« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »

[Page 70]

German documents about
the annihilation of the Bukovina Jews

by Dr. Th. Löwenstein-Lawi (Jerusalem)

Translated by Jerome Silverbush

The main German source of information concerning the liquidation of the Jews of Bukovina is the monthly so-called “Activity and Situation Report” as well as the “Event Announcement” in which the reports of the Einsatzgruppen1 and Kommandos from the RSHA (Reich Security Main Office) are summarized. These reports are sent to various places (to the Chief of the Security Police) and the SD (Security Service), to the OKW2 staff and so on). Many of these Event Announcements have been preserved.

Of the so called “Einsatzgruppen formed in Spring of 1941, the Security Police and the Security Service, Einsatzgruppe D led by SS Brigade Leader Ohlendorf came to Bukovina.

On June 22, 1941 Romania's “holy war” began with the goal of re-conquering Bessarabia and North Bukovina, which, after the Soviet Union's ultimatum of June 26, 1940 had fallen to Russia. At the end of June 194, Einsatzgruppe D and its various Einsatzkommandos, together with German and Romanians troops had advanced into Bukovina and Bessarabia. About the activity of Einsatzgruppe D, Otto Ohlendorf, SS brigade leader and major general of the police said the following at Nuremberg:

Statement of Otto Ohlendorf on Thursday, January 1, 1946 before the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg:
Colonel Amen: Can you tell me the nature and size of the territory in which Group D originally operated?
Ohlendorf: The most northern city was Czernowitz and from there south Moghilew – Podolsk – Jampol, eastwards Zuwolje, Czerwind, Militopol, Taganrog, Rostow and the Crimea.
Colonel Amen: What were your instructions concerning the Jews and the Communist functionaries?
Ohlendorf: The instructions were given, that in the area of activity of the Einsatzgruppen in Russian territory to liquidate the Jews as well as the political Commissars of the Soviets.
Colonel Amens: When you use the word “liquidate,” do you mean “kill.”
Ohlendorf: With that I mean kill.
The following reports concerning Bukovina have been taken from the Event Announcements that have been preserved:
Czernowitz, June 9, 1941: Kommando 10 reached Czernowitz on Sunday June 6, 1941 at 6:15 pm after an advance unit made contact with the Romanian authorities on the previous day and arranged for quarters. Immediately after arrival, contact was made with the relevant commandant, Gendarme Major Dluschansky as well as with other Romanian authorities present and the take-over of the city was started. Using the available lists of suspects and newly drafted lists, on the 7th of the month, the arrest of Communists and Jews began. On the 8th of the month, a major action was conducted in which we were able to bring in almost everyone in the Jewish leadership strata. On the following day, the Kommando shot approximately 100 Jewish Communists. Together with the Jewish executions by the Romanian army and the police, in total, more than 500 Jews were shot in the course of the 8th and 9th of the month. A Kommando was sent to complete the work in Chotin. The report is not ready yet.

Event Announcement No. 22 Berlin, July 10, 1941
Einsatzgruppe D (Ohlendorf)….for Kdo Xb the completion of the task in Czernowitz in 3 to 5 days is anticipated. Kdo will then remain in the city in readiness for the anticipated AK.

Ek 10b, stationed in Czernowitz, advanced party in Chotin. The following has been determined in Czernowitz:
1) The Romanians have declared North Bukovina as Romanian Royal Territory.
2) In Romanian prisons in Czernowitz, there are a large number of Jews of the poor classes. The intelligentsia is hardly represented.
3) Romanians are inclined to take advantage of the present situation and eliminate the Ukrainian leader class in order to totally remove the “Ukrainian problem” in North Bukovina. 22 Ukrainians are in Romanian prison in Czernowitz. Herewith, the following instructions are directed to Xb.
a) Influence the Romanian officials to proceed more vigorously with the “Jewish question.” Jewish meetings should be broken up by us and plots uncovered in order to get the Romanians to act against the Jewish intelligentsia and in order for us to get involved.
b) In order to protect Ukrainians who can be valuable to us, especially OUN people, we can exchange Romanian Communists for them.
Concerning the cooperation of the Einsatzkommandos and the army, the following passage from the previous report is characteristic: Report of meeting with Generaloberst (4 star general) von Schobert by SS Staff Ohlendorf, July 12:

Report on the meeting:

a) The Generaloberst places value on not holding the Kdo's in readiness, but using them flexibly.
In the same report, the following is reported:
In the territories newly occupied by Romania, the same systematically building condition is not being developed as in the Old Kingdom2. In Bukovina, the two directions meet in the Romanian government. The men of good will have no hope that they win against the “Old Romanian3” governing clique. As a result, corrupt officials will enrich themselves in Bukovina. They will serve the Jews who in this way will practically rule the territory. At the same time, they will try with all means to eliminate the Ukrainians.
It seems that in the beginning, the Nazis were not completely satisfied with the Romanians. The reasons are given more specifically on the next day.


Event Announcement UdSSR Nr. 19 Berlin, July 21, 1941 Ek 10b

Frictionless work together with the Romanian Gendarmerie. Romanians have taken over the civil administration of Czernowitz. Action against Jews, without plan until arrival of Ek. Romanian soldiers plundering houses. Abuses occur mainly against Ukrainians. City mostly destroyed. The ghetto with the most Jews was almost completely destroyed by Red artillery. Ek stopped the harassment of the Ukrainians and made contact with the national Ukrainian organization, OUN.

