MLC Logo 

Annual 7 Chapter 2
 

Himmler's Police Auxiliaries in the Occupied Soviet Territories
by Richard Breitman

Just over one month after Germany invaded the Soviet Union, Heinrich Himmler's office issued the first regulation formally approving the use of auxiliary non-German forces known as Schutzmannschaften, or defense units. Such non-German police 1 were needed because the SS and police did not have sufficient German manpower in the East to carry out all their tasks.2 During a visit to Riga on 30 July 1941, Himmler said he would make use of the Schutzmannschaft men outside their own home territories 3 - the first indication of these collaborators' future role and importance. Many were destined to be not mere local police helpers of the Nazis, but rather mobile executioners, antipartisan soldiers, and eventually, combat troops in other regions.

The Schutzmannschaften evolved over time in the direction of a military force in spite of significant resistance. Himmler's SS and police easily beat German civil and military authorities, who also wanted control of this asset. A second controversy, however, split the ranks of the SS. As a semi-military unit, the Schutzmannschaft was a potential symbol of national aspirations, particularly in the Baltic states. Some pragmatists among the SS were willing to offer at least the shadow of national institutions to collaborating "races" in the East, primarily to encourage greater efforts for the German cause. Ideologues, Hitler and Himmler among them, at first feared that any concessions to Baltic nationalism would dilute German racial and political hegemony. But even Hitler had to give some ground under the pressure of adverse military events. Such tension between racial ideology and practical military-political needs marked many Nazi policies in the East. In this sense, the history of the Schutzmannschaften is a history in microcosm of the Nazi regime's difficulties as an imperial power.

Himmler had suggested that his police authorities in the conquered Soviet territories should look for recruits among the men still available in their regions and among the non-Communist POWs.4 Nazi officials were particularly eager to gain the assistance of locals with military and/or police experience. Kurt Daluege, whose Order Police had the task of preparing, administering, and training the new non-German defense units, simply assumed that most recruits could wear their former army uniforms -either from the Russian army or from the pre-1940 Estonian, Latvian, or Lithuanian armies- though he wrote that all insignias and even the buttons had to be removed. An armband with the inscription Schutzmann, a number, and a designation of locale helped to indicate each recruit's new status. At first Daluege could offer only free rations, but there was a prospect for wages from the Reich in the future, which did materialize. Daluege ordered that preparations be made for security police officials to screen the candidates carefully if local officials did not,5 but he and others wanted to move quickly-the screening could be done later.6

In Latvia, German authorities selected reliable men from the more or less spontaneously formed self-defense units that had sprung up as Russian troops evacuated the area. By 10 August the Latvian Schutzmannschaft had a commanding body consisting of 10 officers and 27 men; and all the Latvian police districts and branches, including the prison employees, were technically gathered under the umbrella of the Schutzmannschaft as well. Thus, the total number of Latvian Schutzmannschaft men was 174 officers and 2,799 men. Under the leadership of the Order Police, the Riga Schutzmannschaft was said to have participated in large and successful raids against Bolsheviks and Jews; it had also disarmed Latvian partisans in a wooded area southwest of Riga, and shot Communists and others considered political criminals.7

On 1 August the Order Police took control of the existing Lithuanian auxiliary police companies, which then received green armbands with the designation Schutzmannschaft.8 The transformation occurred at a time when Lithuanian auxiliary police and volunteers under German instructions were executing Jews in some of the forts surrounding Kovno (Kaunas) and when German authorities were relocating the bulk of the city's Jews into a closed ghetto in the suburb of Viliampole (Slobodke).9 German and Lithuanian police resources were stretched thin even before the Lithuanian Schutzmannschaft men were sent elsewhere, so new Schutzmannschaft companies were raised.

Battalions of Ukrainian Schutzmannschaften, composed of released prisoners of war, performed police tasks under the Higher SS and Police Leader (South) in October 1941.10 Elsewhere, the new institution took shape at a slower rate. Estonian partisans had formed military forces called Hundertschaften to help expel the Russians, and German authorities were content to work with those units for some time. There were also very few Jews left in Estonia - most having fled - so there was less immediate pressure there for German-directed auxiliary police and Schutzmannschaften. By early 1942, however, Himmler pushed for the creation of 12 full Estonian Schutzmannschaft battalions, which were to be used primarily, but not exclusively, within Estonia to keep order and carry out police tasks.11

In Byelorussia, Nazi authorities had early difficulties with the initial local "order service" (Ordnungsdienst), which was described as an organized band of thieves lacking both training and the proper attitude. The result was that Einsatzgruppe B refused to arm the Ordnungsdienst. Nonetheless, there is mention of a Byelorussian Schutzmannschaft by early 1942.12 In short, Himmler's order was implemented in all regions in the East, if not necessarily at the same pace.

In November 1941 Daluege issued a more detailed set of regulations. He identified the non-German urban and rural patrolmen (Einzeldienst) as well as all non-German firemen as part of the Schutzmannschaft. With respect to these changes, the Schutzmannschaft was largely a new term for older offices and functions, with the difference that all Schutzmannschaft men were clearly subordinated to German police authorities. There were also auxiliary Schutzmannschaft men who served on work details and carried out guard duties for the German police or the military.

