The Info List - Operation Tannenberg

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Operation Tannenberg
Operation Tannenberg
(German: Unternehmen Tannenberg) was a codename for one of the extermination actions by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
that was directed at the Polish nationals during the opening stages of World War II
World War II
in Europe, part of the Generalplan Ost
Generalplan Ost
for the German colonization of the East. The shootings were conducted with the use of a proscription list (Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen), compiled by the Gestapo
in the span of two years before the 1939 attack.[1] The top secret lists identified more than 61,000 members of the Polish elite: activists, intelligentsia, scholars, clergy, actors, former officers, and others, who were to be interned or shot. Members of the German minority living in Poland
assisted in preparing the lists.[1] It is estimated that up to 20,000 Germans living in Poland
belonged to organizations involved in various forms of subversion.[2] Operation Tannenberg
Operation Tannenberg
was closely followed by the Intelligenzaktion, a second phase of the Unternehmen Tannenberg directed by Heydrich's Sonderreferat from Berlin. It lasted until January 1940. In Pomerania alone, 36,000–42,000 Poles, including children, were killed before the end of 1939.[3]


1 Implementation

1.1 Mass killing of hospital patients

2 See also 3 Notes and references 4 Bibliography 5 External links


Polish teachers from Bydgoszcz
guarded by members of Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz
before execution

The plan was finalized in May 1939 by the Central Office II P (Poland). Following the orders of Adolf Hitler, a special unit dubbed Tannenberg was created within the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt). It commanded a number of Einsatzgruppen units formed with Gestapo, Kripo
and Sicherheitsdienst
(SD) officers and men who were theoretically to follow the Wehrmacht
(armed forces) into occupied territories. Their task was to track down and arrest all the people listed on the proscription lists exactly as it had been compiled before the outbreak of war.[4] The first phase of the action occurred in August 1939 when about 2,000 activists of Polish minority organisations in Germany were arrested and murdered. The second phase of the action began on September 1, 1939, and ended in October, resulting in at least 20,000 deaths in 760 mass executions by Einsatzgruppen
special task units with help from regular Wehrmacht
units. In addition, a special formation was created from the German minority living in Poland
called Selbstschutz, whose members had trained in Germany before the war in diversion and guerilla fighting (see: Deutscher Volksverband, the German People's Union in Poland). The formation was responsible for many massacres and due to its bad reputation was dissolved by Nazi authorities after the September Campaign with transfer to regular formations.[5][6] Mass killing of hospital patients[edit]

Remaining building of former SS at Soldau concentration camp
Soldau concentration camp
in Iłowo-Osada, location of first gas van experiments by SS-Sonderkommando Lange using Polish hospital patients

In the course of Operation Tannenberg
Operation Tannenberg
patients from Polish hospitals were murdered in Wartheland (Wielkopolska) by Einsatzgruppe VI under Herbert Lange. He was appointed commandant of the first Chełmno extermination camp soon thereafter.[7] Already by mid-1940, Lange and his men were responsible for the murder of about 1,100 patients in Owińska, 2,750 patients at Kościan, 1,558 patients and 300 Poles at Działdowo
who were shot in the back of the neck; and hundreds of Poles at Fort VII
Fort VII
where the mobile gas-chamber (Einsatzwagen) was first developed along with the first gassing bunker.[8] According to historian Peter Longerich, the hospital massacres were conducted on the sole initiative of Einsatzgruppen, because they weren't requested by Himmler to do so.[9] Lange's experience in the mass killing of Poles during Operation Tannenberg
Operation Tannenberg
was the reason why Ernst Damzog, the Commander of Security Police and SD stationed in occupied Poznań
(Posen) placed him in charge of the SS-Sonderkommando Lange (special detachment) for the purpose of mass gassing operations which led to the eventual annihilation of the Łódź Ghetto.[10] See also[edit]

Katyn massacre Pacification operations in German-occupied Poland Operation Himmler Anti-Polonism History of Poland
(1939–1945) Genocide Wawelberg Group

Notes and references[edit]

^ a b Unternehmen Tannenberg - August 1939: Wie der SD den Überfall auf Polen vorbereitete (III) bei wissen.spiegel.de (PDF file, direct download). (in German) ^ Tomasz Chinciński (November 4, 2009). "Prowokacje SD (Sicherheitsdienst)". Piąta kolumna (The 5th Column) (in Polish). S.P. Polityka. Retrieved August 13, 2012.  ^ Piotr Semków, IPN Gdańsk
IPN Gdańsk
(September 2006). "Kolebka (Cradle)" (PDF). IPN Bulletin No. 8–9 (67–68), 152 pages. Warsaw: Institute of National Remembrance. 42–50 (44–51/152 in PDF). ISSN 1641-9561. Retrieved 8 November 2015 – via direct download: 3.44 MB.  ^ Peter Longerich
Peter Longerich
(2012), War and Settlement in Poland. Heinrich Himmler: A Life. OUP Oxford, pp. 425–429. ISBN 0199592322. ^ Encyklopedia PWN, Intelligenzaktion. September–November 1939. (in Polish) ^ Piąta kolumna (Jungdeutsche Partei, Deutsche Vereinigung, Deutscher Volksbund, Deutscher Volksverbarid). Kampania Wrześniowa 1939.pl (2006). Retrieved 2 November 2015. ^ Artur Hojan, Cameron Munro (2015). "Nazi Euthanasia Programme in Occupied Poland
Occupied Poland
1939-1945". Overview of the liquidation of the mentally ill during actions on the Polish territory (1939-1945). The Tiergartenstrasse 4 Association, international centre for the documentation, study and interpretation of Nazi crimes. Nazi Euthanasia in European Perspective conference, Berlin, Kleisthaus, Feb. 28-30, 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2015. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link) ^ Holocaust Research Project.org (2007). "Lange, Herbert; SS-Hauptsturmführer". Chelmno Death Camp Dramatis Personae. Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team. Retrieved 2013-05-13.  ^ Longerich 2012, p. 430. ^ Epstein, Catherine (2010). "A Blonde Province: Resettlement, Deportation, Murder". Model Nazi: Arthur Greiser and the Occupation of Western Poland. Oxford University Press. p. 182. ISBN 0191613843. Retrieved 8 November 2015. 


