Flag Schutzstaffel.svg
Einsatzgruppen were under the administration of the SS.
Agency overview
Formed c. 1939
Preceding agency Einsatzkommando
Jurisdiction Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Occupied Europe
Headquarters RSHA, Prinz-Albrecht-Straße, Berlin
52°30′26″N 13°22′57″E / 52.50722°N 13.3825°E / 52.50722; 13.3825
Employees ~ 3,000 c. 1941
Minister responsible Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer
Agency executives SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, Director, RSHA (1939-1942)
SS-Obergruppenführer Dr. Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Director, RSHA, (1943-1945)
Parent agency Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Allgemeine SS

Einsatzgruppen (German: "task forces";[1] singular Einsatzgruppe; official full name Einsatzgruppen der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD) were SS paramilitary death squads that were responsible for mass killings, typically by shooting, of Jews in particular, but also significant numbers of other population groups and political categories. The Einsatzgruppen operated throughout the territory occupied by the German armed forces following the German invasions of Poland, in September, 1939, and later, of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. The Einsatzgruppen carried out operations ranging from the murder of a few people to operations which lasted over two or more days, such as the massacres at Babi Yar (33,771 killed in two days) and Rumbula (25,000 killed in two days). The Einsatzgruppen were responsible for the murders of over 1,000,000 people, and they were the first Nazi organizations to commence mass killing of Jews as an organized policy.



The Einsatzgruppen were formed under the direction of SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich (deputy to Heinrich Himmler) and operated by the Schutzstaffel (SS) before and during World War II.[2] From September 1939 forward the SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA - Reich Main Security Office)[3] had overall command of the Einsatzgruppen. Their principal task during the war (according to SS General Erich von dem Bach at the Nuremberg Trials) "... was the annihilation of the Jews, Gypsies, and Soviet political commissars".[4] The Einsatzgruppen had a leading role in the implementation of the final solution of the Jewish question (Die Endlösung der Judenfrage) in the conquered territories.


Formed mainly of members from the Orpo, the Waffen-SS, and local volunteers, e.g. militia groups, and led by SD, Gestapo and Kripo officers, these death squads followed the Wehrmacht Heer (German Army) as it advanced eastwards through Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.[5] During the course of their operations, the Einsatzgruppen commanders were authorized to request, and they did receive, assistance from the Wehrmacht.[5] Incorporated specifically into Einsatzgruppe D were a number of Albanian, Serbo-Croatian and possibly Bosnian volunteers, who were organized by Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.[6]

In occupied territory, the Einsatzgruppen also used the local populace for additional security and personnel. The activities of the Einsatzgruppen were spread through a large pool of soldiers from the branches of the SS and German Reich. Heydrich acted under orders from Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler who supplied security forces on an "as needed" basis to the local SS and Police Leaders.[2]

According to their own records, the Einsatzgruppen murdered more than one million people, almost all civilians, beginning with the Polish intelligentsia, and then quickly progressing (by 1941) to killing Jews, Gypsies and others throughout Eastern Europe. Historian Raul Hilberg estimates that between 1941 and 1945 the Einsatzgruppen and the SS killed more than 1.3 million Jews, Gypsies, and Soviet political commissars in open-air shootings.[7]


Einsatzgruppen can be traced back to the ad-hoc Einsatzkommando formed by Reinhard Heydrich to secure government buildings and documents following the Anschluss in Austria in March 1938.[8] The task of securing government buildings with their accompanying documentation and the questioning of senior civil servants in lands occupied by Germany was the Einsatzgruppen's original mission.[8]


In the summer of 1938, when Germany was preparing an invasion of Czechoslovakia scheduled for October 1 of that year, the Einsatzgruppen were founded. The intention was for Einsatzgruppen to travel in the wake of the German armies as they advanced into Czechoslovakia, and to secure government papers and offices. Unlike the early Einsatzkommando, the Einsatzgruppen were to be armed and authorized to freely use lethal force to accomplish their mission. The Munich Agreement of 1938 prevented the war for which the Einsatzgruppen were originally founded, but as the Germans occupied the Sudetenland in the fall of 1938, the Einsatzgruppen moved into the region to occupy offices formerly belonging to the Czechoslovak state. After the occupation of the rest of the Czech portion of Czechoslovakia on March 15, 1939, the Einsatzgruppen were re-formed and again used to secure offices formerly belonging to the Czechoslovak government. The Einsatzgruppen were never a standing formation; rather they were ad hoc units recruited mostly from the ranks of the SS, the SD, and various German police forces such as the Ordnungspolizei, the Gendarmerie, the Kripo and the Gestapo. Once the military campaign had ended, the Einsatzgruppen units were disbanded, though generally the same personnel were recruited again if the need arose for the Einsatzgruppen units to be re-activated.[2]


An execution of Poles by an Einsatzgruppe in Leszno, October 1939
Execution of Poles in Kórnik - 20.10.1939

In response to Hitlers plans to invade Poland, Heydrich re-formed the Einsatzgruppen to travel in the wake of the German armies. Unlike the earlier operations, Heydrich gave the Einsatzgruppen commanders carte blanche to kill anyone belonging to groups that the Germans considered hostile. After the occupation of Poland in 1939, the Einsatzgruppen killed Poles belonging to the upper class and intelligentsia, such as priests and teachers.[9] The mission of the Einsatzgruppen was therefore the forceful depoliticisation of the Polish people and the elimination of the groups most clearly identified with the Polish national identity. As stated by Hitler in his Armenian quote, units were sent: "...with orders for them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish race and language. Only in this way can we obtain the living space we need."[10] "Whatever we find in the shape of an upper class in Poland will be liquidated," Hitler had declared.[11] The massacres committed in Poland in 1939 caused tension with the German Army, who while having no moral objections to the massacres of Poles, felt these killings were injurious to military discipline.[12]

The first elimination of Polish intelligentsia took place soon after the German invasion of Poland, and lasted from fall of 1939 until the spring of 1940. The Intelligenzaktion was a plan to eliminate the Polish intelligentsia, Poland's leadership class, realized by Einsatzgruppen and Selbstschutz. They used the Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen, a list of targets prepared before war. Sixty thousand Polish nobles, teachers, Polish entrepreneurs, social workers, priests, judges and political activists were killed in ten regional actions.[13][14] The Intelligenzaktion was continued by the German AB-Aktion operation in Poland.

During Operation Tannenberg eight Einsatzgruppe operated in Poland:[15][16]

  • Einsatzgruppe I (under command – SS-Standartenführer Bruno Streckenbach, acted with 14th Army)
  • Einsatzgruppe II (under command – SS-Obersturmbannführer Emanuel Schäfer, acted with 10th Army)
  • Einsatzgruppe III (under command – SS-Obersturmbannführer und Regierungsrat dr. Hans Fischer, acted with 8th Army)
  • Einsatzgruppe IV (under command – SS-Brigadeführer Lothar Beutel, acted with 4th Army)
  • Einsatzgruppe V (under command – SS-Standartenfürer Ernst Damzog, acted with 3rd Army)
  • Einsatzgruppe VI (under command – SS-Oberführer Erich Naumann, acted on Wielkopolska area)
  • Einsatzgruppe z. B.V (under command – SS-Obergruppenführer Udo von Woyrsch i SS-Oberfürer Otto Rasch, acted on Upper Silesia and Cieszyn Silesia)
  • Einsatzkommando 16 (under command – SS-Sturmbannführer dr. Rudolf Tröger, acted on Pomerania)

Western Europe

Following the German invasion of the Netherlands, Belgium and France in May 1940, the Einsatzgruppen once again travelled in the wake of the Wehrmacht, but unlike their operations in Poland, the Einsatzgruppen operations in Western Europe in 1940 were within the original mandate of securing government offices and papers. Had Operation Sea Lion, the German plan for an invasion of the United Kingdom, been launched, six Einsatzgruppen were scheduled to follow the invasion force to Britain. The Einsatzgruppen intended for "Sealion" were provided with a list (known as The Black Book after the war) of 2,820 people to be arrested immediately.

