Operation Nürnberg (i)

(German city)

'Nürnberg' (i) was a German operation against partisans in the Dubrovka region to the east of Bonin lake in the Belorussian region of the German-occupied western USSR (18/27 November 1942).

The period after the start of the 'Barbarossa' invasion of the USSR was characterised by major German success in orthodox land operations, but also by the steady growth of Soviet partisan forces which became a major thorn in the German rear areas, tying down troops and interrupting the flow of men, supplies and weapon to and from different sectors of the front. In 1942 the German leadership decided that a major effort should be made to identify, locate, pin and destroy the partisan groups operating in Belorussia and other parts of the German-occupied western USSR.

A leading role in this effort was to be played by the SS, whose leader, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, approved the overall plan on 7 August 1942. It should be noted, however, that especially in the occupied territories of eastern and south-eastern Europe the phrase 'anti-partisan' often signified nothing other than the killing of Jews and non-Jewish elements believed to be against Germany within the context of the 'Generalplan Ost' and 'Himmler'.

'Nürnberg' (i) took place in the forests and swamps of Glebokie in the Generalkommissariat 'Weissruthenien' area, and saw the first employment of the lethal combination represented by the Sicherheitsdienst (SS intelligence service) and SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS Curt von Gottberg’s Kampfgruppe 'von Gottberg', in this instance comprising the 1st SS Brigade (mot.), 1 and 3/14th Polizeiregiment, 13th (schwere), 14th (Panzer) and 15th (Nachrichten) Kompanien of the 14th Polizeiregiment, 1/23rd Polizeiregiment, and Gendarmerietrupp 'Kern'.

Between 18 and 26 November the Kampfgruppe swept the area and the villages it contained, in the process burning several villages, and killing a reported 789 'partisans', 353 'suspects', 1,826 Jews and seven 'gipsies'. The worst offenders were the men of SS-Brigadeführer Wilhelm Hartenstein’s 1st SS Brigade (mot.), whose excesses led to strong condemnation by Generalfeldmarschall Günther von Kluge, commander of Heeresgruppe 'Mitte'. von Kluge also condemned the killing of the Jews of the ghettoes of Dunilovichi, Postavy and Hermanovichi. Postavy was the worst atrocity as at least 2,500 persons, out of the operation’s overall death count of 2,975 persons, were killed there.