabitants in February 1942. The fate of most of these Jews was documented in a Gendarmerie report dated October 6, 1942:
On September 19-20, 1942, an anti-Jewish Aktion was carried out in Domachevo and Tomashovka by a special commando of the SD together with the cavalry squadron of the Gendarmerie and the local police stationed in Domachevo, and in total, some 2,900 Jews were shot. The action took place without any disturbance.
The Aktion included the slaughter of Jewish children from an orphanage, whose clothes were then handed to ethnic German children attending a kindergarten in Domachevo.[248] The Stadtkommissar for Brest, Franz Burat, wrote a response to the massacre which indicated that he and his SS counterpart, Rohde, were still making futile attempts to retain Jews for essential work in Brest. Burat stated that the "sudden liquidation" of the Jews of Domachevo and Tomashovka had caused "profound distress" among the Jews of Brest who strove desperately "to prove their indispensability" through "a model organization of Jewish workshops." Burat continued, “I must unconditionally plead for the retention of the most needed artisans and manpower.”[249] These pleadings were in vain. The population reductions that took place in Brest are documented in the local archives. In November 1941, the Jewish population of Brest was 17,574.[250] In February 1942, the population was 18,000, a figure that may have been rounded-up.[251] Andrea Simon examined the local food distribution report for June 5, 1942, showing 16,973 Jews,[252] reduced from 17,724 for the period March 24 to April 23, 1942, whilst Garrard & Garrard reproduced the ledger for October 15-16, 1942, which they described as follows:
This document is one of the most horrifying discovered at Brest, for it represents the complicity in mass murder of men who sat behind their desks throughout the entire process. Across the top of each page are the names of ethnic groups in Brest. The clerk has been ordered to keep a running total for each group: he records how many had 'arrived' and how many had 'departed' for each day. The total population is given in the right-hand column. As of 15 October 1942 the total population is 41,091. Of this total, 16,934 are designated in the column for Jews (Zydowsk). But then the clerk learns that this total is wrong. He has made a mistake in writing 16,934. In fact, all the Jews in the ghetto have now 'departed'. The clerk corrects his mistake; he strikes through 16,934 and writes in '0'. He then subtracts this figure of 16,934 from 41,091 and writes in the correct number of people alive in Brest now - 24,157. It is unlikely that the clerk did not know what had happened to these thousands of people, even if he was not sure exactly when and where they had been executed. Thus, with a single stroke of a pen, 16,934 people are erased.
Furthermore, Garrard & Garrard found that the reduction of 16.934 in the ghetto liquidation corresponded to the volume of transports from Brest to the killing site:
According to documents in the Brest archives, from late June to November 1942 a total of seven trains transported Jews to be executed at Bronnaya Gora. Three of these trains are said to have carried people from Brest - two trains consisting of 40 and 13 cars in July, and a third consisting of 28 cars in October. How many Jews from the Brest ghetto were transported in the three trains? If we say that close to 200 people were crushed into each car, then we arrive at a total of 8,000 people in the first train, 2,600 in the second, and 5,600 in the third. There is no way of knowing how many people had already died of starvation and sickness before July 1942, or were shot in and near Brest before October 1942 But the total number transported by this estimate (16,200) does approximate the figure given in the Brest Town Administration's 'Accounting and Control Book of Population Movement'...[253]
Moreover, these figures were corroborated by Polish railway worker, Roman Stanislavovich Novis, the former station master at Bronnaia Gora, who claimed to have counted 186 railroad cars arriving at Bronnaia Gora from various locations, and that his German successor as station master, Heil, had told him that 48,000 people were shot there.[254] Finally, these demographics are supported by the Brest Ghetto Passport Archive, which consists of a list of Jews of 14 years of age and above living in the Brest Ghetto, who were required to obtain and sign for identity papers, which included their names, ages, and the names and dates of birth of their parents.[255] A photo of each person was taken and all those receiving these internal passports were required to sign for them. The list contains 12,258 names. When the omitted children are added to this total, we have a baseline figure for the number of Brest Jews murdered in the second half of 1942.
In Treblinka, Mattogno fusses over the fact that old people and children appear in the Brest ghetto list.[256] However, this is a red herring because the evidence cited by Andrea Simon and Garrard & Garrard revealed that children had been killed in the liquidation. Many were killed in the city instead of being sent to Bronnaya Gora.[257] We can infer from this that the families of essential workers received exemptions and that the civilian authorities in Brest had attempted to run a productive ghetto prior to the order to liquidate it.  This is confirmed by the protest of the Stadtkommissar for Brest, Franz Burat, noted above, when the Jews of neighbouring Domachevo and Tomashovka had been shot. It is therefore a strawman to state that, because some ghettos had exemptions for family members of workers, there was not a general policy of killing unfit Jews.
In early November, the remaining 26,200 Jews of Pinsk were exterminated as a result of this Himmler order:
OKW has informed me that region of Brest-Gomel suffers increasingly from gang attacks, which bring into question the need for additional troops. On the basis of the news, which has been reported to me, one must regard in the Ghetto of Pinsk the centre for the movement of the gangs in the region of the Pripyat marshes.
Therefore I order, in spite of economic considerations, the destruction and obliteration of the Ghetto of Pinsk. 1000 male workers may be spared, in the event that the operation allows for this, to be made available to the Wehrmacht, for the production of wooden prefabricated huts. These 1000 men must be kept in a well-guarded camp, and if security not be maintained, these 1000 are to be destroyed.[258]
The results were documented in the Erfahrungsbericht of Hauptmann der Schutzpolizei Helmut Saur of Polizeibataillon 310.[259] The dating of the Pinsk massacre confirms the fact that Himmler and Koch had planned the beginning of the Bialystok deportation (November 2, 1942) to coincide with the end of the extermination phase in GK Wolhynien-Podolien. Koch was the head of RK East Prussia (which incorporated Bialystok) as well as RK Ukraine.

