The Holocaust in Belarus in general terms refers to the Nazi crimes committed during World War II on the territory of Belarus against Jews. The borders of Belarus however, changed dramatically following the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, which has been the source of confusion especially in the Soviet era as far as the scope of the Holocaust in Belarus is concerned.
When World War II began, with the September 1, 1939 attack on Poland by Nazi Germany, the sovereign Belarus of today did not exist. The Nazi-Soviet Pact signed in secrecy led to the parallel Soviet invasion of Poland from the east on September 17, 1939. The eastern half of prewar Poland was annexed by the USSR to the two republics of Soviet Belarus and Soviet Ukraine.
The entire territory of modern-day Belarus was occupied by Nazi Germany by the end of August 1941. American historian Lucy Dawidowicz, author of The War Against the Jews estimated that 66% of the Jewish people residing in Belarusian SSR died in the Holocaust, out of 375,000 Jews in Belarus prior to World War II according to Soviet data. By comparison, in the Baltics about 90% of Jews were killed in the same period.
Resulting from the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, the territory of Belarusian SSR was almost doubled in size through the annexation of Kresy. The act of aggression against the Second Polish Republic was followed by the mock elections conducted in the atmosphere of terror. Polish cities were renamed in Russian, and the new Oblasts created. Millions of Polish citizens were turned by force into the new Soviet subjects. Within two years, the Jewish population of Minsk, the capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, had swelled to 90,000 due to an influx of Polish Jews escaping German occupation.
The Holocaust perpetrated by the Third Reich in the territory of Soviet Belarus began in the summer of 1941, during Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. Minsk was bombed and taken over by the Wehrmacht on 28 June 1941. In Hitler's view, Operation Barbarossa was Germany's war against "Jewish Bolshevism". On 3 July 1941 during the first "selection" in Minsk 2,000 Jewish members of the intelligentsia were marched off to a forest and massacred. The atrocities committed beyond the German–Soviet frontier were summarized by Einsatzgruppen for both sides of the prewar border between BSSR and Poland. The Nazis made Minsk the administrative centre of Reichskomissariat Ostland. As of 15 July 1941 all Jews were ordered to wear a yellow badge on their outer garments under penalty of death, and on 20 July 1941 the creation of the Minsk Ghetto was pronounced. Within two years, it became the largest ghetto in German-occupied Soviet Union, with over 100,000 Jews.
A fair percentage of ethnic Belarusians supported Nazi Germany, especially in the early years. Some nationalists out of Minsk including sworn Germanophile Ivan Yermachenka hoped for the formation of a Belarusian national state under protectorate of the Reich. By the end of 1942 the Yermachenka's group known as BNS had 30,000 members in a dozen different Soviet cities. The Belarusian Auxiliary Police was established by the Nazi authorities in the summer of 1941. High-ranking positions in the police were also kept by BNS. "Known to the Germans as the Schutzmannschaft – wrote Martin Dean – the local police were recruited from volunteers at the start of the occupation. These men played an indispensable role in the killing process." Eventually, the number of local auxiliary police in German-occupied Soviet Union reached 300,000 men.
The southern part of the modern-day Belarus was annexed to the newly formed Reichskommissariat Ukraine on 17 July 1941 including the easternmost Gomel Region of the Russian SFSR, and several others. They became part of the Shitomir Generalbezirk centred around Zhytomyr. The Germans determined the identities of the Jews either through registration, or by issuing decrees. The Jews were separated from the general population and confined to makeshift ghettos. Because the Soviet leadership fled from Minsk without ordering evacuation, most Jewish inhabitants have been captured. There were 100,000 prisoners held in the Minsk Ghetto, in Bobruisk 25,000, in Vitebsk 20,000, in Mogilev 12,000, in Gomel over 10,000, in Slutsk 10,000, in Borisov 8,000, and in Polotsk 8,000. In the Gomel Region alone, twenty ghettos were established in which no less than 21,000 people were imprisoned.
In November 1941 the Nazis rounded up 12,000 Jews in the Minsk Ghetto to make room for the 25,000 foreign Jews slated for expulsion from Germany, Austria and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. On the morning of 7 November 1941 the first group of prisoners were formed into columns and ordered to march singing revolutionary songs. People were forced to smile for the cameras. Once beyond Minsk, 6,624 Jews were taken by lorries to the nearby village of Tuchinka (Tuchinki) and shot by members of Einsatzgruppe A. The next group of over 5,000 Jews followed them to Tuchinka on 20 November 1941.
