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The _SONDERAKTION_ 1005 (English: Special
Special
Action 1005), also called _AKTION_ 1005, or _Enterdungsaktion_ (English: Exhumation Action) began in May 1942 during World War II to hide any evidence that people had been murdered by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
in _ Aktion Reinhard _ in occupied Poland . The operation, which was conducted in strict secrecy from 1942–1944, used prisoners to exhume mass graves and burn the bodies. These work groups were officially called _Leichenkommandos_ ("corpse units") and were all part of _ Sonderkommando
Sonderkommando
_ 1005; inmates were often put in chains in order to prevent escape.

In May 1943 the operation moved into occupied territories in Eastern Europe
Europe
to destroy evidence of the Final Solution
Final Solution
. _Sonderaktion 1005_ was used to conceal the evidence of massacres committed by _SS - Einsatzgruppen _ Nazi death squads that had massacred millions of people including 1.3 million Jews
Jews
according to Historian Raul Hillberg , as well as Roma and local civilians in Eastern Europe. The _Aktion_ was overseen by selected squads from the _ Sicherheitsdienst _ and _ Ordnungspolizei _.

CONTENTS

* 1 Operations * 2 The aftermath * 3 Dramatizations * 4 Notes * 5 References

OPERATIONS

In March 1942, _SS - Obergruppenführer _ Reinhard Heydrich placed _SS- Standartenführer _ Paul Blobel
Paul Blobel
in charge of the _Aktion_ 1005. However its start was delayed after Heydrich was assassinated in June 1942 by Czechoslovakian SOE agents in _ Operation Anthropoid _. It was after the end of June that _SS- Gruppenführer _ Heinrich Müller , head of the Gestapo
Gestapo
finally gave Blobel his orders. While the principal aim was to erase evidence of Jewish exterminations, the _Aktion_ would also include non-Jewish victims of Nazi _Einsatzgruppen _.

Blobel began his work experimenting at Chełmno (Kulmhof). Attempts to use incendiary bombs to destroy exhumed bodies were unsuccessful as the weapons set fire to nearby forests. The most effective way was eventually found to be giant pyres on iron grills. The method involved building alternating layers of corpses and firewood on railway tracks. Afterwards remaining bone fragments could be crushed by pounding with heavy dowels or in a grinding machine and then re-buried in pits. The operation officially began at Sobibór extermination camp . The _Leichenkommando_ exhumed the bodies from mass graves around the camp and then burned them, after which task the workers were executed. The process then moved to Bełżec in November 1942. The Auschwitz and Belsen camps had crematoria with furnace rooms on site to dispose of the bodies, therefore the _Aktion_ 1005 commandos were not needed there. Surplus corpses were burned by their own prisoners _(pictured)_. Burning of bodies at Auschwitz-Birkenau by Sonderkommando
Sonderkommando
prisoners in 1944 (secret photo by prisoner Alberto Errera)

The semi-industrial incineration of corpses at the Treblinka extermination camp began as soon as the political danger associated with the earlier burials was realized. In 1943, the 22,000 Polish victims of the Soviet Katyn massacre were discovered near Smolensk
Smolensk
in Russia and reported to Adolf Hitler. Their remains were well preserved underground, attesting to the Soviet mass murder. By April 1943, the Nazi propaganda began to draw attention of the international community to this war crime. The Katyn Commission was formed to make detailed examinations in an effort to drive a wedge between the Allies . Meanwhile, the secret orders to exhume mass graves and burn the hundreds of thousands of victims instead came directly from the Nazi leadership in April. The corpses that had been buried at Treblinka with the use of a crawler excavator were dug up and cremated on the orders of Heinrich Himmler himself, who visited the camp in March 1943. The instructions to utilise rails as grates came from _Scharführer_ Herbert Floss , the camp's cremation expert. The bodies were placed on cremation pyres that were up to 30 metres (98 ft) long, with rails laid across the pits on concrete blocks. They were splashed with petrol over wood, and burned in one massive blaze attended by roughly 300 prisoners who operated the pyres. In Bełżec, the round-the-clock operation lasted till March 1943. In Treblinka, it went on at full speed until the end of July.