Verbatim transcript of Part I of the book The German New Order in Poland
published for the Polish Ministry of Information by Hutchinson & Co., London, in late 1941. The period covered by the book is September, 1939 to June, 1941. Andrzej Leszek Szcześniak (2001). Plan zagłady Słowian - Generalplan OST. Radom, POLWEN. ISBN 83-88822-03-9.  Alfred Spiess, Heiner Lichtenstein: Unternehmen Tannenberg. Der Anlass zum Zweiten Weltkrieg. Korrigierte und erweiterte Ausgabe. (Ullstein-Buch ; Nr. 33118 : Zeitgeschichte) Ullstein, Frankfurt/M ; Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-548-33118-1.

External links[edit]

Several authors (2000). Monografia obozu KL Stutthof (KL Stutthof monograph) (in Polish). Contributing writers: Bogdan Chrzanowski, Konrad Ciechanowski, Danuta Drywa, Ewa Ferenc, Andrzej Gąsiorowski, Mirosław Gliński, Janina Grabowska, Elżbieta Grot, Marek Orski, and Krzysztof Steyer. Państwowe Muzeum Stutthof w Sztutowie. Archived from the original (Internet Archive) on 2009-01-22. Organization, Prisoners, Subcamps, Extermination, Responsibility.  Jean Maridor, La Station de Radiodiffusion de Gleiwitz (Gliwice) - L'Opération TANNENBERG. (in French)

v t e

Massacres of ethnic Poles in World War II

Pre-war Polish Volhynia

Bortnica Budy Ossowskie Chrynów Dominopol Gaj Głęboczyca Gurów Hurby Janowa Dolina Kisielin Kisorycze Łuck Ostrówki Parośla I Poryck Wola Ostrowiecka Wiśniowiec Zagaje Żeniówka

Eastern Galicia

Adamy Budki Borowskie Berezne Barszczowice Bruckenthal Berezowica Mała Chodaczków Wielki Dołha Wojniłowska Huta Oleska Huta Pieniacka Katerburg Korosciatyń Lwów Palikrowy Podkamień

Present-day Belarus


Present-day Lithuania

Glinciszki Koniuchy Ponary

Present-day Russia


Present-day Poland

Baligród Bydgoszcz Ciepielów Cieszanów Cisna Chełm Czaszyn Częstochowa Dudyńce Hrubieszów Jedwabne Łaszczów Muczne Palmiry Piaśnica Przyszowice Wiązownica Warsaw (Wola) Warsaw (Ochota) Wawer

Polish self-defence centres

Huta Stepańska Kurdybań Warkowicki Kuty (in Volhynia) Pańska Dolina Przebraże Stara Huta

v t e

and Einsatzkommandos



Reinhard Heydrich Ernst Kaltenbrunner

Commanders of Einsatzgruppen

Humbert Achamer-Pifrader Walther Bierkamp Horst Böhme Erich Ehrlinger Wilhelm Fuchs Heinz Jost Erich Naumann Arthur Nebe Otto Ohlendorf Friedrich Panzinger Otto Rasch Heinrich Seetzen Franz Walter Stahlecker Bruno Streckenbach

Commanders of Einsatzkommandos, Sonderkommandos

Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski Rudolf Batz Ernst Biberstein Wolfgang Birkner Helmut Bischoff Paul Blobel Walter Blume Friedrich-Wilhelm Bock Otto Bradfisch Werner Braune Friedrich Buchardt Fritz Dietrich Karl Jäger Friedrich Jeckeln Waldemar Klingelhöfer Wolfgang Kügler Walter Kutschmann Rudolf Lange Gustav Adolf Nosske Hans-Adolf Prützmann Walter Rauff Martin Sandberger Hermann Schaper Karl Eberhard Schöngarth Erwin Schulz Franz Six Eugen Steimle Eduard Strauch Martin Weiss Udo von Woyrsch

Other members

August Becker Lothar Fendler Joachim Hamann Emil Haussmann Felix Landau Albert Widmann


Viktors Arājs Herberts Cukurs Antanas Impulevičius Konrāds Kalējs Algirdas Klimaitis



SS RSHA SD Orpo 8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz Sonderdienst


(Belarusian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian) Arajs Kommando Lithuanian Security Police Rollkommando Hamann TDA Ypatingasis būrys



Łachwa Ghetto Minsk Ghetto Slutsk Affair




Burning of the Riga synagogues Dünamünde Action Jelgava Pogulianski Rumbula Liepāja (Šķēde)


Ninth Fort Kaunas June 1941 Kaunas 29 October 1941 Ninth Fort
Ninth Fort
November 1941 Ponary


Operation Tannenberg Intelligenzaktion AB-Aktion Operation Reinhard


Gully of Petrushino Zmievskaya Balka Lokot Autonomy


Babi Yar Drobytsky Yar Drohobycz Kamianets-Podilskyi Lviv pogroms Mizocz Ghetto Odessa


The Black Book Commissar Order Einsatzgruppen
trial Generalplan Ost Jäger Report Korherr Report Special
Prosecution Book- Poland
(Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen) Einsatzgruppen

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