RESERVE POLICE BATTALION 101 was a Nazi German paramilitary formation
Ordnungspolizei (Order Police), serving under the control of the SS
by law. Formed in
Hamburg , it was deployed in September 1939 along
Wehrmacht army in the invasion of Poland . Initially, the
Police Battalion 101 (German : Polizeibataillon 101) guarded Polish
prisoners of war behind German lines, and carried out expulsion of
Poles , called "resettlement actions", in the new
Łódź . Following the personnel change and
retraining from May 1941 until June 1942, it became a major
perpetrator of the Holocaust in occupied Poland .
* 1 Overview
* 2 Battalion 101 operations
* 2.1 Return to Poland, June 1942 – November 1943
* 2.2 More deportations
* 3 Postwar history
* 4 Summary of genocidal missions
* 5 Command
* 6 Notes
* 7 References
* 8 External links
The Nazi German Order Police had grown to 244,500 men by mid-1940,
tasked with controlling civilian populations of the conquered or
colonized countries. After the German attack on the Soviet positions
Operation Barbarossa of 1941, the Order Police joined the SS
Einsatzgruppen in the massacres of Jews behind the
The first mass killing of 3,000 Jews by the German police occurred in
Białystok on 12 July 1941 in the formerly Russian zone of occupied
Poland , followed by the Bloody Sunday massacre of 10,000-12,000 Jews
by the Reserve Police Battalion 133, perpetrated in Stanisławów on
12 October 1941 with the aid of SiPo and the Ukrainian Auxiliary
Police . The shootings in Russia proper culminated in the Battalion
45 massacre of 33,000 Jews at
Babi Yar . The Order Police battalions
became indispensable in the implementation of the
Final Solution after
Wannsee Conference of 1942. They rounded up tens of thousands of
Nazi ghetto inmates for deportations to extermination camps during the
liquidation of the
Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Poland
Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Poland , but also
participated themselves in the killing of
Polish Jews along with the
Holocaust executioners known as
Trawnikis . During Operation Reinhard
mass murders were committed by Battalion 101 against women, children
and the elderly in various locations including forced-labour camps and
subcamps, most notably during the
Aktion Erntefest of 1943, the single
largest German massacre of Jews in the entire war, with 42,000 victims
shot in the execution pits over the bodies of others. For more
details on this topic, see
Nazi crimes against the Polish nation .
Warthegau . Poles led to cattle trains as part of the
ethnic cleansing of western Poland, utilizing Battalion 101
BATTALION 101 OPERATIONS
A total number of 17 police battalions were deployed by
the invasion of Poland in 1939. Battalion 101 was one of three from
the city of
Hamburg . After a few months of active duty the battalion
was transported from
Kielce , Poland, back to Germany on 17 December
1939 to undergo a major expansion after Christmas. Servicemen were
tasked with organizing additional ground units. The already enlarged
battalion was deployed to Poland again in May 1940, and for the next
five months, has conducted mass expulsions of Poles, to make room for
the German colonists brought in
Heim ins Reich
Heim ins Reich from the areas invaded
by their Moscow ally as well as from the
Third Reich .
