The Kube - Strauch Controversy

Generalkommissar Kube's postclimactic resistance was one of the strangest episodes in the history of the Nazi regime. His battle with the SS and Police was unique. Kube was an "old" Nazi who had once been purged (he had been a Gauleiter). As he had pointed out in one of his letters, he was cetainly a "hard" man, and he was ready to "help solve the Jewish question." (77) But there were limits to his ruthlessness.

In 1943 Kube had a serious controversy with the commander of the Security Police and SD (KdS) in White Russia, SS-Obersturmbannführer Strauch. On July 20, Strauch arrested seventy Jews employed by Kube and killed them. Kube called Strauch immediately and accused him of chicanery. If Jews were killed in his office byt Jews working for the Wehrmacht were left alone, said Kube, this was a personal insult. Somewhat dumbfounded, Strauch replied that he "could not understand how German men could quarrel because of a few Jews." His record of the conversation went on:

I was again and again faced with the fact that my men and I were reproached for barbarism and sadism, whereas I did nothing but fulfill my duty. Even the fact that expert physicians had removed in a proper way the gold fillings from the teeth of Jews who had been designated for special treatment was made the topic of conversation. Kube asserted that this method of our procedure was unworthy of a German man and of the Germany of Kant and Goethe. It was our fault that the reputation of Germany ewas being ruined in the whole world. It was also true, he said, that my men literally satisfied their sexual lust during these executions. I protested energetically against that statement and emphasized that it was regrettable that we, in addition to having to perform this nasty job, were also made the target of mudslinging. (78)

Five days later , Strauch sent a letter to Obergruppenführer von dem Bach in which he recommended Kube's dismissal. In a long list of particulars, Strauch pointed out that Kube had for a long time favored the Jews, especially the Reich Jews. So far as the Russian Jews were concerned, Kube could quiet his conscience because most of them were "partisans helpers," but he could not distinquish between Germans and German Jews. He had insisted that Jews had art. He had expressed his liking for Offenbach and Mendelssohn. When Strauch had disagreed, Kube had claimed that young Nazis did not know anything about such things. Repeatedly Kube had shown his feelings openly. He had called a policeman who had shot a Jew a "swine". Once, when a Jew had dashed into a burning garage to save the Generalkommissar's expensice car, Kube had shaken hands with the man and thanked him personally. When the Judenrat in Minsk had been ordered to prepare 5,000 jews for "resettlement," Kube had actually warned the Jews. He had also protested violently that fifteen Jewish men and women who had been shot had been led, covered with blood, through the streets of Minsk. Thus Kube had sought to pin on the SS the label of sadism. (79)

While the recommendation by Strauch (technically a subordinate of the Generalkommissar) that Kube be dismissed was not carried out, Rosenberg decided to dispatch Staatssekretär Meyer to Minsk in order to give Kube a "serious warning." (80) On September 24, 1943, the German press reported that Kube had been murdered "by Bolshevist agents of Moscow" (81) (he was killed by a women employed in his household). Himmler thought that Kube's death was a "blessing" for Germany. So far as Himmler was concerned, the Generalkommissar had been heading for a concentration camp anyway, for his Jewish policy had "bordered on treason." (82)

(77) Kube to Lohse, December 16, 1941, Occ E 3-36

(78) File memorandum by Strauch, July 20, 1943, NO-4317. On teeth extractions, see report by prison warden Guenther to Kube, May 31, 1943, R-135

(79) Strauch to von dem Bach, July 25, 1943, NO-2662. After the war, in Nuremberg, von dem Bach called Strauch "the most nauseating man I have met in my life [den übelsten Menschen, dem ich meinem Leben begegnet bin]." Von dem Bach in Aufbau (New York), September 6, 1946.

(80) Berger (chief of SS Main Office) to Brandt (Himmler's Personal Staff), August 18, 1943, NO-4315

(81) "Gauleiter Kube Ermordet," Deutsche Ukraine-Zeitung, Sebtember 24, 1943, p. 1.

(82) Von dem Bach in Aufbau (New York), September 6, 1946, p. 40.

Hilberg, Raul. The Destruction of the European Jews: Revised and Definitive Edition. New York: Holmes & Meier. 1985. pp. 386 - 387

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Electric Zen
Ken Lewis
May 22, 1998
Rev. 1.0