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Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/salaspils/jeckeln-interrogation.1245

The Interrogation of Friedrich Jeckeln [1]

The  shootings  were  carried out  under  the  direction  of
Colonel  Dr.  Lange,  Commander of the  SD  and  Gestapo  in
Latvia.  Knecht was in charge of security at the liquidation
sites.[2]  I, Jeckeln, took part in the shootings  on  three
occasions;  the  same holds for Lange,  Knecht,  Lohse,  and
Lieutenant Colonel Osis, commander of the traffic police  in

Q: Who did the shooting?

A: Ten or twelve German SD soldiers.

Q: What was the procedure?

A:  All of the Jews went by foot from the ghetto in Riga  to
the  liquidation site. Near the pits, they  had  to  deposit
their  overclothes, which were washed, sorted,  and  shipped
back  to  Germany.  Jews-men, women,  and  children-  passed
through police cordons on their way to the pits, where  they
were shot by German soldiers.

Q: Did you report the execution of the order to Himmler?

A:  Yes, indeed. I notified Himmler by phone that the ghetto
in  Riga  had  been liquidated. And when I was  in  Loetzen,
East  Prussia,  in  December 1941,  I  reported  in  person,
too.[3] Himmler was satisfied with the results. He said that
more  Jewish convoys were due to arrive in Latvia, and these
| were to be liquidated by me also.

Q: Go into more detail.

A:  At  the  end  of  January  1942,[4]  I  was  at  Himmler's
headquarters   in   Loetzen,  East   Prussia,   to   discuss
organizational  matters regarding the  Latvian  SS  legions.
There  Himmler  informed me that additional  Jewish  convoys
were  due to arrive from the Reich and from other countries.
The  destination point would be the Salaspils  concentration
camp,  which  lay one and a quarter miles from Riga  in  the
direction  of Duenaburg. Himmler said that he  had  not  yet
determined  how he would have them exterminated: whether  to
have  them  shot on board their convoys or in Salaspils,  or
whether to chase them into the swamp somewhere.

Q: How was the matter resolved?

A:  It was my opinion that shooting would be the simpler and
quicker death. Himmler said he would think it over and  then
give orders later through Heydrich.

Q: What countries were the Jews in Salaspils brought from?

A: Jews were brought from Germany, France, Belgium, Holland,
Czechoslovakia,  and from other occupied  countries  to  the
Salaspils camp. To give a precise count of the Jews  in  the
Salaspils camp would be difficult. In any case, all the Jews
from  this camp were exterminated. But I would like to  make
an additional statement while we are on this topic.

Q: What statement would you like to make?

A:  I would like to state for the record that Goering shares
in  the  guilt  for the liquidations of Jewish convoys  that
arrived  from other countries. In the first half of February
1942  I  received a letter from Heydrich. In this letter  he
wrote that Reich Marshal Goering had gotten himself involved
in the Jewish question, and that Jews were now being shipped
to the East for annihilation only with Goering's approval.

Q:  This does not diminish your guilt. Describe your role in
the Jewish liquidations in Salaspils.

A: I have already said that I discussed the extermination of
Jews  in Salaspils with Himmler in Loetzen. That alone makes
me  an accessory to this crime. Beyond that, Jews were  shot
in  the  Salaspils camp by forces recruited from my  SD  and
Security  Police units. The commander of the SD and  Gestapo
in  Latvia,  Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Lange, was  directly  in
charge of the shootings. Other officers who reported  to  me
on  the shootings of Jews in the camp were the commander  of
the SD and Gestapo in the Baltic States, Major General Jost;
Colonel of Police Pifrader; and Colonel of Police Fuchs.

Q: Specifically, what did they report to you?

A:  They reported that two to three convoys of Jews were  to
arrive per week, all subject to liquidation.

Q:  Then  the number of Jews shot in Salaspils ought  to  be
known too, isn't that correct?