The expulsions of Poles along with kidnappings of Polish children for
the purpose of
Germanization , were managed by two German
VoMi , and
Heinrich Himmler . In
settlements already cleared of their native Polish inhabitants, the
Bessarabia , Romania and the Baltics were put,
under the banner of
Lebensraum . Battalion 101 "evacuated" 36,972
Poles in one action, over half of the targeted number of 58,628 in the
new German district of
Warthegau (the total was 630,000 before the
war's end, with two-thirds killed), but also committed murders among
civilians according to postwar testimonies of at least one of its
During the early period we endeavored to fetch all people out of the
houses, without regard for whether they were old, sick, or small
children. The commission quickly found fault with our procedures. They
objected that we struggled under the burden of the old and sick. To be
precise, they did not initially give us the order to shoot them on the
spot, rather they contented themselves with making it clear to us that
nothing could be done with such people. — Bruno Probst
For the next half-a-year beginning 28 November 1940 the Police
Battalion 101 guarded the new ghetto in
Łódź crammed with 160,000
Jews eventually. The
Łódź Ghetto was the second-largest Jewish
ghetto of World War II after the
Warsaw Ghetto where the policemen
from Battalion 61 held victory parties on the days when a large number
of desperate prisoners were shot at the ghetto fence. Battalion 101
commanded by career policeman Major
Wilhelm Trapp , returned to
Hamburg in May 1941 and again, the more experienced servicemen were
dispatched to organize more units. Brand new battalions numbered 102,
103 and 104 were formed by them and prepared for duty. Training of
new reservists included escort duty on 3,740
Hamburg and Bremen Jews
deported to the East for execution. Meanwhile, the killing of Jews
Łódź Ghetto using gas vans began at Chełmno in December
RETURN TO POLAND, JUNE 1942 – NOVEMBER 1943
The Reserve Battalion 101 with three detachments of heavy
machine-guns returned to occupied Poland in June 1942, composed of 500
men in their thirties who were too old for the regular army. By that
time, the first two extermination camps of
Operation Reinhard in
General Government – Bełżec and
Sobibór – were already gassing
trainloads of Jews from all over Europe . The most deadly of them,
Treblinka , was about to start operations. Globocnik gave Battalion
101 the task of deporting Jews from across
Lublin reservation .
Between mid-March and mid-April 1942, about 90% of the 40,000
prisoners of the
Lublin Ghetto were loaded by Order Police and Schupo
onto Holocaust trains destined for
Bełżec extermination camp
Bełżec extermination camp .
Additional 11,000–12,000 Jews were deported from ghettos in
Piaski , in Lubartów ,
Kraśnik with the aid of
Trawnikis from the
Sonderdienst battalions of
Karl Streibel .
Memorial in the forest of Winiarczykowa Góra near Józefów ,
southeast of Warsaw, commemorating the Jewish victims of the 1942
massacre committed by the Reserve Police Battalion 101. The
inscription omits the name of the Nazi German formation
The first mass murder known to have been committed entirely by
Battalion 101 was the most "messy" for lack of training; uniforms
dripping wet with brain matter and blood. The killing of 1,500 Jews
from Józefów ghetto, approximately 100 kilometers south of Lublin in
southeastern Poland on 13 July 1942 was performed mostly by the three
platoons of the Second Company. Prior to departure from
were given large amounts of extra ammunition and therefore claiming to
have had no idea what the purpose of the mission was would have been a
lie. A generous supply of alcohol was procured. Twelve out of 500
soldiers opted out when allowed to leave freely. Those of them who
felt unable to continue shooting at point-blank range of prisoners
begging for mercy, were asked to wait at the marketplace where the
trucks were loaded. The action was finished in seventeen hours. The
bodies of the dead carpeting the forest floor at the Winiarczykowa
Góra hill (about 2 km from the village, pictured) were left
unburied. Watches, jewelry and money were taken. The battalion left
Biłgoraj at 9pm. Only a dozen Jews are known to have survived
the slaughter. Two members of the Mart family from the German
minority residing in Józefów were shot by Polish underground
thereafter for cooperation with the enemy.
The next ghetto liquidation action took place less than a month later
Łomazy lacking a rail line. The infants, the old and the infirm
were shot by Battalion 101 already during the early morning roundups
on 17 August 1942. Later that day, the Hiwi shooters arrived at the
main square, and some 1,700 ghetto prisoners were marched on foot to
the Hały forest outside the town, where the stronger Jewish men
prepared a trench with entrance on one side. The killings of stripped
naked Jews lasted till 7pm. The Ukrainian
Trawnikis got so drunk that
the policemen from the First, Second and Third Platoon under
Lieutenant Hartwig Gnade had to continue shooting by themselves in
half-a-metre of groundwater and blood.
