THE EASTERN FRONT
Atrocities against the Jewish population in the conquered areas began almost immediately, with the dispatch of Einsatzgruppen (task groups) to round up Jews and shoot them. Local anti-semites were encouraged to carry out their own pogroms. In July 1941 Erich von dem Bach-Zalewski's SS unit began to carry out more systematic killings, including the massacre of 30,000 at Babi Yar. By the end of 1941 there were more than 50,000 troops devoted to rounding up and killing Jews. The gradual industrialization of killing led to adoption of the Final Solution and the establishment of the Operation Reinhard extermination camps: the machinery of the Holocaust. In three years of occupation, between one and two million Soviet Jews were killed. Other ethnic groups were targeted for extermination, including the Roma and Sinti
The massacres of Jews and other ethnic minorities were only a part of the deaths from the Nazi occupation. Many thousands of Soviet civilians were executed, but millions died from starvation as the Germans requisitioned food for their armies and fodder for their draft horses. As they retreated from Ukraine and Belarus in 1943–1944, the German occupiers systematically applied a scorched earth policy, burning towns and cities, destroying infrastructure, and leaving civilians to starve or die of exposure. Estimates of total civilian dead in the Soviet Union in the war range from seven million to seventeen million .
The Nazi ideology and the maltreatment of the local population and Soviet POWs encouraged partisans fighting behind the front, motivated even anti-communists or non-Russian nationalists to ally with the Soviets, and greatly delayed the formation of German allied divisions consisting of Soviet POWs . These results and missed opportunities contributed to the defeat of the Wehrmacht.
Soviet soldiers on Ukrainian soil, 1943
Battle near Moscow, 1941 | The first successful counterattack from the Red Army.
After bombing by German bombers near Nikolaev town, 1941
"Attack!" - fight near Varoshilovgrad, Ukraine 1941 | Soviet soldiers
22-06-1941 | Nazi warplanes on the route to bomb Soviet cities
More Russian front Pictures...