Einsatzgruppen Commander Paul Blobel
Paul Blobel was born on 13 August 1894 in Potsdam. He served in First World War where he was awarded the Iron Cross First Class. After the Great War Blobel studied architecture and practised this profession from 1924 until 1931 upon losing his job he joined the Nazi Party and the SS on 1 December 1931.
Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union Blobel took command of Einsatzkommando 4a of Einsatzgruppe C that operated in the Ukraine. As well as shooting the Nazis murdered Jews in gas-vans, Eimsatzgruppe C was issued at least five gas vans and gave two to Sonderkommando 4A, two to Einsatzkommando 6 and one to Einsatzlommando 5.
A member of the group testified after the war:
Two gas vans were in service I saw them myself. They drove into the prison yard, and the Jews – men, women and children – had to get straight into the vans from their cells.
I know what the interior of the vans look like. It was covered with sheet metal and fitted with a wooden grid. The exhaust fumes were piped into the interior of the vans. I can still hear the hammering and the screaming of the Jews – “Dear Germans let us out!”
The Jews went through our cordon and into the van without hesitating. As soon as the doors were shut, the driver started the engine. He drove to a spot outside Poltava. I was there when the van arrived.
As the doors were opened, dense smoke emerged, followed by a tangle of crumpled bodies. It was a frightful sight. The driver for Paul Blobel, testified after the war regarding the unloading of one of these gas-vans:
The use of the gas vans was the most horrible thing I have ever seen. I saw people being led into the vans and the doors closed. Then the van drove off. I had to drive Blobel to the place where the gas vans were unloaded.
The back doors of the van were opened, and the bodies that had not fallen out when the doors were opened were unloaded by Jews who were still alive. The bodies were covered with vomit and excrement. It was a terrible sight. Blobel looked then he looked away, and we drove off, on such occasions Blobel always drunk schnapps, sometimes even in the car.
Blobel organised the infamous massacre of 33,771 Kiev Jews which took place in the Babi Yar ravine, the Einsatzgruppen reports give the full credit for the massacre to Blobel, but at the War Crimes Trial in Nuremburg Blobel protested his absence from Kiev, and declared further that only fifteen of his fifty-three men could be detailed for the executions.
In March 1942 Albert Hartel, a Gestapo expert on church affairs, was driving with Blobel towards a country villa outside Kiev used by Brigadefuhrer Thomas, the Higher SS and Police Leader. At the Babi Yar ravine, Hartel noticed small explosions, which threw up columns of earth. It was the thaw, releasing the gases from thousands of bodies, and Blobel explained – “Here my Jews are buried.”
Read more here: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/einsatz/blobel.html
The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2009