This article describes certain actions taken by the Einsatzgruppen that may be disturbing to some readers. Then, stark naked, they had to run down more steps to an underground corridor that led back up the ramp, where the gas van awaited them. When mentioning the Holocaust, most people think of the concentration camps. They immediately envision emaciated victims in dirty striped uniforms staring incomprehensibly at their liberators or piles of corpses, too numerous to bury individually, bulldozed into mass graves.
Civilians view the aftermath of a massacre About one hundred and fifty persons shot. Most of them were elderly people.
That is the reason for not finishing the wounded off, so that they are buried half alive. Today about four thousand people were driven up, shot by eighty executioners, all drunk. The fence was guarded by a hundred soldiers and policemen. This time terrible tortures before shooting. Nobody buried the murdered.
The people were driven straight into the pit, the corpses were trampled upon. Many a wounded writhed with pain. Nobody finished them off. On 31 August in Vilna, before the ghetto had been established there, a young Jew, Abba Kovner, went to the Jewish Council building to try and find out about the whereabouts of some of his friends who had been taken away in the raids and abductions of the previous weeks.
Early that afternoon, the predominantly Jewish section of Vilna was surrounded by an Einsatzkommando unit, together with several hundred armed Lithuanians. It was announced that any Jew who left his home would be killed, and that a search was in progress for those guilty of ambushing a German patrol.
Out of a small window I saw what was happening in that narrow street. During those hours, at midnight I saw from the other courtyard on the other side of the street, it was 39 Ostrashun Street, a woman was dragged by the hair by two soldiers, a woman who was holding something in her arms.
One of them directed a beam of light into her face, the other one dragged her by her hair and threw her out on the pavement.
Then the infant fell out of her arms. One of the two, the one with the flashlight, I believe took the infant, raised him into the air, grabbed him by the leg.
The woman crawled on the earth, took hold of his boot and pleaded for mercy. But the soldier took the boy and hit him with his head against the wall, once, twice, smashed him against the wall. That night, 2, Jewish women, men and children were taken from Vilna in trucks to the pits at Ponary and murdered.
Their fate was unknown to those who remained behind. The fate of those taken to Ponary was still unknown. But on 3 September a Jewish woman arrived in the city, bandaged, barefoot, and with dishevelled hair. Her name was Sonia. In the street she spoke to a Jewish doctor, Meir Mark Dvorjetsky — she had come she said from Ponary.
No, it was not a labour camp, and then she told the doctor her story: She was among the corpses up to sunset and then she heard the wild shoutings of those who carried out the murder. She un-wrapped the bandage and I saw the wound. I saw the hole from the bullet and in the hole there were ants creeping.
Dvorjetsky hurried to a gathering of Vilna Jews to tell them the story. How is it possible that the Jews will be simply taken and shot.
The Nazis chose the Day of Atonement for yet another raid and execution at Ponary, the men were shot first, then women. Even those who had not been killed outright, could not survive the whole day in the pit, lying there wounded as more and more bodies fell on top of them.
Only towards evening, when the last of the women were being shot, did a few of those who were only wounded have some small chance of remaining alive until it was dark, and then of creeping away unseen — naked, bleeding, crushed, but alive. From the end of June to the end of December, at least forty-eight thousand were murdered at Ponary.
After the killings of 3 September, six are known to have crawled out of the pit alive, and survived. All of them were women. One of the survivors of the October killings, Sara Menkes, returned to Vilna, where she told Abba Kovner the story of a former pupil of his, Serna Morgenstern.
At the edge of the pit, Sara Menkes recalled:Apr 15, · Einsatzgruppen can be traced back to the ad hoc Einsatzkommando formed by Reinhard Heydrich to secure government buildings and documents following the Anschluss in Austria in March The task of securing government buildings with their accompanying documentation and the questioning of senior civil servants in lands occupied by Germany was the Einsatzgruppen's original .
The Einsatzgruppen’s general method of execution was shooting, although some gas vans were used. The victims were ordered to report to a central location, or were rounded up in organised man-hunts, often using local militia.
Einsatzgruppen A. Mass Murder in Lithuania. to be killed in the streets of a city normally as stodgy as Stockholm. Field – Marshall von Leeb, commanding Army Group North, being carried out by a permanent execution commando at a permanent killing establishment.
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Walter Blume (23 July – 13 November ) was a mid-ranking SS commander and leader of Sonderkommando 7a, part of the extermination commando group Einsatzgruppe B. The unit perpetrated the killings of thousands of Jews in Belarus and Russia. The Sonderaktion (English: Special Action ), also called Aktion , or Enterdungsaktion (English: Exhumation Action) began in May during World War II to hide any evidence that people had been murdered by Nazi Germany in Aktion Reinhard in occupied Poland.