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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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A. The Beginning of the Deportations
1.In mid-September 1941, Hitler made the decision to deport the Jews within the "Greater German Reich" to ghettos in Poland and the occupied Soviet Union. Himmler communicated Hitler's wishes to the Reichsstatthalter (governor) of the Warthegau, Greiser, on 18 September 1941 (copies went to Heydrich and the HSSPF of the Warthegau, Kopppe):
The Führer wishes that, from the West to the East, the Altreich 186 and the Protektorat be emptied and freed of Jews as soon as possible. I am therefore striving to transport the Jews of the Altreich and the Protektorat in the Eastern Territories that became part of the Reich two years ago. It is desirable that this is be accomplished by the end of this year, as a first and initial step in deporting them even further to the East next Spring. I intend to remove a full 60.000 Jews of the Altreich andProtektorat to the Litzmannstadt ghetto for the winter. This has, I have heard, the space to receive them.187
2.Following the protests of Uebelhoer, the Head of the administration in the district of Lodz, and Thomas, the Head of the Armaments Office of the Wehrmacht, who emphasised the total overcrowding of the ghetto and likely obstruction of its production - the original plan was modified and expanded. In October it was decided to deport 25.000 Jews and Gypsies to Lodz. At the same time, new destinations were planned for two further groups of 25.000 Jews from the Reich - the ghettos of Riga and Minsk.188
3.A variety of evidence can substantiate the original intention to deport Jews who had been previously deported from the Reich to camps in the occupied Soviet areas. This would be carried out at a later date, and if the military situation allowed it.
4.On 24 September, after a meeting with Heydrich on the previous day, Goebbels wrote n his diary that, "we must evacuate the Jews from Berlin as soon as possible".189 This "will be possible as soon as we have cleared up the military situation in the East. In the end, they should all be transported to the camps set up [by the, added P.L.] Bolsheviks. These camps have been constructed by the Jews; what would be more apt than to now have them peopled by the Jews. "190
5.On 6 October, while propounding on measures to punish the Czechs, Hitler emphasised that all Jews from the Protektorat needed to be "removed" (entfernt) - and not into the Generalgouvernement first, but - "straight on to the East".191 This was said to be impossible at the moment, due to lack of transport capacity. Parallel to the deportation of the "Protektorat-Jews" the Jews of Vienna and Berlin should "disappear" (verschwinden).
6.At a meeting in Prague four days later, on 10 October, at which Eichmann was also present, Heydrich said the following:
There are at this time about 88.000 Jews in the Protektorat as a whole, 48.000 of whom are in Prague. [...]" Due to the evacuations there have been difficulties. It was foreseen to begin this around 15 October, in order to let the transports eventually, until 15 November, reach the level of 5000 Jews - from Prague alone. ... Minsk and Riga are to receive 50.000. .. In the coming days the 5000 Jews should be now evacuated from Prague. SS-Brigadeführer Nebe and Rasch could take Jews into the camps for communist prisoners in the operational area.192 ccording to SS-Sturmbannführer Eichmann, this measure has already been initiated [...]" The Gypsies to be evacuated could be brought to Stahlecker in Riga, whose camp is operated along the lines of Sachsenhausen. As the Führer wishes the Jews to be brought out of the German sphere by the end of the year if possible, all open questions must be solved immediately.193
7.The deportations from the Reich did in fact begin in mid-October.194 In a first wave of deportations between 15 October and 5 November, 10.000 Jews from the Altreich, 5000 from each of the Protektorat and Vienna, and 5000 Gypsies from the Burgenland, were deported to Lodz195 in 24 transports. Between 8 November and 6 February, altogether 34 different transports went to Riga196, Kovno197, and Minsk198 Originally this wave of deportations was to have ended at the beginning of December, and encompassed the deportation of 50.000 people.199 The deportations to Minsk, however, had to be broken off at the end of November due to problems of transportation. Up until this time, approximately 8000 people had been deported into the Minsk ghetto. The transports to Riga were completed at the end of February, having fulfilled the planned quota of 25.000 people deported.200
8.Already in November 1941, however, the RSHA was assuming that the deportations which had not been completed in the course of 1941 as originally planned, would be continued in a third wave of deportation the following Sring . This can be taken from a note Goebbels made concerning a conversation with Heydrich on 17 November:
Heydrich has reported to me on his intentions concerning the deportation of the Jews from the Reich [...] The third consignment, which is due at the beginning of next year, shall follow the procedure which I have suggested - namely, evacuating city by city. Thus when the evacuation commences in a particular city, it will be completed as soon as possible, ensuring that the burden placed on public opinion does not last too long, or have too harmful consequences. On this question too, Heydrich is proceeding very consistently.201On 22 November 1941 Goebbels noted in his diary that Hitler had given his approval to the implementation of the "city-wise" deportation.202
9.Drawing this evidence together we find: the deportations of Jews from the German REICH in the autumn of 1941 and the ensuing Winter proceeded on the orders of Hitler; they were implemented in several waves according to a plan; and, they were directed centrally by the RSHA. One can hence speak of a systematically prepared and implemented programme of deportations.
