Source: Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Vol. II. USGPO, Washington, 1946, pp. 248-302

[Note: The characters in brackets, eg, (2233-N-PS) refer to the official document numbers included in the series Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. A listing of legal references and documents relating to the Gestapo and SD appears on pages 302-316. .For information on the referencing of Internet sources see Chapter 4 of S D Stein Learning, Teaching and Researching on the Internet. Addison Wesley Longman 1999, published November 1998] 

[Please see the note concerning the provenance of files in this presentation]

The Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo)
and Sicherheitsdienst (SD)

Nuremberg Charges

Part III

Part I, Part II,  
Part IV, Part V, Part VI

War Crimes of the Gestapo and SD

Mass Murder and Extermination in Occupied Countries (part 1)

   F. War Crimes of the GESTAPO and SD.

(1) The GESTAPO and SD carried out mass murders of hundreds of thousands of civilians of occupied countries as a part of the Nazi program to exterminate political and racial undesirables (" Einsatz Groups").

About four weeks before the attack on Russia, special task forces of the SIPO and SD, called Einsatzgruppen or Special Task Groups, were formed on order of Himmler for the purpose of following the German armies into Russia, combatting partisans and members of resistance groups and exterminating the Jews and Communist leaders. In the beginning four Einsatz Groups were formed. Einsatz Group A, operating in the Baltic States, was placed under the command of Stahlecker, former Inspector of the SIPO and SD. Einsatz Group B, operating toward Moscow, was placed under the command of Nebe, the Chief of Amt V (KRIPO) of the RSHA. Einsatz Group C, operating toward Kiev, was placed under the command of Rasch and later of Thomas, former Chief of the SIPO and SD in Paris. Einsatz Group D, operating in the south of Russia, was placed under the command of Ohlendorf, the Chief of Amt III (SD) of the RSHA.

The Einsatz Groups were officered by personnel of the GESTAPO, the SD and the KRIPO. The men were drawn from the Order Police and the Waffen SS. The groups had complements of 400 to 500 men, and had their own vehicles and equipment. By agreement with the OKW and OKH, the Einsatzkommandos were attached to certain Army corps or divisions. The Army assigned the area in which the Einsatzkommandos were to operate, but all operational directives and orders for the carrying out of executions were given through the RSHA in Berlin. Regular courier service and radio communications existed between the Einsatz Groups and the RSHA. The affidavit of Ohlendorf, Chief of the SD, who led Einsatz Group D, reads in part as follows:

"When the German Army invaded Russia, I was leader of Einsatzgruppe D in the southern sector, and in the course of the year during which I was leader of the Einsatzgruppe D, it liquidated approximately 90,000 men, women and children. The majority of those liquidated were Jews, but there were also among them some Communist functionaries.

"In the execution of this extermination program the Einsatzgruppen were subdivided into Einsatzkommandos, and the Einsatzkommandos into still smaller units, the socalled Sonderkommando and Teilkommandos. Usually the smaller units were led by a member of the SD, the GESTAPO or the KRIPO. The unit selected for this task would enter a village or city and order the prominent Jewish citizens to call together all Jews for the purpose of resettlement. They were asked to hand over their personal belongings to the leaders of the unit, and shortly before the execution, to surrender their outer clothing. The men, women and children were led to a place of execution which usually was located beside a deepened anti-tank ditch. Then they were shot, kneeling or standing, and the corpses were thrown into the ditch. I never permitted the l shooting by individuals in Group D, but ordered that several of the men should shoot at the same time in order to avoid direct personal responsibility. The leaders of the unit, or especially designated persons, however, had to fire the last shot against those victims who were not dead immediately. I learned from conversations with other group leaders that some of them asked the victims to lie down flat on the ground to be shot through the neck. I did not approve of these methods." (2620-PS)

