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Chapter 6 (Cont.)


Kolomyja and District Transports to Belzec (28)


11. Second Resettlement: 7-10/9/1942

'G.E.D.O.B' – 'Head Office of Eastbound Traffic'(29)
The nerve centre and command control of all 'resettlement' rail transports in the sphere of Jewish transports to the death camps in the east, from all over Europe, were played out in the offices of 'Action Reinhard', under the guise and command of the HSSPF, Odilo Globocnik in Lublin. To the bureaucrats of Gedob(30) administering this system e.g., fifty wagons of Jews from Stanislawow to Belzec, received exactly the same attention as fifty wagons of freight, military personnel or armaments to any other designated location – providing the bill was paid, it was just another entry in the ledger, and surprisingly the movements were not marked secret.

The movement of Jews from these districts attracted normal discount fares as one might find in any business who were guaranteed a voluminous and repeated order. If we peruse today, the literature displayed at any travel office that deals with rail traffic, we will find leaflets pointing out the benefits of group travel. That is how it was in the occupied districts, and that was how it worked in the resettlement policies under the auspices of 'Action Reinhard'. There were special rates for large parties over 400 (half fare for adults), children under ten years half price, those under four years travelled free! The agency responsible for payment to Gedob, was of course the SS, via Eichmann's office of the RSHA, Berlin. (31)

The SS bureaucrats were invoiced per transport at single fare, with appropriate discount adjustments for the children, plus return fares for the guard detachment that accompanied the transport to Belzec and returned to their destination. There may have been other adjustments resulting for any damage caused to rail property, especially by the 'Jumpers' and the labour involved in removing the dead and cleaning the transports which could be considerable. The filth of bodily waste resulting from no facilities whatsoever, coupled with days of confinement, was a major problem, not only for the occupants, but also for those workers who had the job of cleaning the transports for perhaps another journey that, or the following day. ll these tasks were billed and invoiced to the SS. Payment to the rail authorities was made by the SS from the special 'Action Reinhard' bank account which was continually swallowing up Jewish assets. (32) The principle was very simple – the Jews paid for their own demise but the children were gassed free of charge.

How did it work in practice? If we take the Kolomyja resettlements of 7-10, September 1942, (33) we find that the handling agent was the Sipo-SD of the Kolomyja district. Orders received from the co-ordinating central command post (ARHQ) (34) to the HSSPF Galicia District (Lvov). (35) Orders were then issued to the Commander of the Ordnungspolizei and the Sipo-SD of the Kolomyja district (Hans Kruger, Stanislawow). Depending on circumstances and operations going on at the time, the security leaders were left with a certain amount of flexibility. In the Kolomyja resettlement orders for instance, which were issued on 31.8.1942, to the Orpo, the Orpo at this time were engaged in resettlement activities in the Stryj, Skole, Tarnopol, and Chodorow districts (3-5-Sept.). It is probable that Kruger juggled the transport dates in order for Orpo to complete their present assignment and then go direct to Kolomyer as a support service to the Kolomyja security services for the impending action. The Sipo-SD however, were already planning the resettlement operation to commence at 0600 on the 7 September, 1942.

The Sipo-SD, under the direct command of SS-Obersturmbannführer, Kriminalkommissar Peter Leideritz (36) who received his orders (probably by phone or personal contact with Kruger) and immediately instructed the district labour office in Kolomyja to make the necessary arrangements.(37) The next step for Peter Leideritz was to assess the probable numbers for resettlement. (38) Privy to the transport units that were being made available for this action,(39) he proceeded to implement the order. A large party of Jews, numbers to be confirmed, were booked for resettlement, leaving Kolomyja at 20.50 hours on the 10 September, 1942. In addition to this, Leideritz contacted his Sipo-SD counterparts in adjoining districts of Kosow, (40)Horodenka, (41) Kuty, (42) Obertyn, and Sniatyn (43) where the sweep would extend, and placed them on 'stand-by' duties.