Most important, however, were the Schutzmannschaften in "closed" or battle units (geschlossene Einheiten), organized into battalions, companies, platoons, and squads. In typical German fashion, Daluege allocated unique battalion numbers to each region: 1-50 for the domain of the Higher SS and Police Leader North (1-15 for Lithuania, 16-30 for Latvia, 31-50 for Estonia); 51-100 for Russia Center; and 101-200 for Russia South and the Ukraine.13 This seemingly neat system later broke down, when there proved to be not enough numbers allocated to Latvia, Lithuania, and the Ukraine. Each company was supposed to have 140 men; each battalion had three companies plus a staff of about 40. A German officer was assigned to supervise each Schutzmannschaft battalion.14

Once organized and trained, the Schutzmannschaften could be used under German supervision to help carry out killings of Communists and Jews. Because Byelorussia had a high concentration of Jews and partisans, and because the killing apparatus there was less efficient than elsewhere, Byelorussia became the early destination for a number of Schutzmannschaften. At least two companies of the Lithuanian Twelfth Schutzmannschaft Battalion,15 for example, were attached to the German Eleventh Reserve Police Battalion under Major Franz Lechthaler, which was sent to Minsk in the fall of 1941. Using Minsk as a base, the German and Lithuanian policemen began to rid Byelorussia of perceived enemies. An officer told them that their task was to purify various locations of Jews.16

On the morning of 27 October 1941, a first lieutenant from German Police Battalion 11 told Gebietskommissar Carl in the Byelorussian city of Slutzk that he had the task of liquidating all Jews in Slutzk within two days - he also had to liquidate Jews elsewhere. All Jews, even the skilled workers whom Gebietskommissar Carl tried to save, were shot in a mass execution just outside the city. The German reserve policemen and the Lithuanian Schutzmannschaft men also beat many Byelorussians and plundered shops. Carl's report on the incident stressed the role of the Lithuanians, and his protest to the Generalkommissar in Minsk concluded: "In the future, keep this police battalion away from me by all means."17

Slutzk was not an isolated incident. According to a Soviet court judgment, the same Lithuanian Schutzmannschaft battalion shot 617 civilians in the township of Dukara on 8 October;18 unarmed Soviet soldiers and the chairman of a collective farm in the village of Sergejevichi on 10 October; 188 civilians in the township of Rudensk on an unspecified date; 1,300 civilians in the township of Smilovichi on 14 October; 625 Communists from the Minsk concentration camp on 15-16 October; 1,150 Communists from the Minsk concentration camp on 18 October; 1,000 civilians in the township of Koidanovo (now Dzerzhinsk) on 21 October; 1,500 civilians in the township of Nesvizh on an unspecified date; 8,000 civilians in the town of Borisov on 9-10 November; 3,000 civilians in the township of Kletsk on 13 November; and 1,000 civilians in the township of Berezino on an unspecified date in the fall.18 According to a report for October and early November by the German military commandant for Byelorussia, more than 10,000 "partisans" were executed during the month (10,431 out of 10,490 prisoners taken). The division of labor in these operations was to use the relatively scarce German Security Police 19 for investigations and interrogations only, and to direct other matters, including the bulk of the executions, to the Schutzmannschaften, or where possible, the Order Police. 20

Even those units remaining closer to home could become involved in mass executions, if the need arose. One example occurred in the Latvian port city of Libau (Liepaja), where SS and police authorities had executed relatively small numbers of Jews and Communists during the fall of 1941.21 The killings set off a controversy when German civilian authorities objected, and the dispute reached the desk of Reich Commissar for the Ostland Hinrich Lohse, who barred further executions in the city.22 On 15 December 1941 unknown parties shot at a member of the Wehrmacht in the harbor of Libau. According to prevailing Nazi beliefs, the Jews were responsible for most acts of resistance. As a result, on the same day, 270 Jews were executed on a beach (Skede) near Libau. By the next day it was possible to arrange a larger operation, with the assistance of the Latvian 21st Schutzmannschaft Battalion. A total of more than 2,700 Jews were shot within three days, and some stages of the operation were photographed. The local population not only heard about the shootings, but also spread the rumor that they were filmed in order to provide evidence incriminating the Latvian Schutzmannschaft and exculpating the Germans.23 Afterwards, the office of the local SS and police leader (SS und Polizei Standortfuhrer) noted that the Schutzmannschaft had performed heavy duty during the fateful three days; the officers and men received special thanks, and each got three days of special leave.24

Some German officials hoped to make different use of the forces. General Commissar Otto Drechsler in Latvia wanted to establish Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian legions, which would be turned over to the Armed Forces High Command (OKW). But Himmler blocked this plan. He would never permit the establishment of national legions, he wrote, although he would allow a great many Schutzmannschaften;25 legions could become nuclei of national armies, which might stimulate national consciousness in areas where the Nazis wanted absolute German supremacy. Creating legions might also have forced Himmler to give over some control of the new forces to the military. In contrast, the Schutzmannschaften were smaller police forces operating behind the Russian front, performing less than glamorous tasks. They were no threat.

