Nisko: The First Experiment in Deportation

Jonny Moser

Translated from the German by Hanna Gunther.

Judeophobes have always been fascinated by the notion of settling the "Jewish question" geographically. For a long time even the Nazis considered Palestine as a possible location for Jewish settlement; in 1933, they concluded the Haavara agreement1 with the Jewish Agency, but the thought of Palestine as a Jewish homeland, a future political base for the Jewish people, made them uneasy. For the Nazis, the ideal solution of the "Jewish question" seemed to be Egon van Winghenes's idea of "the creation of a Jewish state to be achieved through assignment and forced resettlement in a sufficiently large territory (i.e., an island)2 under Aryan control."3 This, however, remained utopian. Nevertheless, in 1936, the French investigated whether a large settlement of Europeans was feasible in Madagascar; subsequently, in 1937, Poland sent a factfinding mission to ascertain whether a considerable number of Jews from Poland could be resettled there.4 The results of these investigations disappointed all hopes, especially since it was believed that only a limited number of people could be settled there. However, in the minds of leading Nazi theoreticians, Madagascar developed into an idee fixe and strongly influenced their thoughts and actions concerning the solution of the "Jewish question."

In July 1938, Alfred Rosenberg, head of the Foreign Policy Office of the Nazi Party (NSDAP), suggested at the Evian Conference, which had been called to solve the German-Jewish refugee problem, that Jews be settled on Madagascar.5 According to the Jewish historian Philipp Friedman, Hitler discussed the project of a Jewish settlement on Madagascar in October 1938 with the French Ambassador, Andre Francois-Poncet.6 After KristalInacht, Hermann Goring thought that "the Fuhrer would now, at last, make a diplomatic demarche" with the Western powers "so that a definite solution of the Madagascar question could actually be found. . . ."7

Everything pointed toward the fact that after the Munich Pact the Germans would not only demand the return of former German col- onies but could have realistic hopes of achieving it.8 This was also the reason for a trip to Europe by the Minister of Defense of the Union of South Africa, Oswald Pirow, in the fall of 1938. After consultations with Chamberlain in London, he went to Germany. In a conversation with Hitler on 24 November 1938, Pirow broached the subject of the "Jewish question" and the return of former German colonies. Hitler replied that he had no colonies and that even South Africa did not want to return former German Southwest Africa; nevertheless, he could not be expected to ask the German people to turn over to the Jews, "their worst enemies," territories drenched in "the blood of German heroes," where Lettow-Vorbeck had fought.9 Years later, Pirow still believed that Hitler would have been willing to make certain concessions to the French in exchange for Madagascar.10 The records of the German Foreign Office reveal that on 5 January 1939, Hitler told the visiting Polish Foreign Minister, Josef Beck, that if the Western powers had shown more understanding of German colonial demands, he would have made a territory in Africa available for the solution of the "Jewish question."11

In January 1939, Rosenberg defined more closely what the Nazi rulers envisaged a Jewish settlement would be. He called upon the "Western democracies" finally to allocate the Jews a territory where there were no Europeans, in order "to establish a Jewish reservation.12 Three weeks later, at a reception for the foreign press, Rosenberg demanded binding promises regarding which territory Guyana or Madagascar-would be established as a Jewish reservation. "I emphasize the word reservation, for there can be no question of a Jewish state, either now or in the future." Rosenberg argued that this Jewish reservation should be "placed under an administration well- versed in the use of police control."13 This only paraphrased the real meaning: that Germany should administer this Jewish reservation. The Jews should be removed from Germany, but not from German power; they would be hostages used in the pursuit of future imperialistic goals.

In September 1939, with the rapid conquest of Poland, those responsible for the solution of the "Jewish question" were considering future policy regarding the Jews. Emigration was greatly hampered by the outbreak of war, and the large number of Polish Jews now under German rule required new types of solutions to the "Jewish question." One possible plan was to create a temporary Jewish settlement in Poland.

On 10 September 1939, Eichmann and Dr. Franz Stahlecker (commander of the Security Police in Prague), friends since their Vienna days, talked over their mid-morning beer about the swift advance of the German troops in Poland and the future policies vis-a-vis the Jews. They recalled the Madagascar plan and thought it might be profitable to try it out in Poland. An autonomous Jewish territory ought to be established there, especially since, they assumed, large areas of eastern Poland would be depopulated because of the heavy fighting.14 Stahlecker presented the plan they had both hatched to Heydrich on 12 September.15 Heydrich was enthusiastic about the plan to create a "cleansed area" by evacuating Poles and Jews from the western part of Poland and settling Baltic and Volhynian Germans there.16

The establishment of a Jewish territory in Poland promised a solution for the entire Jewish problem; to a large extent, it matched Heydrich's ambitious plans.17 Heydrich acted rapidly. Stahlecker was instructed to prepare secretly the deportation of the Jews to Poland.

The experimental resettlements were to begin in Mahrisch-Ostrau (Moravska Ostrava) and Vienna, first, because this would accommodate the wishes of both initiators, and second, for practical reasons, since both places were situated on the main railroad line to Poland.18

Heydrich thoroughly exploited this plan to establish a Jewish settlement in Poland for his own personal publicity. As an official of the Gestapo remarked to a Jewish delegation in Czestochowa on 16 September 1939, the whole region around Lublin was to be cleared of non-Jews, and Jews from all areas of the Reich were to be sent there.19 A Jewish state would be created there. And on 18 September, the Belgrade newspaper Vreme reported that Germany intended to establish an autonomous Jewish territory in Poland. Jews from the Reich, from Bohemia and Moravia as well as from Vienna, were to be settled there.20

On 21 September, Heydrich informed the leaders of the Einsatz gruppen about the political reorganization of Poland and reported that the expulsion of the Jews had the approval of the Fuhrer Jews and gypsies were to be deported from the Reich to Poland. The Jews were to be concentrated in ghettos, so that they could later be deported to the reservation.21 Now Heydrich could give the official order to establish a Jewish reservation in Poland. The compulsory expulsions of the Jews of Vienna and Mahrisch- Ostrau would be the first experiment in the expulsion and resettlement of masses of people. Secretly, he hoped that as a result he would be authorized to handle the expulsions in the western parts of Poland. In fact, this actually happened.22

For Hitler, the establishment of a Jewish reservation in Poland also appeared to serve as a solution to the "Jewish question." On 26 September 1939, when Birger Dahlerus revealed his anxiety about the fate of the Jews, Hitler commented that "if he were to reorganize the Polish state, an asylum for the Jews could be established."23 And on 28 September, Rosenberg noted in his diary that Hitler had told him he wanted "to resettle all of Jewry (also from the Reich) between the Vistula and the Bug."24

Preparations for the deportation of the Jews to Poland began in Mahrisch- Ostrau on 18 September 1939 with the registration of all Jews and the enumeration of their property.25 The officials in charge in Mahrisch-Ostrau soon proved incapable of handling this task, and it became clear that the operation required central direction. Only a man thoroughly familiar with the "Jewish problem" and with organizational experience could be put in charge. This man was Adolf Eichmann. As a member of the SS Security Service,26 he had been in charge of Jewish emigration in Vienna. Since then, he had been promoted and transferred to Berlin after 1 October 1939. He had been transferred from the Security Service to the Gestapo and was serving under the Chief of the Gestapo, Heinrich Muller as head of Department IVb4 (Jewish questions and evacuations)27 in the newly created Reich Security Main Office (RSHA). Muller assigned Eichmann to the task of carrying out preparations for the transports from Mahrisch-Ostrau to the planned Jewish reservation. Eichmann immediately ordered most of the experienced and trusted staff from the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Vienna to Mahrisch-Ostrau There the notorious SS thugs Rolf Gunther, Theodor Dannecker, Anton Brunner, and Franz Novak set up a special department (Sonderreferat) of the RSHA: the Central Office for Jewish Resettlement in Mahrisch-Ostrau.28

The registration of all Jews in Vienna had already taken place at the beginning of September 1939; they perceived this as a form of harassment.29 The registration and the creation of a central file were intended primarily to record all changes of Jewish residence. Only after the names appeared on the deportation lists did it become obvious that, through the registration, the Central Office for Jewish Emigration had received the exact and current addresses of the Jewish inhabitants of Vienna.30 The possibility of resettlement in Poland occurred to no one. Even at the end of September 1939, when former concentration camp inmates were summoned to the Central Office where they were informed that they were marked down for a transport,31 they thought this meant one of the illegal transports to Palestine.32 In Vienna and Mahrisch-Ostrau the proposed deportation of Jews to Poland could be kept secret despite the administrative preparations; in occupied Poland, however, rumors soon spread about the settlement of Jews in a reservation, noted Shmuel Zygelboirn in his diaries.33

