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

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IV. The Escalation of operations in Early 1942

1.A further escalation of the extermination policy can be observed in the period between May and June 1942. Previously the mass murders had been restricted to individual areas and had been represented as responses to problems arising in these areas by the responsible authorities. Now the politics of extermination was extended to the entire area under German domination. Until By the middle of 1942 a new conception had gained acceptance with the authorities: the regionally limited advances towards the "Final Solution", which was previously intended to be accomplished in its full scope only after the end of the war, were now understood to enable the achievement of the "Final Solution" during the course of the war. This was to be achieved through an intensification and expansion of the killings, and by means of the killing -machinery originally intended for mass murders in the separate regions.
2.- At the end of May/June, 1942, the systematic mass murders of Jews in the Districts Lublin and Galicia were extended to all Districts of the Generalgouvernement. The killing of the great majority of Polish Jews carries with it all the typical characteristics of an operation executed according to plan. Relevant here is that when HSSPF Krüger was appointed State Secretary for Security310 (Staatssekretär für Sicherheitsfragen) in May, an order of 3 June regulating his new position, gave him the mandate to take charge of all "Jewish Affairs" (Judenangelegenheiten).311 In May, the extermination camp Sobibor was opened, while Belzec was closed temporarily to enable an enlargement of its killing capacity. In May, or in June at the latest, the construction of a third extermination camp, Treblinka, had began in the District of Warsaw.312 In the District of Lublin, systematic deportations from the localities began in May, independently of the arrival of transports from Central Europe.313 From the beginning of May, the transports from the District of Cracow to Belzec were started.314 The start of deportations from the other districts was delayed due to a barring of transportation which was imposed in mid-June. At a meeting dealing with police matters in Cracow on 18 June 1942 , there was general agreement that "the   problem of Jewish resettlement pushes us to make a decision"315, as HSSPF Krüger put it. After the bar on transportation had come to an end, the "Jew-action should be carried out with greater intensity".316 The deportations from the District of Cracow to Belzec were resumed in July immediately following the lifting of the bar on transportation. Between 22 July and 12 September, approximately 250.000 people were deported from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka, where they were murdered. At the beginning of August, the deportations from the District of Radom to Treblinka began.317
3.- Likewise in mid-May, the systematic murder of the Jews of annexed Upper-Silesia was started. In the course of May and June, thousands of Jews were deported to Auschwitz to be murdered by means of gas immediately after their arrival.318
4.- In May 1942, a fourth wave of deportations from the Reich was set into motion. The transports to Minsk were begun again, to which around 26.000 people were brought from the area of the "Greater German Reich" in 23 transports between May and September.319 The modus operandi of the extermination was new, however. The deportees were no longer imprisoned in ghettos. Instead, the trains went on to a station near the estate of Maly Trostinez. There almost all of the deportees were shot on the spot or murdered in gas-vans.320 In the period between August and December the remaining transports of the fourth wave of deportations from the Reich went, almost without exception, straight into the extermination camps of Auschwitz and Treblinka.321
5.- Likewise, the Jews arriving from Slovakia and the District of Lublin, were no longer brought to ghettos from June onward, but were deported straight to the extermination camps of Sobibor.322   - The new level of escalation of early 1942, led to the abandoning of the concept of "transit-ghettos" for Jews coming out of Central Europe. This further radicalisation also had the consequence that between 4 and 15 May, the Jews who had been deported to Lodz from Central Europe the previous Fall - those almost 11.000 people who had survived the devastating conditions of life in the ghetto - were murdered by gas-vans stationed in Chelmno.323
6.- From mid-July the programme of deportations from Western Europe had been set in motion. These transports went to Auschwitz. The trains from Slovakia had also now been redirected to Auschwitz, just as the first of the fourth wave trains from the Reich. After the completion of provisional gas-chambers in two farm houses (Bunkers I and II), the method first introduced in May in Minsk and in June in Sobibor was now begun in Auschwitz on 4 July. Starting with the transports from Slovakia, the SS went over to murdering the majority of the deported in the gas-chambers, immediately after a "selection" had taken place on the ramp.324
7.In July, after the bar on transportation had been lifted, the European-wide programme of deportations and killings had thus come into operation in its full compass. Himmler, immediately after he had convinced himself that the programme of extermination was functioning during an inspection tour in July325, established a concrete schedule demanding the extermination of the Jews of the Generalgouvernement on 19 July; by the end of the year, the Jews of the Generalgouvernement were to be killed, excepting only a small remaining group of Jews "fit for work", who were to be placed under the control of the SS.326 Himmler's demand had immediate repercussions on the deportations in the Generalgouvernement where from 22 July onward, 5000 people a day had been deported from Warsaw alone to the extermination camp at Treblinka.327
 

Notes

310. Staatsekretär für Sicherheitsfragen
311. VOGG, 1942, pp. 321ff, Issue concerning the transfer of duties to the State Secretary for Security (Erlaß über die Überweisung von Dienstgeschäften auf den Staatssekretär für das Sicherheitswesen); cf. Pohl, Lublin, p. 125.
312. Arad, Belzec, pp. 37ff.
313. Pohl, Lublin, pp. 120ff.
314. Pohl, Lublin, p. 122; Pohl, Ostgalizien, pp. 195.
315. 'Problem der Judenaussiedlung dränge zu einer Entscheidung'. Präg/Jacobmeyer (eds.), Diensttagebuch, 511.
316. 'die Judenaktion verstärkt durchgeführt werden'. Ibid.
317. Arad, Belzec, pp. 126f, pp. 81ff.
318. Piper, Estimating, p. 68; Natan Eliasz Szternfinkel, Zaglad zydow Sosnowaca, Katowice 1946,. Czeck-Kalendarium, 20.6.42.
319. Details in Longerich, Politik, p. 490.
320. Verdict District Court Koblenz 21.5.63, printed in Justiz XIX, No. 552. For the shootings, see also the Activity Reports of the II. platoon, Waffen-SS Batallain. z.b.V., printed in Unsere Ehre, pp. 236ff.
321. Details in Longerich, Politik, p. 490.
322. Büchler, Deportation.
323. Witte, Decisions, pp. 335f.
324. Czech-Kalendarium.
325. Longerich, Politik, p. 508.
326. BAB, NS 19/1757, printed in Longerich (ed.), Ermordung, p. 201.
327. BAB, NS 19/2655, Ganzmüller to Wolff on 29.7.41.
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