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Stahlecker's Answer

Stahlecker’s Answer

Stahlecker suggests a more radical approach dispensing with temporary solutions to the Jewish "problem," including "a complete and immediate 100% clearing of the Jews from the Ost territory."

Stahlecker's Answer to Lohse's Guidlelines on Treatment of Jews in Ostland

Einsatzgruppe A Headquarters
Novoselsk, August 6, 1941.

Subject:  Proposed temporary directives for the handling of Jews in the territory of the Reichskomissariat Ostland

The projected measures concerning the settling of the Jewish problem are not in harmony with those orders concerning Jews in the Ostland given to Einsatzgruppe A of the Security Police and the SD. Nor does the project take into consideration the new possibilities of cleaning up the Jewish question in the Eastern regions (Ostraum).

The Reichskomissar appears to strive for a temporary settlement of the Jewish question, one that applies to the situation in the Generalgouvernement (Occupied Poland). On the one hand he fails to consider the altered situation that the war in the East (Ostfeldzug) introduced, and on the other hand, he fails to examine the unprecedented possibility of a radical treatment of the Jewish question in the Ostraum.

[1] Insertion in handwriting: “mit Ausnahme der Hand­werkerfrage in nur ganzwenigen Städten”—“with the exception of crafts­men in a very few towns.”

The Generalgouvernement saw already during the war, even more strongly after it, that there was a need to leave Jewish labor in its workplace. This was particularly desirable to maintain vital services to meet not only the needs of the people, but also those of the occupation army. Besides, in the absence of any other workforce, the Jewish-operated enterprises had to satisfy pressing war needs of the state. So far this need has not arisen in the Ostland,[1] and is not likely to arise in the future. Insofar as civilian or war enterprises have not been affected by battles, they can be operated by the available non-Jewish labor. In many parts of the Ostland numerous workers who were idle under the Bolsheviks have returned to the work places from which they had been driven by Bolsheviks and Jews. Therefore in the treatment of the Jewish problem in the Ostland, consideration of the labor needs are completely irrelevant.[2]

[2] Hand correction: “completely irrelevant” to: “in der Hauptsache aus”—“in the main irrelevant.”

In the Generalgouvernement there was no serious political danger in leaving the Jews in their living quarters and work places. But in the Ostland, the resident Jews or those brought in by the Red powers became the leading supporters of the Bolshevik idea. Numerous Jews were openly communist activists. Experience so far allows us to expect that, even a long time after the military occupation of the Ost territory, disorders will arise. Sabotage and acts of terror can be expected not only from communists not caught in previous actions, but precisely from the Jews, who will use every possibility to create disorder. The pressing need to pacify the Ost area quickly makes it necessary to eliminate all likely sources of disorder.

The policy anticipated in the project has not considered these needs. The project in the main sees cleaning, clearing the Jews from the countryside as the main need. On the other hand, the Jews would be prohibited from locations of economic, military or other significance, as well as resorts or spas. That would leave for the Jews a very small number of living places. The choice of places of that nature in the large expanses of the thinly populated Ostland, where there are very few large cities, is very small. In these places Insertion reads: “…überdies…”—"…moreover…" hardly any possibility exists for the Jews to carry on a useful occupation.

The project apparently does not foresee the resettlement of the Jews provided under paragraph V as an immediate measure, but rather sees it as a slower, later development. This will have the consequence that the Jews in the foreseeable future will remain in their present residences. The Jews in the Ost area, as elsewhere, are in the main concentrated in the big cities. In view of the small number of German security and order forces, the Jews would continue their parasitical existence there and continue to play a disruptive role.

The measures anticipated in paragraph IV concerning identification signs and impositions of restrictions against the Jews will, in my opinion, not avert the danger. One should point out that in the capital of the Reich itself, in spite of careful overseeing of the Jews by the organs of the state and Party, still in 1941 it was possible not infrequently for the Jews to mask themselves as Aryans, commit various offenses, and engage in miscegenation. The danger of spreading Jewish blood by miscegenation cannot be underestimated in view of the still incomplete understanding of racial questions in the Ost area. Especially in the Baltic lands a part of the population is racially valuable,and they must be protected from intermixing with Jewish blood immediately and most emphatically.