Although all necessary preparations for the deportation of the Jews from Mahrisch-Ostrau and Vienna into the planned Jewish reservation had been completed, the actual dispatch of the transports could not begin until a definite demarcation line between the Soviet Union and the German-occupied parts of Poland had been drawn. In addition, the settlement of the Jews had been envisaged in the region between the San and Bug rivers, which was still occupied by the Soviet Union. In the secret addendum to the protocol of the German Soviet Nonaggression Pact of 23 August 1939, it was stated that the San and Vistula would mark the dividing line between the German and Russian spheres of interest.34 But now that the Germans had decided on the establishment of a Jewish reservation, they were willing to make certain concessions to the Russians to obtain a strip of land east of the San and Vistula. Surprisingly, however, not the Germans but the Soviets demanded a basic change in the secret codicil to the pact of 23 August. It had come to the notice of the Kremlin that a group of moderate German diplomats was thinking about the establishment of a Polish rump state, because that way these diplomats saw a chance to persuade the Western powers retroactively to accept as a fait accompli what had actually happened.

Stalin, however, was generally against the establishment of an independent Polish state. He was therefore willing to cede to Germany those Polish territories that were occupied by the Soviet Union and that had a purely Polish population. In this way, a newly created Polish state under German suzerainty-if this should occur--could have no irredentist claim on the Soviet Union.35 On the other hand, Berlin was to recognize the "Soviet influence ... along the entire Baltic coast line ... as far as the German-Lithuanian border." In exchange, the Germans would receive "Poland up to the rivers Bug and San ... which meant that Lublin fell into German hands. . . . "36

Hitler accepted this Russian proposal. On 28 September 1939, in Moscow, the Frontier and Friendship Agreement37 was concluded, with a secret codicil38 concerning the new division of the spheres of interest of both states in Eastern Europe. Theoretically, this removed all political obstacles from the establishment of a Jewish reservation. However, in Moscow another secret agreement was concluded39 about the exchange of national ethnic groups, and this finally made the establishment of a Jewish reservation impossible.

When Hitler entrusted Heinrich Himmler in September 1939 with the "racial reorganization of the East," the so-called expulsions (Flurbereinigung),40 there was no plan for an early repatriation of ethnic Germans and their settlement in newly acquired territories of the Reich. First, occupied Poland was to be partitioned into one zone to be Germanized and incorporated into the Reich, and a rump zone which later became the General Government.41 But at the end of September, when Hitler received alarming reports of Soviet intervention in the Baltic states,42 he ordered the immediate repatriation of all Reich-Germans and ethnic Germans.43 The precondition of this repatriation was the Flurbereinigung in German-occupied Poland. This could only be accomplished when the border between the incorporated territories and the General Government had been definitively fixed. And Hitler issued the relevant decree on 8 October 1939.44

Hitler gave the starting signal for the greatest population resettlement in the history of mankind on 6 October 1939, when he announced before the Reichstag "a new order of the ethnographic situation" in Europe. He described "the resettlement of nationalities"45 as Germany's most important task and called "the attempt to order and regulate the Jewish problem" one of Germany's goals in the "German sphere of influence" west of the German- Soviet line of demarcation.46 This confirmed all rumors about the proposed Jewish reservation in Poland. Now even the Western press reported: "A Jewish reservation is to be established in Poland.47

On 28 September 1939, the day after the Moscow treaties were concluded, Einsatzgruppe I48 was ordered to march into the border zone, a territory that had until then been exempted, "which lies approximately east of Cracow, enclosed by Polaniec, jaroslav ... the San, and the Slovakian border."49 The region between the San and Bug rivers was evacuated by the Russians on approximately 15 October 1939, only after the line of demarcation had been fixed.50 Eichmann used the entry of Einsatzgruppe I into the border zone as an opportunity to send Dannecker into that territory. Dannecker was to be the first to collect information about the economic situation and the available transportation facilities.51

After Hitler's speech at the Reichstag, Heinrich Muller also issued an order to make contact "with the headquarters of Gauleiter Wagner" in Kattowitz to carry out the "expulsion of 70,000 to 80,000" Jews from Kattowitz. These Jews were first of all to be deported in an easterly direction across the Vistula. At the same time, Jews from the region of MAhrisch-Ostrau might also be prepared for deportation.52

Eichmann, since 1 October at his new post in Berlin, had impatiently awaited this order. Now, at last, he could ship the Jews to Poland. During his first days at the RSHA, Eichmann had done preliminary work, preparing plans for the deportation of all Jews from the Reich. In an aide-memoir, he noted that "the lists of all registered Jews" are to be put into order and subdivided by region. Preparations for the confiscation of the apartments of "impecunious Jews to be deported" were also to be made. His attention was focused especially on "already arrested Jews of Polish nationality,"53 who were to be deported with the first transports.54

Eichmann arbitrarily extended Muller's order, which concerned only the Jews of Kattowitz and Mahrisch-Ostrau to include Vienna;55 he based this on Heydrich's oral instructions. He never informed Mu1ler, now his immediate superior, and this suggests a poor relationship between the two. On Saturday, 7 October, Eichmann discussed the practical implementation of the deportations with Hans Ganther and Alois Brunner in Vienna. Here in Vienna, where his career had begun, he intended to fulfill Goring's promise to the Viennese: to make the city free of Jews.56 Eichmann gave strict orders to his Viennese collaborators to announce the planned resettlement only on 10 October 1939. Dr. Eugene Becker, the specialist for acquiring Jewish apartments, kept Gauleiter Josef Burckel thoroughly informed.57

In Mahrisch-Ostrau the order for the deportation to Poland was given officially by Eichmann on 9 October 1939. That same day, accompanied by Rolf Gunter, he traveled to Kattowitz to acquaint all the proper authorities with the proposed deportation of the Jews. Here Eichmann made it known that the first stage would consist of two transports from Mahrisch-Ostrau and two from Kattowitz. After the completion of these transports, a report summarizing the experience gained had to be presented to Himmler. Only then would the order for the general deportations of the Jews be issued. First of all, the Fuhrer had ordered the resettlement of 300,000 impecunious Jews from Germany (Altreich) and from Austria (Ostmark).58

At a staff conference in Mahrisch-Ostrau on the evening of 9 October, Eichmann informed his associates that the transports from Mahrisch-Ostrau and Kattowitz were "to some extent engaged as an advance unit in the territory approximately delineated by RozvadovAnnopol-Krasnick designed to receive the first transports." This Jewish advance unit would be assigned to build a barracks camp that would serve as a transit camp for all subsequent transports. In contrast to later transports, which would include women and children for resettlement, this advance unit was to consist solely of impecunious, able-bodied men.59

Eichmann attended to all details; he asked to see the plan for the barracks camp prepared by the Jewish community of Mahrisch-Ostrau as well as reports about construction material owned by Jews, deciding finally that 50 percent of the Jewish suggestions for the extent of the barracks camp could be cut because the Jews were to be housed there in double shifts.60 He issued an order requiring the Jewish community of Mahrisch-Ostrau to obtain 300,000 RM from Jewish blocked accounts for this barracks village. This money was to cover the costs of the deportation.61

The commandant of the office of transportation in Oppeln had "agreed to furnish the necessary railroad equipment" and Dr. Stahlecker had received the agreement of Reich Protector Konstantin von Neurath for the deportation of the Jews from Mahrisch-Ostrau The guards for the barracks camp had to be provided by the Central Office in Vienna and Prague, at a ratio of one to ten.62

Eichmann made the Jews responsible for the "orderly execution" of the transports, since he wanted them to be as unnoticed as possible. The public was not to know much about it. A Jewish transport leadership was to assure the rapid loading of the trains; this would publicly demonstrate the voluntary nature of the operation.63 Food for the camp to be erected was to be confiscated from Jewish shops.64

On 10 October 1939, the head of the Jewish community in Vienna, Dr. Josef Lowenherz, was told about the impending deportation of Austrian Jews to Poland. Hans Gunther ordered Lowenherz to allocate 1,000-1,200 able-bodied men capable of emigration for the establishment of a Jewish reservation in Poland. The list of names of the men destined for the deportation was to be delivered on 13 October. In addition, Dr. Lowenherz received an order by telephone to include only poor Jews in this transport.65

