The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/nca/nca-01/nca-01-12-jews-04

Archive/File: imt/nca/nca-01/nca-01-12-jews-04
Last-Modified: 1996/06/17

 Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume One, Chapter Twelve

                                                  [Page 984]


At this point the gradual and mounting campaign against the
Jews was prepared for the achievement of its ultimate
violent ends. The German people had been indoctrinated, and
the seeds of hatred had been sown. The German state was
armed and prepared for conquest. The force of world opinion
could now safely be ignored. Already the Nazi conspirators
had forced out of Germany 200,000 of its former 500,000
Jews. The Nazi-controlled German state was therefore
emboldened, and Hitler in anticipation of the aggressive
wars already planned cast about for a provocation.

In his speech before the Reichstag on 30 January 1939,
Hitler declared:

     "If the international Jewish financiers within and
     without Europe succeed in plunging the nations once
     more into a world war, the result will not be the
     Bolshevization of the world and the victory of Jewry,
     but the obliteration of the Jewish race in Europe."

The chief editor of the official organ of the SS, the
"Schwarze Korps," expressed similar sentiments on 8 August

     "Just as the Jewish question will be solved for Germany
     only when the last Jew has been deported, so the rest
     of Europe should also realize that the German peace
     which awaits it must be a peace without Jews." (2668-

Other officials of the Party and State voiced the same
views. Rosenberg wrote for the publication "World Struggle,"
which in the April and September 1941 issues declared:

     "The Jewish question will be solved for Europe only
     when the last Jew has left the European continent."

Hans Frank entered this apologetic note in his diary:

     "Of course, I could not eliminate all lice and Jews in
     only a year's time. But in the course of time, and
     above all, if you will help me, this end will be
     attained." (2233-C-PS)

A. Registration.

The first step in accomplishing the purpose of the Nazi
Party and the Nazi-dominated state, to eliminate the Jew,
was to require a complete registration of all Jews. Inasmuch
as the anti-Jewish policy was linked with the program of
German aggression, such registration was required
not only within the Reich, but successively within the
conquered territories. For example, registration was
required, by decree, within Germany (Reichsgesetzblatt Part
I, 1938, page 922, 23 July, signed by Frick); with-

                                                  [Page 985]
in Austria (Reichsgesetzblatt, Volume 1, 1940, page 694, 29
April); within Poland (Kurjer Krakowski, 24 October 1939);
in France (Journal Official No. 9, page 92, 30 September
1940); in Holland (Verordnungsblatt, No. 16, 10 January
1941, signed by Seyss-Inquart).

B. Segregation into Ghettos.

The second step was to segregate and concentrate the Jews
within restricted areas, called ghettos. This policy was
carefully worked out, as is illustrated by the confidential
statement taken from the files of Rosenberg (212-PS). This
memorandum of Rosenberg's, entitled "Directions for Handling
of the Jewish Question", states:

     "The first main goal of the German measures must be
     strict segregation of Jewry from the rest of the
     population. In the execution of this, first of all, is
     the seizing of the Jewish population by the
     introduction of a registration order and -similar
     appropriate measures ***."
     "*** All rights of freedom for Jews are to be
     withdrawn. They are to be placed in ghettos and at the
     same time are to be separated according to sexes. The
     presence of many more or less closed Jewish settlements
     in White Ruthenia and in the Ukraine makes this mission
     easier. Moreover, places are to be chosen which make
     possible the full use of the Jewish manpower in case
     labor needs are present. These ghettos can be placed
     under the supervision of a Jewish self-government with
     Jewish officials. The guarding of the boundaries
     between the ghettos and the outer world, is, however,
     the duty of the Police. "Also, in the cases in which a
     ghetto could not yet be established, care is to be
     taken through strict prohibitions and similar suitable
     measures that a further intermingling of blood of the
     Jews and the rest of the populace does not continue."

In May 1941 Rosenberg, as the Reich Minister for the
Occupied Eastern Territories, issued directions confining
the Jews to ghettos in the Ukraine:

     "After the customary removal of Jews from alI public
     offices, the Jewish question will have to have a
     decisive solution, through the institution of ghettos."

The policies set forth in the foregoing utterances of
Rosenberg t were not accidental, isolated, or the views of
one individual. They were the expressed State policies. Von
Schirach played his

                                                  [Page 986]
part in the program of ghettoization. His speech before the
European Youth Congress held in Vienna on 14 September 1942
was reported on page 2, column 2 of the Vienna edition of
the "Voelkischer Beobachter" of 15 September, as follows:

     "Every Jew who exerts influence in Europe is a danger
     to European culture. If anyone reproaches me with
     having driven from this city, which was once the
     European metropolis of Jewry, tens of thousands upon
     tens of thousands of Jews into the ghetto of the East,
     I feel myself compelled to reply: I see in this an
     action contributing to European culture." (3048-PS)

One of the largest ghettos was within the city of Warsaw.
The official report made by SS Major General Stroop
concerning this ghetto is entitled "The Warsaw Ghetto Is No
More." (1061-PS)

The report thus describes the ghetto:

     "The Ghetto thus established in Warsaw was inhabited by
     about 400,000 Jews. It contained 27,000 apartments with
     an average of 21/2 rooms each. It was separated from
     the rest of the city by partition and other walls, and
     by walling up of the thoroughfares, windows, doors,
     open spaces, etc.***" (1061-PS)

Conditions within this ghetto are indicated in the statement
of the report that an average of six persons lived in every
room. (1061-PS)

