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Perpetrators, Collaborators & Complicity

by United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

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The members of the SS, the elite guard of the Nazi regime, were key players in the "Final Solution," the plan to murder the Jews of Europe. The head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, and his subordinates, Reinhard Heydrich, Kurt Daluege, and others, established the SS and police state under Adolf Hitler and led the efforts to carry out the regime’s ideological agenda. Toward that end, the SS perpetrated countless acts of mass murder. Murder on such a colossal scale could not be carried out by the SS alone, however. The implementation of the “Final Solution” required cooperation from and participation of the military bureaucracy and the German civilian authorities. In addition, the Reichsbank, the German central bank, served as a depository for stolen currency and gold and helped to finance the SS killing operations. German physicians and other healthcare professionals implemented the Nazi-sponsored “Euthanasia” Program murdering tens of thousands of people with mental and physical disabilities living in institutional settings. Other physicians conducted unethical and cruel medical experiments, and determined in “selections” at killing centers which prisoners should live and which should die. German industrialists and private German industrial concerns used laborers from the forced-labor programs and even provided the Zyklon B gas used to kill in the gas chambers.