Reich Secret Document
The SS and Police Leader (SS-und Polizeifuhrer) in the District of Galicia
Lvov, June 30, 1943
Re: Solution of the Jewish Question in Galicia.
Reference: Attached Report
Enclosure: 1 Report (3 copies)
1 Copy (bound)
Higher SS and Police Leader East
SS Obergruppenfuhrer and General of the Police
Enclosed I forward the first copy of the final report on the Solution of the Jewish Question in the District of Galicia, and request that you may acknowledge it.
and Generalleutnant of Police
Solution of the Jewish Problem in the District of Galicia
Owing to the phrase "Galician Jew," Galicia was probably the small corner on earth most known and most frequently mentioned in connection with the Jews. Here they lived in great, compact multitudes, forming a world of their own, from which the rest of world Jewry renewed its population continuously. Jews were to be met with in their hundreds of thousands in all parts of Galicia.
According to old statistics dating back to 1931, there were then about 502,000 Jews. This number is unlikely to have diminished in the period between 1931 and the summer of 1941. There are no precise figures for the number of Jews present when the German troops marched into Galicia. The figure of 350,000 was given by the Judenrate of Galicia for the end of the year 1941. That this figure was incorrect can be seen from the records concerning evacuation appended to this report. The city of Lvov alone housed about 160,000 Jews in the months of July-August 1941....
Our first measure was to identify every Jew by means of a white armlet with the blue Star of David. In accordance with a decree issued by the Governor General, the Interior Administration was responsible for the identifying and registration of the Jews, as well as setting up the Judenrate. Our task as police was first of all to fight effectively against the immense black market operated by the Jews all over the District. Energetic measures also had to be taken against idlers loafing around and against do-nothings.
The best means for this was the establishment of Forced Labor Camps by the SS and Police Leader. There was, first of all, work on the urgently needed reconstruction of [highway] Dg. 4., which was extremely important for the entire southern section of the Front and which was in catastrophically bad condition. On October 15, 1941, a start was made on the building of camps along the railroad tracks, and after a few weeks, despite considerable difficulties, 7 camps had been put up, containing 4,000 Jews. More camps soon followed, so that in a very short period of time the completion of 15 such camps could be reported to the Higher SS and Police Leader. About 20,000 Jewish laborers passed through these camps in the course of time. Despite all conceivable difficulties that turned up on this project, about 160 km. have now been completed.
At the same time all other Jews who were fit for work were registered by the Labor Offices and directed to useful work. Both when the Jews were identified with the Star of David and when they were registered by the Labor Offices, the first indications were noted that the Jews were trying to evade the orders issued by the Authorities. The control measures carried out as a result led to thousands of arrests. It became increasingly apparent that the Civil Administration was not in a position to move the Jewish problem to an even reasonably satisfactory solution. Because repeated attempts of the City Administration of Lvov, for instance, to move the Jews into a Jewish quarter, failed, this question, too, was solved by the SS and Police Leader and his organizations. This measure had become all the more urgent because in the winter of 1941 centers of typhus infection had appeared all over the city, endangering not only the local population but, even more, the German troops either stationed in the city or passing through....
Owing to the peculiarity that almost 90 percent of the artisans in Galicia consisted of Jews, the problem to be solved could only be carried out gradually, as an immediate removal of the Jews would not have been in the interest of the war economy. Not that one could observe that those Jews who were working made any special contribution by their work. Their place of work was often only a means to an end for them: firstly, to escape the sharper measures taken against the Jews; and, secondly, to be able to carry out their black-market dealings without interruption. Only continuous police intervention could prevent these activities. Draconian measures had to be introduced by us after it was noted in increasing numbers of cases that the Jews had succeeded in making themselves indispensable to their employers by provided goods in short supply, etc. It is very sad to have to note that the wildest black-market deals with the Jews were made by Germans who were brought here, and in particular those in the so-called "operating firms" (Einsatszfirmen) or the "ill-reputed trustees" (beruchtigte Treuhander), both of which operated Jewish firms taken from their owners. Cases were known where Jews seeking to obtain some kind of working certificate not only did not ask for pay from their employers but paid regularly themselves. In addition, Jewish "organizing" (1*) on behalf of their "employers" reached such catastrophic dimensions that energetic action had to be taken in the interest of the reputation of the German people.
As the Administration was not in the position to overcome this chaos, and proved weak, the whole issue of Jewish labor simply taken over by the SS and Police Leader. The existing Jewish Labor Offices, which were staffed by hundreds of Jews, were dissolved.All work certificates issued by firms and official employers were declared invalid, and the cards given to Jews by the Labor Offices revalidated by the Police.