Soviet Union

Killing of Jews at Ivangorod, Ukraine, 1942. A woman is attempting to protect a child with her own body just before they are fired on with rifles at close range

Sometime between late June 1940 when planning for Operation Barbarossa first started and March 1941, orders were approved by Adolf Hitler for the re-establishment of the Einsatzgruppen (the surviving historical record does not permit firm conclusions to be drawn about the precise date).[17] On March 13, 1941 Hitler dictated sub-paragraph B of the "Guidelines in Special Spheres re Directive No. 21 (Operation Barbarossa)", which read:

"In the operations area of the Army, the Reichsführer SS has been given special tasks on the orders of the Führer, in order to prepare the political administration. These tasks arise from the forthcoming final struggle of two opposing political systems. Within the framework of these tasks, the Reichsführer SS acts independently and on his own responsibility."[18]

Sub-paragraph B was intended by Hitler to prevent the sort of friction that had occurred in Poland in 1939 when several German Army generals had attempted to bring Einsatzgruppen leaders to trial for the murders they had committed[18] On March 30, 1941 in a secret speech to his leading generals, Hitler described the sort of war he wanted Operation Barbarossa to be according to the notes taken by Army's Chief of Staff, General Franz Halder as:

"Struggle between two ideologies. Scathing evaluation of Bolshevism, equals antisocial criminality. Communism immense future danger...This a fight to the finish. If we do not accept this, we shall beat the enemy, but in thirty years we shall again confront the Communist foe. We don't make war to preserve the enemy...Struggle against Russia: Extermination of Bolshevik Commissars and of the Communist intelligentsia...Commissars and GPU personnel are criminals and must be treated as such. The struggle will differ from that in the west. In the east harshness now means mildness for the future."[19]

Though General Halder's notes did not record any mention of Jews, the German historian Andreas Hillgruber argued that because Hitler's frequent statements at the same time about the coming war of annihilation against "Judeo-Bolshevism", that his generals would have implicitly understood Hitler's call for the total destruction of the Soviet Union as also comprising a call for the total destruction of the Jewish population of the Soviet Union.[19] In May 1941 Reinhard Heydrich passed on verbally the order to kill the Soviet Jews to the Border Police School of Pretzsch when the commanders of the Einsatzgruppen were being trained for Operation Barbarossa.[20] In the spring 1941, Heydrich and the First Quartermaster of the German Army, General Eduard Wagner successfully completed negotiations for co-operation between the Einsatzgruppen and the German Army to allow the implementation of the "special tasks".[21] Following the Heydrich-Wagner agreement on April 28, 1941, Fieldmarshal Walther von Brauchitsch ordered when Operation Barbarossa began that all German Army commanders were to identify and register all Jews in the occupied areas in the Soviet Union at once and to co-operate fully with the Einsatzgruppen".[22] For Operation Barbarossa, four Einsatzgruppen were created, each numbering between 500-990 men to comprise a total force of 3,000.[22] The men of the four Einsatzgruppen came from the SD, Gestapo, Kripo, Orpo, and Waffen SS.[22] Each Einsatzgruppen in its area of operations were under the operational control of the Higher SS-Police Chiefs.[22] In a further agreement between the Army and the SS concluded in May 1941 by General Wagner and Walter Schellenberg, it was agreed that the Einsatzgruppen in front-line areas were to operate under Army command while the Army would provide the Einsatzgruppen with all necessary logistical support.[23]

An Einsatzgruppe D member about to shoot a Jew kneeling at a mass grave in Vinnitsa, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union, in 1942. The photograph is inscribed: The last Jew in Vinnitsa.

Before Operation Barbarossa began on June 22, 1941, both the men of the German Army and the SS were told that Barbarossa was a “preventive war” forced on Germany by an alleged Soviet attack planned to occur in July 1941. At the same time, a massive propaganda campaign was launched in the spring of 1941 presenting Barbarossa as an ideological-racial war between German National Socialism and Soviet Communism, or to use the preferred German phrase “Judeo-Bolshevism”[24]

After the invasion of the Soviet Union which began on 22 June 1941, the Einsatzgruppen's main assignment was to kill civilians, similarly as in Poland, but this time particularly the Soviet Communist Party commissars and Jews were targeted.[25] These Einsatzgruppen were under the control of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA - Reich Main Security Office); i.e., Reinhard Heydrich and later his successor Ernst Kaltenbrunner. The original mandate set by Heydrich for the four Einsatzgruppen sent into the Soviet Union as part of Operation Barbarossa was to secure the offices and papers of the Soviet state and Communist Party; to liquidate all of the higher cadres of the Soviet state; and to instigate and encourage pogroms against all local Jewish populations.[25] The orders that Heydrich drafted on July 2, 1941 stated that the Einsatzgruppen were to execute all Soviet officials of higher and medium rank; members of the Comintern; "extremist" Communist Party members; members of the central, provincial and district committees of the Communist Party; Red Army political commissars; and all Communist Party members of Jewish origin.[25] In regards to Jewish populations in general:

"No steps will be taken to interfere with any purges that may be initiated by anti-Bolshevik or anti-Jewish elements in the newly occupied territories. On the contrary, these are to be secretly encouraged."[25]

Throughout their existence in the Soviet Union, the Einsatzgruppen produced much anti-Semitic propaganda depicting the Soviet regime as the tools of the Jews[26] On July 17, 1941, Heydrich ordered that the Einsatzgruppen were to kill all Red Army POWs who were Jewish, plus all Red Army POWs from Georgia and Central Asia because Heydrich viewed them as being possibly Jewish.[27] As the German invasion began, a massive series of bloody pogroms broke out, some of which were encouraged by the Germans, and all of which were the spontaneous outbreaks of local anti-Semitism.[28] Within the first few weeks of Operation Barbarossa, 40 pogroms had broken out with about 10,000 Jews being killed by local people.[29] The Canadian historian Erich Haberer has written that incidents such as the Jedwabne pogrom were not incidental, but rather "integral" to the Holocaust in Eastern Europe as without local help, the Germans could not have murdered so many so quickly.[30] Upon entering Kaunas on June 25, 1941, the Einsatzgruppen released all of the criminals from the local jail and encouraged them to join the already existing pogrom.[31] Between June 23–27, 1941, 4,000 Jews were killed on the streets of Kaunas by local people, and saw the first massacres of Jews in open pits committed by Lithuanian anti-Semitics.[32] Particularly active in the Kaunas pogrom was the so-called "Death dealer of Kaunas", a young man who murdered Jews with a crow bar at the Lietukis Garage before a large crowd who cheered each killing with much applause, and then ever so often stopped to play Tautiška giesmė (the Lithuanian national anthem) with his accordion before resuming the killings[32][33] One German soldier described the scene:

"A young man--he must have been a Lithuanian-...with rolled up sleeves was armed with an iron crowbar. He dragged out one man at a time from the group and struck him with the crowbar with one or more blows on the back of his head. Within three-quarters of an hour he had beaten to death the entire group of forty to fifty people in this way. I had a series of photographs of the victims...