Himmler received a report from the SS Brigade Fuehrer Group
A, dated 15 October 1941, which further illustrates the
establishment and operation of the ghettos. (L-180) The
report states:
     "Apart from organizing and carrying out measures of
     execution, the creation of ghettos was begun in the
     larger towns at once during the first day of
     operations. This was especially urgent in Knowno
     because there were 30,000 Jews in a total population of
     "In Riga the so-called 'Moskau Suburb' was designated
     as a ghetto. This is the worst dwelling district of
     Riga, already now mostly inhabited by Jews. The
     transfer of the Jews into the ghetto district proved
     rather difficult because the Latvians dwelling in that
     district had to be evacuated and residential-space in
     Riga is very crowded. 24,000 of the 28,000 Jews living
     in Riga have been transferred into the ghetto so far.
     In creating the ghetto, the Security Police restricted
     themselves to mere policing duties, while the es-
                                                  [Page 987]
     tablishment and administration of the ghetto as well as
     the regulation of the food supply for the inmates of
     the ghetto were led to civil administration; he labor
     officers were left in charge of Jewish labor.
     "In the other towns with a larger Jewish population
     ghettos shall be established likewise." (L-180)

Jews were forced into ghettos in the Polish Province of
Galicia. The conditions in these ghettos are described in
the report from Katzmann, Lt. General of Police, to Krueger,
General of the Police East, dated 20 June 1943, and entitled
"Solution of Jewish Question in Galicia." (L-18):

     "Nothing but catastrophical conditions were found in
     the ghettos of Rawa-Ruska and Rohatyn ***."
     "*** The Jews of Rawa-Ruska, fearing the evacuation,
     had concealed those suffering from spotted fever in
     underground holes. When evacuation was to start the
     police found that 3,000 Jews suffering from spotted
     fever lay about in 'this ghetto. In order to destroy
     this center of pestilence at once every police officer
     inoculated against spotted fever was called into
     action. Thus we succeeded to destroy this plague-boil,
     losing thereby only one officer. Almost the same
     conditions were found in Rohatyn ***"
     "Since we received more and more alarming reports on
     the Jews becoming armed in an ever increasing manner,
     we started during the last fortnight in June 1943 an
     action throughout the whole of the district of Galicia
     with the intent to use strongest measures to destroy
     the Jewish gangsterdom. Special measures were found
     necessary during the action to dissolve the ghetto in
     Lwow where the dug-out mentioned above had been
     established. Here we had to act brutally from the
     beginning, in order to avoid losses on our side; we had
     to blow up, or to burn down several houses. On this
     occasion the surprising fact arose that we were able to
     catch about 20,000 Jews instead of 12,000 Jews who had
     registered. We had to pull at least 3,000 Jewish
     corpses out of every kind of hiding places; they had
     committed suicide by taking poison. ***"
     "*** Despite the extraordinary burden heaped upon every
     single SS-Police officer during these actions, mood and

                                                  [Page 988]
     spirit of the men were extraordinarily good and
     praiseworthy from the first to the last day ***." (L-18)

These acts of removal and slaughter were not entirely
without profit. The report continues:

     "Together with the evacuation action, we executed the
     confiscation of Jewish property. Very high amounts were
     confiscated and paid over to the Special Staff
     'Reinhard'. Apart from furniture and many textile
     goods, the following amount were confiscated and turned
     over to Special Staff 'Reinhard' ***
     "20.952 kilograms of gold wedding rings.
          7 Stamp collections, complete.
          1 Suit case with pocket knives.
          1 basket of fountain pens and propelled pencils.
          3 bags filled with rings -- not genuine.
          35 wagons of furs." (L-18)
The thoroughness of the looting is illustrated by an item
listing 11.73 kilograms of gold teeth and inlays. (L-18)

By the end of 1942, Jews in the General Government of Poland
had been crowded into fifty-five localities, whereas before
the German invasion there had been approximately 1,000
Jewish settlements within this same area. This fact is
reported in the 1942 Official Gazette for the General
Government, No. 94, page 665, 11 January 1942.

C. Forced Labor.

The Jews, having been registered and confined within the
ghettos, now furnished a reservoir for slave labor. The
difference between slave labor and "labor duty" was this:
the latter group were entitled to reasonable compensation,
stated working hours, medical care and attention, and other
social security measures, while the former were granted none
of these advantages, being in fact, on a level below that of

Rosenberg set up within his organization for the Occupied
Eastern Territories a department which, among other things,
was to seek a solution for the Jewish problem by means of
forced labor. His plans, contained in a memorandum entitled
"General Organizations and Tasks of our Office for the
General Handling of Problems in the Eastern Territory," and
dated 29 April 1941, read as follows:

     "A general treatment is required for the Jewish problem
     for which a temporary solution will have to be
     determined (forced labor for the Jews, creation of
     Ghettos, etc.)." (1024-PS)

                                                  [Page 989]
Thereafter Rosenberg issued instructions that Jewish forced
labor should be utilized for every manual labor task:

     "The standing rule for the Jewish labor employment is
     the complete and unyielding use of Jewish manpower
     regardless of age in the reconstruction of the occupied
     eastern territories."

"Violations against German measures, especially against the
forced labor regulations, are to be punished by death to the
Jews." (212-PS)

From the ghettos Jewish labor was selected and sent to a
concentration area. Here the usable Jews were screened from
those considered worthless. For example, a contingent of
45,000 Jews could be expected to yield 10,000 to 15,000
usable laborers. This estimate is based on an RSHA telegram
to Himmler, marked "Urgent" and "Secret", and dated 16
February 1942:

     "In the total of 45,000 are included physically
     handicapped and others (old Jews and children). In
     making a distribution for this purpose, at least 10,000
     to 15,000 laborers will be available when the Jews
     arriving at Auschwitz are as: signed." (1472-PS)

The report from Lieutenant General of Police, Katzmann, to
General of the Police East, Krueger, clearly outlines the
nature of the Jewish forced labor:

