In its centuries-old history Belarus has more than once become the arena for bloodsheds. Each war brought deaths and devastation. The Great Patriotic War was the most sacrificial one.
A general plan of the war against the USSR and all instructions concerning its preparation and conducting were stated in the Directive No. 18 of December 18, 1940. It was the so-called "Barbarossa plan". Fascist headquarters intended to conquer the European territory of the Soviet Union within 8— 16 weeks by means of a blitzkrieg and approach the line of Arkhangelsk — Astrakhan.
In conformity with the Directive all German land forces as well as Finnish, Romanian and Hungarian troops (190 divisions in total) were supposed to be made good use of.
Three powerful groups were built to attack the USSR. They were "North", "Center" and "South".
The "North" group was ordered to destroy the Soviet troops in the Baltic countries. It also had to capture the ports in the Baltic Sea, including Kronstadt and Leningrad, thus depriving the Soviet fleet of its leading positions.
The "South" group's aim was to conquer the wealth of the Caucasus, its grain and oil.
The "Center" group was directed at destroying Soviet troops in Bielorussia, which could consequently help to attack Smolensk and Moscow. The group consisted of two armies (the 4th and the 9th), two tank groups (the 2nd and the 3rd) or 50 divisions in total (among them 9 tank divisions, 6 motor divisions and one horse-troop division) and 2 brigades. The second air fleet, the strongest in the Nazi army, supported the advance of the "Center" group.
Together with the military plans there were also other projects of awesome outrage on the occupied territories.
The main plan "OST" plan was elaborated still in 1940. It had something to do with one of the main objectives of the German leaders, i.e. with capturing the vital space for the third Reich's flourishing. So, clearing "the vital space" from "excessive" local population was supposed to be done. Therefore the long-term concept of making a war in the East, the so-called war of annihilation, followed from this idea. But a mere victory in the East could not satisfy fascists. They wanted to destroy the army, the country and the whole nation.
"We must exterminate population. It is our mission if we want to protect Germans. I have the right to annihilate millions of people of the lowest race who reproduce like worms..." — Hitler used to announce.
On March 30, 1941 during the Wehrmacht high command meeting Hitler pointed at the fact that the war against the Soviet Union would be a "war of annihilation", that this war "will differ considerably from the war in the West. In the East cruelty is too mellow for the future". In conformity with the plan "OST", 120— 140 million people were supposed to be annihilated in the Soviet Union and in Poland.
The basic trends of this policy were stated in the secret memorandum "Some reflections of the SS Reichsfuhrer Hitler about treating the locals in the eastern territories".
A horrible fate was prepared for Belorussians.
There were many ratified documents of the plan "OST", but the most forthright remarks were made by the head of the Number One Colonization Department of the central political administration of the ministry of the occupied eastern territories affairs of Wetzel. In conformity with that plan, 25% of Belorussians were supposed to be Germanized, if they perfectly corresponded to the racial characteristics, and the remaining 75% were supposed to be killed.
During the war with the support of the plan "OST" fascists also elaborated precise short-term tasks of how to annihilate people. Documentary proof of such elaborations was found in the Reichscommissariat papers called "Ostland". There was found a map dating back to November 17, 1942 according to which it was intended to clear completely a certain territory of Bielorussia from the local population and let only German colonists settle there. The territory included lands from the western border to the line of the cities of Grodno and Slonim, the southern part of Brest region, the region of the city of Pinsk and Mosyr, and the remaining part of the area of Polessie on the line of the small towns of Pruzhany, Gantsevichy, Parichy and Rechitsa.
Fascists intended to create special settlements for the privileged strata of German society in most big cities of Bielorussia. They calculated the precise number of local people who they could keep there. The proportion of local people to colonists was two to one, i.e. there were two slaves of 'the lowest race' for each master of 'the highest race'. So, it was planned to settle 50 thousand German colonists in Minsk and its region, and keep 100 thousand local people there. In the town of Molodechno and its suburbs they wanted to have 7 thousand Germans and 15 thousand locals respectively. 10 thousand Germans and 20 thousand locals in the town of Baranovichy. 30 thousand Germans and 50 thousand locals in the city of Gomel. 20 thousand Germans and 50 thousand locals in each of the cities of Mogilev and Bobruisk.
In conformity with such documents like the plan "OST", "Area regulations (supplement to the directive No. 21 or the "Barbarossa" plan) which appeared on March 13, 1941, or "About the military jurisdiction within the frame of the "Barbarossa" plan and about particular power of troops" which was published on May 13, 1941, or "Twelve precepts for Germans in the east and their treatment of Russians" of June 1, 1941 and others, fascist soldiers were not responsible for any crimes or atrocities committed on the occupied territory. Moreover, mass outrage of fascists was legally justified because it was made the policy of the state.
On June 22, 1941 fascist Germany attacked the Soviet Union without a declaration of war. Bielorussia was completely occupied by late August of 1941.
The genocide policy started to be implemented from the very first days of the war. Deaths by shootings and executions became a regular thing.
Wehrmacht soldiers and officers were violent to the civilian population on all occupied territories. The political indoctrination of SS troops and soldiers during the preparation for the aggression made it easier for them to commit atrocities. "The instruction for a German soldier" which was in use by Wehrmacht's personnel, read: "You are not able either to take things to heart or to worry. Forget your sympathy and compassion. Kill any Russian or Soviet citizen. Do not stop at anything, whether you see an old man or a woman, a boy or a girl in front of you. Kill. It will save you from death. It will provide your family with a future. It will bring eternal glory to you."
© 2005 SMC "Khatyn", http://www.khatyn.by/