Irving v. Lipstadt
The Systematic Character of the National Socialist Policy for the Extermination of the Jews: Electronic Edition, by Heinz Peter LongerichTable of Contents
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3.1 HSSPF Russia Centre and Einsatzgruppe B
3.1.1In the area behind the central section of the Front, the character of the mass executions began to enter a new stage as a result of the use of the SS Cavalry Brigade. This Brigade carried out a first "cleansing operation" in the Pripet marshes between 29 July and 12 August under the leadership of the Higher SS and Police Leader, by which 13,788 "looters" (i.e. mostly Jews) were shot and 714 were held prisoner. On the side of the Brigade 2 were killed and 15 wounded.117 Between 17 August and 23 August the Cavalry Brigade initiated a second "action" by which, according to their own report, altogether 699 Red Army men, 1001 partisans and 14,178 Jews were shot.118 Shortly before these two "actions", Himmler had visited Baranovice where he ordered the brigade to kill all Jewish men and the women as well - although in a different way. From a radio-telegraph text dated August 1 from the Second Cavalry Regiment we can read: "Explicit order of the RFSS. All Jews must be shot. Jewish women to be driven into the swamp."119
3.1.2In fact at first the Cavalry Regiment was supposed to kill only the Jewish men. The fact that Himmler had given a clear signal at the end of July that women also were not to be spared, together with the fact that the number of Jewish men killed by the Cavalry Brigade (which lay under the personal responsibility of the HSSPF Russia Centre) had reached unprecedented dimensions - proved to have a radicalising effect for all units under Bach-Zelewski's command.
3.1.3The shooting of women in the HSSPF area Russia Centre began as early as the first half of August and it was done by the EK 9. In this time period - in the course of several "actions" in Wilejka - members of EK 9 shot at least 320 Jews, among them women and children.120 Filbert, the Leader of the EK 9, affirmed in his interrogation testimony that the order to shoot women and children was given to him by Nebe, the Leader of the EG B, at the beginning of August.121 After the executions in the Wilejka area, Commando 9 marched to Vitebsk in August, where several thousand people were murdered in multiple "actions" in the period up to October.122
3.1.4- The Leader of the EK 8, Bradfisch - as he testified after the war123 - was also informed by Nebe that "there exists an order from the Führer according to which all Jews, i.e. also women and children, are to be exterminated". Bradfisch testified further that shortly thereafter, when Himmler came to inspect an execution which Bradfisch's Commando was carrying out in Minsk,124 Himmler said to him that "since an order from the Führer existed calling for the shooting of all Jews, this order had to be carried out, as difficult as this may be for us".125
3.1.5The undifferentiated shooting of women and children which is announced here by Himmler can be documented in the case of the EK 8 only for the period beginning as early as September but occuring mostly after October. A sub-unit stationed in Bobruisk carried out at least seven executions in September-October 1941; among them, one single "action", which must have taken place in the first half of September, involved the shooting of 400 men, women and children.126
3.1.6A "major action" (Grossaktion) in Lahoisk was carried out by a sub-unit of EK 8 (probably the one stationed in Borissov); it most likely took place in the first half of September with the support of a Commando from the SS division "das Reich" . According to event reports from 20 September, in this "action" 920 Jews were executed.127 Also in this case, since it was thereafter declared "free of Jews" (judenfrei) it follows that all women and children of the village must have been murdered.
3.1.7The same sub-unit of EK 8, along with the units left in Minsk, shot 1401 Jews - men, women and children in Smolowicze around the end of September in a "major action" as reported in the event reports. In the appropriate event report it was stated further that:
After the deployment of this cleansing operation, there are no Jews left in the north, south or west of Borissov.128
3.1.8- As early as 1 September, the police battalion 322 in Minsk had shot "914 Jews, including 64 Jewish women", following a meeting which had taken place there on August 29 between Bach-Zelewski and Daluege.129 In the war diary of the battalion the justification given for the shooting of a large number of Jewish women was that they were not wearing a Jewish star when arrested in a police raid.
3.1.9On September 25, the Battalion 322, in the context of a training exercise which involved representatives of the Wehrmacht (including Division and Regiment Commanders) from the Police, and SD, cordoned off and searched a village. Concerning this "exercise" the war diary of the unit reported that no partisans could be found but that "an inspection of the population revealed the presence of 13 Jewish men, 27 Jewish women and 11 Jewish children. Of these - 13 Jewish men and 19 Jewish women were executed in conjunction with the SD."130
3.1.10It was only after this bloody exercise in the beginning of October, in the area of EI B, that generalized murder of members of the Jewish population was carried out on a full scale. From this point on, massacres resulting in thousands of deaths of men, women and children became the rule.