The contention that these murders were carried out by subterfuge and without force and terror is belied by the eyewitness account of two such mass murders witnessed by Hermann Graebe, who was manager and engineer in charge of the branch office of the Solingen firm of Josef Jung in Sdolbunow, Ukraine, from September 1941 until January 1944. Graebe's interest in the mass executions derived from the fact that in addition to Poles, Germans, and Ukrainians, he employed Jews on the various construction projects under his supervision. He was personally acquainted with the leader of the SIPO and SD who carried out the actions hereinafter described with the aid of SS-men (most of whom wore the SD armband) and Ukrainian militia. Graebe negotiated with SS-major Putz, the leader of the SIPO and SD, for the release of about 100 Jewish workers from the action which took place in Rowno on 13 July 1942. The original letter which exempted these Jewish workers from the action is attached to Graebe's affidavit, which states in part as follows:

"In the evening of this day I drove to Rowno and posted my-self with Fritz Einsporn in front of the house in the Bahnhofstrasse in which the Jewish workers of my firm slept. Shortly after 22.00 the ghetto was encircled by a large SS detachment and again about three times as many members of the Ukrainian militia. Then the electric floodlights which had been erected all around the ghetto were switched on. SS and militia details of 4 to 6 members entered or at least tried to enter the houses. Where the doors and windows were closed and the inhabitants did not open upon the knocking, the SS men and militia broke the windows, forced the doors and beams with crowbars and entered the dwellings. The owners were driven onto the street just as they were, regardless of whether they were dressed or whether they had been in bed. Since the Jews in most cases refused to leave their dwellings and resisted, the SS and militia both applied force. With the help of whippings, kicks and hits with the rifle butts they finally succeeded in having the dwellings evacuated. The people were chased out of their houses in such haste that the small children who had been in bed had been left behind in several instances. In the street women cried out for their children and children for their parents. That did not prevent the SS from chasing the people along the road, at double time, and hitting them until they reached a waiting freight train. Car after car was filled, over it hung the screaming of women and children, the cracking of whips and rifle shots. Since several families and groups had barricaded themselves in especially strong buildings, and the doors could not be forced with crowbars or beams, these houses were now blown open with hand grenades. Since the ghetto was near the railroad tracks in Rowno, the younger people tried to get across the tracks and to a small river to be outside of the ghetto. This sector being outside of the floodlights was lighted by signal ammunition. All through the night these beaten, chased and wounded people dragged themselves across the lighted streets. Women carried their dead children in their arms, children hugged and dragged by their arms and feet their dead parents down the road toward the train. Again and again the calls 'Open the door, '' Open the door' echoed through the ghetto." (2992-PS)

The leader of Einsatz Group D, Ohlendorf, stated in his affidavit that other Einsatz Group leaders required the victims to lie down flat on the ground to be shot through the neck. Graebe describes a mass execution of this kind which he observed carried out under the direction of a man in SD uniform on 5 October 1943 at Dubno, Ukraine, as follows:

"Thereupon in the company of Moennikes I drove to the construction area and saw in its vicinity a heap of earth, about 30 meters long and 2 meters high. Several trucks stood in front of the heap. Armed Ukrainian militia chased the people off the trucks under the supervision of an SS man. The militia men were guards on the trucks and drove them to and from the excavation. All these people had the prescribed yellow badges on the front and back of their clothes, and thus were recognized as Jews.