The unexpected stiffening of Russian forces and the shock of a Russian winter led some Nazi officials to suggest use of the Schutzmannschaften in a straight military capacity. Having largely completed the task of killing Jews in the Baltic states,26 Security Police Commander for the Ostland Franz Walter Stahlecker moved on to take a hand in the battle against the Russian forces on the northern front, after the Russians threatened to break through the right wing of the German Sixteenth Army. Stahlecker told Heydrich and Himmler that the deployment of Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian formations would greatly relieve Army Group North. Stahlecker admitted that this involvement in a "common struggle" might create potentially dubious political obligations-at least in the case of the Latvians and Lithuanians-but he nonetheless favored the use of Estonian units. Higher SS and Police Leader for the Ostland Friedrich Jeckeln shared Stahlecker's view, and he carried the message personally to Himmler.27

Himmler immediately referred the decision to Hitler, who rejected the suggestion, deciding instead to increase the number of Schutzmannschaften. Himmler reported back that there were not even enough weapons for German forces, and that Hitler was generally opposed to the principle of using the non- Germans in this capacity.28 Jeckeln tried at least once more to get the Fuhrer's approval for non-German military formations, and he did gain a slight concession. Hitler stood by his fundamental view that the Schutzmannschaften should help the German police secure the rear areas (which meant primarily the execution of Jews and Communists, and combat against partisans). But he would allow some use of non-German units for military purposes under the tactical control of the army commander, provided that they did not fight on the front lines together with German troops. If any Schutzmannschaften were not involved in military activity, they remained under the control of the Higher SS and Police leader.29

The number of potential troops involved was substantial. Jeckeln gave a rough estimate of 15,000 to 20,000 Latvians alone. There would also be Estonian Schutzmannschaften once the Estonian self-defense forces were properly converted and trained. But Himmler intended to send some of the Estonians to other areas, as he had already done with the Latvians and Lithuanians. Jeckeln requested the military to supply 10, 000 uniforms and boots -without much hope of getting them. More realistically, he thought of using the surplus SS uniforms in Germany. To clothe a Latvian as an SS-man was out of the question; the uniforms had to be dyed before they could be used. Himmler himself handled the matter of the color.30

Around this time Kurt Daluege gave a more precise total of 31,652 Schutzmannschaft men in the Reich Commissariat Ostland. In the Ukraine, where some ethnic Germans were allowed to join the predominantly Ukrainian Schutzmannschaften, the corresponding figure was 14,452. These numbers, however, included the fire units and the urban and rural patrolmen.31 A good estimate might be that a little more than half of these totals represented men in battle units.

Shortly thereafter, German authorities in Latvia issued an appeal for volunteers for the Latvian Schutzmannschaft. By late March 1942 about 8,000 more men volunteered, but then a hitch developed. A senior German railway official named Balk issued an ordinance providing for the whipping of Latvian employees. Although Balk was soon transferred home and the ordinance cancelled, the incident nonetheless caused a great deal of bitterness among Latvians that adversely affected recruitment. At a speech in Mitau (Jelgava), SS and Police Leader Schroder of Latvia went so far as to say: "This idiot tried to sabotage good German-Latvian relations."32

There were other, more fundamental problems, however. The wages for the Schutzmannschaft men did not suffice to take care of their dependents. Some had also been sent to the Ukraine to guard POW camps, bridges, and the like, after they had been promised the chance to fight the Bolsheviks on the front - actions that further impaired morale and recruitment. The inflow of Latvian volunteers was reported to have virtually halted in April, except in Lettgallen.33

SS authorities judged the Estonian Schutzmannschaften to have performed their military duties well. Himmler's liking for the blond, blueeyed Estonians (and perhaps also the influence of his Estonian-born masseur Felix Kersten) may have colored this judgment, but military authorities also praised their service as ausgezeichnet.34 The Estonians were the best of the Eastern peoples, Himmler asserted. By late summer 1942, Himmler accordingly induced Hitler to approve the creation of an Estonian SS Legion that could serve on the front lines. Himmler also decided to allow Estonians (and only Estonians) to wear the green police uniform; suitable officers and noncommissioned officers could also be admitted into the Waffen-SS and the police.35

The other nationalities had some difficulties. After a number of officers in the 19th Latvian Schutzmannschaft Battalion made anti-German remarks, Friedrich Jeckeln called the officers of two Latvian battalions on the carpet. But after threatening them with disciplinary proceedings, Jeckeln said that in the future he hoped to form the Schutzmannschaft front-line battalions into a closed regiment or even a division, and he held out the prospect of a Latvian Legion within the SS. He observed that he had already discussed this idea with Himmler.