In the following weeks, the Police Battalion 101 pacified towns with
direct lines to
Treblinka therefore the mass shooting operations were
not scheduled. On 19 August 1942 – only two days after
3,000 Jews were deported from
Parczew (2,000 more, several days
later); from Międzyrzec 11,000 Jews were sent to
Treblinka on August
25–26 amid gunfire and screams. From Radzyń 6,000 prisoners, then
Końskowola (2,000 coupled with massacre at the
hospital), Komarówka , Tomaszów ; all those unable to move or
attempting to flee were shot on the spot. At the end of August death
transports were temporarily halted. After a brief respite, shootings
of Jews resumed on 22 September in
Serokomla , than in
Talczyn and in
Kock ghetto four days later, by the Second Company. The treatment
of condemned prisoners was getting increasingly more terrifying as the
time went on. In
Izbica , the makeshift ghetto reached a breaking
point packed by Gnade with Jewish inhabitants of
Biała Podlaska ,
Czemierniki . The October and November
deportations to Bełżec and
Sobibór led to a week of mass killings
at the cemetery beginning on 2 November 1942. Several thousand Jews
(estimated at 4,500) from the transit ghetto were massacred by the
Sonderdienst battalion of Ukrainian
Trawnikis in an
assembly-line-style and dumped in hastily excavated mass graves under
total police control. All men drank heavily.
In Międzyrzec "strip-search" of young Jewish women was introduced by
Gnade before executions dubbed "mopping up" actions by the Germans.
Gnade's first sergeant later said: "I must say that First Lieutenant
Gnade gave me the impression that the entire business afforded him a
great deal of pleasure." By the spring of 1943 most towns of the
Lublin reservation were
Judenfrei therefore the battalion was tasked
with "Jew hunts" in the deep local forests, or in the potato fields
and around distant farmlands. Thousands of Jews were shot face to
face. Mass graves of the
Aktion Erntefest , the single largest
German massacre of Jews in the entire war
The participation of
Reserve Police Battalion 101
Reserve Police Battalion 101 in the Final
Solution culminated in the
Aktion Erntefest massacres of Jews
imprisoned at the Trawniki , Poniatowa and
camps with subcamps in Budzyn,
Kraśnik , Puławy, Lipowa and other
slave-labor projects of the
Ostindustrie (Osti). Approximately 43,000
Jews were killed. It was the largest single-day massacre of the
Holocaust under direct German occupation, committed on 3 November 1943
on the orders of
Christian Wirth .
Trawniki men provided the necessary
At the conclusion of the Erntefest massacres , the district of Lublin
was for all practical purposes judenfrei. The murderous participation
Reserve Police Battalion 101
Reserve Police Battalion 101 in the
Final Solution came to an
end... For a battalion of less than 500 men, the ultimate body count
was at least 83,000 Jews.
Soon after the war ended, Major
Wilhelm Trapp was captured by the
British authorities and placed at the Neuengamme Internment Camp.
After questioning by the Polish Military Mission for the
Investigations of War Crimes in October 1946, he was extradited to
Poland along with Drewes, Bumann and Kadler. Subsequently, Trapp was
charged with war crimes by the
Siedlce District Court, sentenced to
death on 6 July 1948 and executed on 18 December 1948 along with
Gustav Drewes. However, with the onset of the
Cold War , West Germany
did not pursue any war criminals at all for the next twenty years.
In 1964 several men were arrested. For the first time the involvement
of German police from
Hamburg in wartime massacres was investigated by
West German prosecutors. In 1968 after a two-year trial 3 men were
sentenced to 8 years imprisonment, one to 6 years, and one to 5 years.
Six other policemen – all lower ranks – were found guilty but not
sentenced. The rest went on to live their normal lives.
