The Info List - Sonderdienst

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(German: Special
Services) were the Nazi German paramilitary formations created in semicolonial General Government during the occupation of Poland in World War II. They were based on similar SS formations called Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz
Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz
operating in the Warthegau district of German-annexed western part of Poland in 1939.[1] Sonderdienst
were founded on 6 May 1940 by Gauleiter
Hans Frank who stationed in occupied Kraków.[1] Initially, they were made up of ethnic German Volksdeutsche
who lived in Poland before the attack and joined the invading force thereafter. However, after the 1941 Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
they also included Soviet prisoners of war who volunteered for special training, such as the Trawniki men
Trawniki men
(German: Trawnikimänner) deployed at all major killing sites of the "Final Solution". A lot of those men did not know German and required translation by their native commanders.[2][3]:366 The Abteilung Sonderdienst
(Department of Special
Services) was subordinate to Oberkommando der Wehrmacht
Oberkommando der Wehrmacht
sabotage division under Colonel Erwin von Lahousen (1 September 1939 – July 1943), and Colonel Wessel Freytag von Loringhoven (July 1943 – June 1944).[4] Background[edit]

battalion in occupied Kraków, July 1940

Hans Frank
Hans Frank
and Sonderdienst
leaders in Kraków, 1941.

The Republic of Poland was a multicultural country before World War II, with almost a third of its population originating from the minority groups: 13.9% Ukrainians; 10% Jews; 3.1% Belarusians; 2.3% Germans and 3.4% percent Czechs, Lithuanians and Russians. Members of the German minority resided predominantly in the lands of the former German Empire but not only.[5] Many were hostile towards the existence of the Polish state after losing their colonial privileges at the end of World War I.[6] German organizations in Poland such as Deutscher Volksverband and the Jungdeutsche Partei
Jungdeutsche Partei
actively engaged in espionage for the Abwehr, sabotage actions, weapons-smuggling and Nazi propaganda campaigns before the invasion.[7] In late 1939 through spring of 1940 the German Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz
Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz
took active part in the massacres of civilian Poles and Jews.[8] In the summer of 1940, the Sonderdienst
along with all Selbstschutz executioners were formally assigned to the head of the civil administration for the newly formed Gau.[2] Trained by the native Germans under the leadership of Heinrich Himmler's associate Ludolf Jakob von Alvensleben many of them joined Schutzstaffel
or Gestapo
in the following year.[2] The existence of Sonderdienst
constituted a grave danger for the non-Jewish Poles who attempted to help ghettoised Jews in the cities, as in the Mińsk Mazowiecki Ghetto
Mińsk Mazowiecki Ghetto
among others. Some 30,000 Christian Poles were murdered by the Nazis,[9] under the charge of aiding Polish Jews.[10] Operation Barbarossa[edit]

Hiwis from one of two Sonderdienst
battalions trained by Karl Streibel at the Trawniki training camp during the shooting action in the pacification of Warsaw. Photo from Jürgen Stroop
Jürgen Stroop
Report, 1943.

