The Wehrmacht and the Einsatzgruppen Aktionen, September 1941 - order by von Rundstedt

High Command
Army Group South
Ic/AO (Abw. III)

H.Q., September 24, 1941

Re: The Struggle Against Elements Hostile to the Reich

The investigation of and struggle against tendencies and elements hostile to the Reich (Communists, Jews, etc.), insofar as they are not part of a hostile military force is, in the occupied areas, exclusively the task of the Sonderkommando [Special Unit] of the Security Police and the SD, which will take the necessary measures on their own responsibility and carry them out.

Individual actions by members of the Wehrmacht or participation by members of the Wehrmacht in excesses by the Ukrainian population against the Jews is forbidden; they are also forbidden to watch or take photographs of measures taken by the Sonderkommando.

This prohibition is to be made known to the members of all units. [Commanders] in charge of discipline at all levels are responsible for the implentation of this prohibition. In the event of breaches it is to be investigated in every case whether the commander failed to carry out his duty of supervision, and when necessary he is to be severely punished.

[signed] von Rundstedt

AOK [Intelligence Command, PzGr tank Group]
Bef rückw [Rear Command]
Befehlsstelle Süd [Southern Command]
Abt. des Stabes u. Wach-Kp [Staff Dept. and Gurad Companies]
Nachr.: Luftflotte [info: Air Force]

Source: Nuremberg Documents NOKW-541, as cited in Yitzak Arad, Yisrael Gutman and Abraham Margaliot, eds. Documents on the Holocaust (Jerusalem and Oxford: Yad Vashem and Pergamon Press, 1987) p. 388 (Document 176).

Gitelman, Zvi, Bitter Legacy: Confronting the Holocaust in the USSR. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 1997. pp. 264 - 265

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Ken Lewis
June 15, 1998
Rev. 1.1