Hating And Killing Jews: The Murderous Nazi "Einsatzgruppen" And Important Lessons For Today
December 8, 2014
By EMERSON VERMAAT
The "Einsatzgruppen" or Operational Groups and the smaller "Einsatzkommandos/Sonderkommandos" or Operational (Special) Commandos followed the Nazi armies which invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. They were murderous mobile units of the SS specialized in mass executions, notably of Jews. There were four Einsatzgruppen: Einsatzgruppe A (North), Einsatzgruppe B (Center), Einsatzgruppe C (South) and Einsatzgruppe D (further down the South, in the Crimea, for example). The SS or "Schutzstaffel" were the most fanatical Nazis. They were totally committed to mass murder and ran death camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau. The mass excutioners of the Einsatzgruppen were also part of the SS. Their most important symbol was the death's head or "Totenkopf."
Between early July and the end of November 1941 Einsatzkommando 3, which was part of Einsatzgruppe A, killed 137,346 persons. Most of the victims were Jews. This was reported by Karl Jäger, the chief of Einsatzkommando 3, on December 1, 1941. Shortly after the Nazis occupied the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, the mass murderers of the SS executed 33,771 Jews – on September 29 and 30, 1941, in just two days, that is. Most of the mass murderers belonged to the notorious SS-Sonderkommando 4a, which was part of Einsatzgruppe C. Sonderkommando 4a was led by Paul Blobel. The figure of 33,771 murdered Jews was equally reported by the SS itself.
Very few Jews survived the Babi Yar massacre. Yet, I managed to interview one of the survivors, namely Vasily Mikhailovsky (Cesar Kats), born in Kiev in 1937.
"My mother died when I was born," he says. "My father was a soldier in the Soviet Red Army. He was captured but he escaped from captivity and came back to Kiev. The woman who used to clean the streets near our apartment told the Nazis that my father was a Jew and that he was living in that apartment. My father was taken away and killed by the Nazis one day before the Babi Yar massacre."
"Before the Nazis occupied Kiev, my father sent us away from the city – my brother Pavel and me, my grandmother as well as my Ukrainian nanny Anastasia Fomina. She was a very good nanny." "For some reason the train was stopped nearby Kiev. My nanny and I went back to Kiev to take some clothes. When we returned to the train we noticed that it had already left."
"The same woman who used to clean the streets told my nanny on September 28, 1941: ‘You must bring this small Jewish boy to Babi Yar tomorrow morning. There was also a Jewish cemetry and a railway station nearby.'"
"It was a long walk to Babi Yar on September 29, 1941. Posters said that all the Jews living in Kiev must take warm clothes, identity papers and valuables with them." "The Nazis said: ‘We'll take the Jews out of Kiev, and maybe we'll bring them to Palestine.'"
"Therefore, many people were optimistic until the moment when we came to the place where the Nazis and Ukrainian policemen were standing in two lines. Angry German sheperd dogs were barking."
"Crowds of people were behind us. Women and children began to cry. There were lots of children. My nanny Anastasia felt that something was wrong, that the Nazis were going to kill us. She was very nervous and tense, but suddenly she produced her Ukrainian passport and showed it to a soldier. At that time my name was not Vasily Mikhailovsky. My real name was Cesar Kats, a Jewish name." "Something touched that soldier's heart when he saw us and Anastasia's Ukrainian passport. He realized perhabs that a mistake had been made. He allowed me and Anastasia te leave this place of doom. Maybe, he felt remorse in his heart, maybe he assumed I was Anastasia's son. I don't know if he was a German SS soldier, but he was among the soldiers who were lined up at both sides."
The total number of Jews and non-Jews killed by the Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos was about 1,5 million. Some authors, Wolfgang Curilla for example, believe that the number of those who were executed was even higher. At the end of August 1944, Adolf Eichmann told a fellow SS-officer "that four million Jews had died in the death camps, and two million Jews had died in another way, notably through executions by the Einsatzkommandos in Russia." There were also so-called SS-Police-Battalions which had carried out mass executions. It should further be noted that the German army, the Wehrmacht, executed lots of prisoners of war and so-called ‘political commissars' – Stalin's political officers in the Red Army who were responsible for political education and reliability.
Jews were also killed by different Einsatzgruppen operating in Poland (1939) and Slovakia (1944/45). It was Hitler himself who had ordered all these mass executions.
