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The Einsatzgruppen Death Squads

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Holly Fitterer

on 4 March 2013

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Transcript of The Einsatzgruppen Death Squads

The Einsatzgruppen Killing Squads By Holly Fitterer Einsatzgruppen literally translates to task force. Their task, to kill Jews. The squad, also known as the mobile killing unit, was sent out to gather villages or groups of Jews, and then murder them there on the spot. These murders were performed without regard for age or gender. By the spring of 1943, the Einsatzgruppen had murdered 1,250,000 Jews and Soviets. Who Made up the Einsatzgruppen? There were 4 of these units created and were composed of about 3,500 SS personnel totally. Group A was assigned to the Baltic States; Group B: Moscow and surrounding areas; Group C: Kiev and surrounding areas; Group D: Ukraine. Within each of these groups were around 1000 persons composed of about 350 Waffen-SS, 150 in the motor pool, 100 Gestapo members, 100 auxiliary policemen, 130 with the Ordungsplizei, 30 or so from the SD and another 50 or so from the Kripo.

“We turned towards the grave and then he turned around and asked, "Whom shall I shoot 1st?" We were already facing the grave. The Germans asked, "Who do you want me to shoot 1st?" I did not answer. I felt him take the child from my arms. The child cried out and was shot immediately. And then he aimed at me.” --Rivka Yosselevescka The Einsatzgruppen Killing Squads were violent and emotionless when committing mass shootings, inventing and using gas vans, and leaving survivors to die. As the killing squads first went to kill, they used mass shootings as their murder weapons.
Rivka Yosselevscka stated, “I saw the children. They were running after me, hanging onto me. ...I remained sitting with the children around me - the children who got up from the heap of corpses. Then Germans came ... I sat there watching how they collected the children. They gave a few shots and the children were dead - they did not need many shots - the children were almost dead.” “We took them from the ghetto into the forest, in that forest they were shot. Men,women, and children all shot at the same time...You just had to shoot the gun.” (Petras Zelionka, Einsatzgruppen member) As a teen in the 1940s he learned to hate the Jews and it didn’t bother him. But soon after, many other members like him showed signs of psychological tension. This led to the need for a new way to kill the Jews. A brand new invention had come to the Einsatzgruppen. The gas chambers were working for the death camp to kill many at one time. So, they put a small gas chamber in a large van. In a secret letter to SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Rauff, Dr. August Becker stated, “I have had the vans of [Einsatz] Gruppe D disguised as house-trailers... but the civilian population referred to them as the "Death Vans" as soon as one appeared. In my opinion the vans cannot be kept secret for any length of time even if they are camouflaged.” Map from Stahlecker's report entitled "Jewish Executions Carried Out by Einsatzgruppe A" and stamped "Secret Reich Matter." It shows the number of Jews executed in the Baltic States and Belorussia in 1941. The legend at the bottom states that "the estimated number of Jews still on hand is 128,000." “During the afternoon Nebe had the window bricked in, leaving two openings for the gas hose....When we arrived, one of the hoses that I had brought was connected. It was fixed onto the exhaust of a touring car.... After eight minutes he had been unable to detect any result and asked what should be done next...So Nebe had the second hose fitted onto a transport vehicle belonging to the regular police. It then took only another few minutes before the people were unconscious. ”(The testimony of Dr. Albert Widmann on the killings at an asylum at Moghilev east of Minsk) Many times, when they committed mass shootings, they did not always check to see if everyone was dead. “Then I felt that I was choking; people falling over me. I tried to move, and felt that I was alive and that I could rise. I was strangling. I heard the shots and I was praying for another bullet to put an end to my suffering, but I continued to move about...I tried to save myself - to find some air to breathe, and then I felt that I was climbing towards the top of the grave above the bodies. I rose and I felt bodies pulling at me with their hands, biting at my legs, pulling me down, down. And yet, with my last strength, I came up on top of the grave."(Rivka Yosselevescka) “Then she heard people walking near her... on the bodies. They were Germans who had climbed down and were bending over and taking things from the dead and occasionally firing at those which showed signs of life. . . .One SS-man caught his foot against me and my appearance aroused his suspicions. .. I hung limp and gave no signs of life. He kicked me in the breast with his heavy boot and trod on the right hand so that the bones cracked, but he didn't use his gun and went off.” (Dina Pronicheva) The Einsatzgruppen Killing Squads were violent and emotionless when committing mass shootings, inventing and using gas vans, and leaving survivors to die. The Einsatzgruppen Killing Squads were violent and emotionless when committing mass shootings, inventing and using gas vans, and leaving survivors to die. In the beginning of 1941, they had just targeted public enemies, which included communists, gypsies, and jewish men of legal age. By late summer, it had swallowed and taken jewish women and children into the course. All those people died. They never did anything wrong, but that didn’t stop the Einsatzgruppen from getting to declare one thing. Places east of Germany could be called “Judenfrei”, that they made eastern Europe almost free of Jews. Works Cited

Becker, August. "Extermination in Gas Vans in the Ukraine." Extermination in Gas Vans in the Ukraine. 2013. Yad Vashem. 25 Feb. 2013 <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/Ukraine1.html>.

Gilbert, Martin. "A Survivor of the Babi Yar Massacre." PBS. 2012. PBS. 25 Feb. 2013 <http://www.pbs.org/wnet/heritage/episode8/documents/documents_13.html>.

Holocaust Memorial Museum. "Holocaust History." Einsatzgruppen (Mobile Killing Units). 31 May 2012. Holocaust Memorial Museum. 25 Feb. 2013 <http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005130>.

Widmann, Albert. "From Shootings to Gas Vans." From Shootings to Gas Vans. 15 Nov. 1997. 25 Feb. 2013 <http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/orgs/german/einsatzgruppen/esg/widmann.html>.
Wright, Laura, and Rivka Yosselevescka. "The SS Einsatzgruppen." The Einsatzgruppen. 5 Feb. 2000. 25 Feb. 2013 <http://www.datasync.com/~davidg59/einsatz.html>. Mass Shootings Mass Shootings Gas Vans Gas Vans The Survivors The Survivors
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