From experience gained in other localities of resettlement, (44) and the precise knowledge of the size of the likely 'party' to be accommodated, Hans Kruger in Stanislawow ordered in reinforcements of Ordnungspolizei (Orpo) into the Kolomyja districts to assist his Sipo-SD and resident Schupo (45) in these resettlement operations. Thirty-five men of the Vienna Orpo (a roving band of armed resettlers) arrived in Kolomyja on 6 September, (46) to augment the local security. These additional forces, police regiment 7/24, arrived in Kolomyja on the 6th September, (47) and the operation to sweep the district commencing on the morning of the 7th September which was to continued until the time of departure at 2050 hours on the 10th September. (48)

It will be appreciated by now, that several arms of the security services were involved in this Kolomyja 'action'. We must differentiate, firstly between the two police detachments (local Schutzpolizei and 7. Police Regiment 24 of the Ordnungspolizei) brought in from outside. Basically the local Polizei (Schupo) had been operating in Kolomyja since about October, 1941. Initially their duties were mundane, guarding, patrolling, in effect doing the job of the police as we know it today. With the onset of extermination policies in the GG, their duties widened to ghetto actions (including shooting escapees), escorting to killing sites, and finally they were called on to become personally involved in the shooting of victims. (49)

A word and overview regarding the Ordnungspolizei (Order Police) (50) and other supporting services, drawn on as a security service, specifically used for enforcing the Jewish Question and resettlement programme.

Since 1933 the Ordnungspolizei (Orpo) and Schutzpolizei (Schupo) had become the foot-soldiers of Nazi security policy. Initially it was a 56,000 strong police army that eventually merged with the Wehrmacht in 1935. In 1936, reorganisation of the all the security services gave these services their individual purpose under the direction of Kurt Deluege. By 1938/9, these branches had grown to over 62,000 men which were sectioned into Polizei-Hundertschaften (police companies of 108 men). These men, exempted from the Wehrmacht, were formed into Polizei-Ausbildungsabteilungen (training units), and sent to barracks in the ten major cities in the Reich. At the outbreak of war the Ordnungspolizei had grown to 131,000 men at the disposal and direction of Himmler. By 1940, as the result of intensive recruiting, the numbers swelled to over 244,000. They fought alongside the Wehrmacht in the Barbarossa campaign and with distinction at Leningrad in 1941, before being reigned in by Himmler for internal policing.

For our purposes, these units were stationed in the five districts of the Generalgouvernement under the command and direction of the HSSPF / SSPF (Globocnik) and were major players within Action Reinhard enforcement operations of Jewish resettlement.(51)





Police Battalion 133 (KdO-Lvov), Regiment 24, Company 7
On the 31st August, 1942, police regiment 24 received their orders from the Commander of the Orgnungspolizei (KdO Lvov), Galicia District. (52)

The majority of Jews destined for this transport were already on hand in the Kolomyja ghetto. The officials of the labour exchange issued instructions to all Jews resident in the ghetto to report to the assembly area in the town square at 0530 hours on the 7th September for registration. At the designated time, 5300 Jews reported as ordered, but with additional searches of the ghetto a further 600 were added (total 5900). A brief selection (the old and sick were immediately shot) reduced this number to 4769 (53) who were marched, guarded by detachments of the Jewish Public Order Service (Ordnungsdienst) (54) and Orpo/Schupo personnel in possession and using horsewhips and shouts of 'Jewish Pigs', loaded onto the awaiting transport that was waiting on a branch line away from the main traffic area. 100 Jews were allocated to each wagon which was marked with chalk of the number loaded, then boarded-up, nailed fast and sealed. (55)

Many transports left from regular 'Reichsbahn' train stations, particularly in Germany and Czechoslovakia. However, the isolation of resettlement transports was not unusual, and we have many reports of transports parked-up in out of the way locations, particularly in the big cities. In Krakow for instance, transports left from the sub-station at Plaszow on a specially designated platform, well out of the way from prying eyes of the local population (the Goyim). (56) In the Galician district, the eastern provinces, the Nazis were not so sensitive and made what arrangements available to them. The sweeps in the outer districts of Kolomyja (Sniatyn, Horodenka etc.), all manner of transport and collecting points were initiated with the use of motor and horse drawn transport, ordinary 3rd class rail carriages and on foot, as we will see. (57)

