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The Einsatzgruppen: Operational Situation Report USSR No. 21

(July 13, 1941)

The Chief of the Security Police and the SD Berlin
July 13, 1941 32 copies
(21st copy) Operational Situation Report USSR No. 21 ....................
Einsatzgruppe B
Location: Minsk

A civilian prison camp was built in Minsk by the first troops passing through. Almost all the male inhabitants of the town were placed into it. The Einsatzgruppe was asked to screen the camp together with the Secret Field Police. Only persons were set free who were able to clear themselves beyond reproach and who were neither politically nor criminally implicated. The remainder, left behind in the camp, will be subjected to careful investigation. 1050 Jews were subsequently liquidated. Others are executed daily. With regard to non-Jews left in the camp, liquidation of the criminals, the officials, the Asiatics, etc. was started. A Jewish committee was also formed, a ghetto was set up, and the identification of Jews on outer garments started. The Bolsheviks set free the inmates of the Minsk prison except the political ones. These were shot by the Bolsheviks before their retreat. A search has been started for the criminal prisoners who had been set free.

In Vilnius by July 8th the local Einsatzkommando liquidated 321 Jews. The Lithuanian Ordnungsdienst which was placed under the Einsatzkommando after the Lithuanian political police had been dissolved was instructed to take part in the liquidation of he Jews. 150 Lithuanian officials were assigned to this task. They arrested the Jews and put them into concentration camps where they were subjected the same day to Special Treatment. This work has now begun, and thus about 500 Jews, saboteurs amongst them, are liquidated daily. About 460,000 rubles in cash, as well as many valuables belonging to Jews who were subject to Special Treatment, were confiscated as property belonging to enemies of the Reich. The former Trade Union building in Vilnius was secured for the German Labor Front (DAF) at their request, as well as the money in trade union bank accounts, totaling 1.5 million rubles. The arrest of several repeatedly convicted armed robbers indicated that in the future we shall have to reckon with such bandits. The Einsatzkommando was informed by Lithuanians that the Poles residing in Vilnius at the time of Bolshevik rule had formed armed cadres with a total strength of 12,000 men who had amassed considerable ammunition supplies. A search for these hordes of ammunition has been started.

Einsatzkommando 2 in Vilnius has confiscated vast documentary materials in the local Jewish museum which was a branch of the central Moscow Institute for Jewish Culture.

Apart from 215 Jewish and Bolshevik officials, 15 more NKVD agents were shot in Bialystok. The NKVD office had been completely burnt down. Only in the cellar vaults was it possible to secure various lists. The executions continued all the time at the same rate. The Polish section of the population has shown it supports the executions by the Security Police by informing on Jewish, Russian, and also Polish Bolsheviks. The security of the city and of the surrounding districts is not, at present, sufficiently assured, owing to a lack of Byelorussian police forces. When the Soviets entered Bialystok in 1939, they sent all police and judicial officials to Siberia, and set up a new administration. This set-up was, however, completely dissolved by the Russians before the Wehrmacht occupation. All official files and documents were destroyed. An auxiliary police force was formed, subordinate to the Einsatz unit in Bialystok, by recruiting the White Russian forces and former Polish criminal-police officials.

Only 96 Jews were executed in Grodno and Lida during the first days. I gave orders to intensify these activities. The headquarters of the Grodno Communist party was seized and the materials found in it were confiscated. A card index with photographs were also found which provided information on the killing activity of the GPU. Notes of a Russian officer were also found, showing individual preparations for war by the Soviets.

The activity of all the Kommandos has progressed satisfactorily. The liquidations, in particular, are in full swing and usually take place daily. The carrying out of the necessary liquidations is assured in every instance under any circumstances.

It emerges more and more clearly that the main responsibility lies with the rear section of the army area for the seizure of resistance groups, partisans, Red functionaries, and Jews. This is due to the gradual surfacing of fugitives who had escaped into the forests and swamps. It is, therefore, not practical to pull the Einsatzkommandos out of the area of the security sectors.

(The Einsatzgruppen Reports by Yitzak Arad, Shmuel Krakowski and Shmuel Spector, editors. p. 22-24)

Source: The Nizkor Project