Friday, October 28, 2016

REINHARD HEYDRICH - THE PROTECTORATE - THE GHETTOS AND THE FINAL SOLUTION


                                             


                                                                                         

 REINHARD HEYDRICH - THE PROTECTORATE  - THE GHETTOS AND THE FINAL                                                              SOLUTION                                                                                                                                       
PROLOGUE
 I spent more than one month at the end of the war from January 1st a945, as a youngster, age 17 mainly during military training in Slovakia and roamed for a number of days through Bohemia and Moravia sightseeing, before taking up my assignment at Rüdesheim am Rhein in Germany What impressed me most, was the old-world charm of their cities. Despite the winter, I very much liked the country side and could even now at an old age have happily lived there. 
It can be claimed that, Germans had settled in the Central European territories of Bohemia and Moravia for over thousand years. In the 14th century  under the German Emperor Karl IV they established a new Hapsburg capital in Prague, which became one of the most majestic  cultural centres  of Europa.
Although I traveled in a Jungvolk Uniform, I never received any hostility towards me. People to me looked more Germanic, than what we were told at indoctrination courses. Then again my own  upbringing was of tolerance and acceptance towards minorities within an overall society.
Even the Reichs-Minister of Propaganda Dr. Josef Goebbels was smitten with the Nordic beauty by the Czechoslovakian movie star Ludmila Babková she gained the affection of Goebbels to the point that he wanted to divorce his wife, but Hitler forbade it. Wherever he went (Goebbels), she was with him. 

The following narrative gives a different insight, that what was commonly known in German as 'Völkermord'
                                            
                                                Goebbels with  Ludmila Babková 

HKWS Auckland NZ November 2016.
Stolpmann, Herbert Karl Walter von Waldeck, the writer,, age 12 in Jungvolk Uniform (1940)


According to Heydrich, roughly half the Czech population would emerge from the ethnic engineering process of the coming years as Germans, the ultimate aim for the Protectorate's Jewish population was  fundamentally different: The goal of Nazi anti-Jewish policies was immediate exclusion, then deportation and ultimately, extermination
Unsurprisingly, Heydrich's arrival in Prague led to a decisive radicalization of anti-Jewish policies in the Protectorate, As of 29 September 1941 Jews in mixed marriages with Czech partners, who had previously been exempted from wearing the yellow star, had this exemption revoked. All synagogues were closed and non-Jews who continued to interact socially with Jews were threatened with protective custody. In one of his first press conferences at Prague Castle, Heydrich told the assembled journalists of his fundamental belief, that:

'Judaism poses a radical and spiritual danger to peoples. The experience of Germany and of those who were reasonable, the experience of the Protectorate as well, confirm this view. The Reich's objective will and must be not only to eliminate the influence of Judaism within the people of Europe but, to the extent to which this is possible to resettle them outside Europe.  All other measures... stages on the path to to this final aim. I have decided  to pursue these stages in the Protectorate as consistently and as quickly as possible. The first step in the immediate future will be the concentration of Jewry in a town or in part of a town... as collection point and transitional solution for the already initiated evacuation.The first 5,000 Jews will leave the Protectorate over the course of the coming  weeks. It goes without saying that the Jews who have practically engaged in black-marketing, illegal butchering etc. will be led to work in an orderly way that serves the community... For those who, for operational reason or due to lack of understanding, believe that they must continue to have open or secret dealings with the Jews or express sympathy for them, I reserve the right to apply the previously outlined measures to them as well'. 

The next day, October 6, Heydrich demanded that the Protectorate Government immediately dismiss or retire all Jewish half-breeds and public officials with Jewish relatives who had previously been exempted from persecution. Exceptions such as Jewish Mischlinge who had already  been public officials before 1914 and had served in the First World War, required the explicit approval of Heydrich himself.
In the spring of 1942, Heydrich further extended his policies against the half-breeds, ordering that all Mischlinge who had obtained Reichs citizenship under Neurath's 'lax' regime were to undergo 'proper' racial testing. Another decree prohibited Protectorate nationals from marrying Jews, while first degree Mischlinge could marry. Czechs only with permission of the Ministry of Interior. The Protectorate, under Heydrich's aegis, was therefore among the first of the occupied territories to screen Jewish Mischlinge and to revoke  their German citizenship if they were considered an 'unwanted population addition'.

On Heydrich's orders, the director of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Prague, Hans Günter, presented a statistical survey on the preparation for the 'final solution' of the Jewish question in the Protectorate in early October 1941 . According to this report, just over 118,000 Jews (as defined by the Nuremberg Laws) had been living in the Protectorate at the beginning of the German occupation in March 1939. Of this number, nearly 26,000 had migrated by 1 October 1941. Due to the low birthrate in the same period, only 88.105 Jews were still living in the Protectorate at the time of Heydrich's arrival in Prague.



                         

Prague Castle, the ancient seat of Bohemian dukes and kings,
Roman kings and emperors, and after 1918 the office of the
Czechoslovak and Czech presidents .Heydrich lived with his family some twenty kilometrs north of the capital, in he leafy gardens of his most neo-classical country estate, although he had his office there..

  Between the late 1941 and the summer of 1944, the German authorities deported about 64,000 Jews from the Protectorate to Theresienstadt., about sixty kilometres north-west of Prague. Theresienstadt served as a transit camp for Protectorate Jews on their way to various killing sites in Eastern Europe. particularly, from 1942 onwards to Auschwitz. Of the 82,903 Jews deported from the Protectorate during the war, the Germans and their Ukrainian, Baltic and Russian collaborators killed approximately 77,000 men, women and children. Only 14,000 Protectorate Jews survived the end of the Second World War.


Thousands of Polish Jews on the spot between the 16 March and 29 April and deporting further 30,000 to Belzec where they were gassed.


                                       



                                       Jews in Prague rounded up for evacuation

Heydrich was determined to solve the Protectorate's Gypsy problem in a similar fashion. In the months leading up to his arrival in Prague, police had rounded up hundreds of wandering Gypsies or tramps, suggesting, that 'Gypsy' was still primarily considered a criminal, rather than racial,  a category that included whole array of asocial. Upon his arrival, Heydrich inserted racial criteria in the definition of 'Gypsy', hence widening the net for persecution. In October 1941, Heydrich noted that he wished to evacuate all Gypsies living in Bohemia and Moravia. The following spring he ordered that their identification cards be marked with a "Z" for Zrgeuner, the German word for Gypsy.  In total 6,500 people in the Protectorate fell into this category. At least 3,000 of them were murdered in the Gypsy camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and further 533 died in the special camps in Lety and Hodonin in the Protectorate. Yet Heydrich's energetic drive for the total extermination of the Protectorate's Gypsies was the exception rather than the rule in German occupied Europe. Right up to the end of the war, it remained uncertain whether all Gypsies within the German sphere of influence would be murdered. In the summer of 1942 for example, Himmler gave an explicit order that in the case of Gypsies with permanent hones in the General Government 'police intervention' was unnecessary.

