"The Einsatzgruppen Case"


Case No. 9



I, Otto Ohlendorf, swear, depose, and state -

1. The Einsatzgruppen for the Eastern Campaign (Russia 1941) began as a result of an agreement between the Chief of the Security Police and Security Service on the one hand, and the Chiefs of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces and the High Command of the Army on the other. As I remember it, this agreement was signed by Heydrich and a representative of the High Command of the Army. On the basis of this agreement between the Chief of the Security Police and Security Service, the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces and the High Command of the Army, the Einsatzgruppen were to take over the political security of the front areas, which, up to the time of the Russian campaign had been the charge of the army units themselves. The secret field police were to occupy themselves only with security within the troops to which they were assigned.

2. As far as I remember, this agreement took effect about three weeks before the start of the Russian campaign and was as follows:

a. The Chief of the Security Police and SD formed his own motorized military units in the form of Einsatzgruppen, which were divided into Einsatzkommandos and Sonderkommandos and were to be assigned in their entirety to the army groups or armies.

The chief of the Einsatzgruppen was the deputy of the Chief of the Security Police and SD, who was assigned to the commanders in chief of the army groups or armies.

b. The armies or army groups had to supply the Einsatzgruppen with quarters, food, repairs, gasoline, and the like. Each army group and the llth Army, the latter as nucleus of another army group for the Caucasus, was assigned an Einsatzgruppe, which in turn was divided into Einsatzkommandos and Sonderkommandos.

3. During the Russian campaign there were four Einsatzgruppen, which bore the identifying letters A, B, C, and D. The

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area of operation of each Einsatzgruppe was determined by the fact that the Einsatzgruppe was assigned to a certain army group or army, and marched with it. The Einsatzkommandos or the Sonderkommandos formed from them were assigned from time to time to areas designated by the army group or army. The Einsatzkommandos were divided into Sonderkommandos in order to have more small units available for the size of the area of operation.

The areas of operation of the Einsatzgruppen were as follows: Einsatzgruppe A operated from its central points: Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, towards the east.

Einsatzgruppe B operated in the direction of Moscow in the area adjoining Einsatzgruppe A, to the south.

Einsatzgruppe C had the Ukraine, except for the part occupied by Einsatzgruppe D. At a later time, when Einsatzgruppe D advanced towards the Caucasus, Einsatzgruppe C was in charge of the entire Ukraine, insofar as it was not under civil administration.

Einsatzgruppe D had the Ukraine south of the line Chernovitsy, Mogilev-Podolski, Yampol, Ananev, Nikolaev, Melitopol, Mariupol, Taganrog, and Rostov. This area also included the Crimean Peninsula. At a later time, Einsatzgruppe D was in charge of the Caucasus area.

4. All of the Einsatzgruppen were made up of a number of Einsatzkommandos and Sonderkommandos. For example, Einsatzgruppe D, of which I was chief, had the Sonderkommandos 10a, 10b, lla, 11b, and Einsatzkornmando 12.

5. The personnel strength of the Einsatzgruppe varied. It usually consisted of a total of 500 to 800 men. Einsatzgruppe D belonged to the smaller of the Einsatzgruppen. The officers and noncommissioned officers of the Kommandos were composed of men on detached service from the state police, criminal police, and in limited numbers from the security service. Aside from these, the troops were largely made up of emergency service draftees [Notdienstverpflichtete] and of companies of the Waffen SS and order police.

6. The Einsatzgruppen had the following assignments: They were responsible for all political security tasks within the operational area of the army units and of the rear areas insofar as the latter did not fall under the civil administration. In addition they had the task of clearing the area of Jews, Communist officials, and agents. The last named task was to be accomplished by killing all racially and politically undesirable elements seized who were considered dangerous to the security. I know that the

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Einsatzgruppen were assigned partly to the reconnaissance of guerrilla bands, fighting guerrilla bands, and to military tasks and, after completion of their basic assignments, were partly converted into combat units. All orders which pertained to the tactical and strategic situation or sphere of interest of the army groups or armies came from the commanding general, the chief of staff or counterintelligence officer of the army or army group to which the Einsatzgruppe was assigned. Orders concerning clearing out undesirable elements went directly to the Einsatzkommandos and came from the Reich Leader SS himself or by transmission through Heydrich. The commanders in chief were ordered by letler to support the execution of these orders. Through the so-called Conunissar Order, the army units had to sort out political commissars and other similar undesirable elements themselves and hand them over to the Einsatzlcommandos to be killed. The order pertaining to the sorting out of these elements from the prisoner-of-war camps was supplemented accordingly by executive orders from the High Command of the Army to the army units. The activity of the Einsatzgruppen and their Einsatzlkommandos was carried out entirely within the field of jurisdiction of the commanders in chief of the army groups or armies under their responsibility.

7. The reports of the Einsatzgruppen went to the armies or army groups and to the Chief of the Security Police and SD. Normally weekly or biweekly reports were sent to the Chief of the Security Police and SD by radio and written reports were sent to Berlin approximately every month. The army groups or armies werekept currently informed about the security in their area and other current problems. The reports to Berlin went to the Chief of the Security Police and SD in the Reich Security Main Office. After the creation of the command [headquarters] staff of the Chief of the Security Police and SD in about May 1942, this [staff] prepared the subsequent reports. The command staff consisted basically of Gruppenfuehrer [SS Major General] Mueller, chief of office IV, and Obersturmbannfuehrer [SS Lieutenant Colonel] Nosske, group chief in office IV, to whom specialists of offices III, IV, and VI were available for coordinating the composition of the reports. Questions which had to do with the personnel of the group and with garrisons went to office I. Administrative questions and matters concerning equipment were taken care of by office II. Information concerning the spheres of life (SD) went to office III. The chief of office IV received reports on the general security situation, including Jews and Communists. Information about the unoccupied Russian areas went to office VI.

I have read the above statement, consisting of six (6) pages

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in the German language and declare that this is the full truth to the best of my knowledge and belief.

I have had opportunity to make alterations and corrections in the above statement. I have made this statement freely and voluntarily, without any promise of reward and was subjected to no threat or duress.

Nuernberg, 24 April 1947. [Signature] OTTO OHLENDORF

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Trials of War Criminals Before the Nurenberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10, Volume IV, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. pp. 92 - 95

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Electric Zen
Ken Lewis
October 22, 1998
Rev. 1.0