Juergen Matthaus, Jochen Boehler, and Klaus-Michael Mallmann

War, Pacification and Mass Murder, 1939

The Einsatzgruppen in Poland

Rowman and Littlefield 2014

New Books in Eastern European StudiesNew Books in Genocide StudiesNew Books in German StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Military HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network May 18, 2015 Kelly McFall

Historians have spent the last two decades detailing and explaining the actions of the Einsatzgruppen in the Soviet Union.  We now know much more...

Historians have spent the last two decades detailing and explaining the actions of the Einsatzgruppen in the Soviet Union.  We now know much more than we used to about the escalation of violence in 1941 and the so-called “Holocaust by Bullets.”

The actions of the Einsatzgruppen in Poland, in contrast, are less well known.But they are crucial to understanding the evolution of violence against Jews and others.JuergenMatthaus, Jochen Boehler, and Klaus-Michael Mallmann set out to fill this gap.Their work War, Pacification and Mass Murder, 1939:The Einsatzgruppen in Poland (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014)–part of theUnited StatesHolocaust Memorial Museum’s excellent Documenting Life and Destruction series–sets carefully chosen documents into a richly described military and institutional context. By doing so, they illustratenot just what the Einsatzgruppen did, but how theiractions evolved over time, how they interacted withWehrmacht and political leaders and how this violence impacted people on the ground.

In the interview, I talked with Juergen Matthaus about the origin of the volume, the nature of violence in Poland and the way in which this violence set the stage for the escalation of persecution and destruction.

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