Resulting from the Soviet 1939 annexation of Polish territory comprising the Soviet Western Belorussia, the Jewish population of BSSR nearly tripled. In June 1941, at the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, there were 670,000 Jews on the Polish side and 405,000 Jews on the Soviet side of present-day Belarus. On 8 July 1941, Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Reich Security Main Office, gave the order for all male Jews in the occupied territory – between the ages of 15 and 45 – to be shot on sight as Soviet partisans. By August, the victims targeted in the shootings included women, children, and the elderly. The German Order Police battalions as well as the Einsatzgruppen carried out the first wave of killings.
The role of the Belarusian Auxiliary Police, established on 7 July 1941, was crucial in the totality of procedures, as only they – wrote Martin Dean – knew the identity of the Jews. The pacification actions were conducted using local Schutzmannschaft during roundups (as in Homel, Mozyrz, Kalinkowicze, Korma). The local police took on a secondary role. The ghettoised Jews were controlled by them and brutalized before mass executions (as in Dobrusz, Czeczersk, Żytkowicze). After a while the already-trained auxiliary police not only led the Jews out of the ghettos to places of massacres but also took active part in the shootings. Such tactic was successful (without much exertion of force) in places where the killings of Jews were carried out in early September, and throughout October and November 1941. In winter 1942, a different tactic was introduced - the pacification raids, conducted in Żłobin, Petryków, Streszyn, Czeczersk. The role of the Belarusian police in the killings became particularly noticeable during the second wave of the ghetto liquidations, starting in February–March 1942.
In the Holocaust by bullet, no less than 800,000 Jews perished in the territory of modern-day Belarus. Most of them were shot by Einsatzgruppen, Sicherheitsdienst and Order Police battalions aided by Schutzmannschaften. Notably, when the bulk of the Jewish communities were annihilated in first major killing spree, the number of Belarusian collaborators was still considerably small, therefore the Eastern European destruction battalions consisted in most part of Lithuanian, Ukrainian, and Latvian volunteers. Historian Martin Gilbert wrote that the General-Commissar for Generalbezirk Weißruthenien, Wilhelm Kube, personally participated in the March 2, 1942 killings in the Minsk Ghetto. During the search of the ghetto area by the Nazi police, a group of children were seized and thrown into deep pit of sand covered with snow. "At that moment, several SS officers, among them Wilhelm Kube, arrived, whereupon Kube, immaculate in his uniform, threw handfuls of sweets to the shrieking children. All the children perished in the sand."
On 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany launched Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. The city of Navahrudak (Nowogródek), capital of the Nowogródek Voivodship in the interwar Poland), was occupied on 4 July during the Battle of Białystok–Minsk when two armies of the Red Army were surrounded in the Navahrudak pocket. The city became part of the Reichskommissariat Ostland and Immediately Nazi occupiers staged their racial persecution and segregation policies, in particular against Jews, who were forced into a newly established Nazi ghetto.
According to the Polish census of 1931, the Nowogródek Voivodeship was home to about 616,000 ethnic Belorussians, or ~39% of the total population of the province, exceeding the number of ethnic Poles by eight percentage points. Prior to the war, the town had a population of 20,000, about half of which were Polish Jews.
During winter 1941-42 the German occupiers killed all but 550 of the approximately 10,000 Jews in a series of actions by bullet,. Those not killed were forced into slave labour and worked to death. Thus partisan resistance immediately began; local Jews volunteers, who later were known as the Bielski partisans, fled into nearby forests engaging in combat activity and in the same time providing shelter to Jewish families, many of whom were able to survive the war.
Ethnic Poles and Belorussians were not spared by Nazi terrorism either, in particular during 1943 when more civilians were imprisoned and subject to harsh retaliatory actions and forced labour. On 31 July 1943 11 Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth were imprisoned, and on the next day loaded into a van, driven out of town, in the woods 5 km (3.1 mi) beyond Navahrudak, killed by bullet, and buried in a mass grave.
