A bit of history, a bit of statistics
NATO's advance eastward is a fait accompli. The alliance's rush to help Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, just as it had "helped" the Baltic states before, means, judging by the bloodshed in southeastern Ukraine organized by the Kiev authorities, that everything in Europe is returning to its original state. The one in which she stayed in the 40s. Not without amendments for the presence of the United States as the chief arbiter, but this is particular. It is worth remembering how everything happened then and how it ended for the local population. Without emotion, in fact. Still, to date, this is the most successful experiment with European integration, which has been carried out in relation to future partners and members of the North Atlantic Alliance.
The civilian population in a war has a bad time always and everywhere. That is why in Russia at the moment there are almost a million immigrants from Ukraine - far from only from Donbass, who save their children from repeating what has happened there not for the first time over the past hundred years. The Civil and Great Patriotic Wars, pogroms and famine, repressions and the Holocaust completely changed the composition of the population of the former western provinces of the Russian Empire and the fragments of Austria-Hungary and Romania annexed to them before the war.
"In Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, thousands of Jews were killed by local residents before the Germans entered these areas."
A separate topic is what happened to the Poles, Germans and Czechs who lived on this land. Where did the original population of its cities go and where did those who live in Lvov and Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk and Odessa, Vilnius and Riga come from? Russians still live there. How millions of people lived before the war, about whom no one even remembers today in these places. Modern Ukrainian, Moldavian, Belarusian and Baltic cities bear little resemblance to the pre-war ones. Including due to the almost complete change in the ethnic composition of their inhabitants.
Who remembers that 7.6 percent of Ukrainians lived in Lviv, and more than three quarters of the population were Poles and Jews? That in large cities of the former Pale of Settlement the Jews were 30-40 percent, and in small, former townships - 70-80 percent? Today, when Ukraine has come to its past - not the best foundation for building the future of any country on it, it makes sense to remind what it was. A bit of history. Some statistics. At least with regard to how the arrival of civilized Europeans to these places ended (not only Germans served in the Wehrmacht and the SS) for the Jews. Fortunately, unlike the Poles, who are embarrassed to remember the past common with the Ukrainians, so as not to stand in the way of European integration, Jews have something to remember.
Before and after the disaster
In the USSR, according to the 1939 census, more than three million Jews lived in the pre-war borders, including about 2.1 million in the territories later occupied by the Germans. In the annexed to the USSR in 1939-1940, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Western Ukraine, Western Belarus, Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, along with refugees from the regions of Poland occupied by the Germans, there were 2.15 million Jews. The swiftness of the offensive, the lack of measures on the part of the authorities to evacuate Jews, and in the annexed areas, obstacles to evacuation from the detachments, the lack of information about the persecution of Jews by the Nazis led to the fact thatthat the majority of the Jewish population did not manage to evacuate and about three million remained in the occupied territory. About 320 thousand were evacuated from the regions annexed to the USSR in 1939-1940. Only from the regions of the RSFSR, captured by the Germans in late 1941 - early 1942, more than half of the Jewish population managed to evacuate, but those who ended up in the Kuban and the North Caucasus were destroyed there.
The Germans actively involved local residents in the administration. Of these, a police of order was created under the leadership of German officers. In Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus and Ukraine, 170 police battalions were organized, in which prisoners of war served along with local natives. In October 1942, 4428 Germans and 55,562 local residents served in the Ostland Reichskommissariat, created on the part of the captured territory of the USSR, in the Ukraine and southern Russia in November 1942 - 10,794 Germans and 70,759 local residents. There were also local residents in the SS Einsatzgruppen. The police of the order participated in anti-Jewish actions.
A huge role in the extermination of the Jews of Ukraine was played by the Ukrainian police units, which consisted mostly of residents of the western regions. In December 1941, there were 35 thousand people in the local police formations of Ukraine and Belarus, in December 1942 - about 300 thousand. On August 19, 1941, the Ukrainian police in Bila Tserkva shot Jewish children, whose parents had already been killed so brutally that the command of the 295th German division tried to stop the liquidation. On September 6, 1941, after the execution in Radomyshl, more than 1,100 adult Ukrainian police were ordered to destroy 561 children. On October 16, 1941, 500 Jews of Chudny were shot by the Ukrainian police on the orders of the German commandant Berdichev. In Lvov, Ukrainian police took part in the deportation of Jews to the Yaniv concentration camp and their extermination.