After the entire group had been beaten to death, the young man put the crowbar to one side, fetched an accordion and went and stood on the mountain of corpses and played the Lithuanian national anthem. I recognized the tune and was informed by bystanders that this was the national anthem. The behaviour of the civilians present (women and children) was unbelievable. After each man had been killed, they began to clap and when the national anthem started up they joined the singing and clapping. In the front row there were women with small children in their arms who stayed there right until the end of the whole proceedings. I found out from some people who knew German what was happening here. They explained to me that the parents of the young man who had killed the other people had been taken from their beds two days earlier and immediately shot, because they were suspected of being nationalists, and this was the young man's revenge.".[34]

After World War II, several Einsatzgruppen leaders who were brought to trial falsely claimed to have received an order before Operation Barbarossa committing them to murder all Soviet Jews as a part of an effort to reduce their responsibility. There is no evidence to support these assertions as proven by Hedyrich's orders to the Einsatzgruppen leaders of 29 June 1941 to "silently" encourage pogroms and of 2 July 1941 for the murder only of Jews who were Communist Party members and/or who held positions in the Soviet government.[35] The German prosectuor Alfred Streim wrote that if an order had been given before Operation Barbarossa for the murder of the entire Jewish population of the Soviet Union, post-war courts would had convicted the Einsatzgruppen leaders only as accomplices to mass murder.[36] If it could be established that the Einsatzgruppen had committed mass murder without orders, then the Einsatzgruppen leaders would have been convicted as perpetrators of mass murder (in the legal sense), and would hence have received stiffer sentences.[37] In many cases, the difference between a perpetrator and an accomplice to genocide could be the difference between capital punishment and life imprisonment.

The Einsatzgruppen leaders on trial claimed during the late 1940s to have been given a written "Führer Order" for the murder of the entire Soviet Jewish population several weeks before Operation Barbarossa from Bruno Streckenbach who was widely believed to be dead.[38] In fact, Streckenbach was a POW in the Soviet Union, and upon his release in 1955, several imprisoned Einsatzgruppen leaders wrote to him asking him to go along with their lie in order to improve their chances of parole.[38] In response, Streckenbach privately denied ever giving such an order, but in order to assist the imprisoned Einsatzgruppen leaders, remained silent in public on the question of whether he had given the order or not, neither confirming nor denying the claim he had passed along a general order for genocide (thereby giving the impression he had without saying so).[38] The British historian Sir Ian Kershaw wrote that is firmly established that the claim that a "Führer Order" for the general genocide before Operation Barbarossa was a post-war fabrication invented by men on trial for their lives, and thus had more to do with their defence than the facts of the matter.[39] Kershaw had argued that it was likely that Hitler's apocalyptic remarks before Barbarossa about the necessity for a war without mercy to “annihilate" the forces of “Judeo-Bolshevism” were taken as both permission and encouragement by the Einsatzgruppen commanders to engage in extreme anti-Semitic violence with discretion being given to each Einsatzgruppen commander about how far he was prepared to go.[40] In support of this, Kershaw cites the example of the massacre of 1,160 Jewish men at Luzk on July 3, 1941, none of whom were Communist Party members, and were all shot for no other reason than as the report to Berlin by the Einsatzkommando leader stated, to prove to the local Jewish community who were the Herrnvolk (master race) and who were not.[39] One SS man who saw the killings at Byelaya Tserkov in August 1941 described them as follows:

"I went to the woods alone. The Wehrmacht had already dug a grave. The children were brought along in a tractor. I had nothing to do with this technical procedure. The Ukrainians were standing around trembling. The children were taken down from the tractor. They were lined up along the top of the grave and shot so that they fell into it. The Ukrainians did not aim at any particular part of the body. They fell into the grave. The wailing was indescribable. I shall never forget the scene throughout my life. I find it very hard to bear. I particulary remember a small fair-haired girl who took me by the hand. She too was shot later...The grave was near some woods. It was not near the rifle-range. The execution must had taken place in the afternoon at about 3.30 or 4.00. It took place the day after the discussions at the Feldkommandanten...Many children were hit four or five times before they died."[41]

Baltic states

As the Einsatzgruppen (and its sub-groups, the Einsatzkommando) advanced into the Soviet Union, after July 1941, they increasingly carried out mass murders of the local Jews themselves rather than encouraging pogroms.[42] Initially, the Einsatzgruppen generally limited themselves to shooting Jewish men, but as the summer wore on, increasingly, all Jews were shot, regardless of age or sex.[43] Before August 15, 1941 there is no mention of the killing of Jewish children in any of the Einsatzgruppen reports, but after that date, children were killed with increasing frequency, especially by Einsatzgruppe A.[44] The most murderous of the four Einsatzgruppen was Einsatzgruppe A, which operated in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania formerly occupied by the Soviets. Einsatzgruppe A was the first Einsatzgruppe that attempted to systematically exterminate all Jews in its area.[45]

According to its own reports to Himmler, Einsatzgruppe A between June 22-November 25, 1941 killed 136,421 Jews, 1,064 Communists, 653 mentally ill people, 56 partisans, 44 Poles, 5 Gypsies and 1 Armenian.[46] As Einsatzgruppe A advanced into Lithuania in June–July 1941, members of the Baltaraisciai movement joined the massacres.[29] In Riga, a pogrom in early July killed 400 Jews, and shortly afterwards, saw 2,300 Jews killed by Einsatzgruppe A and Latvian collaborators on July 6–7, 1941.[47] Very active in the Riga pogrom were a group of Latvian nationalists led by Viktors Arājs who "heated up" the Riga pogrom by a campaign of arson against synagogues.[47] On July 2, 1941 Franz Walter Stahlecker, the commander of Einsatzgruppe A appointed Arājs to head the Arajs Kommando.[29] Within six months, Arājs and his Sonderkommando (special commando) of about 300 men, mostly university students killed about half of Latvia's Jewish population.[48] The creation of units such as the Arājs Kommando marked an important change in the massacres of Jews from the spontaneous mob violence of the pogroms to a switch over to more systematic massacres.[48] Besides for the special commandos, the Germans organzied the Hilfspolizei (auxiliary police), who were mostly recruited from former Latvian Army and police officers, ex-Aizsargi, members of the Pērkonkrusts, and university students to assist with the murder of Latvia's Jewish citizens.[48] Such units as were created in Latvia and elsewhere provided much of the menpower for the Holocaust in Eastern Europe.[49] Despite the assistance from collaborators, Einsatzgruppe A remained active on its accord; on November 30, 1941, Einsatzgruppe A reported that for that day they had killed 10,600 Jews from Riga.[50]

Over the course of the summer and fall of 1941, as the Einsatzkommandos settled down into their headquarters in Kovno, Riga and Tallinn, Einsatzgruppe A grew less mobile and that together with the problems caused by its small size led the Germans to rely more upon such units as the Arājs Kommando in Latvia, the Rollkommando Hamann in Lithuania and the Omakaitse militia in Estonia to perform the massacres of Jews.[51] Besides death squads like the Arājs Kommando, the Hilfspolizei and Selbstschutz militia together with local officials played a key role in rounding up and massacring those Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians who happened to be Jewish.[52] Without the help of local officials, the various killing units would not have been able to identify and find Jews in such a short period of time.[52] With extensive local help, Einsatzgruppe A was able to carry out the first "total extermination programme" of the Shoah.[52] The Latvian historian Modris Eksteins wrote:

"of the roughly eighty-three thousand Jews who fell into German hands in Latvia, not more than nine hundred survived; and of the more than twenty thousand Western Jews sent into Latvia, only some eight hundred lived through the deportation until liberation. This was the highest percentage of eradication in all of Europe. Such thoroughness was not merely imported or imposed by the German conqueror; it had to an expression of the local situation".[30]

