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John Zamfoti
Modern World History-P, Period 3
April 8, 2016
The Mobile Killing Squads: Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen (in this context, mobile killing units) 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 perceived 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) battalions was the first step
of the "Final Solution," the Nazi program to murder all European Jews.
The Einsatzgruppen followed the German army as it advanced deep into Soviet territory.
The Einsatzgruppen, often drawing on local civilian and police support, carried out mass-murder
operations. In contrast to the methods later instituted of deporting Jews from their own towns and
cities or from ghetto settings to killing centers, Einsatzgruppen came directly to the home
communities of Jews and massacred them.Its main tool of oppression and destruction, which
persecuted Germans, opponents of the regime, and Jews. It later played a central role in helping

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carry out the Nazi's "Final Solution."(Evidence 1). It was such a brilliant plan, but it was
genocide. 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. At the end of 1940, when the Jews in Eastern Europe were interned
in ghettos, the Gestapo was charged with guarding and supervising the ghettos, imposing forced
labor, and causing starvation and disease in an effort to decimate the ghetto inhabitants. After
the invasion of Russia in 1941, the decision was made to kill all the Jews of Europe in gas
chambers and the Gestapo was called upon to supervise the dispatch of the Jews to the camps
specially adapted or constructed for the program of mass murder(Evidence 1). They shot
Jewish men, women, and children without regard for age or sex, and buried them in mass graves.
Often with the help of local informants and interpreters, Jews in a given locality were identified
and taken to collection points. Thereafter they were marched or transported by truck to the
execution site, where trenches had been prepared. the Gestapo operated without any
restrictions from the civil authority, meaning that its members could not be tried for any of their
police practices. This unconditional authority added an elitist element to the Gestapo; its
members knew that whatever actions they took, no consequences would arise.(Evidence 1).
This was some of the orders that Hitler gave these mobile killing squads, but it had to be
controlled by one of Hitlers right hand man: Himmler.
Himmler was appointed to take measures to strengthen German ethnicity in the occupied
territories and to create lebensraum, or living space for German citizens. To this end, Himmler
created special task forces within the SS, the Einsatzgruppen, and placed them under the
command of Reinhard Heydrich. Given overall responsibility for the security of the Nazi
empire, Himmler was the key and senior Nazi official responsible for conceiving and overseeing

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implementation of the so-called Final Solution, the Nazi plan to murder the Jews of Europe.
(Evidence 2). In the five years after the Nazis seized power in January 1933, Himmler built an
unassailable position for the SS by taking control of the German police forces. Himmler sought
and obtained command of each of the state political police departments in Germany, and had
centralized them within a single new agency in Berlin, the Secret State Police (Geheime
Staatspolizei; Gestapo).(Evidence 2) He later on started to form more and more of the police and
forces in Germany. After Hitler appointed him Reichsfhrer SS and Chief of German Police on
June 17, 1936, Himmler centralized the various criminal police detective forces in Germany into
the Reich Criminal Police Office (Reichskriminalpolizeiamt) and united the Gestapo and
Criminal Police in the Security Police Main Office (Hauptamt Sicherheitspolizei)(Evidence 2).
Himmler expanded his authority during the war, Hitler appointed Himmler Reich Commissar for
the Strengthening of German Ethnic Stock, a position that authorized Himmler and the SS to
plan, initiate, and control the pace of German resettlement projects in occupied Poland, and,
later, the Soviet Union.
The mobile killing operations of the Nazis did not begin with the invasion of Poland but
with the application of Nazi racial doctrine to the German population itself. The public patient
transport, known as the Gekrat, transported the patients from Eichberg to Hadamar, where they
were put to death as part of the Nazi euthanasia program. Anti-Semitism had long been evident
in Poland. Jews were not considered Poles and, as in Nazi Germany, were defined as a race. It
appears that, until 1939, Poland saw its destiny as tied to Germany's and its policies toward
Jews mirrored those of Germany -- forced emigration.(Evidence 3) This was all to change with
the Nazi invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. The consequences of this invasion were
disastrous for Poland as a nation and, especially for Poland's Jewish population. On September,

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21, 1939, Heydrich instructed those under his command to observe a distinction between the
"final aim," which would take some time and "the steps necessary for reaching it which can be
applied more or less at once." The Einsatzgruppen became "mobile killing units" charged with
liquidating all political enemies of the Reich. The mobile killing units murdered 1.4 million Jews
between 1941 and the end of the war in 1945. The actions of the Einsatzgruppen in the
conquered territories will demonstrate the purpose for which they were organized. The normal
strength of the Einsatzgruppen was from 500 to 800 men. The officer strength of the
Einsatzgruppen was drawn from the SD, SS, Criminal Police (Kripo) and Gestapo. The enlisted
forces were composed of the Waffen SS, the regular police, the Gestapo, and locally-recruited
In the end, all of the mobile killing squads were captured by the Russians or took cyanide
capsules and the genocide of Jews came to an end. It was brutal, but it came to an end. The
killing squads were brutal, but a good tactic. Hitler used this in the Third Reich and didnt carry
out his plan as the Aryan Race he envisioned.