SUMMARY OF GENOCIDAL MISSIONS
In most part the following table is based on the 1968 verdict of the
Hamburg District Court, and compared with relevant data from the
Museum of the History of the
Polish Jews and other searchable
MURDER OPERATIONS OF THE RESERVE POLICE BATTALION 101 IN OCCUPIED
OPERATION TYPE AND PARTICIPANTS
Mass shooting / entire battalion
Mass shooting / 2nd Company, Hiwis
Extermination, death trains / 1st & 2nd Company, Hiwis
Międzyrzec Podlaski Ghetto
Extermination / 1st Co., 3rd Pl. 2nd Co., 1st Pl. 3rd Co., Hiwis
Extermination, death trains /1st Company, Hiwis
Mass shooting / 1st & 2nd Company, Hiwis
Biała Podlaska & its county
October & November 1942
Międzyrzec Ghetto extermination, death trains
October & November 1942
October & November 1942
October & November 1942
October & November 1942
Extermination, death trains
November 3, 1942
Two days of mass shooting / entire battalion
July 1942 – May 1943
Battalion 101 in occupied Poland
Upon its return to occupied Poland , on 12 June 1942 the Reserve
Police Battalion 101 had the following command structure:
* 1st Company: Captain,
Hauptsturmführer Julius Wohlauf (until
October 1942, then Captain Steidtmann)
* 1st Platoon: Second Lieutenant Boysen
* 2nd Platoon: Reserve Second Lieutenant Bumann
* 3rd Platoon: Zugwachmeister Junge
* 2nd Company:
Oberleutnant Hartwig Gnade (until May 1943, then
* 1st Platoon: Second Lieutenant Schürer
* 2nd Platoon: Reserve Second Lieutenant Kurt Dreyer
* 3rd Platoon: Hauptwachmeister Starke
* 3rd Company: Captain Wolfgang Hoffmann (until November 1942)
* 1st Platoon: Second Lieutenant Pauly
* 2nd Platoon: Second Lieutenant Hachmeister
* 3rd Platoon: Hauptwachmeister Jückmann
* ^ A B C D E F G Struan Robertson. "
Hamburg Police Battalions
during the Second World War". Archived from the original on 22
February 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
* ^ Browning 1998 , p. 39.
* ^ Goldhagen 1996 , pp. 203, 232–3.
* ^ A B Anna Nowak (2014). "Działania eksterminacyjne batalionu
policyjnego 101" (in Polish). Uniwersytet Marii Curie Skłodowskiej.
* ^ Browning 1998 , pp. 5-6.
* ^ Gordon Williamson (2004). The SS: Hitler\'s Instrument of
Terror. Zenith Imprint. p. 101. ISBN 0-7603-1933-2 .
* ^ Browning 1998 , pp. 9-12.
* ^ Dieter Pohl. Hans Krueger and the Murder of the Jews in the
Stanislawow Region (Galicia) (PDF file from Yad Vashem.org). pp.
12/13, 17/18, 21. It is clear that a massacre of such proportions
under German civil administration was virtually unprecedented.
* ^ Browning 2004 , pp. 349-50.
* ^ Westermann, Edward B. (2004). "'Ordinary Men' or 'Ideological
Soldiers'? Police Batallion 310 in Russia, 1942". In Martel, Gordon.
The World War Two Reader. Routledge. p. 218. ISBN 0415224020 .
Retrieved 6 December 2014.
* ^ Browning 1998 , p. 18.
* ^ Goldhagen 1996 , pp. 533–4.
* ^ Browning 1998 , p. 52: " were screened on the basis of their
anti-Communist (and hence almost invariably anti-Semitic) sentiments."
* ^ A B Browning 1998 , pp. 135-42.
* ^ A B C Browning 1998 , p. 40.
* ^ Lukas 2001 , Chapter IV (Part I).
* ^ A. Dirk Moses (2004), Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier
Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children..., Berghahn Books (Google
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* ^ Valdis O. Lumans (1993), Himmler\'s Auxiliaries: The
Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle and the German National Minorities of
Europe, 1933–1945. Univ of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0807820660
* ^ Lukas 2001 , Chapter IV (Part II).
Jerzy Jan Lerski (1996). Historical Dictionary of Poland,
966–1945. Greenwood Publishing. p. 642. ISBN 0313260079 .
* ^ Holocaust Encyclopedia (2014). "Ghettos". United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum . Archived from the original on 15 August
2012. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
* ^ Browning 1998 , p. 41.
* ^ Browning 1998 , pp. 45-8.
* ^ Goldhagen 1996 , p. 204.
* ^ Browning 1998 , pp. 42-4.
* ^ Central Commission for Investigation of German Crimes in
Poland. "German Crimes in Poland (Warsaw: 1946, 1947) - Chelmno
Extermination Camp". JewishGen. Introduction by Leon Zamosc.
* ^ Browning 1998 , pp. 3–6. "How did a battalion of middle-aged
reserve policemen find themselves facing the task of shooting some
1,500 Jews in the Polish village of Józefów in the summer of 1942?
