OTTO BRADFISCH (10 May 1903,
* 1 Early life and education * 2 Professional and political career
* 3.1 Criminal actions * 3.2 Security Police and SD Commander * 3.3 War\'s end
* 4 Post war * 5 Literature * 6 External links
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
Otto Bradfisch was born in 1903 in
PROFESSIONAL AND POLITICAL CAREER
Engaged first as an Assessor in the Upper Bavarian government, he was
transferred to the Bavarian State Ministry for the Interior as a
Government Assessor. Already by 1 January 1931, Bradfisch had joined
At an acquaintance's urging, Bradfisch applied for service in the
LEADER OF EINSATZKOMMANDO 8 OF EINSATZGRUPPE B
Einsatzgruppe B was one of four
Einsatzgruppen deployed for special
Einsatzgruppen tasks were established by oral Führer order and a
written directive from
Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) Chief Reinhard
Heydrich on 2 July 1941, to secure areas to the advancing army's rear
and the performance of standard police tasks until the establishment
of a civil administration in the conquered eastern areas, and the
"special handling of potential opponents", i.e. their elimination.
Heydrich identified these in order: "all
Comintern functionaries (all
Meant at first to take the job as staff consultant on Einsatzgruppe
B's staff, Bradfisch took part in a major discussion at the Pretzsch
Border Police School at which Heydrich and the Chief of RSHA
Department IV (Gestapo), Heinrich Müller , explained to the
Einsatzkommando leaders in all plainness their task.
After the presentation of this instruction, which without doubt was
recognized by all participants as wrongful and criminal, the
originally foreseen leader of
Einsatzkommando 8, the provisional
leader of the
With the onset of the Russian Campaign on 22 June 1941, the EK 8
followed Army Group Middle through
Baranavičy in late
As to the ways of doing things whereby the EK 8 fulfilled the tasks that it was ordered to do, and which were more or less the same for every Einsatzkommando, the Munich State Court I in their ruling of 21 July 1961 at the Einsatzgruppe Trial portrayed them as follows:
In carrying out the order to annihilate the Jewish eastern population as well as other population groups considered to be racially inferior, and functionaries of the Russian CP, the EK 8, after crossing the demarcation line between the German Reich and the Soviet Union established in the year 1939, conducted ongoing shooting campaigns, in which mainly Jews were killed. (…) The gathering of the Jews in each of the effected places – as the usage of the time had it, the "maintenance" ("Überholung") – happened in such a way that the locality or street was surrounded by some members of the Einsatzkommando and then next the victims were driven together out of their houses and flats randomly by other Kommando members. The victims were then either transported right after being taken prisoner by truck to the shooting places already established beforehand, or held prisoner in suitable buildings (schools, factories) or other localities, until they were then shot the next day or a few days later. Already in these so-called "through-combing actions" ("Durchkämmungsaktionen") it came to bodily mishandling and in the odd case even to killing old and sick people who could not walk, and who were thus shot in their dwellings or right nearby.
The mass shootings took place in each case outside the "maintained"
town or locality, where natural hollows, abandoned infantry and
artillery posts, and above all armoured dugouts or mass graves dug by
the victims themselves, served as execution places. At the executions
that happened in the first few weeks of the Russian Campaign, only men
aged about 18 to 65 were killed, whereas women and children were often
spared at first. Beginning in August 1941 at the latest, however –
already at the shootings in
In the course of the deployment, there was an ever greater changeover from shooting with rifle salvos to killing the intended people with single shots or machine pistols. The grounds for this lay in the claim that shooting with rifle salvos took a relatively long time, and moreover, the force of the shots delivered from the shortest distance was so violent that the shooting squad and sundry other persons participating in the action were sprayed with the killed people's blood and bits of brain, a circumstance which raised the mental burden of the men on the execution squad, which was already extraordinary anyway, that often there were misses and therefore the victims' suffering was prolonged.
