Minsk, December 16, 1941
GeneralKommissar for Belorussia
to Reichskommissar for Ostland
Gauleiter Hinrich Lohse
Reich Secret Document
My Dear Hinrich,
I wish to ask you personally for an official directive for the conduct of the civilian administration toward the Jews deported from Germany to Belorussia. Among these Jews are men who fought at the front [during World War I] and have the Iron Cross, First and Second Class, war invalids, half-Aryans, even three-quarter Aryans. Up to now only 6,000 to 7,000 Jews have arrived, of the 25,000 who were expected. I am not aware what has become of the others. In the course of several official visits to the ghetto I noted that among these Jews, who differ from the Russian Jews in their personal cleanliness, there are also skilled workers capable of doing five times as much in a day as Russian Jews.
These Jews will probably freeze or starve to death in the coming weeks. They present a terrible threat of disease for us, as they are naturally just as much exposed to the twenty-two epidemics prevalent in Belorussia as we Reich-Germans [Reichsdeutsche}. Serum is not available for them.
On my own responsibility I will not give the SD any instructions with regard to the treatment of these people, although certain units of the Wehrmacht and the police already have an eye on the possessions of the Jews from the Reich, and has also confiscated various other things. I am certainly a hard [man] and willing to help solve the Jewish question, but people people who come from our own cultural sphere just are not the same as the brutish hordes in this place. Is the slaughter to be carried out by the Lithuanians and Letts, who are themselves rejected by the population here? I couldn't do it. I beg you to give clear directives [in this matter], with due consideration for the good name of our Reich and our Party, in order that the necessary action can be taken in the most humane manner.
With heartfelt greetingsYours
Source: Nuremberg Documents PS-3665, as cited in Yitzak Arad, Yisrael Gutman, Abraham Margaliot, eds., Documents on the Holocaust (Jerusalem and Oxford: Yad Vashem and Pergamon Press, 1987), p. 408 (Document 185).
June 10, 1998