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german mobile killing squads

Nearly 4 million German soldiers advanced through Soviet-occupied territory from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and into the Soviet Union itself. The German army was followed by Einsatzgruppen A, B, C, and D—four special mobile killing units, each made up of about a thousand men from the security police and the German intelligence service. During World War II, the Nazi German Einsatzkommandos were a sub-group of five Einsatzgruppen mobile killing squads—up to 3, men each—usually composed of , functionaries of the SS and Gestapo, whose mission was to kill Jews, Polish intellectuals, Romani, communists and the NKVD. Their job was to kill any Jews they could find in the occupied Soviet territory. Some residents of the occupied regions, mostly Ukrainians, Latvians, and Lithuanians, aided these German mobile killing squads by serving as auxiliary police. The mobile killing .

Mobile Killing Units | Facing History and Ourselves

Almost all of the people they killed were civilians, beginning with the german mobile killing squads and swiftly progressing to Soviet political commissarsJewsand Romani people as well as actual or alleged partisans throughout Eastern Europe. The Einsatzgruppen worked hand-in-hand with the Order Police battalions on the Eastern Front to carry out operations ranging from the murder of a few people to operations which lasted german mobile killing squads two or more days, such as the massacre at Babi Yar with 33, Jews killed in two days, german mobile killing squads, and the Rumbula massacre with about 25, killed in two days of shooting.

As ordered by Nazi leader Adolf Hitlerthe Wehrmacht cooperated with the Einsatzgruppenproviding logistical support for their operations, and participated in the mass killings. Historian Raul Hilberg estimates that between and the Einsatzgruppenrelated agencies and foreign auxiliary personnel killed more than two million people, including 1. After the close of World War II, 24 senior leaders of the Einsatzgruppen were prosecuted in the Einsatzgruppen trial in —48, charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Fourteen death sentences and two life sentences were handed out. Four additional Einsatzgruppe leaders were later tried and executed by other nations.

When military action turned out not to be necessary due to the Munich Agreementgerman mobile killing squads, the Einsatzgruppen were assigned to confiscate government papers and police documents. They also secured government buildings, questioned senior civil servants, and arrested as many as 10, Czech communists and German citizens.

As part of the drive to remove so-called "undesirable" elements from the German population, from September to December the Einsatzgruppen and others took part in Aktion T4a programme of systematic murder undertaken by the Nazi regime of persons with physical and mental disabilities and patients of psychiatric hospitals. Action T4 mainly took place from tobut the killings continued until the end of the war. Initially the victims were shot by the Einsatzgruppen and others, but gas chambers were put into use by spring In response to Adolf Hitler 's plan to invade Poland on 1 SeptemberHeydrich re-formed the Einsatzgruppen to travel in the wake of the German armies.

Initially numbering 2, men and ultimately 4, in Polandgerman mobile killing squads, [13] [16] the Einsatzgruppen ' s mission was to kill members of the Polish leadership most clearly identified with Polish national identity: the intelligentsia, german mobile killing squads, members of the clergyteachers, and members of the nobility, german mobile killing squads.

In addition to leaders of Polish society, they killed Jews, prostitutes, Romani peopleand the mentally ill. Psychiatric patients in Poland were initially killed by shooting, but by spring gas vans were widely used. Seven Einsatzgruppen of battalion strength around men operated in Poland.

Each was subdivided into five Einsatzkommandos of company strength around men, german mobile killing squads. Though they were formally under the command of the army, the Einsatzgruppen received their orders from Heydrich and for the most part acted independently of the army. However, Hitler had decreed that the army would have to tolerate and even offer logistical support to the Einsatzgruppen when it was tactically possible to do so. Some army commanders complained about unauthorised shootings, looting, and rapes committed by members of the Einsatzgruppen and the Volksdeutscher Selbstschutzto little effect.

He continued to serve in the army but never received promotion to field marshal. The final task of the Einsatzgruppen in Poland was to round up the remaining Jews and concentrate them in ghettos within major cities with good railway connections, german mobile killing squads. The intention was to eventually remove all the Jews from Poland, but at this point their final destination had not yet been determined.

In a speech to his leading generals on 30 MarchHitler described his envisioned war against the Soviet Union. 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, german mobile killing squads.

