The Extermination of Jews and the Fight Against the Partisans in Byelorussia
(July 31, 1942)
Minsk, July 31, 1942
The Generalkommissar for Byelorussia
Gauleiter /G 507/42 g
Reichskommissar for Ostland
Gauleiter Hinrich Lohse
Re: Combating Partisans and Aktion against Jews
in the Generalbezirk of Byelorussia
In all the clashes with the partisans in Byelorussia it has proved that Jewry, both in the formerly Polish, as well as in the formerly Soviet parts of the District General, is the main bearer of the partisan movement, together with the Polish resistance movement in the East and the Red Army from Moscow. In consequence, the treatment of Jewry in Byelorussia is a matter of political importance owing to the danger to the entire economy. It must therefore be solved in accordance with political considerations and not merely economic needs. Following exhaustive discussions with the SS Brigadefuehrer Zenner and the exceedingly capable Leader of the SD, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Dr. jur. Strauch, we have liquidated about 55,000 Jews in Byelorussia in the past 10 weeks. In the area of Minsk county Jewry has been completely eliminated without any danger to the manpower requirements. In the predominantly Polish area of Lida, 16,000 Jews were liquidated, in Slonim, 8,000, etc.
Owing to encroachment by the Army Rear Zone (Command), which has already been reported, there was interference with the preparations we had made for the liquidation of the Jews in Glebokie. Without contacting me, the Army Rear Zone Command liquidated 10,000 Jews, whose systematic elimination had in any case been planned by us. In the city of Minsk about 10,000 Jews were liquidated on July 28 and 29. Of these 6,500 were Russian Jews – mainly old men, women and children – and the rest Jews incapable of work, who were sent to Minsk in November of last year by order of the Fuehrer, mainly from Vienna, Bruenn, Bremen and Berlin.
The District of Sluzk has also been relieved of several thousand Jews. The same applies to Nowogrodek and Wilejka. Radical measures are planned for Baranowitschi and Hanzewitschi. In Baranowitschi there are still another 10,000 Jews in the city itself, of whom 9,000 will be liquidated next month.
In the city of Minsk about 2,600 Jews from Germany have remained. In addition all of the 6,000 Russian Jews and Jewesses remained alive who were employed during the Aktion by various units [of the Wehrmacht]. In future, too, Minsk will remain the largest Jewish element owing to the concentration of armament industries in the area and as the requirements of the railroad make this necessary for the time being. In all other areas the number of Jews used for work will be reduced by the SD and myself to a maximum of 800, and, if possible, 500, so that when the remaining planned Aktionen have been completed there will be 8,600 in Minsk and about 7,000 Jews in the 10 other districts, including the Jew-free Minsk District. There will then be no further danger that the partisans can still rely to any real extent on Jewry. Naturally I and the SD would like it best if Jewry in the Generalbezirk of Byelorussia was finally eliminated after their labor is no longer required by the Wehrmacht. For the time being the essential requirements of the Wehrmacht, the main employer of Jewry, are being taken into consideration.
In addition to this unambiguous attitude towards Jewry, the SD in Byelorussia also has the onerous task of continually transferring new transports of Jews from the Reich to their destination. This causes excessive strain on the physical and spiritual capacities of the personnel of the SD, and withdraws them from duties within the area of Byelorussia itself.
I should therefore be grateful if the Reichskommissar could see his way to stopping further deportations of Jews to Minsk at least until the danger from the partisans has been finally overcome. I need 100 percent of the SD manpower against the Partisans and the Polish Resistance Movement, which together occupy the entire strength of the not overwhelmingly strong SD units.
After completion of the Aktion against the Jews in Minsk, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Dr. Strauch reported to me this night, with justified indignation, that suddenly, without instructions from the Reichsfuehrer, and without notification to the Generalkommissar, a transport of 1,000 Jews from Warsaw has arrived for the local Luftwaffe Command.
I beg the Reichskommissar (already warned by telegram) to prevent the dispatch of such transports, in his capacity as supreme authority in Ostland. The Polish Jew, exactly like the Russian Jew, is an enemy of the German nation. He represents a politically dangerous element, a danger which far exceeds his value as a skilled worker. Under no circumstances should the army or the Luftwaffe import Jews into an area under civil administration, either from the Government-General or from elsewhere, without the approval of the Reichskommissar, as this endangers the entire political task here and the security of the Generalbezirk. I am in full agreement with the Commander of the SD in Byelorussia that we should liquidate every transport of Jews not arranged, or announced to us, by our superior officers, to prevent further disturbances in Byelorussia.
Source: Yad Vashem