[243] Shmuel Spector, The Holocaust of Volhynian Jews 1941-1944. Jerusalem, 1990, esp. pp.141-8; Gerlach, Kalkulierte Morde, pp.709-23.
[244] Stadtkommissar Brest, Niederschrift ueber die zweite Tatung in Luzk 27-29.3.42, 13.4.1942, BA R 6/243, p. 10R
[245] Meldungen aus den besetzten Ostgebieten Nr. 5, 29.5.1942, NA T175/235/2724430; cf. Dean, Collaboration in the Holocaust, p.195.
[246] Der Reichsführer-SS, Meldungen an den Führer über Bandenbekämpfung, Meldung Nr. 51 Russland-Süd, Ukraine, Bialystok. Bandenbekämpfungserfolge vom 1.9 bis 1.12.42, 23.12.1942, NO-511, also translated in NMT, Vol. XIII, p. 269-272, also T/338. The 292,263 Jews killed before 1.11.42 were almost exclusively from RKU whilst those from Bezirk Bialystok were killed in November; cf. Kruglov, ‘Jewish Losses’, p.289 n.12.
[247] Stadtkommissar Brest, Aktenvermerk über die Sitzung am 28-31.8.42, 4.9.1942, BA R6/243, p.21; the Lutsk meeting was preceded by a conference of Erich Koch and the RK Ukraine staff emphasising the food situation, an important ‘accelerator’ for the extermination campaign in Volhynia (Vernerk über die Tagung in Rowno vom 26-28.8.1942, 264-PS, IMT XXV, pp.325-27); cf. Christian Gerlach, ‘Die Bedeutung der deutschen Ernährungspolitik für die Beschleunigung des Mordes an den Juden 1942. Das Generalgouvernement und die Westukraine’ in Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord. Forschungen zur deutschen Vernichtungspolitik im Zweiten Weltkrieg, Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 1998, pp.237-245.
[248] Gendarmerie-GebietsFührer Brest-Litovsk, Lagebericht für Monat Oktober 1942, 6.10.42 NARA T454/102/980;  Gebietskommissar Brest-Litovsk Lagebericht, 9.10.42, NARA T454/103/204-5; cf. Martin Dean, ‘Soviet Ethnic Germans and the Holocaust in Reich Commissariat Ukraine’, in Ray Brandon and Wendy Lower (eds.) The Shoah in Ukraine, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008, p.259.
[249] Gebietskommissar Brest-Litovsk Lagebericht, 9.10.42, NARA T454/103/205; cf. Browning, Nazi Policy, p.138.
[250] Stadtkommissar Brest, Betr.: Lage-Bericht, 21.11.41 NARA T454/103/7.
[251] Ernährungsamt Brest-Litowsk, Statistischer Bericht, 28.2.42 NARA T454/103/65-66.
[252] Andrea Simon, Bashert. A Granddaughter’s Holocaust Quest. Jackson, Mississippi, 2002, p.170, citing the statistics report of the Brest Town Administration on the distribution of provisions, 5.6.42 Each Jew received 1,050 grams of bread per week, produced by four bakeries and distributed from nine posts inside the ghetto. Brest archives.
[253] John Garrard and Carol Garrard, 'Barbarossa's first victims: The Jews of Brest', East European Jewish Affairs, 1998, 28/2, p. 33, citing Brest Town Administration, 'Accounting and Control Book of Population Movement', entry for 16.10.42, in Brest oblast archives.
[254] Simon, Bashert, pp.189-91, citing testimony of Roman Stanislavovich Novis, 12.9.44, Soviet Extraordinary Commission, Region of Bronnaia Gora, the Brest Region.
[255] Simon, Bashert, p.169, citing ‘Brest Ghetto List, Administrative Department of the City of Brest, Book of Records of Distributed Passports, Started November 10, 1941, ended June 5, 1942’; online at .
[256] M&G, Treblinka, p.214.
[257] Garrard and Garrard, ‘Barbarossa’s First Victims’, pp.35-37.
[258] Der Reichsführer-SS an den HSSPF Ukraine, 27.10.1942, gez. H. Himmler, NARA T175/81/2601774, also NO-2027 and published in Helmut Heiber (ed), Reichsführer!...’ Briefe an und von Himmler. Stuttgart, 1968, p.165.
[259] Erfahrungsbericht, n.d., gez. Hauptman der Schutzpolizei und Kompanie-Chef Saur, GARF 7021-148-2, pp.355-6, also USSR-119a, copy and English translation in YVA O.18/4; on Battalion 310’s operations at this time see Edward B. Westermann, ‘ "Ordinary Men" or "Ideological Soldiers"? Police Battalion 310 in Russia, 1942’, German Studies Review, 21/1, Feb., 1998, pp.41-68; Curilla, Ostland, pp.655-675

No comments:

Post a comment

Please read our Comments Policy