When these remarks reached the ears of Reichskommissar Lohse, Jeckeln came under heavy criticism from Lohse and later from Himmler. Partly as a result of this situation and partly as the consequence of Latvian failures in battle between 20 and 24 June, Jeckeln said that he had decided not to use the 19th and 21st Schutzmannschaft Battalions in battle against Russian forces in the future, but only against partisans. Nevertheless, it appears that the 19th Battalion was still fighting on the Leningrad front in late 1942.36

In the central Russian sector, meanwhile, SS-Gruppenfuhrer Erich von dern Bach-Zelewski established a special department in charge of foreign Schutzmannschaften that dealt with recruitment and deployment of units for security tasks, guard duties, and labor commando units; with provision of uniforms, equipment, arms, and housing; and with establishment of guidelines for training, maintenance of order, promotions, and decorations. In order to create a corps of officers and noncommissioned officers, the department established a Ukrainian school and pulled suitable Ukrainians out of existing units for use at the school.37

Bach-Zelewski had both positive and negative experiences with the Schutzmannschaften. Eight Lithuanians from Battalion 255, for example, were decorated for bravery in February 1943, but there was also discussion of disciplinary action against Schutzmannschaft men. The SS and Police Leader in Mogilev established a jail for foreign Schutzmdnner in the former GPU building.38 There was clearly a need for such a facility; one of the Einsatzgruppen reports indicated that plundering, theft, and physical attacks by the Schutzmannschaft against the civilian population in Byelorussia were increasing.39 The Lithuanians had particular difficulties farther north as well. According to a military report, in spite of the German liaison officers' attempts to impose discipline, the Germans could not rely on the Lithuanians either for battle or for protection of roads.40

The Latvians and Lithuanians, however, did participate successfully in numerous antipartisan and security police operations during 1942 and early 1943 in the rear army group areas, particularly in Byelorussia. Lithuanian Schutzmannschaft Battalion 254E participated in Operation Nuremberg in the forest and swamp area around Glebokie, during which all Jews and gypsies were treated as enemies out of uniform. Approximately 800 "bandits," 350 suspected "bandits," 1,800 Jews, and 7 gypsies were killed in the course of this operation; German and Schutzmannschaft casualties were 2 dead, 10 wounded. The Lithuanian 15th Battalion, the Ukrainian 115th Battalion, and the Latvian 271st Battalion participated in Operations Hamburg and Altona with similar methods and results. Byelorussian Schutzmannschaft Battalion 57 and Lithuanian Schutzmannschaft Battalion 12 took part in Operations Harvest Festival I and 11, during which entire villages were liquidated. One of the German officers who participated wrote in his diary that he secretly felt that hardly a single bandit was killed.

Other Latvian, Lithuanian, Byelorussian, and Ukrainian units participated in Operations Hornung, Cottbus, Hermann, and Heinrich, which were equally lethal to civilian inhabitants of Byelorussia. Gauleiter Kube commented caustically that, despite the report of 13,000 enemy dead in Operation Cottbus, only 950 weapons were captured. The vast majority of the enemies were unarmed.41 Ukrainian Schutzmannschaft men fought under the infamous Dirlewanger Battalion, under the command of Oscar Dirlewanger, which left a trail of mass murder and mayhem across Byelorussia.42

The widespread executions of civilians were not accidental or spontaneous outbursts; they fit more or less into Himmler's original plan. Five weeks after the beginning of the Russian campaign, Himmler had forecast that villages in the marshlands were going to be bases either for the Germans or for their enemies. Although the ethnic Germans provided the only racially suitable allies in the region, Ukrainian villagers hostile to the Jews, Poles, or Russians might provide the Nazis with local bases and manpower. Himmler noted that such villagers could be armed and administered under German supervision. Racially inferior and criminal elements, he declared, were to be targets. Anyone assisting the partisans was to be shot, women and children deported, cattle and food confiscated, villages razed to the ground.43

Himmler knew that foreign manpower was crucial to the anti-Jewish and antipartisan campaigns in the Soviet Union. But relying upon the Schutzmannschaften was not without problems. He tried to remedy them through tight German control of the racially inferior masses and through elevation of a racially suitable elite. This second strategy was not only a method of control but also an effort to Germanize men of apparently suitable racial stock.

In October 1942 Himmler issued guidelines instructing German officers to make sure that all Schutzmannschaft men looked them in the eyes. Himmler observed that one can read everything in the eyes, and a superior could keep a subordinate obedient with a good enough stare. Himmler forbade the regular use of Schutzmannschaft men who met German or SS racial qualifications as noncommissioned officers or officers. Instead, they were to be gathered in the first company of each Schutzmannschaft battalion and placed under a German SS or police officer. The German officer could bring these men gradually to full awareness of their race and of their distinction from the others in the same battalion. After a few months, the first companies could be given the right to sing in German on the street; the other companies were allowed to sing only in their native languages. Himmler intended eventually to allow the first companies, who were to study German, to give the German greeting (Heil Hitler). He might in the future form a special battalion out of the first companies, which, he ordered, were to be particularly well clothed and armed. The racially inferior Schutzmannschaft men were to be used as officers and noncommissioned officers in the remaining companies of the battalions. Himmler issued these secret guidelines to high SS and police officials in the East, with instructions that they were to be locked up and never copied.44

