I've been reading various documents and testimony pertaining to this Globocnik report in an attempt to disentangle what was denoted by "Einsatz Reinhardt" and "Aktion Reinhardt." I believe that those were two terms that denoted separate (but related) bureaucratic initiatives: Einsatz Reinhardt
was an office in SSPF Lublin responsible for the confiscation and management of mobile Jewish property. Aktion Reinhardt
was the WVHA initiative to transfer this property from the possession of SSPF Lublin to the Reich represented by the WVHA for repair and utilization. This document supports that conclusion.
I found witness testimony in the WVHA trial attesting to the fact that 'Aktion Reinhardt' was an economic initiative named after Fritz Reinhardt of the Reich Ministry of Finance, and that 'Aktion Reinhardt' was understood by the WVHA to be an 'economic use' aktion. From the 1948 Pohl/WVHA NMT trial:
Q. [sic] Therefore, I assume from your answer that from the type of watches which were being repaired here one could not draw the conclusion that these watches had been taken away from inmates who had been killed?
A. No, that assumption could not be drawn. I myself tried on one occasion to see an order according to which these watches had been confiscated. As far as I can recall, I talked to Melmer about that on one or two occasions. As far as I remember, it was Melmer told me at that time that these watches had been confiscated by virtue of a decree which the State Secretary Reinhardt in the Reich Ministry of Finance had issued, and that was the reason why this action had been given the name of Action Reinhardt.
The link above shows additional witnesses who associate the 'Reinhardt' code-name as an economic initiative named after State Secretary Reinhardt.
More recently, I've been trying to piece together the bureaucratic origins of Einsatz Reinhardt
in SSPF Lublin and in this recent post I briefly lay out the case for why I believe ER/AR was associated with the confiscation & utilization of Jewish property in General Government - not extermination.
-------------------------------------------------------It is now my belief
that "Einsatz Reinhardt" was a special taskforce in SSPF Lublin responsible for the confiscation, inventory, and storage
of mobile Jewish property throughout GG and at Globocnik's transit/border camps.
In turn, "Aktion Reinhardt" was the initiative to transfer, repair, and utilize this property from the vaults and camps of Einsatz Reinhardt.
My thinking started with this affidavit from Emil Puhl, vice-president of the Reichsbank. He described 'general legal regulations' that underpinned the confiscations and deliveries (i.e. Melmer deliveries):
http://nuremberg.law.harvard.edu/docume ... uhl%22#p.1
Since the confiscations were made in the name and for the account of the Reich, only the Reich Government, represented by the Four Years Plan, was entitled to dispose of the gold and the foreign currencies and the Reich Finance Minister of the equivalent in Reichsmarks. Non-delivery would have been equal to violating the law and, since this was property of the Reich, would have been considered as embezzlement of this property.
In 1939 Goering, representing the Four Years Plan, established the Main Trustee Office East
and gave it the sole right to authorize confiscation of property in the Incorporated and Occupied Territories (October 19th, 1939):
To : The Reich Ministers, Divisions and Plenipotentiaries General of the Four Year Plan
During the session of 13 October, I issued detailed directives for the economic administration of the occupied territories. I want to recapitulate them briefly as follows:
1. The task for the economic treatment of the various administrative regions is different, depending on whether the country is involved which will be incorporated politically into the German Reich, or whether we will deal with the Government General, which in all probability will not be made a part of Germany.... On the other hand, there must be removed from the territories of the Government General all raw materials, scrap materials, machines, etc., which are of use for the German war economy.
4. In order to exploit the territories-and especially those to be incorporated in the Reich-in the best way for the achievement of the Fuehrer's goal, the property in real estate, plants, mobile objects, and the rights taken out of Polish hands must be safeguarded and administered in a coordinated way. For that purpose I have founded a Main Trustee Office East [Haupttreuhandstelle Ost] which is directly and personally under me and the duties of which are as follows:
a. The seizure of the property of the Polish State within the territories occupied by German troops and the safeguarding of an orderly administration; the same applies to Polish and Jewish private property;
e. The Main Trustee Office East, with headquarters in Berlin as well as with Reich Minister Frank,* will establish Trustee Offices for the individual administrative regions immediately subordinated to it. The Trustee Offices shall always keep the administrative head of their administrative region informed about their activity.
f. In the future, confiscations may be decreed only by the Main Trustee Office East, with the concurrence of the administrative heads concerned, or with the concurrence of the Governor General (supreme administrative head). Confiscations previously carried through by local agencies will remain effective only if confirmed by the Main Trustee Office East. If no confirmation has been expressed by 1 February 1940, the confiscation becomes
The Main Trustee Office may appoint provisional managers [kommissarische Verwalter] to manage businesses or property of any kind. If other agencies have already appointed managers, the Main Trustee Office can recall them and impose different administrators. Managers must have their balance sheets approved by the Main Trustee Office East.
The Main Trustee Office East may transfer its functions to a local trustee office.
