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.
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.