     "The best remedy consisted of the formation, by the SS
     and Police Leader, of forced labor camps. The best
     opportunity for labor was offered by the necessity to
     complete the 'Dg.4' road which was extremely important
     and necessary for the whole of the southern part of the
     front, and which was in a catastrophically bad
     condition. On 15 October 1941, the establishment of
     camps along the road was commenced, and despite
     considerable difficulties there existed, after a few
     weeks only, seven camps containing 4,000 Jews."
     "Soon more camps followed these first ones, so that
     after a very short time the completion of fifteen camps
     of this kind could be reported to the Superior Leader
     of SS and Police. In the course of time about 20,000
     Jewish laborers passed through these camps. Despite the
     hardly imaginable difficulties occurring at this work I
     can report today that about 160 kilometer of the road
     are completed."
     "At the same time all other Jews fit for work were
     registered and distributed for useful work by the labor
                                                  [Page 990]
     *** When the Jews were marked by the Star of David, as
     well as when they were registered by the labor
     agencies, the first symptoms appeared in their attempts
     to dodge the order of the authorities. The measures
     which were introduced thereupon led to thousands of
     arrests. It became more and more apparent that the
     civil administration was not in a position to solve the
     Jewish problem in an approximately satisfactory manner.
     Then, for instance, the municipal administration at
     Lwow had no success in their attempts to house the Jews
     within a closed district which would be inhabited only
     by Jews. This question, too, was solved quickly by the
     SS and Police Leaders through subordinate officials.
     This measure became the more urgent as in the winter,
     1941, big centers of spotted fever were noted in many
     parts of the town."
     "During this removal of the Jews into a certain quarter
     of the town several sluices were erected at which all
     the work-shy and asocial Jewish rabble were caught
     during the screening and treated in a special way.
     Owing to the peculiar, fact that almost 900 of artisans
     working in Galicia were Jews, the task to be solved
     could be fulfilled only step by step, since an
     immediate evacuation would not have served the interest
     of War Economy."
     "*** Cases were discovered where Jews, in order to
     acquire any certificate of labor, not only renounced
     all wages, but even paid money themselves. Moreover,
     the organizing of Jews for the benefit of their
     employers grew to such catastrophical extent that it
     was deemed necessary to interfere in the most energetic
     manner for the benefit of the German name. Since the
     administration was not in a position and showed itself
     too weak to master this-chaos, the SS and Police Leader
     simply took over the entire disposition of labor for
     Jews. The Jewish labor agencies, which were manned by
     hundreds of Jews, were dissolved. All certificates of
     labor given by firms or administrative offices were
     declared invalid, and the cards given to the Jews by
     the labor agencies were revalidated by the police
     offices by stamping them. In the course of this action,
     again, thousands of Jews were caught who were in
     possession of forged certificates or who had obtained,
     surreptitiously, certificates of labor by all kinds of
     pretexts. These Jews also were exposed to special
     treatment." (L-18)

                                                  [Page 991]

D. Extermination.

(At this point a strip of motion picture footage taken,
presumably, by a member of the SS, and captured by the
United States military forces in an SS barracks near
Augsburg, Germany, was shown to the tribunal. The film
depicts what is believed to be the extermination of a ghetto
by Gestapo agents, assisted by military units. The following
scenes are representative:

Scene 2: A naked girl running across the courtyard.
Scene 3 An older woman being pushed past the camera, and a
man in SS uniform standing at the right of the scene.
Scene 5: A man with a skull cap and a woman are manhandled.
Scene 14: A half-naked woman runs through the crowd.
Scene 15: Another half-naked woman runs out of the house.
Scene 16: Two men drag an old man out.
Scene 18: A man in German military uniform, with his back to
the camera, watches.
Scene 24: A general shot of the street, showing fallen
bodies and naked women running.
Scene 32: A shot of the street, showing five fallen bodies.
Scene 37: A man with a bleeding head is hit again.
Scene 39: A soldier in German military uniform, with a
rifle, stands by as a crowd centers on a man coming out of
the house.
Scene 44: A soldier with a rifle, in German military
uniform, walks past a woman clinging to a torn blouse.
Scene 45: A woman is dragged by her hair across the street.)

The means of accomplishing the extermination of the Jews are
discussed in the diary of Hans Frank, then Governor General
of Occupied Poland (2253-D-PS). In a cabinet session on
Tuesday, 16  December 1941 in the Government Building at
Cracow, Frank made a closing address, as follows:

     "As far as the Jews are concerned, I want to tell you
     quite frankly that they must be done away with in one
     way or. another. The Fuehrer said once: 'Should united
     Jewry again succeed in provoking a world-war, the blood
     of not only the nations which have been forced into the
     war by them, will be shed, but the Jew will have found
     his end in Europe'. I know that many of the measures
     carried out against the Jews in the Reich at present
     are being criticized. It is being tried intentionally,
     as is obvious from the reports on the morale, to talk
     about cruelty, harshness, etc. Before I continue, I
     want to beg you to agree with me on the following
     formula: We will principally have pity on the German
     people only, and
                                                  [Page 992]
     nobody else in the whole world. The others, too, had no
     pity on us. As an old National-Socialist, I must say:
     This war would only be a partial success if the whole
     lot of Jewry would survive it, while we would have shed
     our best blood in order to save Europe. My attitude
     towards the Jews will, therefore, be based only on the
     expectation that they must disappear. They must be done
     away with. I have entered negotiations to have them
     deported to the East. A great discussion concerning
     that question will take place in Berlin in January, to
     which I am going to delegate the State Secretary Dr.
     Buehler. That discussion is to take place in the Reich
     Security Main Office with SS-Lt. General Heydrich. A
     great Jewish migration will begin, in any case.

     "But what should be done with the Jews? Do you think
     they will be settled down in the 'Ostland', in
     villages? This is what we were told in Berlin: Why all
     this bother ? We can do nothing with them either in the
     'Ostland' nor in the 'Reich kommissariat'. So liquidate
     them yourself.
     "Gentlemen, I must ask you to rid yourself of all
     feeling of pity. We must annihilate the Jews, wherever
     we find them and wherever it is possible, in order to
     maintain there the structure of the Reich as a whole.
     This will, naturally, be achieved by other methods than
     those pointed out by Bureau Chief Dr. Hummel. Nor can
     the judges of the Special Courts be made responsible
     for it, because of the limitations of the framework of
     the legal procedure. Such outdated views cannot be
     applied to such gigantic and unique events. We must
     find at any rate a way which leads to the goal, and my
     thoughts are working in that direction.
     "The Jews represent for us-also extraordinarily
     malignant gluttons. We have now approximately 2,500,000
     of them in the General Government, perhaps with the
     Jewish mixtures and everything that goes with it,
     3,500,000 Jews. We cannot shoot or poison those
     3,500,000 Jews, but we shall nevertheless be able to
     take measures, which will lead, somehow, to their
     annihilation, and this in connection with the gigantic
     measures to be determined in discussions from the
     Reich. The General Government must become free of Jews,
     the same as the Reich. Where and how this is to be
     achieved is a matter for the offices which we must
     appoint and create here. Their activities will be
     brought to your attention in due course." (2233-D-PS)

                                                  [Page 993]
This was not the planning and scheming of an irresponsible
individual, but the expression by the Governor General of
Occupied Poland, of the official policy of the German State.