We may ask why Eichmann insisted that only poor Jews were to be deported. In 1939, they were the only group that had no value for the Nazi rulers. Jewish labor was not yet needed for the German armaments industry; moreover, these impecunious Jews were a heavy strain on the resources of the Jewish communities, which, despite generous contributions from foreign Jewish organizations, had to sell their real estate in order to meet the demands on them. Between March and December 1939, the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Vienna had allocated 977,000 RM66 for emigration and welfare from the fees collected for passport67 by the Jewish Community. But Nazi rulers had no intention of spending the assets of the Jewish community, which they would eventually inherit, for the support of needy Jews. The motto therefore was: deportation. Jews who owned property or considerable amounts of money or were receiving pensions were at this point not deported to Poland because the regulations necessary for confiscation had not yet been formulated.68

Lowenherz found himself in a moral dilemma after he received the order for the deportation. He could not justify selecting people arbitrarily for deportation. He took the only possible means at his disposal: information. He invited all able-bodied men between the ages of eighteen and fifty-five to the damaged domed sanctuary of the Seitenstetten Synagogue and had officials of the Jewish community inform them of the orders he had received and everything he knew about the proposed Jewish reservation in Poland. Then the men were asked to volunteer.69

A surprising number of men volunteered for colonization work in Poland because they thought that in a Jewish settlement they might be able to survive the war. Men who had received notice of expulsion and had no chance for genuine emigration, as well as former concentration camp inmates, had no choice but to volunteer, since the Central Office for Jewish Emigration had confronted them with this very choice: deportation to Poland or internment in a concentration camp. In this way, it was possible to establish a list of 830 men by 13 October. In a report he submitted, Lowenherz wrote that of the 6,673 men aged twenty-fifty years living in Vienna, more than half were over forty years old. Because Eichmann had ordered that approximately 1,000 Hachsharah participants were to remain where they were being trained, and because a large percentage had overseas visas assuring early emigration, only an insignificant number would remain for deportation to Poland after the first transport had departed.70

The RSHA planned the Jewish reservation to last at least until the Jews could be transported to Madagascar, and for this they needed capable Jewish administrators. Eichmann ordered prominent Jewish leaders from Vienna and Prague, whose organizational talents he admired, to come to Mahrisch-Ostrau They were to be included in the first transport. There were Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein, Berthold Storfer, Dr. Mauricy Grun, Julius Boschan, Richard Friedmann, and Jakob Edelstein.71

Eichmann had ordered the deportation, fixed the date for the transport, informed the local authorities, but he had no definite place for the barracks camp and no destination for the transport trains. Eichmann, so arrogant about his knowledge of everything connected with the Jews, ran out of time, mainly because he wanted to direct and participate on all levels.

The record shows that on 12 October 1939, Stahlecker and Eichmann flew to Cracow. The Gestapo was informed of their departure and was asked to send cars to the airport. In Cracow they wanted to inform themselves about the situation in Poland and then continue by air to Warsaw. "The cars that were to follow-a Mercedes ... and a Lancia," were to take them "to the suitable region." Leaving Warsaw, they traveled through a part of Soviet-occupied territory. A commissar of the Soviet border guards accompanied them. Finally, they arrived at Nisko on the San river.72 They found a swampy, wooded area, off the beaten track, and decided "that was exactly the right place."73 Within three days they managed to stake out the terrain for the Jewish reservation. On 15 October, Eichmann cabled to MdhrischOstrau: "The railway station for the transports is Nisko on the San."74

The trip through Poland sobered the two SS thugs, and they realized their error in having thought, in September, that the area between San and Bug would have been depopulated as a consequence of the heavy fighting there. In addition, they learned from conversations with higher SS leaders that Heydrich was dissociating himself from the idea of a Jewish reservation because the Flurbereinigung of the western Polish territories had precedence, and he was thus only interested in the experience to be gained from the deportations. In any case, the political reorganization of Poland was imminent.

Eichmann knew he had to conclude the operation successfully before the clarification of administrative jurisdictions in Poland. His greatest fear was loss of face, and this is what would occur if he could not carry out the deportations.

Moreover, the future of Poland was being decided at this time in Berlin. When the Western powers ignored Hitler's peace offer of 6 October 1939, he issued Directive No. 6 on 9 October. In this directive, he ordered preparations for an invasion of France through Belgium and Holland.75 Consequently, he dropped the plan to establish a military government in Poland. A decree concerning "the suspension of the authority of the Supreme Commander of the Army to use his executive power in all eastern territories" was being drawn up.76 Hitler's whole attention was focused on the Flurbereinigung. On 17 October 1939, he remarked to Keitel: "The leadership of the territory must enable us to cleanse the Reich of Jews and 'Polacks.' The implementation of this plan demands a hard ethnic conflict (Volkstumskampp, which does not permit any legal restrictions .... The resettlement has already been discussed with the Reichsfuhrer SS."77

"The precipitate removal of the military administration" left occupied Poland, until the spring of 1940, in an "anarchic legal vacuum," which provided, probably intentionally, the basis for wild "large-scale operations against Jews and Poles."78 The premature removal of a large part of the Army in the East to the Western front, as well as the hegemony of the SS- Einsatzgruppen during this transition period, facilitated "wild" operations such as the deportations of Jews from Vienna and Mahrisch-Ostrau

The first transport from Mahrisch-Ostrau was loaded into railroad cars on 17 October 1939. The men spent "the rest of the day and the next night" on the train, which had been shunted onto a siding, and were not even able to get water.79 They were subjected to such terrible maltreatment that, as the daily report stated, many "of the 916 Jews" had to be left behind because of illness.80 On 18 October, at exactly 8:20 A.M., the train left Mahrisch-Ostrau with 901 Jews. "The train consisted of twenty- two passenger cars and twenty-nine freight cars that carried construction material, tools, and food."81 As the train departed, "Czech and Jewish women loudly proclaimed their sympathy," on the roads leading to the station.82

On 16 October, Eichmann arrived in Vienna from Nisko for a meeting to inform all concerned offices of the impending deportation of the Viennese Jews.83 He then continued on to Mahrisch-Ostrau where he inspected the first Mahrisch-Ostrau transport on 17 October, and then, accompanied by Dannecker, returned to Nisko.

Rolf Gunther accompanied the Mahrisch-Ostrau transport to Kattowitz to make final preparations for the deportation of the Jews there. Gunther reported to Eichmann in Nisko that "in Kattowitz 374 Jews, in Koningshutte 198, in Bielitz 457 ... Jews," that is, 1,029 altogether, had been seized for deportation.84 Twenty-two third-class passenger cars, two second-class cars, and five freight cars had been ordered for the Kattowitz transport. In Mahrisch-Ostrau an additional seventeen freight cars were to be loaded and attached to this Kattowitz transport.85

While Rolf Gunther was supervising the loading of the Jews in Kattowitz, he was handed a telegram from the RSHA addressed to Eichmann, which had been telephoned through from Mahrisch-Ostrau According to this telegram, Muller's authorization was needed for the "deportation of Poles and Jews to the territory of the future Polish rump state."86 Gunther was occupied at the station until 8:00 P.m., and by that time he could no longer reach the office in MdhrischOstrau. To be on the safe side, he sent a telegram to Eichmann, asking him whether under these circumstances further transports could still be sent from Mahrisch-Ostrau and Kattowitz. And he added: "In my opinion this telegram must have overlapped with your talks in Berlin."87

Apparently Eichmann shared this opinion, since he did not answer Gunther's telegram; Stahlecker thought otherwise. Stahlecker had, of course, been previously informed about the new developments in Poland. Through Dr. Maurer he asked Mahrisch-Ostrau whether the transport had left. For him, too, the Nisko operation was a matter of prestige.88

On Friday, 20 October 1939, the first transport left Kattowitz for Nisko with 875 men.89 On the evening of the same day, the first transport also left from Vienna for Nisko with 912 men.90 In Mahrisch-Ostrau three freight cars with wood and one with food for the guards were attached to the Vienna train.91

After the deportation of the men from Mahrisch-Ostrau panic spread among the women left behind, fed by wild, circulating rumors. Salo Kramer, head of the Jewish community (Israelitische Kultusgemeinde) of Mahrisch- Ostrau reported to the Central Office for Jewish Resettlement there that women "had come to see him and told him that the men had been put to work in a factory in Oderberg nearby; others claimed that some of these [men] had been hanged.92 Anton Brunner ordered Salo Kramer to call a meeting of the women and to pacify them.93 The SS was afraid that the panic among the Jews might spread to the Czech population.

