Extract from the Commissar's Order for
"Operation Barbarossa"

Staff Command Secret Document

Chief Only

Only Through Officer

High Command of the Wehrmacht

WEST [Armed Forces Operational Staff] Div. L


No. 44822/41 g.K Chiefs

June 6, 1941

Guidlines for the Treatment of Political Commissars

In the fight against Bolshevism it is not to be expected that the enemy will act in accordance with the principals of humanity or international law. In particular, the political commissars of all kinds, who are the real bearers of resistance, can be expected to mete out treatment to our prisoners that is full of hate, cruel and inhuman.

The Army must be aware of the following:

1. In this battle it would be mistaken to show mercy or respect for international law towards such elements. They constitute a danger to out own security and to the rapid pacification of the occupied territories.
2. The barbaric, Asiatic fighting methods are originated by the political commissars,. Action must therefore be taken against them immediately, without further consideration, and with all severity. Therefore, when they are picked up in battle or resistance, they are, as a matter of principal, to be finished immediately with a weapon.
In addition, the following regulations are to be observed:


1. Political commissars operating against our armies are to be dealt with in accordance with the decree on judicial provisions in the rank, even if they are only suspected of sabotage or incitement to sabotage...

Berenbaum, Michael, editor. Witness to the Holocaust. New York: HarperCollins. 1997. p. 114

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Ken Lewis
November 28, 1997
Rev. 1.2