10.The RSHA's planning of deportations in autumn 1941, however, extended not only to Central Europe, but was already directed towards a wider perspective which encompassed the entire territory under German domination . This can be substantiated by a number of documents.
11.The expert on Jewish Questions of the German Embassy in Paris Carltheo Zeitschel,203 succeeded (through the aid of Ambassador Abetz) in securing Himmler's fundamental approval for the eastward deportation of the foreign Jews interned in France.204 This was in mid-September 1941, that is, exactly at the time Hitler had decided to start the deportations from the Reich. (In his proposal Zeitschel had taken it for granted that the removal of this group represented only the first step in the deportation of all Jews under German domination to the occupied Eastern Territories.)205 In autumn 1941, the German military administration in occupied France fell in line with Zweitschel's proposal of mid-September. It decided to deport a large number of Jews and communists, who had been arrested206 in mass-raids in May and August 1941, into forced labour "to the East", presenting this as a repressive measure against the attacks of the French resistance movement.207 From December 1941 onward, Jews and communists were named and singled out. These "hostage-deportations", although initially put back by transportation problems, eventually started operation in March 1942.208
12.A further number of indicators dating from October and November 1941, support the view that while the deportations from the German Reich where being introduced, there were, in fact, already preparations being made for the deportation of all Jews within the German sphere of domination.
13.In a letter to the Generalquartermaster of the army of 6 November 1941, Heydrich defended his explicit approval of the attacks on seven synagogues in Paris, which had been perpetrated during the night of 2-3 October by an anti-Semitic French group. The proposal to carry out these attacks, Heydrich asserted, was "accepted by me only from that moment onward, when also the highest office characterised Jewry with utmost severity as the responsible firebrand in Europe who must finally disappear from Europe."209
14.In a meeting with representatives of the Ministry for the Occupied Eastern territories on 4 October, Heydrich indicated the possibility of companies claiming Jewish workers. This, however, "would destroy the plan of a total evacuation of Jews from the occupied territories".210
15.Also the Head of the Jewish desk of the Foreign Office, Rademacher, still assumed at the end of October 1941 that the Serbian Jews who had survived the repressive measures of the Wehrmacht, would be "removed by ship into the transition camps in the East".211 This was to happen as soon as "the technical feasibility within the general framework of the comprehensive solution of the Jewish Question" was established.
16.Was the deportation of Jews "to the East" at this time already a metaphor for the planned murder in the extermination camps? The state of contemporary research does not give sufficient evidence for this conclusion. Until early 1942, in fact, neither the Central European nor the French Jews were sent directly to extermination camps. Further, these camps were not significantly expanded until early 1942 and early summer 1942. Until the contrary has been proven, one should thus take the statements of leading Nazis literally - that the intention behind the deportations and the planning of Autumn 1941, was still to deport all European Jews to camps in the occupied Soviet Union, after victory had been achieved.
17.The RSHA's programme of deportations for German Jews, and their broader plans for the deportation of Jews throughout the area under German control, were secured by a number of administrative measures. - The universal exterior labelling of Jews in the Reich was instigated by Secretary of State Stuckart in August. After this proposal had found general approval at an inter-ministerial conference in the Propaganda Ministry on 20 August, the ensuing police directive of 1 September prescribed that all Jews over the age of six were to wear a yellow star with the inscription Jude, i.e., "Jew".212
18.- At the beginning of November 1941, the Finance Ministry issued regulations determining the confiscation of the property of "Jews to be deported to a city in the Eastern territories in the coming months".213 The relatively complex directive determining the procedure of confiscation of property was significantly simplified by the eleventh decree of the Reich Citizen Law of 25 November 1941. This decree stated that a Jew "who has his usual residency abroad"214 - which meant, "is situated there under circumstances which can be recognised as not merely temporary"215 - would lose German citizenship. "With the loss of citizenship" his property "is forfeited to the Reich ".216 In the complementary directive of the Finance Ministry of December, the term "abroad" was defined to also include all the occupied territories - in particular, the Generalgouvernent and the Reichskommisariate Ostland and Ukraine, the administrational units which the Germans introduced in Poland and the Soviet Union respectively.217
19.- While these administrative measures effected the Jews in the Reich, the ban on emigration for Jews of October 1941, applied to all Jews in the German dominated areas.218 Two memoranda of the Head of the German Department of the German Foreign Office Luther, mark the period of time within which a fundamental decision against further emigration must have been taken. On 13 October Luther noted that the proposal to deport the Spanish Jews in France to Spanish Morocco was, "a suitable contribution to the resolution of the Jewish Question in France".219 Only four days later however, Luther recorded that the Reich Security Office had opposed these deportations "because of the necessary measures that would be required after the end of the war, to fundamentally solve the Jewish Question."220 The decision to ban emigration was thus made exactly at the same time as the deportations from the Reich began. It was a decisive precondition for the implementation of the still current plan, which envisaged the total deportation of all Jews under German domination into the occupied Eastern Territories after the end of the war.
