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The Einsatzgruppen: Operational Situation Report USSR No. 24

(July 16, 1941)

The Chief of the Security Police and the SD

July 16, 1941

33 copies
(23rd copy)

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 be observed.

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 life.

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 east.

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 murders.

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 krakow 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 30.

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

(The Einsatzgruppen Reports by Yitzak Arad, Shmuel Krakowski and Shmuel Spector, editors. p. 29-33)

Source: The Nizkor Project