The reasons for extensive and enthusiastic collaboration with the Einsatzgruppen were due to a political culture of violence in the Kresy Wschodnie and other border lands of Russia going back to the time of the Revolution of 1905 together with an insecure sense of nationalism often colored with anti-Semitism.[53] During the interwar period, ethnic antagonism had on the whole been sharpened, not diminished.[54] Finally, the experience of Soviet rule in the Baltic states and in the lands that belonged to Poland until 1939 had been a profoundly traumatic experience for most people with the population brutalized and terrorized by the unwanted imposition of Soviet rule, and the existing and familiar structure of society utterly destroyed.[55] In such a context, where the imposition of Soviet rule had been seen as a national humiliation and with society broken up and atomized, many people sought both a scapegoat in the form of the Jews and violent actions of national "self-purification" and "redemption" in the form of killing Jews.[56] During the period of Soviet rule with traditional society destroyed, the best way to survive and make sense of the "totalitarian atomization" of society was to seek conformity with Communism.[57] As a result, many people by the time of the German invasion had come to see conformism with a totalitarian regime as socially acceptable behaviour, which thus transferred over to another totalitarian regime.[57] Many of who had been most enthusiastic with collaborating with the Soviets were often the ones who sought to divert attention from their actions by killings Jews on the grounds that Jews were the ones who had collaborated with the Soviets the most.[58] Although Jews had not in fact collabroated more with the Soviets, it was widely believed that this was the case.[59]


The expansion of the range of killings after August 1941 has been the subject of much historical debate. Those historians who take an intentionlist line like Andreas Hillgruber argue that everything that happened after Operation Barbarossa was part of a masterplan he credited Hitler with developing in the 1920s. Hillgruber wrote in his 1967 book Germany and the Two World Wars that for Hitler:

"The conquest of European Russia, the cornerstone of the continental European phase of his program, was thus for Hitler inextricably linked with the extermination of these "bacilli", the Jews. In his conception they had gained dominance over Russia with the Bolshevik Revolution. Russia thereby became the center from which a global danger radiated, particularly threatening to the Aryan race and its German core. To Hitler, Bolshevism meant the consummate rule of Jewry, while democracy - as it had developed in Western Europe and Weimar Germany - represented a preliminary stage of Bolshevism, since the Jews there won a leading, if not yet a dominant, influence. This racist component of Hitler's thought was so closely interwoven with the central political element of his program, the conquest of European Russia, that Russia's defeat and the extermination of the Jews were - in theory as later in practice - inseparable for him. To the aim of expansion per se, however, Hitler gave not racial, but political, strategic, economic and demographic underpinnings".[60]

The German historian Helmut Krausnick argued that:

"What is certain is that the nearer Hitler's plan to overthrow Russia as the last possible enemy on the continent of Europe approached maturity, the more he become obsessed with an idea--with which he had been toying as a "final solution" for a long time--of wiping out the Jews in the territories under his control. It cannot have been later than March 1941, when he openly declared his intention of having the political commissars of the Red Army shot, that he issued his secret degree--which never appeared in writing though it was mentioned verbally on several occasions--that the Jews should be eliminated".[61]

Streim wrote in response that Krausnick had been taken in by the line invented after the war to reduce the responsibility of the Einsatzgruppen leaders brought to trial.[62] Klaus Hildebrand wrote that:

"In qualitative terms, the executions by shooting were no different from the technically more efficient accomplishment of the 'physical final solution' by gassing, of which they were a prelude".[63]

Against the intentionalist interpretation, functionalist historians like Martin Broszat argued that the lower officials of the Nazi state had started exterminating people on their own initiative.[64] Broszat argued that the Holocaust began “bit by bit” as German officials stumbled into genocide.[65] Broszat argued that in the fall of 1941 German officials had began "improvised" killing schemes as the "simplest" solution to the "Jewish Question".[66] In Broszat's opinion, Hitler subsequently approved of the measures initiated by the lower officials and allowed the expansion of the Holocaust from Eastern Europe to all of Europe.[67] In this way, Broszat argued that the Shoah was not begun in response to an order, written or unwritten, from Hitler but was rather “a way out of the blind alley into which the Nazis had manoeuvred themselves”.[65] The American historian Christopher Browning has argued that:

"Before the invasion, the Einsatzgruppen were not given explicit orders for the total extermination of Jews on Soviet territory. Along with the general incitement to an ideological and racial war, however, they were given the general task of liquidating "potential" enemies. Heydrich's much-debated directive of 2 July 1941 was a minimal list of those who had to be liquidated immediately, including all Jews in state and party positions. It is very likely, moreover, that the Einsatzgruppen leaders were told of the future goal of a Judenfrei [Jew-free] Russia through systematic mass murder".[68]

By contrast, the Swiss historian Philippe Burrin argues that such a decision was not made before August 1941 at the earliest, pointing to orders given by Himmler on July 30, 1941 to the 2nd SS Cavalry Regiment and the SS Cavalry Brigade operating in the Pripet Marshes in the Pripyat operation calling for the murder of male Jews only while the Jewish women and children were to be driven into the Marshes.[69] Browning argues that sometime in mid-July 1941 Hitler made the decision to begin general genocide owing to his exhilaration over his victories over the Red Army, whereas Burrin contends that the decision was made in late August 1941 owing to Hitler's frustration over the slowing down of the Wehrmacht.[69] Kershaw argues that the dramatic expansion in both the range of victims and the intensity of the killings after mid-August 1941 indicates that Hitler issued an order to that effect, most probably a verbal order conveyed to the Einsatzgruppen commanders through either Himmler or Heydrich.[70] It remains unclear whether that was a decision made on Hitler's own initiative motivated only by his own anti-Semitic prejudices, or (impressed with the willingness and ability of Einsatzgruppe A to murder Jewish women and children) ordered that the other three Einsatzgruppen emulate Einsatzgruppe A's bloody example.

The Canadian historian Erich Haberer has contended that the “Baltic flashpoint of genocide”, as the killings committed by Einsatzgruppe A between July–October 1941 are known to historians, were the key development in the evolution of Nazi anti-Semitic policy that resulted in the Holocaust.[71] The Baltic area witnessed both the most extensive and intense killings of all the Einsatzgruppen with 90,000-100,000 Jews killed between July and October 1941, which led to the almost total decimation of the Jewish communities in that area.[51] Haberer maintains that the “Baltic flashpoint of genocide” occurred at time when the other Nazi plans for a “territorial final solution” such as the Madagascar Plan were unlikely to occur, and thus suggested to the Nazi leadership that genocide was indeed “feasible” as a “final solution to the Jewish Question”.[71]


All of these killings took place with the knowledge, approval and support of the German Army in the east.[72] On October 10, 1941 General Walther von Reichenau drafted an order to be read to his troops under his command stating: "...the soldier must achieve full understanding of the necessity for a harsh but just vengeance against Jewish subhumanity".[72] Upon hearing of Reichenau's Severity Order, Gerd von Rundstedt of Army Group South expressed his "complete agreement" with it, and sent out a circular to all of the Army generals under his command urging them to send out their own versions of the Severity Order, which would impress upon the troops the need to exerminate Jews.[73] General Erich von Manstein in an order to his troops on November 20, 1941 stated:

"Jewry is the middleman between the enemy at our rear and the still fighting remnants of the Red Army and the Red leadership; more than in Europe, it [Jewry] occupies all key posts of the political leadership and administration, of trade and crafts and forms the nucleus for all disquiet and possible revolts. The Jewish-Bolshevist system must be exterminated once and for all."[72]

