anti-semitism in germany

Report by Waffen SS on Killing of Jews in the Pripet Marshes

Regt. st. Qtrs., August 12, 1941

2nd SS-Cavalry Regiment
Mounted Unit


On the Course of the Aktion in the Pripet [Marshes] from July 27 to August 11, 1941.

Impressions of the Battle: None.

Population: Mainly Ukrainians, Belorussians in second place; in third place Poles and Russians; only a very few of the latter. The Jews are mainly in the larger places, where they make up a high percentage of the population, in some cases from 50 to 80 percent, but in others as little as 25 percent.

In many cases when the troops moved in we found that, according to a Ukrainian practice, a table with a white cloth had been prepared with bread and salt that was offered to the commanders. In one case there was even a small band of musicians to welcome the troops ...

Type of land: The whole area consists of large marshes interspersed with patches of sand, so that the ground is not very fertile. There are some better places, but others were all the poorer ....

... Jewish doctors were preferred. In the towns and villages it was also noticeable that only Jewish artisans were found. There was a large number of Jewish emigres from the Altreich [Germany before 1938] and the Ostmark [Austria] ....

Purification: Pacification was carried out through the commanders of units or companies who contacted the local mayors and discussed all matters concerning the population. On those occasions the numbers and composition of the population, i.e., Ukrainians, Belorussians, etc., were checked. Further, whether there were still Communists in the locality or secret members of the Red Army, or others who had been active Bolsheviks. In most cases local residents also reported that they had seen gangs or other suspicious persons. Where such individuals were still in the locality, they were detained and, after a brief interrogation, they were either released or shot.

Jewish looters were shot. Only a few skilled workers employed in the Wehrmacht repair shops were permitted to remain.

The driving of women and children into the marshes did not have the expected success, because the marshes were not so deep that one could sink. After a depth of about a meter there was in most cases solid ground (probably sand) preventing complete sinking ....

The Ukrainian clergy was very cooperative and made themselves available for every Aktion. It was also conspicuous that, in general, the population was on good terms with the Jewish sector of the population. Nevertheless they helped energetically in rounding up the Jews. The locally recruited guards, who consisted in part of Polish police and former Polish soldiers, made a good impression. They operated energetically and took part in the fight against looters ....

The total number of looters, etc., shot by the Mounted Units was 6,526 ....

[signed] Magill

SS Sturmbannführer

Source: Kriegstagebuch des Kommandostabes Reichsführer SS ("War Diary" of the Kommandostaff Reichsführer SS), Vienna, 10\965, pp. 217 - 20, as cited in Yitzak Arad, Yisrael Gutman, Abraham Margaliot, eds., Documents on the Holocaust (Jerusalem and Oxford: Yad Vashem and Pergamon Press, 1987), p. 414 (Document 188).
Gitelman, Zvi, Bitter Legacy: Confronting the Holocaust in the USSR. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 1997. pp. 265 - 268

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Ken Lewis
July 5, 1998
Rev. 1.1