The operation also returned to the scenes of earlier mass killings such as Babi Yar , Ponary , the Ninth Fort , as well as Bronna Góra . By 1944, with Soviet armies advancing, _SS-Obergruppenführer_ Wilhelm Koppe , head of the _ Reichsgau Wartheland _ ordered that each of the five districts of General Government
General Government
territory set up its own Aktion 1005 commando to begin "cleaning" mass graves. The operations were not entirely successful as the advancing Soviet troops reached some of the sites before they could be cleared.

THE AFTERMATH

At the Nuremberg Trials
Nuremberg Trials
after World War II, a deputy of Adolf Eichmann , _SS- Hauptsturmführer _ Dieter Wisliceny gave the following testimony regarding _Aktion_ 1005.

In November 1942, in Eichmann's office in Berlin, I met Standartenfuehrer Plobel , who was leader of Kommando 1005, which was specially assigned to remove all traces of the final solution of the Jewish problem by _Einsatz_ Groups and all other executions. Kommando 1005 operated from at least autumn 1942 to September 1944 and was all this period subordinated to Eichmann. The mission was constituted after it first became apparent that Germany would not be able to hold all the territory occupied in the East and it was considered necessary to remove all traces of the criminal executions that had been committed. While in Berlin in November 1942, Plobel gave a lecture before Eichmann's staff of specialists on the Jewish question from the occupied territories. He spoke of the special incinerators he had personally constructed for use in the work of Kommando 1005. It was their particular assignment to open the graves and remove and cremate the bodies of persons who had been previously executed. Kommando 1005 operated in Russia, Poland and through the Baltic area. I again saw Plobel in Hungary in 1944 and he stated to Eichmann in my presence that the mission of Kommando 1005 had been completed. — _SS-Hauptsturmführer_ Dieter Wisliceny _ SS-Standartenführer_ Paul Blobel
Paul Blobel
, beard grown in prison

Blobel was sentenced to death by the U.S. Nuremberg Military Tribunal in the _Einsatzgruppen_ Trial . He was hanged at Landsberg Prison on June 8, 1951. Nearly 60,000 deaths are attributable to Blobel though during testimony at Nuremberg he alleged he only killed between 10,000–15,000 people.

The prosecution at the trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961 attempted to prove that Eichmann was Blobel's superior, but the court did not accept it. Blobel's superior was in fact Heinrich Müller.

DRAMATIZATIONS

* Aktion 1005 was depicted in the 1988 TV miniseries _War and Remembrance _. * It plays a central role in Daniel Silva 's 2005 novel _A Death in Vienna _. * _Schindler\'s List _ also depicts Aktion 1005 when Jewish prisoners were forced to exhume corpses for burning on open pyres. * Leon Weliczker Wells wrote the book _Death Brigade_, where he describes his work as part of Sonderaktion 1005, of burning more than 310,000 bodies close to Janowska concentration camp .