In December 1942 Himmler ordered his subordinates to select 1,000 Latvians and Lithuanians who met SS racial qualifications and were unblemished politically. These individuals were to be placed in German police battalions, not more than 10 per company.45 But this step fell far short of the hopes of the Latvian activists, and the Latvian administration petitioned the Reich Commissar for the Ostland to allow the establishment of a Latvian army. Himmler's recruitment expert Gottlob Berger rejected the proposal, but suggested a substitute to Himmler: racially suitable volunteers could form a unit to be controlled by the Reichsfiihrer SS and to be used either for antipartisan warfare or, if particularly well qualified and large enough, as a Latvian Legion.46

As Germany's catastrophic situation at Stalingrad and its continuing casualties on the Leningrad front became clearer, it was obvious that more extensive measures were necessary. Himmler explained the situation to Hitler on 23 January 1943 and procured a positive decision: the Fuhrer ordered the establishment of Latvian and Lithuanian SS Volunteer Legions. Himmler christened the two Latvian Schutzmannschaft battalions already fighting with the 2nd SS Brigade, together with another Latvian battalion until then with Bach-Zelewski, as the Latvian SS Volunteer Legion; and he held out the prospect of an entire Latvian division, in which the new legion would be one regiment.47 Himmler also ordered the mobilization of 4,000 Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian auxiliary police who were to be rushed to the Leningrad front to reinforce the 2nd SS Brigade fighting there.48

In February 1943 Jeckeln set in motion plans for the far-reaching mobilization of the Latvian and Lithuanian population: the most useful men taken for the legions, the less useful assigned to the commander of Army Group North for auxiliary service (als Hilfsdienstwillige), and those capable of labor assigned to Fritz Sauckel, plenipotentiary for labor. Jeckeln hoped to produce Latvian and Lithuanian divisions of 15,000 men each.49 As usual, there were snags. The Lithuanians, for example, heard rumors of negotiations in Berlin regarding autonomy to be granted to the Baltic states and wanted to increase the possibility of autonomy by demonstrating, according to one German report, that only an autonomous government (not the German authorities) could carry out recruitment on such a scale. Reich Commissar Lohse had called for volunteers for the legions and the armed forces, but the police began to use compulsion. Meanwhile, the use of propaganda on behalf of the new measures came too late to be effective. 50

Eventually, Himmler approved the appointment of Latvian General Bangerskis to head the recruitment office for the Latvian Volunteer Legion; and he consented to lowering the height requirement for Latvians to 1.64 meters, though the SS-Brigade still was to require 1.68 meters.51 Himmler noted that there was some confusion about the meaning of the term Latvian Legion. He specified that the term legion now was a general concept for all the Latvian units that were connected with the Waffen-SS and police. The Latvian Legion was subordinate to him and the Higher SS and Police Leader Ostland (as long as the legion remained in the Ostland).52 There continued to be problems and confusion over how to recruit and equip the Latvians, but some 8,000 men and 300 officers were added by mid-1943. The progress enabled Himmler to order the formation of a Latvian Volunteer Division and the recruitment of the remaining 16,000 men by 1 August 1943.53

On the surface, this elevation of the Latvians and Lithuanians to legion status meant granting the Latvian and Lithuanian peoples their place in the Nordic sun. Yet it is clear from the sequence of events that Himmler and Hitler willingly granted only the Estonians this position of honor. The Latvians earned their legion through effective combat in the winter of 1942-43, while approval of the idea of a Lithuanian legion was a measure of how desperate the Nazi regime had become for troops after the catastrophe at Stalingrad.

By October 1943 Himmler wrote in outrage to the commander of the armed forces for the Ostland about a report that his office had opposed the drafting of Latvians and Estonians. After stating that he could not believe what he had heard, Himmler threatened to summon a courtmartial and also to complain to the Fuhrer personally. These troops were now essential to the defense of the eastern front.54 The same Himmler had originally opposed the use of the Schutzmannschaften as combat forces on the front.

Influenced in part by their reading about Genghis Khan, who had used warfare to weld nomadic tribes and peoples into a unitary force, Hitler and Himmler wanted to avoid camaraderie among the Germans and the conquered peoples in the East.55 The use of non-Germans in combat roles created racial and political dangers for the future that they preferred to avoid. When the situation became desperate enough, however, some racial beliefs could be adapted to meet the needs of the moment.

In another sphere, the Nazi leaders were eager to have the nonGermans shed blood, namely, that of innocent civilians -Jews, gypsies, other racial groups, and those suspected of helping partisans. One reason was that so many people were marked for extermination and the Nazis needed help with the task. But there is an additional factor that drew the Schutzmannschaften into mass murder. From the beginning of the Russian campaign, the SS authorities had sought to involve the nonGermans in actions against Jews, without letting it be known that the Nazis themselves had sponsored the pogroms.56 In this sense, the Schutzmannschaften were the successors to the militias, self-defense forces, and auxiliary police formed during the weeks after 22 June, 1941. As opposed to certain specialized killing units composed of nonGermans (the Latvian Arajs commando, the Lithuanian Ypatinga Buras), the Schutzmannschaften were larger and carried out more diverse functions. Toward the end of the war, more and more Schutzmannschaft men were engaged in real combat, which made it possible for the survivors to present themselves as soldiers after the war. Nonetheless, the Schutzmannschaft killings of civilians involved these collaborators in monstrous crimes, and Hitler and Himmler must have thought that it would not be easy for such partners to desert the German cause.

