Source: Nazi Conspiracy and Aggresion. Vol. II. USGPO, Washington, 1946, pp.316-400

[Note: The characters in brackets, eg, (2233-N-PS) refer to the official document numbers included in the series Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression.   A list of legal references and documents relating to the General Staff and High Command appears on pages 400-415.  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 Nov.1998]

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The General Staff and High Command
of the Armed Forces

The Nuremberg Charges

Part IV

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part V

War Crimes on the Eastern Front (part ii)

Documents quoted earlier show that the German Army was operating under similar policies and directives. It only remains to show that, in these practices, the Army and the SS worked hand in glove. The report describing the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto (1061-PS) stresses the close cooperation between the SS and the Army:

"The longer the resistance lasted, the tougher the men of the Waffen SS, Police and Wehrmacht became; they fulfilled their duty indefatigably in faithful comradeship and stood together as models and examples of soldiers. Their duty hours often lasted from early morning until late at night. At night, search patrols with rags wound round their feet remained at the heels of the Jews and gave them no respite. Not infrequently they caught and killed Jews who used the night hours for supplementing their stores from abandoned dugouts and for contacting neighboring groups or exchanging news with them." (1061-PS)

To the same general effect is a report dated 5 June 1943 by the German General Commissioner for Minsk (R-185). This report describes an anti-partisan operation in which 4,500 "enemies" were killed, 5,000 suspected partisans were killed, and 59 Germans were killed. The cooperation in this adventure by the German Army is shown in the following excerpt :

"The above mentioned figures show, that we have to count with a strong annihilation of the population. The fact that only 492 rifles were found on the 4,500 enemy dead, demonstrates that the numerous peasants from the country were also among the enemy dead. The battalion Direwanger is particularly known to have destroyed numerous human lives. Among the 5,000 partisan suspects who were shot, are numerous women and children.

"Units of the troops [Wehrmannschaften] also took part in the action, by order of SS Lt. General [Obergruppenfuehrer] von dem Bach. SA Colonel [Standartenfuehrer] Kunze led the troops [Wehrmannschaften] , who included also 90 members of my authority and of the district-commissarate Minsk-Stadt. Our men returned yesterday from the action without any losses. I refuse the use of officials and Reich-Employees of the General Commissarate in the rear areas. The men who work for me have not been classified as essential, after all in order to fight the partisans actively in the place of the Armed Forces and the Police.

"Of the troops [ Wehrmannschaften], one railroad employee had been wounded (shot through the lung). The political effect of this large scale action on the peaceful population had been disastrous, because of the numerous executions of women and children. The town BEGOMIE was cleared by the Armed Forces and the Police in December. The population of Begomie was predominantly favorable to us. Begomie, which has been fortified as a strong point by the partisans, has been destroyed by German Air Attacks during the fight ing." (R-135)

The SS Obergruppenfuehrer von dem Bach referred to in this quotation is mentioned in Himmler's speech to a gathering of SS generals at Posen on 4 October 1943 (1919-PS). In this speech Himmler announced the appointment of von dem Bach to be Chief of all anti-partisan units :

"In the meantime I have also set up the department of Chief of the Anti-partisan Units" [Bandenkampf-Verbunde]. Our comrade SS-Obergruppenfuehrer von dem Bach is Chief of the anti-partisan units. I considered it necessary for the Reichsfuehrer SS to be in authoritative command in all these battles, for I am convinced that we are best in a position to take action against this enemy struggle, which is a decidedly political one. Except where the units which had been supplied and which we had formed for this purpose were taken from us to fill in gaps at the front, we have been very successf ul.

"It is notable that, by setting up this department we have gained (p. 58) for the SS in turn a division, a corps, an army, and the next step, which is the High Command of an army or even of a group-if you wish to call it that." (1919-PS)

The report of Einsatzgruppe A, (L-180) covering the period up to 15 October 1941, makes clear beyond doubt the participation of the German military leaders and Armed Forces in these extermination policies :

"Action-Group A, after preparing their vehicles for action, proceeded to their area of concentration as ordered on 23 June 1941, the second day of the campaign in the East. Army Group North consisting of the 16th and 18th Armies and Panzer-Group 4 had left the day before. Our task was to hurriedly establish personal contact with the commanders of the Armies and with the commander of the army of the rear area. It must be stressed from the beginning that cooperation with the Armed Forces was generally good, in some cases, for instance with Panzer-Group 4 under Col. Gen. Hoeppner, it was very close, almost cordial. Misunderstandings which cropped up with some authorities in the first days, were cleared up mainly through personal discussions."

* * * * * * *

"Similarly, native anti-Semitic forces were induced to start pogroms against Jews during the first hours after capture, though this inducement proved to be very difficult. Following out orders, the Security Police was determined to solve the Jewish question with all possible means and most decisively. But it. was desirable that the Security Police should not put in an immediate appearance, at least in the beginning, since the extraordinarily harsh measures were apt to stir even German circles. It had to be shown to the World that the native population itself took the first action by way of natural reaction against the suppression by Jews during several decades and against the terror exercised by the Communists during the preceding period."

