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Einsatzgruppe h

The meaning of «einsatzgruppe h»

Einsatzgruppe H was one of the Einsatzgruppen, the paramilitary death squads of Nazi Germany. A special task force of more than 700 soldiers, it was created at the end of August 1944 to deport or murder the remaining Jews in Slovakia following the German suppression of the Slovak National Uprising. During its seven-month existence, Einsatzgruppe H collaborated closely with the Hlinka Guard Emergency Divisions and arrested 18,937 people, of whom at least 2,257 were murdered; thousands of others were deported to Nazi concentration camps (primarily Auschwitz). The victims included Jews, Romani people, actual or suspected Slovak partisans, and real or perceived political opponents. One of its component units, Einsatzkommando 14, committed the two of the largest massacres in the history of Slovakia, at Kremnička and Nemecká.

On 14 March 1939, the Slovak State proclaimed its independence under the protection of Nazi Germany.[1] According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the persecution of Jews was "central to the domestic policy of the Slovak state".[2] Between 26 March and 20 October 1942, about 57,000 Jews, two-thirds of the Jews in Slovakia at the time, were deported. Only a few hundred survived the war.[3][4] In 1943, the defeat at Stalingrad turned many Slovaks against the Axis-aligned regime, and the government refused to continue with deportations.[5][6] It was now evident to the Slovak population that Germany would not win the war, and high casualties on the Eastern Front caused many ordinary Slovaks and large sections of the army to turn against the fascist regime; many retreated to the mountains and formed partisan groups. Concerned about the increase in resistance and suspecting the loyalty of the Slovaks, Germany invaded Slovakia, precipitating the Slovak National Uprising, which broke out on 29 August 1944.[7]

The Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) assigned Einsatzgruppe H to implement the Final Solution in Slovakia,[8] and deport or murder the 25,000 ethnic Jews remaining in Slovakia. Most of these were converts to Christianity, in mixed marriages, deemed essential to the economy, or protected by other exemptions that had prevented their deportation in 1942.[9] Because of the advance of the Red Army into Poland, the Nazis wanted to deport Slovakia's remaining Jews to Auschwitz as soon as possible, as the camp would shut down its gas chambers in November.[10]

Einsatzgruppe H and its two main component units, Einsatzkommandos 13 and 14, were formed in Brno (in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia) upon the outbreak of the Slovak National Uprising, on 28 or 29 August. Its commander was SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Joseph Witiska [de; fr; sv].[11] Other German units were tasked with the military suppression of the uprising; Einsatzgruppe H's main focus was to implement the Final Solution in Slovakia. To this end, it intervened with the Slovak government and public life, carried out military actions against partisans, engaged in roundups, and committed massacres.[12] The unit also submitted regular, detailed reports to Berlin concerning all aspects of life in Slovakia, including the military situation, Jews, public opinion, and culture.[13] It exceeded its remit by targeting other groups, including partisans and Romani people.[8]

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