Tuesday, January 13, 2015

German Extermination Planning for Romanian Jews

On August 13th, 1942, the Krakauer Zeitung published a statement on the status of Romania's policy towards Jews which stated that "185,000 Jews have been evacuated since October of last year (i.e. 1941) into Transnistria, where they were housed in large ghettos until an opportunity arose for their removal further east. Today there still remain 272,409 Jews in the country. . . Both the provinces of Bessarabia and Bukovina can now be considered as free of Jews, excepting Czernowitz, where there are still about 16,000. . . It may be assumed that even during the present year a further 80,000 Jews could be removed to the Eastern Territories." This source has been cited by Mattogno and Graf here, who use Kulischer as their source, and by Kues here, who uses an article by Shechtman for the information. However, MGK, Kulischer and Shechtman all seemed unaware of the fact that phrase "removal further east" and "removed to the Eastern Territories" could only be euphemisms for killing.

This is why. On August 30th, 1941, Germany and Romania reached an agreement that "Deportation of Jews across the Bug is not possible at present. They must, therefore, be collected in concentration camps and set to work, until a deportation to the east is possible after the end of operations" (3319-PS; German text scanned in Eichmann trial document T/1002). On October 17th, Richter advised that "According to information today from director General Lecca, 110,000 Jews are being evacuated from Bukovina and Bessarabia into two forests in the Bug River Area. As far as he could learn, this action is based upon an order issued by Marshal Antonescu. Purpose of the action is the liquidation of these Jews" (3319-PS). There was thus no doubt that Jews deported to Transnistria were being sent there to die, not to be moved farther east.

The Germans would never accept the transfer of Jews from Romanian occupied Transnistria into German occupied Ukraine. This can be affirmed by Eichmann's complaint of April 14, 1942, concerning the wild expulsions of Romanian Jews across the border, scanned as T/1013. Meanwhile, Jews died in huge numbers in Transnistria, often at the hands of ethnic German forces, as shown here and here. In May, Rademacher learned that 28,000 Jews had been liquidated in Transnistria, as shown by the handwritten note scribbled on to the document T/1014: "Nach Transnistrien wurden die 28 000 Juden in deutsche Dörfer gebracht! Inzwischen wurden sie liquidiert [transcription also here]." According to Christopher Browning, this note was written by Helmut Triska, of D VIII, who testified to that effect in 1949; moreover, a few days after Triska's note, Bräutigam advised that "A considerable portion of the Jews in Transnistria have died" (Browning, p.93, citing NG-4817 and  T 120/6737/E510802).

In summer 1942, the Germans through Richter gained Antonescu's consent to begin deporting Jews from Romania to Belzec. A telex received by Luther from Rintelen quoted a report by the Chief of the Security Police and the SD, dated July 26, 1942, addressed to Himmler, stating that Jews would be sent to Distrikt Lublin and non-working Jews would be “subjected to special treatment” [source: T/1023]. This was followed by the conference chaired by Klemm in September that produced the document that was subsequently published in French in Bucharest in 1944 in the version shown here. Klemm's document mentions Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka by name and also gives the route for Romanian Jews as including Sniatyn. This routing was doubly significant because the Sniatyn ghetto was liquidated on September 7, 1942, the same month that Romanian deportations to Lublin had originally been scheduled.

These plans were ultimately shelved when Antonescu became nervous about the progress of the war, but there is no doubt that the Germans wanted to exterminate the Jews at Belzec and that many tens of thousands of other Jews deported by Antonescu had already died in Transnistria.

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