   [Two mass transports were carried out from the Hodonín camp. The first transport of 46 men and 29 women (the "asocials" set out on the 7th of December 1942 to the Auschwitz I concentration camp, on the basis of a decree on crime prevention. The second mass transport took place on the 21th of August 1943, with 749 prisoners being taken to the Auschwitz II - Birkenau concentration camp. .After the second transport left, only 62 prisoners remained in the camp. A non-Roma family from Olešnice adopted an eight-year-old prisoner from the camp, thus saving her from further suffering, since only a few of the remaining prisoners were released. The rest were taken to the concentration camp at Auschwitz in winter 1944.sic]





 A view of the gypsy camp at Lety u Písku, 1942. (EÚ AV Prague, photo: Museum of Roma Culture.) The camp supervisors were recruited from the police force .

 The accelerated speed of the implementation of Nazi anti-Gypsy and anti-Jewish policies was largely due to Heydrich;s own activism, spurred on by Hitler's decision, in mid-September 1941 'to make the old Reich as well as the Protectorate, from east to west, as Jew free (Judenfrei) as soon as possible'. However, Hitler insisted that the progress of deportation be dependent on the the further development of the military situation. Heydrich nonetheless  was bound to be able to resettle the Jews from the Old Reich, particularly into into the Lodz ghetto and then more permanently further east as soon as the military situation allowed him to do so.In view of the hopeless overcrowding of the ghetto and strong protests from the local German authorities only 20,000 Jews and 5,000 Gypsies from the Protectorate, Berlin and Vienna actually deported to Lodz in the second half of October 1941. During the following three months. 30,000 more Jews were departed to Minsk and Riga. What happened to them was extremely variable. Those sent to Lodz were interned in the ghetto where living conditions were appalling, but inmates were not immediately murdered. The Jews deported to Riga, on the other hand, arrived before the ghetto construction was completed. The first transports were therefore sent to Kaunas in Lithuania where all deportees were murdered on arrival in the infamous Fort IX.
  The Massacres
[Karl Jäger was the head of Einsatzkommando 3, a sub-unit of Einsatzgruppe A. Under his command, Einsatzkommando 3 took everyone off the trains after their arrival to the Ninth (IX) Fort, where, shortly after arrival, the Einsatzkommando shot them all. There were two separate shootings, on 25 November and on 29 November. In the 25 November shooting, 1,159 men, 1,600 women, and 175 children were killed (resettlers from Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt). In the 29 November shooting, 693 men, 1,155 women, and 152 children were killed (resettlers from Vienna and Breslau).It is not known who issued the orders for the murders of these people.[sic]
  Thousands of Polish Jews on the spot between the 16 March and 29 April and deporting further 30,000 to Belzec where they were gassed.

                                                        Einsatzgruppen Execution


                                     
                                                                            The Aftermath







At a meeting of the Protectorate's leading SS representatives on 10 October 1941 further measures of the solution of the Jewish  question were discussed. Under Heydrich's chairmanship and the presence of his chief adviser on Jewish matters, Eichmann, the meeting established that roughly 88,000 Jews were still living in the Protectorate, roughly half of them in Prague, At this stage Heydrich still thought that he could evacuate 50,000 of the Protectorate's most 'burdensome' Jews  - those least capable to work - to Riga and Minsk. He further believed that Arthur Nebe and Otto Rasch the heads of the four Einsatztruppen operating in occupied Soviet territory, could concentrate some of the deported Jews' in the camps for Communist prisoners in the operational area. For Jews not in the first deportation lists, Heydrich planned to create separate ghettos for those to work and those dependent on relief  (Versorgungdlager). He clearly anticipated a very low survival rate, envisaging that the remaining Jewish communities would suffer high mortality rates even before they eventually boarded trains to the East 


 Public hanging of Maria "Masha" Bruskina she was a 17-year-old Jewish member of the Minsk                                                                   Resistance


   One week later on 17 October, Heydrich first introduced the ides of converting the garrison town Theresienstadt into a temporary collection point and transit camp for the deported Jews, demanding that under no circumstances should even the smallest detail of the plan become known to the general public. The barracks of the town would be cleared and it's civilian population resettled.  Heydrich confidently expected that the evacuation of the Jews from the Protectorate to Theresianstadt would happen quickly. Every day, two or three trains would depart for the camp each carrying 1,000 Jewish deportees. Heydrich assumed that Theresienstadt would be comfortable to accommodate 50,000 to 60,000 Jews, but by the end of the year only 7.350 persons  were resettled in Theresienstadt. Aside from the Jews, who had been deported to Lodz,

   Before the first Jewish deportee's arrived in Theresianstadt on 24 November, another idea regarding the future function of this ghetto had began to take shape in Heydrich's mind. As Goebbels noted on 18 November 1941, following a meeting with him in Berlin, the Reichs Protector planned to establish Theresienstadt as an 'old-age ghetto' for German Jews whose deportation continued to pose 'unforeseen difficulties'.


                                                                            The execution site at Theresienstadt
Gallows - Small Fortress at Theresienstadt (Terezin) former Gestapo prison, Feb. 2012    The noose was used once for the execution of 3 prisoners.:












The Wannsee Conference of January 1942 confirmed this role for Theresienstadt. German and Austrian Jews aged over sixty-five years, plus Jewish war invalids and decorated Jewish veterans from the First World War would not be evacuated to the East, but rather transferred  to the old-age ghetto in Theresianstadt. This solution would solve the foreseeable problem of intervention and objections from within the German population. Furthermore, the establishment of an old-age ghetto would deceive the inmates of Theresienstadt about their future fate. Theresienstadt was still intended only as a transit camp from which prisoners would be deported to the East in order to murder them  or use them as forced labour. Indeed the first transport eastward fTheresienstadt had left on 9 January 1942. Of nearly 877,000 inmates deported to the East, roughly 84,000 died before the end of the war.































   Shortly after the beginning of deportations from Theresienstadt, the Nazi extermination policy against the Jews escalated further. UP to this point, systematic and indiscriminate mass murders of Jews ad been restricted to certain geographical areas, particularly to Serbia and the territories of the Soviet Union , where by the end of 1941, between 500,000 and 800,000  Jews of all ages and both sexes had been murdered by the Germans and their local helpers.
   In the spring of 1942, the pan-European implementation of the Holocaust began to take their shape. Heydrich and Himmler are likely to have sought Hitler's authorization for a third wave of deportation from the Reich into the Lublin district during their meeting with the Führer on 30 January 1942. No record of this meeting has survived, but only one day after the meeting, an express letter to all Gestapo Branch Offices, Adolf  Eichmann announced that the  recent evacuation of Jews from individual areas to the East marked the beginning of the final solution to the Jewish question to the Reich and the Protectorate.
   By early March Eichmann had defined the plans for these deportations. During a meeting at Gestapo Headquarters in Berlin on 9 March, he explained that over the course of the next few months 55,000 Jews would be deported from the Reich and the Protectorate to a number of ghettos in the Lublin district. He also announced that more of the remaining elderly German Jews would be deported from the Reich to Theresienstadt.
   Austrian Nazis and local residents look on as Jews are forced to get on their hands and knees and scrub the pavement. Once again, many of the Nazis smile as they degrade fellow human beings.:
                  Jewish men and women are forced by Hitler Youth Members to scrub the streets of Vienna
                  (There are no members of the Hitler Youth recognizable in the above picture.it is doubtful                              the event took place in Vienna.sic)

