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Eywitness accounts of the massacres in Kovno!

Einsatzgruppen A

 

The Massacres in Kovno

Reports and Eyewitness Accounts

 

 

 

Franz Walther Stahlecker

Franz Walther Stahlecker 

 

Franz Walther Stahlecker was born in Sternenfels, Austria on the 10 October 1900. He was trained as an administrative jurist, and he joined the Nazi Party and the SS on the 1 May 1932. His SS number was 73041 and his NSDAP number was 1069130

 

He served in the police and in 1934 he became chief of the police in the Wurtemburg region. He then transferred to the Sicherheitsdienst main office, and in 1938 he was appointed the head of Einsatzgruppe Wien during the annexation of Austria to the Reich.

 

In Vienna he was appointed head of the SD for the Danube district based in Vienna, where he was Adolf Eichmann’s superior and played a leading role in the Nisko project.

 

He was promoted to the rank of SS-Standartenfuhrer and became Head of the SD in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, and was involved in the student demonstrations in October 1939, in which the Germans opened fire and killed the Czech student Jan Opletal.

 

In 1940 Stahlecker was sent to Norway to serve as Kommandeur der Sicherheitspolizei (KdS). In 1941, prior to the Nazis invasion of the Soviet Union, Stahlecker was among the Senior SS and Police officers who met at Pretzsch on the Elbe, where Heydrich outlined the role of the Einsatzgruppen in Russia.

 

Stahlecker, who had risen to a Brigadefuhrer was appointed as the commander of Einsatzgruppen A, which was active in the Baltic States and the region west of Leningrad.

 

Einsatzgruppen A was one the bloodiest mobile killing squads, and Stahlecker’s reports to Heydrich recording the number of Jewish men, women and children were presented at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg after the Allies defeated the Germans.  

 

He was fatally wounded on March 23, 1942 in a battle with Estonian partisans at Krasnowardeisk, and he died on a hospital train. His body was taken back to Prague where Reinhard Heydrich gave the funeral oration, which was held at Hradcany Castle.

 

 

Extracts from a Report of Einsatzgruppe A Covering the Period from 23 June 1941 to 15 October 1941

 

Report by Franz Walther Stahlecker to RSHA Berlin

 

Order issued by General Erich Hoepner, "Conduct of Operations"

[click text for translation]

Einsatzgruppe “A” after preparing their vehicles for action, proceeded to their area of concentration as ordered on 23 June 1941, the second day of the campaign in the East.

 

Army Group North consisting of the 16th and 18th armies and Panzer Group 4 had begun their advance the day before. Our task was to hurriedly establish personal contact with the commanders of the army of the rear area.

 

It must be stressed from the beginning that co-operation with the armed forces was generally good, in some cases, for instance with Panzer Group 4 under General Hoepner, it was very close, almost cordial. Misunderstandings which cropped up with some authorities in the first days were cleared up mainly through personal discussions.

 

At the start of the eastern campaign it became obvious for the security police that it’s special work had to be done not only in the rear areas, as was provided for in the original agreements with the High Command of the Army, but also in the combat areas, and this for two reasons – on the one hand, the development of the rear area of the armies was delayed because of the quick advance and on the other hand, the undermining Communist activities and the fight against partisans took place mainly within the areas of actual warfare, especially when the Luga sector was reached.

 

To carry out security police tasks, it was desirable to enter into the larger towns together with the armed forces. We had our first experiences in this direction when a small advance Kommando under my leadership entered Kovno together with the advance units of the armed forces on 25 June 1941.

 

 

When the other larger towns, especially Lepaya, Yelgava, Riga, Tartu, Tallin and the larger suburbs of Leningrad were captured, a Kommando of the Security Police was always with the first army units.

Read more here: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/einsatz/kovnomassacres.html

The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
www.HolocaustResearchProject.org

Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto
H.E.A.R.T 2009

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