Nazi Germany's Mobile Killing Units

Who, when, where?

The Einsatzgruppen(literally meaning "task forces" or "deployment groups") was an organized group of Nazi squads who were sent to locate and execute Jews, traitors and opposers of the Nazi regime. These death squads operated from beginning of the war in 1939 to the end in 1945. The Einsatzgruppen invaded many countries such as Poland, Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Russia, Austria and within Germany itself.

Under control of the SS.

With Heinrich Himmler in charge of the SS, the hate for Jewish people grew and the violence became stronger than ever before. Many European citizens including the Jewish community were rounded in large numbers and shot. Many died with one bullet, but with every second causing more fear some used suicide to escape the torture.

Hope was lost and people became desensitized.

Death was delivered fast with the Einsatsgruppen

But Hitler did not believe the killings were fast enough.

With the growing differences between regular frontline soldiers and the Einsatzgruppen squad members, Hitler thought he needed a quicker way to exterminate the Jewish population. Because of the expensive costs of ammunition and time taken to round up and kill Jews, Adolf Hitler preferred the use of concentration camps and gas chambers as the Einsatzgruppen fell out of favor.

The killings left some German soldiers scarred.

It did not occur to many Nazis that these killings were inhumane and evil in their own work. For some, killing Jews was a perfect sign of patriotism, but for the others who had opened their eyes, they knew this was not right, even if it meant victory.
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Einsatzgruppen actions in video

einsatzgruppen actual footage