The only time that Manstein ever saw fit during the war to complain about the actions of the Einsatzgruppen occurred in a 1941 letter to Otto Ohlendorf, when Manstein complained that since his men were so helpful with assisting Ohlendorf's men with murdering Jews it was really unfair that the SS should insist upon keeping all of the wrist-watches of murdered Jews for themselves instead of sharing with the Army.[74] On July 6, 1941 Einsatzkommando 4b of Einsatzgruppe C, which was operating in Tarnopol at the time sent a report which noted "Armed forces surprisingly welcome hostility against the Jews".[75] On September 8, 1941 Einsatzgruppe D reported that relations with the German Army were "excellent".[75] Franz Walter Stahlecker of Einsatzgruppe A wrote in September 1941 that Army Group North had been exemplary in co-operating with his men in murdering Jews and that relations with the Fourth Panzer Army commanded by General Erich Hoepner were "very close, almost cordial".[75] In the extreme south, the Romanian Army worked closely with Einsatzgruppe D with the massacres of Ukrainian Jews.[76] In Odessa, the Romanian Army killed about 26,000 Jews in the Odessa massacre.[77] Moreover, most people on the home front in Germany had some idea of the massacres being committed by the Einsatzgruppen.[78]

The Einsatzgruppen massacres were usually justified under the grounds of anti-partisan operations, but the historian Andreas Hillgruber wrote that this claim was just an "excuse" for the Wehrmacht's considerable involvement with the Einsatzgruppen massacres.[79] Hillgruber maintained that the slaughter of about 2.2 million defenceless men, women and children for the reasons of racist ideology cannot possibly be justified, and that those German generals who claimed that the Einsatzgruppen were a necessary anti-partisan response were lying.[80] In July 1941, when Joseph Stalin appealed for a partisan war, Hitler in private on July 16 stated: "The Russians have now issued an order for a partisan war behind out front. This partisan war has its advantage: it allows us to exterminate all who oppose us."[72]

"The Second Sweep"

After December 1941, the other three Einsatzgruppen began what the American historian Raul Hilberg has called the "second sweep", which lasted into the summer of 1942, during which they attempted to emulate Einsatzgruppe A by likewise systematically killing all Jews in their areas.[81] Hilberg wrote that with the exception of Stahlecker of Einsatzgruppe A, all of the Einsatzgruppe commanders were of the opinion by the fall of 1941, that it was impossible to kill the entire Jewish population of the Soviet Union in one sweep and were of the opinion that the killings should stop.[82] Thus, there occurred the interval between the "first sweep" and the "second sweep" of the Einsatzgruppe massacres in the fall of 1941.[83] During the interval, the surviving Jews were forced into ghettoes.[76] After staging the Babi Yar massacre in September 1941, Einsatzgruppe C in a report back to Berlin wrote: "Although 75,000 Jews have been liquidated in this manner so far, today it is already clear that even with such tactics a final solution of the Jewish problem will not be possible".[84] In a report of September 17, 1941, Einsatzgruppe C stated:

"Even if were possible to shut out Jewry 100 percent, we would not eliminate the center of political danger.

The Bolshevist work is done by Jews, Russians, Georgians, Armenians, Poles, Latvians, Ukrainians; the Bolshevist apparatus is by no means identical with the Jewish population. Under such conditions we would miss the goal of political security if we replaced the main task of destroying the Communist machine with the relatively easier one of eliminating the Jews...

In the western and central Ukraine almost all urban workers, skilled mechanics and traders are Jews. If we renounce the Jewish labor potential in full, we cannot rebuild Ukrainian industry and we cannot build up the urban administrative centers.

There is only one way out--a method that the German administration in the Generalgouvernment failed to recognize for a long time: final solution of the Jewish question through complete labor utilization of the Jews.

This would result in a gradual liquidation of Jewry--a development which would be in accord with the economic potentialities of the country".[82]

Einsatzgruppe C's advice that the Germans would be better off using Jewish skills and labour rather than shooting them was not taken up.[84] On 18 December 1941, the appointment book of the Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler shows he met with Hitler, and in response to Himmler's question "What to do with the Jews of Russia?", Hitler's response was recorded as "als Partisanen auszurotten" ("exterminate them as partisans").[85] The Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer has commented that the remark is probably as close as historians will ever get to a definitive order from Hitler for the genocide carried out during the Holocaust.[85] Bauer added that it was unclear whatever Himmler's question meant that it had not decided until that point to exterminate the entire Jewish population, or alternatively whatever such a decision had already been taken, and Himmler's question just referred to the precise method of extermination.[85] At that point in time in mid December 1941, the Operation Reinhard death camps were under construction, Auschwitz was being converted from a concentration camp to a death camp and Chelmno had already opened earlier that month.[85] Thus, Bauer contends that Himmler's question to Hitler could be about whatever to deport Soviet Jews to the death camps or continue the existing policy of genocide under the guise of anti-partisan operations.[85] After the "second sweep" started in late 1941-early 1942, since Einsatzgruppe A had murdered almost all of the Jews in its area, it had little to do and so shifted its operations into Belorussia to assist Einsatzgruppe B.[86] As part of the "second sweep", in Dnepropetrovsk in February 1942 saw Einsatzgruppe D reducing the city's Jewish population from about 30, 000 to 702 over four days.[86] Unlike in Germany, where the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 had defined as Jewish anyone who had three or four Jewish grandparents regardless of one's religion, the Einsatzgruppe defined as Jewish anyone had at least one Jewish grandparent again with no regard to one's actual faith.[87] Reflecting the tendency to justify the massacres as a defensive move forced on the Germans by the danger of Jewish partisan attacks, in a letter to his wife dated September 27, 1941 one SS officer wrote:

"As I have said, I am in a very gloomy mood. I must pull myself out of it. The sight of the dead (including women and children) is not very cheering (emphasis in the original). But we are fighting this war for the survivial or non-survival of our people. You back home, thank God, do not feel the full force of that. The bomb attacks have, however, shown what the enemy has in store for us if he has enough power. You are aware of it everywhere you go along the front. My comrades are literally fighting for the existence of our people. The enemy would do the same. I think that you understand me. As the war is in our opinion a Jewish war, the Jews are the first to feel it. Here in Russia, wherever the German soldier is, no Jew remains. You can imagine that at first I needed some time to get to grips with this".[88]

In another letter dated October 15, 1942 to his children, the same SS officer wrote:

"I have already told you about the shooting-that I could not say "no" here either. But they're more or less said they've finally found a good chap to run the administrative side of things. The last one was all accounts a coward. That's the way people are judged here. But you can trust your Daddy. He thinks about you all the time and is not shooting immoderately. So that's our life".[89]

To help with the "second sweep", the German Order Police and local collaborators provided the extra manpower needed to perform all of the shootings.[90] The Canadian historian Erich Haberer wrote like in the Baltic states, the Germans could not have killed so many Jews so quickly without local help.[90] Haberer points out that the ratio of the German Order Police to the Schutzmannschaft (Schuma) was 1:10 in both the Reichskommissariat Ukraine and Generalkommissariat Belorussia.[90] In rural areas of Belorussia and Ukraine, the ratio of Order Policeman-Schuma was 1:20, which meant that most Ukrainian and Belorussian Jews were killed by fellow Ukrainians and Belorussians, albeit commanded by German officers rather than by Germans.[90] Gebietskommissar Gerhard Erren, an official of the Ministry of the East run by Alfred Rosenberg in a report dated January 25, 1942 wrote about the town of Slonim:

"Upon my arrival there were about 25,000 Jews in the Slonim area, 16,000 in the actual town itself, making up over two-thirds of the total population of the town. It was not possible to set up a ghetoo as neither barbed wire nor guard manpower was available. I thus immediately began preparations for a large-scale action. First of all property was expropriated and all the German official buildings, including the Wehrmacht quarters, were equpped with the furniture and equipment that had been made available...Any article which could not be used for the Germans were handed over to the town for sale to the local population. Proceeds from their sale were sent to the finance department. The Jews were then registred accuaretly according to number, age and profession and all craftsmen and workers with qualifications were singled out and given passes and separate accommodation to distinguish them from the other Jews. The action carried out by the SD on 13 November rid me of unnecessary mouths to feed. The some 7,000 Jews now present in the town of Sonim have all been allocated jobs. They are working willingly because of the constant fear of death. Early next year they will be rigorously checked and sorted for a further reduction.

