The Final Solution


Einsatzgruppen were squads composed primarily of German SS and police personnel. Under the command of the German Security Police (Sicherheitspolizei; Sipo) and Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst; SD) officers, the Einsatzgruppen had among their tasks the murder of those recognized to be racial or political enemies found behind German combat lines in the occupied Soviet Union. These victims included Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and officials of the Soviet state and the Soviet Communist party. The Einsatzgruppen also murdered thousands of residents of institutions for the mentally and physically disabled. Many scholars believe that the systematic killing of Jews in the occupied Soviet Union by Einsatzgruppen and Order Police (Ordnungspolizei) force was the first step of the Final Solution the Nazi program to murder all European Jews. The German army provided logistical support to the Einsatzgruppen, including supplies, transportation, housing, and occasionally manpower in the form of units to guard and transport prisoners.

Killing Strategies

At first the Einsatzgruppen shot primarily Jewish men. By late summer 1941, they started shooting Jewish men, women, and children without regard for age or sex, and buried them in mass graves. With the help of local informants and interpreters, Jews in a given locality were identified and taken to collection points. In some cases the captive victims had to dig their own graves. After the victims had handed over their valuables and undressed, men, women, and children were shot, either standing before the open trench, or lying face down in the prepared pit. Shooting was the most common form of killing used by the Einsatzgruppen. In the late summer of 1941, Heinrich Himmler, noting the psychological burden that mass shootings created on his men, requested that a more convenient mode of killing be developed. The result was the gas van, a mobile gas chamber surmounted on the chassis of a cargo truck which employed carbon monoxide from the truck's exhaust to kill its victims. Gas vans made their first appearance on the eastern front in late fall 1941, and were eventually utilized, along with shooting, to murder Jews and other victims in most areas where the Einsatzgruppen operated.

Work Cited

"Einsatzgruppen (Mobile Killing Units)." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 20 June 2014. Web. 13 Dec. 2014.

"Interior of the Auschwitz Gas Chamber - Krema I - 2005 Photos." Interior of the Auschwitz Gas Chamber - Krema I - 2005 Photos. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2014.

"Monthly Archives: January 2014." Padre Steves WorldMusings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2014.

"The Killing Evolution." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2014.

"This Mass Grave of Murdered Jews Was the Handiwork of an Einsatzgruppen Der Sicherheitspolizei, a Group of SS Whose Sole Purpose Was the." This Mass Grave of Murdered Jews Was the Handiwork of an Einsatzgruppen Der Sicherheitspolizei, a Group of SS Whose Sole Purpose Was the. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2014.

einsatzgruppen actual footage

Einsatzgruppen Actual Footage

The description and process of how the Einsatzgruppen eliminated the Jews. The actual footage of what was going on, how the Nazis killed the Jews. The video gives a very clear reflection on the Einsatzgruppen.