Anti-Jewish and anti-Western mass murderers making "a fetish of death"
In his excellent study "The History of an Obsession: German Judeophobia and the Holocaust," Klaus P. Fischer makes a remarkable observation on the glorification of death by the Nazis and the SS. What he writes can equally be applied to today's mass murderers and suicide bombers belonging to Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Only the terms "race", "racial" and "Nazi" must be replaced by "Islam" and "Islamic/Islamist."
"Especially the men of the SS believed that the infliction of death on others strengthened their own vital powers and validated their racial superiority. Coversely, they saw their own death as a noble sacrifice that would strengthen the Nazi movement.
Hitler and the Nazi power elite made a fetish of death and celebrated it in pseudoreligious rituals. Goebbels, in his speech on "Total War," said that ‘we go into war as we would go into high mass.' His Führer believed that the destruction of his enemies, especially the Jews, validated his own omnipotence; he looked at success in war as a sign that he was favored by higher powers, to the point of believing that the amount of favor bestowed on him by higher power was directly proportional to the number of enemies he killed – the more corpses the greater the favor from above…" "In short, for the Nazis death was a means of self-transcendence. In reality, their love of death served a different purpose: an invocation of and participation in evil."
Hitler also planned a Holocaust in "Palestine"
On October 25, 1941, Hitler addressed his inner circle. Among those who were present were SS-chief Heinrich Himmler and his deputy Reinhard Heydrich. Hitler told them: ‘From the rostrum of the Reichstag I prophesied to Jewry that, in the event of war's proving inevitable, the Jew would disappear from Europe. That race of criminals has on its conscience the two million dead of the first World War, and now already hundreds of thousands more. Let nobody tell me that all the same we can't park them in the marshy lands of Russia! Who's worrying about our troops? It's not a bad idea, by the way, that public rumor attributes to us a plan to exterminate the Jews. Terror is a salutary thing. The attempt to create a Jewish state will be a failure."
Hitler also planned a Holocaust in "Palestine," a British mandate at the time. Egypt, Jordan and Iraq (in the second half of 1941, that is) were also under British control. There were about 500,000 Jews in Palestine when the war broke out in 1939. Shortly before the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union – codenamed "Operation Barbarossa" – Hitler issued a war directive called "Preperations for the period after Barbarossa." After he would have defeated Communist Russia, the German anti-Semitic dictator planned to conquer the Middle East or "Western Asia." "The struggle against British positions in the Mediterranean and in Western Asia will be continued by converging attacks launched from Libya through Egypt, from Bulgaria through Turkey, and in certain circumstances also from Transcaucasia through Iran."
The SS created another Einsatzkommando for Egypt, Palestine and North Africa. It was was the "Einsatzkommando Rauff," sometimes referred to in official documents as "Einsatzgruppe Rauff."
Hitler and the SS cooperated with Muslim extremists such as Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the Palestinian Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. These Arabs supported Hitler's plan to exterminate the Jews. Hitler told the Grand Mufti in November 1941: "The hour will strike when you will be the lord of the supreme word and not only be the conveyer of our declarations. You will be the man to direct the Arab forces and at that moment I cannot imagine what would happen to the Western peoples." "I think that with this Arab advance begins the dismemberment of the British world. The road from Rostov to Iran and Iraq is shorter than the distance from Berlin to Rostov. We hope next year to smash this barrier."
Haj Amin Al-Husseini was a personal friend of Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Eichmann. In their thorough and well documented study "Nazis, Islamists and the Making of the Modern Middle East," Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz quote from the mufti's memoirs. The mufti and Himmler had a meeting in the summer of 1943, and the mufti later quoted Himmler as follows: "Thus, up to now we have liquidated about three million of them (Jews, that is)." This partly included the mass executions of Soviet Jews by the Einsatzgruppen.
The Shah of Iran also sided with Nazi Germany and Hitler in turn admired the Iranians. "With the advent of Hitler, Germany showed a new interest in Iran, and technicians, doctors and various advisors were sent to Iran on terms usually favorable to Iran," writes Richard N. Frye in his book on Iran. "Trade between the two countries developed apace so that Germany was receiving 41 per cent of Iran's foreign trade at the outbreak of the war."