[Heydrich's original policy regarding the Jewish question, was, that the problem should be resolved as quietly as possible, ideally through incentivized immigration in contrast to noisy anti-Semitic party leaders such as Josef Goebbels or Julius Streicher, Heydrich's  experts promoted a more sober (ultimately no less radical) strategy against the Jews - a strategy that explicitly  included humiliation in order to achieve its goal of  a free Jew-Europe. Systematic mass murder was, however, still beyond in the early days of Nazi Germany, even for Heydrich and his anti-Jewish think tank within the SD.sic]  


Heydrich had just returned from a relaxing skiing holiday with his family  in the Bavarian Alps, he was happy with the progress made in his absence, On 11, 12, and 13 March, he and Himmler discussed the progress of the solution to the Jewish problem. Just before the deportation trains arrived, the SS and Police Leader in the Lublin district, Odilo Globocnik, cleared the Lublin ghetto of it's inhabitants, shooting thousands of Polish Jews on the spot between the 16 March and 29 April and deporting further 30,000 to Belzec where they were gassed.






                               Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-019-1229-30, Polen, zwei Soldaten bei Stadtbummel.jpg

                                                                     Lublin Ghetto



 The miserable living condition iv the ghetto around Lublin - Izbica, Piaska, Zanocs and Trav
niki - meant that a great majority of the German, Austrian and Slovak deportees died within a few months of their arrival. Those Jews who had been deported to Lpdz from the Reich during the previous autumn, had survived the devastating condition in the Lodz ghetto - almost11,000 people overall - were deported to Chelmmo between 4 and 15 May and murdered in stationary gas vans. Heydrich, in the meantime, decided to begin the clearing of the Theresienstadt  ghetto, primarily to create space for new arrivals.
   In March 1942, the deportations were also extended to Slovakia and France. According to the terms of agreement with Slovakia, some 4,500 young Jews fit for work were deported to Majdanek in the Lublin district and an additional four train loads of young women were sent to Auschwitz between 25 March and 7 April. On 10 April, Heydrich travelled to Bratislava to meet with the Slovak Prime Minister VojtechTuka, who declared his government willingness to deport all of Slovakia's more than 70,000 Jews.The deportations from Slovakia began on the following day - a significant event as Slovakia was the first state outside direct German control to agree to the deportation of its Jewish citizens. By 29 June, seven trains from Slovakia had arrived in Auschwitz where the deportees were used as slave labourers, A further thirty-four transports were sent to ghettos in the district of Lublin where the Slovakian deportees replaced those Jews inhabitants who had previously been sent to the extermination camps of Sobibor and Belzec. As Heydrich explained to Tulka during his visit to Bratislava, the deportation of Jews from Slovakia was only part of the much wider  programme of resettlement that would affect not only Slovakia, the Reich and the Protectorate  but also Western Europe, including the Netherlands, Belgium and France.
   In France, from where 1,000 Jewish hostages were deported to Auschwitz on 30 March in retaliation for bombing attacks by French Resistance. Heydrich pressed his Jewish expert, Theodor Dannerker to to step up the pace., while still negotiating with the German Military Administration.
In Rance:
   The Vel' d'Hiv Roundup (French: Rafle du Vélodrome d'Hiver, commonly called the Rafle du Vel' d'Hiv: "Vel' d'Hiv Police Roundup / Raid"), was a Nazi directed raid and mass arrest of Jews in Paris by the French police, code named Opération Vent printanier ("Operation Spring Breeze"), on 16 and 17 July 1942. The name "Vel' d'Hiv Roundup" is derived from the nickname of the Vélodrome d'Hiver ("Winter Velodrome"), a bicycle velodrome and stadium where a majority of the victims were temporarily confined. The roundup was one of several aimed at eradicating the Jewish population in France, both in the occupied zone and in the free zone. According to records of the Préfecture de Police, 13,152 Jews were arrested,[1] including more than 4,000 children.[2] They were held at the Vélodrome d'Hiver in extremely crowded conditions, almost without water, food and no sanitary facilities, as well as at the Drancy, Pithiviers, and Beaune-la-Rolande internment camps,[2] then shipped in rail cattle cars to Auschwitz for their mass murder. French President Jacques Chirac apologized in 1995 for the complicit role that French policemen and civil servants served in the raid..

                                
                                               


Two Jewish women in occupied Paris wearing the yellow Star of David badge in June 1942, a few weeks before the mass arre


                   French police round up Jews. Paris, France, August 20, 1941.:
                               French police round up Jews. Paris, France, August 20, 1941.              



These major pan-European  waves of deportations coincided with the completion of construction works on various extermination sites in the General Government. By mid-May 1942, camp officials at Auschwitz-Birkenau had converted a former peasant hut into a gas chamber and started to murder Jews incapable to work that summer with Zyklon B. In May the extermination camp Sobibor was opened, while the first extermination camp, Belzec, underwent construction work that summer to to extend its killing capacity. At the same time, in the district of Warsaw, construction work begun on a further extermination camp, Treblinka
   Simultaneously, in May 1942 , Heydrich's Einsatzgruppen in the Soviet Union resumed the mass murder of Soviet Jews, which had begun in the summer of the previous year. This was particularly the case in the Ukraine and Belarus, where Heydrich's brief visit to Minsk in April and his announcement that those deported from the Reich were to be liquidated upon arrival appears to have triggered a renewed wave of mass shootings with more than 13,000 Jewish victims. But this was merely the tip of the iceberg. Heydrich's Einsatzgruppen and special SS Anti-Partisan Units shot at least 380,000 Jews in theUkraine and Belorussia during the spring and summer of 1942.  .  

                            

   Einsatzgruppen executing Jews in Ukraine, 1942. [enlargement of photo does indicate, the executioner and bystanders are foreign mercenaries, NOT  members of the SS-Einsatzgrppe,sic]
(Photo: Library of Congress, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives.)

  The decision-making process that led to this further escalation of anti-Jewish extermination policies and the beginning of a full-blown pan-European genocide is difficult to put down with any certainty.  At the Wannsee Conference of January 20th 1942, two proposals had been made for solving the Jewish question on a European scale.  Apart from Heydrich's older notion of deporting European Jews to the occupied Soviet territories, where they would be decimated by a combination of forced labour and special treatment, a new option had been discussed, the systematic murder of those Jews incapable to work in the General Government which was with 1.7 million people by far the largest community of Jews under German control. This was to be achieved through gassing facilities in Belzec and Auschwitz, which were completed and fully operational by the spring of 1942.

