Operational Situation Report USSR No. 24
(July 16, 1941)
The Chief of the Security Police and the SD
July 16, 1941
- Einsatzgruppe A
- Location: Riga
- EK 1b<
- Location: Daugavpils
Daugavpils was occupied by the German troops on
July 6. The greater part of the town was burned down during the following
2-3 days. Only a relatively small part of the town was damaged through
direct fighting. The fires on the days that followed were caused by
arson. Before leaving the town, The Russians released a proclamation
in which they ordered the town to be burned. The Jews are said to
have participated in the burnings. 5 Jews were caught red-handed during
the first 3 days and were immediately shot.
Of the vital services, the electrical works are totally
gutted by fire. Only the reservoirs and water towers of the waterworks
are destroyed; thus a limited supply of water is available for the
population. The water system is intact.
The population, with the exception of a very few,
had fled from the town. At present, there are approximately 8,000
persons in town again. The steady flow of returning inhabitants can
The attitude of the Latvians is absolutely positive.
They are solely interested in creating conditions in Daugavpils that
will enable the population to renew the most vital services for normal
So far, no political involvement has been observed.
Activity and interest of the leading Latvians are absolutely guided
by the conditions caused by the destruction of the town.
The Latvians, including the leading activists, have
been, so far, absolutely passive in their anti-semitic attitudes,
not daring to take action against Jews. Until now, Dunaburg had about
45,000 inhabitants, 50% of whom were Jews. They ruled the town absolutely.
As the Russians left, the Jews spread the rumor that the Russians
would return soon. Thus, unlike the Lithuanians who had an active
attitude, the Latvians are hesitatingly organizing and forming a front
against the Jews. The Latvian population has been further weakened
as the Russians, during the last fourteen days before the war's outbreak,
deported about 500 Latvian families belonging to the intelligentsia
to Central Russia.
Since July 3, the Latvians have a town administration
and an auxiliary police force. Both organizations headed by the former
Latvian captain, Petersons.
The auxiliary police force consists of former police
constables, members of the former Latvian Army, and members of the
former ATZSARGI organization (Organization for Self Defense). The
latter was founded during the Ulmanis dictatorship in 1934. Its individual
members did not swear allegiance to him; so it is reported.
Owing to the initiative of the EK (Einsatzkommando),
the auxiliary police force at present consists of 240 men and has
been strictly organized. New men are currently being enlisted. They
help the EK as auxiliary police and are on duty in the 6 police districts
established so far. Some members have been assigned to criminal police
and security police work.
By July 7 the Latvians arrested 1125 Jews, 32 political
prisoners, 85 Russian workers, and 2 women criminals, the greater
part during the last days. This is due to the EK backing the Latvians.
Actions against the Jews are going on in an ever-increasing number.
Conforming to a suggestion of the EK, the Jews are being evacuated
by the auxiliary police force from all houses still standing. The
apartments are being allocated to non-Jewish inhabitants. The Jewish
families are being driven out of town by the Latvians; most of the
men have been arrested.
The food supply is inadequate as nearly all stocks
were destroyed by fire.
The arrested Jewish men are shot without ceremony
and interred in previously prepared graves. Until now the EK 1b has
shot 1150 Jews in Daugavpils.
The advance units of EK 1a Sandberger are located
in Pskov, Fellin, Pernau, and before Dorpat, EK 1b Ehrlinger is in
Zilupe (Rosenhof) and Ostrov.
In Riga, Einsatzkommando 2 sifted through the entire
documentary materials, searched all offices, arrested the leading
Communists as far as they could be found. These actions initiated
against the Jews were headed by SS-Sturbannfuhrer Barth and were carried
out in an exemplary manner. At present, 600 Communists and 2,000 Jews
are under arrest. 400 Jews were killed during pogroms in Riga, since
the arrival of EK 2; 300 by the Latvian auxiliary police and partly
by our units. The prisons will be emptied completely during the next
few days. Outside of Riga, within Latvia, an additional 1,600 Jews
were liquidated by EK 2.
The political considerations are still not clear.
Various Latvian groups have finally come together. With German officials
they try to commence their work, but so far, with no success. Clarification
of these conditions would be highly desirable, as well as an indication
of the expected directions of political developments. Because of the
urgency of settling the economic questions, contact has been made
with the higher SS and police leaders and the German Army. Agreement
has been achieved.
- Einsatzgruppe B
- Location: Minsk
- EK 8
- Location: Baranovichi
An advance Kommando unit moves slowly towards Slutsk which
is already occupied by EK 7b. EK 8 has the task of carrying out rather
dangerous actions against officials, kommissars, etc., who are hiding
in the forests.
