The Holocaust Historiography Project

Translation of document 032-PS

Copies to:
(1) Dr. Lammers
(2) Gauleiter

2 April 1943

The Reich Minister for Occupied Eastern Territory
— Nr. 847/43 g RIH —

Personal To the Reichsfuehrer of the SS and Chief of the German Police
Prince-Albrecht Street 8

Dear Party Comrade Himmler!

By and large you have been informed by SS Gruppenfuehrer [US Army equivalent, Major-General] Berger about my conflict with Reich Commissar for Ukraine Koch. Once in Posen I told you my opinion of his so-called policy. I am transmitting to you attachments on the Zuman case about which you have perhaps already heard. Likewise, I am adding the detailed account of this affair from my head Forestry and Wood Section. I request you by return post to give an official pronouncement in this case and what thereby is a concern of higher SS and Police leaders 4 in the case of the Reich Commissar for the Ukraine.

Heil Hitler!
[Signed] A. Rosenberg


Berlin, 2 April 1943

Copy to Dr. Lammers

In re: Reich Commissar Koch and the Zuman wooded area.

How little the Reich Commissar of the Ukraine Koch felt himself conscientiously bound to his mission was demonstrated at the beginning of his activity in office. From the time of his installation in 9/1941 until the beginning or the middle of 2/1942, he visited the Reich Commissariat only a few times. These visits lasted only a very short time whereupon he would go out to hunt. During this whole time the General Commissar the District Commissar and the Agricultural leader were obliged to perform their duties uninterruptedly in hard winter and under the most difficult circumstances. Soon there were rumors, that the Reich Commissar of the Ukraine wished to appropriate the former Polish Zuman hunting land as his personal hunting reserve. On the occasion of a visit in Berlin the conversation also turned to the matter. Then the Reich Commissar of the Ukraine declared that he had made hunting preparations for the future on the expressed wish of the Minister. Upon my declaration that I had not given a thought to this, he explained that he had received a letter from Regional Leader [Gauleiter] Meyer. Now, Regional Leader Meyer had informed the Reich Commissar of the Ukraine with respect to future visits from the Reich that he might foresee such a possibility for the guests in case they were hunters. In no way had any instruction for extraordinary preparations been given by this. After that the Reich Commissar of the Ukraine got from me the unequivocal instruction that he was not to undertake anything in this respect Later upon repeated questioning he named every one a defamer who attributed to him the intentions of having a great hunt in Zuman. Nonetheless later there came again the news, this time under the title of a forest-land, that some 70,000 hectares of the Zuman area had been condemned for the Reich Commissar of the Ukraine and it was intended to root up or burn down the villages standing in the area.

Now, I receive the following information from an old Party Comrade who has worked for nine months in Volhnia and Podolia for the purpose of preparing for the taking over of a District Commissariat or of a chief section in General District Volhnia and Podolia. This information goes as follows:

On the order of the highest position it was directed that the whole Rayon Zuman be evacuated. Germans and Ukrainians both stated that this was happening because the Reich Commissar wished to have the whole wooded area Zuman for his beloved hunting. In 12/1942 (when the cold was already severe) the evacuation was begun. Hundreds of families were forced to pack all their possessions over night and were then evacuated a distance of over 60 km. Hundreds of men in Zuman and the vicinity were mowed down by the gunfire ["abgeknallt"] of an entre Police Company, “because they were Communist party members.” No Ukrainian believed this, and likewise, the Germans were perplexed by this argument, because if the security of the area were at stake it would have been necessary to execute communistically inclined elements in other Rayons. On the contrary, it was generally maintained that these men were ruthlessly shot down without judgment because so extensive an evacuation in so short a time was out of the question and furthermore, there was not enough space available at the new place for settling the evacuees. The Rayon Zuman is today depopulated on a wide area. The greater portion of the peasants have been removed from the region. Now it suddenly appears that in order to take timber out of this very richly wooded Rayon peasants must be forced to come from a distance of 30 and 40 km., which for the time being is the case in being obliged to carry on the export of wood in the limitless Eldorado ("Banden-Eldorado") developed out of the Zuman wood area.

I maintain that it is necessary in this case, which has become known to me unofficially and which has created the greatest irritation in whole of Volhnia and Podolia, to probe it thoroughly with the responsible police and to let the competent higher SS a,nd Police directors, SS-Obergruppenfuehrer [US Army equivalent, Lt. General] Prutzmann hear about the matter officially.

[Signed] A. Rosenberg.

Berlin, 30,3,43

Attention of
Dr. Lammers
Chief Group Forestry and Wood

Impairment of the Forestry Resources in the Reich Commissariat Ukraine

Zuman Wood District

It has been again forcefully stated by the Chief Group for Forestry and Wood Economy that the exclusive mission of the forestry offices [Dienststellen] in the occupied Eastern regions is the satisfaction of the enormous needs of the troops and the war economy in wood and other forestry products and that the corresponding hunting demands have been altogether withdrawn. The action of the Reich Commissar of the Ukraine in the last year in taking some 70,000 hectares of lumber producing area in Zuman clearly for hunting purposes (or as the basic decree of the Reich Commissar of the Ukraine terms it for “Representation purposes") in no way corresponds to this conception. Although the need of the war economy for resin is extraordinary large, at great expense of labor the Reich Commissar of the Ukraine ordered the last summer suspension of the introduction of resin tappers in the trees. At least 300,000 resin taps have been rendered useless by that and instead of the great quantity normally to be expected from the extended forests of the heavily wooded areas of Zuman, practically no resin was obtained. The fall in production was a heavy loss, as the Zuman woods area has a relatively favorable position with respect to communication so that the procurement and export of resin was absolutely assured.

For the district of the Zuman large lumber producing area it was in addition forbidden to procure the pine-tree stumps except from entirely flat surfaces. But although the pine-tree stumps must remain there at least seven years after the depletion of the resin richness, now pine-tree stumps are found scarcely on the entirely flat surfaces.

So with the order that pine-tree stumps may be procured only on the entirely flat surfaces, the procurement of pine-tree stumps is for all practical purposes forbidden. But with that the tar-extraction industry has been brought to a standstill with the result that the manufacture of its products such as turpentine, wood tar and especially the indispensable charcoal for smelting are also ruined. Thus three of the four tar ovens of the Zuman forest district are already shut down.

Doubtless (and especially from the hunter’s point of view) the result is the evacuation of more and more towns situated in the Zuman forest district. The evacuation has had this result-that teams of horses and workers lack for bringing in wood and transport. To this is related the fact that the evacuation of the deportees demanded a large number of horse-teams, which were thus lost for the transportation of wood. As a consequence of these proceedings the great Klewan saw-mill is without logs and has been closed down.

The decrees which restrain the utilization of the forests in the Zuman lumber area are still in force. If the lumber producing area in the east should not be used for the purposes of hunting in accordance with the will of the Minister (and indeed their use for this purpose is expressly forbidden by the decree of 2.3.43), then the quality of the lumber production for the Zuman forest area has been raised. The former forest land has been effectively eliminated as a special forest inspection district which as such was the only one directly subordinated to the Reich Commissar Even the accounting section has been subordinated to the Reich Commissar of the Ukraine as opposed to all other usages. All these decrees restraining the utilization of the forest lands have remained in force until now.

[Signed] Lerp
Forestry Dept. Chief Council [Oberferstrat]