"Moennikes and I went directly to the excavation. Nobody bothered us. Now we heard shots in quick succession from behind one of the earth mounds. The people who had gotten off the trucks-men, women, and children of all ages-had to undress upon the orders of an SS man who carried a riding or dog whip. They had to put down their clothes in fixed places, sorted according to shoes, over and underclothing. I saw a pile of shoes of about 800 to 1,000 pairs, great piles of laundry and clothing. Without screaming or crying these people undressed, stood around by families, kissed each other, said farewells and waited for the nod of another SS man, who stood near the excavation, also with a whip in his hand. Dur-ing the 15 minutes that I stood near the excavation I have heard no complaint and no request for mercy. I watched a family of about 8 persons, a man and a woman, both about 50 with their children of about 1, 8 and 10, and two grown-up daughters of about 20 to 24. An old woman with snow-white hair held the one-year-old child in her arms and sang for it, and tickled it. The child was squeaking from joy. The couple looked on with tears in their eyes. The father held the hand of a boy about 10 years old and spoke to him softly; the boy was fighting his tears. The father pointed toward the sky, fondled his hand, and seemed to explain something to him. At that moment the SS-man at the excavation called something to his comrades. The latter counted off about 20 persons and instructed them to walk behind the earth mound. Among them was the family which I had mentioned. I remember' very well a girl, blackhaired and slender, passing near me; she pointed at herself and said, '23 years.' I walked around the mound, and stood in front of a tremendous grave. Closely pressed together the people were lying on top of each other so that only their heads were visible. Several of the people shot still moved. Some lifted their arms and turned their heads to show that they were still alive. The excavation was already two-thirds full. I estimated that it contained about 1,000 people. I looked for the man who did the shooting. I saw an SS-man who sat at the rim of the narrow end of the excavation, his feet dangling into the excavation. On his knees he had a machine pistol and he was smoking a cigarette. The completely naked people descended a stairway which was dug into the clay of the excavation and slipped over the heads of the people lying there already to the place to which the SS-man directed them. They laid themselves in front of the dead or injured people, some touched tenderly those who were still alive and spoke to them in a low voice. Then I heard a number of shots. I looked into the excavation and saw how the bodies jerked or the heads rested already motionless on top of the bodies that lay before them. Blood was running from their necks. I was surprised that I was not chased away, but I saw there were two or three postal officers in uniform nearby. Now already the next group approached, descended into the excavation, lined themselves up against the previous victims and was shot. When I walked back, around the mound, I noticed again a transport which had just arrived. This time it included sick and frail persons. An old, very thin woman with terribly thin legs was undressed by others who were already naked, while two persons held her up. Apparently the woman was paralyzed. The naked people carried the woman around the mound. I left with Moennikes and drove with my car back to Dubno." (2992-PS)

There are two reports by Stahlecker, the Chief of Einsatz Group B, available. The first report, found in Himmler's personal files, states that during the first four months of the Russian campaign Einsatz Group A murdered 135,000 Communists and Jews, and carried out widespread destruction of homes and villages and other vast crimes. Enclosure 8 to this StahIecker report is a carefu1 survey of the number of persons murdered, classified as to country, and whether Jew or Communist, with totals given in each instance. This report discloses that the Einsatz Groups frequently enlisted the aid of the local populations in the extermination program. It states:

"In view of the extension of the area of operations and the great number of duties which had to be performed by the Security Police, it was intended from the very beginning to obtain the cooperation of the reliable population for the fight against vermin-that is, mainly the Jews and Communists." (L-180)

With respect to extermination of Jews the report stated:

"From the beginning it was to be expected that the Jewish problem could not be solved by pogroms alone. In accordance with the basic orders received, however, the cleansing activities of the Security Police had to aim at a complete annihilation of the Jews. Special detachments reinforced by selected units-in Lithouania partisan detachments, in Latvia units of the Latvian auxiliary police-therefore performed extensive executions both in towns and in rural areas. The actions of the execution detachments were performed smoothly. * * *"

Enclosure 8, "Survey of the number of executed persons" is quoted directly from the report:

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(L-180.) The second report from Einsatz Group A (L-180) reports the extermination of nearly 230,000 persons. With respect to Esthonia, it states in part:

"Only by the SIPO and SD were the Jews gradually executed as they became no longer required for work. Today there are no longer any Jews in Esthonia."

With respect to Latvia, the report states in part:

"Up to October 1941 approximately 30,000 Jews had been executed by these Sonderkommandos. The remaining Jews who were still indispensable from the economic point of view were collected in Ghettos, which were established in Riga, Duenaburg and Libau."

