Operation Heinrich (i)

Henry

This was a German operation in the Belorussia region of the German-occupied western USSR by a combined force of Sicherheitsdienst personnel, police and SS troops of the Kampfgruppe ‘von Gottberg’ under the command of SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS Curt von Gottberg against so-called partisans (largely Jews and other ‘undesirables’) (25 October/9 November 1943).

Scheduled to have lasted to 15 November but ended six days early as a result of the Soviet breakthrough at Nevel, the operation was controlled by Generaloberst Georg-Hans Reinhardt’s 3rd Panzerarmee and targeted the area of Dretun and the marshes to the north-east of Polotsk, where 5,452 persons were killed, nearly 8,000 others were deported for forced labour, and 8,000 people were evacuated for resettlement.

After the Soviet breakthough at Nevel, Reinhardt ordered the Kampfgruppe ‘von Gottberg’ to establish a barrier line that was almost immediately brushed aside by the advancing Soviet forces.