The Red Army liberated the city almost exactly three years after its occupation, on July 8, 1944. During the war more than 45,000 people were killed in town and in surrounding areas. Over 60% of buildings was destroyed.
As of 1 January 2017, the Yad Vashem in Israel recognized 641 Belarusians as Righteous Among the Nations. All of the awards were granted after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Many of the distinguished individuals came from Minsk, and are already deceased.
On 22 September 1943, Wilhelm Kube was assassinated in Minsk by his Belarusian mistress. His death was caused by a bomb hidden in a hot water bottle, which was placed in his bed by Jelena Mazanik, coerced by the Soviet agents who knew where her son was. The SS executed more than 1,000 male citizens of Minsk in retaliation, though SS leader Heinrich Himmler reportedly said the assassination was a "blessing" since Kube did not support some of the harsh measures mandated by the SS. Mazanik escaped and joined the partisans.
SS and Police Leader Curt von Gottberg was appointed Generalkommissar for Belarus on October 27, 1943 after Kube was killed by a bomb in Minsk on October 23. Gottberg developed a new "strategy" in the "fight against bands" on the occupied territory of the Soviet Union, mounting aggressive operations against suspected "partisan bases" (generally ordinary villages; Gottberg's strategy seems to have largely involved terrorising the civilian population). Whole regions were classified as "bandit territory" (German: Bandengebiet): residents were expelled or murdered and dwellings destroyed. Gottberg said in an order "In the evacuated areas all people are in future fair game". Another order of Gottberg's of December 7, 1942, stated: "Each bandit, Jew, gypsy, is to be regarded as an enemy". After his first operation, Nürnberg, Gottberg reported on December 5, 1942: "Enemy dead: 799 bandits, over 300 suspected gangsters and over 1800 Jews [...] Our losses: 2 dead and 10 wounded. One must have luck".
The cruelty during the so-called anti-partisan operations, especially in Belarus, has been pointed out in the past, indicating a high degree of identification with their deeds rather than an unwilling execution. The meanness of their actions is evidenced by the means of mass killings employed by the Germans in their fight against partisans. Most of the victims were women and children, as the male population of the villages had been evacuated or drafted into the Red Army, or joined the partisans. They were also used as a labor force. Similar aspects also apply to the murder of Jews, prisoners of war, political opponents, and the ill.
The 36th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS on July 21, 1943, during "Operation Hermann", chased the inhabitants of the village of Dory together with the priest into a church and burned them alive there. Only men able to work were let out of the church, women only if they left their children behind. At another place hundreds of selected children, two to ten years old, were locked in freight cars and left to their fate until half of them had died. While Max von Schenckendorff in 1942 called for measures against the soldiers, the generally organized sequence of the destruction of villages shows how little was left to chance.
Photo albums were prepared for higher SS commanders after anti-partisan actions. Thus, Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski readily admitted to have possessed thousands of color photographs of the fight against partisans, photos which were confiscated after the war. After "Operation Hermann" in the summer of 1943, Curt von Gottberg requested appropriate pictures for an album on partisan fighting, to be handed to Himmler. Some months later, he was sent an album featuring photos from Operation Heinrich, which Bach-Zelewski had dedicated to Himmler by naming it after him. The rank and file behaved in a similar manner. Many German participants had a camera in their backpack during the operations. The respective pictures mostly show rather uncompromising scenes, but often also the burning of villages.
Another aspect was the fact that inhabitants of the countryside were forced to remove mines from the roads and other pathways to partisan camps, a dangerous task that killed several thousand Belarusians. Such cases already occurred in Wehrmacht-controlled areas 1942, at the remote village of Uchwała, Krupki, where a total of 360 people perished. In the area of the 286th Security Division, the civilian population had to walk, plough and harrow the roads on the orders of Major General Richert from the autumn of 1942. At Artiszewo near Orsza, 28 people, 18 of which were children, perished during this operation. The LIX Army Corps had issued a corresponding order already on March 2, 1942.
