Lines: 136 Archive/File: holocaust/germany/nuremberg partisan.001 Last-Modified: 1994/03/20 "On September 16, Keitel, at Hitler's behest, followed up by issuing the 'Partisan Order': 'Since the beginning of the campaign against Russia Communist insurrections have broken out in all the areas occupied by Germany. It can be seen that this is a mass movement centrally directed by Moscow. In view of the considerable political and economic tensions in the occupied areas, it must moreover be anticipated that nationalists and other circles will take full opportunity to cause difficulties for the German occupation forces by joining the Communist uprising. In this way, an increasing danger to the German conduct of the war is developing. 'The measures taken so far to meet the general Communist insurrection movement have proved inadequate. The Fuhrer has now given orders that we must take action everywhere with the most drastic means in order to crush the movement. 'Every case of rebellion against the German occupation forces, re- gardless of circumstances, must be concluded to be of Communistic origin. In order to suppress these machinations from the beginning, the strongest means have to be employed.... As atonement for the life of one German soldier, the death penalty for fifty to one hundred Communists is generally considered as proper.' (NCA, 389 PS, Directive on Communist Insurgents in the Occupied Areas.) The difficulties with the Partisan Order, beyond its terrible implications of massive and indiscriminate retaliation, was that, like the Commissar Order, [Request holocaust/germany/nuremberg commissar.001. knm] it was impractical. Communists were almost as difficult to identify as commissars; and, even if most of them should be uncovered, their numbers would be exhausted rather quickly at the rate of fifty or one hundred for each German. Substitutes would have to be found. Since the decree stated that 'a clever campaign of propaganda' should emphasize that these 'strict measures free the native population from these Communistic criminals and are thus to their own advantage,' (Ibid.) the substitutes would have to be people with whom the inhabitants did not identify. On September 19, three days after the issuance of the Partisan Order, Kiev, with a population of 850,000, fell. Unbeknown to the Germans, the Red Army had planted more than ten thousand mines in the city. Every major building and strategic location was implanted with the wireless-controlled explosives linked to the electrical system. Five days later, on September 24, the Soviet engineers, having given the Germans time to settle in, began pressing the buttons. The two major hotels, the central post office, the radio station, the telegraph office -- all came crashing down upon the heads of the invaders. Many of the burning buildings exploded like giant firecrackers, showering all those in the vicinity with flaming shards. By the time the fire was controlled on September 29, approximately one thousand Germans (as well as countless inhabitants) had been killed, and three-fourths of a square mile of the downtown area lay devastated. The Germans were so shaken that, for fear of further explosions, they did not restore power in the city for weeks thereafter. (IMT, vol. 15, p. 329; Int. of Keitel by Maj. Gen. Alexandrov, Nov. 9, 1945.) There was, of course, no question that the occurrence had not been the result of partisan activity. The Soviets had merely turned Kiev into the biggest and most sophisticated booby trap in history, and the Germans had fallen into it like klutzes. But Field Marshal Walther von Reichenau, the ardent Nazi general commanding the area, was in need of scapegoats. Applying the Partisan Order, he could shoot at least fifty thousand Communists. Of course, there was no way of identifying fifty thousand Communists, or even a fraction of that number. The only segregatable group approaching such a multitude and included on Hitler's list of 'enemies' were the Jews. On September 29, the same day the fire was controlled, placards went up ordering the 170,000 Jews of Kiev to report immediately for 'resettlement.' Those that failed to do so, the notices warned, would be subject to severe penalties. Approximately one-fifth of the Jews responded. They were marched to the Jewish cemetery, abutting the Babi Yar ravine, within earshot of the center of the city. For two days and nights rifle and machinegun fire crackled uninterruptedly. Before it ceased, nearly 34,000 men, women, and children lay sprawled in the ravine -- the greatest single slaughter of the war. (Reitlinger, The House Built on Sand, 111) According to the report of a German captain, 'The population took the execution calmly, many with satisfaction. The newly vacated homes of the Jews were turned over for relief of the housing shortage.' (NCA, 053 PS, Report No. 10 of Capt. Girus Koch, Oct. 5, 1941.) Obviously, the extermination at Babi Yar was no secret. Stories and rumors spread through much of the Ukraine, and created such a sense of bewilderment in the German army that ten days later Reichenau issued an explanatory order designed to excise the troops' unease: 'The soldier must have full understanding for the necessity of a severe but just revenge on subhuman Jewry. The army has to aim at another purpose, that is the annihilation of revolts in hinterlands, which, as experience proves, have always been caused by Jews. The most essential aim of the war against the Jewish-Bolshevistic system is a complete destruction of their means of power and the elimination of Asiatic influence from European culture. In this connection the troops are facing tasks which exceed the one-sided routine of soldiery. The soldier in the Eastern Territories is not merely a fighter according to the rules of war, but also a bearer of ruthless national ideology and the avenger of bestialities which have been inflicted upon Germany and racially related nations. This is the only way to fulfill our historic task to liberate the German people once and forever from the Asiatic-Jewish danger.' (NCA, D 411, Commander of Troops in the Eastern Territories, Oct. 10, 1941.)" (Conot, 224-226) Work Cited Conot, Robert E. Justice at Nuremberg. New York: Harper & Row, 1983 Reitlingler, Gerald. The House Built on Sand. New York: Viking Press, 1960 Abbreviations IMT. International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals; the published transcipts of the trial. NCA. Nazi Conspiracy and Aggession, the 10-volume compendium of the prosecution's agruments.
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