Nederlands Holocaust in Europe Perpetrators and victims

Wehrmacht

Not only the SS, but also the Wehrmacht, the German army, carried out mass murders of innocent and unarmed civilians in Poland and the Soviet Union. During the invasion of Poland, September 1939, more than five hundred cities and villages were burned down and tens of thousands of Polish citizens, including Jews, were murdered. Also after the attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, soldiers of the Wehrmacht frequently assisted during ‘cleansing actions' against Jews and Partisans. "A soldier must learn fully to appreciate the necessity for the severe but just retribution that must be meted out to the subhuman species of Jewry. This also has the aim to annihilate the revolts in the hinterland which, as experience proves, have always been caused by Jews  ", the German Field Marshal Walter von Reichenau (a confirmed nazi) wrote on 10 October 1941 in a notorious routine order. Massacre of prisoners of war and civilians in general - especially Jewish citizens - carried out by German soldiers were not isolated incidents during the war in Eastern Europe, but rather a matter of course.


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  1. In Eastern Europe, many partisans or citizens suspected of being resistance fighters were executed without due process. Often, ordinary German Wehrmacht soldiers took pictures of these executions.NIOD Collection, Amsterdam
  2. A painting from 1943 of a mother of a Russian partisan being interrogated by a German Wehrmacht officer. Painter: Sergej Gerassimow.NIOD Collection, Amsterdam
  3. A Pole suspected of being a resistance fighter being arrested in Baranowicze in 1941.NIOD Collection, Amsterdam
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