Later, they also used herds of sheep. But in most cases people were used, on an ever-larger scale. During Operation Cottbus, between 2,000 and 3,000 Belarusians whom the Germans drove before them into the swamps were torn apart by mines, according to Bach-Zelewski. After preparation by artillery and flak, entering the swamp area was only possible by chasing inhabitants of the region across the heavily mined paths through the swamp. Oskar Dirlewanger's corresponding order of May 25, 1943 had read:
Roadblocks and artificial obstacles are almost always mined. So far we have suffered 1 dead and 4 wounded during removal. Thus the order is: Never remove obstacles yourselves, but always let natives do it. The blood thus saved justifies the loss of time.
For "Operation Hermann" conducted in July–August 1943 partly by Einsatzgruppe Dirlewanger the same directive applied right from the beginning. The commanders carried out the instructions. The same occurred during Operation Frühlingsfest (April 16 till May 10, 1944), which was carried out in equal parts by Wehrmacht and SS units. A corresponding suggestion is said to have come from the already mentioned Richert. But in the meantime, this method had become routine also outside the scope of major actions. It was also applied by Wehrmacht frontline troops in their direct rear area. All Belarusians had become hostages of the Germans. The 78th Infantry division ordered the whole civilian population in its area to de-mine the roads area every morning for six hours:
I thus order that all roads that must be driven on by German troops are to be walked first by all inhabitants of the location (including women and children) with cows, horses and vehicles up to the next command post, or that marching columns must be preceded at a distance of at least 150 meters by such inhabitants. The civilians must close up tightly and walk the whole width of the road.
Rear area command 532 proceeded in a similar manner, and an officer in the high command of Army Group Center wanted to recommend this procedure as exemplary to other units. As of February 18, 1944, General Commissar v. Gottberg issued a Directive for the Securing of Traffic Roads in White Ruthenia against Bandits and Mines. Therein the whole population of villages in White Ruthenia was obliged to de-mine streets and roads every day at the regional police commanders instructions. Whoever refused the de-mining and road supervision service was to be punished by death.
The pacifications, and the ghetto liquidation actions in the territories occupied by the Germans since June 1941, were conducted in a number of notable locations in present-day Belarus. The victims, including Polish Jews from the territories annexed into the Soviet Belarus from the Polish Kresy, were also transported by rail to the Bronna Góra extermination site whenever deemed necessary by the executioners. The towns (in alphabetical order) included Antopol, Berazino, Novogrudok (see Martyrs of Nowogródek), Bobruisk, Chavusy, Davyd-Haradok, Dzyatlava (see Dzyatlava massacre), Grodno (see Grodno Ghetto), Iwye, Khatyn (see Khatyn massacre), Lakhva (see Łachwa Ghetto), Lida, Luniniec, Lyubavichi, Trostenets (see Maly Trostenets extermination camp), Minsk (see Minsk Ghetto), Motal, Obech, Pinsk (see Pińsk Ghetto), Polotsk, Ponary (see Ponary massacre), Shkloŭ, Slonim (see Słonim Ghetto), Slutsk (see Slutsk Affair), Vitebsk (see Vitebsk Ghetto), and Zhetel (see Zdzięcioł Ghetto).
According to State Memorial Complex "Khatyn" created by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Belarus, the Nazi regime deported some 380,000 Belarusians to Germany for slave labour and killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. At least 5,295 Belarusian settlements were destroyed and their inhabitants murdered (out of 9,200 settlements that were burned or otherwise destroyed in Belarus during World War II). According to SMC "Khatyn", 243 Belarusian villages were burned twice, 83 villages three times, and 22 villages were burned four or more times in the Vitebsk region. In the Mińsk region 92 villages were burned twice, 40 villages three times, nine villages four times, and six villages five or more times. More than 600 villages like Khatyn (see: the Khatyn massacre) were annihilated with their entire population. More than 209 cities and towns (out of 270 total) were destroyed.
The communist Soviet-era sources estimated that Belarus lost a quarter of its prewar population in World War II, including most of its intellectual elite. It is a myth believed to have been concocted by the local 1st Secretary Pyotr Masherov in a speech of 8 May 1965 according to western historians who point out to evidence of manipulation by the Extraordinary State Commission inflating the figure considerably by including victims who were not citizens of the republic. The official memorial narrative of Belarus allows only a "pro-Soviet version of the resistance to the German invaders." The Constitution of the Republic under Article 28 denies access to information about Belarusians who served with the Nazis.