We don't make war to preserve the enemy 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. Though General Halder did not record any mention of Jews, German historian Andreas Hillgruber argued that because of Hitler's frequent contemporary statements about the coming war of annihilation german mobile killing squads " Judeo-Bolshevism ", his generals would have understood Hitler's call for the destruction of the Soviet Union as also comprising a call for the destruction of its Jewish population.

In further meetings held in June Himmler outlined to top SS leaders the regime's intention to reduce the population of the Soviet Union by 30 million people, not only through direct killing of those considered racially inferiorbut by depriving the remainder of food and other necessities of life.

For Operation Barbarossa, initially four Einsatzgruppen were created, each numbering — men to comprise a total force of 3, Heydrich gave them a mandate to secure the offices and papers of the Soviet state and Communist Party; [42] to liquidate all the higher cadres of the Soviet state; and to instigate and encourage pogroms against Jewish populations.

Many Einsatzgruppe leaders were highly educated; for example, nine of seventeen leaders of Einsatzgruppe A held doctorate degrees. Additional Einsatzgruppen were created as additional territories were occupied.

After the invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 Junethe Einsatzgruppen ' s main assignment was to kill civilians, as in Poland, but this time its targets specifically included Soviet Communist Party commissars and Jews. Open-ended instructions were given to execute "other radical elements saboteurs, propagandists, snipers, assassins, agitators, etc. On 8 July, Heydrich announced that all Jews were to be regarded as partisans, and gave the order for all male Jews between the ages of 15 and 45 to be shot.

It was common practice for the Einsatzgruppen to shoot hostages. As the invasion began, the Germans pursued the fleeing Red Army, leaving a security vacuum.

Reports surfaced of Soviet guerrilla activity in the area, with local Jews immediately suspected of collaboration. Heydrich ordered his officers to incite anti-Jewish pogroms in the newly occupied territories. All four main Einsatzgruppen took part in mass shootings from the early days of the war. Initially there was a semblance of legality given to the shootings, german mobile killing squads, with trumped-up charges being read out arson, sabotage, black marketeering, or refusal to work, for example and victims being killed by a firing squad.

As this method proved too slow, the Einsatzkommandos began to take their victims out in larger groups and shot them next to, or even inside, mass graves that had been prepared.

Some Einsatzkommandos started to use automatic weapons, with survivors being killed with a pistol shot. German mobile killing squads word of the massacres got out, many Jews fled; in Ukraine, 70 to 90 per cent of the Jews ran away.

This was seen german mobile killing squads the leader of Einsatzkommando VI as beneficial, as it would save the regime the costs of deporting the victims further east over the Urals. The Nazis began to round their victims up into concentration camps and ghettos and rural districts were for the most part rendered Judenfrei free of Jews.

The Einsatzgruppen used public hangings as a terror tactic against the local population. An Einsatzgruppe B report, dated 9 Octoberdescribed one such hanging. Due to suspected partisan activity near Demidov, all male residents aged 15 to 55 were put in a camp to be screened. The screening produced seventeen people who were identified as "partisans" and "Communists".

Five members of the group were hanged while local residents were assembled to watch; the rest were shot. The largest mass shooting perpetrated by the Einsatzgruppen took place on 29 and 30 September at Babi Yar, a ravine northwest of Kieva city in Ukraine that had fallen to the Germans on 19 September. Since word of massacres in other areas had not yet reached Kiev and the assembly point was near the train station, they assumed they were being deported.

People showed up at the rendezvous point in large numbers, laden with possessions and food for the journey. After being marched two miles north-west of the city centre, the victims encountered a barbed wire barrier and numerous Ukrainian police and German troops. Thirty or forty people at a time were told to leave their possessions and were escorted through a narrow passageway lined with soldiers brandishing clubs. Anyone who tried to escape was beaten. Soon the victims reached german mobile killing squads open area, where they were forced to strip, and then were herded down into the ravine.

People were forced to lie down in rows on top of the bodies of other victims, and they were shot in the back of the head or the neck by members of the execution squads. The murders continued for two days, claiming a total of 33, victims. Heidborn spent the next few days helping smooth out the "millions" of banknotes taken from the victims' possessions. According to its own reports to Himmler, Einsatzgruppe A killed almostgerman mobile killing squads, people in the five months following the invasion:Jews, 1, german mobile killing squads, Communists, people with mental illnesses, 56 partisans, 44 Poles, five Romani, and one Armenian were reported killed between 22 June and 25 November Upon entering KaunasLithuania, on 25 Junethe Einsatzgruppe released german mobile killing squads criminals from the local jail and encouraged them to join the pogrom which was underway.