NOTES

* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ Arad, Yitzhak (1984), "Operation Reinhard: Extermination Camps of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka" (PDF), _Yad Vashem Studies XVI_ (Internet Archive)format= requires url= (help ), pp. 205–239 (26/30 of current document), The Attempt to Remove Traces. * ^ _A_ _B_ Operation Reinhard: "The attempt to remove traces" (reprint) Nizkor.org 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2014. * ^ Yisrael Gutman , Michael Berenbaum (1998). _Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp_. Indiana University Press. pp. 161–163. ISBN 025320884X . Retrieved 30 August 2015. * ^ _A_ _B_ Davies, Norman (1998), _Europe: A History (internal link) _ (also at Google Books preview)format= requires url= (help ), HarperCollins, ISBN 0-06-097468-0 * ^ International Katyn Commission (30 April 1943). "Commission Findings". _Transcript, Smolensk
Smolensk
30 April 1943_. Warsaw Uprising by Project InPosterum. Retrieved 5 June 2014. * ^ Kużniar-Plota, Małgorzata (30 November 2004). "Decision to commence investigation into Katyn Massacre". Departmental Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation. Retrieved 5 June 2014. * ^ Sturdy Colls, Caroline (22 January 2012). "Treblinka: Revealing the hidden graves of the Holocaust". BBC News Magazine. Retrieved 5 June 2014. * ^ Evans, Richard J. (2008), _The Third Reich at War (internal link) _ (also at Google Books preview)format= requires url= (help ), Penguin Books, p. 292, ISBN 978-0-14-311671-4 * ^ Wiernik, Jankiel (1945), "A year in Treblinka" (Fourteen chapters; digitized by Zchor.org), _Verbatim translation from Yiddish_, American Representation of the General Jewish Workers' Union of Poland, retrieved 5 June 2014, The first ever published eye-witness report by an escaped prisoner of the camp. * ^ Holocaust Encyclopedia (10 June 2013). "Treblinka". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 5 June 2014. * ^ AŻIH, Bronna Góra (Bronnaja Gora). Sites of Martyrdom. Museum of the History of Polish Jews
Jews
_ Virtual Shtetl _ 2014. * ^ _A_ _B_ Prof. Stuart Stein: "Affidavit of Dieter Wisliceny", from _Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression_, Volume VIII. USGPO, Washington, 1946, pages 606–619. _Note:_ _SS-Hauptsturmführer_ Dieter Wisliceny in his testimony given before the International Military Tribunal at Nurnberg, 3 January 1946, erroneously identifies the Auschwitz concentration camp complex as the concentration area Sosnowitz (which was one of its dozens of subcamps). * ^ _Case Closed_, Time Magazine, Jun. 18, 1951 * ^ Ruth Bettina Birn (2011). "Fifty Years After: A Critical Look at the Eichmann Trial". _Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law_. 44: 443–473.

REFERENCES

* Arad, Yitzhak , _Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka_, Indiana University Press, 1992 ISBN 0-253-21305-3 * Edelheit, Abraham J., and Edelheit, Herschel, _History of the Holocaust_, Westview Press, 1995 ISBN 0-8133-2240-5 * Shmuel Spector, Aktion 1005 — effacing the murder of millions Oxford Journals, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Volume 5, Issue 2. pp. 157–173.

* v * t * e

The Holocaust in Estonia

Main article The Holocaust Related articles by country Belarus Latvia Lithuania Norway Poland Russia Ukraine

CRIMES

* Kalevi-Liiva

PROMINENT VICTIMS

* Zelig Kalmanovich

MAJOR PERPETRATORS

* Hans Aumeier * Karl Jäger * Ernst Kaltenbrunner * Aleksander Laak * Hinrich Lohse * Ain-Ervin Mere * Alfred Rosenberg * Martin Sandberger * Rudolf Joachim Seck * Franz Walter Stahlecker

NAZI OCCUPATION AND ORGANIZATIONS

* Einsatzgruppen * Reichskommissariat Ostland

NOTABLE COLLABORATORS

* Karl Linnas * Evald Mikson

CONCENTRATION CAMPS

* Klooga * Jägala * Vaivara

DOCUMENTATION

* Jäger Report * Judenfrei

CONCEALMENT

* Sonderaktion 1005

WAR CRIMES INVESTIGATIONS AND TRIALS

* Einsatzgruppen trial * Holocaust trials in Soviet Estonia * Estonian International Commission

RIGHTEOUS AMONG THE NATIONS

* Uku Masing * Eha Masing * Polina Lentsman

RELATED ARTICLES

* History of the Jews
Jews
in Estonia * Estonia in World War II * Occupation of Estonia by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany

* v * t * e

The Holocaust in Latvia

Main article The Holocaust Related articles by country Belarus Estonia Lithuania Norway Poland Russia Ukraine

CRIMES

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

VICTIMS

* Jewish people of Latvia * Gypsies * Joseph Carlebach * Simon Dubnow * Else Hirsch