At the same time, other selections were being made in Horodenka and Sniatyn. A further 20 freight wagons, loaded with several thousand Jews (58) arrived from the Horodenka and Sniatyn areas on the 10th September, and were coupled to the awaiting transport already loaded and waiting in the Kolomyja siding. In addition to this, a further 1500 Jews had been forced-marched through the streets in full view of the local populous from Kosow and Kuty to join this transport. Those that survived the march were loaded, the others, and there were several hundred who were considered not suitable for transport, or those that failed on the march, were taken out of line and shot. (59)

The resettlement train, now complete was secured. (60) The officer commanding, in his report of the 14th September, refers to his loss of understanding as to how so many Jews could have been crammed into the 20 wagons from Horodenka and Sniatyn. He also refers to the 'great heat' on that final day,'(10.9.42), the suffering the Jews must have encountered, the lack of provisions, the days of waiting in the airless wagons – it was a catastrophe.(61)

The excessive loading, the hot weather and the knowledge by the Jews that this was a death transport, was indeed a catastrophe. The Orpo commander of the transport, Lt. Wassermann:

How the security police managed to cram so many Jews into the 10 wagons each from Horodenka and Sniatyn respectively was beyond my understanding. In any case both transports arrived in Kolomyja with a totally inadequate guard, so that the barbed wire which had been nailed over the ventilation openings to keep them closed, had almost been torn off. I ordered the removal of the transport train from the Kolomyja station as soon as possible and coupled it to the 30 wagons from Kolomyja, which was standing in the branch line, far removed from the station.

The Jewish Public Order Service and the railway construction service were deployed sealing the wagons. A detachment of 1-15 Schupo guarded the 50 wagon train until its departure. The Jews were distressed due to the heat and heavy overloading. The Jews made repeated attempts to break out when darkness fell. At 19.50 the escort detachment arrived and prevented escapes. Because of the heat the Jews were completely naked.





Escort Duty
For the purposes of our Kolomyja transport, and it was basically the same procedure elsewhere in the Generalgouvernement, a detachment of Schupo personnel were ordered to the scene to guard the train until the time of departure to prevent escapes. Extra vigilance was afforded to this transport because of the horrendous conditions: the over-loading, the heat, the lack of water and the general distress of the imprisoned Jews who were now all stripped naked. As darkness fell at about 1930 hours, there were repeated attempts by the Jews to break out. At 1950 hours, 15 Schupo, led by a Scharführer (Sgt.) arrived and took up positions and were prepared to shoot on-sight to prevent escapes.

At 20: 50 hours, a special unit of 15 SD guard arrived and joined the 8205 Jewish resettlement transport for its journey to Belzec. (62) 5 SD guards were deployed to a single passenger coach at the front of the train, and 5 SD guards were deployed to a single passenger coach at the rear. The supervising Scharführer, realising there may well be a security problem, ordered the guards to deploy along the whole length of the train and to take up positions on the roofs and in the brake car for the entire journey where they would be in a better position to deal with break-outs. As it turned out, this was good advice.

Unknown to many of the parents who had been imprisoned in the wagons for three days without food or water in a blistering heat, other enactments were going on elsewhere.

On the 9th September, Detectives Knackendoerfer and (Kripo) assisted by the SD, entered the Jewish Orphan's Home. The orphanage housed approximately 400 children whose parents had already been murdered or were now waiting in the wagons for resettlement. The orphanage was located in Ghetto 2, and when this was liquidated it was planned to remove the children into ghetto 1. In the night, before the transfer could take place, Hertl arrived with several Schupo men entered the orphanage and shot all the children. The wife of SS-Peter Leideritz was present and assisted in this massacre.(63)






The Journey
Our Kolomyja transport was typical of the many hundreds of resettlement transports carried out in the Generalgouvernement. We know that between March and December, 1942, there were over 300 such transports in the Galician District to Belzec.(64) Very little has been written about the train journeys that the Jews had to endure during the course of transportation to the 'death camps'. There are no words that can describe the emotions and conditions en-route, of those selected and incarcerated in the freight wagons that left from all points of the European map. We can visualise to some extent, the practical methods applied to the selections in the ghettos and temporary holding and transit stations, the loading into the freight wagons and the sealing of this human cargo with their pathetic belongings. What we will never understand, or personally experience, is the confusion, the panic and suffering, the din of hundreds per wagon, shouting, praying and dying on their feet from exhaustion, shock and fright. The frantic rounding-up by parents of family who had been dispersed in the mayhem and disorder of abandoned baggage, men, women and children, some ill, some pregnant, some disabled and some very elderly. All this, before the trains had a head of steam to leave for their destinations.

