Document Source: Allied Intelligence Agencies and the Holocaust: Information Acquired from German Prisoners of War, Stephen Tyas, Saint Albans, England. (Final check on August 17, 2022, Doc Snafu)

In the early days of World War II, British intelligence agencies began secretly recording conversations between German prisoners of war in the hope of acquiring information on technical advances. The information gathered was to be used in the war effort against Germany. Transcripts of these conversations, now declassified, represent a previously unknown or overlooked source of information about the Holocaust, providing evidence of individual German officers’ participation in and knowledge of war crimes. The fact that the transcripts of and reports on the monitored conversations were locked away for over thirty years after the end of the war supports the view that intelligence agencies placed a higher priority on maintaining the secrecy of their methods than on supporting the prosecution of war criminals.

Selection on the ramp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, 1944

On September 3, 1939, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced on national radio that German forces were not withdrawing from Poland and that consequently, England was at war with Germany. Appeasement had failed; the country formally began to mobilize its armed forces. Two months before the German attack on Poland, British military intelligence agencies had begun to establish methods for dealing with enemy prisoners of war. In consultation with former British officers who had dealt previously with Prisoners of War, they examined lessons learned during the First World War. Preparedness for the arrival of POWs, they hoped, would yield dividends by allowing Britain to keep abreast of German technical achievements and acquire other useful information.

The Directors of Intelligence for the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy, together with members of the security services (MI5 and MI6), agreed in early July 1939 to establish a Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre (CSDIC) at which all German prisoners would be interrogated. Here, German-language specialists from all branches would be placed under the direction of the German Section of Military Intelligence. The first CSDIC facility was located inside the medieval Tower of London. Detention cells there were equipped with hidden listening devices connected to recording equipment; POW conversations of interest were translated from German into English and circulated within the intelligence community (1). Military Intelligence department MI1H issued the reports until CSDIC was transferred to MI9a (later re-designated MI19) in 1940.

During the ‘phony war’ of September 1939 through early May 1940, when combat consisted of little more than air raids, the German prisoners came from the Luftwaffe. On November 1, 1939, following an air raid on Edinburgh, a pilot by the name of Fischer and his observer, Atwater, became the first German captives to arrive at the Tower of London (2). The 1940 London Blitz led intelligence officials to move the CSDIC reception center into the countryside beyond the capital. Eventually, mobile CSDIC units in Europe followed advancing Allied armies. In January 1940, the distribution list for the reports included eleven offices at three agencies; (3) by 1945, fifty to ninety copies were being distributed to each of more than a dozen agencies (4). All copies were marked ‘Secret’. Over the six years of war in the European theater, the CSDIC produced more than 17.000 reports from ‘secretly monitored’ conversations.

By contrast, only 5000 CSDIC reports were produced from interrogations. The reports reveal that the secretly recorded conversations yielded enormous amounts of tactical and technical information; the interrogation reports included equipment drawings, maps, and locations of potential targets such as ammunition dumps and fuel facilities. On January 13, 1941, the CSDIC reported on its first year of operation. Though the center had operated initially ‘on a very small scale’, the report stated that ‘experience soon proved the outstanding operational and technical value of the information obtained (5). The following month, the CSDIC circulated a request among the various British intelligence agencies for opinions on the bugged conversations; the consensus was that they were worthwhile and that the ‘German text was often of greater value than the English translation’ (6). Some commenters noted that occasionally the place names recorded were inaccurate. Analysts from the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), who began receiving copies of the CSDIC reports in 1943, noted the lack of information from POWs about military and civilian morale; such information, they pointed out, could be useful to the Psychological Warfare Committee (7). By 1944, with much experience behind them, intelligence officers had established the categories of information to be gathered, as listed in a War Office report: Secret weapons; Comparison of Allied and enemy war equipment; Bombing of Germany and enemy-occupied Territory; Food generally; enemy rations (at home and in services); Allied rations; Battle or service reminiscences; Economic conditions on the German home front; After the War; Politics; Religion; Frivolous or purely personal matters. (8)

Information gathered by the CSDIC on atrocities against civilian populations across the entire German-occupied areas provided some of the earliest indications of the Holocaust. This information was distributed widely within the British intelligence apparatus, but officials showed little interest in it. Military objectives were of primary importance. Reliance on witness testimony must be tempered by recognition of the natural human tendency to exaggeration and bias. Likewise, such testimony may contain hearsay or simple errors concerning dates or numbers of victims. Nevertheless, many eyewitnesses’ reports contain at least a kernel of truth. In any case, the location of reported atrocities can now be confirmed using other sources.

As the war progressed, the number of war prisoners in Britain increased. Before releasing the rank-and-file POWs into the general camp population, the Prisoner of War Interrogation Section (PWIS) interviewed them in ‘cages’, or detention cells equipped with secret listening equipment. Within buildings, microphones could be placed inconspicuously behind walls or vents. In the North African Desert, where prisoners were held in tents, microphones were located in hollowed-out tent poles. Generals and other senior officers were held separately from junior officers and enlisted men, but all prisoners were subject to monitoring. From the reports of secretly recorded conversations, it seems clear that British interrogation officers used informants to encourage prisoners to talk. In some reports, the questions are clearly formulaic.

Between June and August 1943, when many thousands of German and Italian POWs arrived in the UK from North Africa, American units participated in the systematic interrogation of prisoners. US teams eventually issued more than 5000 reports. Also at this time, the British authorities set up the War Crimes Investigation Unit (WCIU) at the ‘London District Cage’ at Kensington Palace Gardens. The WCIU’s primary focus was not on acquiring information on atrocities against Jews but on the investigation of German crimes against Allied military personnel (9). Almost all of these British reports of interrogations and monitored conversations were declassified in the 1970s and made available at the National Archives (then called the Public Records Office), Kew. Until recently, these materials largely had escaped scholarly attention (10).

The data gathered from declassified reports relate to atrocities in all regions of occupied Europe, as well as within Germany itself. In addition to information concerning what would eventually become known as the Holocaust, there are indications that some German officers were aware of the Nazis’ ‘euthanasia’ program to exterminate the mentally and physically disabled. Highlights of the wide range of information gleaned from POW conversations and interrogations are given in the topics below.

EUTHANASIA – AKTION T4

Intelligence about the ‘euthanasia’ program in Germany and Austria came into Allied hands only after the program had officially ended. The first information came from a secretly recorded conversation that took place on October 26, 1944, in which Oberst Eberhard H. Wildermuth told a fellow prisoner about his own family’s experiences. The Oberst’s brother, who was an asylum doctor in Nuremberg told him that mentally and physically disabled people were transported from his asylum to the ‘Graveneck’ (sic—Grafeneck) ‘Euthanasia Center,’ where, according to Wildermuth, ‘they were bumped off.’ The Oberst went on to say that ‘when the population of Winnenden, a town near the village of Grafeneck saw the cars arrive, they used to say: ‘here come the murder cars’ (Da Kommen die Mordautos). Wildermuth spoke of an elderly woman at Grafeneck whose death certificate stated that appendicitis was the cause of her death; her sons knew that her appendix had been removed more than thirty years earlier.

Wildermuth’s conversations with other prisoners were bugged as late as April 1945. In the last of these recorded conversations, he mentioned that ‘70.000 to 80.000 mental defectives had been put to death.’ This figure is strikingly accurate; war crimes investigators arrived at the documented figure of 70.273 only later, as they collected evidence for the prosecutions at the Nuremberg Trials (11).

Equally important information about the ‘euthanasia’ program was gleaned in April 1945 from the interrogations in London of army medical orderly (Sanitäter Soldat) Fritz Karl Albert Bleich. During the period between February 1940 and June 1944, Bleich had served under physician SS-Gruppenführer (Allgemein SS) and SS-Brigadeführer (Waffen SS) Dr. Karl Brandt as a clerk at the Government Public Health Office (Reichskommissär für das Sanitäts und Gesundheitswesen) in Berlin. This office engaged in many respectable activities related to public health and health care within all branches of the German armed forces. However, Bleich incorrectly states that Brandt ‘was under the orders of the Reichskanzlei, Berlin’ (12) specifically, under the authority of SS-Oberführer Viktor Brack, Oberdienstleiter Werner Blankenburg, and Reinhold Vorberg (head of the ‘Charitable Society for the Transportation of the Sick’). In fact, these men were in charge of the ‘Public Foundation for Institutional Care’ (Gemeinnützige Stiftung für Anstaltspflege), to which Bleich himself referred as ‘the central office charged by Hitler with ‘mercy killings’ of mentally deficient persons’. This function was later extended to ‘Jews and political offenders’, Bleich continued. As we now know, the Stiftung supervised the ‘euthanasia’ centers at Grafeneck, Brandenburg/Havel, Bernburg/Saale, Hadamar/Lahn, Pirna/Elbe, and Hartheim/Austria, where most victims of the ‘euthanasia’ program were gassed and then cremated.

NOTES

1. The National Archives, Kew, UK ( formerly the Public Record Office) (TNAK), KV 4/302. The correspondence details the establishment of the first “Combined Services Detailed Examination Centre,” as discussed at a meeting in the War Office on July 21, 1939. The first reference to intelligence officers as “Interpreters and Listening-In” can be found here as well. See also TNAK, WO 208/3154. Not all recordings were transcribed.
2. Report SR No. 1 dated November 2, 1939, with copies distributed to the War Office, Naval Intelligence, and Air Intelligence, TNAK, WO 208/4117; according to report SRA No. 17 dated January 23, 1940, there were now eighteen German prisoners in custody, including only six from the Luftwaffe. SR No. 17 was the first report to contain the note: “This report is VERY SECRET. If further circulation is necessary, it must be paraphrased so that neither the source of the information nor the means by which it has been obtained are apparent.”
3. A total of eleven copies of SRA No. 17 dated January 23, 1940, were distributed to offices within the War Office, Naval Intelligence, and Air Intelligence. TNAK, WO 208/4117.
4. For example, report SRN 4664 dated March 2, 1945, (TNAK, WO 208/4157) was distributed to MI19a (War Office) (54 copies), Naval Intelligence Directorate (9 copies), and AID (K) (Air Ministry) (4 copies). Similarly, report SIR 1624 dated April 17, 1945 (TNAK, WO 208/5543), was distributed to MI 19a (85 copies), NID (4 copies), and AID (K) (6 copies).
5. CSDIC report dated January 13, 1941, TNAK, WO 208/3514.
6. The February 20, 1941 request by MI9 for the various British intelligence agencies to comment on the content and value of the secretly monitored conversations is located at TNAK, WO 208/3455.
7. The OSS comments are located in the United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Record Group (RG) 226, entry 210, box 340, folder 1.
8. The headings for the information to be gathered can be found in the 1944 report, TNAK, WO 208/3256. The quotes and capitalization are as in the original.
9. Information on the US PWIS operations in the UK is located in “Excerpt of Prisoner of War Branch History, 1943 – 1945” (1945), NARA, RG 332, entry ETO Admin, box 143, tab 1. Of course, the British war crimes prosecution program focused on criminal acts that had taken place in what would become the British Zone of Occupation (Germany) or where a British military force was present (Italy and Norway). The only exceptions appear to have been the trials before a British Military Court in Hamburg of the staffs of KL Gross-Rosen, KL Natzweiler, and KL Ravensbruck. The charges in these cases related to incidents involving captured British intelligence agents; a few trials of war crimes that we now understand as Holocaust-related took place in the British Zone.
10. Sönke Neitzel, Abgehört. Deutsche Generâle in britischer Kriegsgefangenenschaft 1942 – 1945 (Berlin: Propyla¨ en, 2005); translated into English as Tapping Hitler’s Generals: Transcripts of Secret Conversations 1942 – 1945 (Barnsley, UK: Frontline Books, 2007). Neitzel focuses on secretly recorded conversations between generals, using only fifty-one reports of such conversations to cover the subject of German atrocities against Jewish and other civilian populations. See also Richard Breitman, Norman J. W. Goda, Timothy Naftali, and Robert Wolfe, U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis (Washington, DC: National Archives Trust Fund Board for the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Inter-Agency Working Group, 2004), 96 – 100; and Rafael A. Zagovec, ‘Gespräche mit der ‘Volksgemeinschaft’: Die deutsche Kriegsgesellschaft im Spiegel West Alliierter Front-verhöre,’ Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg 9, no. 2 (2005): 289 – 381. POW interrogation reports produced by American authorities are to be found mainly in NARA, RG 498.
11. Transcripts of Wildermuth’s bugged conversations: Report SRX 2022 dated October 26, 1944, TNAK, WO 208/4164; Reports GRGG 274 dated March 1945, and GRGG 286 dated April 1945, WO 208/4177; and Extract dated October 21, 1944, p. 1, WO 311/54. On June 27, 1945, US forces searching the former “Euthanasia” center at Hartheim discovered a steel chest containing documents related to the “T-4” killing program. Among the documents was an internal statistical report dated September 1, 1941; according to the report, the total number of lives taken at the five “Euthanasia” centers between 1940 and 1941 was 70,273. See Ernst Klee, ed., Dokumente zur “Euthanasie” (Frankfurt-am-Main: Fischer Taschenbuch, 1985), 232 – 33, 329.
12. Bleich interrogations in the London District Cage, April 1945, TNAK, WO 208/3655 and WO 208/4209. Bleich mistakenly reports the “Euthanasia” program came “under the order of the Reichskanzlei, Berlin”; in fact, it was subordinate to the Kanzlei des Führer. In most other respects, Bleich gave an accurate picture of the “Euthanasia” program and the further activities in Poland of its personnel. Although he does not mention it by name, he describes the Aktion Reinhard extermination program and names some of its leading officials, including Dietrich Allers and Christian Wirth. He downplays his own involvement, of course, but he appears to have detailed knowledge of all aspects of the operation.

Bleich claims that in mid-1943, Reichsfürer-SS Heinrich Himmler, chief of the SS and all of the German police forces, wrote personally to Dr. Brandt ordering him to suspend the ordinary activities of the Stiftung in order to concentrate on Jews and political offenders instead. Despite Himmler’s order, ‘mercy killings’ of mentally deficient persons went on, although on a reduced scale, until the Stiftung closed down in October 1943. The program continued in a decentralized manner, involving numerous asylums and clinics, until the end of the war. In addition to his knowledge of the ‘euthanasia’ program, Bleich was aware that Stiftung employees were sent to Russia and Poland where extermination centers were in operation (Bleich refers to them as Auffanglager (Reception Camps): In mid-1944, Bleich spoke to some of these men who had been sent, via Berlin to Florence, probably Trieste, where a camp for Jews San Saba had also been established. The SS men told Bleich that as there was no poison gas laid on in Poland, several hundred Jews were driven into gas-tight chambers and killed there by the exhaust gases from lorries, which were introduced through pipes in the walls. The bodies were either burnt or just buried in trenches. Many victims were shot after having been made to dig their own graves.

Bleich did not witness these activities, yet he gave a remarkably accurate view of the killing operations conducted by former ‘euthanasia’ center personnel in the Aktion Reinhard extermination camps in Poland: Bełzec KL, Sobibor KL, and Treblinka KL. Under interrogation, Bleich named every person he knew who was involved in both the ‘euthanasia’ and extermination programs. Among those he named was August Becker (Chemist in the RSHA), whom Bleich called ‘Becker I’ and identified as the ‘expert in boiler and incinerator installations’ while he was connected to the ‘euthanasia’ program; Becker later became involved in the development of the gas vans used in occupied Polish and Soviet territory. Bleich also mentioned SS-Sturmbahnführer Christian Wirth, the Inspector of the Aktion Reinhard in Poland (Abteilung Reinhard – Der Inspekteur des SS-Sonderkommandos beim SS- und Polizeiführer Lublin. Wirth, Bleich observed, was very overbearing in the office, loud voice, always yelling, very brutal against mentally deficient, tuberculous, and other ill persons, whom he used to club to death personally. He used to kick women in the stomach in front of everyone. This widely accepted picture of Wirth is supported by scholarly research (13).

OCCUPIED SOVIET TERRITORIES (OTHER THAN THE BALTIC STATES

Of the information on atrocities that were obtained by bugging POW conversations, the greatest proportion related to events in Belorussia, Ukraine, and Russia. The information includes not just hearsay, but eyewitness descriptions of killings as reported by generals, officers, and ordinary soldiers from every branch of the German armed forces. Most commonly, these statements referred to mass executions of local Jewish populations by the Security Police (Einsatzgruppen). Among the localities mentioned were Gomel, Kerch, Lviv, Minsk, Pinsk, Simferopol, Sebastopol, Vinnytsa, and Zhytomyr; some prisoners mentioned the gas van operations in Brest-Litovsk and Smolensk, as well as the exhumation and burning at Lviv of the bodies of Jews who had been executed two years earlier.

Flak unit Lt Wehn, who had been captured in France on August 19, 1944, mentioned that he had been stationed at Brest-Litovsk when the ghetto there was cleared: I believe that the SS bumped off twelve thousand Jews in one night on that occasion, he remarked. (14) This was an understatement. On October 15, 1942, the local Order Police shot 16.000 Jews there; a gendarmerie report on the Aktion notes that 20.000 Jews were killed over two days. (15) Wehn also mentioned cremation buses that drove off with great numbers of people in them for 20 KM and unloaded them: all that remained was dust and ashes. (16) Engine exhaust gases were in fact used to murder people in vans, but vehicles that also cremated the corpses did not exist as far as we know.

Many of the German army generals captured by British forces, some in North Africa in 1942 and 1943, had served previously in the East. Their comments on the mass executions are very matter-of-fact. For example, General d. Panzertruppe Wilhelm Ritter von Thoma was a division commander in the Afrika Korps under Rommel, and was captured by British forces in North Africa on November 9, 1942; just six months later, after his transfer to Britain, he said in a conversation with other prisoners I expect the Russians will open up the graves of the Jews at Sebastopol and Odessa some time!. (17) A second mention of the Sebastopol executions can be found in the transcript of a bugged conversation of General d. Infanterie Dietrich von Choltitz, the last German commandant of Paris, who was captured on August 25, 1944. Von Choltitz stated: One day after Sebastopol had fallen, whilst I was on my way back to Berlin. I flew back with the Chief of Staff of the airfield and when he was coming up to me, we heard shots. I asked whether a firing practice was on. He answered: Good Lord I’m not supposed to tell, but they’ve been shooting Jews here for days now (emphasis in the original) (18). Von Choltitz’s conversation partner, Generalleutnant Friedrich Freiherr von Broich, confided in return: We shot women as if they were cattle. I was at Zhytomyr the day after it happened. The Kommandant, (an Oberst von München) happened to be there and he said, quite appalled: We might drive out afterward; there is a large quarry where ten thousand men, women, and children were shot yesterday. They were still lying in the quarry. We drove out on purpose to see it. The most bestial thing I ever saw. (19)