In the 1970s and 1980s historian and Soviet refusenik Daniel Romanovsky who later emigrated to Israel, interviewed over 100 witnesses, including Jews, Russians, and Belarusians from the vicinity, recording their accounts of the Holocaust by bullet. Research on the topic was difficult in the Soviet Union because of government restrictions. Nevertheless, based on his interviews Romanovsky concluded that the open-type ghettos in Belarusian towns were the result of prior concentration of the entire Jewish communities in prescribed areas. No walls were required. The collaboration with the Germans by most non-Jewish people was in part a result of attitudes developed under the Soviet rule; namely, the practice of conforming to a totalitarian state. Sometimes called Homo Sovieticus.
Memorial complex Khatyn built in 1969 by Central Committee of the Communist Party of Belarus is situated in Logoisk region of Minsk.
Indeed, the two-week campaign that brought the USSR 200,000 square kilometers of territory, 13.5 million new subjects, and 250,000 prisoners of war, cost it, according to Molotov, fewer than 3,000 casualties..
Note 16: Archive of the author; Note 17: M. Dean, Collaboration in the Holocaust.
Геннадий Винница (Нагария), »Нацистская политика изоляции евреев и создание системы гетто на территории Восточной Белоруссии«
The Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, Berlin, December 1, 1941; OSR #140.
The number of Belorussians in the Republic, according to Tomaszewski, were distributed as follows: Polesie, 654,000; Nowogrodek, 616,000; Wilno, 409,000; and Bialystok, 269,100.
On the basis of the claimed figures, a myth about 'every fourth inhabitant of the republic' who perished was created, which did not fit even the broadest mathematical calculations. The myth's author was Piotr Mašeraŭ, the leader of Soviet Belarus in the years 1965 to 1980.
The grossly inflated figure included 800,000 prisoners of war and 1.4 million civilians most of whom were not citizens of the republic.
Between 1941 and 1945, Belarusians in the various German collaborationist formations numbered between 50,000 and 70,000 men.
36th Estonian Police Battalion (also known as Schutzmannschaft Front Bataillon 36 Arensburg (German) and 36. Kaitse Rindepataljon (Estonian)) was an Estonian rear-security unit during World War II that operated under command of the German SS.Byelorussian Auxiliary Police
The Byelorussian Auxiliary Police (Belarusian: Беларуская дапаможная паліцыя, romanized: Biełaruskaja dapamožnaja palicyja; German: Weißruthenische Schutzmannschaften, or Hilfspolizei) was a collaborationist paramilitary force established in July 1941. Staffed by local inhabitants from German-occupied Byelorussia, it had similar functions to those of the German Ordnungspolizei in other occupied territories. The activities of the formation were supervised by defense police departments, local commandants' offices, and garrison commandants. The units consisted of one police officer for every 100 rural inhabitants and one police officer for every 300 urban inhabitants. The OD was in charge of guard duty, and included both stationary and mobile posts plus groups of orderlies. It was subordinate to the defense police leadership.Einsatzgruppen reports
The Einsatzgruppen Operational Situation Reports (OSRs), or ERM for the German: Die Ereignismeldung UdSSR (plural: Ereignismeldungen), were dispatches of the Nazi death squads (Einsatzgruppen), which documented the progress of the Holocaust behind the German-Soviet frontier in the course of Operation Barbarossa, during World War II. The extant reports were sent between June 1941 and April 1942 to the Chief of the Security Police and the SD (German: Chef des Sicherheitspolizei und SD) in Berlin, from the occupied eastern territories including modern-day Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, and the Baltic Countries. During the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials the originals were grouped according to year and month and catalogued using a consecutive numbering system, as listed in the below table. The original photostats are held at the National Archives in Washington D.C..Hitler’s Bandit Hunters
Hitler’s Bandit Hunters: The SS and the Nazi Occupation of Europe is a 2006 book by the British author and researcher Philip W. Blood. It discusses the evolution of German rear security policies during World War II, from Partisanenkreig (partisan warfare) to Bandenbekämpfung (bandit fighting), leading to mass crimes against humanity and genocide.Jäger Report
The so-called Jäger Report, also Jaeger Report (full title: Complete tabulation of executions carried out in the Einsatzkommando 3 zone up to December 1, 1941) was written on 1 December 1941 by Karl Jäger, commander of Einsatzkommando 3 (EK 3), a killing unit of Einsatzgruppe A which was attached to Army Group North during the Operation Barbarossa. It is the most detailed and precise surviving chronicle of the activities of one individual Einsatzkommando, and a key record documenting the Holocaust in Lithuania as well as in Latvia and Belarus.Latvian Auxiliary Police