The shootings with machine pistols were carried out as a rule in such a way that the Einsatzkommando members in the pit designated to carry out the execution went along the row of persons to be shot, killing one victim after another with shots to the back of the head. This method of execution inevitably led to some of the victims having to wait a longer time lying on badly or not at all buried dead bodies, with certain death before their eyes, until they themselves were given the death shot. In some cases, the killing of the victims was carried out in such a way that they were brought to the shooting place double-quick, thrust into the pit, and then, while they were falling, they were shot. While at the shootings in Białystok and Baranavičy, and partly still at the executions in Minsk, the dead bodies were more or less well covered with sand or earth before the next group were driven or led to the pit, such a covering only seldom took place in the later shooting campaigns, so that the victims that followed, if they were shot in the pit, each had to lay themselves down on the dead bodies of those who had just been killed. But also in cases in which the dead bodies had had sand or earth thrown over them lightly, the victims that followed noticed their killed fellow doomed people's bodies, whose parts often jutted out of the thin sand or earth covering. A doctor was not called in to the executions. If one of the victims still showed signs of life, he was administered an aftershot with a pistol by a Kommando member, usually a leader.
The execution places were each sealed off by Einsatzkommando members or police officials subordinate to them, so that for the people right near the shooting pit waiting for their deaths there was no possibility of escaping their doom. In fact, they had the opportunity – this circumstance demonstrates a particular intensification of their suffering – to hear the crack of rifle salvos or machine pistol shots and in the odd case to observe the shootings to which neighbours, friends and kin fell victim. Given this ghastly fate, the victims often broke out in loud crying and moaning, prayed loudly and tried to reaffirm their innocence. Some, however, went quietly and calmly to their deaths.
Bradfisch was as leader of the EK 8 responsible for all measures and executions. To some extent, he led the executions, and in the odd case even shot with his own hand. Some examples follow:
* Białystok, two shooting campaigns of at least 1100 Jews and Bolshevist functionaries * Baranavičy, two shooting campaigns of at least 381 Jews * Minsk, seven Jew shootings of at least 2000 people * Mahilyow, eight shooting campaigns of at least 4100 Jewish men, women and children as well as Russian prisoners of war * Babruysk , major action, in which at least 5000 Jewish men, women and children were shot.
About his Einsatzkommando's activities, Bradfisch had to report to the higher-ranking Einsatzgruppe B, who sent the RSHA these reports compiled with those from the other Einsatzkommandos. There, the individual reports were condensed into the so-called event reports by Office IV A.
SECURITY POLICE AND SD COMMANDER
Bradfisch was active as EK 8 leader until 1 April 1942. On 26 April
1942 he was transferred to
Łódź – which the Nazis called
Litzmannstadt – and appointed chief of the State Police post there.
In this function he was also responsible for deporting Jews to the
Chełmno extermination camp . He became the area Commander of the
Security Police and the SD in summer 1942. In autumn of the same year
came his provisional appointment as Łódź's mayor. In this capacity
he was also promoted to high government adviser and
After the city's evacuation due to the war in December 1944,
Bradfisch worked as Commander of the Security Police and the SD in
Until 1953, Bradfisch managed to hide his true identity by using the
name Karl Evers. He worked first in farming and later in mining . When
Bradfisch became an insurance agent in
On 16 October 1965 Bradfisch left prison.
* Krausnick, Helmut und Wilhelm, Hans-Heinrich: Die Truppe des Weltanschauungkrieges. Die Einsatzgruppen der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD 1938 - 1942, Stuttgart 1981, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, ISBN 978-3-421-01987-5 * Klein, Peter (publisher): Die Einsatzgruppen in der besetzten Sowjetunion 1941/42. Die Tätigkeits- und Lageberichte des Chefs der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD, Edition Hentrich, Berlin 1997 ISBN 978-3-89468-200-2
* Biography and picture of Bradfisch