The Russians and the British invaded Iran in September 1941 and the Shah was then succeeded by his son Reza Pahlavi – who was not very pro German. Some Iranian clerics believed that Hitler was "the Mahdi," the eschatological redeemer of Islam. (This was reported by the German ambassador to Iran.) After the war Shah Reza Pahlavi was an American ally and maintained diplomatic relations with Israel. Unfortunately for Iran, Israel and the West, he was deposed in 1979 by the anti-Semitic religious lunatic Ayatollah Khomeini. U.S. President Jimmy Carter no longer supported the Shah – a fateful decision.
It was in the summer of 1942 that the Nazi armies reached the Caucasus Mountains in southern Russia.
At that time other Nazi armies were about one hundred kilometres away from Egypt's historic port city of Alexandria. German Field Marschall Erwin Rommel purchased maps of Nile Delta. He planned to occupy both Egypt and Palestine. North Africa had already been conquered by the Nazis and their Italian allies. However, the Nazis never succeeded in their effort to occupy the whole of Egypt as well as Palestine. Rommel's army was stopped by the British at El Alamein and Rommel had to withdraw until he reached Tunisia where his army was finally defeated. The Nazi armies were also not able to pass the Caucasus Mountains, due to successful Red Army offensives. The Russians would even drive the Germans out of Russia and eventually march all the way to Berlin.
Thus, Rauff's Einsatzkommando could not be deployed in Egypt and Palestine, but it was deployed in occupied Tunisia between November 1942 and early May 1943. The Germans and their Italian allies in Tunisia capitulated in May 1943. Rauff and his commando left Tunisia shortly before the Geman capitulation. Rommel left Tunisia in March 1942. After the war Rauff first went to Syria as a security advisor of the president, he later settled in Latin America. He was never put on trial.
Lessons for today
Radical Muslims still seek to kill all the Jews. Anti-Semitism is rampant among Muslims, Palestinians and Muslim immigrants in Europe. Attacks on Jews are being copycatted all the time. Last November, two Palestinian terrorists stormed a Jerusalem synagogue, attacking peaceful worshippers with knives, axes and guns. Ghassan and Udai Abu Jamal, two cousins, wanted to copycat ISIS/IS executions and beheadings in Syria and Iraq. Four rabbis were killed before the terrorists were shot dead by the police. Three of the rabbis were also U.S. citizens, one of them was also a British citizen. A police officer later died of his injuries. Immediately after the attack on the synagogue Palestinians in Gaza and the Westbank took to the streets and celebrated this latest act of horror. They expressed joy and handed out candy. Nazi collaborator Haj Amin al-Husseini, a prominent member of the anti-Semitic Muslim Brotherhood, once said: "Kill the Jews whereever you find them." Now many Muslim terrorists are inspired by the legacy of this Palestinian hate cleric.
Hamas spokesman Samir Abu Zuhri applauded the attack on the synagogue in Jerusalem and Palestinian radio described the attackers as "martyrs." The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said it carried out the attack. Hamas does not make a distinction between Israelis and Jews. The Hamas Charter says: "The Final Hour will not come until Muslims fight against the Jews and the Muslims kill them."
Sentiments in Europe are pro-Arab. More and more European governments and parliaments are recognizing Palestine as a state. This will not solve anything – on the contrary. If there were to be a real Palestinian state in the West Bank, Hamas terrorists would quickly seize power there, either by means of a plot or simply by winning elections – as they did in Gaza in 2007. Hamas is already more popular than Mahmoud Abbas and his weak Palestinian Authority (PA). Israel "foiled an extensive Hamas plot to initiate a third Intifada and to carry out a coup to oust the PA in the Westbank earlier this year," the usually well informed "IPT News" reported. "Hamas personnel based in Turkey were behind the plot, headed by Hamas leader Salah Al-Arourri." There are also reports about how Hamas and the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood are smuggling weapons into Palestinian territories. "The terrorist organization recruited 20 fishermen to smuggle weapons and explosives into Gaza."
The Egyptians are also quite worried about Hamas and ISIS/IS, and rightly so. They know that the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula is a fertile ground for terrorists. After a deadly attack which killed more than 30 Egyptian soldiers last October, Egypt decided to create a new 13 kilometer buffer zone in order to stop arms smuggling from Gaza.
