Part of World War II
Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski and Ordnungspolizei in Minsk, ca 1943.
February 8–26, 1943
Hancewicze, Morocz, Lenin, Łuniniec, Belarus
Commanders and leaders
Dirlewanger Special Battalion, Russian company, Combat Group Binz, Einsatzgruppe B with the collaborator battalion Rodianov
Casualties and losses
Number of dead in German formations: 29
Number of captured firearms: 133
Number of dead civilians/partisans: 12,897
Operation Hornung was an anti-partisan operation during the Occupation of Belarus by Nazi Germany, carried out in February 1943. It was directed against the area Hancewicze-Morocz-Lenin-Łuniniec, a thinly populated area of about 4,000 square kilometers southwest of Słuck on the southern border of the Regional Commissartiat White Ruthenia. It came in the sequence of three actions (including Erntefest I and Ernterfest II) that had taken place in January further to the northeast, in the area of Słuck-Osipowicze; it claimed over 4,000 victims.
2 The operation
The aim of this operation, carried out by Curt von Gottberg, was to prevent any further advance of partisans from the northern Polesie region who had entered the Regional Commissariat White Ruthenia and the Reichskommissariat Ukraine, from the east and to prevent damage to the Brześć-Homel railway along the Prypeć River; domination of this area was of key importance. According to the reconnaissance reports of the commander of Sicherheitspolizei and SD Minsk, a careful estimate suggested a population of 10,000 people and a number of ‘bandits’, a total in the order of 34,000 men. Allegedly, there existed a veritable Soviet republic with command offices, centers of recruitment and the military training of young men; also, new sports arenas, churches and schools. The population of the area was from the start saddled with collective liability and its extermination was planned. ‘Given the current weather it must be expected that in all villages of the mentioned area the bandits have found shelter’, was the feeble justification of the Dirlewanger Special Battalion. Two members of a propaganda company sent as observers, put it rather more clearly: In order to keep the bands from onc