The plains were extensivley cleansed for a time by the Wehrmacht. Unfortunately, however, this only took place in villages with fewer than 1,000 inhabitants. In the Rayon towns all Jews will be eradicated with the exception of all but the most essential craftsmen and skilled workers, after auxiliary work for the east-west movement has been carried out.

Since the Wehrmacht is not longer prepared to carry out actions on the plains I shall concentrate all the Jews of the area into two or three Rayon towns. They will work in closed columns only, in order to stamp out once and for all illicit trading and support for the partisans among them. The best of the skilled workers among the Jews will be made to pass their skills on to intelligent apprentices in my craft colleagues, so that Jews will finally be made dispensable in the skilled craft and trade sector, and can be eliminated".[91]

The chauffeuer to Erren described one of the "reduction" actions as follows:

"I was holding a whip or a pistol. I was loading or unloading. The men, children and mothers were pushed into the pits. Children were first beaten to death, and then thrown feet [first] into the pits..There were a number of filthy sadists in the extermination Kommando. For example, pregnant women were shot in the belly for fun and then thrown into the pits...Before the execution the Jews had to undergo a body search, during which..anuses and sex organs were searched for valuables and jewels".[92]

The Generalkommissar for Belarus, Wilhelm Kube in a report dated July 31, 1942 wrote:

"It has become apparent during the course of all clashes with partisans in White Russia, in both the former Polish and former Soviet parts of the Generalbezirk, that the Jews, together with the Polish resistance movement and the Moscow Red Army in the east, are the principal supporters of the partisan movement. Consequently, the question of how the Jews in White Russia should be handled is a political matter taking priority over all considerations about the risks to the economy as a whole. Accordingly, it has to be solved not from an economic but from a political point of view. During the course of extensive discussions with SS-Brigadeführer Zenner and the very competent Leiter of the SD, SS-Obersturmbannführer Dr. jur. Strauch, it was established that we have liquidated about 55, 000 Jews in the last ten weeks. In the Minsk area [Geiet Minsk-land] the Jews have been completely eradicated, without any negative effect on the workforce. In the mainly Polish area of Lida 16,000 Jews have been liquidated, in Slonim 8,000 Jews. Our preparations for the liquidation of the Jews in the Głębokie area were disrupted when the rear army area preempted us, liquidating 10,000 Jews whom we had been due to eradicate systematically, without any prior liaison with us. (A report on this incursion has already been submitted). On 28 and 29 July about 10,000 Jews were liquidated in the city of Minsk, 6,500 of them Russian Jews-for the most part old people, women and children-and the rest Jews unfit for work, who had mostly been sent from Vienna, Brünn, Bremen and Berlin in November of last year to Minsk on the Führer's orders".[93]

The British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper noted that although photographs of the killings were forbidden, it was very common for both the men of the Einsatzgruppen and various by-standers to take pictures of the killings to send to their loved ones, which would suggest widespread approval of the massacres.[94]

The Einsatzgruppen were assisted by army units and local anti-Semites in killing half a million more people. They were mobile forces in the beginning of the invasion, but settled down after the occupation. In addition, the Einsatzgruppen were often used to carry out anti-partisan operations in the occupied regions of the Soviet Union.

Final Solution

After a time, it was found that the killing methods used by the Einsatzgruppen were inefficient: they were costly, demoralizing for the troops, and sometimes did not kill the victims quickly enough.[43] During a visit to Russia in August 1941, where he witnessed the Einsatzgruppen killings first-hand, Himmler concluded that shooting Jews was too much of a "psychological burden" for his men.[43] As a result of his "care and concern" for the Einsatzgruppen, Himmler concluded there was a need for a "humane" way of killing (for the killers, not the victims) and ordered the development of the gas vans.[43] Starting in 1942, the Einsatzgruppen began mass killings with gas vans.[95] At the Wannsee Conference, the SS and various state officials met to find a more efficient way of killing their victims. This ultimately led to the establishment of Vernichtungslagern or extermination camps containing gas-chambers. Under this and other plans, an estimated six million Jews and five million non-Jews would ultimately lose their lives.[96]

Method of killing

Nazi gas van used to murder people at Chelmno extermination camp.

The Einsatzgruppen typically followed close behind Wehrmacht army formations, marching into cities and towns where large numbers of Jews were known to live. Once they entered a town, they issued orders requiring Jews and non-Jewish communists to assemble for deportation out of town. Those who refused to comply were hunted down. The process was as follows: The Einsatzgruppen's Einsatzkommando units (not to be confused with Jewish gravediggers in the camps) were sent with the advancing military units to coordinate the executions, to concentrate the hostile and sometimes partisan resistant population, and to recruit local assistants - Mannschaft, either "Junaks" (Lithuanian former convicts) or Gendarmes (Ukrainian policemen); then came the Einsatzkommando to execute the Jews and communists. The killings followed several methods and patterns:

  • In conquered urban areas of eastern Europe, many Jews would be killed in nearby locations such as woods or inside buildings. The remaining Jews would be confined to ghettos. Death rates from disease and malnourishment were high; groups from the ghetto were periodically taken away and shot or deported to extermination camps. An example of this is the Lithuanian city of Kaunas; the Jews of Kaunas were concentrated in a ghetto and sent, thousands at a time, to be slaughtered in the 7th and 9th forts (watch towers) of Kaunas.
  • In small rural areas, or in battle zones, the Jews were quickly led to their deaths in nearby woods and mass graves, which were often dug by the victims. An example of such a case is the town of Dovno in Ukraine.
  • In big cities, mainly in the battle zones, the Nazis would create a small local committee of 8 to 12 important Jews, known as the Judenrat, who would be required to summon the local Jews for "relocation". The Jews (including the Judenrat delegates) would then be marched to previously prepared trenches or natural pits and shot. Examples are the massacre at Babi Yar and the Ponary massacre.
  • Alternatives to execution by firearms existed. The gas vans used by Einsatzgruppe D and Einsatzkommando Kulmhof in the death camp Chelmno are an example. Another, occasionally used in smaller towns, was to lock the Jews in abandoned buildings, which were then set alight or blown up, though this was rather rare.

Typically, those who were gathered would then be sent to designated sites outside the cities and towns. Usually these massacre sites were graves dug in advance, shallow pits, or deep ravines (including one at Babi Yar, just outside Kiev), where executioners were already waiting with orders to kill them with machine guns or pistol shots to the head. The killers would also seize the clothing and other belongings of the victims, and some victims were forced to strip naked just before their execution. Once dead, the victims would be buried with hand shovels or bulldozers. Some victims were only injured, not killed, and were buried alive. A few managed to climb out of the grave and recount this.[97][Full citation needed]

The Einsatzgruppen were assisted by other Axis forces, including designated members of the Wehrmacht, including general Walther von Reichenau and the Waffen-SS. In the Baltic states and Ukraine, they also recruited local collaborators - Hiwis - to assist in the killing.

The Jäger Report

Map titled "Jewish Executions Carried Out by Einsatzgruppe A" from the Stahlecker's report. Marked "Secret Reich Matter," the map shows the number of Jews shot in the Baltic region, and reads at the bottom: "the estimated number of Jews still on hand is 128,000."