3.1.11On 2 October, a Company of the Police Battalion 322 in Mogilev (where Bach-Zelewski's Headquarters were located) lead a "special action upon the orders of the High SS Police Leader", in which "2208 Jews of both sexes " were involved. (This formulation reveals that children were included.) These people were shot without exception, together with Ukrainian militia men.131 On 19 October, four days before Himmler appeared for an inspection in Bach's new headquarters in Mogilev, "an important action" against the Jews (Judenaktion grösseren Ausmasses), as it was called in the event report, "was carried out there, by which 3726 Jews of both sexes and all ages were liquidated". This was a clear signal that once again children had also been victims.132 In this "action" the EK 8 and the Police Battalion 316 were implicated. With these two massacres in Mogilev, Bach-Zelewski began a whole series of further, similar "major actions" (Grossaktionen) in eastern Belorus.
3.1.12From now on, in city after city, area for area, the entire Jewish population was shot - with the exception of a small remnant consisting of workers who were allowed to remain alive. In these "actions", the commandos, order police and civilian administration as well as local auxiliary police troops were involved. The centre of the "actions" was in the larger cities where the Jews constituted a considerably large percentage of the population, especially in the eastern part of the occupied territories: in the course of these "major actions", 6500 Jews were shot in the "clearing" (Räumung) of the ghetto of Borissov on October 20 and 21. This followed after 1500 skilled workers had been selected out. In Bobruisk, at the end of November and beginning of December, 5281 Jews were murdered by the EK 8 and the Police Battalion 316 in a "special action" and the city was declared "free of Jews" (judenfrei). In Vitebsk - also in December - the ghetto was cleared, whereby 4090 Jews were shot.133 In Gomel in December because of supposed "Partisan support" "2365 Jews were executed."134
3.1.13The EG B registered for their area up to the end of October altogether 45,467 victims liquidated; in the course of this operation the EK 8 and 9 had an especially high number of victims (28,218 and 11,452 respectively).135
117. Unsere Ehre, pp. 224ff.
118. Förster, Unternehmen Barbarossa, p. 160.
119. Verdict District Court Braunschweig, 20.4.64, printed in Justiz XX, No. 570. To this meeting see also BAB, R 20/45b, Bach-Zelewski Diary, 31.7.41.
120. Verdict District Court Berlin, 22.6.62 (printed in Justiz XVIII, No. 540); ZSt., SA 179, verdict District Court Berlin, 6.5.66. For EK 9 cf. Ogorreck, Einsatzgruppen, pp. 186ff.
121. ZSt, 202 AR-Z 73/61, vol. 6, pp. 1580ff, 22.2.66; see also evidence taken from Filbert,, 23.9.71 (ZSt., 201 AR-Z 76/59, vol. 11, pp. 7563ff).
122. ZSt., SA 179, Verdict District Court Berlin, 6.5.66; Verdict District Court Berlin, 22.6.62 (=Justiz XVIII, No. 540).
123. ZSt., 201 AR-Z 76/59, 8.10.71 (vol. 11, 7605ff).
124. Bradfisch, (ZSt., 201 AR-Z 76/59, 8.10.71, vol. 11, pp. 7605ff).
125. On another occasion, Bradfisch said that this same information was later related to him by Himmler in Mogilev: StA Munich, 22 Ks 1/61, vol. 1, 136ff, 22.4.58.
126. EM 90 and EM 92 of 21.9. and 23.9.41; verdict District Court Munich I, 21.7.61 (=Justiz XVII, No. 519); ZSt., 202 AR-Z 81/59, indictment of 19.4.60.
127. EM 92 of 23.9.; verdict District Court Köln, 12.5.64 (=Justiz XX, No. 573).
128. EM 108 of 9.10.41; verdict District Court Köln, 12.5.64 (=Justiz XX, No. 573).
129. YV 053/127, 29.8.41.
130. YV 053/127, KTB Btl. 322; StA Minsk 655-1-1 (Copy USHM, Rolle 4), Note on file concerning the course of the "fight against partisams', 25.u.26.9.41. See also the statement of the witness Nagel, Commander of the Bataillon, ZSt., AR-Z 52/59, Special vol. 2, pp. 312ff, 18.3.60. Cf. Angrick et al., Tagebuch, pp. 345f.
131. Angrick et. al., Tagebuch, pp. 346ff; YV053/27, KTB Btl. 322, War-diary of 2./3.10.41. EM 135.
132. EM 133; Verdict District Court Munich I, 21.7.61 (printed in Justiz XVII, No. 519); ZSt., SA 168, indictment of 19.4.60; verdict District Court Kiel, 8.4.64 (printed in Justiz XIX, No. 567).
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