The Persecution of the Jews (Part 11 of 14)
Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter XII
It appears that a certain amount of discord existed between officials of the German government as to the proper means and methods to be used in connection with the extermination program. A secret report dated 18 June 1943, addressed to Rosenberg, complained that five thousand Jews killed by the police and SS might have been used for forced labor, and chided them for failing to bury the bodies of those liquidated:
"The fact that Jews receive special treatment requires no further discussion. However, it appears hardly believable that this is done in the way described in the report of the General Commissioner of 1 June 1943. What is Katyn against that? Imagine only that these occurrences would become known to the other side and exploited by them! Most likely such propaganda would have no effect only because people who hear and read about it simply would not be ready to believe it."
"To lock men, women, and children into barns and to set fire to them does not appear to be a suitable method of combatting bands, even if it is desired to exterminate the population. This method is not worthy of the German cause and hurts our reputation severely." (R-135)
Gunther, the prison warden at Minsk, in a letter dated 31 May [Page 1002] 1943, addressed to the General Commissioner for White Ruthenia, was critical by implication. This letter, entitled, "Action Against Jews," reads:
"On 13 April 1943 the former German dentist Ernst Israel Tichauer and his wife, Elisa Sara Tichauer, nee Rosenthal, were committed to the court prison by the Security Service. Since that time all German and Russian Jews who were turned over to us had their golden bridgework, crowns, and fillings pulled or broken out. This happens always one to two hours before the respective action.
"Since 13 April 1943, 516 German and Russian Jews have been finished off. On the basis of a definite investigation gold was taken only in two actions -- on 14 April 1943 from 172, and on 27 April 1943 from 164 Jews. About fifty percent of the Jews had gold teeth, bridgework, or fillings. Hauptscharfuehrer Rube of the Security Service was always personally present and he took the gold along, too. "Before 13 April 1943 this was not done. (signed) Gunther, Prison Warden." (R-15)
The foregoing letter was forwarded to Rosenberg, as Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, on June 1943. The covering letter to Rosenberg reads:
"The enclosed official report from the warden of the prison in Minsk is submitted to the Reich Minister and the Reich Commissar for Information. "(signed) The General Commissar in Minsk." (R-15)
A further complaint is contained in a secret letter addressed to General of Infantry, Thomas, Chief of the International Armament Department, dated 2 December 1941 (3257-PS). The writer of this letter apprehensively stated his reason for not forwarding the communication through official channels:
"For the personal information of the Chief of the Industrial Armament Department I am forwarding a total account of the present situation in the Reichskommissariat Ukraine in which the difficulties and tensions encountered so far and the problems which give rise to serious anxiety are stated with unmistakable clarity. "Intentionally I have desisted from submitting such a report through official channels or to make it known to other departments interested in it because I do not expect any results that way, but to the contrary am apprehensive that the difficulties and tensions and also the divergent opinions might only be increased due to the peculiarity of the situation." ******* [Page 1003] "Jewish problem:
"Regulation of the Jewish question in the Ukraine was a difficult problem because the Jews constituted a large part of the urban population. We therefore have to deal -- just as in the General Government -- with a mass problem of policy concerning the population. Many cities had a percentage of Jews exceeding fifty percent. Only the rich Jews had fled from the German troops. The majority of Jews remained under German administration. The latter found the problem more complicated through the fact that these Jews represented almost the entire trade and even a part of the manpower in small and medium industries besides the business which had in part become superfluous as a direct or indirect result of the war. The elimination therefore necessarily had far-reaching economic consequences and even direct consequences for the armament industry (production for supplying the troops)."
"The attitude of the Jewish population was anxious - obliging from the beginning. They tried to avoid everything that might displease the German administration. That they hated the German administration and army inwardly goes without saying and cannot be surprising. However, there is no proof that Jewry as a whole or even to a greater part was implicated in acts of sabotage. Surely there were some terrorists or saboteurs among them just as among the Ukrainians. But it cannot be said that the Jews as such represented a danger to the German armed forces. The output produced by Jews who, of course, were prompted by nothing but the feeling of fear, was satisfactory to the troops and the German administration.
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A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
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