* * * * * * *

"After the failure of purely military activities such as the placing of sentries and combing through the newly occupied territories with whole divisions, even the Armed Forces had to look out for new methods. The Action-Group undertook to search for new methods. Soon therefore the Armed Forces adopted the experiences of the Security Police and their methods of combatting the partisans. For details I refer to the numerous reports concerning the struggle against the partisans."

* * * * * * *

"1. Instigation of self-cleansing actions.

"Considering that the population of the Baltic countries had suffered very heavily under the government of Bolshevism and Jewry while they were incorporated in the USSR, it was to be expected that after the liberation from that foreign government, they (i. e., the population themselves) would render harmless most of the enemies left behind after the retreat of the Red Army. It was the duty of the Security Police to set in motion these self-cleansing movements and to direct them into the correct channels in order to accomplish the purpose of the cleansing operations as quickly as possible. It was no less important in view of the future to establish the unshakable and provable fact that the liberated population themselves took the most severe measures against the Bolshevist and Jewish enemy quite on their own, so that the direction by German authorities could not be found out.

"In Lithouania this was achieved for the first time by partisan activities in Kowno. To our surprise it was not easy at first to set in motion an extensive pogrom against Jews. KLIMATIS, the leader of the partisan unit, mentioned above, who was used for this purpose primarily, succeeded in starting a pogrom on the basis of advice given to him by a small advanced detachment acting in Kowno, and in such a way that no German order or German instigation was noticed from the outside. During the first pogrom in the night from 25. to 26.6 the Lithouanian partisans did away with more than 1,500 Jews, set fire to several Synagogues or destroyed them by other means and burned down a Jewish dwelling district consisting of about 60 houses. During the following nights about 2,300 Jews were made harmless in a similar way. In other parts of Lithouania similar actions followed the example of Kowno, though smaller and extending to the Communists who had been left behind.

"These self-cleansing actions went smoothly because the Army authorities who had been informed showed understanding for this procedure. From the beginning it was obvious that only the first days after the occupation would offer the opportunity for carrying out pogroms. After the disarmament of the partisans the self-cleansing actions ceased necessarily.

"It proved much more difficult to set in motion similar cleansing actions in Latvia. Essentially the reason was that the whole of the national stratum of leaders had been assassinated or destroyed by the Soviets, especially in Riga. It was possible though through similar influences on the Latvian auxiliary to set in motion a pogrom against Jews also in Riga. During this pogrom all synagogues were destroyed and about 400 Jews were killed. As the population of Riga quieted down quickly, further pogroms were not convenient."

* * * * * * *

"5. Other jobs of the Security Police.

"1. Occasionally the conditions prevailing in the lunatic asylums necessitated operations of the Security Police. Many institutions had been robbed by the retreating Russians of their whole food supply. Often the guard and nursing personnel had fled. The inmates of several institutions broke out and became a danger to the general security ; therefore

in Aglona (Lithouania).........................544 lunatics
in Mariampol (Lithouania)....................1O9 lunatics and
in Magutowo (near Luga)..................... 95 lunatics
were liquidated."

* * * * * * *

"When it was decided to extend the German operations to Leningrad and also to extend the activities of Action Group A to this town, I gave orders on 18 July 1941 to parts of Action Detachments 2 and 3 and to the Staff of the Group to advance to Novosselje, in order to prepare these activities and to be able to advance as early as possible into the area around Leningrad and into the city itself. The advance of the forces of Action Group A which were intended to be used for Leningrad, was effected in agreement with and on the express wish of Panzer-Group 4."

* * * * * * *

"Action detachment of Action Group A of the Security Police participated from the beginning in the fight against the nuisance created by partisans. Close collaboration with the Armed Forces and the exchange of experiences which were collected in the fight against partisans, brought about a thorough knowledge of the origin, organization, strength, equipment and system used by the Red partisans as time went on." (L-180).

Certain affidavits, furnished by responsible officials in both the Wehrmacht and the SS, fill in much of the background for the documents quoted above. An affidavit (3710-PS) by Walter Schellenberg who, at the time under discussion, was an important official in the RSHA, states:

"In the middle of, May 1941, as far as I remember, the Chief of Amt 4 of the RSHA (SS-Brigadefuehrer Mueller), in the name of the Chief of the RSHA (SS-Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich), held discussions with the Generalquartiermeister of the Army (General Wagner) about questions connected with 'the operations of the SIP0 and SD within the bounds of the Field Army during the imminent campaign against Russia. Wagner could come to no agreement with Mueller and therefore asked Heydrich to send another representa-tive. I was at that time Chief of Section E in Amt 4 of the RSHA under Chief of Amt Mueller and was sent by Heydrich to Wagner because of my experience in matters of protocol for the purpose of drawing up the final agreement. According to the instructions given to me, I was supposed to make sure that this agreement would provide that the responsible headquarters in the Army would be firmly obligated to give complete support to all activities of the Combat Groups and Combat Commandos of the SIP0 and SD. I discussed the problem of this mutual relationship in great detail with Wagner. In accordance with this discussion I then presented him with the completed draft of an agreement, which met with his full approval. This draft of an agreement was the basis for a final discussion between Wagner and Heydrich towards the end of May 1941.

