families were taken from their homes and shot into mass graves in the forests
or ravines. The Einsatzgruppen were responsible for the ruthless murder of over
one million people, mainly Jews. Thousands of communities that had existed for
centuries were systematically destroyed as these death squads swept through.
22 June 1941, the German army invaded the Soviet Union. In this territory there
lived around 3.5 million Jews. Following behind the German army were special
groups of SS personnel called the Einsatzgruppen. Their task was to go into
the towns and villages, round up people and kill them. Their main victims were
Jews - men, women and children. They also targeted other enemies of the
Reich including partisans, Communists and Gypsies.
in Eisiskes, Lithuania.
A year after this photograph was taken, all the Jews in this village were killed
by the Einsatzgruppen.