The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) helped to carry out the genocide of Jews. On the eve of the war, the OUN formulated its position on the Jewish question: “The indictment will be long. The verdict will be short”. There was no difference in the attitude towards Jews between the groups led by S. Bandera and A. Melnik. In July 1941, a meeting of the leadership of the Bandera group was held in Lvov, the participants of which agreed with Professor S. Lenkavsky: “Concerning the Jews, we accept all methods that lead to their destruction.” The Melnikovites also believed that the Jews were collectively guilty before the Ukrainian people and should be exterminated. OUN members killed thousands of Jews during the massacre on July 25, 1941 (on the day of Petliura) in Lvov, Ternopil, Stanislav and other settlements.
When today the former President Yushchenko, whose administration canonized Petliura, Bandera and Shukhevych as the fathers of Ukrainian independence, claims that Ukrainian nationalists did not participate in the extermination of Jews, he may well refer to the fact that in 1942 the leaders of the Bandera wing of the OUN changed their position in the Jewish question. This was influenced by the dissolution by the Germans of the self-proclaimed in Lviv on June 30, 1941, the government of the Ukrainian state headed by Y. Stetsko, the arrest of him, Bandera and other leaders of the OUN, as well as the fact that most of the Jews living in Ukraine had already been destroyed by that time. In April 1942, the Second OUN Conference, stating "a negative attitude towards Jews, recognized it inappropriate at the moment in the international situation to take part in anti-Jewish actions so as not to become a blind instrument in the wrong hands." In August 1943, the Third Extraordinary Congress of the OUN recognized the equality of all nationalities living in Ukraine, abandoning the principle of ethnic superiority of Ukrainians. In the temporary instructions of the OUN, members of the organization urged "not to carry out any actions against the Jews," because: "The Jewish cause has ceased to be a problem (there are not many of them left), but with a proviso, this does not apply to those who actively oppose us." Detachments of armed organizations created by Ukrainian nationalists, including those that fought against the Germans, such as the OUN and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), killed Jews who fled to the forests, and members of the OUN who served in the Ukrainian police, as before, actively participated in anti-Jewish promotions. According to A. Weiss, OUN troops in Western Ukraine killed 28 thousand Jews.
According to I. Altman, 442 ghettos were created on the territory of Ukraine and 150 thousand Jews were exterminated in 1941-1943. In the Reichskommissariat Ukraine, almost 40 percent of the victims were killed before the Wannsee Conference. 514.8 thousand Jews perished on its territory. The fate of the Jews who ended up in the territories that entered the Romanian occupation zone differed from the fate of the Jews in other occupied territories of the USSR. Although during the occupation in Transnistria, about 263 thousand Jews died, including at least 157 thousand local and more than 88 thousand deported, most of the surviving Jews of the USSR survived there. Only a third of the Jews of Moldova survived by the time of their liberation. From June 22, 1941 to the beginning of 1942, most of the Jews were exterminated in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, almost all in Eastern Belarus, in Eastern Ukraine and in the occupied regions of the RSFSR. In Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, thousands of Jews were killed by local residents before the Germans entered these areas.
According to the testimony of a German officer who witnessed the execution, the Ukrainian police officers who shot Jews in Uman in September 1941 "did it with such pleasure, as if they were doing the main and favorite thing in their life." In the Gorodok of the Vitebsk region of Belarus, during the liquidation of the ghetto on October 14, 1941, "the policemen were worse than the Germans." In Slutsk, on October 27-28, 1941, a police battalion, two companies of which consisted of Germans and two of Lithuanians, shot local Jews so cruelly that it angered even the city commissar. The Lithuanian doctor V. Kutorga wrote in his diary: "The Lithuanian fascists demanded that by the end of September all Jews in all provincial cities be exterminated." The diary of the Lithuanian doctor E. Budvidyte-Kutorgene testifies: "All Lithuanians, with a few exceptions, are unanimous in their hatred of Jews." By the end of January 1942, 180-185 thousand Jews perished in Lithuania (80 percent of the victims of the Holocaust in Lithuania).
