The maintenance of an army in invaded territory and the planning of future operations demands cold factuality in reports, which requirement was rudimentary knowledge to all members of the German Armed Forces. Thus, every subkommando leader was instructed
to inform his kommando leader of developments and activities in his field of operations, every kommando leader in turn accounted to the Einsatzgruppe leader, and the Einsatzgrupp leader by wireless and by mail reported to the RSHA in Berlin. These accounts were veiled in secrecy but they were not so covert that they did not come to the attention of the top ranking military and political officials of the regime. In fact, at the capital, they were compiled, clasified, mimeographed and distrubuted to a selected list. These are the reports which have been submitted in evidence.
The case of the Prosecution is founded entirely on these official accounts prepared by the Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommando leaders. The Tribunal will quote rather copiously from these reports because only by the very language of the actual performers can a shocked world believe that these things could come to pass in the twentieth century. A few brief excerpts at the outset will reveal graphically the business of the Einsatzgruppen. A report on Einsatzgruppe B, dated December 19, 1941, speaks of an action in Mogilew and points out:
"During the controls of the roads radiating from Mogilew, carried out with the aid of the constabulary, 135 persons, mostly Jews, were apprehended.....127 persons were shot."
"In agreement with the commander, the transient camp in Mogilew was searched for Jews and officials. 126 persons were found and shot."
The same report advises that in Paritschi near Bobruisk,
"A special action was executed, during which 1,013 Jews and Jewesses were shot."
"835 Jews of both sexes were shot."
A teilkommando of Sonderkommando 4a, operating in Poltawa, reported as of 23 November 1941:
"Altogether 1,538 Jews were shot."
"During the period covered by the report 2,010 people were shot."
"1,500 Jews were shot."
"In the course of the greater action against Jews, 3,412 Jews were shot."
"Of the remaining 30,000 approximately 10,000 were shot."
"10,600 Jews were shot."
":The Higher SS and Police leader in Riga, SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Jeckeln, has meanwhile embarked on a shooting action (Erschiessungsaktion) and on Sunday, the 30 November 1941, about 4,000 Jews from the Riga Ghetto and an evacuation transport from the Reich were disposed of."
A report originating from the Crimea stated laconically:
"In the Crimea 1,000 Jews and Gypsies were executed."
"This work was now begun and thus about 500 Jews, saboteurs amongst them, are liquidated daily."
A kommando, operating in Lachoisk, reported:
"A large-scale anti-Jewish action was carried out in the village of Lachoisk. In the course of this action 920 Jews were executed with the support of a kommando of the SS Division 'Reich'. The village may now be described as 'free of Jews'."
Einsatzgruppe B, operating out of headquarters Smolensk, reported on one of its operations in October:
"In Mogilew the Jews tried also to sabotage their removal into the Ghetto by migrating in masses. The Einsatzkommando No. 8, with the help of the Ordinary Police, blocked the roads leading out of the town and liquidated 113 Jews."
The same organization also reported:
"Two large-scale actions were carried out by the platoon in Krupka and Sholopanitsche, 912 Jews being liquidated in the former and 822 in the latter place."
The advance kommando of Sonderkommando 4a, chronicling its activities of October 4, 1941, reported:
"Altogether, 537 Jews (men, women, and adolescents) were apprehended and liquidated."
Then some report-writers airily recorded that certain areas "had been purged of Jews".
Einsatzgruppe C, reporting on more than 51,000 executions declared:
"These were the motives for the executions carried out by the kommandos: Political officials, looters and saboteurs, active Communists and political representatives, Jews who gained their release from prison camps by false statements, agents and informers of the NKVD, persons who, by false depositions and influencing witnesses, were instrumental in the deportation of ethnic Germans, Jewish sadism and revengefulness, undesireable elements, partisans, politrucks, dangers of plague and epidemics, members of Russian bands, armed insurgents - provisioning of Russian bands, rebels and agitators, drifting juveniles, - "
and then came the all inclusive phrase:
"Jews in general."
There were some kommando leaders, however, who were a little more conscientious than the others. They refused to kill a Jew simply because he was a Jew. They demanded a reason before ordering out the firing squad. Thus, in White Ruthtnia, a kommando leader reported: "There has been frequent evidence of Jewish women displaying a particularly disobiedient attitude." The kommando leader's conscience now having been satisfied, he went on in his report:
"For this reason, 28 Jewesses had to be shot at Krugloje and 337 in Mogilew."
"At Mogilew, too, the Jews tried to prevent their removal to a ghetto, 113 Jews were liquidated."
