After whom Aktion Reinhard was named?
According to the historians Peter Witte and Stephen Tyas
(A New Document on the Deportation and Murder of the Jews
in the General Gouvernment under "Einsatz Reinhardt"
"Aktion" was referred to Reinhard / Reinhardt Heydrich, chief
of Sicherheitspolizei (Sipo)
, Sicherheitsdienst (SD)
and Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA)
It was not referred
to the State Secretary of Finance Fritz Reinhardt.
Witte and Tyas wrote:
...The only interesting reference to the Reich Ministry of Finance to be found
in the archives of the IfZ is a Declaration on Oath by Bruno Melmer,
Nürnberg, 11th February 1948 (NG-4983). Fritz Reinhardt is not mentioned
at all. Another serious problem is that Melmer reported important events for
May 1942 which actually took place in mid-August 1942. It will be difficult
to explain why Einsatz
or Aktion Reinhardt
should have been
named after a State Secretary whose ministry first became involved in the
over two months after the first known occurrence of the code name...
"Aktion" or "Einsatz"?
Among recently declassified material at the Public Record Office in Kew, England,
two radio messages from SS Major Höfle at SSPF Lublin were uncovered.
One was sent to SS-Obersturmbannführer
Adolf Eichmann at RSHA Berlin, the second one
to SS Lieutenant Colonel Franz Heim, the deputy commander of the Security Police and SD
for the General Gouvernement in Krakow.
Witte and Tyas:
...The subject of the radio telegram reads "fortnightly report Einsatz Reinhart
The term Einsatz
was apparently the original one in use from June 1942 on, but
certainly less often in 1943; the extermination camps Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka
were officially called "camps of Einsatz Reinhardt
". New personnel assigned to these
camps...signed...a secrecy agreement as "specially commissioned persons for the
execution of tasks in the resettlement of Jews Einsatz Reinhardt
". Officially they
were designated "SS-Sonderkommandos Einsatz Reinhard
". This is the term the perpetrators
on Globocnik's staff used themselves in their correspondance during 1942. On the other hand,
the term Aktion
did not occur before mid-September 1942 as far as we can ascertain. It
seems to have been used first in the SS's Economics and Administration Main Office (WVHA)
and its Inspectorate of Concentration Camps,... and only later, in 1943, by Globocnik and Himmler
themselves... For these reasons, and because the telegram's subject line itself has Einsatz
the authors prefer using this term instead of Aktion
Although knowing the results of Witte's and Tyas' investigations,
ARC prefer using Aktion Reinhard
because that expression is in common use.
"Reinhard" or "Reinhardt"?
Witte and Tyas:
What is not widely known is that Heydrich apparently used a different spelling of his name for
some time in the 1930s. In a speech on the occasion of the introduction of Kaltenbrunner as
Heydrich's successor on 30 January 1943, Heinrich Himmler himself told his audience how he
first met Reinhardt
Heydrich in 1930, and specifically mentioned the unusual spelling:
"Heydrich had his first name written with a dt." When a rumor arose among party members that the
young chief of the Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst) might be of Jewish descent, an expert
was commissioned to do research for Himmler on Heydrich's family and to come up with an authentic
and verifiable family tree
. Thus a scholarly "Report and
List of Ancestors" on "the racial origin
of Naval First Lieutenant Reinhardt
Heydrich" was added to Heydrich's personnel files... Every official
Dienstaltersliste der Schutzstaffel der NSDAP
published by the SS Personnel Main Office between
1934 and 1942 also has Reinhardt
as his first name. Heydrich himself tried to have these SS officers'
lists changed to Reinhard
, but in vain...
As far as is known, the codename Reinhardt
for the mass murder first appeared immediately after
Heydrich's death in June 1942... Concerning the spelling, ... one of Globocnik's official stamps
displayed the Reich Eagle in the center and the inscription
Der SS- und Polizeiführer im Distrikt Lublin - Einsatz Reinhardt
. The most extensive
and important file on Aktion Reinhardt
, the final reports of Globocnik (including two notes
by Himmler), have the dt-spelling, in all fifteen times. Much more evidence is available.
In May 2005 the ARC Group discovered a document in which Aktion Reinhard
is spelled without "t":
Letter from SS-Obergruppenführer Oswald Pohl to RFSS Himmler
This document shows that the term Aktion Reinhard
was not written in the same way.
© ARC 2005