Latvian Auxiliary Police was a paramilitary force created from Latvian volunteers by the Nazi German authorities who occupied the country in June 1941. It was part of the Schutzmannschaft (Shuma), native police forces organized by the Germans in occupied territories and subordinated to the Order Police (Ordnungspolizei; Orpo). Some units of the Latvian auxiliary police were involved in the Holocaust. One of its units, the Arajs Kommando, was notorious for killing 26,000 civilians during the war, mostly Jews, but also Communists and Romas.In addition to regular stationary police (patrolmen in cities and towns), 30 Police Battalions were formed. These mobile groups carried out guard duties of strategic objects or building fortifications, participated in anti-partisan operations and fought on the Eastern Front.Marching into Darkness
Marching into Darkness: The Wehrmacht and the Holocaust in Belarus is a book by the American historian Waitman Wade Beorn, published in 2014 by Harvard University Press. It discusses the participation of the German Wehrmacht in the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity during the course of the early stages of the German-Soviet War (1941–45).
The book has received positive reviews for its thorough and convincing analysis of the complicity of the German armed forces in the crimes of the Nazi regime. One reviewer praised Beorn's work as (to date) "the most important to this crucial area of the Holocaust history, of military history, and of Germany history" in the English language.Minsk Trial
The Minsk Trial was a war crimes trial held in front of a Soviet military tribunal in 1946 in Minsk, the capital of Soviet Belarus. Defendants included German military, police, and SS officials who were responsible for implementing the occupational policies in Belarus during the German–Soviet War of 1941–45.Mogilev Conference
The Mogilev Conference was a September 1941 Wehrmacht training event aimed at improving security in the rear of Army Group Centre during Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The event was organised by General Max von Schenckendorff, commander of Army Group Centre Rear Area, in cooperation with the officials of the security and intelligence services of Nazi Germany—SS and the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service; SD)—operating in the same area. Ostensibly an "anti-partisan" training conference, the event marked an escalation of violence against Jews and other civilians in the area of Schenckendorff's command.Order Police battalions
The Order Police battalions were militarised formations of the German Order Police (uniformed police) during the Nazi era. During World War II, they were subordinated to the SS and deployed in German-occupied areas, specifically the Army Group Rear Areas and territories under German civilian administration. Alongside detachments from the Einsatzgruppen and the Waffen-SS, these units perpetrated mass murder of the Jewish population and were responsible for large-scale crimes against humanity targeting civilian populations.Police Battalion 307
The Police Battalion 307 (Polizeibattalion 307) was a formation of the Order Police (uniformed police) during the Nazi era. During Operation Barbarossa, it was subordinated to the SS and deployed in German-occupied areas, specifically the Army Group Centre Rear Area, of the Soviet Union, as part of Police Regiment Centre. Alongside detachments from the Einsatzgruppen, it perpetrated mass murder in the Holocaust and was responsible for large-scale crimes against humanity targeting civilian populations. In mid-1942, the battalion was reassigned to the 23rd Police Regiment and operated in Belarus.Police Battalion 309
The Police Battalion 309 (Polizeibattalion 309) was a formation of the Order Police (uniformed police) during the Nazi era. During Operation Barbarossa, it was subordinated to the German Army's 221st Security Division and deployed in German-occupied areas, specifically the Army Group Centre Rear Area, of the Soviet Union, as part of Wehrmacht's security forces. Alongside detachments from the Einsatzgruppen and the SS Cavalry Brigade, it perpetrated mass murders and was responsible for large-scale crimes against humanity targeting civilian populations.Police Battalion 314
The Police Battalion 314 (Polizeibattalion 314) was a formation of the German Order Police (uniformed police) during the Nazi era. During Operation Barbarossa, it was subordinated to the SS and deployed in German-occupied areas, specifically the Army Group Centre Rear Area, of the Soviet Union, as part of Police Regiment South. Alongside detachments from the Einsatzgruppen and the 1st SS Infantry Brigade, it perpetrated mass murder in the Holocaust and was responsible for large-scale crimes against humanity targeting civilian populations.Police Battalion 316
The Police Battalion 316 (Polizeibattalion 316) was a formation of the Order Police (uniformed police) during the Nazi era. During Operation Barbarossa, it was subordinated to the SS and deployed in German-occupied areas, specifically the Army Group Centre Rear Area, of the Soviet Union, as part of Police Regiment Centre. Alongside detachments from the Einsatzgruppen and the SS Cavalry Brigade, it perpetrated mass murder in the Holocaust and was responsible for large-scale crimes against humanity targeting civilian populations. In mid-1942, the battalion was reassigned to the 4th Police Regiment and operated in Slovenia.Police Battalion 322
The Police Battalion 322 (Polizeibattalion 322) was a formation of the German Order Police (uniformed police) during the Nazi era. During Operation Barbarossa, it was subordinated to the SS and deployed in German-occupied areas, specifically the Army Group Centre Rear Area, of the Soviet Union, as part of Police Regiment Centre.