   The idea of systematically murdering Jews in the occupied Poland gained further impetus when, in March 1942 , the SS managed to gain complete control over anti-Jewish policies in the General Government. Compromised by a serious corruption scandal in the spring of that year, General Governor Hans Frank conceded complete authority over all policing matters and question of Germanization in the General Government to the local higher SS and police leader, Friedrich Wilhelm Krüger, thus strengthening the hand of the SS vis-a-vis the civilian authorities. Himmler, Heydrich and their men on the ground - Krüger and Globocnik would use their new power to include Jews  from all parts of Poland in the killing process.
  Shortly before the murders were decisively extended at the beginning of May 1942, Heydrich and Himmler met seven times in three different places within the space of a week. The first meetings took place in Berlin on 25, 26 and 27 April, followed by a long conversation in Munich on 28  and 30 April, and then in Prague on 2 Nay, a meeting for which Himmler made a special journey. This series of intense discussions was  framed by two longer meetings between Himmler and Hitler, which took place on 23 April and 3 May. No records of these meetings have survived the war, but the chronology of the events of the following weeks suggests that it was during these meetings that Hitler, Himmler and Heydrich decided on the framework for the implementation of a pan-European programme of systematic destruction that was to be  carried out from May 1942 onwards.  
 
EPILOGUE
If the realization of the Nazis Germanization project was based on a historically unprecedented programme of racial stock-taking, theft, expulsion and murder, Germanization, as understood by Heydrich, meant far more than racial tests and extermination. Murder and resettlement were only the preconditions for the creation of a purified utopia, a German Empire that would dominate the New Europe for the next thousand years. As Heydrich pointed out in mid-December 1941 : 'Wile under the blows of Germany and their allies a degenerate world is being crushed, perishing in the chaos which it has created, a New Order is appearing behind the fronts of our soldiers, an order whose structures are already becoming clearly visible..
Heydrich's New Order was never realized, he did not see Germany in ruins!



Apology:
To the extent possible I have avoided the expression "Nazis", as this is derogative and offensive to German readers, yet it is so entrenched in journalism that it can not be avoided.


Sources:

wikipedia new zealand
Breitman, Richard. The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991.
Fleming, Gerald. Hitler and the Final Solution. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984.
Gilbert, Martin. The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1985.
Archives Bundesrepuvlick--Berlin, Germany
Robert Gerwarth Hitler's Hangman
MacDonald, Callum. The Killing of Reinhard Heydrich. New York: The Free Press, 1989.
Toland, John. The Last 100 Days. New York: Random House, 1966.
The World Book Encyclopedia. "Heydrich, Reinhard". 1988 Edition.
Editing/Design:
d_stolpmann@hotmail.com

Sunday, October 23, 2016

WANNSEE A FATEFUL CONFERENCE Part 1


REINHARD HEYDRICH
                                         
WANNSEE A FATEFUL CONFERENCE

On the 30th January 1942 a snowy Tuesday morning, Heydrich gathered fourteen senior Nazi civil servants,  party officials and high ranking SS officers in a former industrials villa on the shores of  Berlin's Lake Wannsee.
As Heydrich indicated in his invitation letter of late November 1941, the purpose of the meeting was to establish a common  position among the central authorities in regard to the final solution. Heydrich even referred to the 'eastward evacuation' of Jews from the Reich and the 'protectorate' as the reason why co-ordination with other central agencies of Nazi Germany

Note:
      This is a fact very few know about, the Wannsee Conference did take place, but Heydrich was so concerned about security and about people learning about it - who shouldn't have, that he moved the conference over the road to a spot an 100 yards away. It did not take place in this famous house, and they did discuss the killing and mass deportation of the Jews, and how it could be accomplished in secrecy. Heydrich was in charge, Eichmann took the notes, and it all did happen as described except the venue was switched. The event was held un another Nazi-owned building about 100 meters across the road.

Attendees





SS-Obergruppenführer (Lieutenant-General) Reinhard Heydrich Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1969-054-16, Reinhard Heydrich.jpg Chief of the RSHA
Deputy Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia
Presiding
Schutzstaffel (SS) Reichsführer-SS (Reich Leader SS) Heinrich Himmler
SS-Gruppenführer (Major-General) Otto Hofmann Otto Hofmann.jpg Head of the SS Race and Settlement Main Office (RuSHA) Schutzstaffel (SS) Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler
SS-Gruppenführer (Major-General) Heinrich Müller Heinrich Müller.jpg Chief of Amt IV (Gestapo) Reich Main Security Office (RSHA), Schutzstaffel Chief of the RSHA SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich
SS-Oberführer (Senior Colonel) Dr. Karl Eberhard Schöngarth KarlEberhardSchongarth.jpg Commander of the SiPo and the SD in the General Government SiPo and SD, RSHA, Schutzstaffel Chief of the RSHA SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich
SS-Oberführer (Senior Colonel) Dr. Gerhard Klopfer Bundesarchiv Bild 119-06-44-12, Gerhard Klopfer.jpg Permanent Secretary Nazi Party Chancellery Chief of the Party Chancellery Martin Bormann
SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) Adolf Eichmann Adolf Eichmann at Trial1961.jpg Head of Referat IV B4 of the Gestapo
Recording secretary
Gestapo, RSHA, Schutzstaffel Chief of Amt IV SS-Gruppenführer Heinrich Müller
SS-Sturmbannführer (Major) Dr. Rudolf Lange Commander of the Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police; SiPo) and the SD for the General-District Latvia
Deputy of the Commander of the SiPo and the SD for the Reichskommissariat Ostland
Head of Einsatzkommando 2
SiPo and SD, RSHA, Schutzstaffel SS-Brigadeführer (Brigadier General) and Generalmajor der Polizei (Major-General of Police) Dr. Franz Walter Stahlecker
Dr. Georg Leibbrandt LeibbrandtGeorg.jpg Reichsamtleiter (Reich Head Office) Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories Dr. Alfred Rosenberg
Dr. Alfred Meyer Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1991-0712-500, Alfred Meyer.jpg Gauleiter (Regional Party Leader)
State Secretary and Deputy Reich Minister
Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories Dr. Alfred Rosenberg
Dr. Josef Bühler Josef Bühler.jpg State Secretary General Government
(Polish Occupation Authority)
Governor-General Dr. Hans Frank
Dr. Roland Freisler Bundesarchiv Bild 183-J03238, Roland Freisler.jpg State Secretary Reich Ministry of Justice Reich Minister of Justice Dr. Franz Schlegelberger
SS-Brigadeführer (Brigadier General) Dr. Wilhelm Stuckart Wilhelm Stuckart at the Ministries Trial.jpg State Secretary Reich Interior Ministry Reich Minister of the Interior Dr. Wilhelm Frick
SS-Oberführer (Senior Colonel) Erich Neumann NeumannErich.jpg State Secretary Office of the Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan Plenipotentiary of the Four Year Plan Hermann Göring
Friedrich Wilhelm Kritzinger KritzingerFriedrich.jpg Permanent Secretary Reich Chancellery Reich Minister and head of the Reich Chancellery SS-Obergruppenführer Dr. Hans Lammers
Martin Luther LutherMartin.jpg Under Secretary Reich Foreign Ministry Ernst von Weizsäcker, State Secretary to Reich Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop
.