20.Himmler discussed the planned ban on emigration with Heydrich on 18 October.221 Eventually, on 23 October, the RSHA issued a directive in Himmler's name, imposing a general ban on emigration from the German dominated areas, although exceptions were foreseen.222
21.Closely following the ban on emigration, the Foreign Office asked the governments of Slovakia, Croatia and Rumania in November, whether they had any objection to the deportation of their Jewish citizens residing in Germany. All three governments replied positively.223
186. This term is normally used for Germany before 1938.
187. "Der Führer wünscht, daß möglichst bald das Altreich und das Protektorat vom Westen nach dem Osten von Juden geleert und befreit werden. Ich bin daher bestrebt, möglichst noch in diesem Jahr die Juden des Altreichs und des Protektorats zunächst einmal als erste Stufe in die vor zwei Jahren neu zum Reich gekommenen Ostgebiete zu transportieren, um sie im nächsten Frühjahr noch weiter nach dem Osten abzuschieben. Ich beabsichtige, in das Litzmannstädter Getto, das, wie ich höre, an Raum aufnahmefähig ist, rund 60.000 Juden des Altreichs und des Protektorats für den Winter zu verbringen.' BAB, NS 19/2655, printed in Longerich (ed.), Ermordung, pp. 157.
188. This number is mentioned in Heydrich's teletype for Himmler, 8.10.41 (BAB, NS 19/2655).
189. ' daß wir so schnell wie möglich die Juden aus Berlin evakuieren müssen'. Fröhlich (ed.) Tagebücher Goebbels, 24.9.41.
190. '...der Fall sein können, sobald wir im Osten zu einer Bereinigung der militärischen Lage gekommen sind. Sie sollen am Ende alle (in die von den, added P.L.) Bolschewisten angelegten Lager (...) transportiert werden. Diese Lager sind von den Juden errichtet worden; was läge also näher, als daß sie nun von den Juden bevölkert werden.' Ibid.
191. '...gleich weiter nach Osten'. BAB, R 6/34 a, Reports of Werner Koeppen, Rosenberg's permanent representative to Hitler.
192. Heydrich probably meant the camps for civilian prisoners, such as they had existed in, for example, Minsk and Mogilev (cf. Gerlach, Failure, p. 62)
193. 'Im ganzen Protektorat leben z.Zt. etwa 88.000 Juden, davon sind in Prag 48.000. [...] Wegen der Evakuierung entstanden Schwierigkeiten. Es war vorgesehen, damit am 15. Oktober etwa zu beginnen, um die Transporte nach und nach bis zum 15. November abrollen zu lassen bis zur Höhe von etwa 5000 Juden - nur aus Prag. [...] Minsk und Riga sollen 50.000 bekommen. [...] In den nächsten Tagen sollen die 5.000 Juden aus Prag nun evakuiert werden. SS-Brif. Nebe und Rasch könten in die Lager für kommunistische Häftlinge im Operationsgebiet Juden mit hineinnehmen. Dies ist bereits nach Angabe von SS-Stubaf. Eichmann eingeleitet [... Die zu evakuierenden Zigeuner könnten nach Riga zu Stahlecker gebracht werden, dessen Lager nach dem Muster von Sachsenhausen eingerichtet ist. Da der Führer wünscht, daß noch Ende d.J. möglichst die Juden aus dem deutschen Raum herausgebracht sind, müssen die schwebenden Fragen ungehend gelöst werden.' SUA, 114-2-56 (also YV, M 58/23), printed in Kárny/Kárna, Margita (eds.), Protektoratni, No. 15.
194. Heydrich to Himmler, 19. Oktober, Trial of Eichmann, Doc. No. 1544.
195. Compiled from the following sources: YV, JM 10.731, Arolsen International Tracing Service; Arndt/Boberach, Deutsches Reich, pp. 44f; Ino Arndt, Luxemburg,, pp. 95-104; Moser, Österreich, p. 76; Schmidt-Hartmann, Tschechoslowakei, p. 361; Safrian, Eichmann-Männer, pp. 120f; Experience-Report Inspector of the German uniformed Police Lodz 13.11.41, printed in DiM (Lodz) I, pp. 203ff; Matzerath, Weg, 536f.