Rosenberg's notion of the means to be taken against the Jews
is expressed in a secret "Document Memorandum for the
Fuehrer Concerning: Jewish Possessions in France," dated 18
December 1941. Rosenberg urges plundering and death:

     "*** In compliance with the order of the Fuehrer for
     protection of Jewish cultural possessions, a great
     number of Jewish dwellings remained unguarded.
     Consequently, many furnishings have disappeared because
     a guard could, naturally, not be posted. In the whole
     East the administration has found terrible conditions
     of living quarters, and the chances of procurement are
     so limited that it is not practical to procure any
     more. Therefore, I beg the Fuehrer to permit the
     seizure of all Jewish home furnishings of Jews in
     Paris, who have fled or will leave shortly, and that of
     Jews living in all parts of the occupied West, to
     relieve the shortage of furnishings in the
     administration in the East.
     "2. A great number of leading Jews were, after a short
     examination in Paris, again released. The attempts on
     the lives of members of the armed forces have not
     stopped; on the contrary they continue. This reveals an
     unmistakable plan to disrupt the German-French
     cooperation, to force Germany to retaliate, and, with
     this, evoke a new defense on the part of the French
     against Germany. I suggest to the Fuehrer that, instead
     of executing 100 Frenchmen, we substitute 100 Jewish
     bankers, lawyers, etc. It is the Jews in London and New
     York who incite the French communists to commit acts of
     violence, and it seems only fair that the members of
     this race should pay for this. It is not the little
     Jews, but the leading Jews in France, who should be
     held responsible. That would tend to awaken the Anti-
     Jewish sentiment.
                           "(Signed) A. Rosenberg." (001-PS)

 (1) Starvation. Chief among the methods utilized for the
annihilation of the Jewish people was starvation. Policies
were designed and adopted to deprive the Jews of the most
elemental necessities of life. Hans Frank, then Governor
General of Poland, wrote in his diary that hunger rations
were introduced in the Warsaw Ghetto (2233-E-PS). Referring
to the new food regulations of August 1942, he noted that by
these food regulations more than one million Jews were
virtually condemned to death.

                                                  [Page 994]
     "That we sentence 1,200,000 Jews to die of hunger
     should be noted only marginally. It is a matter of
     course that should the Jews not starve to death it
     would we hope result in a speeding up of the anti-
     Jewish measures." (2233-E-PS)

In pursuance of the deliberate policy of Jewish starvation,
Jews were prohibited from pursuing agricultural activities
in order to cut them off from access to sources of food. A
document entitled 'Provisional Directives on the Treatment
of Jews", issued by the Reichscommissar for the Ostland,

     "Jews must be cleaned out from the countryside. The
     Jews are to be removed from all trades, especially from
     trade with agricultural products and other foodstuffs."

Jews were also excluded from the purchase of basic food,
such as wheat products, meat, eggs, and milk. A decree dated
18 September 1942, from the Ministry of Agriculture,

     "Jews will no longer receive the following foods,
     beginning with the 42nd distribution period (19 October
     1942): meat, meat products, eggs, wheat products (cake,
     white bread, wheat rolls, wheat flour, etc.) whole
     milk, fresh skimmed milk, as well as such food
     distributed not on food ration cards issued uniformly
     throughout the Reich but on local supply certificates
     or by special announcement of the nutrition office on
     extra coupons of the food cards. Jewish children and
     young people over ten years of age will receive the
     bread ration of the normal consumer." (1347-PS)

The sick, the old, and pregnant mothers were excluded from
the special food concessions allotted to non-Jews. Seizure
by the State Police of food shipments to Jews from abroad
was authorized, and Jewish ration cards were distinctly
marked with the word "Jew" in color across the face of the
cards, so that the storekeepers could readily identify and
discriminate against Jewish purchasers.

According to page 110 of an official document of the
Czechoslovakian government published in 1943 and entitled
"Czechoslovakia Fights Back," Jewish food purchases were
confined to certain areas, to certain days, and to certain
hours. As might be expected, the period permitted for the
purchases occurred during the time when food stocks were
likely to be exhausted. (1689-PS)

By Special Order No. 44 for the Eastern Occupied
Territories, dated 4 November 1941, Jews were limited to
rations as low as only one-half of the lowest basic category
of other people, and the Ministry of Agriculture was
empowered to exclude Jews entirely or partially from
obtaining food thus exposing the Jewish community to death
by starvation. A bulletin issued by the Polish

                                                  [Page 995]
Ministry of Information, dated 15 December 1942 , concludes
that upon the basis of the nature of the separate rationing
and the amount of food available to Jews in the Warsaw and
Cracow ghettos, the system was designed to bring about

     "In regard to food supplies they are brought under a
     completely separate system, which is obviously aimed at
     depriving them of the most elemental necessities of
     life." (L-165)

(2) Annihilation. Annihilation within the ghettos is
illustrated and glorified in the report of Major General of
the Police Stroop entitled "The Warsaw Ghetto is No More."

This report bound in leather profusely illustrated, typed on
heavy bond paper, and almost 75 pages in length, is the
almost unbelievable recital of a proud accomplishment by
Stroop, who signed the report with a bold hand. Stroop in
his report first pays tribute to the bravery and heroism of
the German forces who participated in the ruthless actions
against a defenseless group of Jews numbering, to be exact
56,065 -- including infants and women. His report relates
day-by-day progress in the accomplishment of his mission --
to destroy and to obliterate the Warsaw Ghetto. According to
this report, the ghetto, which was established in Warsaw in
November 1940, was inhabited by about 400,000 Jews; and
prior to the action for the destruction of this Ghetto, some
316,000 had already been deported.

