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the Final Solution & the Massacres of the Jews

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Sarah
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« on: February 09, 2007, 10:34:03 pm »

Methods of murder

The standard method employed by the Einsatzgruppen was to post a proclamation ordering all the Jews and other condemned people in an occupied area to gather on a certain day. Once their victims were assembled, the squads led them to the place where they were to be killed, which was usually an open, isolated area where mass graves had been prepared. Sometimes, natural features of the landscape like the ravine at Babi Yar were used. The victims were forced to surrender their belongings and undress, after which they were positioned either on the edge of the grave or in it and shot.


The Nazis were not satisfied with shooting as a method of mass murder, however. It was costly in effort, there were too many potential witnesses to the murders, and the constant, close-quarters killing of defenseless men, women and children took a heavy psychological toll on the killers themselves. The men in charge of the Final Solution began searching for an alternative.

In some areas, the Einsatzgruppen also brought along specialized trucks called Gasenwagen, or gas van, developed for the since-terminated T4 euthanasia program operated by the Reich Chancellery. Victims were forced into the backs of vehicles into which the exhaust from the engine was routed. The victims were then variably poisoned, or asphyxiated from the carbon monoxide accumulating within the truck compartment as the vehicle travelled to a burial pit. Gas trucks were subsequently employed at the Chełmno extermination camp. The stationary gas chambers of the subsequent death camps of Poland were an outgrowth of this idea, resourced by T4 staff on loan to the SS.


The Jäger Report
 
Map titled "Jewish Executions Carried Out by Einsatzgruppe A" from the December 1941 Jäger Report. Marked "Secret Reich Matter," the map shows the number of Jews shot in the Baltic region, and reads at the bottom: "the estimated number of Jews still on hand is 128,000."The Einsatzgruppen kept track of many of their massacres, and one of the most famous of these officials records is the Jager Report, covering the operation of a Einsatzkommando 3 over five months in Lithuania. Written by the commander of Einsatzkommando 3, Karl Jager, it includes a detailed list summarizing each massacre, totaling 137,346 victims, and states "…I can confirm today that Einsatzkommando 3 has achieved the goal of solving the Jewish problem in Lithuania. There are no more Jews in Lithuania, apart from working Jews and their families." After the war, despite these records, Jäger lived in Germany under his own name until arrested for war crimes in 1959, when he committed suicide

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einsatzgruppen
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