PERPETRATORS

* Alois Brunner * Rudolf Batz * Fritz Dietrich * Otto-Heinrich Drechsler * Erich Ehrlinger * Karl Jäger * Friedrich Jeckeln * Heinz Jost * Konrāds Kalējs * Ernst Kaltenbrunner * Wolfgang Kügler * Rudolf Lange * Hinrich Lohse * Friedrich Panzinger * Hans-Adolf Prützmann * Eduard Roschmann * Alfred Rosenberg * Martin Sandberger * Albert Sauer * Rudolf Joachim Seck * Franz Walter Stahlecker * Eduard Strauch

NAZI OCCUPATION AND ORGANIZATIONS

* Einsatzgruppen * Reichskommissariat Ostland * Rollkommando Hamann

COLLABORATORS Individuals Viktors Arājs Herberts Cukurs Kārlis Lobe Organizations Arajs Kommando Latvian Auxiliary Police Schutzmannschaft
Schutzmannschaft

GHETTOS AND CAMPS

* Daugavpils Ghetto * Jungfernhof concentration camp * Kaiserwald concentration camp * Riga Ghetto * Salaspils concentration camp

DOCUMENTATION

* Generalplan Ost * Jäger Report

CONCEALMENT

* Sonderaktion 1005

WAR CRIMES INVESTIGATIONS AND TRIALS

* Einsatzgruppen trial * Extraordinary (Soviet) State Commission

RIGHTEOUS AMONG THE NATIONS

* Jānis Lipke * Roberts Sedols

MEMORIALS

* Bikernieki Memorial

RELATED ARTICLES

* The Holocaust * Occupation of Latvia by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany

* v * t * e

The Holocaust in Lithuania

Main article The Holocaust Related articles by country Belarus Estonia Latvia Poland Russia Ukraine

PEOPLE

PERPETRATORS

* Algimantas Dailidė * Erich Ehrlinger * Joachim Hamann * Karl Jäger * Bruno Kittel * Algirdas Klimaitis * Hinrich Lohse * Franz Murer * Helmut Rauca * Adrian von Renteln * Rudolf Joachim Seck * Franz Walter Stahlecker * Martin Weiss

Victims and resistance

* Kazys Binkis * Alexander Bogen * Josef Glazman * Jay M. Ipson * Zelig Kalmanovich * Abba Kovner * Ephraim Oshry * Karl Plagge * Ona Šimaitė * Chiune Sugihara * Abraham Sutzkever * Elchonon Wasserman * Yitzhak Wittenberg * Jacob Wygodzki * See also: List of Lithuanian Righteous Among the Nations * _ Songs of the Vilna Ghetto _

GROUPS

PERPETRATORS

* Einsatzgruppen * Police Battalions * Lithuanian Security Police * Rollkommando Hamann * TDA * Ypatingasis būrys

RESISTANCE

* Fareinigte Partizaner Organizacje

EVENTS

* Jäger Report * Kaunas June 1941 * Kaunas 29 October 1941 * Ninth Fort November 1941 * Ponary

PLACES

* HKP 562 forced labor camp * Kailis forced labor camp * Kovno Ghetto * Lukiškės Prison * Marcinkonys Ghetto * Ninth Fort * Šiauliai Ghetto * Švenčionys Ghetto * Vilna Ghetto
Vilna Ghetto

* Occupation of Lithuania by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
* History of the Jews
Jews
in Lithuania

* v * t * e

The Holocaust in Poland

Main article The Holocaust Related articles by country Belarus Belgium Croatia Denmark Estonia France Latvia Lithuania Norway Russia Ukraine

* v * t * e

Camps, ghettos and operations

CAMPS

EXTERMINATION

* Auschwitz-Birkenau * Chełmno * Majdanek

* _ Operation Reinhard _ death camps

* Bełżec * Sobibór * Treblinka

CONCENTRATION

* Kraków-Płaszów * Potulice * Soldau * Stutthof * Szebnie * Trawniki * Warsaw

MASS SHOOTINGS

* AB Action * Erntefest * Jedwabne * Kielce cemetery * Aktion Krakau * Lviv pogroms * Lwów professors * Palmiry * Sonderaktion Krakau * Tannenberg * Tykocin * Bydgoszcz * Wąsosz * Bloody Sunday

