The Testimony of Kurt Lindow

As did all the other units in the German military bureaucracy, the Sonderkommandos and the Einsatzkommandos reported on their extermination activities to their respective Einsatzgruppe headquarters which sent the information to Berlin. There the RSHA compiled concise reports in the name of the Chief of Sipo and the SD. Copies were distributed to high-ranking army, police and SS officers, diplomats, members of the foreign office and even to industrialists as they related to economic factors in the Soviet territories.

The Einsatzgruppen Reports were discovered by the U.S. Army in Gestapo headquarters in Berlin after the war. They were initially impounded by a research analyst attached to the Berlin branch of the Office of the Chief Council for War Crimes (OCCWC), established under Council Law Number 10 of the Allied occupation authorities).The head of the office, Benjamin Ferencz, who became Chief U.S. Prosecutor at the Einsatzgruppen War Crimes Trials, turned them over to U.S. Army custody. They were sealed and transported to Nuremberg to the office of General Telford Taylor, Chief Council for War Crimes, for use in preparing for the Einsatzgruppen War Crimes Trial..

During the first days of the Einsatzgruppen Trial the authenticity of the reports was established beyond doubt, after which the German defendants did not challenge their validity.

During the war, the person responsible for the reports as they were received in Berlin was Kurt Lindow, an officer in the RSHA. On July 21, 1947, at the Einsatzgruppen Trial, he identified the reports and gave the following testimony concerning the methods used in their compilation:

"From October 1941 until about the middle of 1942, I first was deputy chief and later chief of subdepartment IV A 1 [of the RSHA]. This subdepartment dealt with Communism, war crimes, and enemy propaganda. Moreover, it handled the reports of the various Einsatzgruppen until the command staff was set up in 1942. The Einsatzgruppen in the East regularly sent their reports to Berlin by wireless or by letter. The reports noted the various locations of the Gruppen and the most important events during the period under survey.

I read most of the reports and passed them on to Dr. Knobloch, Inspector of the Criminal Police, who compiled them at first. The compilation was published daily under the title 'Operational Situation Reports - U.S.S.R.' These reports were stenciled and I corrected them. Afterwards they were mimeographed and distributed. The originals of the reports which were sent to the Reich Security Main Office [RSHA] were mostly signed by the commander of the Einsatzgruppe or his deputy.

The reports, 'Operational Situation Reports - U.S.S.R.' [Nos. 114, 115, 118, 128, 138, 141, 142, 144, and 159] as shown to me, are photostats of the original reports drawn up by Dr. Knobloch in subdepartment IV A 1 of which I was chief. I recognize them as such by the red borders, discernible on the photostat, their size, the typefaces, and incomplete borders.

I identify the handwritten initials appearing on the various reports as those of persons employed by the Reich Security Main Office. Considering that six years have elapsed since then, I cannot remember the full names of these persons whose handwritten initials appear on the documents. From the contents of the handwritten notes, I conclude that these were made by Dr. Knobloch. Moreover, I notice that various parts of the above-mentioned reports are extracted from the original reports of the Einsatzgruppen to the Reich Security Main Office.

On the strength of my positions as deputy chief and, later on, chief of subdepartment IV A 1, I consider myself a competent witness, able to confirm that the "Operational Situation Reports - U.S.S.R." which was published by the chief of the security police and the security service under file mark IV A 1 were compiled entirely from the original reports of the Einsatzgruppen reaching my subdepartment by wireless or by letter." (12)

The Ereignismeldungen UdSSR (Morning Reports - U.S.S.R.) were initiated on June 23, 1941, and terminated with No. 195 on April 24, 1942. They were published almost daily. On May 1, 1942, they were replaced by the weekly reports called Meldungen aus den besetzten Ostgebieten (13) which appeared until May 21, 1943 (number 55).

The original reports were sent to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. after the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. In 1960 they were given to the Bundesarchiv (the West German national archives) in Koblenz. Photocopies of all the reports remain in the National Archives in Washington and at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum and Memorial in Jerusalem.

The Einsatzgruppen constituted the principle German instrument of annihilation of the Jewish people in the Eastern (Soviet) territories. While other groups fell victim to the Einsatzgruppen, only Jews were doomed as a people in their entirety.

(12) NMT, vol IV, pp. 99-100

Arad, Yitzak, Shmuel Krakowski and Shmuel Spector, editors. The Einsatzgruppen Reports. New York: Holocaust Library. 1989. pp. xiii-xv

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Electric Zen
Ken Lewis
November 28, 1997
Rev. 1.1