Sunday, December 16, 2018

Mattogno on Riga, Part Three: Hierarchies Are Hard

Author: Andrew E. Mathis

Having addressed Mattogno’s butchering of the Keine Liquidierung phone note and ignorance of points like basic meteorology, geography, and arithmetic, we move in this post to discussing how Mattogno addresses the aftermath of the shooting of a thousand Reich Jews in Riga on 30 November 1941. The “orthodox” history has it that, Lange having lodged a complaint about this shooting to RSHA and thus to Himmler, Himmler issued the orders the following day regarding the ongoing disposition of Reich Jews arriving in Riga and Minsk and summoned Jeckeln on 4 December to discuss events.

Mattogno’s first point of contention here regards why Jeckeln’s shooting of Reich Jews on 30 November should warrant the attention of Heydrich and Himmler, but the shooting of Reich Jews in Kaunas on 25 and 29 November by Karl Jäger’s Einsatzkommando would not; he writes (p. 217), “Therefore, as Himmler did with Jeckeln, the SS should also have summoned Jäger for a reprimand.” Again, on its face, this seems like a reasonable argument. However, there are a few key differences between the cases that Mattogno does not acknowledge.

First, there was no conflict of interest or “turf war” in Kaunas as there was in Riga. After all, Lange did not raise the issue of Reich Jews in Riga being shot because he was particularly concerned with their lives. Rather, he seems to have been motivated by the need to apportion some Jews to work detail and, perhaps as importantly, the fear that his prerogative to manage the arrival and treatment of Reich Jews in Riga, which he had been assigned as a member of the SD, would be taken over by Jeckeln. Also, it’s worth noting that it was Lange who had routed the Reich Jews shot in Kaunas to that city in the first place; therefore, if anyone would have raised an alarm, it would have been he.

Second, there is again the matter of geography – Riga is not Kaunas, and more importantly, the people stationed in each city were different. Jäger’s immediate superior, Stahlecker, was stationed in Riga; in contrast, Jeckeln, as an HSSPF, had Himmler as his immediate superior. Therefore, while Stahlecker, like Lange, could have taken issue with Jäger’s shooting of Reich Jews five days and one day earlier and some reprimand given, that they were in different cities made such a scenario less likely to have yet emerged, particularly while occurring in the context of the Jews of the Kaunas Ghetto being shot at the same time. Complicating matters is that, as I pointed out in my article on the Keine Liquidierung note, it seems fairly clear that Stahlecker wasn’t even in Riga on the dates in question. Otherwise, as Finnberg pointed out in his testimony, Lange would have brought his complaint directly to Stahlecker.

Mattogno pulls something similar in discussing the dispute that arose between Hinrich Lohse, Reichskommissar for Ostland, and the SS regarding the need to keep Jews alive for labor. Noting that Jeckeln claimed to have been ordered by Himmler to exterminate the Jews in the Riga Ghetto on 10 or 11 November, Mattogno points to a document dated 20 November from the Generalkommissar for Latvia, Otto-Heinrich Drechsler, commenting on labor assignments for ghetto Jews. Clearly, if the Jews of the ghetto were to be exterminated, Drechsler’s document makes no sense. Mattogno writes (p. 225), “Can one seriously believe that the Generalkommisar in Riga, who issued these orders, had never heard of Himmler’s alleged extermination order?”

Well, frankly, yes. Drechsler’s immediate superior was Lohse, who in turn reported directly to Alfred Rosenberg as Minister for the Eastern Territories – the civilian occupation regime. Jeckeln, as noted, reported directly to Himmler. Since the dispute between Lohse and the SS was ongoing, there is no reason to think Drechsler would not have begun planning to deploy the Riga Ghetto Jews for labor, particularly since, when he wrote the document in question, the Jews in the ghetto were still alive.    

A key thing to point out here is that there are two possibilities for what Mattogno has done in these cases. Either Mattogno doesn’t know or understand the differences in hierarchies between the SD, on the one hand, and the SS and Police Leaders, on the other, or between the SS hierarchy in the east and that of the civilian administration, or he’s deliberately obfuscating. The man has written several books on the topic of Nazi Germany’s crimes against humanity, so the odds favor the latter, although I suppose the former is possible.

The next and last part of this series will offer some final observations on how Mattogno has treated this topic. Spoiler alert: He has done so badly.

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