In the vicinity of Ostrowo, the resident Jews, according to Report No. 124 dated October 25, 1941, had repeatedly shown hostile conduct and disobedience to "the German authorities". Thus, the current kommando went into Ostrowo and shot 169 Jews. (NO-3160)
In Marina-Gorka, the labor assigned to Jews as done, according to Report No. 124, dated October 25, 1941, "very reluctantly". Thus 996 Jews and Jewesses were given "special treatment." (NO-3160)
Report No. 108, dated October 9, 1941, advises that for the death of 21 German soldiers near Topola, 2,100 Jews and Gypsies were to be executed, thus a ratio of 100 to one. There is no pretense in the report that any of the 2,100 slain were in the slightest way connected with the shooting of Germans. (NO-3156)
An item in Operation Report No. 108, October 9, 1941, points out that "19 Jews who were under suspicion of having either been communists or of having committed arson" were executed. (NO-3156)
In Mogilew, the Jewish women were "extremely resistive" and not wearing the prescribed badge, so 28 of them were liquidated. (NO-3156)
Report No. 73, dated September 4, 1941, acquaints the world with the fact that 773 civilians were exterminated in Minsk, the reason being that they "were absolutely inferior elements with a predominate mixture of Asiatic blood". The method of determining the inferiority of character and predominance of Asiatic blood is not indicated. (NO-2844)
The executioners were, however, not always without thought for the Jews. Sometimes apparently the liquidation took place for the benifit of the Jews themselves. Thus, Einsatzgruppe B reported in December 1941:
Einsatzgruppe C, reporting on conditions in Radomyschl, declared:
"A supply of food for the Jews as well as for the children was impracticable. In consequence, there was an ever increasing danger of epidemics."
The situation was met bravely and chivalrously:
"To put an end to these conditions 1,107 Jewish adults were shot by the kommando and 561 juveniles by the Ukrainian militia. Thereby, the Sonderkommando has taken care of a total of 11,328 Jews till 6 September 1941."
The same report proclaims further that, in the town of Janowitschi, a contagious disease, accompanied by fever, broke out. It was feared that the disease might spread to the city and the rural population. To prevent this from happening, 1,025 Jews were shot. The report closes proudly with the statement" "This operation was carried out solely by a commander and 12 men." (NO-3143)
As the kommandos became more and more familiar with the therapeutic capabilities of their rifles, they turned to the field of preventive medicine. In October of 1941, the kommando leader in Witebsk came to the conclusion that there was an "imminent danger of epidemics" in the town, and to forestall that this should come to pass, he shot 3,000 Jews. (NO-3160)
Mention has been made of the execution of the insane. The reports are dotted with references to the liquidation of inmates of mental institutions. It seems that the kommandos, in addition to the executions carried out under their own orders, were ready to perform other killings on request. Einsatzgruppe C reports
In Poltawa, Sonderkommando 4b found that the insane asylum located there maintained a farm for the inmates. Since there was not enough full cream milk in the town to supply the three large German military hispitals there, the milk shortage was met by executing a part of the insane. The report on the subject explains:
"A way out of this difficulty was found by deciding that the execution of 565 incurables should be carried out in the course of the next few days under the pretext that these patients were being removed to a better asylun in Charkow."
It was also stated:
"The underwear, clothing and other wearing aparel collected on this occasions have also been handed over to the hospitals."
"On 22 August 1941, mental patients from the Psychiatric Hospital in Dunapilsk -- approximately 700 adults and 60 children -- were shot in the small town of Aglon. Among them were 20 healthy children who had been temporarily transferred to the building of the hospital from a Children's Home."
Operation Report No. 132, describing the activities of
Operation Report No. 194, detailing the activities of Einsatzgruppe 8, states that, from March 6 to March 30, 1942, this kommando executed:
"20 Russians for subversive Communist activities, sabotage, and membership of the NKVD,
5 Russians because of theft, burglary and embezzlements,
Einsatzkommando 5, for the period between November 2 and November 8, 1941, killed, as Report No. 143 succinctly states:
"15 political officials,
21 saboteurs and looters,
Report No. 150, dated January 2, 1942, speaking of actions in theWestern Crimea, stated:
"From 16 November thru 15 December 1941, 17,645 Jews, 2,504 Krimtscaks, 824 Gypsies, and 212 Communists and partisans have been shot."
The report also states, as if talking of cleaning out swamps:
"Simferopol, Jewpatoria, Aluschta, Karasubasar, Kertsch and Fedosia and other districts of the Western Crimea have been cleaned of Jews."
