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This mass grave of murdered Jews was the handiwork of an Einsatzgruppen der Sicherheitspolizei, a group of SS whose sole purpose was the extermination of Jews and other "undesirables". Overseen by Reinhardt Heydrich, the four Einsatzgruppen were comprised of units of Einsatzkommandos which traveled with the Wermacht in order to "purify" newly conquered territories. Each group contained 500 to 800 men. It is estimated that they were responsible for over one million deaths.
A young German soldier tries to humiliate an elderly Polish Jew by cutting his beard. Beard-cutting was a method of humiliation favored by many Germans. As it is with all bullies and their victims, the strong bear the real shame for preying on the weak. The Jews of Europe bore such petty torments with exceptional dignity and fortitude. If this soldier were still alive to look back at this picture, would he feel ashamed? If he retained any humanity, he would.
An Allied soldier mourns beside the corpse of a young Jew in the Thekla camp near Leipzig. Here too, the Germans locked the camp population in a building and set fire to it. Those who escaped the fire were shot or electrocuted and charred by the charge in the barbed wire. In many camps, suicide was easily achieved by running into the electrified fence. Elie Wiesel considered it many times, but chose against it. Many, many others chose to die at their own hour, by their own decision.
Affidavit signed by Rudolf Hoess, former commandant of Auschwitz, attesting to the gassing of Jews at the killing center during his tenure. The text reads: "I declare herewith under oath that in the years 1941 to 1943 during my tenure in office as commandant of Auschwitz Concentration Camp 2 million Jews were put to death by gassing and a 1/2 million by other means. Rudolf Hoess. May 14, 1946."