The Order Police and the final solution
The Einsatzgruppen was a section of the Order Police charged with carrying out the killing of Jews in Russia, they were split into four units that varied in size between 500 and 900 men. These units followed the main army’s push into Russia to seek out and destroy as many Jews as possible “3000 men in search for millions of Jews.”1 After the initial push the Einstatzgruppen would go town to town using scare tactics to lure out the Jews, lead them to a large anti-tank ditch, and kill them, taking clothes, valuables, and even removing gold teeth. In some accounts the non-Jew villagers would assist the Einstatzgruppen by going into homes and forcing the Jews out, where the order police were waiting to shoot them on the spot. The German Army even assisted the Order Police “The generals, initially reluctant to participate in the killing of Jews, became willing accomplices in many instances.”2 The circumstances of the Einsatzgruppen’s mission lead to many problems among the men, “Such constant killing produced morale problems for some of the German executioners. Many resorted to frequent use of alcohol.”3 Overall the Einsatzgruppen killed many Jews but it was too inefficient of a process, for Hitler, to go on longer than it did, in the two years these Order Police units were operating in Russia they were capable of killing 1 million Jews which is only a fraction of what was able to be done in the concentration camps. All of the ways the Jews were being killed were atrocious, but the seek-and-destroy mission the Order Police had was especially heinous.
1 Spielvogel, Jackson J., and David Redles. Hitler and Nazi Germany: A History. Seventh ed. pg 261
2 Spielvogel and Redles pg 261
3 Spielvogel and Redles pg 262