The Viennese Jews were also agitated. An SD report of 21 October stated: "The most incredible rumors are circulating among them. The rest of the population has had only minimal information about it and, on the whole, knows nothing about this operation."94 A report five days later stated "that the mood among Viennese Jews is no longer as agitated as at the beginning" of the operation. "A group of Jewish war veterans who ... volunteered for resettlement ... contributed to this change of mood. The Jewish proletarians frequently complain that those Jews who receive an annuity or pension are allowed to stay.95

When, on 6 October 1939, Hitler announced before the Reichstag an impending solution of the Jewish problem, no one could really imagine how he intended to solve the "Jewish question." But when the first reports of the planned Jewish reservation appeared in the Western press, everyone was surprised at the speed with which this project was implemented. Even among the Jews, opinions about the Jewish reservation differed, because quite a few of the harried victims saw the Jewish reservation as a solution to all the difficulties that Jews living under German authority would have to face during wartime.96

Aufbau, the German-Jewish refugee newspaper in New York, reported on 15 October 1939 that a Jewish settlement was being established in Poland, where all Viennese Jews were to be sent.97 The Danish paper Politiken saw a connection between the establishment of the General Government and a special Jewish state.98 And UPI reported from Berlin that "the deportation of 2,000 Viennese Jews to a 'Jewish State' in the interior of Poland also caused apprehension among the Jews of Berlin."99 However, UPI reported the deportation of Jewish men from Mahrisch-Ostrau and Kattowitz only in the beginning of November: "They were taken to the reservation at the San river."100

The Jews of Warsaw learned about the deportation of the Viennese Jews from a BBC broadcast. On 25 October 1939, Chaim A. Kaplan wrote in his Warsaw ghetto diary: "Yesterday we heard on Radio London that the Jews of Vienna were ordered to be ready to leave their home town and be resettled in the district of Lublin in Poland."101

German Jews knew little about the deportation of the Jews from Vienna and Mahrisch-Ostrau There was certainly no direct communication between the Jewish community in Vienna and the Reich Association of German Jews (Reichsvereinigung) in Berlin. Eichmann had prohibited any direct contact between them. Whatever the German Jews knew came from private letters that Viennese Jews wrote to their friends and relatives in Germany, as well as from snide remarks made by SS-men and from rumors that were circulating. Jochen Klepper, a Lutheran theologian married to a Jew and living in Berlin, noted in his diary on 7 November 1939: "Jewish craftsmen who had been deprived of their livelihood in Germany have been offered construction work in Poland. Many Viennese Jews are already there."102 On the 12th he noted that he had heard from an acquaintance that the Jews were doing "forced-labor and construction work in the region of Lublin."103 On the 22nd, Klepper wrote: "The deportation of German Jews to Poland is being repeatedly rumored,"104 and on the 28th he admitted: "Every month one dreads the Government's Poland project. "105

Oswald Garrison Villard published the most pertinent article about the Jewish reservation in The Nation at the end of 1939. During the four weeks he stayed in Germany, he was able to "learn only very little about the Jewish reservation, although heartbreaking deportations from Austria and Moravia were carried out." He thought Hitler was obsessed by the idea of resettling minorities. First he had brought the South Tyrolians home to Germany. "His next step was the recall of the Baltic Germans." And now he has decided to settle the Jews at Nisko on the San river. "1,950,000 people are being crammed into an area of 80 x 100 km, without agricultural tools and machines; moreover, they are not permitted to barter with neighbors. One cannot imagine they will survive until the first harvest without tools and animals to work the land ...."106

Let us now return to the deportations. When Rolf Gunther returned from Kattowitz to Mahrisch-Ostrau on 20 October 1939, he found a telegram from the Gestapo office in Brunn (Brno) ordering the cessation of all new transports to Poland. Something must have happened in Berlin if the Nisko operation was suddenly stopped. Could he ignore this order, considering that he had strict instructions from Eichmann to prepare the resettlement of the second group? Initially, on the morning of 21 October 1939, he allowed the first Vienna transport to pass through MAhrisch-Ostrau; then he contacted Brunn about the ominous telegram. Regierungsrat Hermann, chief of the Brunn Gestapo office, told him that on instructions from Regierungsrat Dr. Maurer in Prague, each and every transport of Jews was to be stopped pursuant to an order of RSHA.107 When Eichmann arrived in Mahrisch-Ostrau from Nisko on 22 October, he did not take any notice of the telegram, especially since it did not contain a personal order from Muller He insisted on the completion of the second wave of transports. In addition, he assigned Rolf Gunther the task of compiling a memorandum about the relocation of Jews and the implementation of the transports; he wanted to use this to impress his superiors before he verified in Berlin the discontinuation of the deportations.108

While preparing the second wave of transports from Mahrisch-Ostrau and Kattowitz on 24 October, Rolf Gunther noticed how much had changed during the last few hours. When he wanted to order a train for the transport of the Mahrisch-Ostrau Jews from the transportation command headquarters (Transportkommandantur) in Oppeln, he was referred to the Reichsbahn management in Oppeln, because traffic matters in Poland were again under the jurisdiction of civilian authorities. However, he could not get a transport train before 26 October and for Kattowitz not until the 27th.109 He received a telephone call from Eichmann, who informed him that the deportations of Jews from the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia to Poland were for the time being suspended. Thus the women that were to be included in the second transport would not be deported. But for reasons of prestige, Eichmann and Rolf Gunther agreed to dispatch a second transport of 400 men from Mahrisch-Ostrau their train would be attached to the train carrying the second transport from Kattowitz.110

Rolf Gunther's first job was to find the 400 men needed for the second transport. He informed the Gestapo office in Brunn of Eichmann's order,111 and he was assured that by arrangement with the Jewish community of Brunn a group of 300 men would be put together, which "according to schedule will leave Brunn on Thursday, 26 October 1939, at 10:17 A.m. and will arrive in Mahrisch-Ostrau around 4:00 P.m."112 Since no women were to be deported from Mahrisch-Ostrau, Rolf Gunther] added thirty Jewish men who had been arrested, 113 as well as seventy men who had been excluded from the first transport.114 On 25 October, Gunther sent a telegram to Dannecker in Nisko, in which he told him that "400 Jewish men from Mahrisch-Ostrau would arrive on the 27th at 12:15 A.M. in Kattowitz where another transport of 1,000 Jewish men was being readied. Both transports---one with 400 men from Mahrisch-Ostrau and one with 1,000 men from Kattowitz-would be consolidated, and the train would leave Kattowitz for Nisko on the 27th at 9:00 P.m. "The special train has thirty-five third-class passenger cars, two second-class passenger cars, and seven freight cars. The escort will be provided by the Einsatzgruppe for Special Purpose Kattowitz .... "115

Vienna had not been informed of the cessation of the transports. There Hans Gunther and Alois Brunner had already focused their attention on the deportation of all Viennese Jews. They urged and badgered the Jewish community in Vienna to complete the transports more rapidly. They forced all departments of the Jewish community to work at top speed by constantly handing them new transport lists. The Jewish community had to inform people of their imminent deportation to Poland, provide them with the necessary equipment, and help them get their tax clearances and health certificates. In addition, they imposed on Dr. Lowenherz all kinds of statistical tasks. Lowenherz who wanted to delay the transports, used these bureaucratic instructions of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration to practice as much resistance to the deportation as possible. He shifted the emphasis of his work to the intricate statistical tables that Alois Brunner demanded and reported quite brazenly that all departments of the Jewish community were working day and night to complete their tasks.116

Lowenherz's remark of 13 October 1939, that after the departure of the first transport from Vienna no significant number of able-bodied men would be available for future deportation, led Alois Brunner to demand a complete list of all Jewish men under age fifty-five from the Jewish community of Vienna. When Lowenherz went to see him, Alois Brunner commented that, since he did not want the deportations to come to a standstill, he also intended to get men from the concentration camps Buchenwald and Dachau released for deportation to Poland. This remark made it possible for Lowenherz to urge Alois Brunner to get 1,048 Jews of Polish or formerly Polish nationality released, who had been arrested in Vienna in September 1939.117 Since recent reports had been received of an unusually high number of deaths among Viennese Jews interned in Buchenwald,118 Lowenherz was dismayed, because such a great number of deaths had never before occurred in concentration camps. He was certain that the remaining men could be saved only if they could be sent to Nisko. He therefore asked Alois Brunner to have them transferred from Buchenwald to Nisko in a sealed train as early as 27 October, so that the Jewish community could continue its organizational preparations for further transports without delay.

