|TRANSLATION OF DOCUMENT 1104-PS
Source:Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume III USGPO, Washington, 1946/pp.783-789
Correspondence and Report Concerning the Aktion of
Police Battalion 11 in Sluzk
The Personal Reviewer of the Permanent Deputy of the Minister of the
Bi/ T Nr 58 Al. 41 Secret
Enclosed herewith I transmit to you the copy of an incident regarding the measures against the Jews in the general district of Minsk, with the request to submit the same to the Minister of the Reich.
On order of the Gauleiter I have sent one copy to Lieutenant General of the SS, Heydrich, with the request for investigation of the incident.
signed : BIGENWALD
The Commissioner General for White Ruthenia
Minsk, 1 November 1941
To the Reich Commissioner for the Eastern Territories, Gauleiter Hinrich Lohse, Riga
Today, money, valuables and other objects were deposited at the cashier of my office against receipt, in the present of Government Councillor Dr. Idelberger of the Police Battalion 11. These matters were from Sluzk and other regions which the Police Battalion 11 had included in its action without my order and without my knowledge. All objects and the money have been safely deposited by officials of Commissariat General with the Reich Credit Institute [Reichskreditanstalt] and are held at the disposal of the Reich Commissioner. Reserve officer 1st Lieutenant of the Police Brodeck attempted in the course of this incident to purchase gold for private purposes in order to use it for a personal affair, as witnessed by Government Councillor Dr. Idelberger, my adjutant, SS-2nd Lt Wildenstein and myself.
I have immediately reported the case to the responsible field command post at Minsk and requested the arrest of the police officer1st Lt Brodeck was immediately set free by the investigating court martial officer as the court martial officer did not find any basis for charges in this incident. This is contrary to the legal conception of my office. Any private dealing in gold is prohibited in the German Reich. Aggravating in this case is furthermore the fact that an officer of the same unit is involved which has effected the liquidation of the former possessors of gold.
The Commissioner General for White Ruthenia
The Commissioner General for White Ruthenia
Minsk, 1 November 1941
To the Reich Commissioner for the Eastern Territories Gauleiter Hinrich LOHSE Riga
Enclosed I submit a report of the Commissioner for the territory of Sluzk, party member Carl, with the request not to let this matter rest. Herewith I propose to prosecute the guilty officers commencing with the battalion commander of the security police to the last lieutenant.
For about the last three weeks, I have discussed the Sluzk action against the Jews with the responsible SS-Brigadier General and Brigadier-General of the Protection Police, Zenner, Member of the Reichstag, and I have pointed out that the tradesmen should be spared by all means and that the commissioner responsible for the territory should be contacted prior to the action. Above all, any act lowering the prestige of the German Reich and its organizations in the eyes of the White Ruthenian population should be avoided.
The police battalion No 11 from Kauen has as a unit, directly subordinate to the armed .forces, taken independent action without informing me, the SS-Brigadier-General or any other office of the Commissariat General, thereby impairing most seriously the prestige of the German nation. I request to have the commissioner of the territory Carl and all his officials and collaborators from Riga questioned under oath and to record the hearing. Then, in order to set an example, I request to grant my motion to prosecute the entire staff of officers of the police battalion 11.
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 this incident as such should be reported to the Fuehrer and Reich Marshal. The civil administration of White Ruthenia makes very strenuous efforts to win the population over to Germany in accordance with the instructions of the Fuehrer. These efforts cannot be brought in harmony with the methods described herein.
The Commissioner General
Riga 11 November 1941
Original with two enclosures to the Reich minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories Berlin with the request for consideration. It is deemed necessary that higher authority that take immediate steps.