Order Police received authorization to conscript 91,500 reservists
born between 1901 and 1909 – an age group not as yet subject to the
military draft gradually extended to still older men."
* ^ Browning 1998 , p. 27.
* ^ Browning 1998 , pp. 51-3.
* ^ Browning 1998 , pp. 64-8.
* ^ A B Browning 1998 , pp. 57-64.
* ^ Browning 1998 , p. 66.
* ^ Robert Kuwalek, Chris Webb (2007). "Jozefow". Holocaust
Research Project.org. Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team.
Retrieved June 17, 2014.
* ^ A B Olga Skorupka; et al. (2014). "Józefów. Lata okupacji".
Virtual Shtetl . Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich. Retrieved 1 May
* ^ Browning 1998 , p. 69.
* ^ Zygmunt Puźniak, Eksterminacja ludności cywilnej i zagłada
Żydów józefowskich Rzeczpospolita Jozefowska.wordpress.com, see:
Zygmunt Klukowski, Dziennik z lat okupacji, "17 lipca"; and T.
Bernstein, Martyrologia, opór i zagłada ludności żydowskiej w
dystrykcie lubelskim. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
* ^ A B Browning 1998 , pp. 79-80.
* ^ Patrycja Kamionek; et al. (2014). "Łomazy". Virtual Shtetl.
Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
* ^ Browning 1998 , pp. 83-4.
* ^ Browning 1998 , pp. 90-100.
* ^ Aleksandra Bielawska, Marta Kubiszyn, Jewish community of
Zamość. Page 4 of 4. Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
Izbica Jewish Cemetery Commemoration Project. Foundation for
the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland. Retrieved 12 April
* ^ A B Browning 1998 , pp. 106-8.
* ^ Hanan Lipszyc, Jewish Community of Izbica. Page 4 of 5. Museum
of the History of Polish Jews.
* ^ Browning 1998, pp. 126–131.
* ^ ARC (2004). "Erntefest". Occupation of the East. ARC. Retrieved
* ^ A B Browning 1998 , pp. 141-2.
* ^ שדלץ (Siedlce) (2014). "The Investigation of and Legal
Proceedings against members of
Hamburg Police Battalions". Hamburg
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* ^ "About Simon Wiesenthal". Simon Wiesenthal Center. 2013.
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* ^ Hartmann, Ralph (2010). "Der Alibiprozeß". Den Aufsatz
kommentieren (in German). Ossietzky 9/2010. Retrieved 19 November
* ^ Jose Raymund Canoy (2007), The Discreet Charm of the Police
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BRILL, p. 70. ISBN 9004157085
* ^ Struan Robertson, A History of Jews in
Hamburg Chapter: Hamburg
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* ^ Statistical data: "Glossary of 2,077 Jewish towns in Poland" by
Virtual Shtetl Museum of the History of the
Polish Jews (in English),
as well as "Getta Żydowskie (Jewish Ghettos)," by Gedeon, (in Polish)
and "Ghetto List" (deportations) by Michael Peters at ARC (in
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* ^ "
Międzyrzec Podlaski (Mezritch) in the Jewish sources" and
"The History of Miedzyrzec Podlaski." Association of Immigrants of
Mezritch Depodalsia. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
* ^ Browning 1998 , p. 40.
* Browning, Christopher R. (1998) . Ordinary Men: Reserve Police
Battalion 101 and the
Final Solution in Poland (PDF). Penguin Books.
Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 7 May
* ——— (2004). The Origins of the
Final Solution : The
Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939 – March 1942. The
Comprehensive History of the Holocaust. With contributions by Jürgen
Matthäus . Lincoln / Jerusalem: Univ. of Nebraska Press / Yad Vashem.
ISBN 0-8032-1327-1 .
* Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah (1996). Hitler\'s Willing Executioners:
Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (1st ed.).
Alfred A. Knopf
Alfred A. Knopf . ISBN
* Lukas, Richard C. (2001). Did the Children Cry? Hitler's War
against Jewish and Polish Children, 1939–1945. New York City:
Hippocrene Books. See online Chapter IV, Germanization. Project
InPosterum - Preserving the Past for the Future (reprint).
* SJ ;background:none