High Command of the Armed Forces
WFSt. (Armed Forces Operational
Staff) Department L (IV Q)
No 44822/41 Top Secret for general
Fuehrer Headquarters, 6 June 1941
In addition to the Fuehrer’s decree of 14 May regarding Military jurisdiction in the “Barbarossa” zone (Supreme Command of the Armed Forces/Armed Forces Operational Staff/Department L (IV Q) (Intelligence) No 44718/41, (Top Secret, for General Officers only), the enclosed “directives for the treatment of political commissars” are being transmitted herewith:
You are requested to limit the distribution to Commanders in Chief of Armies or of Air Commands, respectively, and to inform the Junior commanders by word of mouth.
The Chief of the Supreme Command
Of the Armed Forces
Enclosure to Supreme Command of the Armed Forces/Department L IV Q (Intelligence)
No. 44822/41 Top Secret
For General Officers only.
Directives for the treatment of political commissars.
When fighting Bolshevism one can not count on the enemy acting in accordance with the principles of humanity or International Law. In particular it must be expected that the treatment of our prisoners by the political commissars of all types who are the true pillars of resistance, will be cruel, inhuman and dictated by hate.
The troops must realize:
1.) That in this fight it is wrong to trust such elements with clemency and consideration in accordance with International Law. They are a menace to our own safety and to the rapid pacification of the conquered territories.
2.) That the originators of the asiatic-barbaric methods of fighting are the political commissars. They must be dealt with promptly and with the utmost severity.
Therefore, if taken while fighting or offering resistance they must, on principle, be shot immediately.