The Einsatzgruppen

Global Effects

Who Are They?

They were groups of German SS officers and would operate with German army units and murdered 1.25 million Jews and thousands of others.(1)

Global Effect of the Einsatzgruppen

The Beginning

Hitler threatened if the war became global that the Jews would suffer the consequences. In July 1941 mass shootings began by the Einsatzgruppen and Hitler made the decision to kill all jews.(2)

Operation Reinhard Camps

These were three camps that were built in 1941 and 1942. They were different than the concentration camps because they were used for no other purpose than to kill the jews and this was done by the Einsatzgruppen.(3)

Killing More Than Planned

Initially the Einsatzgruppen were to kill specific people but then as months went on the Einsatzgruppen changed their policies and began targeting all jews, including woman and children which led to the camps. They started going to the Jewish communities and killing them instead of killing jews that got brought to them. (4)

Einsatzgruppen Changes Policy Towards the Jews

The Nazi policy towards the Jews was changed by the war in the Soviet Union and also by the actions of the Einsatzgruppen. Initially the main focus was on anyone who was not a Nazi or not considered good enough to be a Nazi but when the Einsatzgruppen started killing mass amounts of Jews the focus started to change to all jews. (5)

Causing Fear

The Einsatzgruppen were causing an incredible amount of fear for everyone who didn't fit the perfect Nazi description all over Germany. Word got out about them and the mass murders they would perform. All of Germany that was against them was in complete fear. (6)

Weak Links

The global effect was hard on everyone and even some members of the Einsatzgruppen. Some of the members were not able to carry out orders given to them and were not able to murder just any person. (7)


Secondary Sources:

1. Militaryhistoryonline, “Special-motivation and actions of the Einsatzgruppen”, Walter S. Zapotoczny, (2/26/06)

2. holocaust-history, “The Operation Reinhard Extermination Camps”, Gord McFee,

3. holocaust-history, “The Operation Reinhard Extermination Camps”, Gord McFee,

4. ww2history, “Einsatzgruppen killing squads start”, Laurence Rees,

5. ww2history, “Einsatzgruppen killing squads start”, Laurence Rees,

6. Holocaust research project, “Operational Situation Report USSR No. 81”, Holocaust Education and Archive Research Team,

7. alphahistory, “The Einsatzgruppen”, Marian Anderson,, 2012