Evidence for the Implementation of the Final Solution: Electronic Edition, by Browning, Christopher R.

Table of Contents
D. Implications >>

A. Scale of killing:

The various reports and documents are incomplete concerning the total number of Jews and others executed by various German and collaborator units on occupied Soviet territory. Nonetheless, if one simply adds the summary numbers contained in the surviving documents, even the partial total gives a sense of the scale on which the killing was carried out.

Einsatzgruppe A:

  • Einsatzkommando 2 reported having shot 34,193 people by February 2, 1942.7
  • Einsatzkommando 3 reported having killed 133,346 people by November 25, 1941.8

Einsatzgruppe B:

  • On November 14, 1941, Einsatzgruppe B reported that its "total number" (Gesamtzahl) of "liquidations" (Liquidierungen) had reached 45,467.9

Einsatzgruppe C:

  • Sonderkommando 4a reported having shot 59,018 people as of November 40, 1941, and
  • Sonderkommando 5 reported having shot 36,147 people as of December 7, 1941.10
  • Einsatzgruppe D reported having shot 91,678 people as of April 8, 1942.11
These cumulative totals do not distinguish between Jewish and non-Jewish victims. The Jäger Report (summarizing the activities of Einsatzkommando 3 in Lithuania up to December 1941), however, does identify all its victims, of which only 2,042 or barely 1.5% were non-Jewish (mostly identified as communist functionaries or mentally-ill). Einsatzgruppe D did not make this distinction in its cumulative totals, but it often did in its bi-weekly reports. For instance, on November 5, 1941, it reported killing 11,037 Jews and 31 communist officials in the previous two weeks.12 For the period November 16-December 15, 1941, it reported executing 17,645 Jews, 2,504 Krimchaks (categorized racially as Jews), 824 Gypsies, and 212 communists.13 For the last two weeks of December 1941, it reported shooting 3,176 Jews, 85 partisans, 12 looters, and 122 communists.14 For the first two weeks of January 1942, it reported a rare reversal, in which 1,639 communists and partisans were reported shot along with 685 Jews.15 For the latter half of January, it reported shooting 3,286 Jews, 152 communists, 84 partisans, and 79 looters and saboteurs, and asocials.16
By the estimate of Einsatzgruppe C in late October, it had "liquidated" (liquidiert) some 80,000 people, of which 75,000 were Jews.17 Sonderkommando 4a conceded that "the total number...of those executed included, in addition to a relatively small number of political functionaries, active communists, people guilty of   sabotage, etc., above all Jews....".18 Einsatzkommando 5 occasionally offered specific breakdowns of its victims as well. For instance, for the period November 2-18, 1941, it shot 10,650 Jews, 15 political officials, 21 saboteurs and looters, and 414hostages.19 For the week of November 23-30, 1941, it reported shooting 2,615 Jews, 64 political functionaries, and 46 saboteurs and looters. And for the following week it reported shooting 1,471 Jews, 60 political functionaries, and 47 saboteurs and looters.20 In short, there is compelling evidence to conclude that the overwhelming majority of the people reported executed by the Einsatzgruppen were in fact Jews.
In addition to giving figures for the four Einsatzgruppen themselves, the Event Reports occasionally record killings by other units as well, though in a much less complete fashion. For example, a police unit operating on Soviet territory just over the border from the town of Tilsit in East Prussia was credited with liquidating 3,302 persons in the first weeks after the invasion.21 An additional Einsatzgruppe "for special purposes" operated in the areas immediately across the demarcation line in Belarus and the Ukraine once the original four Einsatzgruppen had moved further east. For the last ten days of July, this unit was credited with 3,947 executions.22 For several periods in August, it was credited with an additional 12,652 killings.23 The Higher SS and Police Leader South, Friedrich Jeckeln, was reported to have killed 44,125 persons, "mostly Jews," in August (meist Juden).24 He was subsequently credited with 10,000 Jews in Dniepropetrovsk and 15,000 Jews in Rowno (the latter with help from EK 5).25   Transferred to become Higher SS and Police Leader North in November 1941, the same Jeckeln was credited with reducing the Jewish population of Riga from 29,500 to 2,600 in late 1941.26
For the period beyond the spring of 1942, other documents provide a glimpse of continued killing of Jews on a massive scale. On July 31, 1942, the head of the civil administration in western Belarus, Wilhelm Kube, reported from Minsk that in the previous ten weeks some 55,000 Jews had been killed in his district.27 On December 26, 1942, the Higher SS and Police Leader for South Russia, the Ukraine, and the Northeast submitted a report on the campaign against the partisans for the three-month period from September 1 to December 1, 1942. Three days later, on December 29, 1942, the report was retyped in the so-called Führer-type (especially large type that Hitler could read without his glasses) and retitled:
Reports to the Führer on combatting partisans.
Report No. 51.
Russia South, Ukraine, Bialystok.
Results of the antipartisan campaign from 1.9. to 1.12.1942.
The report was signed by Heinrich Himmler. On the top of the front page was the initialled hand-written note: "submitted 31.12.42." The report noted for August, September, October, and November in the category of "bandits" a total of 1,337 killed in battle, 737 executed immediately after battle, and 7,828 executed after interrogation. In the category of "accomplices and suspects," the report had two sub-categories: on a line for "executed," it listed 14,256. On a separate line for "Jews executed," it listed 363,211.28
Why would Himmler include the killing of 363,211 Jews in a report to Hitler on anti-partisan warfare? According to Himmler's appointment book, on December 18, 1941, he and Hitler had discussed the "Jewish question." The result of their conversation was noted succinctly: "to be annihilated as partisans."29 (Als Partisanen auszurotten) In short, annihilating Jews and solving the so-called "Jewish question" under the cover of killing partisans was the agreed-upon convention between Hitler and Himmler.


