A map from a secret report on the mass murder of Jews by Einsatzgruppe A in the Occupied Eastern Territories dated 15 October 1941 - 31 January 1942. Presented at the Nuremberg Trials on 20 December 1945.

Death Squads Reported Every Crime They Committed

Alexander Makushin, co-chair of the East-Patriotic Foundation, co-chair of the Clio Community of Historians, and expert at the Russian Military Historical Society (RMHS), explains the documents of the Einsatzgruppen in the Occupied Territories of the Soviet Union:

"The political doctrine of the Third Reich implied the inferiority of certain people to others, primarily on racial grounds. At the same time, the boundaries of acceptance were defined arbitrarily. The Nazis considered the occupied territories as inalienable lands of their state: they were immediately subject to all internal decrees and orders, and often involved the local population under the direct supervision of German SS officers to implement them. Four groups operated in the occupied territories of the USSR: Einsatzgruppen A – the Baltic States, Einsatzgruppen B – Belarus, Einsatzgruppen C – Ukraine, Einsatzgruppen D – South Ukraine and the Crimea.

The activities of each group were regulated differently, but more often than not they were not limited and depended on the enthusiasm and arbitrariness of the executors. All activities were strictly recorded on paper, both for the personal needs of those involved in the crimes and to report “to the top” and share information and experiences between the groups. Thanks to meticulous documentation and well-established flow of documents, including numerous photographs, these materials, along with the testimony of survivors, formed the basis of evidence of the crimes of individuals and the criminal nature of the Nazi ideology and organisations. Consequently, the documents of the Einsatzgruppen were presented at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, as well as at other trials against Nazi criminals.

The map was discovered by the Allies in an annexe to a report on the activities of Einsatzgruppen A in late 1941. It included an infographic showing the number of Jews killed, living in ghettos, and the approximate number of unidentified Jews. The designation of the territory of Estonia as “free of Jews” is an important indication. The map later became part of the documentary evidence used by the British and American prosecution teams."

By Ekaterina Chernetskaya