But when the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Vienna was finally informed on 24 October 1939 of the suspension of the deportations, Lowenherz's resistance to the deportations to Poland had solidified to such an extent that not even 300 men could be found for the second transport. The Central Office therefore conscripted 200 men from Hachsharah camps, whose members had previously been exempted.119 Others were taken from asylums and nursing homes.120 Thus Alois Brunner managed to deport 672 Viennese Jews to Nisko in the second transport. This second Vienna transport left on 26 October and arrived in Nisko on the 29th.121 [Table I summarizes the transports and the disposition of the people involved.]

TABLE 1: The Deportations to Nisko, 1939

First Transports






901 men

875 men

912 men


18 Oct.

18 Oct.

20 Oct.

Arrival in Nisko

19 Oct.

20 Oct.

22-23 Oct.

Second Transports


ca. 400 men

1000 men

672 men


26 Oct.

27 Oct.

26 Oct.

Combined Arrival in Nisko

28-29 Oct.


29 Oct.

Other Transports






ca. 322 men


ca. 800 men, women, and children


28 Oct. to Mahrisch-Ostrau




1 Nov. to Sosnowice and interned there on 3 Nov. Jan. 1940 released and permitted to move to Bratislava. From there emigrated illegally to Palestine.

Sent home 3 Nov.

Interned until Jan. 1940 and then released.

The selections in the Hachsharah retraining camps continued, and these men were to form the nucleus of the third transport from Vienna. Finally, it was decreed that all agricultural retraining centers, except Windhaag and Altenfelden, were to be dissolved.122 Eichmann ordered that 500 to 600 of those in Hachsharah retraining centers were to be allowed to emigrate to Palestine.123 All others were to be deported to Poland. Those selected for Poland were immediately delivered to the Shelter for the Homeless of the City of Vienna in Gansbachergasse where an assembly center had been established. Several hundred women and children whose husbands and fathers had already been deported to Nisko, were similarly treated. Added to these were approximately 200 Jews from Viennese prisons. Eventually, about 200 of them left for Palestine,124 but 679 still remained in the center on 17 January 1940.125 The Gansbachergasse center was dissolved early in February 1940, since the Nisko operation had by that time definitely been stopped.126

It may be assumed that besides the two transports from Vienna to Nisko some unauthorized deportations to Lublin may also have occurred. S. Moldawer reports that in Prague a group of seventy Jews from Vienna were attached to his transport.127 The Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Vienna also tried everything they could do to send at least one more transport to Nisko. Heinrich Willer, Chief of the Gestapo, did everything in his power to help them. On 28 October 1939, he sent them a telegram, because he had heard from the Supreme Command of the Army that the Wehrmacht had by no means forbidden all deportations to the area around Lublin. Goring had requisitioned all available railroad cars to bring in the potato and sugar-beet harvest in Poland, but, said Muller in his telegram, this did not rule out the possibility of getting some trains through with Jews from Vienna. Despite their efforts, the support of Gauleiter Biirckel, and their connections with the Reich railway management in Vienna, the Central Office did not succeed in obtaining trains for the deportations to Nisko. Because of the transfer of several divisions from Poland to the Western front, it was not possible to make trains available before 4 November 1939.128

The Jewish community of Vienna was told about the temporary suspension of the deportations only on 8 November 1939.129 Lowenherz did not see Eichmann until the 14th. Eichmann told him that the Viennese Jews should use this hiatus to emigrate. For after the deportations were resumed in February 1940, all Viennese Jews would be expelled and sent to Poland without delay.130

While Hans Gunther in Vienna and Rolf Gunther in MdhrischOstrau did not succeed in arranging a third transport, the SD Prague managed to deport ca. 320 Jewish men to Poland. On 28 October 1939, this transport arrived in Mahrisch-Ostrau where the train had to be halted because the line from and to Poland was overloaded with military transports.131 The Prague transport-to which had been added six Jews who had escaped from Nisko-was ready for dispatch to Nisko on I November. The train consisted of ten freight cars for Jews, one baggage car, and two passenger cars for guards.132 Soon after the train had left, Anton Brunner received a wire from Eichmann with the order to stop all transports immediately because the bridge at Nisko had been torn away by the flooded San River. Thereupon, Brunner sent a telegram to Franz Novak in Sosnowitz to stop the train. Novak reported: "The transport of Jews from Mahrisch-Ostrau was ... stopped today in Sosnowitz. The 322 Jews have been housed in the quickly established transit camp. The prisoners were delivered to the police jail. . . ."133 The men who had been readied for deportation from Sosnowitz were temporarily sent home on 3 November.134 With this partial deportation, the Nisko operation ended.

The reason for abandoning the establishment of a Jewish reservation in Poland was primarily Hitler's order to bring the ethnic Germans home from the Baltic states at this time.135 When the first repatriated ethnic Germans arrived in Germany in the middle of October 1939, they created a grave problem for Himmler, who, on 7 October, had been made Reich Commissar for the Strengthening of Germandom.136 The Flurbereinigung, i.e., the expulsion of Poles and Jews from the incorporated territories of western Poland, was occurring on such an enormous scale that all plans for the establishment of a Jewish reservation had to be abandoned because there was not enough room for a well-organized settlement of the expelled Jews and Poles in the rest of Poland. The procurement of room for the repatriated ethnic Germans from the Baltic was to be accomplished rapidly; this caused the SS leadership to stop all other resettlement operations, such as the Nisko scheme, which might have endangered the Flurbereinigung of the western Polish territories.

It soon became obvious that the regional Higher SS and Police Leaders were not able to handle this Flurbereinigung; it needed central direction. Reinhard Heydrich was put in charge of directing and coordinating the "cleansing" of the region of Poles and Jews.137 He put these expulsions under the jurisdiction of the Security Police and at the end of December entrusted Adolf Eichmann with the Flurbereinigung,138 since Eichmann had gathered experience in the deportation of masses of people. The "wild" expulsions in the beginning, and later the mass deportations of Jews and Poles to the General Government, necessarily raised Frank's objection to these operations.

Another reason for the suspension of the Nisko operation was the attitude of the SS leadership and the Central Office of the Security Service (SDHA). At the beginning of the war, they had every opportunity to realize their political aims of population control. SS-Einsatzgruppen followed on the heels of the rapidly advancing army.139 Heydrich had spelled out their task in a circular of 13 September 1939: they were to fight against all anti-German elements behind the front.140 The SS-Einsatzgruppen did not confine themselves to the pacification of conquered Poland; summarily and arbitrarily they went into action against entire ethnic groups. They undertook mass executions by shooting and began to test their courage against defenseless and intimidated Jews.141 These heroic operations sent them into euphoric raptures and feelings of triumph that led them to assume that the occupied territories would remain under the sway of the SS. This triumphant joy and Himmler's promotion to chief of the Flurbereinigung made them arrogant and allowed them to forget the need to consolidate their position in Poland with Hitler. Himmler was therefore quite surprised when Hitler announced on 19 October 1939 the "decree to transfer the administration of the General Government to the Governor General." This decree ordered the end of the military administration in occupied Poland as of 25 October.142 Hans Frank was named governor of the occupied Polish rump zone, and Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Reich Commissar to Austria, became his deputy.

While Himmler was busy with the Flurbereinigung, Frank familiarized himself with his new position. He wanted to be the sole ruler of the General Government, and he wanted to solve the "Jewish question" there on his own. Himmler contested this absolute dictatorship, and without Frank's authorization he had the Jews and Poles who had been expelled from the west Polish territories deported to the General Government. Frank refused to accept these masses of people who had been moved without his authorization and without his knowledge. The SS leadership ignored this protest because they were in the habit of ruling in the General Government without any interference.

