Operational Situation Report USSR No. 135
The Chief of the Security Police and the SD Berlin,
November 19, 1941
The Political basis for Germanization activity
The improved mood of the Estonians towards the Germans is observable and can be described as follows:
a) Active cooperation of the Estonian Self Defense in the fight against partisans and scattered parts of the Red Army in Estonia.
b) active cooperation of the Estonian Self Defense and the Estonian police authorities in the fight against Bolsheviks and Jews.
c) appointment of Estonian officials in towns and rural communities by the field and local military commands.
d) rapid revival of cultural work in the towns, supported in part or, at least, not interfered with by the German authorities.
e) organization of a central ethnic self-administration, cautious, re- served, but, nevertheless, successful propaganda activity on the part of that self-administration body in favor of a firm anti-Bolshevik stance and for all-out support of the German Army against Bolshevism.
Mood and situation in Kiev
The population would hardly dare to express its admiration for the Germans had it not gradually become convinced that the Bolsheviks would never come back. The capture of Kharkov has had an extraordinarily wholesome effect on the mood. At the same time, however, a gradual change occurred in the attitude of the people towards the Bolsheviks.
The animosity against Communists and Jews finds expression not only in increased denunciation but also in conversations among the population. The returning deportees and war prisoners are, on the one hand, bearers of information against Bolshevism; on the other hand, and much more effectively, they are witnesses of the [positive] steps taken up to now in the occupied areas.
Executions In the course of the systematic mopping-up operations and the complete rounding-up of all Jews and Communists in the neighbor- hood of Kiev, Sonderkommando 4a dispatched a number of Teilkommandos who were able to complete their assignments with-out any difficulties in cooperation with the local commanders of the German Army. Thus, on October 22, 1941, at Koselets, apart from 11 Communists and partisans who were handed over by the German Army, 125 Jews were executed.
They were the survivors of a population which, before the war, had numbered over 2,000. On this occasion, the Ukrainian militia, recruited at Koselets, made itself useful in the round-up by recruiting the required manpower to dig mass graves. On October 23, 1941, a Teilkommando of Sonderkommando 4a arrived in the town of Chernigov which, before the war, had a population of 70,000 of which only 40,000 remain today.
Of more than 10,000 Jews, not more than 260 have stayed behind. The town itself was a scene of almost complete destruction. It is said that the inner part was set afire by the Jews before the German troops entered the town.
Apart from eight Communists and partisans who again were handed over by the local military commander, the Kommando shot 116 Jews on October 23, 1941, and 144 the following day. The same Kommando again passed through Chernigov on October 23, 1941. 49 Jews were arrested who, after the executions on October 24,1941, believed that the danger had passed and returned from their flight.
On the same day, too, the request of the director of the mental asylum in Chernigov to liquidate 270 incurables was complied with. On October 29, 1941, in Oster, 215 Jews, partisans as well as a few functionaries of the Communist Party were arrested and executed.
The attempt by Sonderkommando 4a to take action against Nieshin, where approximately 325 Jews are living, failed three times since it was impossible to reach on roads made impassable for motor vehicles by the mud following the rain. For the same reason, the plan of Sonderkommando 4a to strengthen the Vorkommando already sent to Kharkov had to be deferred for the time being.
Further arrests were made by Sonderkommando 4a in the course of the investigations made in Kiev in connection with the closing of the illegal Party machinery of the Communist Party.
The arrest of the Ukrainian Michael Chernish, a member of the Secret Kyrov-Rayon Party Committee, led to the discovery and seizing of approximately 50 kilos of leaflets and propaganda pamphlets. These were intended for illegal activities of the Communist Party in the Ukraine.
From October 22 to 24, 1941, Sonderkommando 4b carried out 205 executions, these were: 11 political functionaries, 13 saboteurs and looters, and 181 Jews.
During the period October 25 to 30, 1941, Sonderkommando 4b executed: 7 political functionaries, 2 saboteurs and looters, and 381 Jews. According to a report by Sonderkommando 4b, there is a mental asylum in Poltava with 865 inmates; attached to it is a 1250 acre farm. Its produce is used to feed the insane and the staff living there. The food situation in Poltava is extremely critical.
For example, there is no whole milk available for the three large military hospitals. Thus, the commander of Sonderkommando 4b, with the approval of the High Command of the 6th Army and the local military commander, contacted the woman doctor in charge of the asylum with the object of reaching an agreement on the execution of at least part of the insane.
The woman doctor in charge understood quite well that the problem should be solved in this manner. However, she objected because the measure would cause unrest among the population, which ought not to be disregarded, especially since the Soviets, naturally for propaganda reasons, gave every conceivable assistance to this asylum.