7. Ereignismeldung (hereafter EM) No.163, 2.2.42
8. Jäger Report, 1.12.41.
9. EM No.133, 14.11.41.
10. EM No. 156, 16.1.42. There are no cumulative figures reported for SK 4a and EK 6 of EG C.
11. EM No.190, 8.4.42.
12. EM No.129, 5.11.41.
13. EM No.150, 2.1.42.
14. EM No.153, 9.1.42.
15. EM No.157, 19.1.42.
16. EM No.165, 6.2.42. For February 1942, the totals were 1,649 Jews, 421 Gypsies and asocials, 739 communists, and 119 partisans and looters. EM No. 170, 18.2.42, and EM No. 178, 9.3.42. For March 1942, the totals were 1,266 Jews, 1,071 Gypsies, asocials, and mentally-ill, 764 communists, and 400 partisans. EM No. 184, 23.3.42, and EM No. 190, 8.4.42.
17. EM No.128, 3.11.41.
18. EM No. 132, 12.11.41. (In der Summe der...Exekutierten sind wiederum neben einer relative geringen Anzahl von politischen Funktionären, aktiven Kommunisten, Saboteuren usw. in erster Linie Juden...enthalten).
19. EM No.143, 8.12.41.
20. EM No. 156, 16.1.42.
21. EM No.26, 18.7.41.
22. EM No.43, 5.8.41.
23. EM No.56, 18.8.41; No.58, 20.8.41; No.66, 28.8.41; and No.67, 29.8.41
24. EM No.94, 25.9.41.
25. EM No.135, 19.11.41; No.143, 8.12.41.
26. EM No.155, 11.1.42
27. Kube to Lohse, 31.7.42, in YIVO Occ E 3-41.
28. Report of HSSPF, 26.12.42, and Report to the Führer No. 51, 29.12.42, signed by H. Himmler, in Bundesarchiv, NS 19/2566.
29. SAM, 1372-5-23: Himmler's appointment book (Terminkalandar), entry of 18.12.41. (A copy of this document is now available in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum as: Accession 1997.A.0328).
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D. Implications >>

accessed 12 March 2013