"the Einsatzgruppen drove deeper east"
Execution of Poles by an Einsatzgruppe in Leszno, October 1939
Public DomainExecution of Poles by an Einsatzgruppe in Leszno, October 1939 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Einsatzgruppen were German SS paramilitary death squads that carried out mass murders, primarily of Jews, during World War II.

In 1939, these death squads followed the German army into Poland with the aim of depoliticising the country by eliminating members of the Polish intelligentsia. These operations were chillingly outlined by Adolf Hitler in his Armenian Quote, which issued the Einsatzgruppen "...with orders for them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish race and language. Only in this way can we obtain the living space we need." The Einsatzgruppen were responsible for the deaths of more than one million people.