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Einsatzgruppen

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Einsatzgruppen (German: "task forces", "special-ops units") were paramilitary groups formed under the direction of Reinhard Heydrich and operated by the Schutzstaffel (SS) before and during World War II. Their principal task (during the war), according to SS General Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, at the Nuremberg Trials: "was the annihilation of the Jews, Gypsies, and Soviet political commissars". They were a key component in the implementation of the "Final Solution of the Jewish question" (German: Die Endlösung der Judenfrage) in the conquered territories. These killing units should be viewed in conjunction with the Holocaust.

During the war these units were formed mainly of men from the Ordnungspolizei (Orpo), the Waffen-SS and local volunteers, e.g. militia groups, and led by Gestapo, Kripo, and SD officers. These death squads followed the Wehrmacht as it advanced eastwards through Eastern Europe en route to the Soviet Union. In occupied territory, the Einsatzgruppen also used the local populace for additional security and manpower when needed. The activities of the Einsatzgruppen were spread through a large pool of soldiers from the branches of the SS and the German Reich. Einsatzgruppen were under the control of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) (Reich Main Security Office); i.e., Reinhard Heydrich (until his death) and later his successor Ernst Kaltenbrunner.

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.

Personnel

Invasion of Poland

Seven Einsatzgruppen of battalion strength operated in Poland. Each was subdivided into four Einsatzkommandos of company strength.Template:Sfn

Invasion of the Soviet Union and other countries

Organisation
Einsatzgruppe Leader Subgroups
Einsatzgruppe A
(Baltic states)Template:Sfn
SS-Brigadeführer
Dr. Franz Walter Stahlecker
(until 23 March 1942)
100px
  • Sonderkommandos 1a and 1b (German for special forces; not to be confused with the Sonderkommandos in the concentration camps)
  • Einsatzkommandos 2 and 3. Attached to Army Group North
Einsatzgruppe B
(Belarus)Template:Sfn
SS-Brigadeführer
Artur Nebe
(until October 1941)
100px
Einsatzgruppe C
(Northern and central Ukraine)Template:Sfn
SS-Gruppenführer
Dr. Otto Rasch
(until October 1941)
100px
Einsatzgruppe D
(Bessarabia, Southern Ukraine, Crimea, and Caucasus)Template:Sfn
SS-Gruppenführer
Prof. Otto Ohlendorf
(until June 1942)
100px
  • Sonderkommandos 10a and 10b
  • Einsatzkommandos 11a, 11b, and 12. Attached to 11th Army
Einsatzgruppe E
(Croatia)Template:Sfn
SS-Obersturmbannführer Ludwig Teichmann, SS-Standartenführer Günther Herrmann, SS-Standartenführer Wilhelm Fuchs Five Einsatzkommandos located in Vinkovci, Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Knin, and Zagreb
Einsatzgruppe F
(Army Group South)Template:Sfn
Einsatzgruppe G
(Romania, Hungary, Ukraine)Template:Sfn
SS-Standartenführer Dr. Josef Kreuzer Einsatzkommandos 11 and 12
Einsatzgruppe H
(Slovakia)Template:Sfn
Einsatzgruppe K
(with 5th Panzer Army in the Ardennes offensive)Template:Sfn
SS-Oberführer Dr. Emanuel Schäfer
Einsatzgruppe L
(with 6th Panzer Army in the Ardennes offensive)Template:Sfn
SS-Standartenführer Dr. Ludwig Hahn
Einsatzgruppe Griechenland (Greece)Template:Sfn SS-Sturmbannführer Dr. Ludwig Hahn
Einsatzgruppe Iltis (Carinthia (Slovenia))Template:Sfn SS-Standartenführer Paul Blobel
Einsatzkommando Luxemburg (Luxembourg)Template:Sfn
Einsatzgruppe Norwegen (Norway)Template:Sfn SS-Oberführer Dr. Franz Walter Stahlecker
Einsatzgruppe Serbien (Yugoslavia)Template:Sfn SS-Standartenführer Wilhelm Fuchs, SS-Gruppenführer August Meysner
Einsatzgruppe for Special Purposes
(eastern Poland)Template:Sfn
SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Polizei
Karl Eberhard Schöngarth
Einsatzkommando Tilsit (Lithuania, Poland)Template:Sfn
Einsatzgruppe Tunis (Tunis)Template:Sfn SS-Obersturmbannführer Walter Rauff
Proposed Einsatzgruppe
(United Kingdom)Template:Sfn
SS-Standartenführer
Dr. Franz Six
100px
Proposed Einsatzgruppe
(Middle East)Template:Sfn
SS-Obersturmbannführer
Walter Rauff

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