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Defense Documents

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

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1. Pogroms organised by the commandos

1.1 The report of EG A, which was deployed behind the Army unit A, written after the middle of October, the so-called "Stahlecker-report", contains a detailed description of the "self-cleansing efforts" (Selbstreinigungsbestrebungen) initiated by the EG:
The task of the security police must be to start the self-cleansing and to set it on the right track in order to reach the secret goal of purgation as quickly as possible. No less significant was the goal of creating established and provable hard facts for the future - that the liberated population, on its own, reach for the most severe measures possible against the Bolshevist and Jewish opponent - without leaving direction by the German authorities being recognizable.29
In this context it was "obvious from the very beginning that the implementation of pogroms was possible only in the first days following the occupation".30.
1.2 Besides, according to the Stahlecker report, "surprisingly" it was at first "not easy" to initiate the first pogroms in Lithuanian Kovno; they began after the Lithuanian partisan leader who was selected as the one to implement the pogrom was given appropriate "indications" from a small advanced party deployed in Kovno, as to how to do so "without any external signs of German organisation or German initiation"31.   During these pogroms, which took place between 25 June and 28 June and which cost the lives of about 3800 Jews, Jewish men were forcibly collected from their dwellings by Lithuanian "militiamen" and herded into in public places where they were killed or brought to military bases and shot.32
1.3 Already at the beginning of July however, those in EG A concluded, as reported in an event report (Ereignismeldung), that in Kovno "further mass executions...were no longer possible".33 They were therefore stopped.. In Riga the Einsatzgruppe was able to initiate a pogrom whereby 400 Jews were murdered, only however "by means of appropriate pressure upon the Lithuanian auxiliary police (Hilfspolizei)".34 Further pogroms in the city were "not feasible"35 because the population had rapidly calmed down.36
1.4 At the end of July, the EG A also reported pogroms in other Lithuanian cities; it was recounted for example that in "Mitau and surroundings ... the 1550 Jews still remaining had been ruthlessly eliminated by the population".37
1.5 Evidence for pogroms initiated by the Germans exist for EG C in the Ukraine as well. Thus Ukrainian nationalists committed mass murder in the area of Tarnopol under the direction of Special Commando 4 b: On 7 July , about 70 Jews were "brought together and exterminated by Ukrainians with a massive load of explosives"38; the Commando also reported its activities in Tarnopol in the event report from 11 July, mentioning altogether over 127 executions and a further 600 people murdered by Ukrainians "in the course of the persecution of the Jews inspired by the EK".39
 
1.6 Further "self-cleansing measures" initiated by the EG C can be inferred by reading the event reports: "Thus in Dobromil the synagogue was set on fire. In Sambor 50 Jews were clubbed by the outraged crowd."40 A few days later it was reported that "In Krzemieniec about 100 to 150 Ukrainians have been murdered by the Russians [...] the Ukrainians in self-defence killed 130 Jews with clubs in revenge".41 In Tarnopol and Choroskow, according to the report, it was possible, by means of pogroms, "to finish off 600 and 110 Jews respectively."42
1.7 At the end of July, EG C was forced to state that "attempts at that time to cautiously inspire pogroms against Jews unfortunately did not show the hoped-for results."43 The further the Einsatzgruppen penetrated inside the Ukraine, the more they were forced to admit that the local population was not prepared to incite pogroms.44

Notes

29. 'Aufgabe der Sicherheitspolizei mußte es sein, die Selbstreinigungsbestrebungen in Gang zu setzen und in die richtigen Bahnen zu lenken, um das gesteckte Säuberungsziel so schnell wie möglich zu erreichen. Nicht minder wesentlich war es, für die spätere Zeit die feststehende und beweisbare Tatsache zu schaffen, daß die befreite Bevölkerung aus sich selbst heraus zu den härtesten Maßnahmen gegen den bolschewistischen und jüdischen Gegner gegriffen hat, ohne daß eine Anweisung deutscher Stellen erkennbar ist.' Report of 15.10., 180-L, IMT XXXVII, pp. 670ff.
30. 'von vornherein selbstverständlich (gewesen), daß nur die ersten Tage nach der Besetzung die Möglichkeit zur Durchführung von Progromen boten'. Ibid.
31. 'überraschenderweise', 'nicht einfach', 'Hinweise', 'ohne daß nach außen irgendein deutscher Auftrag oder eine deutsche Anregung erkennbar wurde'.
32. On the pogrom in Kovno see ZSt., 207 AR-Z 14/58, pp. 297ff, Report of Colonel von Bischoffshausen of 19.4.59, printed in Dreessen et. a (eds.) Schöne Zeiten, pp. 35f (also find reprinted here further witness-accounts to these events taken from the cases 207 AR-Z 14/58 and 201 AR-Z 21/58), Ono the pogrom in Kovno see also EM 8, and further, the collection of documents in Tory, Surviving, pp. 7ff.
33. 'weitere Massenerschießungen ... nicht mehr möglich'. EM 19.
34. 'durch entsprechende Einwirkung auf die lettische Hilfspolizei'. Ibid.
35. 'nicht tragbar'. Ibid.
36. Concerning Riga see EM 15. See also ZST, II 207 AR-Z 7/59, Verdict District Court Hamburg, verdict 2.8.77 (ZSt., SA 200)..
37. EM 40. Details of the events in Mitau are found in Ezergailis, Holocaust, pp. 156ff.
38. 'von den Ukrainern zusammengetrieben und mit geballter Ladung erledigt'. EM 14.
39. 'im Zuge der vom Einsatzkommando inspirierten Judenverfolgungen'. EM 19. On the Special Commando 4 b, cf. Ogorreck, Einsatzgruppen, pp. 135ff.
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