5. As I have already stated in the meeting of 13 October, I expect the fullest support of the measures carried out by the Main Trustee Office and the Trustee Offices from the heads of the administrative' regions. The Main Trustee Office East will be in a position to complete its activity in individual administrative regions more rapidly to the extent that this support is granted without friction. Any wild confiscation, and any profiteering of individuals will be prosecuted in accordance with general penal laws and the laws of war. The essential point is that Polish property liable to confiscation shall be utilized in the interests of the Reich, that is, of the community, but not for the benefit of individuals.
In General Government, Governor Frank set up his own Trustee Office that had jurisdiction in GG. The relevant fact is that confiscations in GG had to be approved by the Trustee Office in GG according to legal regulations established by Georing.
Himmler extended these regulations and delegated the responsibility for executing confiscations
to "organs and institutions of the Reich Leader SS and Chief of the German Police."
Subject: Cooperation of the authorities of the Reich Leader SS with the Main Trustee Office East
In agreement with the leader of the Main Trustee Office East, Burgomaster (retired) Dr. Max Winkler, I report the following:
1. In the interest of a unified directing and transfer of the economy to the areas of former Poland and the occupied Polish territories which have become part of the German Reich, Field Marshal Goering, as chairman of the Ministerial Council for the Defense of the Reich and Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan, has founded the Main Trustee Office East, which is directly subordinate to him, by a decree 19 October 1939 and has appointed the Burgomaster (retired) Dr. Max Winkler as its director.
The Main Trustee Office East is located in Berlin ... as well as in Krakow at the office of the Governor General for the occupied Polish territories.
2. The Main Trustee Office East and its Trustee Offices, in executing confiscations-the right of confiscation is conferred upon them by the decree mentioned at the beginning-will make use of the authorities, organs and institutions of the Reich Leader SS and Chief of the German Police, or the organs established by him in the occupied Polish territories.
4. The Reich Leader SS and Chief of the German Police will requisition other property of Poles or Jews upon request of the Main Trustee Office East for the account of the German Reich and upon special request will also confiscate it. The seizure of this property is the affair of the Main Trustee Office East.
pp 718 - 720https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law ... l-XIII.pdf
This fact begs the question: Which 'organ and institution' of the Reich Leader SS and Chief of the German Police was utilized to execute these confiscations starting around Spring 1942 in General Government?
The answer to this question is Einsatz Reinhardt
. That was the purpose of this special taskforce in SSPF Lublin. To execute confiscations authorized by the Trustee Office in GG as an 'organ and institution' of HSSPF Ost in Krakow.
This idea came to me after reading Puhl's affidavit and Goering's decree establishing the Main Trustee Office East. What was fascinating was that immediately after getting this idea, I found a document where the Four Year Plan instructed the Reichsbank to handle deliveries from the Main Trustee Office East IN THE SAME WAY as the Melmer Deliveries.
Note that these "Melmer deliveries" are the very same deliveries that are the subject of this 5 January 1944 Globocnik report to Himmler.
The Reich Marshal of the Greater German Reich, the Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan, informed the German Reich Bank in a letter of 19 March 1944, a copy of which is enclosed, that considerable amounts of gold and silver objects, jewels and so forth at the Main Trustee Office East, should be delivered to the Reich Bank according to the order issued by the Reich Ministers Funk and Graf Schwerin von Krosigk. The utilization of these objects should be accomplished in the same way as the Melmer deliveries. The Reich Marshal informed us also about the utilization of objects of the same kind, which have been acquired in the occupied western territories.
This corroborates the conclusion that the confiscations conducted by Einsatz Reinhardt and the deliveries made throughout the course of Aktion Reinhardt were in accordance with the legal regulations governing the confiscation of Jewish property in GG. The fact that mobile property delivered from the Main Trustee Office was instructed to be processed in the same way as the Melmer deliveries adds weight to the conclusion that the Melmer deliveries were also part of this broader legal framework of property confiscations.
It is also noteworthy that the Main Trustee Office East
conducted confiscations of mobile property at transit camps where populations were deported to General Government. From the affidavit of SS-Obersturmführer Krumey in the Eichmann trial::
In November 1939, while serving in that position, I was called up by a red notice to report to the SS Head Office for Personnel. From there I was seconded to the Higher SS and Police Leader in Posen, effective immediately after my having been called up. The Higher SS and Police Leader at that time was Koppe. Apart from myself, the other office staff were a major in the gendarmerie, Hagelstein, and a captain of police, Watermann. My task was to organize the transport by rail required to carry out the compulsory transfer from the Warthe District of those Poles evicted from their farms by the District Commissioners, because at that time I was mostly only in my office in Posen, where I received the District Commissioners' requirements for rolling stock... my duties also included negotiating with offices in the Generalgouvernement about the destinations of the trains in the Generalgouvernement.