These are some of the boastful and vivid accounts of the
scenes within the Warsaw Ghetto:

     "The resistance put up by the Jews and bandits could be
     broken only by relentlessly using all our forces and
     energy by day and night. On 23 April 1943 the
     Reichsfuehrer SS issued through the Higher SS and
     Police Fuehrer East at Cracow his order to complete the
     combing out of the Warsaw Ghetto with the greatest
     severity and relentless tenacity. I therefore decided
     to destroy the entire Jewish residential area by
     setting every block on fire, including the blocks of
     residential buildings near the armament works. One
     concern after the other was systematically evacuated
     and subsequently destroyed by fire. The Jews then
     emerged from their hiding places and dugouts in almost
     every case. Not infrequently, the Jews stayed in the
     burning buildings until, because of the heat and the
     fear of being burned alive, they preferred to jump down
     from the upper stories after having thrown mattresses
     and other upholstered articles into the street from the
     burning buildings. With their bones broken, they still
     tried to crawl across the street into blocks of
                                                  [Page 996]
     buildings which had not yet been set on fire or were
     only partially in flames. Often the Jews changed their
     hiding places during the night, by moving into the
     ruins of burnt out buildings, taking refuge there until
     they were found by our patrols. Their stay in the
     sewers also ceased to be pleasant after the first week.
     Frequently from the street, we could hear loud voices
     coming through the sewer shafts. hen the men of the
     Waffen SS, the Police or the Wehrmacht Engineers
     courageously climbed down from the shafts to bring out
     the Jews and not infrequently they then stumbled over
     Jews already dead, or were shot at. It was always
     necessary to use smoke candles to drive out the Jews.
     Thus one day we opened 183 sewer entrance holes, and at
     a fixed time lowered smoke candles into them, with the
     result that the bandits fled from what they believed to
     be gas in the center of the former Ghetto, where they
     could then be pulled out of the sewer holes there. A
     great number of Jews who could not be counted were
     exterminated by blowing up sewers and dugouts.

     "The longer the resistance lasted the tougher the men
     of the Waffen SS, Police, and Wehrmacht became. They
     fulfilled their duty indefatigably in faithful
     comradeship, and stood together as models and examples
     of soldiers. Their duty hours often lasted from early
     morning until late at night. At night search patrols
     with rags wound round their feet remained at the heels
     of the Jews and gave them no respite. Not infrequently
     they caught and killed Jews who used the night hours
     for supplementing their stores from abandoned dugouts
     and for contacting neighboring groups or exchanging
     news with them.
     "Considering that the greater part of the men of the
     Waffen SS had only been trained for three to four weeks
     before being assigned to this action, high credit
     should be given to the pluck, courage and devotion to
     duty which they showed. It must be stated that the
     Wehrmacht Engineers, too, executed the blowing up of
     dugouts, sewers and concrete buildings with
     indefatigability and great devotion to duty. Officers
     and men of the police, a large part of whom had already
     been at the front, again excelled by their dashing
     "Only through the continuous and untiring work of all
     involved did we succeed in catching a total of 56,065
     Jews whose extermination can be proved.
                                                  [Page 997]
     To this should be added the number of Jews who lost
     their lives in explosions or fires, but whose number
     could not be ascertained." (1061-PS)
At the beginning of his report Stroop lists the losses of
German troops:
     "For the Fuehrer and their country the following fell
     in the battle for the destruction of Jews and bandits
     in the former ghetto of Warsaw ***" [Fifteen names are
     thereafter listed].
     "Furthermore, the Polish police sergeant Julian
     Zielinski, born 13 November 1891, 8th Commissariat,
     fell on 19 April 1943 while fulfilling his duty. They
     gave their utmost, their life. We shall never forget
     "The following were wounded ***" [There follow the
     names of 60 Waffen SS personnel] "11 watchmen from
     training camps, probably Lithuanians; 12 Security
     Police officers in SS units; 5 men of the Polish
     Police; and 2 regular army personnel, engineers." (1061-

The story continues in the daily teletype reports, from
which following are excerpts:

     "Our setting the block on fire achieved the result in
     the course of the night that those Jews whom we had not
     been able to find despite all our search operations
     left their hideouts under the roofs, in the cellars,
     and elsewhere, and appeared on the outside of the
     buildings, trying to escape the flames. Masses of them
     -- entire families -- were already aflame and jumped
     from the windows or endeavored to let themselves down
     by means of sheets tied together or the like. Steps had
     been taken so that these Jews as well as the remaining
     ones were liquidated at once."
     "When the blocks of buildings mentioned above were
     destroyed, 120 Jews were caught and numerous Jews were
     destroyed when they jumped from the attics to the inner
     courtyards, trying to escape the flames. Many more Jews
     perished in the flames or were destroyed when the
     dugouts a sewer entrances were blown up.'
     "Not until the blocks of buildings were well aflame and
     were out to collapse did a further considerable number
     of Jews merge forced to do so by the flames and the
     smoke. Time and again the Jews try to escape even
     through burning buildings. Innumerable Jews whom we saw
     on the roofs
                                                  [Page 998]
     during the conflagration perished in the flames. Others
     emerged from the upper stories in the last possible
     moment and were only able to escape death from the
     flames by jumping down. Today we caught a total of
     2,283 Jews, of whom 204 were shot, and innumerable Jews
     were destroyed in dugouts and in the flames."
     "The Jews testify that they emerge at night to get
     fresh air, since it is unbearable to stay permanently
     within the dugout owing to the long duration of the
     operation. On the average the raiding parties shoot 30
     to 50 Jews each night. From the statements it was to be
     inferred that a considerable number of Jews are still
     underground in the Ghetto. Today we blew up a concrete
     building which we had not been able to destroy by fire.
     In this operation we learned that the blowing up of a
     building is a very lengthy process and takes an
     enormous amount of explosives. The best and only method
     for destroying the Jews therefore remains the setting
     of fires."
     "Some depositions speak of three to four thousand Jews
     who still remain in underground holes, sewers, and
     dugouts. The undersigned is resolved not to terminate
     the large-scale operation until the last Jew has been
     destroyed." (1016-PS)