Inside the wagons of the Kolomyja transport which had been standing idle now for 3 days, a layer of quicklime/chloride had been spread on the floor. (65) There were no toilet facilities whatsoever, so anyone urinating on the floor would produce acidic steam on contact with the floor which burns and peels skin on contact. The longer the journey, and in many cases this could be many days, the more perilous the journey became, the impetuous to escape was unavoidable, whatever the risk. Messages scribbled in haste and of last resort to family and friends – or to anyone, would fall from the small window, and then rise on the air current to settle on the ground in the hope, the very distant hope, that someone may read them. Jewellery (including diamonds), shredded zloty, RM and dollar were abandoned, thrown out of the ventilating window. (66) Was this not defiance and resistance?

Once the train was on the move, the first shunting knocked people off their feet for lack of support, but almost immediately work began. Artisans using their tools, (67) broke up the floorboards, remove the window bars and mesh that sealed them in. As the train gathered speed, decisions were made as to the best timing of any escape. The most preferable time considered was during the hours of darkness, when the train was labouring up-hill or on a curve. The occupants were aware of the heavily armed guard complement and the searchlights, and that no mercy could be expected from these sharpshooters. The most pressing concern was the decision to leave family behind, knowing the departure would be final either way. Very often it was the mothers who urged their children to jump. Fathers would not give advice, one way or the other for fear of making the wrong decision. The elderly suffered the most because they considered themselves a burden on the young and strong. Their will to survive had diminished, and above all an alien grave that was surely waiting for them. The psychological shame to be stripped naked and perform bodily functions in the presence of their captors, family and mixed sexes was more than many could endure. (68) To be sure, the Jews from the Kolomyja district were under no illusions that they were on a death transport, despite the illusions of some, that not all was lost.

No sooner had the train left Kolomyja, on this fateful journey, there was mayhem. The Jews were breaking out of every conceivable point, some through the windows and some through the roofs. 5 stations before Stanislawow, (probably Hotoszkow) the SD radioed ahead for help, reporting considerable damage to the wagons. When the transport arrived at Stanislawow, the railway guard were ready and re-sealed the train for its onward journey towards Lvov, Rawa Ruska and Belzec. How many 'jumpers' on this resettlement train managed to escape between Kolomyja and Stanislawow is not known, but there were several. (69) We know the names of three: who survived to bear witness – the Jew Feder, the Jew Herman Zenner; the Jewess Mrs Weinheber. (70)

Shortly after the resettlement and ghetto clearing operations in the Kolomyja and Stanislawow districts, Reserve Police Battalion 133, of which Lt Wassermann and his unit were attached, concentrated on the rounding-up and shooting of the jumpers from the Belzec resettlement trains. From their reports, which have survived, we find that between the 1st November, and 12th December, 1942, they killed 481 Jews in anti-partisan (Jew hunting) at this crucial location, the cross roads for resettlement in the Galician and Lublin districts.(71)

These death transports and the manner by which they were carried out, were not the sole idea of the Nazis. Only a few months before the main deportations from the towns of Galicia to Belzec, the Soviets had done exactly the same, from the same towns but on a much larger scale, and their prey were from all strata of these communities, including Jews. (72) In fact, although there was very little to choose between these two totalitarian societies in their methods and scope of 'resettlements'.

We can detect one major departure with the Soviet resettlements – if you worked and were able to withstand the extremely harsh conditions of the Gulags – as a Jew you lived and may survive. Within the Nazi regime there was no question of life over death.

