Friday, April 07, 2017

German Instigation of Pogroms

Author: Jonathan Harrison
A favourite meme of Holocaust deniers is that pogroms were not the responsibility of the Germans. Germar Rudolf even claims here that Jewish deaths from pogroms were not "real Holocaust victims." This article refutes such lies by demonstrating that references to pogroms in the Einsatzgruppen Operational Situation Reports [hereafter EMs] almost always show attempts by Germans to instigate them. The success or failure of these attempts varies with the region in which each Einsatzkommando was operating.

EM 10 informs us that "The 17th Army Command has suggested the use first of all of the anti-Jewish and anti-Communist Poles living in the newly-occupied areas for self-cleansing activities" and that "It is therefore obvious that such Poles need not be included in the cleansing action, especially as they are of great importance as elements to initiate pogroms and for obtaining information. (This depends, of course, on local conditions)." The following day, EG A reports that "Pogroms have been started" in Riga [EM 12]. A day later, "Pogroms are being initiated" in Grodno [EM 13]. On July 16, it is confirmed that "400 Jews were killed during pogroms in Riga, since the arrival of EK 2; 300 by the Latvian auxiliary police and partly by our units [EM 24]." In Latvia, therefore, the role of EK 2 was not simply collusion but participation and direction.

When pogroms failed to materialize, the reason usually given was fear among the population that the Soviets would regain power. For example, EG C noted in EM 47 concerning western Ukraine:
Carefully planned attempts made at an earlier date to incite pogroms against Jews have unfortunately not shown the results hoped for. They were successful in Tarnopol and in Chortkov, where 600 and 110 Jews respectively were disposed of. The reason for this failure may be the fact that the Ukrainian population is still too fearful in view of the strong position the Jews held formerly. They are also still afraid of a possible return of the Soviets.
However, in EM 43, Einsatzgruppe B admitted that "It was, however, almost impossible to stage pogroms against the Jews because of the passivity and the political disinterest of the Byelorussians."The Einsatzgruppen leaders could not therefore reach consensus on whether the lack of pogroms was due to fear or indifference.

EM 81 contains an extraordinary passage about the lengths to which the Germans were willing to go in order to encourage mob violence against Jews:
Concerning propaganda measures for the broad masses in the Ukrainian districts it should be kept in mind that the population be induced to take active steps against the Jews. This may be traced back to the fear still prevailing in many circles that the Reds might come back again.

Time and time again this intimidation was made by the older people with the addition that they already had the experience in 1918 when the Germans suddenly withdrew. In order to counteract this psychosis of fear, and to break the spell which adheres to the Jews as carriers of political power in the eyes of many Ukrainians, Einsatzkommando 6 in several instances marched the Jews through the town under guard prior to their execution.

It was likewise often deemed important to have men from the militia (Ukrainians) participate in the execution of Jews. Word seems to have been passed to Jews on the other side of the front about the fate they can expect from us
In David Irving's questioning of Christopher Browning in the Lipstadt libel trial, Irving quote-mined another passage from EM 81 to argue that the Einsatzgruppen were encouraging evacuation by these measures. Note how Browning skillfully rebuts this sly tactic:
Q. You did not quote in your report the passage on the Jewish question from the event report No. 81 dated September 12th 1941. I am just going to quote to you three and a half lines from it. It is the operations of Einsatzkommando 6, and the quotation is as follows. It may be familiar to you. "The gratuitous evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Jews", what would "evacuation" there be?
A. I have not seen the written ---
Q. "The gratuitous evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Jews may be considered to be an indirect success of the work of the security police. As we hear mostly from the other side of the Urals, the Ural mountains, this is a considerable contribution to the solution of the Jewish question in Europe". This is September 1941 and in your opinion are they are referring there to a geographical evacuation, or something more sinister?
A. Not seeing the wider context, I think he is probably referring to the escape of Jews to the Soviet side, and that these were Jews that were no longer within German control.
Q. "The gratuitous evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Jews may be considered to be an indirect success of the work of the security police", in other words they had fled?
MR JUSTICE GRAY: They did not want to get shot?
A. They are Jews that do not have to be shot because they have left German custody.
MR IRVING: So at this time there was no plan to catch all the Jews you could and kill them?
A. What the reports note as they go further East, there are fewer and fewer Jews in the areas the Germans get because so many have fled, and this is in a sense of a way of saying why his body count has not been maintained, that so many of these are have fled beyond the Soviet lines. We can consider this an indirect success. If the programme then was still expulsion, this would not be an indirect success, it would be a direct success. If it is an indirect success, that implies that it is something other than what the direct process is.
Essentially Irving commits a syllogism:

1. Holocaust historians say the Germans intended to kill all the Jews that came under their occupation
2. EM 81 expresses delight that many Jews fled beyond the German zone
3. Holocaust historians are wrong to say the Germans intended to kill all the Jews that came under their occupation. They really wanted to deport them eastwards.

In reality, EM 81 was referring to the Final Solution as the removal of Jews from Europe, by means of shooting combined with driving fleeing Jews farther east to evade capture and death. Irving failed to consider the fate that the Germans envisaged for the Jews who had fled, namely that the Germans would catch up with those Jews and kill them after defeating the USSR in the war, which they anticipated would happen quickly. Irving, like Rudolf, was exhibiting deliberate blindness to German intentions and the consequences of deliberate German actions.

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