The teletype message of 15 May 1945 indicates that the
operation is in its last stage:

     "A special unit once more searched the last block of
     buildings which was still intact in the Ghetto, and
     subsequently destroyed it. In the evening the chapel,
     mortuary, and all other buildings in the Jewish
     cemetery were blown up or destroyed by fire.." (1061-

On 24 May 1943 the final figures were compiled by Major
General Stroop:

     "Of the total of 56,065 caught about 7,000 were
     destroyed in the former Ghetto during large scale
     operation. 6,929 Jews were destroyed by transporting
     them to T.II [believed to be Treblinka Camp No. 2]. The
     sum total of Jews destroyed is therefore 13,929. Beyond
     the number of 56.065 an estimated number of 5 to 6,000
     Jews were destroyed by being blown up or by perishing
     in the flames." (1061-PS)

It was not always necessary, or perhaps desirable, to place
the Jews within Ghettos to effect elimination. In the Baltic
States a more direct course of action was followed.
According to a report by SS Brigade Fuehrer Stahlecker to
Himmler, dated 15

                                                  [Page 999]
October 1941, entitled "Action Group A," which was found in
Himmler's private files, 135,567 persons, nearly all Jews,
were murdered in accordance to basic orders directing the
complete annihilation of the Jews. SS Brigade Fuehrer
Stahlecker continues his report:

     "*** To our surprise it was not easy at first to set in
     motion a extensive pogrom against the Jews. Klimatis,
     the leader of the partisan unit, mentioned above, who
     was used for this purpose primarily, succeeded in
     starting a pogrom on the basis of advice given to him
     by a small advanced detachment acting in Kowno and in
     such a way that no German order of German instigation
     was noticed from the outside. During the first pogrom
     in the night from 25 June to 26 June the Lithuanian
     partisans did away with more than 1,500 Jews, setting
     fire to several synagogues or destroying them by other
     means and burning down a Jewish dwelling district
     consisting of about 60 houses. During the following
     nights about 2300 Jews were made harmless in a similar
     way. ***"
     "It was possible, though, through similar influences on
     the Latvian auxiliary to set in motion a pogrom against
     the Jews also in Riga. During this pogrom all
     synagogues were destroyed and about 400 Jews were
     killed." (L-180)

Nazi ingenuity reached its zenith with the construction and
operation of the gas van as a means of mass annihilation of
the Jews. A description of the operation of these vehicles
of death is fully set forth in a captured Top Secret
document dated 16 May 1942, addressed to SS
Obersturmbannfuehrer Rauff, 8 Prince Albrecht-Strasse,
Berlin, from Dr. Becker, SS Untersturmfuehrer. The report
reads in part:

     "The overhauling of vans by groups D and C is finished.
     While the vans of the first series can also be put into
     action if the weather is not too bad, the vans of the
     second series (Saurer) stop completely in rainy
     weather. If it has rained for instance for only one
     half hour, the van cannot be used because it simply
     skids away. It can only be used in absolutely dry
     weather. It is only a question now whether the van can
     only be used standing at the place of execution. First
     the van has to be brought to that place, which is
     possible only in good weather. The place of execution
     is usually 10 to 15 km away from the highways and is
     difficult of access because of its location; in damp or
     wet weather it is not accessible at all. If persons to
     be executed are
                                                 [Page 1000]
     driven or led to that place, then they realize
     immediately what is going on and get restless, which is
     to be avoided as far as possible. There is only one way
     left; to load them at the collecting point and to drive
     them to the spot.

     "I ordered the vans of group D to be camouflaged as
     house-trailers by putting one set of window shutters on
     each side of the small van and two on each side of the
     larger vans, such as one often sees on farm houses in
     the country. The vans became so well-known, that not
     only the authorities but also the civilian population
     called the van 'death van', as soon as one of these
     vehicles appeared. It is my opinion the van cannot be
     kept secret for any length of time, not even
     "Because of the rough terrain and the indescribable
     road and highway conditions the caulkings and rivets
     loosen in the course of time. I was asked if in such
     cases the vans should be brought to Berlin for repair.
     Transportation to Berlin would be much too expensive
     and would demand too much fuel. In order to save those
     expenses I ordered them to have smaller leaks soldered
     and if that should no longer be possible, to notify
     Berlin immediately by radio, that Pol.Nr. is out of
     order. Besides that I ordered that during application
     of gas all the men were to be kept as far away from the
     vans as possible, so they should not suffer damage to
     their health by the gas which eventually would escape.
     I should like to take this opportunity to bring the
     following to your attention: several commands have had
     the unloading after the application of gas done by
     their own men. I brought to the attention of the
     commanders of those S.K. concerned the immense
     psychological injuries and damages to their health
     which that work can have for those men, even if not
     immediately, at least later on. The men complained to
     me about headaches which appeared after each unloading.
     Nevertheless they don't want to change the orders,
     because they are afraid prisoners called for that work,
     could use an opportune moment to flee. To protect the
     men from those damages, I request orders be issued
     "The application of gas usually is not undertaken
     correctly. In order to come to an end as fast as
     possible, the driver presses the accelerator to the
     fullest extent. By doing that the persons to be
     executed suffer death from suffocation and not death by
     dozing off as was planned. My directions now have
     proved that by correct adjustment of the levers
                                                 [Page 1001]
     death comes faster and the prisoners fall asleep
     peacefully. Distorted faces and excretions, such as
     could be seen before, are no longer noticed.
     "Today I shall continue my journey to group B, where I
     can be reached with further news.
     "Signed: Dr. Becker, SS Untersturmfuehrer." (501-PS)