"The contents of this agreement, as far as I remember, were substantially as follows. Its basis was the Fuehrer's command, mentioned at the very beginning of the agreement, that the SIPO and SD should operate within the combat elements of the Field Army, with the mission of utterly smashing all resistance in conquered front-line areas as well as in conquered rear supply zones by every means and as quickly as possible. The various areas were then set down in which the SIPO and SD were to be active and operating. The individual Combat Groups were then assigned to the army groups which were to take part in the campaign and the individual Combat Commandos to the respective armies which were to take part in the campaign.

"The Combat Groups and Combat Commandos were to operate in detail:

"1. In front-line areas: in complete subordination to the Field Army, tactically, functionally and administratively;

"2. In rear operational areas: in merely administrative subordination to the Field Army, but under command and functional control of the RSHA;

"3. In rear Army areas: arrangement as in 2;

"4. In areas of the civil administration in the East: same as in the Reich.

"The tactical and functional authority and responsibility of front-line headquarters of the Field Army over the Combat Commandos found no limitation in the agreement and therefore needed no further clarification.

"The agreement made it clear that the administrative subordination embraced not only disciplinary subordination but also the obligation for rear headquarters of the Field Army to support the Combat Groups and Combat Commandos in matters of supply (gasoline, rations, etc.) as well as in the use of the communications network.

"This agreement was signed by Heydrich and Wagner in my presence. Wagner signed it either 'acting for' or 'by order of' the OKH.

"After Wagner and Heydrich had affixed their signatures, both of them asked me to leave the room for half an hour. Just while leaving I heard how they both wanted to discuss in complete privacy the Fuehrer's command, which was apparently known in advance by each of them personally, and implications. After the half hour was over I was called in once more just to say goodbye.

"Today I read the 'Operational and Situational Report No. 6 of the Combat Groups of the SIPO and SD in the USSR (covering the period from 1 to 31 October 1941),' as well as the 'Comprehensive Report of Combat Group A up to 15 October 1941.' The whole substance of these reports shows that the prime mission of the Combat Groups and Combat Commandos of the SIPO and SD was to undertake and carry out mass executions of Jews, Communists and other elements of resistance. It is also clear from the above-cited 'Comprehensive Report,' which embraces no more than the first four months of these operations, that the cooperation of the respective Oberbefehlshabers with Combat Group A was 'in general good and in individual instances, for instance that of Panzergruppe 4 under Colonel General Hoeppner, very close, in fact almost cordial' (page 1). From an inclosure to this same report, bearing the title 'Summary of the Number of Executed Persons, ' particularly from the figures arranged according to the successively conquered areas, it is evident that the SIPO and SD operated in front-line areas so as fully to carry out their prime function of conducting mass executions of all elements of resistance even from the very beginning of the advance against Russia. I acknowledge the reliability and authenticity of both of the above cited reports. Therefore I must today express my firm conviction that the Oberbefehlshabers of the army groups and armies which were to take part in the Russian campaign were accurately informed through the normal OKH channels of communication about the extensive future mission of the Combat Groups and Combat Commandos of the SIPO and SD as including planned mass executions of Jews, Communists and all other elements of resistance.

"In the beginning o f June 1941 all of the Ic counter-intelligence officers, and, as far as I remember, all of the Ic officers of all army groups, armies, army corps and some of the divisions which were to take part in the coming Russian campaign were called in by Wagner, together with Heydrich and the Chief of the Amt for Counter-Intelligence Abroad in the OKW (Admiral Canaris) for a general conference in the OKW Building at Berlin. The responsible leaders of the Combat Groups and Combat Commandos of the SIPO and SD were for the most part likewise present. I was also there. The essential substance and purpose of this meeting was to outline the military strategy against Russia and to announce the above-mentioned details of the written agreement, reached by Wagner and Heydrich.

"This group of Ic counter-intelligence officers and Ic officers remained at Berlin a few days longer and was carefully instructed in several additional conferences, at which I was not present, about further details of the coming Russian campaign. I assume that these discussions were concerned with the exact delineation of the Fuehrer's command 'to smash utterly all resistance in occupied areas by every means and as quickly as possible,' including even planned mass executions of all elements of resistance. Otherwise the cooperation between the Field Army and the Combat Groups, which in the above-cited documents is clearly revealed as existing but a few weeks thereafter, could not in my opinion have been forthcoming. In any event there is hardly any reason to doubt that these Ic counter-intelligence officers, immediately upon their return from Berlin, accurately informed their own superiors, including all Oberbefehlshabers of the army groups and armies which were to march against Russia, about the full extent of the agreement."

" (signed) Walter Schellenberg
"26. XI. 45" (3710-PS)

General Staff and High Command Nuremberg Charges, Part III, Part V

Document compiled by Dr S D Stein
Last update 18/01/99
Stuart.Stein@uwe.ac.uk
ęS D Stein

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