Our responsibility to learn and remember -
Mass killing during the Holocaust began 80 years ago not in distant camps, but in victims’ hometowns, and even in their backyards. After the German army invaded the Soviet Union, special units followed with orders to find and kill those whom Nazi racial theory deemed unworthy of life, particularly Jews. They were rounded up from their homes and, often with the help of local collaborators, shot nearby.

These murders happened in broad daylight. There were many witnesses. They were covered in the international press. And they must not be forgotten.



United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Photos: German troops place heavy mortar in firing position during the German invasion of Lithuania, then under Soviet control, in June 1941. National Archives; An elderly Jewish woman wears a star in the Riga, Latvia, ghetto. Yad Vashem; Stills from interviews with Leonas Stonkus and Regina (Kirvelaitytė) Prudnikova. USHMM, Witnesses, Collaborators, and Perpetrators: The Jeff and Toby Herr Testimony Initiative; Members of the 21st Latvian Police Battalion assemble a group of Jewish women for execution on a beach near Liepaja, Latvia, on December 15, 1941. Bundesarchiv B 162 Bild-02612; Chief prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz presents documents as evidence at the Einsatzgruppen Trial in Nuremberg, Germany, circa 1947–48. USHMM, courtesy of Benjamin Ferencz; German officials and Ukrainian militia shooting a Jewish family, Miropol, Ukraine, October 13, 1941. Security Services Archive, Historical Collection of the State Security Service (StB) Prague, archival no. H-770-3