With respect to Lithuania, the report states in part :

"Therefore by means of selected units-mostly in the propor-tion of 1: 8-first of all the prisons, and then systematically, district by district, the Lithuanian sector was cleansed of Jews of both sexes. Altogether 136,421 people were liquidated in a great number of single actions. As the complete liquidation of the Jews was not feasible, as they were needed for labor, Ghettos were formed which at the moment are occupied as follows: Kauem approximately 15,000 Jews; Wilna approximately 15,000 Jews; Schaulen approximately 4,500 Jews. These Jews are used primarily for work of military importance. For example, up to 5,000 Jews are employed in 3 shifts on the aerodrome near Kauen on earthworks and work of that sort."

With respect to White Russia, the report states in part:

"In view of the enormous distances, the bad condition of the roads, the shortage of vehicles and petrol, and the small forces of Security Police and SD, it needs the utmost effort to be able to carry out shootings in the country. Nevertheless 41,000 Jews have been shot up to now."

With respect to Jews from the Reich, the report states in part:

"Since December 1940 transports containing Jews have arrived at short intervals from the Reich. Of these, 20,000 Jews were directed to Riga and 7,000 Jews to Minsk. Only a small section of the Jews from the Reich is capable of working. About 70-80 percent are women and children or old people unfit for work. The death rate is rising continually also as a result of the extraordinarily bad winter. In isolated instances sick Jews with contagious disease were selected under the pretext of putting them into a home for the aged or a hospital, and executed."

Attached as an enclosure to this report is a map entitled "Jewish Executions Carried out by Einsatzgruppe A," on which, by the use of coffins as symbols, the number of Jews murdered in each area covered by Einsatz Group A is shown (Chart Number 4). The map shows thousands of Jews in ghettos, and an estimated 128,000 Jews "still on hand" in the Minsk area. Number of murdered, according to figures beside the coffins, during the period covered by this report, was 228,050.

On 30 October 1941 the Commissioner of the territory of Sluzk wrote a report to the Commissioner General, Minsk, in which he severely criticized the actions of the Einsatzcommandos operating in his area for the murder of all the Jews of Sluzk:

"On 27 October in the morning at about 8 o'clock a first lieutenant of the police battalion No. 11 from Kauen (Lithuania) appeared and introduceded himself as the adjutant of the battalion commander of the security police. The first lieutenant explained that the police battalion had received the assignment to effect the liquidation of all Jews here in the town of Sluzk, within two days. The battalion commander with his battalion in strength of four companies, two of which were made up of Lithuanian partisans, was on the march here and the action would have to begin instantly. I replied to the first lieutenant that I had to discuss the action in any case first with the commander. About half an hour later the police battalion arrived in Sluzk. Immediately after the arrival the conference with the battalion commander took place according to my request. I first explained to the commander that it would not very well be possible to effect the action without previous preparation, because everybody had been sent to work and that it would lead to terrible confusion. At least it would have been his duty to inform me a day ahead of time. Then I requested him to postpone the action one day. However, he rejected this with the remark that he had to carry out this action everywhere and in all towns and that only two days were allotted for Sluzk. Within these two days, the town of Sluzk had to be cleared of Jews by all means. For the rest, as regards the execution of the action, I must point out to my deepest regret that the latter bordered already on sadism. The town itself offered a picture of horror during the action. With indescribable brutality on the part of both the German police officers and particularly the Lithuanian partisans, the Jewish people, but also among them White Ruthenians, were taken out of their dwellings and herded together. Everywhere in the town shots were to be heard and in different streets the corpses of shot Jews accumulated. The White Ruthenians were in greatest distress to free themselves from the encirclement. Regardless of the fact that the Jewish people, among whom were also tradesmen, were mistreated in a terribly barbarous way in the face of the White Ruthenian people, the White Ruthenians themselves were also worked over with rubber clubs and rifle butts. There was no question of an action against the Jews any more. It rather looked like a revolution. In conclusion I find myself obliged to point out that the police battalion has looted in an unheard of manner during the action, and that not only in Jewish houses but just the same in those of the White Ruthenians. Anything of use such as boots, leather, cloth, gold and other valuables, has been taken away. On the basis of statements of members of the armed forces, watches were torn off the arms of Jews in public, on the streets, and rings were pulled off the fingers in the most brutal manner. A major of the finance department reported that a Jewish girl was asked by the police to obtain immediately 5,000 rubles to have her father released. This girl is said to have actually gone everywhere in order to obtain the money." (1104-PS)