Alongside detachments from the Einsatzgruppen and the SS Cavalry Brigade, it perpetrated mass murder during the Holocaust and was responsible for large-scale crimes against humanity targeting civilian populations. In mid-1942, the battalion was reassigned to the 5th Police Regiment and operated in German-occupied territories of Slovenia.Police Regiment Centre
The Police Regiment Centre (Polizei-Regiment Mitte) was a formation of the Order Police (uniformed police) during the Nazi era. During Operation Barbarossa, it was subordinated to the Schutzstaffel (SS) and deployed in German-occupied areas, specifically the Army Group Centre Rear Area, of the Soviet Union. In mid-1942, its three constituent battalions were reassigned and the unit was redesignated as the 13th Police Regiment.
Alongside detachments from the Einsatzgruppen and the SS Cavalry Brigade, it perpetrated mass murders and was responsible for large-scale crimes against humanity targeting civilian populations. The scope of the regiment's operations was known to the British intelligence since July 1941 but, for reasons of national security, information pertaining to their activities was not released until 1993.Pripyat swamps (punitive operation)
"Pripyat swamps" (German: "Pripiatsümpfe"), also "Pripyat march" was the codename of the punitive operation conducted by German forces in July and August 1941. The operation was aimed at the mass murder of the local Jewish population from the territories of nine raions of Byelorussian SSR and three raions of Ukrainian SSR in the region of the Pripyat swamps and Pripyat River.
The operation is considered to be the first planned mass extermination operation conducted by Nazi Germany. In the course of the operation, at least 13,788 people were killed in Phase One and 3,500 Jewish men were killed in Phase Two. The villages of Dvarets, Khochan', Azyarany, Starazhowtsy, Kremna, were completely destroyed by burning and Turaw was partially destroyed. The principal means of execution employed was mass shootings, after the local populace had been rounded up. Other methods were also tried, including driving people into the swamp and drowning them.Severity Order
The Severity Order or Reichenau Order was the name given to an order promulgated within the German Sixth Army on the Eastern Front during World War II by Generalfeldmarschall Walther von Reichenau on 10 October 1941.Sonderaktion 1005
The Sonderaktion 1005 (English: Special Action 1005), also called Aktion 1005, or Enterdungsaktion (English: Exhumation Action) began in May 1942 during World War II to hide any evidence that people had been murdered by Germany in Aktion Reinhard in German-occupied Poland. The operation, which was conducted in strict secrecy from 1942–1944, used prisoners to exhume mass graves and burn the bodies. These work groups were officially called Leichenkommandos ("corpse units") and were all part of Sonderkommando 1005; inmates were often put in chains in order to prevent escape.
In May 1943, the operation moved into occupied territories in Eastern and Central Europe to destroy evidence of the Final Solution. Sonderaktion 1005 was used to conceal the evidence of massacres committed by SS-Einsatzgruppen Nazi death squads that had massacred millions of people including 1.3 million Jews according to Historian Raul Hilberg, as well as Roma and local civilians. The Aktion was overseen by selected squads from the Sicherheitsdienst and Ordnungspolizei.
The Holocaust in Europe
|States with limited|
(list by death toll)