Toward the end of the war, however, thousands of former Schutzmannschaft men fled toward the West. A good many, no doubt, were primarily soldiers or local policemen. But others were members of units that had fought "partisans" in the rear areas. West German officials have prosecuted some non-German collaborators involved in mass killings in the East, and American courts have denaturalized and deported some, too. But the mixed image of the Schutzmannschaften has benefited their members in the West: Western countries have yet to try a single Schutzmannschaft man for war crimes.

NOTES

This is a revised version of a paper delivered at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, San Francisco, 30 December 1989.

1. Nazi authorities usually reserved the term police for Germans. NonGerman officials or units performing police functions under German direction or supervision were initially called auxiliary police and then fell under the rubric of the Schutzmannschaft.

2. National Archives and Records Administration [hereafter cited as NARA], Record Group [hereafter cited as RG] 242, Microfilm publication T-454, roll 100, frames 699-700.

3. See NARA, RG 242, T-175, roll 112, frame 2637747 for Himn-der's itinerary; T-581, roll 39A for confirmation in Himmler's office manager's log, 30 July 1941; and T-175, roll 233, frame 2721867, Ereignismeldung UdSSR, No. 48, 10 Aug. 1941, for Himmler's comment.

4. NARA, RG 242, T-454, roll 100, frame 699: Himmler's instruction.

5. Ibid., frames 701-2: Daluege, Schutzformationen in den neubesetzten Ostgebieten, 31 July 1941.

6. See ibid., frame 696, on the need for haste.

7. Nuremberg Doc. L-180: Einsatzgruppe A, Gesamtbericht bis zurn 15. Oktober 1941 [Stahlecker's Report]. Publ. in International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, 42 vols. (Washington, 1949), 37: 679-80 [hereafter cited as TMWC]; NARA, RG 242, T-501, roll 2, frames 1103-5: Priitzmann, Bildung von Hilfspolizeiverbanden durch Landeseinwohner, 21 Aug. 1941.

8. NARA, RG 242, T-175, roll 233, frames 2721792 and 2721955: Ereignismeldung UdSSR, No. 43, 5 Aug. 1941 and Ereignismeldung UdSSR, No. 54, 16 Aug. 1941.

9. In Kaunas, Einsatzkommando 3 selected enough reliable Lithuanian partisans to form five companies of auxiliary police, two of which were directly subordinated to the Einsatzkommando. The first company was sent to guard a fort at the outskirts of the city (Fort 7) and to carry out executions there. The second company was assigned what was called regular (order) police duties. See NARA, RG 242, T-175, roll 233, frame 2721430: Ereignismeldung UdSSR, No. 14, 6 July 1941. Killings at Fort 7 began on the evening of 30 June 1941 and continued regularly thereafter. See United States v. Kazys Palciauskas, Exhibits, No. 81-547-Civ-T-GC (M.D. Fla. 1983): "Massacre at the Seventh Fortress," from the Diary of Abraham Tory, p. 2. 1 am indebted to Michael Wolf for this source. See also report by Karl JAger, 1 Dec. 1941, reprinted in Adalbert Riickerl, ed., NS-Prozesse (Karlsruhe, 1971), nonpaginated facsimile appendix, concerning the executions in the forts listed there.

10. NARA, RG 242, T-501, roll 1, frame 127: Befehlshaber des ruckw. Heeres-Gebietes Mitte to OKH, 5 Oct. 1941. The commander of Army Group South unsuccessfully tried to gain control of these Ukrainian Schutzmannschaften.

11. Zentrale Stelle Ludwigsburg [hereafter cited as ZStLI, Slg. UdSSR, Teil 2, Ordner 401, Bild 4: Heydrich to Chefs der Einsatzgruppen A, B, C, und D, 13 Sept. 1941; Bundesarchiv-Militarchiv Freiburg, RH 22277/34-37: der Quartiermeister b. Befehlshaber des ruckwartigen Heeres-Gebiet Nord, Aktenvermerk, 3 Feb. 1942.

12. NARA, RG 242, T-175, roll 233, frame 2722118: Ereignismeldung UdSSR, No. 67, 29 Aug. 1941; roll 235, frame 2723967: Ereignismeldung UdSSR, No. 178, 9 Mar. 1942.

13. NARA, RG 242, T-454, roll 100, frames 724-30: Schutzmannschaften in den Ostgebieten, 6 Nov. 1941. A refined version of the numbering system was issued later. See Bundesarchiv Koblenz [hereafter cited as BAK] R19/281, pp. 3la-34: Jedicke, Gliederung der Schutzmannschafts-Batl.

