The Missing Link: What role did Reinhard Gehlen play in Babyn Jar's massaka?


It was mass murder in chord: 80 years ago, SS murderers shot 33,771 people near Kiev. Few were convicted. A German lawyer now wants to bring one of the last alleged perpetrators to court. But what role actually played the "founder" of the Federal Intelligence Service, who in addition to the Iron Cross II. Class, War Merit Cross II and I Class with swords and the German Cross in silver ( 1945), was honored with the Federal Cross of Merit in 1968?

"This is about atonement, about late justice," says Brehm. “Why not hold a 99-year-old accountable? 99-year-olds were also murdered in Babyn Yar. "

Old people, babies and children, women and men: on September 29 and 30, 1941, the SS murderers and their assistants wreaked havoc on the outskirts of Kiev. Babyn Yar, "Indian Gorge", is the name of the valley. There members of Sonderkommando 4a of SS-Einsatzgruppe C, supported by the Waffen-SS and police units, the Wehrmacht and Ukrainian militias, murdered exactly 33,771 Jews - so it says in the "USSR incident report No. 101" of October 2, 1941.

33,771 people in 36 hours, that's more than 15 per minute - Babyn Jar meant murders in record time. It was the largest single massacre of World War II in Europe. Not even in the Nazi murder factories Auschwitz, Treblinka or Belzec were so many people killed at once in the same place.

Believing that they would be relocated, the Jews ran in a long line to the gorge. There they had to hand in their valuables and passports, strip naked and sometimes lay face down on the corpses of those previously shot.

The members of the murder squads were exchanged regularly. The organizers of the massacre had also thought of their physical well-being: a kitchen cart provided the henchmen with hot meals and schnapps; Opera music echoed through the gorge to cover up the death screams.

Reinhard Gehlen (born April 3, 1902 in Erfurt, † June 8, 1979 in Berg am Starnberger See) was Major General of the Wehrmacht and headed the Foreign Armies East Department (FHO) in the Army General Staff. After the Second World War, with the consent of the American occupying forces, he set up a foreign intelligence service, the Gehlen organization, which was taken over by the federal government in 1955 and converted into the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) in 1956. He headed this agency from 1956 to 1968.

From October 1933 to July 1935 he was used by the Chief of Army Command, General of the Infantry Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord, and was in command of the secret general staff courses. In May 1935 he was assigned to the War Academy. From July 1935 to July 1936 he was adjutant to Oberquartiermeister I in the General Staff of the Army in the Reich Ministry of War in Berlin. In July 1936 he was transferred to the 1st Department and in July 1937 to the 10th Department of the Army General Staff. At that time he was under Major General Erich von Manstein.

From November 1938 to August 1939 he was battery chief (field howitzers) of the 8th / Artillery Regiment 18 in Liegnitz. In August 1939 he became First General Staff Officer (Ia) of the 213rd Infantry Division and took part in the attack on Poland. From October 1939 to May 1940 he was a group leader responsible for the fortifications in the Army General Staff. From May to June 1940 he was a liaison officer of the Army High Command to the 16th Army and to the Hoth and Guderian Panzer Groups. In June 1940 he became 1st adjutant to Chief of Staff Franz Halder. From October 1940 to April 1942 he was head of the Eastern Group of the Operations Department of the Army General Staff, which was headed by Colonel i. G. Adolf Heusinger (later General Inspector of the Bundeswehr) was headed.

Gehlen was involved in the preparations for Operation Barbarossa, the attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941; he was responsible in particular for the planning of transport and reserve tracking.

Gehlen was a Protestant denomination. From 1931 he was married to the Silesian officer's daughter Herta von Seydlitz-Kurzbach and the father of four children. He was only to find out later about his brother Johannes Gehlen (1901–1986), who later also worked for the Gehlen Organization. This grew up in Rome with foster parents. Another brother died in a bomb attack in 1944, and the sister married into a diplomatic family. Gehlen was among others. Knight of the Catholic Order of Malta.

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