In the area of Hitler’s headquarters near Vinnytsa in Ukraine, Jews and partisans were shot in a local quarry. Two German POWs, a Soldier Schulze and an M/Sgt Liedtke mentioned atrocities there. Captured in Italy in mid-December 1943, both had served in the Vinnytsa area in 1942. Liedtke said he had stayed in Vinnytsa as an Organization Todt (civil and military engineering) Kleiner Bonze (Short Shooting) until the 1944 military withdrawal. Schulze said: I have seen the corpses of 700–800 Jews who had been shot early one morning; Liedtke also saw the corpses. Their remarks probably refer to the lesser number of 227 Jewish victims shot between 0830 and 1030 on the morning of January 10, 1942, in Stryzhavka, a village five miles north of Vinnytsa. Among the executioners were men from the Reich Security Service (Reichssicherheitsdienst SD) under SS–Gruppenführer Hans Rattenhuber (aka SS–Gruppenführer Johan Rattenhuber), a member of Hitler’s personal security service.(20)

In a second-hand account, Generallmajor Edgar Feuchtinger reported that his German housekeeper had told him about the mass execution in Pinsk: 25.000 Jews were fetched out, formed up on the edge of a wood or in a meadow—they had been made to dig their own graves beforehand, and then every single one of them from the oldest grey-beard down to the new-born infant was shot by a police squad. (21) Generalleutnant Georg Neuffer, who was captured in North Africa on May 9, 1943, was heard to say just five weeks later: I myself have seen a convoy at Ludowice near Minsk. I must say it was a frightful, horrible sight. There were lorries full of men, women, and children, quite small children. It was a ghastly scene. The women, the little children, who were, of course, absolutely unsuspecting and frightful! Of course, I didn’t watch while they were being murdered. German police stood about with machine pistols, and do you know what they had there? Lithuanians, or fellows like that, in the brown uniform, did it. The German Jews were also sent to the Minsk district, and they were gradually killed off, so far as they survived the other treatment. By treatment, I mean housing and food and so on.( 22)

Neuffer may not have mentioned the true fate of the German Jews in Minsk, but a Luftwaffe radio operator by the name of Jochen, captured in North Africa on August 27, 1943, had been stationed in Soviet territory the previous year and had no doubts. He claimed to have seen eight and half thousand of them being shot at Minsk. He continued: I saw it personally. But those whom I saw were German Jews what’s more and not Russian ones. The fellows all spoke German with many of the women and you couldn’t tell at all that they were Jewesses. (23)

General d. Kavallerie Edwin Graf von Rothkirch u. Trach voiced the frustration many generals in the field in Soviet territory felt in their dealings with Security Police forces, especially with the Einsatzgruppen. In a secretly recorded conversation with von Choltitz, he remarked: If you’re in charge of villages and towns and the SS comes along and takes the people away, what can you do? Of course, masses of people were shot at Lviv. Thousands of them! First, the Jews, then Poles who were also shot in thousands, non-Jews, the whole aristocracy and great landed proprietors and masses of students. It’s all very difficult. Von Rothkirch confided to von Choltitz that the British officer who interrogated him had said: Incidentally, the Russians will demand the handing over of a lot of officers. (24) By repeating this off-handed remark which the interrogator may have made to encourage the prisoners to talk, the general reinforced the idea that the threat of extradition to the Soviet Union was real.