After the train had been delayed for 2 hours for repairs in Stanislawow, it again left for Lvov. Several stations up the line, there was another mass break-out, several holes appeared in the sides of the wagons and the barbed-wire securing the small ventilation windows had been torn away. The train was forced to stop at each station en route to Lvov for emergency repairs until it eventually arrived at the Klaparow suburb station at 1115 hours on the 11th September. Nine of the freight wagons (containing a 1000 Jews) from this transport were marked with an 'L' – designated for forced labour for the Janowska camp. (73) The 1000 Jews removed from this transport were immediately replaced by another 1000 naked Jews from Janowska who had been tagged for resettlement. (74)

At 1330 hours on the 11th September, the resettlement train eventually left for Belzec. Shortly before the transport left Lvov, the engine was replaced but as it turned out, it was very old and unsuitable for the heavy load of 50 wagons it had to pull, fully loaded. The Jews were now in a panic situation, knowing full well that time was running out for them. Consequently there were more desperate and repeated attempts to break-out on their final journey. The SD guard had run out of ammunition, despite being given 200 rounds each by the Wehrmacht in Lvov, and had to resort to throwing stones at the escapees while the train was moving, and using fixed bayonets during stops. (75)


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Footnotes:
  1. Berenstein 'Eksterminacja' – table 6. Return
  2. Claude Lanzmann, 'Shoah', (Pantheon Books, New York 1985) pp, 132-145 interviews with Raol Hilberg and Walter Stier ( Head of the Reich Railways Department 33 of the NSDAP Management Centres were located in Krakow, Lvov, Warsaw and Lublin. These centres controlled all traffic (military and otherwise), and were the lynch-pin of all Jewish Resettlement Trains ordered by the Sipo-SD. In addition to 'Gedob' Office in Krakow which was the Rail-authority centre, there was also the Lublin Centre which acted in a buildings adjacent to HSSPF Odilo Globocnik's Action Reinhard Headquarters, located at 14 Finkstrasse (1942), to-day 14, Niecala Street and the local unemployment Centre in Lublin. Return
  3. Head Office of Eastbound Traffic. Return
  4. Hilberg, Raol, Destruction of the European Jews (3 vols.), pp… In practice the booking and settling of accounts was made by a subsidiary travel agency of the SS: 'Mittel-Europäisches Reisebüro' (the Middle European Travel Agency), an agency that you might find on the high street of any town. Return
  5. ibid. There was no budget for destruction – The Jews had to self finance it! Return
  6. The Vienna Documents: There are a number of edited editions of the Kolomyja Report, not all of the translated correctly. One continuing error that appears to plague these documents, which I shall refer to later, is the number of Jews found dead on their arrival in Belzec. Hilberg, Vol, 2, p 497 refers to 200, Browning's 'Ordinary Men' p, 35 refers to 2000. As Browning's book is dedicated to Hilberg, somewhere we have a typing error. It is curious why this should have occurred? 2000 is the correct number. The districts: Horodenka, Jablonow, Kosow, Niezwiska, Obertyn, Peczenizyn, Pistyn, Roznow, Sniatyn and Zabie, Zablotow. See maps. Return
  7. ARHQ – 'Action Reinhard' operations room for resettlement, Lublin. Return
  8. The HSSPF (Krakow) Kruger GG./SSPF Friedrich Katzmann (Lvov) 5th District, were responsible for all SS-SD, Police detachments (Ordnungspolizeio etc.). Return
  9. Peter Leideritz – (1911-1947): 1931-33- SA; 1932 NSDAP; 1933-35 Sipo-SD Darmstadt; 1938 – SS; 10.6.41 GG; 8.9.41 Commander Sipo-SD, Kolomyja; 8/43 – Einsatz gegen Kovpak-Gruppe; Died 17.11.1947. Return
  10. DA Kolomyja R-71. On 1.8.41, the German authorities established the civil administration in the town: Volkmann appointed Kreishauptmann (Chief of District); Michael took over the Labour Office; Dr. Jordon, Landwirtschaftsrat (Head of Supply Department) and Lt. Hertl as Chief of a detachment of Schutzpolizei (Resident City Police) and Hohlmann, Stadthauptmann (Town Commissioner). Jewish Affairs in Kolomyja were directed by a triumvirate: Leideritz, Volkmann and Hohlmann. Return