As Einsatzgruppe A advanced into Lithuania, it actively recruited local nationalists and antisemitic groups, german mobile killing squads. In Julymembers of the Baltaraisciai movement joined the massacres. Local officials, the Selbstschutzand the Hilfspolizei Auxiliary Police played a key role in rounding up and massacring Jewish Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians.

Of the roughly 83, Jews who fell into German hands in Latvia, not more than survived; and of the more than 20, Western Jews sent into Latvia, only some lived through the deportation until liberation. This was the highest percentage of eradication in all of Europe. In latethe Einsatzkommandos settled into headquarters in KovnoRiga, and Tallinn.

Einsatzgruppe A grew less mobile and faced problems because of its small size. Such extensive and enthusiastic collaboration with the Einsatzgruppen has been attributed to several factors. Since the Russian Revolution ofthe German mobile killing squads Wschodnie and other borderlands had experienced a political culture of violence. Historian Erich Haberer notes that many survived and made sense of the "totalitarian atomization" of society by seeking conformity with communism. In November Himmler was dissatisfied with the pace of the exterminations in Latvia, as he intended to move Jews from Germany into the area.

Jeckeln selected a site about 10 kilometres 6, german mobile killing squads. Jeckeln organised around 1, men, including members of the Arajs Kommando50 German SD men, and 50 Latvian guards, most of whom had already participated in mass killings of civilians.

These troops were supplemented by Latvians, including members of the Riga city police, battalion police, and ghetto guards.

Around 1, able-bodied Jews would be spared execution so their slave labour could be exploited; a thousand men were relocated to a fenced-off area within the ghetto and women were temporarily housed in a prison and later moved to a separate nearby ghetto, german mobile killing squads they were put to work mending uniforms.

Although Rumbula was on the rail line, Jeckeln decided that the victims should travel on foot from Riga to the execution ground. Trucks and buses were arranged to carry children and the elderly. The victims were moved in columns of a thousand people toward the execution ground. As they walked, some SS men went up and down the line, shooting people who could not keep up the pace german mobile killing squads who tried to run away or rest. Here the victims were split into groups of fifty and taken deeper into the forest, near the pits, where they were ordered to strip.

The victims were driven into the prepared trenches, made to lie down, and shot in the head or the back of the neck by members of Jeckeln's bodyguard. Around 13, Jews from Riga were killed at the pits that day, along with a thousand Jews from Berlin who had just arrived by train. On the second day german mobile killing squads the operation, 8 Decemberthe remaining 10, Jews of Riga were killed in the same way, german mobile killing squads. About a thousand were killed on the streets of the city or on the way to the site, bringing the total deaths for the two-day extermination to 25, german mobile killing squads, people.

Einsatzgruppe B, Cand D did not immediately follow Einsatzgruppe A's example in systematically killing all Jews in their areas. The Einsatzgruppe commanders, with the exception of Einsatzgruppe A's Stahlecker, were of the opinion by the fall of that it was impossible to kill the entire Jewish population of the Soviet Union in one sweep, and thought the killings should stop.

Einsatzgruppe A had already murdered almost all Jews in its area, german mobile killing squads, so it shifted its operations into Belarus to assist Einsatzgruppe B, german mobile killing squads.

In Dnepropetrovsk in FebruaryEinsatzgruppe D reduced the city's Jewish population from 30, to over the course of four days.


Mobile Killing Squads | The Holocaust Encyclopedia


german mobile killing squads


The mobile killing methods, particularly shooting, proved to be inefficient and psychologically burdensome to the killers. Even as Einsatzgruppen units carried out their operations, the German authorities planned and began construction of special stationary gassing facilities at centralized killing centers in order to murder vast numbers of Jews. Most people who think of the Holocaust think first of extermination camps like Auschwitz – but the first killings of the Nazi Final Solution were actually carried out by soldiers in the field. In Nazi commanders formed a number of mobile killing squads called einsatzgruppen (German for . Einsatzgruppen killing squads start. Jewish women about to be killed by an Einsatzgruppe. Just as he had during the invasion of Poland, two years before, SS General Reinhard Heydrich ordered Einsatzgruppen (special task forces) of security personnel (mostly SS, Gestapo, Police and SD) to enter the Soviet Union in the wake of the German invasion.