Jeckeln Friedrich

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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]).