A way out of this difficulty was found. It was decided that the execution of 565 incurables should be carried out in the course of the next few days under the pretext that these patients were being removed to a better asylum in Kharkov. It could then be taken for granted that the remaining 300 patients (light cases) will be released from the asylum shortly. A commissioner appointed by the local military commander will care for the vacated parts of the building, [including] the furniture, linen and clothing, while a district leader will take over the farm.
The work of Sonderkommando 4b in Poltava was severely handicapped by extremely unfavorable weather and road conditions since a number of neighboring villages, where the appearance of partisans and Communist elements had been reported, could not be reached with any of the available motor vehicles.
Activities, therefore, had to be confined to the area of Poltava itself. Cooperation with the German Army and the Ukrainian police ran smoothly. As to the activities of the Bandera group, no observations of importance could be made in the area of Sonderkommando 4b. On the other hand, the Melnyk group is beginning to become rather active.
Obviously, attempts are being made to exclude German influence and to establish a free and independent Ukraine. For the time being, however, [more] detailed reports cannot be made. On November 2, 1941, the total number of executions carried out by Einsatzkommando 5 was 21,250.
Included in this number are 36 functionaries, 32 saboteurs and looters, and 4372 Jews who were shot between October 20 and 26 inclusive. In the week of October 26 to November 1, 1941, inclusive, Einsatzkommando 5 executed : 40 political functionaries, 16 saboteurs/looters, and 2658 Jews. Included in this number are :
1) 414 hostages, shot in reprisal for various incendiary crimes.
2) 1,391 executions carried out by a Teilkommando of Einsatzkommando 5 which had returned from the area of Skvira- Pogrebishche-Plyskiv.
Since October 5, 1941, Einsatzkommando 6 has been busy in the district of the Dnieper Bend.
Apart from [covering] extensive rural districts, the following towns, all of a definitely industrial character and densely populated, were dealt with: Dniepropetrovsk, Dnieproderzhinsk (150,000 inhabitants), Vorkhnedpeprovsk (30,000 inhabitants), Novo-Moskovsk (30,000 inhabitants), Zaprozhye (350,000 inhabitants), and Nikopol (60,000 inhabitants). In the area of Einsatzkommando 6, the total number of town dwellers is around 1.2 million, not including those of smaller places. Naturally the amount of work to be accomplished is proportionally high and can hardly be accomplished with the forces available.
Apart from the cas- es which are really of interest to the Security Police, there is the work, unfortunately unavoidable, to be done in connection with the immense number of denunciations with which the Einsatzkommando is simply swamped. Here, the low level of the moral character of the population becomes apparent. Almost everyone of the inhabitants considers it necessary and laudable if, for selfish interests, he denounces to the German police his relatives, friends, etc. as having been Communists.
During the time covered by the report, Einsatzkommando 6 was able to find out about a number of [Soviet] functionaries. However, again and again it appeared that here, too, the most active people had escaped in time. On October 26, after a long search, an NKVD murderer of the worst kind was arrested. Lately, partisans and saboteurs have caused Einsatzkommando 6 more trouble than ever.
Five different arms caches, including two of considerable size, were discovered and destroyed. A large-scale operation, which took place on October 22 against partisans in a forest district on the other side of the Dnieper, ended with the arrest of nine partisans, some of whom were armed and others had buried their weapons. The execution by shooting of these partisans contributed considerably to the pacification of this district.
On October 24, 1941 a similar action was carried out by Einsatzkommando 6 in cooperation with the Military Police in a large forest district. The only result of this was the discovery of some arms and other partisan supplies.
Of approximately 100,000 Jews originally in Dniepropetrovsk, about 70,000 escaped before German troops entered the town. Of the remaining 30,000, approximately 10,000 were shot on October 13, 1941, by a detachment of the Higher SS and Police chiefs.
To date, during the period of the report, a further 1,000 Jews were shot by Einsatzkommando 6. In spite of the shortage of skilled workers, it was impossible to avoid sparing, for the time being, the lives of Jewish artisans who were urgently needed for repair work, etc. Steps are being taken for the extermination of 1,500 inmates of the provincial lunatic asylum.
Finally, it is important to pass on a report of the commander of Einsatzkommando 6, according to which the behavior of the Italian and Hungarian troops has caused annoyance to the German authorities. It was noticed, for instance, that the Italians and Hungarians had abundant supplies of German cigarettes which they sold at exorbitant prices to our soldiers. For example; Italians selling them in the street are demanding 2 RM for six cigarettes.
Translations by Hermann Feuer
Copyright: H.E.A.R.T 2008