The battalion continued moving towards Brest which was our next destination but before we reached it life changed again for us. We were on the road, very close to the beginning of the great Pripet swamp, and the bugs had become ferocious, when the Captain pulled our Lieutenant aside for a meeting. When the meeting was over, the Lieutenant had Sarge found and brought to him. Of course this didn’t go unnoticed by us.
“It looks like were getting another shit detail.” Hans remarked to Dieter and I.
We were standing in the shade of a building, bitching about the quality of the food we were getting, which was abysmal, and the bugs, which were biting the hell out of any exposed skin they found.
In order to eat decently we were raiding the local peasant’s houses and farms. Then we had to have them cook it, because we were clueless on how to take a live chicken and turn it into something edible. I learned how to get chicken eggs out of a nest one day when we were out scrounging up food and was surprised at how grubby the eggs looked. Even more surprising was getting pecked by a chicken as I was reaching under her trying to find the egg. It didn’t hurt as much as it startled the hell out of me. Dieter about fell over from laughing so hard when he saw me jump.
Hans was right and wrong about the meeting. We were getting detailed to a SD special operations group which wasn’t as bad as it could have been. We could have been assigned to a POW camp, stuck with processing Bolsheviks and Jews, like a platoon from 2nd company. We didn’t mind the assignment because it meant minimal discipline and work for us. Hans liked it because drinking was considered part of the job. Dieter, I don’t know why. Maybe because he had too? Maybe because he wasn’t smart enough to care?
We were never officially part of an Einsatzgruppen although we were to work with one numerous times over the next few months. I don’t remember hearing the word “Einsatzgruppen” used in the context of what we were doing. I did hear "Sonder or Special." It was usually explained to us that we being temporarily assigned to the SD as a work or special detail. We all knew what that meant, more of the same, which was killing Jews. After we were volunteered for the first job we found that whenever they needed police troops from our battalion for "special duty" we got the call.
We would be detached from our company, and then transported by truck to where ever the SD unit we were reporting to was currently working from. Usually it was a small town that was off the main rail lines. Sometimes after we met up with them, we would then continue to travel with them for a few weeks until we were released and sent back to rejoin the company which almost always was never where we had left it.