Sunday, September 11, 2016

From the vocabulary of Aktion 1005

With time the members of Aktion 1005, whose task was destroying the traces of the Nazi crimes by incinerating corpses from mass graves, developed their own slang to denote their activities. Some of the terms became sort of official, as we will see. Since the issue of the Nazi code words crops up from time to time in denial-related discussions, I decided to gather what I could about several terms most often used by the corpse-burning brigades.

Baustelle (construction site): a site where corpses exhumed from mass graves were incinerated.

Sources: E. Leuthold, SK 1005b, BArch B162/3536, Bl. 215, 26.11.63, "when one construction site [Baustelle] had been in operation for a longer time, the inmates were regularly shot after a certain period of about 14 days", op.cit., 3548, Bl. 82, 09.05.67, "in the language use back then the work places for corpse incineration were called "construction sites [Baustellen]"; F. Hollinderbäumer, op.cit., 3538, Bl. 71, 17.02.65 - was in Riga for guarding the "so-called construction sites [Baustellen]"; H. Kappen, SK 1005b, op.cit., 3549, Bl. 57, 11.07.67, "the work sites for corpse incineration were called "construction sites [Baustellen]" back then"; F. Löbbert, SK 1005b, op.cit., Bl. 117, 18.08.67, incineration sites "were called construction sites [Baustellen] by us", also Bl. 118.

Figuren (figures, chess pieces): individual corpses in the mass graves; also sometimes used for Jewish forced laborers who had to dig out and incinerate the corpses.

Sources: Jewish forced laborer Yuliy Farber's statement about Ponary contained in a 14.08.1944 special message of NKGB SSSR to NKVD SSSR in Tragediya Litvy, Evropa, 2006, s. 25, refers to "figury"/corpses many times; W. Schallock, leader of SK 1005 Janowska, BArch B162/27014, Bl. 28, 17.04.63, mentioned "figures [Figuren] (corpses)"; H. Kappen, SK1005b, op.cit., 3537, Bl. 216, 21.02.64, tells of a leader of SK 1005a who held a speech, in which he said: "What you see in this pit are not humans but "figures" [Figuren]. These figures are correspondingly the object of our task", also see Kappen, 11.07.67, op.cit., 3549, Bl. 54, 55; F. Behrens, SK 1005b, op.cit., 3546, Bl.30, 07.07.65, "the graves were opened by a work crew that was called "figures [Figuren]" by the SD people"; Leon Weliczker-Wells, Jewish forced laborer in SK 1005 Janowska, The Death Brigade, 1978, p. 196 (as quoted here): "We build pyres of two thousand or more "figures," the name the Germans gave the bodies. They call us "figures," too. They say, for example: "Zehn Figuren heraustreten!" (Ten figures step out!)".

Wetterberichte, Wettermeldungen (weather reports), Wolkenhöhe (cloud height), Niederschläge (precipitations), Wetterstationen (weather stations) - meteorology-related terms used to denote the burial sites and number of corpses in them, as well as reports about the numbers of burned corpses. The commandos were accordingly sometimes called Wetterkommandos (weather commandos). Possibly also the term Wasserstellen (water sites) was used to denote mass graves.

Sources: F. Hegenscheidt, BdS 'Schwarzes Meer', 28.03.1944 radiogram to Chef der Sipo und des SD and Einsatzgruppe C Lemberg calling the areas of operation of SK 1005a and SK 1005b "precipitation areas" [Niederschlagsgebiete], BArch B162/3537, Bl. 183, 23.11.62, F.H. was aware of a "weather commando" [Wetterkommando] that had to clean up the results of the activities of Sonder- and Einsatzkommandos; E.Hansen, SK 7a member who defected to the Soviets, GARF f. 7021, op. 148, d. 35, ll. 42-53, 14.04.44, reported that "Wettermeldung" was a code word for the incineration of bodies of the people shot in '41-'43 - in his mind the word denoted the process itself, he describes in detail how he also took part in several such actions; W.Piller, SK Legath, SK Bothmann, YVA O.53/12, pp.17ff., 19.05.45, belonged to a "weather commando [Wetterkommando]" headed by Hans Legath, which had to destroy mass graves which were called "weather stations [Wetterstationen]"; L.Wandel, head of Radom Gestapo, BArch B162/3534, Bl. 17, 23.07.45, was asked by KdS Radom about the purpose of a strictly secret telegram called weather report [Wetterbericht], it had to do with graves and actions of certain commandos, also says was a friend of Blobel and learned many details from him; E.Schulz, NO-3841, 20.12.45, in his capacity as Amtschef I des RSHA learned of Blobel's activity: "if I remember correctly, the code name for these mass graves was "water sites [Wasserstellen]""; H. Sohns, organizer of SK 1005a and SK 1005b, BArch B162/3543, Bl. 68, 05.06.62, testified that the number of corpses was coded as cloud height [Wolkenhöhe], op.cit., 3546, Bl. 140, 10.10.66, testified that the reports about exhumations were coded as weather reports [Wettermeldungen], the coding idea stemmed from himself; K. Nicolaus, SK 1005 under KdS Warschau Dr. Hahn, op.cit., Bl. 115, 12.11.63, "the corpses were described as precipitations [Niederschläge]", had to be reported to Dr. Hahn each 10-14 days, telex was then sent to RSHA where "the number of the eliminated corpses was given as an amount of precipitation [Niederschlagsmenge]"; M. Hanisch, SK 1005a, op.cit., 3537, Bl. 65, 13.10.64, reports that in the weather reports [Wetterberichte] the number of incinerated corpses was coded as the cloud height [Wolkenhöhe]; W. Meyer, radio center head at SK7b, cited in Jens Hoffmann, "Das kann man nicht erzählen". "Aktion 1005" - Wie die Nazis die Spuren ihrer Massenmorde in Osteuropa beseitigten, 2008, S. 158, 24.09.67, told how he began getting coded messages with the subject "Re: weather report, cloud height" ["Betr. Wettermeldung, Wolkenhöhe"] with numbers and text, and he was angry about these seemingly useless messages because of the already existing work overload until the actual meaning of the messages (elimination of mass graves) was explained to him.


  1. Mattogno, who wrote about Desbois' claims about these code words:

    "Where did Desbois ever get this poppycock? From some senile "eyewitness"? What rubbish!"

    Is shown to be an ignorant fraud again: he never bothered to research the available literature, much less study the relevant archives.

  2. Read the Nazis in their own words who detail the mass extermination of the Jews in WW2.

  3. Thank you, Dan. We're aware of these sources and of many more, published and unpublished. Take a look around our blog.

  4. "Sergey: when I first read that extract, I thought Mattogno was succumbing to senility. As it turns out he is just a shoddy researcher with a flaccid mindset.


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