  11. YVA-ll/7/b: The Judenrat in the occupied areas were ordered by the Sipo-SD to keep statistics recording personal details of all men, women and children in the ghettos. In Kolomyja it was no different, and the Judenrat were able to supply the SD with exact numbers of Jews likely to be required for the resettlement transport of Jews. In the Krakow ghetto for e.g. these statistics show charts and graphs of the Jewish population in the ghetto divided up into ages, sex, employment. Copies of the original documents were given to the author by Joseph Bau (Tel-Aviv) who was personally responsible for this duty. Return
  12. Vienna Documents: 51 freight units. Return
  13. Including the villages and vicinities of: Pistyn; Jablonow; Jablowice; Zabie. Michael (Kolomyja Labour Office) initiated resettlement proceedings in this region by ordering the Judenrat to assemble its Jews. 500 assembled and were immediately arrested by the Sipo-SD (Untersturmführer Frost and Hauptscharführer Weissmann) and local Gendarmerie. Many Jews were hunted down in bunkers by Ukrainian police and local inhabitants and shot on the spot. A selection of 66 Jews were allowed to remain in Kosow. The remainder were forced marched to the Kolomyja prison ( 35 kms) and joined the transport on the 10.9.42 for Belzec. Jews that had escaped this round-up, were later found and also transferred to the Kolomyja prison. On this occasion (late September 42) the Kosow Jews were taken to the Scheparowce forest and shot in the pits. ( YV 03, report dated 5.6.45 – LL/1). Return
  14. ibid. The Horodenka resettlement action was much the same as in Kosow (see above). 1600 Jews were rounded up in this period by the Sipo-SD and local Gendamerie and loaded onto rail transport, transferred to Kolomyja to join the 2050 hrs. resettlement transport for Belzec. Principle security personnel in Horodenka: Petsch, Landeskommissar (local Commissioner), Koenig and Kraemer of the Sipo-SD. Those Jews rounded up later were either shot on the spot, or transferred to Kolomyja and the pits of Scrowce. Return
  15. ibid. The above principles applied in Kuty: On 8.9.42, all Jews in possession of the 'A' Stamp' were ordered to assemble. Only 600 assembled as requested by the Judenrat. Over 200 had fled to the Rumanian border or had gone into hiding. The assembled Jews were arrested by the Sipo-SD (Hauptsturmführer Schwenker and SturmScharführer Frost, Jewish Department), the local Gendarmerie and then forced marched to Kolomyja (50kms) to catch the 2050 hrs. transport from Kolomyja to Belzec. Return
  16. ibid. 1000 Jews rounded up to the same transport of the Horodenka Jews to join the 2050 hrs. transport. 15 Jews were selected to remain in Sniatyn, the stragglers and those in hiding were all subsequently shot or removed for liquidation in Scheparowce forest. A very few escaped into Rumania or Slovakia. Return
  17. ibid. The SD drew on their experience on resettlement gained when the Jews of Stryj were resettled between the 3 and 5 September, 1942. Return
  18. ibid. Sipo-SD: Tannzmann (Lvov), Kruger (Stanislawow), Brandt (Stanislawow), Lt. Leideritz, Goedds, Weissman, Frost, Volkmann, Rebkoff, Hack, Petsch, Koenig, Birsch, Schwebe, Hubert, Wahrmann, Schwenker, Schubert. (Kolomyja). Return
  19. ibid. The Schutzpolizei in Kolomyja (resident city police) were separate and acted independently of other police support units. This detachment of police in Kolomyja came together in a variety of circumstances. Kleinbauer was a serving police officer in the Vienna police, when on 6.10.1941, he was ordered to Kolomyja. Schipany had seen service with the Schupo in Wilicka, Censtochau, Krakow, Tarnow and Lvov, when he was transferred to Kolomyja. Pernek arrived via Kost in October, 1941. The Rein ements of 7. police 24 detachment who had been engaged in Jewish resettlement in Skole, Stryj and Chodorow during the period 3 – 5 September, 1942, arrived in Kolomyja in time for the action of the 7.9.42. The 'SD – Sipo' as well as the 'Schupo' were also assisted by a special Ukrainian Auxiliary Police and the Jewish Order Police. There was also a separate Ukrainian Police Unit commanded by Ukrainians. Return
  20. ibid. Return
  21. ibid. Identified Schutzpolizei of Kolomyja who were responsible for mass slaughter and resettlement actions of the Jews in this district. They were divided up into two groups: A and B. There was an officer section, a quartermaster section and the police station personnel: Lt. Hertl (commander), Witmann (deputy), Wittich, Doppler, Gross and Kleinbauer. Sergeants: Layer, Pernek, Kneissl, Hofstetter, Steiner. Corporals: Gallhart, Straka. Constables: Gall, Harko, Kroegner, Layer, Mauritz, Rnthaler, Ruprechtsofer, Stanka Schipany, Uitz. Return