Participants at the Conference and their fate

Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated in Prague in June 1942. Roland Freisler was killed in an air-raid in Berlin in February 1945. Rudolf Lange was killed in action in Poland in February 1945. Alfred Meyer killed himself in April 1945. Heinrich Müller was last seen in Berlin on 30 April 1945. His fate is unknown, but he probably died in Berlin in the next few days. Martin Luther finished the war in a concentration camp after falling out with Foreign Minister Ribbentrop, and died in Berlin in May 1945. Karl Eberhard Schöngarth was executed for war crimes (killing British prisoners of war) in May 1946. Friedrich Wilhelm Kritzinger was acquitted of war crimes and died in October 1947. Josef Bühler was tried in Poland for war crimes and executed in Krakow in July 1948. Erich Neumann was briefly imprisoned and died in mid 1948. Wilhelm Stuckart was imprisoned for four years before being released for lack of evidence in 1949. He was killed in a car accident in November 1953. Adolf Eichmann was executed in Israel in May 1962. Georg Leibbrandt was charged with war crimes but the case against him was dismissed in 1950. He died in June 1982. Otto Hofmann was sentenced to 25 years in prison for war crimes, but was pardoned in 1954. He died in December 1982. Gerhard Klopfer was charged with war crimes but was released for lack of evidence. He died in January 1987. 

View: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ave9RHTqkI&feature=em-subs_digest-vrecs
                                                 
                                              LODZ GHETTO PICTURES                        

      “In 1939, the Nazis destroyed all but one of the synagogues in Lodz. This was the most famous one. Ross was making a symbolic statement through photos like this. There’s a story he needed to tell.”

Man walking in winter through ruins of synagogue








   This photo.depicts survival on the street — with pails, bowls, tin cans, you could get your ration at a soup kitchen. None of these photos were staged. Photos like this are not images the Germans wanted to see.”
                                                                 


      
This is a powerful picture. Human beings were beasts of burden in the ghetto. Bread was the most desirable staple,  note that there’s no documentation about any of the peripheral figures in photos like this.                                                          














 

                 
 No one knows anything about this child, though. It’s a wonderful image — she still has a bow in her hair, trying to look tidy and lovely. In the early years of the ghetto, there was a children’s colony called Marisin, with schools and orphanages. Eventually, if you were under 10 years of age, you were deemed of no use for labor. Many children were sent to Chelmno from the ghetto.”
Note: She wears the Star of David even at that age!
Einsatzkommavdo 9 under Alfred Filbert was the first to murder Jewish women and children systematically, in Belorussia from the end of July 1941 onwards, apparently on explicit orders from Heydrich


 A tragic picture. Only one boy looks back. He seems frightened. To the Germans, children and the elderly did not have purpose in terms of labor. They asked for 20,000 children to get removed from the Ghetto. [Lodz ghetto leader Chaim] Rumkowski’s famous ‘Give me your children’ speech presented the situation to parents as a sacrifice for the greater good.”


Heydrich's idea of concentrating Jews in ghettos in larger cities for the purpose of subsequent deportation was to become a crucial component of Nazi anti-Jewish policy. Yet he never gave much thought to how Jewish life in envisaged urban ghettos was to be organized. He noted that the 'concentration of Jews in the cities for general reason of security will probably bring about orders forbidding Jews from entering certain quarters of the cities altogether, and that - in view of economic necessity - they cannot for instance leave the ghetto, they cannot go out after designated hours, etc But these were suggestions, not explicit orders'...

  In 1941 party radicals renewed efforts to extend their definitional however, to remove the protected categories and have the Mischlinge legally classified with full Jews. Heydrich too, began to take a more active interest in the question, particularly once it became important to define which groups should be deported from the Reich, By the summer of 1941, he decided that the time had come to revise the protection of the Mischlinge and mount a frontal attack on the compromises established by the Nuremberg Laws.
   The numbers at stake was comparatively small. In 1939, there were 54,000 first-degree and around 43,000 second-degree Mischlinge in the Old Reich and Austria, including the Protectorate. Nevertheless, Heydrich spent considerable time outlining his own definition of the Mischlinge.
   First degree  Mischlinge or half Jews, he suggested, should be considered Jews, and consequently be deported, unless they were either married to 'persons of German blood' and the marriage had resulted in children or if they had received an exemption permit from a top Nazi authority. In return for having spared from transportation, the first degree Mischlinge would have to submit to voluntary  sterilization if he or she was to remain in the Reich. A second-degree Mischling or quarter Jew was to be considered a Jew if any of the following three criteria applied: if both parents were Mischlinge, if he or she had an exceptional poor racial appearance that distinguished him or her as a Jew, or if he or she feels and behaves like a Jew.


                             German Poster for the film 'Der ewige Jude'. (The eternal Jew)

                                                                   
                                   
Heydrich's proposal did not encounter much opposition from the other delegates. Stucker's only concern was that the proposed measures involved endless administrative work. He therefore suggested as am alternative, the complete sterilization of the Mischling population, a suggestion supported by the director of the Race and Settlement Office, Otto Hoffmann.
   As far as German Jews in mixed marriages were concerned, of which there were fewer the 20,000 at this point, Heydrich also suggested a radical solution: All fully Jewish partners of German spouses should be deported. The primary decision that remained was whether the Jewish partner should be evacuated to the East (that is, murdered) or, in view of the physiological impact of such measured on the German relatives, be sent to an old-aged ghetto. The only exception to this rule, Heydrich believed, should be cases where there were children deemed to be second degree Mischlinge.  In these cases the Jewish parent could stay for the foreseeable future.

         
                                                       Image result for picture inside lodz ghetto Jews having lunch     
                        Lodz ghetto, Jewish children having a meal

                 

Once again, the purpose of Heydrich's suggestion seems to have been to assert SS's total definitional power in all aspects of the Jewish question. The Nuremberg Laws, though banning future unions between Jews and non-Jews, had little to say about existing mixed marriages. At the end of 1038 after consulting Hitler, Göring drew up guidelines distinguishing  between so-called privileged mixed marriages and others. The privileged marriages were those where the man was non-Jewish, with the exception of marriages where there were Jewishly educated children. At Wannsee, it was once again Stuckart who made radical suggestion for how to solve the issue of mixed marriages. He called for a straightforward legislative  act that would dissolve all existing mixed marriages, paving the way for the deportation of the Jewish spouses.