By order of
The Reich Commissioner
Copy/ T of the copy
The Commissioner of the Territory of Sluzk
To the Commissioner General Minsk
Referring to the report made by phone on 27 October 1941 I now beg to inform you in writing of the following:
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 introduced 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. I immediately protested violently against it, pointing out that a liquidation of Jews must not be allowed to take place in an arbitrary manner. I explained that a large part of the Jews still living in the towns were tradesmen and families of tradesmen respectively. But these Jewish tradesmen were not simply expendable because they were indispensable for maintaining the economic life. Furthermore, I pointed out that White Ruthenian tradesmen are so to say non-existent, that therefore all vital plants had to be shut down all at once, if all Jews would be liquidated. At the end of our conference, I mentioned that all tradesmen and specialists, inasmuch as they were indispensable, had papers of identification and that these should not be pulled out of the factories. Furthermore, it was agreed that all Jews still living in the town should first be brought into the ghetto in order to segregate them, especially with regard to the families of tradesmen which I did not want to have liquidated either. Two of my officials should be assigned to segregate them. The commander did not in any way contradict my idea and I had therefore the firm belief that the action would be carried out accordingly. However, a few hours after the beginning of the action the greatest difficulties already developed. I noticed that the commander had not at all abided by our agreement. All Jews without exception were taken out of the factories and shops and deported in spite of our agreement. It is true that part of the Jews was moved by way of the ghetto where many of them were processed and still segregated by me, but a large part was loaded directly on trucks and liquidated without further delay outside of the town. Shortly after noon complaints came already from all sides that the factories could not function any more because all Jewish tradesmen had been removed. As the commander had proceeded on his way to Baranowitschi I got in touch with the deputy commander, a captain, after searching a long time, and demanded to stop the action immediately because my instructions had been disregarded and the damage done so far with respect to the economic life could not be repaired any more. The captain was greatly surprised at my idea and stated that he had received orders from the commander to clear the whole town of Jews without exception in the same manner as they had done in other towns. This mopping up had to be executed on political considerations and economic reasons had never played a role anywhere. However, due to my energetic intervention, he finally halted the action toward evening.
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. I myself with all my officials have been in it without interruption all day long in order to save what could yet be saved. In several instances I literally had to expel with drawn pistol the German police officials as well as the Lithuanian partisans from the shops. My own police was employed for the same mission but had often to leave the streets on account of the wild shooting in order to avoid being shot themselves. The whole picture was generally more than ghastly. In the afternoon a great number of abandoned Panje carriages with horses were standing in the streets so that I had to instruct the municipal administration to take care of the vehicles immediately. Afterwards it was ascertained that they were Jewish vehicles ordered by the armed forces to move ammunition. The drivers had simply been taken off the carriages and led away, and nobody had worried in the least about the vehicles.
I was not present at the shooting before the town. Therefore I cannot make a statement on its brutality. But it should suffice, if I point out that persons shot have worked themselves out of their graves some time after they had been covered. Regarding the economic damage I want to state that the tannery has been affected worst of all. 26 experts worked there. Of them, fifteen of the best specialists alone have been shot. Four more jumped from the truck during the transport and escaped, while seven others were not apprehended after they fled. The plant barely continues to operate today. Five wheelwrights worked in the wheelwright shop. Four of them have been shot and the shop has to keep going now with one wheelwright. Additional tradesmen such as carpenters, blacksmiths, etc. are still missing. Up till now it was impossible for me to obtain an exact survey. I have mentioned already in the beginning, that the families of tradesmen should be spared too. But now it seems that almost in all families some persons are missing. Reports come in from all over, making it clear that in one family the tradesman himself, in another family the wife and in the next one again the children are missing. In that way, almost all families have been broken up. It seems to be very doubtful whether under these circumstances the remaining tradesmen will show any interest in their work and produce accordingly, particularly as even today they are running around with bloody and bruised faces due to the brutality. The White Ruthenian people who had full confidence in us, are dumbfounded. Though they are intimidated and don't dare to utter their free opinion, one has already heard that they take the viewpoint that this day does not add to the glory of Germany and that it will not be forgotten. I am of the opinion that much has been destroyed through this action which we have achieved during the last months and that it will take a long time until we shall regain the confidence of the population which we have lost.
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 street, 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.
Also within the ghetto, the different barracks which had been nailed up by the civil administration and were furnished with Jewish furniture, have been broken open and robbed. Even from the barracks in which the unit was quartered, window frames and doors have been forcibly removed and used for campfires. Although I had a discussion with the adjutant of the commander on Tuesday morning concerning the looting and he promised in the course of the discussion that none of the policemen would enter the town any more, yet I was forced several hours later to arrest two fully armed Lithuanian partisans because they were apprehended looting. During the night from Tuesday to Wednesday the battalion left the town in the direction of Baranowitschi. Evidently, the people were only too glad when this report circulated in the town.
So far the report. I shall come to Minsk in the immediate future, in order to discuss the affair personally once again. At the present time, I am not in a position to continue with the action against the Jews. First, order has to be established again. I hope that I shall be able to restore order as soon as possible and also to revive the economic life despite the difficulties. Only, I beg you to grant me one request: "In the future, keep this police battalion away from me by all means."
signed : CARL
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