Some 3,000 men served with the Sonderdienst
in the General Government.[2] After the German conquest of eastern Europe, known as Operation Barbarossa, Gruppenführer Globocnik eagerly sought another source of manpower. The citizens of these countries who spoke German became highly valued because of their ability to communicate in Ukrainian, Russian, Polish and other languages of the occupied territories.[11] The training of non-Polish auxiliaries was arranged at Trawniki by SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Streibel. Instructed by Globocnik to start recruiting behind the front lines of Operation Barbarossa, Streibel trained 5,082 mostly Ukrainian guards before the end of 1944. They were organized into two new Sonderdienst battalions.[12] According to the postwar testimony of SS-Oberführer Arpad Wigand
Arpad Wigand
during his war crimes trial in Hamburg, only 25 percent of them spoke German.[2] The Hiwi Wachmänner guards known as "Trawniki men" (Trawnikimänner) served at death camps as well as all major killing sites of the "Final Solution" in the course of Operation Reinhard. They took an active role in the executions of Jews at Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka II, Warsaw
(three times), Częstochowa, Lublin, Lvov, Radom, Kraków, Białystok (twice), Majdanek
as well as Auschwitz, not to mention Trawniki itself during Aktion Erntefest
Aktion Erntefest
of 1943,[12] and the remaining subcamps of KL Lublin including Poniatowa, Budzyn, Kraśnik, Puławy, Lipowa, as well as during massacres in Łomazy, Międzyrzec, Łuków, Radzyń, Parczew, Końskowola, Komarówka and all other locations, augmented by the SS, and the Reserve Police Battalion 101
Reserve Police Battalion 101
from Orpo.[2][13] After the war, the last 1,000 Hiwis forming the SS Battalion Streibel blended with the civilian population in West Germany and disappeared from sight.[3] References[edit]

^ a b The Erwin and Riva Baker Memorial Collection (2001). Yad Vashem Studies. Wallstein Verlag. pp. 57–58. ISSN 0084-3296.  ^ a b c d e f Browning, Christopher R. (1998) [1992]. "Arrival in Poland" (PDF file, direct download 7.91 MB complete). Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101
Reserve Police Battalion 101
and the Final Solution
Final Solution
in Poland. Penguin Books. pp. 51, 98, 109, 124. Retrieved May 1, 2013. Also: PDF cache archived by WebCite.  ^ a b David Bankir, ed (2006). "Police Auxiliaries for Operation Reinhard by Peter R. Black" (Google Books). Secret Intelligence and the Holocaust. Enigma Books. pp. 331–348. ISBN 192963160X. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ Andreas Altenburger (2012). "Abteilung Abwehr
II Sonderdienst". Amt Ausland / Abwehr
(A. Ausl./Abw.) (in German). Lexikon der Wehrmacht – Amt Ausland / Abwehr. Retrieved 18 May 2014.  ^ Wojciech Roszkowski (4 November 2008). "Historia: Godzina zero". Tygodnik.Onet.pl weekly. Archived from the original on May 12, 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2014. CS1 maint: Unfit url (link) ^ Roshwald, Aviel (2000). Ethnic Nationalism and the Fall of Empires: Central Europe, the Middle East and Russia, 1914–23. ISBN 1134682549.  ^ Popularna Encyklopedia Powszechna Wydawnictwa Fogra. "Piąta kolumna w Polsce (The 5th column in Poland)". Militaria (in Polish). Encyklopedia WIEM. Retrieved August 13, 2012.  ^ Piąta kolumna (The Fifth Column: Jungdeutsche Partei, Deutsche Vereinigung, Deutscher Volksbund, Deutscher Volksverbarid). Kampania Wrześniowa 1939.pl (2006). ^ Leszek Sołek (2007). "Anna Poray-Wybranowska – dokumentalistka, autorka książki o ratowaniu Żydów przez Polaków". Meet the Author of Polish Righteous Saving Jews: Dr Anna Poray-Wybranowska (in Polish). Konsulat Generalny R.P. Są Wśród Nas. Retrieved 7 October 2013.  ^ The Erwin and Riva Baker Memorial Collection (2001). Yad Vashem Studies. Wallstein Verlag. p. 57. ISSN 0084-3296.  ^ Arad, Yitzhak (1987). Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. The Operation Reinhard Death Camps (Google Books preview). Bloomington, Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. p. 22. ISBN 0-253-21305-3.  ^ a b Holocaust Encyclopedia. "Trawniki". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Permission granted to be reused, in whole or in part, on; OTRS
ticket no. 2007071910012533. Retrieved 19 May 2014. Text from USHMM has been released under the GFDL.  ^ Mgr Stanisław Jabłoński (1927–2002). "Hitlerowski obóz w Trawnikach". The camp history (in Polish). Trawniki official website. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 

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) Eins