Gestapo and the Persecution of Jews

Letter concerning start of deportations


Letter of February 13, 1941 concerning the start of deportations of Austrian Jews to the ghettos and extermination camps.
Download >> (PDF, 121 KB)



After the "Central Office for Jewish Emigration" was disbanded on March 31, 1943, the Gestapo remained the sole responsible for all important issues concerning Jews. Until March 1945, the Gestapo was responsible for carrying out the last deportations to Theresienstadt (Terezín) resp. Auschwitz.


At the outbreak of war, the Gestapo provided part of the personnel for the Einsatzgruppen (special task forces). As mobile killing squads - consisting of units of the Security Police (= Gestapo and Criminal Police) and the SS Security Service (SD) - they were tasked with liquidating alleged political adversaries and "racially undesired" individuals in eastern Europe.


From fall 1939 until spring 1940, the Einsatzgruppen killed 60,000 to 80,000 persons in Poland. To this day, the number of members of the Gestapo Headquarters Vienna participating in such campaigns has remained unclear.


Members of the Gestapo Headquarters Vienna were also involved in the deportations of Jews from western and southern Europe.


Felix Landau (photo: DÖW)




"July 5, 1941: in the morning, wonderful music 'Hörst du mein heimliches Rufen' [Do you hear my furtive call], how tender the heart can become! [...] Right now I am relieving the guard, a commando reports that only a few streets from us a Wehrmacht guard was found fatally shot. One hour later, another 32 Poles from the intelligentsia and the resistance movement are shot approximately 200 meters from our residential quarters after having dug their own grave. One stubbornly refused to die, the first layer of sand was already covering the first individuals shot, when a hand arose from the mountain of sand and waved and pointed to a spot, probably to his heart. Another couple of shots were fired [...] Now, in the course of the afternoon, another 300 or so Jews and Poles were knocked off. In the evening, we again drove briefly into town for an hour."

Excerpt from the diary of Felix Landau

Felix Landau, born in Vienna on May 21, 1910, interior designer, 1930 Nazi Party member, 1937 relocation to Berlin, candidate for criminal police assistant, SS Hauptscharführer (Head Squad Leader), 1938 Blood Order recipient, Gestapo Headquarters Vienna, 1940 transfer to Radom (Poland) to "fight gangs" (service with the Commander of Security Police and Security Service), July 1941 transfer to Lemberg (Lwów, Lviv), district Drohobycz. Landau was notorious for his brutality; he personally murdered hundreds of Jews. He was arrested in Linz in 1945, escaped from the Glasenbach camp in August 1947. Under the name of Rudolf Jaschke he had a business for interior decoration in Bavaria. In 1959, he was again identified by former survivors of the massacres and arrested; sentenced to life imprisonment in March 1962. (Photo DÖW)



Individual Oppositional Behavior >>


<< index page


Unterstützt von: