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. The Mass murders in S... >>

1. The Mass murders in the Warthegau

1.1Since Hitler's decision to begin with the deportation of the Jews from the "Greater German Reich" in mid-September 1941, a continuous stream of transports arrived in the utterly overfilled ghetto of Lodz, starting in mid-October. They carried a total of 25.000 Jews and Gypsies who had been forcibly removed from the Reich.
1.2Around the same time, probably still in October 1941, the mass murder of local Jews began in the area of Konin in the southern Warthegau.240 In an "action" lasting several days at the end of November, 700 Jews were killed in gas-vans at the camp of Bornhagen (Kozminek) in the area of Kalisch.241 This was carried out by the SK Lange which had already murdered thousands of mental asylum inmates in gas-vans in 1939/1940, and again in June/July 1941.242 In October 1941, Lange's unit was called to Novgorod by Himmler in order to kill the patients of mental asylums there.243 Lange's driver testified that he had been told to chauffeur Lange around the Warthegau in the autumn of 1941, in order to find a suitable place for a stationary murder-installation. After a suitable building had been found in Chelmno, Lange's unit started killing Jews there with the use of gas-vans on 8 December. At first, mainly local Jews who had been deported from various areas of the Warthegau to Chelmno were killed. From January 1942 onward, however, predominantly Polish Jews from the ghetto of Lodz were put to death at Chelmno.244
1.3A letter of the governor Reichsstatthalter of the Warthegau Greiser of 1 May 1942, gives important evidence in the reconstruction of the decision to carry out the mass murder of Jews in the Warthegau.245 In this letter to Himmler, Greiser writes that the "special treatment of around 100.000 Jews in my district [which was] authorised by you in agreement with the Head of the Reichsichterheitshauptamt SS Obergruppenführer Heydrich" could be "completed in the next 2-3 months".246 If Himmler and Heydrich had to "authorise" (genehmigen) this mass murder, then it is to   be assumed that this suggestion was of Greiser's making.247 The murder of the 100.000 people (Polish Jews "unfit for work") which Greiser demanded of Himmler, was hence presumably the "quid pro quo" for the approximately 25.000 Jews and Gypsies (instead of the 60.000 originally proposed by Himmler) who were to be taken up in the ghetto of Lodz in October/November 1941.


240. Kershaw, 'Final Solution', p. 65. In 1942 the information that the Jews of the District of Konin, 3000 people, had been systematically murdered got through into the United States. This was confirmed by a German investigatative proceeding (see ZSt., 206 AR-Z 228/73).
241. Vercit District Court Stuttgart of 15.8.50, printed in Justix VII, p. 231ft.
242. Aly, Endlösung, pp. 188f.
243. PRO, HW 16/32, 4.10.41.
244. Statement of Lange's driver, Justiz XXI, No. 594, District Court Bonn, Verdict, 23.7.65.; Kogon et. al. (eds.) NS-Massentötungen, pp. 110ff.
245. Faschismus, p. 278.
246. 'von Ihnen im Einvernehmen mit dem Chef des Reichssicherheitshauptamptes SS Obergruppenführer Heydrich genehmigte Aktion der Sonderbehandlung von rund 100.000 Juden in meinem Gaugebiet... in den nächsten 2-3 Monaten abgeschlossen'. Ibid.
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