196. Compiled from the following data: YV, JM 10.731, Arolsen International Tracing Service; Arndt/Boberach, Deutschland, p. 47; Moser, Österreich, p. 79; Adler, Theresienstadt, p. 50.
197. Schneider, Journe.
198. Compiled from the following materials: YV JM 10.731, Arolsen International Tracing Service; Arndt/Boberach, Deutschland, p. 46; Moser, Österreich, p. 79; Schmidt-Hartmann, Tscheckoslowakei, p. 361.
199. IFZ, Fb95, 27, Note Gotenhafen, 24.10.41, Summary of a discussion with Eichmann.
200. Schneider, Journey.
201. 'Heydrich berichtet mir über seine Absichten bezüglich der Abschiebung der Juden aus dem Reichsgebiet [...] Bei der dritten Rate, die Anfang des nächsten Jahres fällig wird, soll dann nach dem von mir vorgeschlagenen Verfahren vorgegangen werden, nämlich städteweise zu räumen, so dass, wenn in einer Stadt die Evakuierung beginnt, sie auch möglichst bald beendet ist und die dadurch hervorgerufene Belastung der öffentlichen Meinung sich nicht allzu lange und allzu schädlich auswirkt. Heydrich geht auch in dieser Frage sehr konsequent vor.' Fröhlich (ed.), Tagebücher 18.11.41.
202. Ibid., 22.11.41.
203. See Zeitschel's account of 22.8.41, CDJC, V-15, printed in Klarsfeld, Vichy, pp. 367ff as well as 14.9.41,. CDJC, VI 126.
204. This meeting took place on 16.9.41 (Witte et. al. <eds.> Dienstkalender). Zeitschel informed Dannecker of the content of this conversation on 8.10.41: CDJC, V-16, printed in Klarsfeld, Endlösung, p. 25. For Zeitschel's recommendations during this period see the extensive account in Witte, Decisions, 327ff.
205. This can be taken from his writings of 22.8 and 14.9.41 (as in footnote 204).
206. Ibid., p. 25 and pp. 28ff; Herbert, Militärverwaltung, pp. 435f
207. Ibid., especially pp. 438f and 448f.
208. Klarsfeld, Vichy, pp. 34ff.
209. '... von mir erst in dem Augenblick angenommen, als auch von höchster Stelle mit aller Schärfe das Judentum als der verantwortliche Brandstifter in Europa gekennzeichnet wurde, der endgültig in Europa verschwinden muß.' CDJC, I-28, printed in Klarsfeld, Vichy, pp. 369f.
210. '... den Plan einer totalen Aussiedlung der Juden aus den von uns besetzten Gebieten zunichte machen'. BAB, NS 19/1734.
211. 'Sobald dann im Rahmen der Gesamtlösung der Judenfrage die technische Möglichkeit besteht, werden die Juden auf dem Wasserwege in die Auffanglager im Osten abgeschoben'. PAA, Inland Iig 194, 28??.10.41, printed in ADAP, Serie D, vol. 13, pp. 570ff.
212. RGB1. 1941 I, pp. 547. See further to this the express letter of the Reich Interior Ministry of 15.9.41 with guidelines for the implementation of the Police directive of 1.9.41 (Dokumente Verfolgung, 207ff). Cf. Hilberg, Vernichtung, pp. 186f.
213. '...die in den nächsten Monaten in eine Stadt in den Ostgebieten... abzuschiebenden Juden'. For the regulation issued 4.11.41, see Walk, Sonderrecht, IV, p. 261.
214. 'der seinen gewöhnlichen Aufenthalt im Ausland hat'. RGB1 1941 I, pp. 722ff.
215. 'sich dort unter Umständen aufhält, die erkennen lassen, daß er dort nicht nur vorübergehend weilt'. Ibid.
216. '...verfällt mit dem Verlust der Staatsangehörigkeit dem Reich'. Ibid.
217. Order of the Reich Interior Minister of 3.12., IfZ, No. 5336, printed in Adler, Verwaltete Mensch, pp. 503f, as well as his comments, ibid., pp. 491ff.
218. On this, see Adler, Verwaltete Mensch, pp. 29ff.
219. '...ein geeigneter Beitrag zur Lösung der Judenfrage in Frankreich'. PAA, Pol. Abt. III 245.
220. '...wegen den nach Kriegsende zu ergreifenden Maßnahmen zur grundsätzlichen Lösung der Judenfrage'. PAA, Pol Abt. III 245; cf. Browning, Solution, p. 66.
221. BAB, NS 19/1438.
222. CDJC, XXVb-7.
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