  22. ibid. Statement of Franz Schipany (4.9.1947). Return
  23. The most authoritve references to this unique cadre can be found: in the Neufeldt and Tessin elaboration (parts 1 and 2) 'Zur Geschichte der Ordnungspolizei 1936-45 (Koblenz, 1957) (1) 'Entstehung und Organisation des Hauptamtes Ordnungspolizei', (2) 'Die Stäbe und Truppeneinheiten der Ordnungspolizei, and (3) Heiner Lichtensteins, 'Himmler's grüne Helfer: Die Schutzpolizei und Ordnungspolizei im 'Dritten Reich' (Kolonne 1990), and (4) a taster, Christopher Brownings, 'Ordinary Men' (Reserve Police Baion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. Harper Collins, 1992). Hereafter: Neufeldt, Tessin, Browning and the Vienna Documents). Return
  24. Acknowledgment to Christopher Browning, Daniel Goldhagen and Dr. Dieter Pohl for their clear understanding of the overall view of the Ordnungspolizei/Schutzpolizei in the Generalgouvernement, particularly in the Galician District. Return
  25. Vienna Documents: In the original report of Lt Wassermann…??? it shows Diary No. 64/42 (g). Looking at other similar reports I concluded that this was occasion 64 that Wassermann had been engaged on resettlement duties in the Galician district. Return
  26. Vienna documents (diary.1a-1526-42). Return
  27. ibid. Return
  28. I find some ambiguity in the Vienna report. The resettlement described is clearly shown as 7-10 September, 1942. (30 freight wagons). In the report it shows that 4769 Jews were loaded on 7.9.42, which was completed at 1900 hours (presumably on the 7.9.42) and departed for Belzec? The report continues directly to the 8/9 September, with details of the sweep in the districts of Kuty, Kosow, Horodenka, Zaplatow and Sniatyn where 20 wagons were loaded with Jews at 180-200 per wagon (total at the lowest 780 Jews). A further 1500 Jews were force marched to Kolomyja from Kuty and Kosow ( 50kms and 35kms respectively) and were loaded onto the wagons already in the sidings. The 20 wagons that were loaded in Horodenka and Sniatyn (with 3780 Jews) joined and were coupled to the 30 wagons still in the siding at Kolomyja which I conclude was our transport referred to for the 7th September and that this transport had not moved but waited for the Sniatyn and Horodenka wagons. I conclude that were are not talking about two separate transports to Belzec (7 and 10th September), but one of 50 wagons that left Kolomyja on the 10th September. If this is the case, and I think it is, the 3780 Jews loaded on the 7th had remained in the wagons for three days without food or water. See also statement of Alois Steiner (3.9.1947). Return
  29. In 1996 I visited Plaszow rail complex with Victor Dortheimer, a survivor of Plaszow KZ. Victor's mother, was taken from Skawina (sub-district of Krakow) to Belzec in the August, 1942, resettlement transport that commenced from Nowy Targ, via Rabka, picking up Jews in Skawina, Krakow, Tarnow, and Debica. The transport arrived in Belzec via Rawa Ruska about the. In the sidings at Plaszow, well away from normal traffic, the Polish station-master showed me several freight trains that were used in these 1942 deportations of the Jews to Belzec. Each car was sealed. For our purposes, the seal was broken and we inspected the interior of these wagons.Even then (1996) there was clear evidence of repair work to the sides of the wagon. There was still rusted barbed-wire nailed into the framework of the small window opening. We spent some time contemplating the conditions of August, 1942, 150 men, women and children, crammed (probably naked) in to such a small space – of course it was impossible to re-live those days in August, 1942. Return
  30. In the Galician districts, 95 per cent of all resettlement traffic was by freight wagon. The resettlements from the Reich sphere of interest (Germany, Holland France etc.), from early spring to July 1942, Jews were sent to the east in regular 3rd class passenger cars with wooden benches. This was all part of the Nazi deceptions. The luggage of the Jews was usually stored in freight wagons that adjoined the transport. The only instances of people being transported from the Reich in freight wag were the handicapped, insane etc. which came under T4 administration and in the main went direct to Piaski and Sobibor. Return