Watch pro-Iranian Marine Le Pen
We should also be very worried about France where anti-Semitic attacks are ever more frequent. The purpetrators are militant Muslim immigrants or neo-Nazis. A young Jewish couple was recently attacked in the Parisian suburb of Créteil. The Jewish wife was raped. The perpetrators took the couple's computer and valuables with them. They said: "Being Jewish means having money. We are going to rob you. We target Jews and their money simultaneously." French Prime Minister Manuel Vals said: "Paris rape vile proof of rising anti-Semitism."
There is a fair chance that the nationalistic National Front will gain the next presidential elections, in 2017, that is. Party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen is a convicted Holocaust denier. He is also the godfather to one of Dieudonné's' children. Dieudonné M'Bala M'bala is a French-African anti-Semitic comedian who mocked Auschwitz concentration camp prisoners and sided with the notorious French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson.
Le Pen's daughter Marine Le Pen claims to be more moderate, but her anti-Semitic and influential father is still a member of the European parliament. The National Front may be against too many Muslim immigrants in France, but the party's foreign policy is rather pro-Palestinian and pro-Iranian, and definitely anti-American. They also have very close ties with Vladimir Putin's Russia – and even accepted Russian money to finance party activities. Putin supports both Iran and Syria. Marine Le Pen's worldview has been summarized by Peter Martino as follows: "Oppose America, Embrace Iran." "The boycot of Iran, Le Pen said, should stop. French companies should return to Iran."
Marine Le Pen's pro-Russian and pro-Iranian foreign policy advisor Dr. Aymeric Chauprade wrote a highly controversial book "in which he voiced the possibility that the 9/11 attacks might have been part of a deliberate plot conceived in Washington to start an American war against the rest of the world." Last January Chauprade said "that both the United States and Israel are allies of the Saudis." "France should break its relationship with Saudi Arabia and ally itself with Iran."
9/11 conspiracy theorist and Iran's friend Aymeric Chauprade is likely to become France's Foreign Minister should Le Pen's party gain in the 2017 presidential elections.
Emerson Vermaat is an investigative journalist in the Netherlands. Website:www.emersonvermaat.com. His latest book is on the Nazi "Einsatzgruppen" in Poland, Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States and Slovakia (1939-1944/45).
Emerson Vermaat, Moordenaars achter het front. De Einsatzgruppen van de SS(Soesterberg, Netherlands: Aspekt Publishers, 2014).
Klaus P. Fischer, The History of an Obessession. German Judeophobia and the Holocaust (New York/London: Continuum Publishing Group, 1998), p. 378, 379.
Emerson Vermaat, An Exclusive Interview with a Survivor from the September 1941 Babi Yar Massacre, published in: Pipelinenews, November 6, 2013 (San Francisco, USA). Full text of my interview with Vasily Mikhailovsky.
David G. Dalin and John F. Rothmann, Icon of Evil. Hitler's Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam (New Brunswick/London: Transaction Publishers, 2009), p. 164. Hitler's meeting with Haj Amin Al-Husseini, Berlin, November 21, 1941.
H.R. Trevor-Roper (Ed.), Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-1944 (New York: Enigma Books, 2008, New Edition), p. 69.
Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists and the Making of the Modern Middle East (New Haven and London: Yale Univbersity Press, 2014), p. 185.
Richard N. Frye, Iran (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1954), p. 80.
Huffington Post/Reuters, November 18, 2014 ("Armed men launch attack on Jerusalem Synagogue, killing at least 4").
IPT News, December 1, 2014 ("Plotting new violence, Hamas dissolves unity government with Fatah"); IPT News, August 19, 2014 ("Israel disrupts Hamas plot to overthrow PA").
IPT News, December 2, 2014 ("Hamas, Jordanian Brotherhood Smuggle Weapons into Palestinian Territories").
The Times of Israel, December 4, 2014 ("French PM: Paris rape ‘vile' proof of rising anti-Semitism"); De Volkskrant (Amsterdam), December 4, 2014, p. 9 ("Mix van Jodenhaat en smeerlapperij")
1Vandaag (Dutch TV), December 5, 2014. Putin's financial support for nationalist parties in Europe, among them the French National Front. Comments by Dr. Rob de Wijk, a leading Dutch security and terrorism expert in The Hague.
Marc Weitzmann, A Tablet Exclusive Interview with Marine Le Pen, Head of the National Front, Tablet Magazine, August 12, 2014.
Peter Martino, Marine Le Pen's Worldview: Oppose America, Embrace Iran, The Gatestone Institute, February 6, 2014.