There were several field offices subordinate to my office, as well as a transit camp in Litzmannstadt. The purpose of the office was to handle the processing of the Poles on their way to the Generalgouvernement, after they had been evacuated by offices controlled by the Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening of German Folkdom... In the camp, a statement of property was also drawn up for every Polish family to be resettled; these were then collected by the Main Trustee Office East and - so it was said - were to be the basis for compensating those transferred compulsorily.
Note the similarities here with Globocnik's transit camps. This Lodz camp was:
- Designated a transit camp for deportations.
- Operated under HSSPF.
- Property was confiscated at the camp.
- Vouchers were created on the pretext that the deportees would be compensated.
- Vouchers were turned in to the Main Trustee Office East
I am suggesting that Einsatz Reinhardt operated in the legal capacity of the Main Trustee Office East in Globocnik's camps. Globocnik even discusses these same vouchers in his final report to Himmler. These vouchers were used to audit the Melmer deliveries, and Globocnik suggested that they be destroyed. These were the same vouchers that were collected by the Main Trustee Office East in Lodz
This also provides an explanation for why both Einsatz Reinhardt and Zollgrenzschutz were present at Globocnik's camps. The authority for customs was legally distinct from the authority for conducting confiscations. The authority for conducting confiscations was defined by Goering's and Himmler's decrees and vested in Einsatz Reinhardt within SSPF Lublin.
Lodz was outside the General Government, but this camp provides a clear parallel with Globocnik's camps in General Government. However, within General Government
we know that the Trustee Office in Krakow took responsibility for confiscating the mobile property of Jewish deportees.
This property was confiscated by the Trustee Offices in GG and sold in pawnshops located in the district. However, the quantity of property confiscated by Einsatz Reinhardt could not have possibly been liquidated in local pawnshops, the volume was too high. An arrangement was made for the WVHA to direct the final transfer from GG to the Reich where the valuables were processed by pawnshops in Berlin. The volume was also too high for the pawn shops in Berlin to handle.
This is also why the WVHA understood 'Aktion Reinhardt' to be an economic use action:
Q. That is sufficient, Witness, and we will leave this subject. Now, when was it that the WVHA for the first time made use of Jewish property?
A. That was in July 1942. That was when the Chief of the WVHA, Pohl, had a conference with the Reichsbank Vice-President, Puhl, P-u-h-l.
This conference was preceded by another conference between the Reichsfuehrer Himmler and the Reichsbank president Funk who at the same time was Reich Economy Minister. Probably, at the same time, as can be seen from the documents, there was a conference Himmler-Krosigk, the Reich Finance Minister. It will be possible for me, to prove on the basis of the documents, that the WVHA a very short while before that, had not been included in the affair at all, and knew nothing at all about it.
Q. You just said that they knew nothing about it. Do you mean by this the term "Reinhardt Action"? Or do you mean the confiscation of Jewish property, generally speaking?A. I would like to say as of now in answering this question the following: When the Action Reinhardt is mentioned, then at that particular moment when I was in the WVHA, it could never have been the extermination action. I would like to point cut clearly that the Reinhardt Action, the term as such, was always known to the WVHA as an economic use action, an action where the Jewish property could be utilized. It was approximately six weeks after the conference between Pohl and Puhl when the WVHA received a draft of an order from Lublin which bore Himmler's initials and which was the authentic basis for NO-724
"Aktion Reinhardt", that term used by the WVHA, denoted the execution of NO-724 which directed the transfer and utilization of Jewish property from possession of SSPF Lublin (Einsatz Reinhardt).
This is an important question as it provides a revisionist explanation for the purpose of Einsatz Reinhardt
in SSPF Lublin and the purpose of ER in Globocnik's camps. That purpose was to conduct confiscations and manage the confiscated property according to the legal framework established by Goering and Himmler. 'Aktion Reinhardt' was the WVHA aktion to direct this final transfer from GG to the Reich. This also provides an explanation for why ER had data on arrivals at Globocnik's camps as a source for the Höfle Telegram. ER was responsible for conducting confiscations at Globocnik's camps, so its possession of data on intakes to these camps directly follows from this purposes.
It is noteworthy that Franke-Gricksch defined the purpose of Einsatz Reinhardt
what I have said:
From Trawniki we travelled back to Lublin to inspect the "special enterprise REINHARD". This branch has had the task of realising all mobile Jewish property in the Gouvernement Poland. It is astonishing what immense fortunes the Jews have collected in their ghetto and even ragged and vermin infested dirty little Jews who look like beggars, carry with them, when you strip their clothes off them, foreign currency, pieces of gold, diamonds and other valuables. We wandered through the cellars of this “special enterprise” and we were reminded of the fairy tales of the "Arabian Nights".
ER was an economic unit in SSPF Lublin responsible for confiscating and managing mobile Jewish property in GG, and AR was an economic use action to transfer this property from the possession of SSPF Lublin to utilization for the Reich..
I started a discussion on this topic on the AHF here and have included these details as well as additional details that support this conclusion: https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic ... 6&t=253859