The essential point, one that necessitates a way of handling the Jewish question that differs from that expressed in the proposal, is the following:

By all possible means, it must be attempted to limit the fertility of Jews as quickly as possible. Sterilization, apart from other arguments, is practically impossible, so in order to reach the goal, the only measure that remains is physical separation of sexes from each other.

[3] This paragraph begins with a crossed out sentence: “Allen bisher erörterten Gesichtspunkten würde folgende Regelung des Judenproblems gerecht werden,” and substituted with a handwritten sentence: “Der Entwurf sieht eine Umsiedlung vom flachen Lande in die Städte vor. Wenn jetzt schon an die Um­­siedlung herangan­gen wird, muß das grundsätzlich und dann folgendermaßen geschehen:”

[3]Within the larger territory of Ostland, Jewish reservations can be established according to need. The prior occupants of the area and those who are planned to settle there can be pumped into other locations without any difficulty. In the Jewish reservations Jewish men and women must be separated. The boys will remain with their mothers until sexual maturity. The Jews on the reservations can immediately be set to useful labor, as for example construction of their own housing, farm labor, forest work, highway-building. The Jews can be sent as closed teams, as much as the numbers of workmen allow, to do street work outside the reservation. Should it happen that a wholesale clearing of the European Jews should not yet by this time be on the way, then at a later time we could establish in the reservations handcraft and industrial enterprises and thus create new labor possibilities for them. The Jews are to be provided only as much in the way of housing and supplies as is absolutely necessary to maintain their labor. The Jews themselves shall construct simple wooden barracks. The produce of the reservation itself should be enough to supply the food needs.

The fencing off of the reservation should not be any problem. The Jews must be forbidden, at the threat of death, to leave the reservation. The prohibition for the Jews to leave the place can be enforced by relatively small auxiliary police units.

Insofar as is helpful, one could make exceptions to the forced residence in the Jewish reservation, according to the specialties of the Jews, as for example for doctors and craftsmen, who are still urgently needed outside of the reservation. These Jews, as far as it is possible, should be kept near their workplace in a closed camp, separated by sexes. The identification mark, as anticipated in the project, one that I approve of completely,[4] could
[4] Handwritten insert reads: “die von der Srh. Polizei wurde bereits durchführt."—”had already been carried out by the Security Police….”
be quickly carried out with this small leftover number of Jews.

I want however to note that the commander of the North Army rear has informed the secret field police, by the order of 7/24/41, that the Jews must identify themselves with a yellow six pointed star on the right side of their chest. The project, however, foresees identification with a Star of David on the left side of the chest and on the middle of the back.[5]

[5] Handwritten insert reads: ”…ausserdem ist links ein Durchmesser von 8-10 cm empfehlenswert.”—"…in addition on the left a diameter of 8-10 cm is recommended."

It is self-evident that the Jews in reservations also must be externally identifiable. In closing, let me sum up by saying that the Jewish question shall be solved by:

  1. A complete and immediate 100% clearing of the Jews from the Ost territory.
  2. Preventing the Jews from increasing their numbers.
  3. Using the Jews to the fullest as a work force.
  4. A considerable facilitation (wesentliche Erleichterung) for the later collective transport to a reservation outside Europe.

This definitive measure can be carried out only by the forces of the Security and Order Police.[6]

[6] The document ends with the following handwritten note: ”Ich halte es für erforderlich, vor Herausgabe einer grundsätzlichen Anweisung diese gesamten Fragen noch eingehend mündlich zu erörten zumal da der Entwurf grundsätzliche, schriftlich nicht zu erörternde Befehle von höherer Stelle an die Sicherheitspolizei erheblich berührt.” The translation of this important note is: “I consider it desirable before issuing any basic statement once more to discuss these questions verbally, especially since it is safer that way, and since it concerns fundamental orders from higher authority to the Security Police, ones that should not be discussed in writing. Brigadeführer".

Source: LVVA, P—1026-1-3, pp. 237-239.