The Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service
October 17, 1941
OPERATIONAL SITUATION REPORT USSR No. 116
- Einsatzgruppe A
- Location: Krasnogvardeisk
Security Police WorkThe cooperation of security police work in the pacification of the area behind the front and in the Rear Army area continued at the time of this report. As to details, the activities of The Einsatzgruppe can be summarized as follows:
1) Partly in collaboration with the Field and Local Military Commanders the population was recently checked on the basis of security police standards. Unreliable elements blocking efforts to pacify the region were segregated and either transferred to military and civilian prisoner camps or executed by the Kommandos. Between October 2 and 12, 260 persons in all had to be executed.
2) Owing to the change-over to trench warfare and, in compliance with requests from our side, the Army evacuated a strip next to the front line. The respective orders of the various army corps differed in their basic approaches (some ordering complete evacuation, others the evacuation of all men, others again to transfer to definite quarters in towns, etc.). Upon the request of the Army, Security Police investigations were carried out in the transient camps.
3) As partisans were still alive behind the fighting troops, special measures became necessary in this matter as well. In the first place, the intelligence work had to be broadened by dispatching our own spies, by drawing in the village elders, and the population in general. The results of this preparatory intelligence work served as the basis of various operations actively combatting partisans. For the rest, a partisan report which was intercepted indicates that because of the imminent cold season, the partisans do not expect to be able to hold out beyond the middle of November.
Actions for combatting sabotage followed the same lines as with the cooperation in combatting partisans. For instance, on October 6, ten people had to be shot in Slutsk, the population being informed thereof by the following announcements:
"Notification: On October 6, 1941, ten people were shot in Slutsk because a Wehrmacht telephone line was cut with the intent to commit sabotage. Should further acts of sabotage of the same kind be committed, twenty people will be shot in the future. The German Security Police."
4) During the time covered by this report, one of the main tasks of the Einsatzgruppe was setting up the organization to secure information from Petersburg. (1) In general, the information is being collected in the following ways:
a) By Russian deserters (either caught by our own Sonderkommandos or delivered by the fighting troops or local military commanders;
b) By prisoners (methodical searches and clearing of military prisoner-of-war camps; this way proved to be exceptionally successful);
c. By dispatching our own agents (owing to the increasing rigidity of the fronts and the development of stable lines with trenches, entanglements and mine-fields, it is extremely difficult to get an agent through the lines and back. Moreover, every reasonably healthy man is being enlisted at once in the workers defense force in Petersburg. At any rate, only agents with good Bolshevik identification papers can be sent out).
Although our intelligence work originally aimed at the collection of information concerning the general political climate, the questions of general mood, supply conditions, important persons and offices, from the outset information of a purely military character was forwarded in great quantities. Therefore the military circles were extremely interested in reports on the situation. In some cases, this went so far that the results of our intelligence service regarding military targets were being used by the HQ of the 10th Army for giving orders to the artillery. According to our investigations, the targets of military and war-economic importance in Petersburg tally with the statements of the Army, as laid down in the military-geographical plan.
For additional information about the mobile killing units, and what the Allies had discovered about their operations, see Official Secrets: What the Nazis Planned, What the British and Americans Knew by Richard Breitman, and Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher R. Browning