In the months leading up to the German invasion of the Soviet Union (code-named ‘Operation Barbarossa’), which began on 22 June 1941, detailed preparations were being put in place by Adolf Hitler’s regime to destroy the first major communist state in Europe. In March 1941 Hitler appointed the anti-Semitic fanatic Alfred Rosenberg to lead the Political Bureau on Eastern Affairs. Rosenberg spelled out the key aims of Nazi policy towards the Soviet Union. The central objective was the ‘complete destruction’ of the ‘Judeo-Bolshevik’ administration. A major subsidiary aim was a ‘comprehensive settlement’ of the Jewish Question. Jews in the Soviet Union would be ruthlessly exploited as forced labour and confined to ghettos in preparation for their later deportation to a designated ‘Jewish zone’ further ‘east’.
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