During the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Einsatzgruppen followed the German army as it advanced deep into Soviet territory. The Einsatzgruppen, often drawing on local support, carried out mass-murder operations. In contrast to the process of deporting Jews from ghettos to camps, Einsatzgruppen came directly to the home communities of Jews and massacred them. The Einsatzgruppen following the German army into the Soviet Union were composed of four battalion-sized operational groups. Einsatzgruppe A fanned out from East Prussia across Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia toward Leningrad. It massacred Jews in Kovno, Riga, and Vilna. Einsatzgruppe B started from Warsaw in occupied Poland, and fanned out across Belorussia toward Smolensk, massacring Jews in Grodno, Minsk, Brest-Litovsk, Slonim, Gomel, and Mogilev, among other places. Einsatzgruppe C began operations from Krakow (Cracow) and Rzeszow (in occupied Poland) and fanned out across the Ukraine toward Kharkov and Rostov-on-Don. Its personnel directed massacres in Lvov, Tarnopol, Zolochev, Kremenets, Kharkov, Kiev, and elsewhere. Of the four units, Einsatzgruppe D operated farthest south. Its personnel carried out massacres in the southern Ukraine and the Crimea, especially in Nikolayev, Kherson, Simferopol, Sevastopol, and Feodosiya.
Below are thumbnails of the front and back of a cover with letter enclosed sent by a soldier in the Einsatzgruppen in Northern Russia, Eastern Region (probably Group A headquartered in Krasnogvardeisk) written March 3, 1944, to his wife in Vienna. The card is postmarked in Latvia and bears a three line hand stamp: "Organization Todt Einsatzgruppe Russland-Nord Oberbauleitung". Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "Einsatzgruppe A" in the left frame to return.
Below are thumbnails of the front an back of three postcards and one cover sent to the same person in Vienna by a soldier in the German Army stationed in the Ukraine including service in the Einsatzgruppen Russland Sud. The first is postcard postmarked Ordensburg March 26, 1942. The next is a cover postmarked Rowno April 11, 1942. The next is postcard postmarked Dnjepropetrowsk February 21, 1943. The last is a black and white photo picture postcard (handwritten Dnjepropetrowsk over the photo) showing bombed out buildings and postmarked Kiev April 12, 1943. The card bears the circular hand stamp of the Organization Todt Einsatzgruppen Russland-Sud (probably Group C headquartered in Kiev). Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "Einsatzgruppe C" in the left frame to return.
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