Just another day on the job-Felix Landau diaries

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Felix Landau (May 21, 1910, Vienna, Austria – April 4, 1983), was a SS Hauptscharführer, a member of an Einsatzkommando , based first in Lwów, Poland (today Lviv, Ukraine), and later in Drohobycz. He was a “central figure in the Nazi program of the extermination of Galician Jews”.He is known for his daily diary and for temporarily sparing the life of the Jewish artist Bruno Schulz in 1942.

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Landau liked Schulz’s art and supplied him with protection and extra food. In return, he ordered the artist to paint a set of murals for his young son’s bedroom, depicting scenes from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale.

In June 1941, Felix Landau volunteered for Einsatzkommando service. He began his diary in July 1941, interspersing sentimental letters to his fiancée with detailed records of his participation in atrocities of what later came to be known as the Holocaust. He describes “shooting exercises” and “wild actions”, shooting sprees wherein he and his men would pick off random Jews who worked nearby or passed by on the street. In one such event in November 1942, Landau killed the personal dentist of a fellow officer, Karl Günther. In revenge, Günther caught up with Bruno Schulz, then under the protection of Landau, and shot him twice in the head. Later, Günther told Landau: “You killed my Jew – I killed yours.

Below are some excerpts from Felix Landau’s diaries.

“At 4.00 pm on 2 July 1941 we arrived in Lemberg. First impression: Warsaw harmless in comparison. Shortly after our arrival the first Jews were shot by us. As usual a few of the new officers became megalomaniacs; they really enter into the role wholeheartedly. We took over another military school in the Bolshevik quarter.

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Here the Russians must have been caught in their sleep. We quickly gathered together the bare essentials. At midnight after the Jews had cleaned the building, we went to bed.

July 4 1941,

One of the Poles tried to put up some resistance. He tried to snatch the carbine out of the hands of one of the men but did not succeed. A few seconds later there was a crack of gunfire and it was all over. A few minutes later after a short interrogation a second one was finished off. I was just taking over the watch when a Kommando reported that just a few streets away from us a guard from the Wehrmacht had been discovered shot dead.

One hour later, at 5 in the morning, a further thirty-two Poles, members of the intelligentsia and the Resistance, were shot about two hundred meters from our quarters after they had dug their own grave. One of them simply would not die. The first layer of sand had already been thrown on the first group when a hand emerged from out of the sand, waved and pointed to a place, presumably his heart. A couple more shots ran out, then someone shouted — in fact the Pole himself — “shoot faster” What is a human being? […]

July 6 1941.

found a lovely big traveling bag for only 3.80 reichmarks.

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