The same thing happened in Latvia. On July 4, members of the Perconcrusts organization burned down the Gogol-Shul synagogue, which housed about 500 Jews. In Riga, about 20 synagogues were burned - 2000 people. In the first days of the occupation, a Latvian auxiliary unit of the German security police and SD was created under the command of the former officer of the Latvian army V. Arajs. Arajs's team destroyed the Jewish population in the summer and autumn of 1941 without the participation of the Germans in Abrene, Kudig, Krustpils, Valka, Jelgava, Balvi, Bauska, Tukums, Talsi, Jekabpils, Vilani, Rezekne. In other settlements, Jews were shot by local residents, members of the Aizsarg organization and self-defense units. In 1941, during two actions carried out by the SS and the Latvian police, about 27 thousand Jews were killed in the forest near the Rumbula railway station.
A significant number of Jews from European countries were exterminated on the territory of the USSR. In October-November 1941, hundreds of Jews, citizens of neutral countries, from Iran, South and North America, including the United States, were shot in Riga. Since December 1941, 25 thousand European Jews have been deported to Riga. Many of them were destroyed in the Bikernieki forest, some were sent to the Salaspils concentration camp, the rest were placed in the ghetto.
In Estonia, actions to exterminate the Jewish population were carried out by Sonderkommando 1A with the participation of the Omakaitse Estonian nationalist formations. In December 1941, they killed 936 people - all Jews who remained in Estonia. Estonia was marked as Judenrein on German maps. The 20th SS Division was formed from Estonians, volunteers or conscripts. By the fall of 1942, about 20 concentration camps were created in Estonia, where Jews were brought from Terezin, Vienna, Kaunas and the Kaiserwald concentration camp (Latvia).
The Lithuanian SD battalion, the Latvian and Ukrainian battalions and Belarusian nationalists took an active part in the extermination of Belarusian Jews. In the first weeks after Germany's attack on the USSR, at least 50 thousand Jews were exterminated in Western Belarus. During the war years, 111 ghettos were created in Belarus, where tens of thousands of Jews from Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, and the Netherlands were delivered. 45 ghettos in Eastern Belarus lasted only a few months. In the second half of 1942, the Nazis destroyed almost all ghettos in Western Belarus. On December 17, 1943, the last were the prisoners of the ghetto in Baranovichi.
At the beginning of the war, power in the occupied territories belonged to the military command, which often required SS commanders to expedite the liquidation of the Jews. In Simferopol, Dzhankoy and other places of the Crimea, the military command sent army units to escort the Jews to the places of extermination. The order of the commander of the 6th Army W. von Reichenau said: "… The soldier must deeply understand the need for severe, but just punishment of the Jews." In the order of November 20, 1941, commander of the 11th Army F. Manstein: "The soldier must understand the need to punish the Jewry - the bearer of the very spirit of Bolshevik terror." In Crimea, with the active assistance of the local population, about five thousand Crimean Jews and about 18 thousand representatives of other communities were killed. Only the Crimean Karaites survived, who managed to prove that they were not Jews. Lev Kaya, the leader of the surviving Krymchaks, recalled how the Karaites refused to save their children, although they could do it. Some were saved by the Crimean Tatars.
During the first period of the occupation, the Germans and their accomplices killed more than 80 percent of the 300 thousand Jews in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. At the same time, about 15-20 percent died in Western Belarus and Western Ukraine. In these areas, the mass extermination of Jews began in the spring of 1942. In the occupied regions of the RSFSR, including Smolensk, Sebezh, Rostov, Kislovodsk, the total extermination of Jews took place in the summer of 1942 with the participation of local police.