The Einsatzgruppen kept track of many of their massacres, and one of the most infamous of these official records is the Jäger Report, covering the operation of Einsatzkommando 3 over five months in Lithuania. Written by the commander of Einsatzkommando 3, Karl Jäger, it includes a detailed list summarizing each massacre, totaling 137,346 victims, and states "…I can confirm today that Einsatzkommando 3 has achieved the goal of solving the Jewish problem in Lithuania. There are no more Jews in Lithuania, apart from working Jews and their families." Jäger escaped capture by the Allies when the war ended, assumed a false identity, and was able to assimilate back into society as an agriculturist until his report was discovered in March 1959. Arrested and charged, Jäger committed suicide in June 1959 in prison in Hohenasperg while awaiting trial for his crimes.

Plans for the Middle East

A 2006 study by the German historians Klaus-Michael Mallman and Martin Cueppers says that an Einsatzgruppe was created in 1942 to kill Jews in the British Mandate of Palestine. An Einsatzgruppe was standing by in Athens, Greece, and was prepared to go to Palestine, once German forces arrived there, to kill the roughly half a million Jews in the Mandate. The mobile killing unit was to be led by SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Walter Rauff. The plan was for the 24 members of the death squad to enlist collaborators from the local Arab population so that the “mass murder would continue under German leadership without interruption.” The group never left Greece, however, because the Germans were defeated at the Battle of El Alamein by the allied forces.[98]

Disestablishment and post-war

By 1942, the permanent killing centers of Auschwitz, Sobibor, Treblinka, and other Nazi extermination camps had been established thus significantly reducing the need for active killing groups in the field. The Einsatzgruppen were still active, however, and as late as the fall of 1943 were still participating in massacres.

By 1944, the Red Army had begun to push German forces out of Eastern Europe, and the Einsatzgruppen began shutting down activities to begin a retreat along with the regular forces. By late 1944, most personnel of the Einsatzgruppen had also been folded into Waffen-SS combat units or had been transferred to the permanent death camps. Even so, on paper, the SS was still fielding Einsatzgruppen into 1945; there was also some discussion amongst SS leaders on the subject of merging the Einsatzgruppen into the new Werwolf units, which were being founded for the purposes of guerrilla fighting in occupied Germany. "Werwolf" during or after the war was never an effectual force; by the time of the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945 there were no longer any active Einsatzgruppen units in operation.

The ultimate authority for the Einsatzgruppen, answerable directly to Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Hitler, were the SS and Police Leaders who oversaw all Einsatzgruppen activities and reports in their given area. At the close of World War II, the majority of SS and Police Leaders who had overseen activities in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union simply disappeared, were executed for war crimes, or committed suicide prior to their capture. As for the lower ranking members, a large number of them were killed in combat, were captured in combat and executed (on the Eastern Front) or were imprisoned and died in Russian camps. The lower ranking members who returned to Germany or to other countries were not formally charged (due to their large numbers) and simply returned to civilian life.

At the conclusion of World War II, senior leaders of the Einsatzgruppen were prosecuted in the Einsatzgruppen Trial, part of the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials held under United States military authority, variously charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes, and membership in the SS (which had been declared a criminal organization). Fourteen death sentences and five life sentences were among the judgments, although only four executions were carried out, on June 7, 1951, and the rest of these sentences were commuted.

Organization (1941)

Arthur Nebe
Otto Rasch at the Nuremburg trials

The Einsatzgruppen were deployed as follows:

Of the four Einsatzgruppen, three were commanded by holders of doctorate degrees, of whom one (Rasch) held a double doctorate.[99]

See also


  1. ^ LEO Deutsch-Englisches Wörterbuch "einsatzgruppe"
  2. ^ a b c Holocaust History Project, Introduction to the Einsatzgruppen
  3. ^ "Nuremberg Trial Proceedings, Vol 20, Day 194". http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/08-03-46.asp. Retrieved 2009 1 3. 
  4. ^ The Trial of German Major War Criminals. Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany. 7th January to 19th January, 1946. Twenty-Eighth Day (Part 6 of 10) (nizkor)
  5. ^ a b c Nuremberg Military Tribunal, Einsatzgruppen trial, judgment, pages 414 - 416
  6. ^ Dalin, David; John Rothmann, Alan Dershowitz (2009). Icon of Evil: Hitler's Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam. Transaction Publishers. p. 56. ISBN 9781412810777. http://books.google.com/books?id=QMts5Z36kjAC&pg=PA56#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  7. ^ Headland 1992[page needed]
  8. ^ a b Streim 1989, page 436.
  9. ^ Browning, Origins of the Final Solution, at pages 16-18.
  10. ^ Norman Davies, God's Playground: A History of Poland, New York: Columbia University Press, 1982, 2: 263.
  11. ^ Tasks of Einsatzgruppen in Poland
  12. ^ Rhodes 2002, page 9
  13. ^ *Maria Wardzyńska "Był rok 1939 Operacja niemieckiej policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce. Intelligenzaktion" IPN Instytut Pamięci Narodowej, 2009 ISBN 978-83-7629-063-8
  14. ^ Meier, Anna "Die Intelligenzaktion: Die Vernichtung Der Polnischen Oberschicht Im Gau Danzig-Westpreusen" (The Intelligentsia Action: The Annihilation of the Polish Upper Class in the Danzig-West Prussian Gau)VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, ISBN 3-639-04721-4 ISBN 978-3-639-04721-9
  15. ^ Richard Rhodes, "Masters of Death: The SS-Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust", Bellona 2008
  16. ^ Bohler Jochen, Matthaus Jurgen, Mallmann Klaus-Michael , "Einsatzgruppen in Polen", Wissenschaftl.Buchgesell 2008
  17. ^ Hillgruber 1989, p 94.
  18. ^ a b Hillgruber 1989, p 95.
  19. ^ a b Hillgruber 1989, pp 95-96.
  20. ^ Hillgruber 1989, pp 94-95.
  21. ^ Hillgruber 1989, pp 94-96.
  22. ^ a b c d Hillgruber 1989, p 96.
  23. ^ Rhodes 2002, p 15.
  24. ^ Förster 2004, p 126.
  25. ^ a b c d Rees 1997, p 177.
  26. ^ Marrus 2000, p 100.
  27. ^ Hillgruber 1989, p 97.
  28. ^ Haberer 2001, pp 66-68.
  29. ^ a b c Haberer 2001, p 68.
  30. ^ a b Haberer 2001, p 66.
  31. ^ Rhodes 2002, pp 40-41.
  32. ^ a b Haberer 2001, pp 67-68.
  33. ^ Rees 1997 p 179.
  34. ^ "The Good Old Days" edited by Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen and Volker Riess, New York: Free Press, 1991 pages 31-32.
  35. ^ Streim 1989, pp 440-441.
  36. ^ Streim 1989, p 439.
  37. ^ Streim 1989. p 439.
  38. ^ a b c Streim 1989, p 440.
  39. ^ a b Kershaw 2008, p 258.
  40. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp 258-259.
  41. ^ "The Good Old Days" edited by Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen and Volker Riess, New York: Free Press, 1991 page 154.
  42. ^ Rees 1997, pp 194-197.
  43. ^ a b c d Rees 1997, p 197.
  44. ^ Rees 1997, p 194.
  45. ^ Rees 1997, p 182.
  46. ^ Hillgruber 1989, p 98.
  47. ^ a b Haberer 2001, pp 68-69.
  48. ^ a b c Haberer 2001, p 69.
  49. ^ Haberer 2001, pp 69-70.
  50. ^ Hillgruber 1989, p 100.
  51. ^ a b Haberer 2001, p 70.
  52. ^ a b c Haberer 2001, p 71.
  53. ^ Haberer 2001, p 73.
  54. ^ Haberer 2001, p 74.
  55. ^ Haberer 2001, pp 74-75.
  56. ^ Haberer 2001, pp 76-77.
  57. ^ a b Haberer 2001, p 76.
  58. ^ Haberer 2001, p 77.
  59. ^ Haberer 2001, pp 75-77.
  60. ^ Hillgruber, Germany And The Two World Wars (1981), p 51.
  61. ^ Marrus 2000, p 39.
  62. ^ Streim 1989, pp 439-440.
  63. ^ Marrus 2000, p 44.
  64. ^ Broszat 1985, pp 399-404.
  65. ^ a b Marrus 2000, p 41.
  66. ^ Broszat 1985, p 408.
  67. ^ Broszat 1985, pp 408-413.
  68. ^ Rees 1997, pp 194-195.
  69. ^ a b Rees 1997, p 195.
  70. ^ Kershaw 2008, p 259.
  71. ^ a b Haberer 2001, p 65.
  72. ^ a b c d Hillgruber 1989, p 102.
  73. ^ Mayer, Arno J. Why Did The Heavens Not Darken?, New York: Pantheon, 1988, 1990 p 250.
  74. ^ Smelser, Ronald & Davies, Edward. The Myth of the Eastern Front, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008 p 43.
  75. ^ a b c Hilberg 1985, p 301.
  76. ^ a b Marrus 2000, p 64.
  77. ^ Marrus 2000, p 79.
  78. ^ Marrus 2000, p 88.
  79. ^ Hillgruber 1989, pp 102-103.
  80. ^ Hillgruber 1989 p 103.
  81. ^ Hilberg 1985, pp 368-390.
  82. ^ a b Hilberg 1985 p 342.
  83. ^ Hilberg 1985, pp 342-343.
  84. ^ a b Hilberg 1985 page 342.
  85. ^ a b c d e Bauer, Yehuda Rethinking the Holocaust Yale University Press, 2000, p. 5
  86. ^ a b Hilberg 1985. p 372.
  87. ^ Hilberg 1985, p 368.
  88. ^ "The Good Old Days" edited by Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen and Volker Riess, New York: Free Press, 1991 page 163.
  89. ^ "The Good Old Days" edited by Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen and Volker Riess, New York: Free Press, 1991 page 167.
  90. ^ a b c d Haberer 2001, p 78.
  91. ^ "The Good Old Days" edited by Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen and Volker Riess, New York: Free Press, 1991 pages 178-179.
  92. ^ "The Good Old Days" edited by Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen and Volker Riess, New York: Free Press, 1991 page 179.
  93. ^ "The Good Old Days" edited by Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen and Volker Riess, New York: Free Press, 1991 page 180.
  94. ^ Trevor-Roper, Hugh "Foreword" to "The Good Old Days" edited by Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen and Volker Riess, New York: Free Press, 1991 page xi
  95. ^ Marrus 2000, p 50.
  96. ^ "How many Jews were murdered in the Holocaust?", FAQs about the Holocaust, Yad Vashem.
  97. ^ Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust[Full citation needed]
  98. ^ Thomas Krumenacker, "Nazis Planned Holocaust for Palestine : historians", Reuters, (April 7, 2006)
  99. ^ Browning, Christopher R. (2004). The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939 – March 1942 (Comprehensive History of the Holocaust). University of Nebraska Press. pp. 225–226. ISBN 978-0803213272. http://books.google.com/books?id=d9Wg4gjtP3cC&pg=RA1-PA226&ots=ci4PczZKYY&dq=%22dr+otto+ohlendorf%22&sig=zQsLkXmX4b2enQLVRXFUzVH-1HY. 