As long as Poland was under the jurisdiction of Army High Command East, Eichmann freely deported Jews caught in the Nisko operation to Poland. When the administration was transferred from the military command to the Governor General, RSHA stopped the deportations to Nisko; this was an error. For the conflict between Frank and Himmler concerned the expulsion from the western Polish territories; only when Seyss-Inquart informed him, did Frank hear about Nisko. However, Seyss-Inquart was unaware that the deportations of Viennese Jews had been initiated by the SS; he thought they were a personal venture of the Vienna Gauleiter Joseph Burckel. SeyssInquart wrote Himmler that he had heard in Lodz that a strongly worded telegram from Burckel to him had arrived in Cracow. In this telegram Seyss- Inquart was advised "kindly" to address in future the Gauleiter of Vienna, not the mayor. The content of the telegram seemed to him somewhat confused, and he asked his secretary in Vienna to find out what it was all about. He was told that "Gauleiter Burckel planned to deport Viennese Jews to Poland," but that Seyss-Inquart had prevented it. After more detailed queries, he found out that it was planned to deport Jews from the Protectorate as well as from Vienna to Poland. He knew nothing about the deportations of Viennese Jews to Nisko, nor did he know that the Nisko operation had already been stopped. Nevertheless, he sent an order to the Higher SS and Police Leader in Cracow, telling him not to permit deportations from Austria.143

Informed by Seyss-Inquart, Frank strongly protested the Nisko operation. Frank had not known either that the Nisko operation had already been implemented. Eichmann remarked about Frank's protest: "Frank's great intrigue has begun. He made a great fuss in Berlin. A great tug-of-war was beginning. Frank wanted to solve his own Jewish question. Frank refused to have Jews sent to his General Government. Those who were already there ... [ought to] disappear immediately...144

But now Frank himself became interested in the planned Jewish reservation. Seyss-Inquart made a tour of inspection of Lublin in the middle of November and reported what he had learned about the Jewish reservation: "According to Schmidt, the governor of the district, this swampy area could very well serve as a Jewish reservation; as a matter of fact, it could in itself lead to a considerable decimation of the Jews."145 Shortly after it, Frank told some district leaders: "This winter will be very severe .... We won't worry much about the Jews. ... The Jews shall be made to feel that we have arrived. We want to have one-half to three-quarters of all Jews out of the Vistula.... We have no use for the Jews from the Reich, from Vienna...."146

The masses of repatriated Germans forced Himmler to enter into a compromise. Its high point was Frank's willingness to accept Jews expelled from the western part of Poland, provided his approval was obtained in advance and with the condition that Himmler was to stop the Nisko operation. This did indeed happen.


1. Rolf Vogel, Ein Stempel hat gefeldt (Munich and Zurich, 1977), pp. 107; Ludwig Pinner, Vermogenstransfer nach Palestina 1933-1939," in In Zwei Welten: Festschrift fur Siegfried Moses, ed. Hans Tramer (Tel Aviv, 1962), pp. 133-66; Werner Feilchenfeld, Dolf Michaelis, and Ludwig Pinner, Haavara-Transfer nach Palfistina und Einwanderung deutscher Juden 1933-1939 (Tubingen, 1972).

2. Egon van Winghene, Arische Rasse, Christliche Kultur und das Judenproblein (Erfurt, 1932). This 3d ed., transl. from the Dutch and publ. by the Bodung Verlag, shows an outline of the island of Madagascar on the title page.

3. Ibid., p. 74.

4. Vogel, Ein Stempel hat gefehlt, pp. 163-79; "Das Ende einer Illusion," ]adische Rundschau 42, no. 104 (1937); Eugene Hevesi, "Hitler's Plan for Madagascar," Contemporary Jewish Record 4 (1941): 381f.; "Projects for Jewish Mass Colonization," 1cu4sh Affairs 1, no. 4 (1941): 12f,; Philipp Friedman, "The Lublin Reservation and the Madagascar Plan," Yivo Annual of Jewish Social Science 8 (1953): 165ff.

5. "Wohin mit den Juden?" Volkischer Beobachter (Vienna ed.), 8 July 1938.

6. Friedman, "Lublin Reservation and Madagascar Plan," pp. 167f.; William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (reprint; Greenwich, Conn., 1962), p. 588.

7. Nuremberg doc. PS-1816

8. Herbert Dirksen, Moskau-Tokio-London (Stuttgart, 1949), pp. 238f.; Survey of International Affairs 3 (1953): 151f., 165; Akten zur Deutschen Ausmirti0i Politik 1918-1945, ser. D, vol. 4, p. 288, doc. 269 [hereafter cited as ADAPI; Documents on British Foreign Policy 1919-1939, 3d series, vol. 3, pp. 245f., 256f., docs. 280, 287.

9. ADAP, ser. D, vol. 4, pp. 290ff., Docs. 270-71.

10. Oswald Pirow, "Die Joodse Vraagstuk," Die neuwe orde (Johannesburg), 4 Oct. 1945, p. 2.

11. ADAP ser. D, vol. 5, pp. 127ff., doc. 119.

12. Volkischer Beobachter (Berlin ed.), 16 Jan. 1939; ADAP, ser. D., vol. 5, pp. 780ff., doc. 664; Nuremberg doc. PS-3358.

13. Volkischer Beobachter (Vienna ed.), 8 Feb. 1939.

14. Vienna, Dokumentationsarchiv des osterreichischen Widerstandes [hereafter cited as DOW], no. 2528: memo from Ernst Kolm, 1946; cacilie Friedmann, "Bericht fiber das Barackenlager Nisko am San," cited in H. G. Adler, Theresienstadt 1941- 1945: Das Antlitz einer Zwangsgenicinschaft, 2d rev. ed. Tubingen, 1960), p. 737, n. 78a.

15. Proceedings of the Eichmann Trial (German ed.), 91st session, 11 July 1961, pp. Ki and Li; Jochen von Lang ed., Das Eichmann-Protokoll (Berlin, 1982), p. 56; Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem (New York, 1964), pp. 73f.; Dov B. Schmorak, Der Prozess Eichmann (Vienna, Stuttgart, Basel, 1964), pp. 112f.

16. Proceedings of the Eichmann Trial (German ed.), 90th session, 10 July 1961, pp. S and M.

17. Ibid.

18. Heydrich's order to Stahlecker was an oral command.

19. L. Brener, Widerstand un umkuni in Tshenstokhover geto (Warsaw, 1950), P. 11.

20. "Autonomia jevrejska oblast," Vreme (Belgrade), 19 Sept. 1939.

21. Martin Broszat, Nationalsozialistische Polenpolitik 1939-1945 (Frankfurt, 1965), pp. 20f.

22. Eichmann Trial doc. 983: Protokoll der Amtschef- und Einsatzgruppenleiterbesprechung, 21 Sept. 1939.

23. ADAP, ser. D, vol. 8, p. 111, doc. 138.

24. Alfred Rosenberg, Das politische Tagebuch 1934-1935 und 1939-1940, ed. H. G. Seraphim (Munich, 1964), pp. 98f.

25. Nazidokumente sprechen, ed. Rudolf Iltis (Prague, 1965). p. 32: Report by the engineer 1. Zehngut about the deportation from M5hrisch-Ostrau to Nisko.

26. Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews (London, 1961), p. 182.

27. Ibid., p. 185.

28. Moser Archive, MO no. 3: Zentralstelle Mdhrisch-Ostrau to Transportkommandantur Oppeln, 13 Oct. 1939. This document, and others used in this article, are in my possession, and are thus cited as Moser Archive. They are organized in series; for example, those concerning MAhrischOstrau are cited as MO and those concerning the Israelitische Kultusgerneincle are cited as IKG.

29. Jiidisches Nach rich ten blatt (Vienna ed.), 8 and 15 Sept. 1939: Moser Archive, Israelitische Kultusgerneinde Wien, 36th Wochenbericht, 12 Sept. 1939, p. 5.

30. See announcement of changes of addresses in ffidisches Nach rich tenbla tt, 6 Oct. 1939.

31. Moser Archive, Baumann doc. 1: Vorlaclungskarte from the Zentralstelle ffir jUdische Auswanderung, 21 Sept. 1939: Rudolf Baumann to author, 1965.

32. Nazidokumente sprechen, pp. 12ff.

33. Zygelbojm bukh, ed. S. J. Hertz (New York, 1947), pp. 188f.

34. ADAP, ser. D, vol. 7, pp. 296ff., doc. 229.

35. Martin Broszat, Zweihundert jahre deutsche Polenpolitik (Munich, 1963), p. 212.

36. Gerald Reitlinger, Ein Haus auf Sand gebaut: Hitlers Gewaltpolitik in Russland 1941-1945, transl. from the English (Hamburg, 1962), p. 51.

