Thursday, February 23, 2017

Update: Kube, Lohse and Strauch (Part 2: Strauch's Euphemisms)

Author: Jonathan Harrison
Continued from Part 1

Strauch's complaint to Bach-Zelewski of July 25, 1943 (NO-2662) reveals that the use of the word 'resettlement' was a deception:
On 1 March 1942 an action was to take place against the Russian ghetto in Minsk. The Generalkommissar received prior notification. In order to disguise the action the Council of Elders was to be informed that 5,000 Jews from the Minsk ghetto were to be resettled.
Strauch then states that "It is clear, however, that the Gauleiter used his knowledge to save his Jews."

Strauch's orders for the February 1943 action in Slutsk noted that
Resettlement site (Umsiedlungsgelände):
At the resettlement site there are 2 pits. At each pit there work two groups of 10 leaders and men each, which relieve each other every 2 hours. (An jeder Grube arbeitet je eine Gruppe von 10 Führern und Männern, die sich alle 2 Stunden ablösen.) Times 8-10 hours, 10-12 hours, 12-14 hours, 14-16 hours (translation by Roberto Muehlenkamp).  
On April 10, Strauch used the euphemism "I think we can nevertheless be calm, because there used to be about 150 000 and now already 130 000 have disappeared." ("Ich glaube, wir können trotzdem beruhigt sein, denn vorhanden waren schätzungsweise 150 000 und es sind nun schon 130 000 verschwunden.") (YVA O.53/1, p.62, from documents submitted to the Heuser trial, translation by Roberto Muehlenkamp here). On the same page, Strauch stated:
I would ask you to see to it that the Jew disappears at least where he is superfluous. We do not comprehend that there should be Jewish cleaning ladies, telephone operators, etc.; and also, we do not understand that so many bootblacks are needed. They are superfluous and therefore must disappear. We will manage quite well without Jews. We will reduce their numbers by half without encountering economic difŽficulties (translation by Haberer here). 
Finally, Strauch had used the notorious phrase Sonderbehandlung on at least three occasions. The first two were in a file memo of July 20, 1943, where he stated that "Even the fact that expert physicians had removed, in a proper way, the gold fillings from the teeth of Jews who were designated for special treatment had been made the topic of conversations" and:
On Tuesday, 20 July 1943, pursuant to orders, I arrested and subjected to special treatment [Sonderbehandlung] 70 Jews employed by the Commissioner for White Ruthenia.
The second was in the complaint to Bach-Zelewski and stated:
During a major ghetto action it was made known by informants that the German Jewish Ordnungsdienst made up predominantly of former World War I servicemen, was intending to put up armed resistance. In order to avoid bloodshed on the German side the Ordnungsdienst was made to assemble and was told that a fire had broken out in the town and they should be at the ready for fire duty. The Jews were then loaded on to trucks and sonderbehandelt.
This was mirrored by Lohse, who had written to Rosenberg that "The fact that Jews receive special treatment requires no further discussion."  

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