This report was submitted by the Commissioner General of White Ruthenia to the Reich Commissioner for the Eastern Territories on 1 November 1941 with the following comment:

"I am submitting this report in duplicate so that one copy may be forwarded to the Reich Minister. Peace and order cannot be maintained in White Ruthenia with methods of that sort. To bury seriously wounded people alive who worked their way out of their graves again is such a base and filthy act that the incidents as such should be reported to the Fuehrer and Reichs Marshal." (1104-PS)

On the same date by separate letter the Commissioner General of White Ruthenia reported to the Reich Commissioner for the Eastern Territories that he had received money, valuables, and other objects taken by the police in the action at Sluzk and other regions, all of which had been deposited with the Reich Credit institute for the disposal of the Reich Commissioner. (1104-PS)

On 21 November 1941 a report on the Sluzk incident was sent to the personal reviewer of the permanent deputy of the Minister of the Reich with a copy to Heydrich, the Chief of the Security Police and SD. (1104-PS)

On 6 November 1942 a secret report submitted to the Reich Commissar for the East concerning the struggle against partisans in the East discloses that destruction of villages continued, and reports the execution of 1,274 partisan suspects and 8,350 Jews, and the deportation of 1,217 people. This report was forwarded on 10 December 1942 to the Reich Minister for the occupied Eastern territories. (1113-PS)

The report from the prison administrator at Minsk as of 31 May 1943 to the General Commissioner for White Ruthenia states:

"The German, former dentist Ernst Israel Tichauer and his wife Elisa Sara Tichauer, born Rosenthal, were delivered to the Court-Prison by the SD (Hauptscharfuehrer Rube) on 13 April 1943. Since that date, the golden bridgework, crowns and fillings of the received German and Russian Jews were pulled out, respectively broken out by force. This always happened. l-2 hours before the actions in question.

"Since 13 April 1943, 516 German and Russian Jews were liquidated. After careful investigation it was ascertained that gold objects were only taken away during 2 actions, namely on 14 April 43 from 172 and on 27 April 43 from 164 Jews. About 50 percent of the Jews had gold teeth, bridges or fillings. Hauptscharfuehrer Rube of the SD was always present in person, and also took the gold objects with him.

"This has not been done before 13 April 1943."

This report was forwarded to the Reich Minister for the occupied Eastern territories on 1 June 1943. (E-135)

Death vans were used by the Einsatz Groups to murder victims by gas. These vans were built by the Saurer Works in Berlin and other firms. The vans were built for the technical section of Amt II of the RSHA, which sent them to the Einsatz Groups in the field. They were first used in the spring of 1942 and continued to be used throughout the war (2348-PS). The method of using the vans is described by Ohlendorf in the following words:

"We received orders to use the car for the killing of women and children. Whenever a unit had collected a sufficient number of victims, a car was sent for their liquidation, We also stationed these cars in the neighborhood of the transit camps to which the victims had been brought. They were told that they would be resettled and had to climb into the cars for that purpose. Then the doors were closed and as soon as the cars started moving the gas would enter. The victims died within ten to fifteen minutes. The cars were driven to the burial place where the corpses were taken out and buried." (2620-PS)

Gestapo and SD Nuremberg Charges, Part II
Gestapo and SD Nuremberg Charges, Part IV

Document compiled by Dr S D Stein
Last update 18/01/99
ęS D Stein

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