   No nonsenses on this issue was reached at Wannsee. but it was agreed that SS racial experts and other Nazi officials should discuss the fate of the Mischlinge and of Jews in mixed marriages at the mid-level conference  and meetings that would follow the Wannsee Conference in the summer and autumn 1942.
   After further request for future co-operation in carrying out  the final solution, Heydrich closed the meeting. All in all, it had lasted no longer than an hour and a half. If Heydrich had expected 'Considerable stumbling blocks and difficulties' prior to the meeting, he must have been pleasantly surprised by the amicable nature of the negotiations. According to Eichmann, Heydrich was visibly satisfied with the results of the meeting, and invited him and Müller to stay behind for a glass or two or three of cognac'.
   Heydrich's satisfaction was not unfounded. He had hoped to achieve three things at the gathering. First, he sought official endorsement from civil authorities of the deportation process, as well as of the extent of the planned comprehensive solution to the Jewish question. Secondly, he wanted to emphasize his sole responsibility for the solution of the Jewish question against all resistance from those civilian authorities, which, over the previous months, had sought to protect their waning influence from further incursions by the RSHA. Thirdly, he wanted to reach a consensus on the group of people that were to be deported. 
  At las two of these aims were fulfilled. Wannsee had ambiguously affirmed Heydrich's overall authority in relation to the final solution. The Ministry of Interior , the General Government, and the Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories had all fallen into  line, and had even occasionally proposed more radical solution than Heydrich had initially deemed acceptable. The long-standing conflict with the civil authorities  in the General Government also seemed to be resolved. Reducing the number of Jews in the General Government, rather than dumping them on the region, was something on which Heydrich and Frank's representative at Wannsee could agree. Disputes would continue after January 1942, but the 'basic line', Heydrich confidently stated in a letter  he made this quite clear.                                                                                                              



                                         Jewish children, the Ghetto
                                             Jewish children inside Ghetto Litzmannstadt, 1940





  However, if Heydrich believed that he had carried the day on the Mischling question, he was soon to be disappointed. If, as originally planned, the Wannsee Conference had taken place after a successful capture of Moscow, it is not unlikely that his attempt to include the Mischlinge in the deportation would have succeeded. The  regime's racially radicalised at times of German military success, as the euphoria of victory tempted  an elated Hitler to dare ever more drastic policies. But there were no military success in the winter of 1941-42and, even the following months, the SS leadership found it difficult to push the line on the Mischlinge. During the mid-level follow-up meetings to Wannsee in 1942, Eichmann pressed for radical solutions along the lines of Suckeart's or Heydrich's suggestions. but such policies were never implemented. Both the Ministry of Propaganda and the Justice Ministry were concerned about the implantation of compulsory divorce. In October 1943, Justice Minister Otto Georg Thierack   and Himmler agreed not to deport Mischlinge for the duration of the war.  [After the Allies arrested him, Thierack committed suicide in Sennelager, Paderborn, by poisoning before he could be brought before the court at the Nuremberg Judges' Trial sic.]

                                            
Otto Thierack (on right) with the judge Roland Freisler at the end of August 1942

    Similar obstacles remained with respect to mixed marriages. The regime feared the effects on public morale if the partner of Aryan men and women were deported. When in the spring of 1943, for example, hundreds of non-Jewish women in Berlin publicly protested against the threatened deportation of their Jewish husbands, the Nazis backed off and released the men. These so-called Rosenstrasse protests in 1943 demonstrated that the regime was prepared to revise its policies when it encountered determined popular resistance.  For most part, however, Jews in privileged mixed marriages  would be saved. Only after the death of their Aryan husbands were some Jewish widows in formerly privileged marriages deported after 1943. Wannsee had thus failed to provide the decisive breakthrough on this issue for which Heydrich had hoped.
   Nor was Wannsee the moment at which fundamental decision was made to turn the already murderous anti-Jewish policies in the East into an all-encompassing genocide of all European Jews. Nobody at the conference, not even Heydrich, was able to make that decision without Hitler's explicit consent. The decision at Wannsee rather testified to the gradually increasing radicalism with which the central authorities of Nazi Germany viewed the Jewish question. Decisions that would turn 1942 into the most astounding year of murder in the Holocaust, indeed one of the most horrifying years of systematic mas killings in the history of mankind, were yet to follow.
   The day after the Wannsee Conference, Heydrich telephoned Himmler to inform him of the meeting's results, before boarding a plane that would bring him back to Prague, where, in his capacity as acting Reichs Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, he had spent the past three months installing a regime based on uncompromisingly terror.

                                             THE ROSENSTRASSE PROTEST - BERLIN 1943

Many people believe that it was impossible for the Germans to resist the Nazi dictatorship and the deportations of German Jews. However, a street protest in early 1943 indicates that resistance was possible, and indeed, successful.Until early 1943, Nazi officials exempted Jews married to Gentiles or "Aryans" from the so-called Final Solution. In late February of that year, however, during a mass arrest of the last Jews in Berlin, the Gestapo also arrested Jews in intermarriages. This was the most brutal chapter of the expulsion of Jews in Berlin. Without warning, the SS stormed into Berlin's factories and arrested any Jews still working there. Simultaneously, all throughout the Reich capital, the Gestapo arrested Jews from their homes. Anyone on the streets wearing the "Star of David" was also abruptly carted off with the other Jews to huge provisional Collecting Centers in central Berlin, in preparation for massive deportations to Auschwitz.

    The Gestapo called this action simply the "Schlußaktion der Berliner Juden" (Closing Berlin Jew Action). Hitler was offended that so many Jews still lived in Berlin, and the Nazi Party Director for Berlin, Joseph Goebbels, had promised to make Berlin "Judenfrei" (free of Jews) for the Führer's 54th birthday in April. This "Schlußaktion" was, indeed, the beginning of the end for about 8,000 of the 10,000 Berlin Jews arrested in its course. Many who left their houses for what they thought would be a "normal" day of work, without turning back for even a last glance or hug, were to end up shortly in the ovens of Auschwitz, never again to see home or family.

  About 2,000 of the arrested Jews who were related to Aryan Germans, however, experienced quite a different fate. They were locked up in a provisional collecting center at Rosenstraße 2-4, an administrative center of the Jewish Community in the heart of Berlin. The Aryan spouses of the interned Jews; who were mostly women, hurried alone or in pairs to the Rosenstraße, where they discovered a growing crowd of other women whose loved ones had also been kidnapped and imprisoned there. A protest broke out. The women who had gathered by the hundreds at the gate of the improvised detention center began to call out together in a chorus, "Give us our husbands back." They held their protest day and night for a week, as the crowd grew larger day by day.
 
     On different occasions the armed guards between the women and the building imprisoning their loved ones barked a command: "Clear the street or we'll shoot!" This sent the women scrambling pell-mell into the alleys and courtyards in the area. But within minutes they began streaming out again, inexorably drawn to their loved ones. Again and again they were scattered, and again and again they advanced, massed together, and called for their husbands, who heard them and took hope.