GHETTOS

* List of 277 Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Poland (1939–1942)

* Będzin * Białystok * Brest * Częstochowa * Grodno * Kraków * Lwów * Łódź * Lubartów * Lublin * Międzyrzec Podlaski * Mizocz * Nowy Sącz * Pińsk * Radom * Słonim * Sosnowiec * Stanisławów * Wilno * Warsaw

OTHER ATROCITIES

* Action T4 * Grossaktion Warsaw * Human medical experimentation

* v * t * e

Perpetrators, participants, organizations, and collaborators

MAJOR PERPETRATORS

ORGANIZERS

* Josef Bühler * Eichmann * Eicke * Ludwig Fischer * Hans Frank * Globocnik * Glücks * Greiser * Himmler * Hermann Höfle * Fritz Katzmann * Wilhelm Koppe * Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger * Kutschera * Erwin Lambert * Ernst Lerch * Oswald Pohl * Reinefarth * Scherner * Seyss-Inquart * Sporrenberg * Streckenbach * Thomalla * Otto Wächter * Wisliceny

CAMP COMMAND

* Aumeier * Baer * Boger * Braunsteiner * Eberl * Eupen * Kurt Franz * Karl Frenzel
Karl Frenzel
* Karl Fritzsch * Göth * Grabner * Hartjenstein * Hering * Höss * Hössler * Josef Kramer * Liebehenschel * Mandel * Matthes * Michel * Möckel * Mulka * Johann Niemann * Oberhauser * Reichleitner * Heinrich Schwarz * Stangl * Gustav Wagner * Christian Wirth

GAS CHAMBER EXECUTIONERS

* Erich Bauer * Bolender * Hackenholt * Klehr * Hans Koch * Herbert Lange * Theuer

PHYSICIANS

* von Bodmann * Clauberg * Gebhardt * Fritz Klein * Mengele * Horst Schumann * Trzebinski * Eduard Wirths

GHETTO COMMAND

* Auerswald * Biebow * Blösche * Bürkl * Konrad * Palfinger * von Sammern-Frankenegg * Stroop

_EINSATZGRUPPEN _

* Wolfgang Birkner * Blobel * Felix Landau * Schaper * Schöngarth * von Woyrsch

PERSONNEL

CAMP GUARDS

* Juana Bormann * Danz * Demjanjuk * Margot Dreschel * Kurt Gerstein * Grese * Höcker * Kaduk * Kollmer * Muhsfeldt * Orlowski * Volkenrath

BY CAMP

* Sobibór * Treblinka

ORGANIZATIONS

* Einsatzgruppen * General Government
General Government
* Hotel Polski * WVHA * RKFDV * VoMi

COLLABORATORS

JEWISH

* Group 13 * Kapo * Żagiew

Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Belarusian and Ukrainian

* Schutzmannschaft
Schutzmannschaft

OTHER NATIONALITIES

* Arajs Kommando * Ukrainian Auxiliary Police * Ukrainian collaboration * Lithuanian Security Police * Trawniki * Ypatingasis būrys * Pieter Menten

* v * t * e

Resistance: Judenrat, victims, documentation and technical

ORGANIZATIONS

* AK * AOB * Bund * GL * PKB * ŻOB * ŻZA

UPRISINGS

* Ghetto uprisings * Białystok * Częstochowa * Sobibór * Treblinka * Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

LEADERS

* Mordechai Anielewicz * Dawid Moryc Apfelbaum * Icchak Cukierman * Marek Edelman * Leon Feldhendler * Paweł Frenkiel * Henryk Iwański * Itzhak Katzenelson * Michał Klepfisz * Miles Lerman * Alexander Pechersky * Witold Pilecki * Frumka Płotnicka * Roza Robota * Szmul Zygielbojm

JUDENRAT

* Jewish Ghetto Police * Adam Czerniaków * Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski

VICTIM LISTS

GHETTOS

* Kraków * Łódź * Lvov (Lwów) * Warsaw

CAMPS

* Auschwitz * Bełżec * Gross-Rosen * Izbica * Majdanek * Sobibór * Soldau * Stutthof * Trawniki * Treblinka

DOCUMENTATION

NAZI SOURCES

* Auschwitz Album * Frank Memorandum * Höcker Album * Höfle Telegram * Katzmann Report * Korherr Report * Nisko Plan * Posen speeches * Special
Special
Prosecution Book-Poland * Stroop Report
Stroop Report
* Wannsee Conference

WITNESS ACCOUNTS

* Graebe affidavit * Gerstein Report * Vrba–Wetzler report * Witold\'s Report * _Sonderkommando_ photographs

CONCEALMENT

* Sonderaktion 1005

TECHNICAL AND LOGISTICS

* Identification in camps * Gas chamber * Gas van * Holocaust train * Human medical experimentation * Zyklon B

* v * t * e

Aftermath, trials and commemoration

AFTERMATH

* Holocaust survivors * Polish population transfers (1944–1946) * Bricha * Kielce pogrom
Kielce pogrom
* Anti-Jewish violence, 1944–46 * Ministry of Public Security

TRIALS

WEST GERMAN TRIALS

* Frankfurt Auschwitz trials * Treblinka trials

POLISH, EAST GERMAN, AND SOVIET TRIALS

* Auschwitz trial (Poland) * Stutthof trials * Extraordinary (Soviet) State Commission

MEMORIALS

* Museum of the History of Polish Jews
Jews
* Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum * Majdanek State Museum * Sobibór Museum * International Youth Meeting Center in Oświęcim/ Auschwitz * March of the Living

RIGHTEOUS AMONG THE NATIONS

* Polish Righteous Among the Nations * Rescue of Jews
Jews
by Poles during the Holocaust * Garden of the Righteous

* v * t * e

The Holocaust in Ukraine

Main article The Holocaust Related articles by country Belarus Estonia Latvia Lithuania Norway Poland Russia

CRIMES

* Babi Yar * Drobytsky Yar * Drohobych * Kamianets-Podilskyi * Lviv pogroms * Mizocz Ghetto * Odessa * Pripyat Swamps

MAJOR PERPETRATORS

* Paul Blobel
Paul Blobel
* Werner Braune * Lothar Fendler * Hans Frank * Günther Herrmann * Friedrich Jeckeln * Ernst Kaltenbrunner * Fritz Katzmann * Erich Koch * Felix Landau * Gustav Adolf Nosske * Otto Ohlendorf * Paul Otto Radomski * Otto Rasch * Walter Schimana
Walter Schimana
* Erwin Schulz * Heinrich Seetzen * Otto Wächter * Dieter Wisliceny

NAZI OCCUPATION AND ORGANIZATIONS

* Einsatzgruppen * Police Regiment South * Reichskommissariat Ukraine

COLLABORATORS _Individuals_ Vladimir Katriuk Petro Voinovsky Petro Zakhvalynsky _Organizations_ Schutzmannschaft
Schutzmannschaft
Ukrainian Auxiliary Police Nachtigall Battalion

GHETTOS, CAMPS AND PRISONS

* Bogdanovka * Drohobych Ghetto * Syrets concentration camp * Vapniarka concentration camp

RESISTANCE AND SURVIVORS

* Priest\'s Grotto * Syrets inmate revolt

Planning, methods, documents and evidence _Planning_ Generalplan Ost Volksliste _Evidence_ Graebe affidavit

CONCEALMENT AND DENIAL

* Sonderaktion 1005

INVESTIGATIONS AND TRIALS

* Einsatzgruppen trial * Extraordinary (Soviet) State Commission

RIGHTEOUS AMONG THE NATIONS

* Klymentiy Sheptytsky * Omelyan Kovch * Hermann Friedrich Graebe

MEMORIALS

* Babi Yar memorials * List of Babi Yar victims

See also History of the Jews
Jews
in Carpathian Ruthenia Transnistria Governorate

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