The Future of the Vilna Ghetto

(July 31, 1943)


Situation Report by the Commander of the Security Police and SD

for Lithuania for the Month of July 1943

 

July 31, 1943

...Jews

In the month under consideration enemy propaganda dealt with the Jews to an increased degree. Rumors were spread in the various ghettos that Grossaktionen would take place within a short period in which not only children, old people and the unfit would be shot by the Security Police, but all the inmates of the ghettos without exception. It went so far that Moscow radio named those responsible for carrying out the alleged Aktionen, SS Standartenfuehrer Jaeger and SS Obersturmfuehrer Neugebauer. As a result there was something like panic in the various ghettos, particularly in the Vilna Ghetto. In two peat-cutting camps near Vilna the Jews tried to escape and to join a group of bandits.* In a third peat camp an atonement measure** was carried out, and the rest of the camp, together with the entire fourth Jewish peat camp, were transferred to the Vilna Ghetto. This measure became necessary because the Gebietskommissar for the Vilna area was unable, despite repeated requests, to provide a permanent, satisfactory guard. The Commander of the Security Police and SD for Lithuania had agreed to the housing of the Jews in four peat camps for the sake of the energy supply. In addition to the four Jewish peat camps that have now been dismantled there are still, outside the Vilna Ghetto, two Jewish camps of the OT [Organization Todt], which must complete the important connecting road between Vilna and Kovno by September 1, 1943. As soon as this work is finished these Jewish camps will also be dismantled and [the occupants] moved to the central ghetto in Vilna.

The exposed situation of the Vilna area, with respect to the neighboring area of partisans and the activities of the PW,*** necessitates the withdrawal of the Jews from the Vilna area and their continued placement in concentration camps elsewhere. An incident that took place on July 25, 1943, near Vilna demonstrates that such measures are essential: On this day a group of about 30 Jews succeeded for the first time in leaving the city and acquiring arms in order to join the bandits. The group was stopped by a Commando of an anti-Partisan unit of the German and Lithuanian Sipo (Security Police) and the Lithuanian Order Police, and most of them were shot....

 

YIVO Archives, OccE3ba-96.

 

* This was the word used by the Germans for partisans and armed underground fighters.

** Murder.

*** The reference is apparently to the Polnische Widerstandsbewegung Polish Resistance Movement, units of the AK which operated in the neighborhood of Vilna.


Source: Yad Vashem