A letter signed by Hauptsturmfuehrer Truehe on the subject
of S-vans, addressed to the Reich Security Main Office, Room
2-D-3-A, Berlin, and marked "Top Secret," establishes that
the vans were used for the annihilation of the Jews. The
message reads:

     "A transport of Jews, which has to be treated in a
     special way, arrives weekly at the office of the
     commandant of the Security Police and the Security
     Service of White Ruthenia. "The three S-vans which are
     there are not sufficient for that purpose. I request
     assignment of another S-van (five tons). At the same
     time I request the shipment of twenty gas hoses for the
     three S-vans on hand (two Diamond, one Saurer), since
     the ones on hand are leaky already.
     (signed) The Commandant of the Security Police and the
     Security Service, Ostland." (501-PS)
It appears that a certain amount of discord existed between
officials of the German government as to the proper means
and methods to be used in connection with the extermination
program. A secret report dated 18 June 1943, addressed to
Rosenberg, complained that five thousand Jews killed by the
police and SS might have been used for forced labor, and
chided them for failing to bury the bodies of those

     "The fact that Jews receive special treatment requires
     no further discussion. However, it appears hardly
     believable that this is done in the way described in
     the report of the General Commissioner of 1 June 1943.
     What is Katyn against that? Imagine only that these
     occurrences would become known to the other side and
     exploited by them! Most likely such propaganda would
     have no effect only because people who hear and read
     about it simply would not be ready to believe it."
     "To lock men, women, and children into barns and to set
     fire to them does not appear to be a suitable method of
     combatting bands, even if it is desired to exterminate
     the population. This method is not worthy of the German
     cause and hurts our reputation severely." (R-135)

Gunther, the prison warden at Minsk, in a letter dated 31

                                                 [Page 1002]
1943, addressed to the General Commissioner for White
Ruthenia, was critical by implication. This letter,
entitled, "Action Against Jews," reads:
     "On 13 April 1943 the former German dentist Ernst
     Israel Tichauer and his wife, Elisa Sara Tichauer, nee
     Rosenthal, were committed to the court prison by the
     Security Service. Since that time all German and
     Russian Jews who were turned over to us had their
     golden bridgework, crowns, and fillings pulled or
     broken out. This happens always one to two hours before
     the respective action.
     "Since 13 April 1943, 516 German and Russian Jews have
     been finished off. On the basis of a definite
     investigation gold was taken only in two actions -- on
     14 April 1943 from 172, and on 27 April 1943 from 164
     Jews. About fifty percent of the Jews had gold teeth,
     bridgework, or fillings. Hauptscharfuehrer Rube of the
     Security Service was always personally present and he
     took the gold along, too.
     "Before 13 April 1943 this was not done. (signed)
     Gunther, Prison Warden." (R-15)

The foregoing letter was forwarded to Rosenberg, as Reich
Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, on June 1943.
The covering letter to Rosenberg reads:
     "The enclosed official report from the warden of the
     prison in Minsk is submitted to the Reich Minister and
     the Reich Commissar for Information.
     "(signed) The General Commissar in Minsk." (R-15)
A further complaint is contained in a secret letter
addressed to General of Infantry, Thomas, Chief of the
International Armament Department, dated 2 December 1941
(3257-PS). The writer of this letter apprehensively stated
his reason for not forwarding the communication through
official channels:
     "For the personal information of the Chief of the
     Industrial Armament Department I am forwarding a total
     account of the present situation in the
     Reichskommissariat Ukraine in which the difficulties
     and tensions encountered so far and the problems which
     give rise to serious anxiety are stated with
     unmistakable clarity.
     "Intentionally I have desisted from submitting such a
     report through official channels or to make it known to
     other departments interested in it because I do not
     expect any results that way, but to the contrary am
     apprehensive that the difficulties and tensions and
     also the divergent opinions might only be increased due
     to the peculiarity of the situation."
                                                 [Page 1003]
     "Jewish problem:
     "Regulation of the Jewish question in the Ukraine was a
     difficult problem because the Jews constituted a large
     part of the urban population. We therefore have to deal
     -- just as in the General Government -- with a mass
     problem of policy concerning the population. Many
     cities had a percentage of Jews exceeding fifty
     percent. Only the rich Jews had fled from the German
     troops. The majority of Jews remained under German
     administration. The latter found the problem more
     complicated through the fact that these Jews
     represented almost the entire trade and even a part of
     the manpower in small and medium industries besides the
     business which had in part become superfluous as a
     direct or indirect result of the war. The elimination
     therefore necessarily had far-reaching economic
     consequences and even direct consequences for the
     armament industry (production for supplying the
     "The attitude of the Jewish population was anxious -
     obliging from the beginning. They tried to avoid
     everything that might displease the German
     administration. That they hated the German
     administration and army inwardly goes without saying
     and cannot be surprising. However, there is no proof
     that Jewry as a whole or even to a greater part was
     implicated in acts of sabotage. Surely there were some
     terrorists or saboteurs among them just as among the
     Ukrainians. But it cannot be said that the Jews as such
     represented a danger to the German armed forces. The
     output produced by Jews who, of course, were prompted
     by nothing but the feeling of fear, was satisfactory to
     the troops and the German administration.
     "The Jewish population remained temporarily unmolested
     shortly after the fighting. Only weeks, sometimes
     months later, specially detached formations of the
     police executed a planned shooting of Jews. The action
     as a rule proceeded from east to west. It was done
     entirely in public with the use of the Ukrainian
     militia, and unfortunately in many instances also with
     members of the armed forces taking part voluntarily.
     The way these actions, which included men and old men,
     women, and children of all ages were carried out was
     horrible. The great masses executed make this-action
     more gigantic than any similar measure taken so far in
     the Soviet Union. So far about 150,000 to 200,000 Jews
     may have been
                                                 [Page 1004]
     executed in the part of the Ukraine belonging to the
     Reichskommissariat; no consideration was given to the
     interests of economy.
     "Summarizing, it can be said that the kind of solution
     of the Jewish problem applied in the Ukraine which
     obviously was based on the ideological theories as a
     matter of principle had the following results:
     "(a) Elimination of a part of partly superfluous eaters
     in the cities.
     "(b) Elimination of a part of the population which
     hated us undoubtedly.
     "(c) Elimination of badly needed tradesmen who were in
     many instances indispensable even in the interests of
     the armed forces.
     "(d) Consequences as to foreign policy -- propaganda
     which are obvious.
     "(e) Bad effects on the troops which in any case get
     indirect contact with the executions.
     "(f) Brutalizing effect on the formations which carry
     out the execution -- regular police." (3257-PS)

