At the end of the war, many Germans claimed ignorance of the genocide. Yet there were 900,000 Germans in the S.S. and several million in the regular armed forces, police and government bureaucracies. There were 500,000 clerical and 900,000 manual workers in the railway network, which was key to transporting Jews to the camps. Letters and photographs sent home by German soldiers at the front frequently documented the atrocities.
German officer Helmuth von Moltke wrote to his wife in August 1941 referring to the slaughter of Jews: "What will happen when the nation as a whole realizes this war is lost ... with a blood guilt that cannot be atoned for in our lifetime and can never be forgotten." The Nazis were aided in their crimes by collaborators from many of the Axis nations that were Germany's allies and the puppet states they set up in conquered territory. Each state responded differently to the Nazi extermination program, with significant variations in the level of cooperation and, sometimes, active opposition.
*Jews in Bulgaria and Italy were mostly spared.
Austria: Austrians, including Adolf Hitler, Adolf Eichmann, and Odilo Globocnik, were prominent in the Nazi leadership and the Einsatzgruppen. They provided one third of the personnel of the S.S. extermination units and commanded four of the six main death camps.
Bulgaria: While the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and public officials blocked the planned deportation of Bulgaria's Jews in 1943, 11,000 Jews from regions that Bulgaria annexed from Yugoslavia (Macedonia) and Greece (Thrace) were deported to concentration camps in March of 1943.
Croatia: Actions against Jews began in Croatia immediately after the Independent State of Croatia was formed and until the majority of the local Jewish population were murdered.
Estonia: The local auxiliaries exterminated Jews all throughout Europe. The local Jewish population was annihilated and Jews from elsewhere in Europe were sent to Estonia for forced labor.
France: The Civil Service and Police of the Vichy Regime collaborated in the persection of Jews living in France.
Hungary: Tens of thousands of Jewish men died in the Hungarian forced labor battalions. The regime was responsible for murdering Jews in the occupied Novy Sad area in early 1942, and Hungarian troops participated in the murder of 18,000 Jews in Kamenets-Podolsk in August 1941. The marking, ghettoization, and deportation of Hungarian Jews in 1944 was done mostly by the Hungarian regime under Horthy. After the Arrow Cross seized power on Oct. 15, 1944, their regime murdered tens of thousands of Jews and put tens of thousands more on marches toward forced labor camps -- mostly in Austria.
Latvia: Nazi Einsatzgruppen, along with Latvia auxiliaries, massacred most Jews in Latvia. The Arajs Commando, a volunteer unit, shot another 26,000 Latvian Jews.
Lithuania: Municipal and regional officials as well as Lithuanian police and auxiliary units persecuted and murdered Jews on their own initiative. There were numerous cases of rural Lithuanians hunting down Jewish refugees.
Netherlands: Dutch police and civil service cooperated in the deportations of the Jews in Holland to killing centers throughout Europe.
Poland: Members of nearly all Polish partisan organizations, even the more liberal Armia Ludowa, hunted and murdered Jews who escaped ghettos and camps -- as did ordinary local Polish people, especially in rural areas. After the war, murders of Jews and pogroms took place in far more places than indicated.
Romania: In Romania, General Ion Antonescu led a coalition government of military officers and the fascist Iron Guard. In a gruesome episode during a three-day civil war in 1940, the Iron Guard hanged dozens of murdered Jews on meat-hooks in the slaughterhouse of Bucharest. This government was responsible for the deportation of Jews to camps in Transnistria in Romanian-occupied Ukraine, where approximately 270,000 died as a result of neglect, starvation and disease. Romanian troops working with Einsatzgruppen D in southern Russia were considered cruel and barbarous even by the Germans because, among other reasons, they often refused to bury the corpses of Jews they had murdered.
Serbia: The Serbian government, under General Milan Nedic, worked closely with the local Nazi officials to exterminate 90% of the pre-war Jewish community. The Serbian Orthodox Church openly collaborated with the Nazis.
Slovakia: The regime paid the Germans 500 Slovak Crowns for each murdered Jew.
Ukraine: National organizations Orhanizatsyia Ukrainskykh Natsionalistiv (OUN) and Ukrainska Povstanska Armyia (UPA) worked with the Germans to murder the Ukrainian Jewish population. Many Ukrainians were trained by the Germans at Trawniki and carried out murders at Belzec, Treblinka, and other death camps.
Karol Lemichow-Herzenberger (left) and Grzegorz Korczynski, two members of the Polish Armia
Ludowa, who murdered Jews during the Holocaust. More details available here and here.
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