Genocide in a Small Place: Wehrmacht Complicity in Killing the Jews of Krupki, 1941

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In the autumn of 1941, German Army units assisted and participated in the mass killings of Jewish men, women, and children throughout modern day Belarus (and other areas of the occupied Soviet Union). Recently, this area of the Holocaust has received increasing attention from historians investigating the roles of antisemitism, organisational culture, group bonding, and the anti-partisan war in the complicity of the German army and in the behaviour of perpetrators. Building upon this more global research, this article seeks to describe the Wehrmacht’s participation in one such killing. What does complicity actually look like on the ground? The Krupki killing offers us the opportunity to explore in detail the actions, decisions, and motivations of one German Army unit as it navigated its participation in the Holocaust collectively and individually. The various influences of antisemitism, decision-making, unit culture, and the anti-partisan war will be evaluated in an attempt to explain Wehrmacht complicity. Finally, this article will situate the events in the small town of Krupki in the larger context of the Nazi genocidal project in the East.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-128
JournalHolocaust Studies: a Journal of Culture and History
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2010


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