The Nazis reserved two fates for the Soviet Union’s people: slavery or extermination. The outside world still hasn’t fully registered the scale of the horrific crimes unleashed by the Nazis’ invasion of the Soviet Union on this day in 1941.
Jochen Hellbeck is distinguished professor of history at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. He is currently writing a book on the German-Soviet war. Together with Daria Lotareva and Viktoria Naumenko, he is also preparing a documentary volume, Soviet Suffering Under Nazi Rule: The First Testimonies.