14. BAK R19/281, pp. 3la-34: Jedicke, Gliederung der SchutzmannschaftsBatl.; R19/326, pp. 10-11: Deutsche Aufsichtsoffiziere ffir die geschlossenen Einheiten der Schutzmannschaft, 24 Dec. 1941.

15. This was originally called the Second Auxiliary Police Battalion, then the Second Schutzmannschaft Battalion. Shortly after this battalion, composed of three companies, moved its headquarters to Minsk, and in conjunction with the standard numbering systems, it became the Twelfth Schutzmannschaft Battalion.

16. ZStL, 202 AR-Z 262/59, Bd. 1, esp. pp. 314-16: testimony of Polizeimeister Franz Weiss, 9 May 1960.

17. Nuremberg Doc. PS-1104: Carl to Generalkommissar Minsk, 30 Oct. 1941.

18. Lithuanian SSR, Case 2-15s, 1962, verdict against Antanas Impulevicius, et. al., 20 Oct. 1962.

19. The Security Police, headed by Reinhard Heydrich, was a fusion of all the German state political and criminal police forces. Although recruited from various sources, the mobile Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos performed security police functions in the East. When these units became stationary, their leaders became formally Security Police officials. Before the war, the Order Police were involved in more mundane functions such as traffic control or patrolling. But battalions of Order Police and of older reserve police took part in the killings of Jews, Communists, and other assorted enemies in the wake of the invasion of the USSR.

20. Yad Vashem Archive, Jerusalem, 0-53-6: Monatsbericht 11 Okt. 1941-10 Nov. 1941 des Kommandanten Weissruthenien des Wehrmachtbefehlshabers Ostland; Institut fur Zeitgeschichte, Fa 213/3: Tschierschky's Aktenvermerk of 19 Oct. 1941, cited in Helmut Krausnick and HansHeinrich Wilhelm, Die Truppe des Weltanschauungskrieges: Die Einsatzgruppen der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD, 1938-1942 (Stuttgart, 1981), p. 518.

21. Krausnick and Wilhelm, Truppe des Weltanschauungskrieges, pp. 571-72.

22, Nuremberg Doc. PS-3663: Lohse to Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories, 15 Nov. 1941.

23. Krausnick and Wilhelm, Truppe des Weltanschauungskrieges, pp. 572-75. Some of the photos are reproduced in Gerald Fleming, Hitler and the Final Solution (Berkeley, 1984), plates 5a and 5b.

24. BAK, R70 Sowjetunion / 20, pp. 82-83: Standortbefehl Nr. 6, 23 Dec. 1941.

25. NARA, RG 242, T-175, roll 22, frames 2527941-43: Gottlob Berger to Himmler, 2 Oct. 1941, and Rudolf Brandt to Berger, 17 Oct. 1941.

26. See Nuremberg Doc. PS-2273: Stahlecker's report (excerpt in TMWC 30:72- 80).

27. NARA, RG 242, T-175, roll 109, frames 2633024-31: Stahlecker to Heydrich and Heydrich to Himmler, 25 Jan. 1942.

28. NARA, RG 242, T-175, roll 127, frame 2654001: Hinunler to Jeckeln, 27 Jan. 1942. Himmler had met with Hitler for dinner in the evening of 25 Jan. 1942, after Jeckein had met with Himmler earlier that day. NARA, RG 242, T-581, roll 39A; NARA, RG 242, T-175, roll 127, frame 2654002: Himmler to Stahlecker, 27 Jan. 1942.

29. NARA, RG 242, T-84, roll 26 (no frame): Jeckeln-Himmler phone conversation, 9 Feb. 1942, summarized by Himmler: Wiinscht der Fahrer Letten, Esthen als Heeresverbande?; ibid., T-501, roll 7, frames 1077-78: Quartiermeister Aktenvermerk, Besprechung mit Hoherem SS- und Polizeififuhrer Nord, 13 Feb. 1942.

30. NARA, RG 242, T-501, roll 7, frames 1077-78: Besprechung mit Hoherem SS- und Polizefuhirer Nord, 13 Feb. 1942; ibid., T-84, roll 26 (no frame): Himmler's log of telephone discussions, 3 Feb. 1942, shows Pohl: Farben d. schwarzen Uniform f. Schutzmannschaften.

31. ZStL, Slg. Verschiedenes, Bd. 117, pp. 383-84: Daluege's Vortrag uber den Krafte- und Kriegseinsatz der Ordnungspolizei im Jahre 1941, Dienstbesprechung der Befehlshaber und Inspekteure vom 1-4. Feb. 1942.

32. NARA, RG 242, T-175, roll 235, frames 2724168-69: Ereignismeldung UdSSR, No. 190, 8 Apr. 1942.

33. Ibid., frames 2724093 and 2724307: Ereignismeldung UdSSR, Nos. 187 and 195, 30 Mar. and 24 Apr. 1942.

34. NARA, RG 242, T-312, roll 585, frame 8203803: A.O.K. 16, Richtlinien fur die Erkundung und Aufklarung, 11 Sept. 1942. 1 am indebted to Michael MacQueen for this reference.

