The Systematic Character of the National Socialist Policy for the Extermination of the Jews: Electronic Edition, by Heinz Peter Longerich

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3.5 Conclusions

3.5.1The extension of the shooting to women and children took place in the case of some units as of the end of July, for others beginning only in September or early October. Some units moved from extending the shooting to women and children directly to murdering the entire Jewish population in certain districts. In the case of other units, the time lag between these two levels of radicalisation was several weeks. Those Jews who had survived the first wave of murders (for example, those needed as workers for the Germans) and those who were enclosed in ghettos, became victims of the ghetto liquidation measures which began after September /October 1941 and extended through the winter of 1941-42 and the entire year of 1941.
3.5.2In order to force through the decisive stages of this radicalisation process - extending the shooting to women and children - the orders given at the beginning of the war had to be extended in the course of the summer. A reconstruction of the events leads to the conclusion that this was not done by means of a single written order sent to all units at the same time; rather, repeated verbal instructions must have come from the SS leaders to the unit leader who was then to take the initiative himself and extend the shooting to women and children. Important for this radicalisation process is Himmler's verbal order from 30 July to push "Jewish women in the swamps" , as well as his speech in Minsk on 15 August in which he alluded to the coming shootings of women and children.
3.5.3From statements made by different commando leaders it is apparent that they were likewise encouraged by their superiors to shoot women and children in August and September (Filbert and Bradfisch from Nebe, Schulz by Rasch, Nosske and Drexel by Ohlendorf). Significant here are the HSSPF Russia Centre and Russia South which were directly subordinate to Himmler and took the decisive initiative; by the employment of the SS brigades as well as by the use of "major actions" bringing   together the EK, police battalions and other units, they increased the numbers of victims to hitherto unknown dimensions, including women and children. In this way, a larger number of units in the occupied Eastern territories were brought to direct participation in such "actions" and were thereby further radicalised. Repeatedly, Himmler appeared either shortly before or shortly after the "major actionsb at the relevant places and strengthened the members of the SS and police in their murderous procedures.
3.5.4The extension of the shootings to women and children in the Summer and Fall of 1941 - begun through the murder of the entire Jewish civilian population in the occupied Soviet areas - was perpetuated by means of the method of "indirect orders": the SS leadership issued general instructions and the unit commanders were to execute them using their own initiative and intuition.


185. Verdict Ulm, 29.8.58, printed in Justiz XV, No. 465.
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