Who were the perpetrators?

YV 3150_127 Ukraine, Germans and collaborators checking farmers papers.jpg
The persecutors and collaborators were not just German. In this photograph we see Ukrainian and German collaborators checking farmers' papers.
© 2011 Yad Vashem The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority.

The genocide of the Jews was a central policy of the Nazi state. Many people involved in the process of murder were volunteers; others were simply obeying orders.

Many of the high-ranking Nazis and members of the SS were extremely well educated and understood the consequences.

However, there were many ordinary people who loved the power it gave them, and others who used the situation for personal gain. We call these people the collaborators.

Perpetrators and collaborators were to be found in every country of occupation. The Nazis relied upon them in order to carry out their terrible acts against individuals and communities across Europe.