37. ADAP, ser. D, vol. 8, pp. 127f., doc. 157.

38. Ibid., p. 129, doc. 159.

39. Ibid., p. 128, doc. 138.

40. Nuremberg doc. PS-686.

41. Broszat, Nationalsozialistische Polenpolitik, pp. 20ff.; Eichmann Trial, doc. 983.

42. ADAP, ser. D, vol. 8, pp. 114-15, 161, 170, 181, docs. 142-43, 190, 199, 207, 239.

43. Ibid., p. 125, doc. 153.

44. Koblenz, Bundesarchiv [hereafter cited as BA], R 43 11/646a, fol. 25: Erlass des FiIhrers und Reichskanzlers iiber die Gliederung und Verwaltung der Ostgebiete, 8 Oct. 1939.

45. See Hitler's speech to the Reichstag, 6 Oct. 1939, in V61kischer Beobachter (Vienna ed.), 7 Oct. 1939; Hans Vo1z, "Das Werden des Reiches 1939," in Dokumente der Deutschen Politik, ed. F. A. Six (Berlin, 1940), pp. 334ff.

46. See Luxemburger Wort, 7 Oct. 1939.

47. Daily Herald, 9 Oct. 1939; Daily Telegraph, 14 Oct. 1939. See also "GhettoStaat von Hiders Gnaden," Aufbau, 15 Oct. 1939.

48. Moser Archiv, MO no. 4: Vermerk by Eichmann concerning the order for Einsatzgruppe I to enter the border zone, 29 Sept. 1939.

49. SS-Einsatzgruppe I was active in the area of the 10th Army in Poland. The commander was SS-Obersturmbannfahrer Dr. Emanuel Schdfer, the chief of the Cologne Gestapo, who later served as Befehlshaber of the Security Police in Serbia.

50. ADAP, ser. D., vol. 8, pp. 162ff, doc. 193.

51. Moser Archive, MO no. 4: Vermerk by Eichmann concerning the territory granted to Einsatzgruppe I with handwritten comments by Rolf Gfinther, 29 Sept. 1939.

52. Moser Archive, MO no. 2: Vermerk by Eichmann concerning MUller's order to deport Jews from Kattowitz and M5hrisch-Ostrau to Poland, 6 Oct. 1939; Nazidokumente sprechen, p. 5.

53. Jonny Moser, Die Judenverfolgung in Osterreich 1938-1945 (Vienna, 1966), P. 9.

54. Moser Archive, MO no. 5: Vermerk by Eichmann concerning the preparatory work in Berlin for the deportation of the German Jews, 6 Oct. 1939.

55. Seev Goshen, "Eichmann und die Nisko-Aktion im Oktober 1939," Vierte1jahrshefte ffir Zeitgeschichte 29, no. 1 (1981): 74-96.

56. "Wie werden wir die Juden los?" V61kischer Beobachter (Vienna ed.), 26 April 1938; "Lasciati ogni speranza," Luxemburger Wort, 29 April 1938.

57. Moser Archive, MO no. 6: Vermerk about discussion in Vienna, 16 Oct. 1939, concerning the deportation of the Vienna Jews to Poland, 17 Oct. 1939.

58. Moser Archive, MO no. 7: Vermerk about the conversation between Eichmann and chief of Grenzabschnittkommando III on 9 Oct. 1939 in Kattowitz, 28 Oct. 1939; MO no. 8: Vermerk about the conversation between Eichmann and the Gaugeschdftsfiihrer Silesia on 9 Oct. 1939 in Kattowitz, 11 Oct. 1939.

59. Moser Archive, MO no. 9: Vermerk about staff meeting chaired by Eichmann on 9 Oct. 1939 in M5hrisch-Ostrau, 11 Oct. 1939.

60. Nazidokumente sprechen, p. 33; Letter from Otto Bellak, first Jewish camp commander in Zarzecze, to author, 18 Nov. 1964.

61. Moser Archive, MO no. 9; MO no. 66: "Merkbiatt (zur Unterrichtung der Staatspolizei [leit] stellen): Urnschichtung von Juden-Durchf0hrung der Transporte," n.d.

62. See Moser Archive, MO no. 9. Also MO no. 30a: Vermerk by Rolf Giinther concerning the purchase of a BMW motocycle for the camp in Zarzecze, 16 Oct. 1939 and MO no. 30b: Vermerk by Anton Brunner concerning raincoats, as well as beans, rice, and dried fruits, for the guards, 13 Oct. 1939.

63. Moser Archive, MO no. 9.

64. Moser Archive, MO no. 10: Vermerk by Grenzkommissariat Mdhrisch-Ostrau concerning the confiscation of food from Jewish stores for the transport to Nisko, 12 Feb. 1941; MO no. 98: List of Jewish food stores in Mdhrisch-Ostrau.

65. Eichmann Trial doc. 1135: Aktennotiz by Dr. Josef L6wenherz, 10 Oct. 1939.

66. Moser Archive, IKG no. 73/1: Compilation of funds provided by Eichmann's Zentralstelle in Vienna for the Jewish community in Vienna for emigration in 1939, 10 Jan. 1940; "Report of the Vienna Jewish Community. A Description of the Activity of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien in the Period from May 2d 1938-December 31st 1939," mimeographed (n.p., n.d.), p. 150.

67. Jonny Moser, "Die Katastrophe der osterreichischen Juden 1938-1945," Studia Judaica Austriaca 5 (1977): 67-134.

68. Only the 11th Decree to the Reich Citizenship Law of 25 Nov. 1941 (Reichgesetzblatt 1941 1, 722) legalized the confiscation of property from Jews deported to the East.

69. Nuremberg doc. PS-3934, p. 15.

70. Moser Archive, Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien, 41st Wochenbericht, 17 Oct. 1939, pp. 3f.

71. Moser Archive, MO no. 19: Vermerk with Rolf Gunther's initials concerning the transfer of Jewish functionaries to MAhrisch-Ostrau, 13 Oct. 1939.

72. Nazidokumente sprechen, p. 24; Moser Archive, MO no. 23: Vermerk concerning the trip to Poland by Eichmann and Stahlecker, 16 Oct. 1939.

73. Von Lang, ed., Eichmann Protocoll, p. 57.

74. Moser Archive, MO no. 24: Eichmann cable from Cracow to MahrischOstrau, 15 Oct. 1939.

75. Hitlers Weisungen fur die Kriegsfuhrung, ed. Walter Hubatsch (Munich, 1965), pp. 37ff.

76. BA, R 43 11/647, fol. 49.

77. Nuremberg doc. PS-864. See also Robert Kempner, Eichmann und Komplizen (Zurich, Vienna, Stuttgart, 1961), p. 66.

78. Broszat, Nationalsozialistische Polenpolitik, p. 35.

79. Nazidokumente sprechen, p. 33.

80. Moser Archive, MO no. 34: "Tagesbericht der Zentralstelle MahrischOstrau," 18 Oct. 1939 (signed by Anton Brunner).

81. Moser Archive, MO no. 36: Cable by Rolf Gunter in Kattowitz to Eichmann in Nisko (via Stapoleitstelle Cracow), 18 Oct. 1939. See also MO no. 35 for draft of above cable.

82. Nazidokumente sprechen, p. 33; BA, RSHA R 58/144: Lageberichte of 20 Oct. 1939.

83. Moser Archive, MO no. 6: Vermerk about conversation in Vienna between Eichmann, Dr. Ebner, and Dr. Becker concerning the deportation of Viennese Jews to Poland, 16 Oct. 1939. See also Moserf Judenverfolgung in Osterreich, p. 16.

84. Moser Archive, MO nos. 35 and 36.

85. Moser Archive, MO no. 28: Rolf Gunther to Transportkormnandantur Oppeln, 16 Oct. 1939; MO no. 29: Vermerk by Hirtmayr concerning his discussion in Oppeln, 16 Oct. 1939.

86. Nazidokumente sprechen, p. 26f.

87. Ibid., p. 27.

88. Moser Archive, MO no. 42: Vermerk about telephone call by Dr. Maurer from Prague requesting information about the transports, 21 Oct. 1939.

89. Moser Archive, MO no. 45: Vermerk about departure of transports from Kattowitz, 21 Oct. 1939; MO no. 47: Vermerk about departure of transports from MAhrisch-Ostrau, 18 Oct. 1939.

90. Nuremberg doc. PS-3934, p. 15.

91. Moser Archive, MO no. 43: Vermerk by Anton Brunner about the 1st Vienna transport passing through MAhrisch-Ostrau, 21 Oct. 1939; MO no. 44: draft of cable by Rolf Gunter to Eichmann in Nisko concerning the 1st Vienna transport, 21 Oct. 1939; Washington, National Archives [hereafter cited as NA], microfilm T 84, roll 14, frame 40999 and roll 16, frame 43421.