Lest it be thought that these conditions existed only in the
East, the official Netherlands government report by the
Commissioner for Repatriation as relates similar treatment
of the Jews in the West (1726-PS). The German measures taken
against the Dutch Jews -- discriminatory decrees, anti-
semitic demonstrations, burning of synagogues, purging of
Jews from the economic life of their country, food
restrictions, forced labor, concentration camp confinement,
deportation, and death -- all these measures follow the same
pattern that was effected throughout Nazi-occupied Europe.
The official Netherlands report states that full Jews,
liable to deportation, numbered 140,000. The total number of
actual Jewish deportees was 117,000, representing more than
eighty-three per cent of all the Jews in the Netherlands. Of
these, 115,000 were deported to Poland for slave labor, and
after departure all trace of them was lost. Regardless of
victory or defeat to Germany, the Jew was doomed. It was the
expressed intent of the Nazi state that whatever the German
fate might be the Jew would not survive. (1726-PS)

A Top Secret message from the commandant of the SIPO and SD
for the Radom District, addressed to SS Hauptsturmfuehrer
Thiel on the subject, "Clearance of Prisons," reads as

     "I again stress the fact that the number of inmates of
     the SIPO and SD prisons must be kept as low as
     possible. In the
                                                 [Page 1005]
     present situation, particularly, those suspects handed
     over by the civil police need only be subjected to a
     short, formal interrogation, provided there are no
     serious grounds for suspicion. They are then to be sent
     by the quickest route to a concentration camp, should
     no court martial proceeding be necessary or should
     there be no question of discharge. Please keep the
     number of discharges very low. Should the situation at
     the front necessitate it, early preparations are to be
     made for the total clearance of prisons. Should the
     situation develop suddenly in such a way that it is
     impossible to evacuate the prisoners, the prison
     inmates are to be liquidated and their bodies disposed
     of as far as possible (burning, blowing up the
     building, etc.). If necessary, Jews still employed in
     the armament industry or on other work are to be dealt
     with in the same way.

     "The liberation of prisoners or Jews by the enemy, be
     it the WB [perhaps means 'West-Bund,' or 'Western
     Ally'] or the Red Army, must be avoided under all
     circumstances, nor may they fall into their hands
     alive." (L-53)
(3) Mass Disposal of Jews in Concentration Camps. The
concentration camps were utilized to dispose of literally
millions of Jews, who died by mass shooting, gas, poison,
starvation, and other means. The part which the
concentration camps played in the annihilation of the Jewish
people is indicated in an official Polish report on
Auschwitz Concentration Camp (L-161). In Auschwitz during
July 1944 Jews were killed at the rate of 12,000 daily:
     "*** During July 1944, they were being liquidated at
     the rate of 12,000 Hungarian Jews daily, and as the
     crematory could not deal with such numbers, many bodies
     were thrown into large pits and covered with quick
     lime." (L-161)

The official Polish Government Commission Report on the
Investigation of German crimes in Poland describes the
concentration camp at Treblinka in these terms:

     "*** In March 1942, the Germans began to erect another
     camp, Treblinka B, in the neighborhood of Treblinka A,
     intended to become a place of torment for Jews.
     "The erection of this camp was closely connected with
     the German plans aiming at a complete destruction of
     the Jewish population in Poland which necessitated the
     creation of a machinery by means of which the Polish
     Jews could be killed in large numbers. Late in April
     1942, the erection of the first three chambers was
     finished in which these general massacres
                                                 [Page 1006]
     were to be performed by means of steam. Somewhat later
     the erection of the real death building was finished,
     which contains ten death chambers. It was opened for
     wholesale murders early in autumn 1942 ***." (3311-PS)

The report of the Polish commission describes graphically
the procedure for extermination within the camp:

     "*** The average number of Jews dealt with at the camp
     in summer 1942 was about two railway transports daily,
     but there were days of much higher efficiency. From
     autumn 1942 this number was falling.
     "After unloading in the siding all victims were
     assembled in one place where men were separated from
     women and children. In the first days of the existence
     of the camp the victims were made to believe that after
     a short stay in the camp, necessary for bathing and
     disinfection, they would be sent farther east, for
     work. Explanations of this sort were given by SS men
     who assisted at the unloading of the transports and
     further explanations could be read in notices stuck up
     on the walls of the barracks. But later, when more
     transports had to be dealt with, the Germans dropped
     all pretenses and only tried to accelerate the
     "All victims had to strip off their clothes and shoes,
     which were collected afterwards, whereupon all victims,
     women and children first, were driven into the death
     chambers. Those too slow or too weak to move quickly
     were driven on by rifle butts, by whipping and kicking,
     often by Sauer himself. Many slipped and fell, the next
     victims pressed forward and stumbled over them. Small
     children were simply thrown inside. After being filled
     up to capacity the chambers were hermetically closed
     and steam was let in. In a few minutes all was over.
     The Jewish menial workers had to remove the bodies from
     the platform and to bury them in mass graves. By and
     by, as new transports arrived, the -cemetery grew,
     extending in eastern direction.
     "From reports received, it may be assumed that several
     hundred thousands of Jews have been exterminated in
     Treblinka." (3311-PS)
An official United States government report issued by the
Executive Office of the President of the United States, War
Refugee Board, on the German camps at Auschwitz and
Birkenau, sets forth the number of Jews gassed in Birkenau
in the two year period between April 1942 and April 1944.
The figure printed in this report is not a typographical
error. The number is 1,765,000. (L-22)

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.