"Naturally, the systematic action of Einsatzkommando 5 suffered extremely by these planless excesses against the Jewsin Ulman. In particular, a large number of the Jews were now forewarned and escaped from the city. Besides the numereous Jews, many of the Ukrainian officials and activists still living in Ulman, were warned by the excesses,"
"and only two co-workers of the NKVD were found and liquidated. The results of these excesses were cleaned up immediately by Einsatzkommando 5, after its arrival."
It also objected that people talked about these executions:
"Rumors about executions in other areas rendered action at Simferopol very difficult. Reports about actions against Jews gradually filter through from fleeing Jews, Russians, and also from unguarded talks of German soldiers."
In spite of these difficulties the operations were not entirely unsuccessful because this particular report sums up with: "Altogether, 75,881 persons have been executed."
Einsatzgruppe D, giving an account of its activities from October 1 to October 15, 1941, stated in Report No. 117:
"The districts occupied by the kommandos were cleaned out of Jews. 4,091 Jews and 46 Communists were executed in the time the report covers, bringing the total up to 40,699."
Coming back to Simferopol, in Report No. 153, dated January 9, 1942, we find:
"The operational areas of the teilkommandos, particularly in smaller villages, were purged of Jews. During the period covered by the report, 3,176 Jews, 85 partisans, 12 looters, and 122 Communist officials were shot. Sum Total: 79,276. In Simferopol, apart from Jews also the Krimtschak and Gypsy question was solved."
An entry from Operational Situation Report No. 3, on the period August 15 to August 31, 1941 states:
"During a scrutiny of the civilian prison camp in Minsk, 615 persons were liquidated. All those executed were racially inferior elements."
"The Jews of the city were ordered to present themselves at a certain place and time for the purpose of numerical registration and housing in a camp. About 34,000 reported, including women and children, After they had been made to give up their clothing and valuables, all were killed; this took several days."
Another report lauded the leader of Einsatzkommando 4b for his resourcefulness and skill in rounding up the intelligentsia of Winnica:
"He called for the most prominent Rabbi of the town ordering him to collect within 24 hours the whole of the Jewish intelligentsia and told him they would be required for certain registration work. When the first collection was insufficent in numbers, the intellectual Jews assembled were sent away again with the order to collect themselves more of the intellectual Jews and to appear with these the following day."
And then the report ends triumphantly on the note:
"This method was repeated for a third time so that in this manner nearly the entire intelligentsia was got hold of and liquidated."
"The difficulties resulting from such a large scale action -- in particular concerning the seizure -- were overcome in Kiev by requesting the Jewish population through wall posters to move. Although only a participation of approximately 5,000 to 6,000 Jews had been expected at first, more than 30,000 Jews arrived who, until the very moment of their execution, still believed in their resettlement, thanks to extremely clever organization."
"The danger of epidemics has thus increased considerably, so that, for that reason alone, a thorough clean-up of the respective places became necessary."
and then, he adds:
"The insolence of the Jews has not yet diminished even now."
One of the defendants denied that there were any Jews in his territory. In this connection the prosecution intriduced an interesting letter from one Jacob, Master of Field Police to his Commanding General. The letter, dated June 21, 1942, is very chatty andcompaionable, the writer sends his birthday greetings to the addressee, talks about his horses, his girl-friend, and then casually about the Jews:
"I don't know if you, General, have also seen in Poland such horrible figures of Jews. I thank the fate I saw this mongrel race like the man in the youngest days.....
Now, of the 24,000 Jews living here in Kamenets Podolsk we have only a disappearing percentage left. The little Jews (Juedein) living in the districts (Rayons) also belonged to our costumers. We surge ahead without pinges of conscience, and then.....the waves close and the world is at peace."
And then he became serious and determined to be hard with himself for the sake of his country:
"I thank you for your reprimand. You are right. We men of the new Germany have to be hard with ourselves. Even if it means a longer seperation from our family. Now is the time to clean up with war criminals, once and forever, to create for our decendants a more beautiful and eternal Germany. We don't sleep here. Every week 3-4 actions, one time Gypsies, the other time Jews, partisans and other rabble. It is very nice that we have now a SD unit (SD Aussenkommando) with which I can work excellently."
"I have a cosy apartment in a former children's asylum. One bedroom and a living-room with all the accessories."
Musmanno, Michael A., U.S.N.R, Military Tribunal II, Case 9: Opinion and Judgment of the Tribunal. Nuremberg: Palace of Justice. 8 April 1948. pp. 8 - 21 (original mimeographed copy)