During the Nazi invasion of Poland SS-Brigadeführer Beutel commanded the fourth Einsatzgruppen. In this position Beutel organised the initial capture of Warsaw's Jewish population and set in motion their ghettoization. Beutel was also active in Bydgoszcz where he personally ordered around 120-150 Poles to be taken to nearby woods and shot on 11 and 12 September 1939. This figure is given as 900 by another source. Police commander Arthur Nebe ordered Beutel, who quickly became noted for his corruption, be investigated for the molestation of a Polish girl. By mid-October 1939 Beutel had been replaced as Einsatzgruppe IV chief by Josef Albert Meisinger.