By a decision made by the German leadership, in the fall of 1941, Jews from Romania, Austria, the protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (Czech Republic) were deported to Kaunas, Minsk and Riga, where they were exterminated along with the locals. From November 1941 to October 1942, more than 35 thousand Jews from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia were deported to Minsk. From the end of December 1941 to the spring of 1942, about 25 thousand Jews from the same countries were brought to Riga. The Jews from Germany, brought to Kaunas by several echelons, were shot at the Ninth Fort upon arrival. In the summer of 1942, four thousand Jews from the Warsaw ghetto were brought to the Forest Camp near Bobruisk, where they were exterminated in 1943.
In the prisoner of war camps, about 80 thousand Jewish soldiers were killed. During the Holocaust, about 70 thousand Latvian Jews perished, and of the thousand Latvian Jews who survived the liquidation of the concentration camps, the majority refused to return to Latvia, where only 150 Jews remained after the war. The Holocaust killed 215-220 thousand Jews in Lithuania (95-96 percent of the pre-war Jewish population). According to rough estimates, more than 500 thousand Jews were exterminated in the ghetto of Belarus, including about 50 thousand from other countries. Ukraine has lost 60 percent of its pre-war Jewish population. The number of exterminated Jews living on its territory exceeds 1,400,000 people (more than half of the Soviet Jews who died during the Holocaust), including about 490,000 in Eastern Galicia.
Lies about "special role"
The official version why the extermination of Jews in the territories annexed to the USSR in 1939-1940 was so ruthless with the massive participation of the local population is that Jews played a special role in the establishment of Soviet power there and subsequent repressions. This version does not stand up to criticism. L. Truska in his work "Jews and Lithuanians on the Eve of the Holocaust" testifies that Jews did not participate in the land reform of 1940: not a single Jew is not only among the eight members of the State Commission, but also among the 201,700 families of dispossessed land claimants, 2900 members land surveying brigades, 1500 members of county and volost commissions. Of the 78 deputies of the People's Seimas, which proclaimed Lithuania a Soviet republic with a request to accept it into the USSR, there were four Jews. In 1941, the government in Lithuania had three Jews out of 56 secretaries of the CPL committees, five out of 119 volost party organizers, one of 44 heads of county and city departments of the NKVD, and none of the 54 heads of county and city executive committees. At the same time, out of 986 nationalized industrial enterprises, Jews owned 560 (57 percent), out of 1600 trade - 1320 (83 percent), and out of 14,000 houses - the majority. At the same time, 2,600 Jews were repressed (8, 9 percent), including 13, 5 percent of all arrested in June 1941, while the total number of Jews in Lithuania was about seven percent of the population.
From Latvia during the deportation to remote areas of the USSR, carried out on June 14, 1941 by the authorities, 1,771 Jews were evicted. This is 12.4 percent of the deportees, with five percent of the population. From Estonia, where the Jewish community was small, 500 were deported (about five percent of the deported).
In Ukraine, after the annexation of the western regions, Jews made up only two percent of the delegates to the legislature for 10 percent of the population. When elections to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR from Western Ukraine and Western Belarus took place on March 24, 1940, there was not a single Jew among the 55 elected deputies. But among the deported residents of Western Ukraine, Jews accounted for about 30 percent. The situation in Belarus and Moldova did not differ from the situation in the Baltics and Ukraine.
About 25-30 thousand Jews fought in partisan units, and many survived. As for the rescue by local residents, there were more cases of these in the territories annexed to the USSR in 1939 than in other areas. The Jews were sheltered by the abbess of a Benedictine monastery near Vilnius. The head of the Greek Catholic (Uniate) Church, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, condemned the massacres, granted refuge to Jews in his residence, and several hundred of them were rescued by his order in the Greek Catholic churches. The burgomaster of the city of Kremenchug, Sinitsa, who issued fake "Aryan" documents to the Jews, was shot for this. The leadership of the Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephalous Church was anti-Semitic, its head Polycarp, Bishop of Lutsk, on July 19, 1941 greeted the German army. But many Orthodox priests saved Jews.
2,213 Ukrainians have been awarded the title of righteous. The number of the righteous is 723 in Lithuania, 587 in Belarus, 124 in Russia, 111 in Latvia, 73 in Moldova. Statistics…