A:  Yes,  of course. I can give you the approximate figures.
The  first  Jewish convoys arrived in Salaspils in  November
1941.  Then, in the first half of 1942, convoys  arrived  at
regular intervals. I
believe  that  in November 1941, no more than three  convoys
arrived  in  all,  but during the next  seven  months,  from
December 1941 to June 1942, eight to twelve convoys  arrived
each month.
Overall,  in  eight months, no less than fifty-five  and  no
more  than eighty-seven Jewish convoys arrived at the  camp.
Given that each convoy carried a thousand men, that makes  a
total of 55,000 to 87,000 Jews exterminated in the Salaspils

Q: This figure sounds low. Are you telling the truth?

A:  I have no other, more exact figures. It should be added,
however, that before my arrival in
Riga,  a  significant number of Jews in the Ostland  and  in
White  Ruthenia  were exterminated. I was informed  of  this

Q: By whom, specifically?

A:  Stahlecker;  Pruetzmann; Lange; Major General  Schroder,
the SS and Police Leader in Latvia;
Major  General Moeller the SS and Police Leader in  Estonia;
and  Major  General  Wysocki the SS  and  Police  Leader  in

Q: Be specific. What did they report?

A:  Schroeder reported to me that over and above those  Jews
who  had  been  exterminated  in  the  ghetto  in  Riga   an
additional  70,000  to  100,000 Jews  were  exterminated  in
Latvia.  Dr. Lange directly oversaw these shootings. Moeller
reported that in Estonia everything was in order as  far  as
the Jewish question was concerned.

The Estonian Jewish population was insignificant, all in all
about  3,000  to  5,000 and this was  reduced  to  nil.  The
greater  part  were exterminated in Reval. Wysocki  reported
that  100,000  to  200,000  Jews  were  exterminated-shot-in
Lithuania, on Stahlecker's orders. In Lithuania, the  Jewish
exterminations were overseen by the commander of the SD  and
Gestapo,  Lieutenant Colonel of Police Jaeger. Later  Jaeger
told  me  that he had become neurotic as a result  of  these
shootings.  Jaeger was pensioned off and left his  post  for
treatment. All told, the number of Jews exterminated in  the
actions in the Baltic East reached somewhere in the vicinity
of 190,500 to 253,500.[6]


1. Minutes from Jeckeln's interrogation on 14 December 1945
(Major Zwetajew, interrogator;  Sergeant Suur, interpreter),
pp. 8-13, Historical State Archives, Riga.

2. Max Knecht was the commander of the municipal police in

3. I.e., to Himmler's "Hochwald" headquarters in Loetzen.

4. I.e, 25 January 1942, 11:30 A.M. - 1:00 P.M.; per RFSS
appointments book, NS 19 DC/vorl. 12, Bundesarchiv, Koblenz.

On  the  same  day  Himmler made the  following  handwritten
entry, re: his telephone conversation "from the Wolfsschanze
17  [i.e., 5:00 EM.] SS Gr.F. Heydrich Prague: Jews into the
concentration camps" NS 19/neu 1439 Bundesarchiv, Koblenz.

5. Jeckeln was promoted on 31 October 1941 to Higher SS and
Police Leader for northern Russia (H.Q. Riga); Jeckeln,
personnel file, Berlin Document Center. A second promotion
to the rank of Leader of the SS Upper Section, "Ostland,"
occurred on 11 December 1941 (Bundesarchiv, Koblenz [NS 19

6. In reply to telegram number 1331 from the Security Police
of Riga (dated 6 February 1942), SS-Standartenfuehrer Karl Jaeger 
reported the following from Kovno on 9 February 1942: 

"Re: executions through 1 February 1942 by the Einsatzkommando 3A: 
Jews: 136,421. Total: 138,272, of these, women: 55,556; children: 34,464"
(Institut fuer Zeitgeschichte 3253/63 Fb 76 [a]).

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