- Einsatzkommando 9
- Location: Vilinius
Has orders to send an advance unit to Vileyka.
Because of a short surprise fire fight against the Vilnius Security
Police Headquarters a special liquidation was carried out in excess
of daily liquidation quotas. Sonderkommando Moscow The situation at
the front permiting, the Sonderkommando will proceed cautiously to
Smolensk on 16 July.
- Einsatzgruppe C
- Location: Zviahel (Novograd - Volynski)
Before leaving, the Bolsheviks, together with the
Jews, murdered several Ukrainians; as an excuse, they used the attempted
Ukrainian uprising of June 25, 1941, which tried to free their prisoners.
According to reliable information, about 20,000 Ukrainians
have disappeared from Lvov, 80% of them belonging to the intelligentsia
The prisons in Lvov were crammed with the bodies
of murdered Ukrainians. According to a moderate estimate, in Lvov
alone 3-4,000 persons were either killed or deported.
In Dobromil, 82 dead bodies were found, 4 of them
Jews. The latter were former Bolshevik informers who had been killed
because of their complicity in this act. Near Dobromil an obsolete
salt mine pit was discovered. It was completely filled in with dead
bodies. In the immediate neighborhood, there is a 6 x 15m mass grave.
The number of those murdered in the Dobromil area is estimated to
be approximately several hundred.
In Sambor on June 26, 1941, about 400 Ukrainians
were shot by the Bolsheviks. An additional 120 persons were murdered
on June 27, 1941. The remaining prisoners succeeded in overpowering
the Soviet guards, and fled. Concerning their numbers it should be
noted that Sambor has a total of 26,000 inhabitants, among them 12,000
Poles, 10,000 Jews, and 4,000 Ukrainians.
As early as 1939, a larger number of Ukrainians was
shot, and 1,500 Ukrainians as well as 500 poles were deported to the
Russians and Jews committed these murders in very
cruel ways. Bestial mutilations were daily occurrences. Breasts of
women and genitals of men were cut off. Jews have also nailed children
to the wall and then murdered them. Killing was carried out by shots
in the back of the neck. Hand grenades were frequently used for these
In Dobromil, women and men were killed with blows
by a hammer used to stun cattle before slaughter.
In many cases, the prisoners must have been tortured
cruelly; bones were broken, etc. In Sambor, the prisoners were gagged
and thus prevented from screaming during torture and murder. The Jews,
some of whom also held official positions, in addition to their economic
supremacy, and who served in the entire Bolshevik police, were always
partners in these atrocities.
Finally, it was established that seven [German] pilots
who had been captured were murdered. Three of them were found in a
Russian military hospital where they had been murdered in bed by shots
in the abdomen.
This atrocity apparently stems from a Russian instruction
to 'exterminate' all German pilots and parachutists.
II. Behavior of the Ukrainian population.
In the first hours after the Bolshevik withdrawal,
the Ukrainians displayed commendable activity against the Jews.
For example, the Dobromil synagogue was set fire
and 50 Jews were killed by the enraged crowd at Sambor.
Maltreating them, the Lvov inhabitants rounded up
about 1,000 Jews and took them to the GPU prison which has been occupied
by the Wehrmacht.
III. Measures of the Einsatzgruppe
Approximately 7,000 Jews were rounded up and shot
by the Security Police in retaliation for inhuman atrocities.
73 men were found to be functionaries and spies of
the NKVD and were likewise shot.
40 men were liquidated on the basis of well-founded
denunciations made by the inhabitants. Mainly Jews between 20 and
40 years of age were rounded up, artisans and specialists being set
aside as far as possible. Apart from these executions in Lvov, reprisal
measures were carried out at other places also: 132 Jews, for instance,
were shot in Dobromil.
Since 32 Ukrainians had been murdered in Yavorov,
15 Jews were liquidated in retaliation.
- EK 4a
Moved from Cracow via Zamosc to Sokal and from there into
the Lutsk district.
Among the civilian prisoners found at Sokal, 17 were
discovered to be Communist functionaries, agents and snipers, and
were executed on June 28, 1941.
With the help of the Ukrainian militia, another 117
active Communists and agents of the NKVD were found on June 29 and
executed the same day.
With the assistance of reliable Ukrainians, residents
of Sokal, 183 Jewish Communists were also caught. They were liquidated
on June 30.
Furthermore, Horokhov details the discovery of 7 Communist
functionaries on June 30 who were shot on the spot.
