Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
[ OSR's #8 - #195 ]
Operational Situation Report USSR No. 86
The Chief of the Security Police and the SD, Berlin,
September 17, 1941
In spite of their rapid progress, the picture has by now become the same all over and can be summarized as follows: the most important officials of the KP and the NKVD and the influential Jews have fled and destroyed all documentary material. The politically important fugitives have apparently gone over the Dnieper, while the less important, among them many Jews, are returning by and by.
Therefore, next to the search for strangers in prison camps and in as many small localities as possible, particular importance is given to the search of forest areas, roads, and villages at night. For, according to our experience, fugitives and partisans show up there for provisions.
The arrival of the security Kommandos is generally made known very soon and is welcomed by the Army, especially by the local command headquarters as well as by the population. Village mayors, militia commanders, and other civilians arrive from distances as far as 20 km in order to make reports. It is remarkable that up to now the peasant has hardly ever left the borders of his village. Particularly frequent are reports on Russian parachutists that have been seen, as well as bands and hidden Bolsheviks.
As all the Einsatz commanders have noticed, the actions that were subsequently taken were only partly successful because the information received from the population is exaggerated or not based on reliable facts. Exaggerated anxiety, the wish to hurt personal enemies, and the wish for weapons of the Ukrainian militia are the main reasons for such useless denunciations. Anyway, the trust of the Ukrainian population is gratifying, particularly as it was possible to ferret out the places of Bolshevik Jews, and asocial elements following the reports.
The above-mentioned exaggerations come at first from an inability that can be called childish on the part of the population to express itself clearly and unambiguously and of a narrow-mindedness, particularly in the southern Ukraine. It frequently happened that persons timidly denied their strongly biased reports or they weakened them when they out that the life of the accused was in danger.
In general, such informants are sternly cautioned in order to avoid unnecessary troubles. In one case, an especially vicious informant was shot in the hamlet of Rozhyn. He was convicted of former Communist activity and asocial behavior.
One could also observe that the Jews behave in a brazen and impertinent manner in spite of the large-scale actions against them. This is proven by the following example:
In Ushomir where the 1st SS brigade shot all male Jews, bands led by four Jews entered two hours after the brigade left and set fire to 48 houses. In Zhitomir, the unarmed Ukrainian militia were repeatedly molested by Jews and, in one case, even shot at.
The Jews wrote a threatening letter in Kotelnia to the mayor that ended with the following words, "Long live the party of Lenin and Stalin! Long live the Jewish Communists! Death to the German bandits."
In Cherniakov, a Jewish woman managed to pose as an ethnic German in front of the mayor in the presence of a member of the SD by presenting a forged German document. Referring to this so-called proof she demanded a plot of land from the local commander.
Smuggling flourishes among the Jews in Zhitomir. They hoard the products which the peasants exchange for looted goods.
The Jews use work certificates that were given to them by the Army offices for short-term occupations and do not return them. They also occupy themselves with forging documents. Thus, certificates were found like those used by the local Kommandatur in Zhitomir. Although the 6th Army HQ stamps were forged, the forms appeared to be real. They stem probably from an Army printing shop where Jews have been employed as auxiliary workers.
In the vicinity of the town, it was possible to disarm and arrest a parachutist with the aid of the militia after a rifle skirmish. He was equipped with explosives.
160 persons were shot in Korosten; during the course of the actions 68 persons were executed in Byelatserkiev and 109 in Tarashcha, mostly Jews.
Thus the Sonderkommando 4a has exterminated 6,584 Bolsheviks, Jews, and asocial elements. In two cases, ethnic Germans had to be arrested. They were active in the Communist sense, participating actively in the preparations for the deportation of ethnic Germans and Ukrainians. The investigations against these have not yet been concluded.
For the time being, Einsatzkommando 5 has been divided into platoons covering a larger territory, and is systematically combing the villages of this area. Among others, several Bolshevik mayors and kolkhoz representatives were taken care of. Besides that, several mentally retarded persons who were ordered to blow up bridges and railroad tracks and to carry out other acts of sabotage, were rendered harmless. It seems that the NKVD favored mentally retarded persons in allocating these kind of tasks; they, in spite of their inferiority, mustered enough energy for their criminal activities. Four executions were carried out in Ulianove, 18 in Uledovka.
It was possible to take care of 229 Jews in the clean-up action carried out in Khmielnil. As a result, this area, which suffered especially from Jewish terror, is extensively cleaned up. The reaction of the population here to their deliverance from the Jews was so strong that it resulted in a Thanksgiving service.
Einsatzkommando 5 took care of 506 Bolsheviks and Jews in the course of 14 days.
In the south of the Einsatzgruppen area, there still exists an empty area with respect to security police work because military operations do not take place sufficiently far away. So far, the return of the fugitives has not started in sufficient measure. Therefore, the number of actions naturally increases in the area which lies further back [from the front],
The remaining units of Einsatzkommando 6 shot about 600 Jews in Vinnitsa.
Up to now, 140 politically tainted persons were arrested in Kirovo and 48 of these were shot. Among these were heads of unions, Komsomol leaders, lay judges, and leaders of other Bolshevik central offices.
In Krivoy-Rog, 39 officials, 11 saboteurs and looters, and 105 Jews were taken care of.
Several actions for the seizure of officials, terrorists, and migrating Jews were carried out by the Einsatzgruppen HQ in Novo-Ukrainka and vicinity. Among others, a caravan of Jews, which was taking along a wagon of loot, was stopped. The Jews were shot and the goods distributed to the population. It was possible to find and to take care of two leading Communists during a night action in Zlinka. On the basis of individual reports and of road blocks on the streets in the course of official travels, several Jews or Bolshevik agents were shot.
The office of the Higher SS and Police Leader took care of a total of 511 Jews in actions in Pilva and Stara-Sieninva.
Even if an immediate hundred percent exclusion of the Jews were possible, this would not remove the political source of danger. Bolshevik work depends on Jews, Russians, Georgians, Armenians, Poles, Latvians, and Ukrainians. The Bolshevik apparatus is very limited in scope, identical with the Jewish population.
In this situation, the goal of the security police would be missed if the main task of the destruction of the Communist machine were to become a second or third choice in favor of the easier task of the exclusion of the Jews. Furthermore, concentrating on the Bolshevik officials robs the Jews of their most able forces. Thus, the solution of the Jewish problem becomes more and more a problem of organization.
In the western and middle Ukraine, the Jews are almost identical with the city workers, artisans, and the tradesman class. If the Jewish labor force is entirely discarded, an economic reconstruction of the Ukrainian industry and the extension of the administration centers of the cities are almost impossible.
There is only one possibility, which the German administration in the General Gouvernement has not sufficiently understood for a long time, the solution of the Jewish problem by extensive labor utilization of the Jews. This will result in a gradual liquidation of the Jews, a development which corresponds to the economic conditions of the country.
Translation by Hermann Feuer
Copyright: H.E.A.R.T 2007