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                                 File:Rosenstrasse.jpg
Part of the memorial "Block der Frauen" by Ingeborg Hunzinger, commemorating the protest
     The square, according to one witness, "was crammed with people, and the demanding, accusing cries of the women rose above the noise of the traffic like passionate avowals of a love strengthened by the bitterness of life." One woman described her feeling as a protester on the street as one of incredible solidarity with those sharing her fate. Normally people were afraid to show dissent, fearing denunciation, but on the street they knew they were among friends, because they were risking death together. A Gestapo man who no doubt would have heartlessly done his part to deport the Jews imprisoned in the Rosenstraße was so impressed by the people on the streets that, holding up his hands in a victory clasp of solidarity with a Jew about to be released, he pronounced proudly: "You will be released, your relatives protested for you. That is German loyalty."
     "One day the situation in front of the collecting center came to a head," a witness reported. "The SS trained machine guns on us: 'If you don't go now, we'll shoot.' But by now we couldn't care less. We screamed 'you murderers!' and everything else. We bellowed. We thought that now, at last, we would be shot. Behind the machine guns a man shouted something ;maybe he gave a command. I didn't hear it, it was drowned out. But then they cleared out and the only sound was silence. That was the day it was so cold that the tears froze on my face."
     The headquarters of the Jewish section of the Gestapo was just around the corner, within earshot of the protesters. A few salvos from a machine gun could have wiped the women off the square. But instead the Jews were released. Joseph Goebbels, in his role as the Nazi Party Director for Berlin, decided that the simplest way to end the protest was to release the Jews. Goebbels chose not to forcibly tear Jews from Aryans who clearly risked their lives to stay with their Jewish family members, and rationalized that he would deport the Jews later anyway. But the Jews remained. They survived the war in Berlin, registered officially with the police, working in officially authorized jobs, and officially receiving food rations.
     The implications of this protest are that mass, public and nonviolent acts of noncooperation by non-Jewish Germans on behalf of German Jews could have slowed or even stopped the Nazi genocide of German Jews.. Not many Jews were saved. Yet when the (non-Jewish) German populace protested nonviolently and en masse, the Nazis made concessions. When Germans protested for Jews, Jews were saved.
     Although there were a few men in attendance, this was a protest by women; women were really the origin and the core of the protest. Women, traditionally, have felt responsible for home and family; to the women who were protesting, their families were, in some sense, their careers; to lose their families was to lose everything meaningful for them.

     At the protest in the Rosenstraße there was a flickering of a tiny torch, which might have kindled the fire of general resistance if Germans had taken note of the women on the Rosenstraße and imitated their actions of mass civil disobedience. Perhaps they did not do so because they were used to thinking that neither women, nor nonviolent actions, could be politically powerful.
 


                                   EINSATZTRUPPEN ON THE EASTERN FRONT
On 22 June 1941, a historically unprecedented invasion army of 3 million German soldiers and more than 600,000 Italian, Hungarian and Finnish troops plunged into the Soviet Union on an extended battlefront of 1,500 kilometres.The speed of the Wehrmacht's advance was extraordinary. Within two days of launching the invasion, Army Group North had captured the Baltic cities of Grodmo, Vilnius and Kaunas. By the end of June, Low had fallen, too. Army Group Centre pushed eastwards, towards taking Smolensk in mid-July, while Army Group South drove deep into the southern Ukraine. By the autumn the Wehrmacht had captured more than 3 million Soviet soldiers, the vast majority of whom would perish in German POW camps due to starvation, typhus and other infectious diseases.
There was the Commissar Order of June 1941 , which followed directly on the Barbarossa decree. It was called Instructions on the Treatment of Political Commissars, as well as 'other radical elements, saboteurs, propagandists,snipers, assassins, demagogues etc.


The target group of people to be executed was deliberately kept vague, but was clear that the formulation 'all Jews in the service of the  communist party and state was merely a coded reference in order to kill a nebulously defined Jewish upper class . It would largely left to the commando  leaders themselves to decide, who precisely would be included in this class, an approach that was once more highly characteristic of Heydrich's leadership style, which called for initiative without specifying exact aims, and which would contribute significantly to the rapid escalation of mass murder over the following weeks.

[In 1942, terror campaigns against the German territorial administration, staffed by local "collaborators and traitors" was additionally emphasized. This resulted, however, in definite divisions within the local civilian population, with the beginning of the organisation of anti-partisan units with native personnel in 1942. By November 1942, Soviet partisan units in Belarus numbered about 47,000 person,sic]


                                         

German photo showing alleged partisans hanged by the Germans in January 1943

In practice, the Einsatzgruppen found most of the political candidates for liquidation had fled. The great majority of executions in the first five weeks of Barbarossa were therefore aimed at those who were immediately accessible – Jewish males, particularly those in leadership positions and members of the intelligentsia. But late July 1941, the killing escalated to include all Jewish men, women and children. If there had ever been any doubt about what Nazi policy was to be in the Soviet Union, during the course of a conversation Hitler had with Göring, Lammers, Rosenberg and Keitel on 16 July 1941, it was now made abundantly clear. Victory over the Soviet Union was imminent. To create a "Garden of Eden" in the east, "all necessary measures – shootings, resettlements, etc." would be undertaken. It was fortunate that the Russians had given the order for partisan warfare, for "it gives us the opportunity to exterminate anyone who is hostile to us." Hitler did not issue an explicit order (he rarely did), but the intention was obvious. Within a week of this speech, Himmler had more than quadrupled the number of SS men operating behind the advancing German army. At least a further 11 battalions of Order Police were assigned to the HSSPF. Local auxiliaries in Selbstschutz battalions were recruited; they numbered 33,000 by the end of 1941, 165,000 by June 1942, and 300,000 by January 1943.
If the task of killing Soviet Jewry with the 3,000 men of the Einsatzgruppen had been impossible, by the end of July 1941, the manpower had become available for the execution of the task. By the end of 1941 between 500,000 and 800,000 Jews had been murdered – an average of 2,700 - 4,200 per day. 


                                    Ghetto in Grodno
Ghetto in Grodno - Jews flooding the gates of Ghetto One during relocation action, November 1941







Heydrich's  Einsatzgruppen followed the Army's rear grimly determined to excel in carrying out the orders. Although Heydrich was to be informed daily of their progress through daily incidents reports, he and Himmler quickly decided that they would monitor their work first-hand. Eight days after the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, on June 30th, they travelled from Hitler's headquarters in East Prussia to Grodno  in the former  Soviet-occupied part of Poland and Augustowo in recently conquered Lithuania, home of the largest Jewish community of the Baltic States. In Grodno, Heydrich was dismayed to find that, not a single representative of the Security Police or the SD was on hand. He issued a reprimand and a warning to the commando leader in charge of the area, ordering him to show greater flexibility in tactical operations and to keep pace with military advance. The commander of the Einsatzgruppe  B, Arthur Nebe, responded with an apology. Although 'only ninety-six Jews were liquidated' in the first few days of the occupation of Grodno  and Lida, he assured Heydrich that he had given orders 'that this must be greatly increased'. 'The implementation of the necessary liquidation was guaranteed under all circumstances'.
Meanwhile in Augustowo Heydrich and Himmler caught up with the Einsatzkommando 'Tilsit' under the command of Hans Joachim Böhme. Over the previous week Böhme and his men had engaged in various shootings of civilians and had come to Augustowo in order to initiate further 'routine actions' in the rear of the quickly advancing Wehrmacht. Both Himmler and Heydrich approved of these mass shootings 'in their entirety. Encouraged by the endorsement of their superiors, the  Einsatzkommando 'Tisit' shot more than 300 civilians that day, most of them Jewish men between the ages of seventeen abd forty-five. By 18 July, Böhme's unit claimed to have murdered a total of 3,300 victims.
[ Hans Joachim Böhme, born in Magdeburg in 1909, joined the Nazi party and the SS in 1933. As head of Einsatzkommando Tilsit, Böhme commanded the murder operations carried out in the occupied Baltic regions between 1941-1942. On October-December 1943, Böhme was head of the Security Police in Zhitomir, and from May 1944 until January 1945 he headed the Security Police and SD in Lithuania. In 1958, Böhme was put on trial in Ulm, Germany, for taking part in murder operations. He was sentenced to fifteen years and died in prison in 1960.sic].
On 11 July Himmler and Heydrich returned to Germany to view the progress of the Einsatzgruppen's extermination campaign. Both could see for themselves that the murder squads had overcome their passivity for which they had been critized on 30 June, when they arrived, mass  shootings of civilians took place in Grodno, Oshmiany and Vilius. In between thedse visits, Heydrich found distraction and solace in  daily fencing exercises, preparing himself for the German National Fencing Championship in Bad Kreusnach in August 1941  [where he came fith.sic]
                                                                 Image result for picture; reinhard Heydrich fencing
:                                                             Heydrich in Fencing Gear
                                                                                    





