The Route Taken by Einsatzgruppe D

EG-D: EG-D was attached to the Eleventh Army. It advanced through Bratislava and northern Transylvania and reached Piatra-Neamt, near Bessarabia on July 5, where the Sonderkommandos went into action: SK-10a in Beltzi; SK-10b with the Third Romanian Army in Chernauti; SK-11a in Kishinev.

Though it extended beyond the stated responsibilities of the Einsatzgruppen, the Commander of the Eleventh Army used the Sonderkommandos for military operations. He asked the Einsatzkommandos to wait until he reached the Caucacus, or at least until enough territorial depth had been created in the rear. Ohlendorf, the commander of EG-D, acquiesced, and used the Einsatzkommandos to guard the Dniestr border.

The Balta-Pervomaisk line between EG-C and EG-D was only established in the middle of August 1941. The headquarters of EG-D reached Ananyev, proceeding on September 18 to Nikolayev, and from mid-November to Simferopol in the Crimea.

SK-11a reached Nikolayev on August 19. Proceeding to Kherson it initiated mass-murder operations along the shores of the Black Sea and then waited by the Perekop for the occupation of the Crimea. SK-11a was later especially active in Sevastopol. After August 1941 it was merged with SK-11b into one unit, SK-11. SK-11b had reached the Odessa front, waited for the occupation of the city and entered Odessa on October 16. In mid-December the merged SK-11 moved into the Crimea.

SK-10a and 10b moved along the Black Sea shores to the Crimea where they were active until August 1942. EK-12 was left in the Nikolayev area where it looked after local ethnic Germans. It then also moved to the Crimea.

With the German advance into the Caucasus, SK-10a and 11 and EK-12 moved on. SK-11 was concentrated in the north of the area in Maikop and Cherkesk, and in October 1942 created SK-Astrachan (stationed in Elistsa to enter the city. EK-12 was active in the south in Piatigorsk, Kislovodsk.

In July 1942, Ohlendorf was replaced by SS-Oberfuhrer Bierkamp. Later, when the retreat began, the EG-D moved back to Ovruch, where it operated as an anti-partisan unit.

During the second half of 1943 the Einsatzgruppen began their retreat from the East, leaving behind mass graves containing millions of dead, most of them Jews. Such was the German mentality of the time that special units were created, under the leadership of Paul Blobel, to erase all evidence of the murders. Graves were dug up and the bodies burned. Blobel went so far as to develop special combustibles and even experimented with dynamite to destroy the corpses. He ultimately brought his "expertise" to Auschwitz where up to 20,000 victims could be murdered in the gas chambers in a single day, and his experience in the disposing of thousands of bodies at a time could be put to use.

Arad, Yitzak, Shmuel Krakowski and Shmuel Spector, editors. The Einsatzgruppen Reports. New York: Holocaust Library. 1989, pp. xii - xiii

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Ken Lewis
Aprril 4, 1998
Rev. 1.1