Einsatzgruppen Pictures

The Mobile Killing Units of the Third Reich

The Einsatzgruppen were German mobile killing units that operated within German-occupied territory after Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. The Einsatzgruppen rounded up Jews, Gypsies, the disabled, Communists, and prisoners of war and then murdered them.

One of the more well known mass killings conducted by the Einsatzgruppen was at Babi Yar, where 100,000 people were slaughtered.

By the spring of 1943, it is estimated that the Einsatzgruppen had murdered approximately 1.25 million Jews and thousands of others.

The following pictures show the Einsatzgruppen preparing their victims and then killing them.

Victims on the Way to Their Death

Jews, on their way out of the city of Kiev to the Babi Yar ravine, pass corpses lying on the street.
Jews, on their way out of the city of Kiev to the Babi Yar ravine, pass corpses lying on the street. (September 29, 1941). Picture from the Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives.

Undressing and Waiting

Picture of a woman with her two children before their execution by Einsatzgruppen.
Close-up of a young mother with her two children, sitting among a large group of Jews from Lubny who have been assembled for mass execution by the Germans. (October 16, 1941). (Picture from the Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, courtesy of the USHMM Photo Archives)
  • Jewish women and a child
  • Close-up of a young mother with her two children
  • Unidentified people sit among piles of clothing
  • German police look on as Jewish women are forced to undress
  • Naked Jewish women, some of whom are holding infants, wait in a line before their execution

Shooting

Picture of a Jewish man kneeling at the edge of a mass grave right before being shot.
German soldiers of the Waffen-SS and the Reich Labor Service look on as a member of Einsatzgruppe D prepares to shoot a Ukrainian Jew kneeling on the edge of a mass grave filled with corpses. (1942). (Picture from the Library of Congress, courtesy of the USHMM Photo Archives)
  • Jewish men are forced to dig their own graves
  • A group of Soviet civilians kneeling by the side of a mass grave
  • Member of Einsatzgruppe D prepares to shoot a Ukrainian Jew kneeling on the edge of a mass grave
  • The execution of civilians
  • A German policeman shoots individual Jewish women who remain alive in the ravine

After the Killing

A picture of German police looking through a pile of corpses at Babi Yar.
German police look through the clothing of people killed during a shooting action, presumably at Babi Yar. (Sep 29-30, 1941). (Picture from the Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives)
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Rosenberg, Jennifer. "Einsatzgruppen Pictures." ThoughtCo, May. 19, 2014, thoughtco.com/einsatzgruppen-german-mobile-killing-unit-pictures-1779694. Rosenberg, Jennifer. (2014, May 19). Einsatzgruppen Pictures. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/einsatzgruppen-german-mobile-killing-unit-pictures-1779694 Rosenberg, Jennifer. "Einsatzgruppen Pictures." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/einsatzgruppen-german-mobile-killing-unit-pictures-1779694 (accessed November 18, 2017).