Heydrich's inspection tour to Grodno and the subsequent radicalization  of pacification measures that followed it, was indicative of a more  general pattern. Throughout the first weeks of the war against Soviet Russia, Himmler and Heydrich and other senior SS-Officers frequently visited  their men in the field and their inspection tours usually preceded  or coincided with an increase in the number of atrocities. While there is no hard evidence that either of them called directly for killing of unarmed civilians irrespective of  age or gender, Himmler's and Heydrich's mere presence appears to have led to an upsurge in the mass murders of Jewish civilians of the formerly Soviet-occupied territories. By approving what had happened already by encouraging their men to show more initiative, they made a decisive contribution to the swift escalation of mass murder. Radicalism and imitative were sure to receive praise, a lesson that was quickly learned by  Einsatzgruppen  officers along the Eastern Front.






The killings consequently intensified over the course of the summer . From late June towards, nearly all Einsatzcommandos as well as a range of German Police Battalions along the entire front line began to shoot indiscriminately Jewish men of military age, often in hundreds even thousands at a time. These executions took place under a variety of pretexts, ranging from retribution for atrocities committed by Soviet Secret Services (NKDV)  to the punishment of looters and the support in the activities of partisans.





Partisans attack village.jpg
                 

 Soviet partisans take on a burning village trying to drive away German punitive expedition. Theatre of operations



With memories of clashes between the SS and the Wehrmacht in the occupied Poland still fresh, Heydrich had been concerned that tension over the execution might re-emerge and instructed leaders of the advance units to show the necessary political sensitivity in carrying out their tasks. His fears proved to be unfounded. Co-operation with the Wehrmacht was 'exelent', the first activity report of the Einsatzgruppen noted.  Individual complaints continued to be submittedto Army Commanders, but no widespread outrage similar to that in Poland occured.  When in August 1941, partisan activities behind German lines increase, the vastly overstretched German front began to burgeon, the Wehrmacht's willingness to tolerate and participate in atrocities fourther  increased. Manpower shortages on a rapidily overextended front went hand in hand with growing fears of partisan warfare.The responce to thios dilemma was greater 'pre-emptive' violence against ptential as well as real enimies.

                                                

   

                               Partisans in the forest near Polotsk, Byelorussian SSR, September 1943.

    Mass murder, was NOT, however, restricted to the SS task force. In numerous newly occupied territories, the SS succeeded in  unleashing pogroms carried out by local populations. On 29 June, presentably in response to the horrific pogrom which took place in Kaunas in late June and which cost the lives of 3,000  Jews, Heydrich reminded the task force commanders that self-cleaning efforts of anti-Communists or anti- Jewish groups in the occupied Soviet territories are not to e hindered. On the contrary, they were actively encouraged and indeed without leaving  a trace of German involvement so that they look like spontaneous outbursts of anti-Jewish rage. In the areas occupied by the Red Army from 1939 onwards, there is evidence of anti-Jewish pogroms in at least sixty towns, particularly in Lithuania, Latvia and the western Ukraine. Although estimates of victims vary, at least 12,000 and possibly as many as 24,000 Jews fell victim to these pogroms.

                                    


                                Lithuania militia guards Jews to be killed at Ponary


Despite his eagerness to use pogroms as an indicator of local hatred towards Jewish-Bolsheviks, Heydrich was also aware of the dangers inherent in his policy. Given the complex mix of nationalistic, opportunistic and anti-Semitic motives at work, pogroms continued an element  of basic ingredients recommended by the RSHA - instigating pogroms and making use of local collaborators without officially sanctioning their auxiliary function - did not strike any commanders in the field as a recipe for efficient occupation policy. On 1 July, following an inquiry from the Seventh Army under General Car-Heinrich von Stülpnagel, Heydrich elaborated on his previous order regarding the , non-prevention of self-cleaning measures by anti-Communist and anti-Jewish circles', partly to prevent an uncontrollable mushrooming of violence by non-Germans and partly to avoid clashes with the Wehrmacht. Heydrich  called it 'self evident that the cleaning actions have to be directed primarily against Bolshevists and Jews'. Poles on the other hand, were to be exempted for the time being, as Heydrich believed to be sufficiently anti-Semitic to be 'of special important initiators of pogroms'. Their long-term fate was to be decided at a later stage.










 [General Carl Heinrich von Stülpnagel despite his serious wounds (he tried to commit suicide and blinded himself) was found guilty in the planning to assassinate Hitler by the People's Court and sentenced to death, to be executed by hanging in Berlin-Plötzensee by hang,sic.] 

                                              Image result for [General Carl Heinrich von Stülpnagel
                                                General Carl Heinrich von Stülpnagel


 
The fate of Bolshevik Commissars, by contrast, was straightforward: when captured, they were to be shot immediately, although Heydrich managed to convince the Wehrmacht that, whenever possible, they should be interrogated by the SD and Abwehr Officers before their execution. Their statements, usually given after sustained periods of torture, helped Heydrich to give a clearer picture of the organisational structure and operational methods of the NKVD.
   For Heydrich, the German attack against the Soviet Union thus marked the end of a highly unsatisfactory period of stagnation in terms of both ideological fulfillment and carer problems. Between the invasion of Poland and the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, he had failed to advance the influence of the SD and the Security Police in the occupied territories of Western Europe. Simultaneously, both the Germanisation of Western Poland and the Jewish question remained unresolved. Operation Barbarossa offered him a potential exit strategy from this stalemate. 



                                                       Image result for Reinhard Heydrich's Death Mask             
                                                                            
                                                          Reinhard Heydrich's Death Mask

Sources:
wikipedia new zealand
Breitman, Richard. The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991.
Fleming, Gerald. Hitler and the Final Solution. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984.
Gilbert, Martin. The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1985.
Robert Gerwarth Hitler's Hangman
MacDonald, Callum. The Killing of Reinhard Heydrich. New York: The Free Press, 1989.
Toland, John. The Last 100 Days. New York: Random House, 1966.
The World Book Encyclopedia. "Heydrich, Reinhard". 1988 Edition.
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