SS Einsatzgruppen

Nazi Death Squads, 1939–1945

Gerry van Tonder

 
Date Published :
May 2018
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Language:
English
Series :
History of Terror
Illustration :
80 black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Paperback
ISBN : 9781526729095
Pages : 128
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
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In stock
$22.95

Overview
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In June 1941, Adolf Hitler, whose loathing of Slavs and Jewish Bolsheviks knew no bounds, launched Operation Barbarossa, throwing 4 million troops, supported by tanks, artillery and aircraft into the Soviet Union. Operational groups of the German Security Service, SD, followed into the Baltic and the Black Sea areas. Their orders: neutralize elements hostile to Nazi domination. Combined SS and SD headquarters were set up in Riga (northern), Mogilev (middle) and Kiev (southern), each with subordinate units of the SD, the Einsatzgruppen, and lower echelons of Einsatzkommandos.

Communist and Soviet NKVD (People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs) agents were targeted, and from August 1941 to March 1943, 4,000 Soviet and communist agents were arrested and executed. In addition, far greater numbers of partisans and communists were shot to ensure political and ethnic purity in the occupied territories. Einsatzgruppe A, under Adolf Eichmann, executed 29,000 people – listed as ‘Jews’ or ‘mostly Jews’ – in Latvia and Lithuania in the early stages of the operation. In the Einsatzgruppe C report for September 1941, there is a comment, ‘50,000 executions “foreseen” in Kiev’. In five months in 1941, Einsatzkommando III commander, Karl Jäger, reported killing 138,272 (48,252 men, 55,556 women and 34,464 children).

The Einsatzgruppen were death squads – their tools the rifle, the pistol and the machine gun. It is estimated that the Einsatzgruppen executed more than 2 million people between 1941 and 1945, including 1.3 million Jews.

About The Author
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Born in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, historian and author Gerry van Tonder came to Britain in 1999\. Specializing in military history, Gerry has authored Rhodesian Combined Forces Roll of Honour 1966–1981; Book of Remembrance: Rhodesia Native Regiment and Rhodesian African Rifles; North of the Red Line (on the South African border war), and the co-authored definitive Rhodesia Regiment 1899–1981\. Gerry presented a copy of the latter to the regiment’s former colonel-in-chief, Her Majesty the Queen. Gerry writes extensively for several Pen & Sword military history series including ‘Cold War 1945–1991’, ‘Military Legacy’ (focusing on the heritage of British cities), ‘Echoes of the Blitz’ and ‘A History of Terror’.

REVIEWS
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The book provides important details about the Einsatzgruppen’s leadership and organizational hierarchy, and translated memos specifying how the killings were to take place, and operational reports from the field about their missions’ accomplishments. Numerous photographs illustrate the text. A grim read, but a necessary one.

- Joshua Sinai, Washington Times, December 2019

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