In the course of this Aktion thousands of Jews were again caught in possession of forged certificates or labor certificates obtained fraudulently by means of all kinds of excuses. These Jews were also sent for special treatment (Sonderbehandlung). The Wehrmacht authorities in particular aided the Jewish parasites by issuing special certificates without proper control... There were cases where Jews were caught with from 10 to 20 such certificates. When Jews were arrested in the course of further checks, most of the employers felt obliged to attempt to intervene in favor of the Jews. This was often done in a manner that can only be described as deeply shameful....
Despite all these measures for the regulation of Jewish labor, a start was made in April 1942 on the evacuation of Jews (2*) from the District of Galicia, and this was carried out steadily.
When the Higher SS and Police Leader again intervened in the Jewish question in general on November 10, 1942, and a Police Order was issued for the formation of Jewish quarters, 254,989 Jews had already been evacuated or resettled. Since the Higher SS and Police Leader gave further instructions to accelerate the total evacuation of the Jews, further considerable work was necessary in order to catch those Jews who were, for the time being, to be left in the armaments factories. These remaining Jews were declared labor prisoners of the Higher SS and Police Leader and held either in the factories themselves or in camps erected for this purpose. For Lvov itself a large camp (3*) was erected on the outskirts, which holds 8,000 Jewish labor prisoners at the present time. The agreement made with the Wehrmacht concerning employment and treatment of the labor prisoners was set down in writing...
In the meantime further evacuation was carried out vigorously, with the result that by June 23, 1943, all Jewish quarters could be dissolved. Apart from the Jews in camps under the control of the SS and Police Leader, the District of Galicia is thus free of Jews (judenfrei).
Individual Jews occasionally picked up by the Order Police or the Gendarmerie were sent for special treatment. Altogether, 434,329 Jews had been evacuated up to June 27, 1943.... [This is followed by a list of 21 camps in which there were still 21,156 Jews.]
Together with the evacuation Aktionen Jewish property was collected. Valuables were secured and handed over to the Special Staff "Reinhard." Apart from furniture and large quantities of textiles, etc., the following were confiscated and delivered to Special Staff "Reinhard":
As of June 30, 1943:
|20.952||"||wedding rings gold|
|11.730||"||gold teeth bridges|
|28.200||"||powder compacts silver or other metal|
|343.100||"||cigarette cases silver and other metal|
|20.880||"||rings, gold, with stones|
|39.917||"||brooches, earrings, etc.|
|6.166||"||pocket watches, various|
|3.133||"||pocket watches, silver|
|3.425||"||wrist watches silver|
|1.256||"||wrist watches gold|
|2.892||"||pocket watches gold|
|7||stamp collections complete|
|5||travel baskets of loose stamps|
|100.500||"||3 sacks of rings, jewelry not genuine|
|3.290||"||1 box corals|
|0.460||"||1 case corals|
|0.280||"||1 case corals|
|7.495||"||1 suitcase of fountain pens and propelling pencils|
|1 travel basket of fountain pens and propelling pencils|
|1 suitcase of cigarette lighters|
|1 suitcase of pocket knives|
|1 trunk of watch parts|
|Currency:||Bank Notes and Metal [this is followed by a detailed list of coins and bank notes of various kinds…]|
There were also other immense difficulties during the Aktionen as the Jews tried to avoid evacuation by all possible means. They not only tried to escape, and concealed themselves in the most improbable places, drainage canals, chimneys, even in sewage pits, etc. They barricaded themselves in catacombs of passages, in cellars made into bunkers, in holes in the earth, in cunningly contrived hiding places, in attics and sheds, inside furniture, etc.
As the number of Jews still remaining decreased their resistance became the greater. They used weapons of all types for their defense, and in particular those of Italian origin. The Jews bought these Italian weapons from Italian soldiers stationed in the district in exchange for large sums in zlotys....
Subterranean bunkers were discovered which had cleverly concealed entrances, some in the flats, and some out of doors. In most cases the entrance to the bunker was only just large enough for one person to slip through. The entrances to the bunkers were so well hidden that they could not be found if one did not know where to look....
Owing to increasingly grave reports of the growing arming of the Jews, the sharpest possible measures were taken for the elimination of Jewish banditry in all parts of the District of Galicia in the last two weeks of June 1943. Special measures were needed for the breaking up of the Jewish quarter in Lvov, where the bunkers described above had been installed. In order to avoid losses to German forces, brutal measures had to be taken from the outset; several houses were blown up or destroyed by fire. The astonishing result was that in place of the 12,000 Jews registered a total of 20,000 were caught....
*1 The reference is to the payment of bribes.
*2 They were sent to death camps.
*3 Janowska Camp was a forced-labor and concentration camp, established in October 1941 in Janowska Street in Lvov, where many Jews were murdered.
(Copyright © 2016 Yad Vashem. The World Holocaust Remembrance Center)