  • Browning, Christopher, and Matthäus, Jürgen. The Origins of the Final Solution - The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939 - March 1942. University of Nebraska Press, 2004 ISBN 0-8032-1327-1
  • Broszat, Martin (1985). "Genesis of the 'Final Solution': An Assessment of David Irving's Theses, pp 390–429". In Koch, H.W. Aspects of the Third Reich. ISBN 9780312057268. 
  • Förster, Jürgen (1998). "Complicity or Entanglement? The Wehrmacht, the War and the Holocaust, pages 266-283". In Berenbaum, Michael; Peck, Abraham. The Holocaust and History: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed and the Reexamined. Bloomington: Indian University Press. ISBN 9780253333742. 
  • Förster, Jürgen (2004). "The German Military’s Image of Russia". In Erickson, Ljubica; Erickson, Mark. Russia : war, peace and diplomacy : essays in honour. ISBN 9780297849131. 
  • Haberer, Erich (2001). "Intention and Feasibility: Reflections on Collaboration and the Final Solution, pages 64–81". East European Jewish Affairs, Volume 31, Issue # 2. OCLC 210897979. 
  • Headland, Ronald (1992). Messages of Murder: A Study of the Reports of the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and the Security Service, 1941-1943. Rutherford. ISBN 0-8386-3418-4. 
  • Hilberg, Raul (1985). The Destruction of the European Jews. New York: Holmes & Meier. ISBN 9780841908321. 
  • Hillgruber, Andreas (1989). "War in the East and the Extermination of the Jews, pages 85–114". In Marrus, Michael. The Nazi Holocaust Part 3, The "Final Solution": The Implementation of Mass Murder, Volume 1. Westpoint, CT: Meckler. ISBN 0-88736-266-4. 
  • Kershaw, Ian (2008). Hitler, the Germans, and the Final Solution. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300124279. 
  • Klee, Ernst, Dressen, Willi, and Riess, Volker, "The Good Old Days" -- The Holocaust as Seen by its Perpetrators and Bystanders, (translation by Deborah Burnstone and foreword by Hugh Trevor-Roper) MacMillan, New York, 1991 ISBN 0-02-917425-2, originally published as (German) Klee, Ernst, Dreßen, Willi, and Rieß, Volker (Hrsg.): Schöne Zeiten. Judenmord aus der Sicht der Täter und Gaffer. S. Fischer, Frankfurt / Main 1988. ISBN 978-3-10-039304-3
  • Marrus, Michael (2000). The Holocaust in History. Toronto: Key Porter. ISBN 9781552631201. 
  • Rees, Laurence (1997). The Nazis: A Warning From History. foreword by Sir Ian Kershaw. New York: New Press. ISBN 1-56584-551-X. 
  • Rhodes, Richard (2002). Masters of Death The SS-Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust. New York: Alfred A Knopf. ISBN 0-375-40900-9. 
  • Streim, Alfred (1989). "The Tasks of the SS Einsatzgruppen, pages 436-454". In Marrus, Michael. The Nazi Holocaust, Part 3, The "Final Solution": The Implementation of Mass Murder, Volume 2. Westpoint, CT: Meckler. ISBN 0-88736-266-4. 
  • Trials of War Criminals before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10, Nürnberg, October 1946 - April 1949, Volume IV, ("Green Series) (the "Einsatzgruppen case") also available at Mazel library (well indexed HTML version)

Further reading

  • Earl, Hilary, The Nuremberg SS-Einsatzgruppen Trial, 1945–1958: Atrocity, Law, and History, Nipissing University, Ontario ISBN 978-0-521-45608-1
  • (German) Krausnick, Helmut, and Wilhelm, Hans-Heinrich: Die Truppe des Weltanschauungskrieges. Die Einsatzgruppen der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD 1938-1942. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1981, ISBN 3-421-01987-8
  • (German) Stang, Knut: Kollaboration und Massenmord. Die litauische Hilfspolizei, das Rollkommando Hamann und die Ermordung der litauischen Juden. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main [u.a.] 1996, ISBN 3-631-30895-7

External links

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