35. NARA, RG 242, T-175, roll 22, frame 2527939: Rudolf Brandt to Gottlob Berger, 17 Aug. 1942. Also ibid., roll 127, frame 2652928.

36. Nuremberg Doc. NO-766: Jeckeln to Lohse, 30 July 1942; Nuremberg Doc. NO- 769: Brandt to Berger, 17 Aug. 1942; NARA, RG 242, T-175, roll 11, frame 2512901: Kriegstagebuch Nr. 1, Gruppe SS-Polizei Ost, 15 Nov. -31 Dec. 1942.

37. NARA, RG 242, T-175, roll 226, frame 2765406: Bach's Fremdldndische Schutzmannschaften, 12 May 1942; ibid., frames 2765405 and 2765402: Tagesbefehl, 14 May 1942 and 10 July 1942.

38. Ibid., frame 2765380: Tagesbefehl Nr. 2, 13 Jan. 1943; ibid., frame 2765376: Tagesbefehl Nr. 5, 10 Feb. 1943.

39. NARA, RG 242, T-175, roll 235, frame 2723976: Ereignismeldung UdSSR, No. 178, 9 Mar. 1943.

40. NARA, RG 242, T-312, roll 585, frames 8203803-4: A.O.K. 16, Richtlinien fur die Erkundung und Aufklarung, 11 Sept. 1942. See also NARA, RG 312, roll 385, frames 8203493-95: Beyer Stellungnahme, 27 Nov. 1942.

41. The best brief summary of this material is in ZStL, 202 AR 509/70, Bd. II, pp. 38-82: Abschlussbericht, Kampfgruppe von Gottberg (Wilke's diary quoted on p. 55). For Kube, see BAK, R19/319, p. 116: Kube to Lohse and Rosenberg, Lage in Minsk, 29 June 1943.

42. See the extensive references in NARA, RG 242, T-354, roll 649, frames 254- 415.

43. Nuremberg Doc. NO-5929.

44. NARA, RG 242, T-175, roll 127, frame 2654643: Anordnung uber die Behandlung der Schutzmannschaften, 9 Oct. 1942.

45. NARA, RG 242, T-175, roll 22, frame 2527917: Himmler to Chef der Ordnungspolizei and Chef des SS-Hauptamts, 6 Dec. 1942.

46. Ibid., frames 2527913 and 2527817: Berger to Himmler, 11 Dec. 1942 and 12 Jan. 1943.

47. Ibid., frame 2527889: Himmler's Aktennotiz of 30 Jan. 1943; ibid., frames 2527893, 2527891, 2527890, 2527867: Himmler's Fernschreiben to jeckeln, 24 Jan. 1943; Klingemann, 24 Jan. 1943; juttner, 27 Jan. 1943, and BachZelewski, 27 Jan. 1943. The telegram to Klingemann mentions four battalions; that to Juttner mentions three plus 900 volunteers.

48. Ibid., frames 2527887 and 2527807: Jeckeln to Hoheren SS- und Polizeifuhrer Ostland, 27 Jan. 1943, and Himmler to Jeckeln, 28 Jan. 1943; ibid., frame 2527806: Grothmann's Aktennotiz uber das Gesprach mit SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Jeckeln, 3 Feb. 1942.

49. Ibid., frame 2527868: Jeckeln to Himmler, 19 Feb. 1943.

50. NARA, RG 242, T-454, roll 15, frames 357-58: Vermerk, 12 Mar. 1943.

51. NARA, RG 242, T-175, roll 22, frame 2527799: Himmler to Chef des SS- Fuhrungshauptamtes, Chef des SS-Hauptamtes, and Hansen, 24 Mar. 1943.

52. Ibid., frames 2527839-40: Himmler's Niederschrift, 26 May 1943.

53. Ibid., frames 2527837-38: Himmler to Hoheren SS- und Polizeifuhrer Ostland, et. al., 26 May 1943; ibid., frames 2527832-33: Berger to Himmler, 4 June 1943; ibid., frame 2527829: Himmler to Hoheren SS- und Polizeifuhrer Ostland, Chef des SS-Hauptamtes, 21 June 1943.

54. Ibid., frame 2527777: Himmler an den Wehrmachtsbefehlshaber Ostland, 14 Oct. 1943.

55. See Richard Breitman, "Hitler and Genghis Khan," Journal of Contemporary History 25 (1990):345-47. This influence is also treated in chap. 2 of my The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Plans for the 'Tinal Solution" (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991).

56. Krausnick and Wilhelm, Truppe des Weltanschauungskrieges, pp. 150-53, have an extensive discussion of Heydrich's telegram of 2 July 1941 to the Einsatzgruppen chiefs. Also Nuremberg Doc. L-180: Stahlecker report of 15 Oct. 1941 (TMWC 37:682).

Chap 3

[Home] [Index] [Courage to Remember] [Glossary of the Holocaust] [Educational Resources] [36 Questions About Holocaust] [Library] [Bookstore]

Copyright © 1997, The Simon Wiesenthal Center
9760 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90035