NOTES

14. Report SRX 1988 dated September 6, 1944, TNAK, WO 208/4164.
15. See Wolfgang Curilla, Die deutsche Ordnungspolizei und der Holocaust im Baltikum und in Weißrußland 1941–1944 (Paderborn: Schöningh, 2006), 337. The higher figure of about 20.000 Jews shot in Brest-Litovsk during the ghetto clearance action on October 15–16, 1942, is quoted by the German Gendarmerie commander for Brest district in his report dated November 8, 1942, in Bundesarchiv Berlin-Lichterfelde, R 94/7.
16. Report SRX 1988 dated September 6, 1944, TNAK, WO 208/4164.
17. For von Thoma’s comments see Report SRX 1739 dated April 17, 1943, TNAK, WO 208/4163. Research into von Thoma’s career reveals that he was a Panzer division commander in the central sector of the Russian Front and therefore was unlikely to have been stationed in Sebastopol. Thus, his information on Jewish graves at Sebastopol must be based on hearsay.
18. Report GRGG 271 dated March 1945, TNAK, WO 208/4172. It is highly unlikely that he returned to Berlin from Sebastopol. There was no airfield at Sebastopol in use at the time, and the Sarabus airfield near Simferopol (about 83 km distant) was used more commonly for travel from Crimea to Germany.
19. Report GRGG 271 dated March 14, 1945, TNAK, WO 208/4172. Inserted question marks (here and throughout) are as in the original interrogation or bugged conversation reports. Major General von Broich overestimated the number of victims at the Zhitomir mass execution. A copy of this report can also be found at NARA, RG 226, entry 109, box 10. Sonderkommando 4a under SS-Colonel Paul Blobel carried out two mass executions in the Zhitomir area during August and September 1941. The one carried out near a “Bahndamm” (railway embankment) in August 1941 may fit von Broich’s description; that action claimed some 2000 Jewish lives. See Abschlussbericht: Exekutionen des Sonderkommandos 4a der Einsatzgruppe C und der mit diesem Kommando eingesetzten Einheiten wa¨hrend des Russland-Feldzuges in der Zeit vom 22.6.1941 bis zum Sommer 1943 (Ludwigsburg: Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen, 1964), 194 –97. Army Major Roesler observed this August 1941 execution and made a report to his superior, Lieutenant General Rudolf Schniewindt—who forwarded the report to Wehrmacht High Command in Berlin. See document USSR 293, quoted in The Trial of German Major War Criminals: Proceedings of the International Military Tribunal Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany, Part 7 (London: HMSO, 1947), 90–91.
20. Report SRM 496 dated March 28, 1944, TNAK, WO 208/4138; see also Helmut Krausnick and Hans-Heinrich Wilhelm, Die Truppe des Weltanschauungskrieges: Die Einsatzgruppen der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD 1938–1942 (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1981), 275 –76.
21. Report GRGG 311 dated June 8, 1945, TNAK, WO 208/4178. Feuchtinger was too high in his estimate of 25,000 Pinsk Jews killed; approximately 18,000 were killed between October 29 and November 1, 1942 by Polizei-Reiterabteilung II and Polizei-Battaillon 306. See Curilla, Die deutsche Ordnungspolizei, 675 –81.22. Report SRGG 209 dated July 10, 1943, TNAK, WO 208/4165. “Ludowice” in this context may be “Smilowice” (Smilovichi), which was located about thirty-five kilometers from Minsk. In that town on October 14, 1941, two companies of German policemen and two companies of Lithuanian policemen shot 1388 Jews. See Christian Gerlach, Kalkulierte Morde: Die deutsche Wirtschafts- und Vernichtungspolitik in Weißrußland 1941 bis 1944 (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 1999), 752, 758– 59. Gerlach reports that thirty-one deportation trains carried a total of more than 25.000 German and Austrian Jews to Minsk between November 1941 and October 1942.
23. Report SRA 4427 dated September 26, 1943, TNAK, WO 208/4131. It is likely that what Jochen witnessed was the execution of 10.000 Jews, including 3500 German Jews, on July 28 –29, 1942. The execution is described in a report dated July 31, 1942, from Wilhelm Kube, Generalkommissar für Weißruthenian, to his superior, Heinrich Lohse, the Reichskommissar für das Ostland (Nuremberg document PS-3428, NARA). Lohse reports that 6500 of the Jews were Russian—mainly elderly people, women, and children. In other words, they were those “unfit for labor.” The remaining Jews had been deported from Germany, specifically Brünn, Bremen, and Berlin, in November 1941.
24. Reports GRGG 270 and GRGG 272, March 1945, TNAK, WO 208/4177. A portrait of von Rothkirch und Trach in Lviv can be found in Countess Karolina Lanckoron´ska’s, Those Who Trespass Against Us: One Woman’s War against the Nazis (London: Pimlico, 2005), 102 –105.

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