  31. 180-200 Jews, men, women and children, loaded per freight wagon. Ordinary rail passenger cars were seen in Belzec in late 1942. The author interviewed a Ukrainian lady in Belzec June, 1998. This lady lives in a dwelling directly opposite Belzec rail station. She could remember that in 1942, her family, peering through the net curtains of their dwelling saw such a passenger train waiting in a siding at Belzec. She referred to fat men smoking cigars, standing up and looking out of the window omen were knitting and children were seen, as though exited finally arriving at their new home. This woman's house is 50m from the rail line. The author stood in the same position to confirm her line of vision. In a matter of hours, all would have been gassed. Return
  32. ibid. (diary). Return
  33. The regulation sealing of the Kolomyja transport was carried out by the Jewish Public Order Service and the railway station construction gang (eastern railway work brigade) of Kolomyja. Return
  34. ibid. Lt. Wessermann to KdO in Galicia, 14.9.1942. Return
  35. The resettlement train was handed over to Zugwachtmann der Schutzpolizei Jacklein (escort) by Hauptwachtmeister Zitzmann (local Schutspol). Return
  36. ibid. Reference to the wife of Leideritz – see Yad Vashem report dated 3.9.1962 ( 0-4/32) report of Jewish Committee dated 13.5.1945 'Extermination of the Jews in Kolomyja'.It was not unusual for wives and girlfriends to attend, and even take part in Jew actions. This was a regular occurrence in the Rabka Sipo-Sd School, whenthe women associates of the SD, climbed on to the roof of the school to watch executions taking place. See also Browning 'Ordinary Men' some wives and girlfiends attended to clearing to watch their man friends at work. Return
  37. See App – … ??? Deportations to Belzec February – March, 1942. Return
  38. Many of the transports to Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka had lime/chloride spread in the wagons before departure which caused the skin to peel of their bodies. Many were gassed en-route.At Sobibor SS-Frenzel met a transport from Majdanek and poured chloride on the heads of the Jewish prisoners which resulted in horrific injuries. (Testimony of Hella Fellenbaum-Weiss, survivor of Sobibor). Return
  39. In May, 1998, when I was engaged in the Belzec survey, I took the opportunity of walking the single line (in the search for artifacts), 3km from Belzec in the direction of Lvov and 3km in the opposite direction towards Zamosc and Lublin. Nothing was found. Return
  40. In the Kolomyja transport, and after the first break outs had occurred, the Jews were questioned when the train stopped at Stanislawow. They stated to the security services that they had been allowed to retain their 'tools of trade' by the loading guards, explaining that they would need them at their future destination for work. Return
  41. Even on the Soviet transports the prisoners were afforded the concession that when the train stopped. They were allowed off for this purpose. Also there was some sustenance, however inadequate, that some stinking fish would be thrown in. The Kolomyja transport had no such luxuries. We have many reports where families taken for execution and ordered to strip naked, fathers, grandfathers and uncles, suffering with shame to appear naked before their families, refused and preferred to be shot rather remove their clothes. Return
  42. The OIC could not specify the numbers that had escaped – 'Nonetheless, it can be assumed that at least two thirds of the escaping Jews were shot or rendered harmless in some other way'. See Browning, p. 35. Return
  43. Misc. report, dated January, 1958, 'The Organisation of former Jewish residents of Kolomyja sent to the author by email USA (Ben Nauchan). Return
  44. ZStL, Ord. 410, 994-96, 498, 500-501. Report of 5th Company, RPB 133, PR 24, 7-11 – 12.12.1942. See also Browning, p 132, and Goldhagen p 196. Return
  45. Lvov, Stanislawow, Pinsk, Baranowicze, Wilno, and scores of other Polish towns during 1940 and 1941. Return
  46. ibid.In Kolomyja selections of these workers had been sifted from the masses and loaded separately for delivery to the Janowska slave labour camp in Lvov. Return
  47. They were loaded naked for economic reasons. As stated above, Janowska was one of the clearing-house for Jewish property from Belzec. To save time and energy, the Jews were stripped of their clothing and sorted in Janowska, rather than the clothing going to Belzec and then having to return to Janowska. It makes sense? Return
  48. ibid. Return



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