92. Moser Archive, MO no. 37: Tagesbericht of the Zentralstelle MahrischOstrau, signed by Anton Brunner and initialed by Rolf Gunter 19 Oct. 1939.

93. Moser Archive, MO no. 48: Vermerk by Anton Brunner in MahrischOstrau about circulating rumors, 23 Oct. 1939.

94. NA, T 84, roll 14, frame 41022.

95. BA, RSHA R 58/144, fol. 104; NA, T 84, roll 14, frames 40955-6.

96. Letter from Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein to author, 31 Oct. 1966; S. Molclawer, "The Road to Lublin: A Survivor's Story," Contemporary Jewish Record 3 (1940): 119ff.

97. Aufbau, 15 Oct. 1939.

98. Luxemburger Wort, 21-22 Oct. 1939.

99. "Das Schicksal der polnischen Juden, " ibid., 25 Oct. 1939; New York Times, 22 Oct. 1939, sec. L, p. 36.

100. "Die Juden im besetzten Polen," Neue Zurcher Zeitung, 2 Nov. 1939; "Die deutsche Herrschaft in Polen," ibid., 18 Nov. 1939; Jewish Chronicle (London), 27 Oct., 3 and 10 Nov. 1939; "Die Lage in Polen," Aufbau, 1 Nov. 1939; "Das Massengefangnis von Lublin," ibid., 15 Nov. 1939; "Lublin auch fur deutsche Juden?" ibid., 29 Nov. 1939.

101. Abraham 1. Katsh, ed., Das Buch der Agonie (Frankfurt, 1967), p. 66.

102. Jochen Klepper, Unter dem Schatten deiner Flugel: Aus den Tagebuchern 1938- 1942 (Munich, 1964), p. 271.

103. Ibid., p. 273.

104. Ibid., p. 275.

105. Ibid., p. 276.

106. Oswald Garrison Villard, "The Latest Anti-Jewish Horror," The Nation, 30 Dec. 1939.

107. Moser Archive, MO no. 54: Vermerk about Rolf GUnther's telephone conversation with Hermann of the Brbnn Gestapo, 21 Oct. 1939; Nazidokumente sprechen, p. 28.

108. Moser Archive, MO no. 66; MO no. 70: teletype no. 7332, 23 Oct. 1939; MO no. 55: teletype no. 478, 22 Oct. 1939.

109. Moser Archive, MO no. 56: Vermerk by Rolf GiInther about the request for a train for the 2d M5hrisch-Ostrau transport, 24 Oct. 1939.

110. Moser Archive, MO no. 57: Vermerk by Rolf Giinther about his telephone conversation with Eichmann in Berlin concerning the discontinuation of transports, 24 Oct. 1939; Nazidokumente sprechen, pp. 28ff.

111. Nazidokumente sprechen, pp. 28ff.

112. Moser Archive, MO no. 63: teletype no. 14757 from Brunn Gestapo, 24 Oct. 1939.

113. Moser Archive, MO no. 61: Vermerk about prisoners in M5hrisch-Ostrau, 16 Oct. 1939; MO no. 60/1: Vermerk by the Grenzpolizeikommissariat M5hrisch- Ostrau concerning the deportation of Erwin Berger to Poland, 13 Oct. 1939; MO no. 60: List of Jews imprisoned by department 11 b 4 of the Grenzpolizeikommissariat M5hrisch-Ostrau, 13 Oct. 1939; MO no. 62: teletype no. 12971 from BrUnn Gestapo to Eichmann in Prague, 3 Oct. 1939; MO no. 65: teletype exchange between Rolf Gfinther and Zimmermann in Brdnn concerning the deportation of Jews from Brunn 26 Oct. 1939.

114. Moser Archive, MO no. 68: List of Jewish transport leaders for the 2d M5hrisch-Ostrau transport, 26 Oct. 1939.

115. Moser Archive, MO no. 69: teletype no. 7374 from Rolf Giinther to Dannecker in Nisko, 25 Oct. 1939.

116. Moser Archive, 43d Wochenbericht of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde, 31 Oct. 1939, pp. 3f.

117. Moser, JudenverfoIgung in Osterreich pp. 9ff.; Moser, "Die Verfolgung der Juden" in Widerstand und Verfolgung in Wien 1934-1945, 3 vols. (Vienna, 1975), 3: 194-326, esp. pp. 265ff.

118. Moser, Judenverfolgung in Osterreich, pp. 10ff.; Moser Archive, IKG no. 28/1: Report to the Zentralstelle far judische Auswanderung in Vienna, 31 Oct. 1939.

119. NA, T 84, roll 14, frame 40935: Report of the Inspector of the Security Police and the Security Service in Vienna, 27 Oct. 1939.

120. Moser Archive, KOLM no. 73/3: Letter from Julius Fischel and Josef Goldschmidt to Ernst Kohn in Pysznica, Dec. 1939.

121. Moser Archive, 43d Wochenbericht of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde, 31 Oct. 1939.

122. The estate Sandhof was located near Windhaag in Lower Austria and the cardboard factory DoppI was located near Altenfelden in Upper Austria. Both enterprises were the property of the SS where Vienna Jews did forced labor until 1943.

123. Moser Archive, MO no. 25: Report by Dr. Murmelstein concerning the possibilities for emigration, 16 Oct. 1939; MO no. 26: Vermerk about a telephone call from Vienna concerning the departure of 300 Jews from Berlin via Vienna to embark on Yugoslavian ships, 11 Oct. 1939; Nazidokumente sprechen, pp. 12ff.: Report by Berthold Storfer concerning China transports (illegal transports to Palestine via the Danube), 16 Oct. 1939.

124. See above, n. 122.

125. Moser Archive, IKG no. 21: Report to the Zentralstelle ffir judische Auswanderung in Vienna concerning Camp Gansbachergasse, 22 Jan. 1940; IKG nos. 21a-c: Lists of inmates in Camp Gansbachergasse on 17 Jan. 1940.

126. Eichmann Trial docs. 1138 and 1139; Moser Archive, IKG no. 55: Letter from the Israelitische Kultusgerneinde to the Haupterndhrungsarnt Vienna, 19 Feb. 1940.

127. Moldawer, "The Road to Lublin," pp. 125f. Moldawer, a Polish Jew who had resided in Germany, had been caught by the outbreak of the war in Hamburg on his way to the United States. Together with other Jews holding U.S. visas and steamship tickets on the Hamburg-America Line-which had suspended operations-he was deported to Lublin via Prague. Moldawer used his U.S. visa and left Poland in December 1939.

128. Moser Archive MO no. 71: teletype no. 80128 from Security Service Danube to Eichmann in M5hrisch-Ostrau, 28 Oct. 1939.

129. Moser Archive, IKG no. 25: Petition to the Zentralstelle fur judische Auswanderung concerning the need for clothing for the transports to Poland.

130. Moser Archive, IKG no. 27: Vermerk by Dr. Lowenherz 13 Nov. 1939.

131. Moldawer, "The Road to Lublin," pp. 127ff.

132. Moser Archive, MO no. 72: Tagesbericht of the Zentralstelle MahrischOstrau, I and 2 Nov. 1939.

133. Moser Archive, MO no. 72/1: teletype no. 608 from Kattowitz to M5hrisch- Ostrau, 3 Nov. 1939.

134. See above, n. 132.

135. See above, n. 42.

136. Nuremberg doc. PS-686. 30 Jonny Moser

137. Biuletyn Glownej Komisji Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce (Warsaw, 1960), vol. 12, docs. 15F ff.

138. Ibid., doc. 32F.

139. Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen, Ludwigsburg, "Einsatzgruppen in Polen," Heft 2 (1963).

140. Broszat, Nationalsozialistische Polenpolitik, p. 31.

141. Nuremberg doc. PS-3047.

142. BA, Reichskanzlei R 43 11/647, fol. 49, 51f.

143. Nuremberg doc. 3398: Letter from Seyss-Inquart to Himmler, 4 Nov. 1939.

144. Von Lang, ed., Eichmarm-Protokoll, p. 58.

145. Nuremberg doc. PS-2278.

146. Fasch ism us-Getto-Massenmord, ed. Jewish Historical Institute Warsaw (Frankfurt, 1960), p. 46.

Simon Wiesenthal Center-Museum of Tolerance Library & Archives 
For more information contact us at (310) 772-7605 or
We are located at 1399 S. Roxbury Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90035, 3rd Floor

In This Section

Buy Tickets Contact Us

Become a Member Volunteer Calendar

Sign up for E-News