From the same report and namely from the information on Ek 10a (located at Faleski, north of Iasi) it is clear to see what the Einsatzgruppen were dissatisfied with.

“Romanians satisfy themselves with plundering. So far a pogrom has not been achieved.”
In spite of that, not only the Gendarmerie, but also the Romanian police worked together with the Einsatzkommandos in the liquidation.


Event Report UdSSR No. 4a, Berlin, August 1, 1941. Einsatzgruppe D

1) Arrest and liquidation
In Czernowitz from about 1200 Jews arrested, 682 were shot in cooperation with the Romanian police.
In the region of Czernowitz, Chotin was finished up with 150 Jews and Communists being shot.
“At this time almost all the stores in Czernowitz are closed, either because they were destroyed during the plundering, or because the former business managers of the nationalized businesses didn't dare to appear since they were reliably marked as Communists by their positions. In addition to this, most of them are Jews who the authorities will not give permission to do business. The Romanians plan to reorganize business on a “cooperative” basis and in the future to ban Jews from commerce. Success in turning this concept into reality is questionable when one considers the corruption of the Romanian authorities and the incompetence of the Romanians in business matters. Meanwhile, the question of property ownership is being regulated as follows: all property nationalized during the Russian occupation, as long as it did not belong to Jews automatically goes back to the original owners. Property originally belonging to Jews becomes property of the state and after the war, will be divided among deserving soldiers and officials. In Activity and Situation Report No. 2 (report period from July 29 to August 14, 1941) the above information is repeated: “In North Bukovina, a civil administration under a governor of minister rank has been installed. Working together with Romanian police in Czernowitz, 682 Jews and 16 Communist functionaries and in Chotin near Czernowitz, 150 Jews and Communists have been liquidated. The Romanian police proceed against the Jews in a half-hearted way. The number of completed liquidations cannot be determined.”

Event Report of August 29, 1941

“In Czernowitz and through thorough searches eastwards to Dniester, a further 3106 Jews and 34 Communists liquidated.”
In the Activity and Situation report No. 3 (period from August 15 to August 31, 1941, these numbers are confirmed: “In Czernowitz and in the eastward area of operations a further 3106 Jews liquidated.” The Einsatzkommandos didn't restrict themselves to these direct actions, but also engaged in an activity of provocation to initiate pogroms. Müntz has pointed out that German officials partly from political reasons, incited the native population against the Jews, to divert the hostility of the Romanians toward the Ukrainians against the Jews.

At the time of the re-conquest of Bukovina, the Germans wanted to support Ukrainian nationalism and use this against Soviet Russia. Broszat said concerning this subject: “When the later measures, nevertheless were directed almost exclusively against the Jews, this was because the German side approved and gladly saw this, while action against the Ukrainians ran into German resistance, since the National Socialist leadership, out of political grounds had a strong interest in the Ukrainian Nationalist movement.”

In one report a picture of the economic situation when the conquerors arrived is given: “The commercial life in Czernowitz is completely dead. The Bolsheviks allowed the stores to be plundered so the stores in part have been destroyed. The owners of the stores that were spared don't dare to show themselves since they are known as staunch Communists. In addition, most are Jews who cannot receive permission to do business.”

Businessmen who were faithful Communists and whose businesses, for this reason were not destroyed – another one of the anti-Semitic fairytales.

I have found information about the initiative and responsibility of Einsatzkommandos as well as cooperation with the German Army in other reports

In the following, cooperation with the Romanian police is reported. In the Activity and Situation Report of July 31, 1941 this information from Balti (Bessarabia) is divulged: “The Romanian police work under the direction of the German Einsatzkommans there. They have the job to arrest 200 hostages from all levels of society in the region of Bessarabia. Following directions from the Einsatzkommandos they send patrols out to fight plundering and partisan war.”

The Romanian police received “charges” and “instructions” from the Einsatzkommandos. The nature of these “instructions” can be seen from an example: “Special measures must be carried out unhindered by bureaucratic and administrative influences, joyfully and dutifully.”

What these “special measures” were, doesn't have to be described. The Activity and Unit Reports are much clearer and don't need this camouflage and circumlocution for bloody mass murder.


Notes:

1) Einsatzgruppen: The Einsatzgruppen were paramilitary units formed before the invasion of the Soviet Union for the purpose of “liquidating” (murdering) Jews, gypsies and Communist Functionaries in the occupied territories on the Eastern Front. Eventually, there were four Einsatzgruppen. A,B and C were associated with army units and D operated independently. The Einsatzgruppen were broken down into operational units called Einsatzkommandos. The majority of men in the Einsatzkommandos were drawn from the Waffen SS.

The author often uses the abbreviation Ek for Einsatzkommando. Sometimes, he'll just use the unit number like 10b and other times he'll use “Kdo” or the word Kommando by itself. AK is the abbreviation for Actionskommando. Return

2) OKW: Oberkommando der Wehrmacht or High Command of the German Army Return

3) Old Romania: Romania with its pre WWII borders consisting of the former principalities of Moldavia and Walachia. Return

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »


This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
This material may not be copied, sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.'s permission. Rights may be reserved by the copyright holder.


JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material for verification.
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.

  History of Jews in Bukowina     Yizkor Book Project     JewishGen Home Page


Yizkor Book Project Manager, Lance Ackerfeld
This web page created by Max Heffler

Copyright ©1999-2014 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 20 Jan 2007 by MGH