Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Behind the Page... Canaris

Admiral Wilhelm Canaris was Chief of the Abwehr, the military intelligence branch of the Wehrmacht, in Nazi Germany. Early on he disliked Hitler and Nazi policies but felt himself too old to effectively coordinate a coup. Instead, he empowered his deputy General Hans Oster to do just that. Canaris was murdered at Flossenburg concentration camp in April 1945.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Behind the Page... Gas Vans

Himmler became concerned about the brutalizing effect that shooting Jews and other victims of Nazi ideology had on the Einsatzgruppen soldiers. He ordered that a more efficient and distant form of killing be developed. The first attempt at this were the gas vans. The exhaust pipes were inserted into the back of the sealed van so that victims died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Behind the Page... Babi Yar

Not everyone died immediately. Often Einsatzgruppen soldiers would go into the pit and shoot survivors. This is the sort of scene that Kurt witnessed at Babi Yar.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Behind the Page... More Einsatzgruppen

The Einsatzgruppen quickly became more organized in their approach to mass execution. Jews in Ukraine and Russia were shot on the edge of a pit so that  their bodies would fall into the pit making burial more convenient.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Behind the Page... Einsatzgruppen

The special killing squad units of the SS who were the first perpetrators of the "Final Solution" on a large scale were called Einsatzgruppen.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Behind the Page... Deadly Snow

Far more German soldiers died from hypothermia than Soviet bullets during the winter of 1941-42.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

Behind the Page... Civilians suffer

The failure of German supply lines during Operation Barbarossa meant that the Ukrainian and Soviet civilians suffered greatly as the German Army plundered the countryside.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Behind the Page... Mud

The fall rains slowed the German advance greatly during Operation Barbarossa.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Behind the Page... Soviet POWs

Operation Barbarossa was so successful at first that the German Army didn't quite know what to do with all of the Soviet POWs. Hitler and Himmler did. Most Soviet POWs died in concentration camps.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Behind the Page... Operation Barbarossa

Map of Operation Barbarossa. The German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Behind the Page... Hitler betrays Stalin

Hitler and Stalin signed the Non Aggression Pact in August 1939. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941 during Operation Barbarossa, the treaty ended.