An advance unit dispatched to Lutsk on June 27 found
the larger part of the town in flames. According to information from
the town commander, only Jews can be heldresponsible for the arson.
Prior to their withdrawal, the Bolsheviks shot 2,800 of the 4,000 Ukrainians
imprisoned in the Lutsk prison. According to the statement of 19 Ukrainians
who survived the slaughter with more or less serious injuries, the Jews
again played a decisive part in the arrests and shooting. In the town
itself everything was still in wild confusion. All shops were looted
by the population. After the arrival of the Einsatzkommando all available
men were sent to assist the town commander. They succeeded at least
in safeguarding the extensive food supplies.
Afterwards the official buildings were systematically
searched. Other investigations were started to find the Jews and Communists
responsible for the arson and the looting.
300 Jews and 20 looters were arrested and shot on June
On July 2 the corpses of 10 German Wehrmacht soldiers
were found. In retaliation, 1160 Jews were shot by the Ukrainians with
the help of one platoon of the police and one platoon of the infantry.
Finally, 50 Polish agents and informers were discovered
who were liquidated also
The methodical searches carried out everywhere by the
Einsatzkommando before the arrival of the intelligence units and the
Secret Military Police were also successful. Thus, it was possible to
find on June 28 lists of agents and other important documents in three
party buildings as well as in the bank after safes had been forced open.
On July 1, 1941, the offices of the Russian District
Military Headquarters were searched and all files secured which, among
other matters, contained secret instructions relating to mobilization.
Moreover, important material, including, among other
things, records relating to Russian agents in various countries, was
discovered in the buildings of the Lutsk Soviet authorities as well
as in different Communist centers after the safes had been forced open.
Einsatzkommando 4b is at work at present in the Tarnopol
area. It is planned to have the Kommando proceed to Proskurov.
Of the 54 Poles and Jews who had been working as agents
for the NKVD, 8 persons, two of them Jewish women, were arrested and
executed, the remainder apparently having taken to their heels.
At Tarnopol 10 [German] soldiers were also found among
the murdered in the prison, 1 of them a lieutenant of the air force,
6 pilots and 3 soldiers of the mountain troops. Of the Jews assigned
to disinter the corpses, about 180 were slain, some in the prison courtyard,
some in the streets. Moreover, Jewish residences were destroyed by members
of the Waffen-SS with hand grenades, and then set on fire.
According to the statements of Ukrainians, the number
of German members of the Wehrmacht murdered by the Russians is estimated
to be much greater.
Reliable Ukrainian circles ventured to say that numerous
Ukrainians serving with the Russian army would like to desert immediately.
But, like the Russians, time and again, they had been impressed by the
fact that they would be shot on the spot by the Germans if they were
taken prisoners of war; thus, they had refrained from deserting from
sheer fright. Furthermore, the Russians are said to have ordered the
complete destruction of all crops in case of a retreat to former Russian
territory. They also asked the farmers to retreat with the troops for,
otherwise, they would likewise be shot by the Germans.
This being the situation, Ukrainian circles suggest
a large-scale leaflet propaganda campaign directed at Ukrainian soldiers
and peasants. Apparently, such a propaganda campaign has not yet begun.
At any rate, nothing of this kind has become known at Tarnopol.
A Kommando of the Group Staff participated in an action
in Zlochev on July 7, 1942, which had only been superficially purged
earlier by Einsatzkommando 4b when it passed through the town. In the
NKVD office essential secret documents were seized which were already
sealed and ready to be sent off.
The investigations at Zlochev proved that the Russians,
prior to their withdrawal, arrested and murdered indiscriminately a
total of 700 Ukrainians, but nevertheless, included the entire [local]Ukrainian
intelligentsia. By order od the Wehrmacht, the militia retaliated by
arresting and shooting several hundred Jews. The number of the Jews
liquidated may run to about 300-500.
Repeatedly it could be observed that Politruks [party
members] who had escaped raided villages at nighttime for food.
The influence of the Bandera group is very strong in
Zlochev. A revolutionary Ukrainian administration has been established
there which welcomes the Germans as there allies with posters and leaflets.
At Rocsicau (1) three saboteurs were arrested who had
cut a Wehrmacht telephone line leading to the forward German lines;
they had then passed information on to the
Russian troops. As a result, German soldiers have been
made prisoners of war by the Russians.
These Communist saboteurs were likewise shot.
(1) Probably Rozhisshche in Volhynia
Einsatzgruppen Reports by Yitzak Arad, Shmuel Krakowski and
Shmuel Spector, editors. p. 29-33)