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In the killing fields

“The Holocaust was the single most horrific episode of the Nazi occupation of Ukraine, which had no shortage of horror. Most Ukrainian Jews who became victims never made it either to Auschwitz or to any other extermination camp. Heinrich Himmler’s Einsatzgruppen, with the help of local police formed by the German administration, gunned them down on the outskirts of the cities, towns, and villages in which they lived. The shooting began in the summer of 1941 in all territories taken by the Wehrmacht from the retreating Soviets. By January 1942, when high Nazi officials gathered in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee to coordinated the implementation of the Final Solution—the eradication of European Jewry—Nazi death squads had killed close to 1 million Jewish men, women, and children. They did so in broad daylight, sometimes in plain sight and almost always within earshot of the local non-Jewish population. The Holocaust in Ukraine and the rest of the western Soviet Union not only destroyed the Jewish population and its communal life, as was the case in Europe generally, but also traumatized those who witnessed it.” – Serhii Plokhy, The Gates of Europe

Published inSerhii PlokhyThe Second World War

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