The Defiance: Himmler and a prisoner locked in a staring contest, 1941

Heinrich Himmler looks upon a young Soviet prisoner of war during an official visit to the Shirokaya Street concentration camp in Minsk, Belarus, on or around August 15, 1941.

You had to be a tough guy to see Himmler that way. It stands for right, it's a lonely man who, after losing so much, stands up and stares at Himmler himself. This image is defiance.

Shirokaya was a labor camp that held 2,000 prisoners; Captured skilled workers from the Minsk ghetto and Red Army soldiers who refused to work or work with partisans in the forests of Belarus. Jews sent from Belarus to Sobibor or Auschwitz were also temporarily housed there.

During this inspection tour, Himmler was accompanied by SS-Obergruppenführer Karl Wolff who served as Himmler's chief of staff. In this scene Wolff can be seen behind Himmler, whose face is partially obscured.

That same day, Himmler ordered Einsatzgruppe bei Gruppenführer Arthur Nebbe to demonstrate his unit's technique of shooting Jews; Nebe chose 98 Jewish men and two women. According to Wolff, Himmler took part in the massacre and interrogated one of the condemned men, a blond young man. Himmler asked, "Are you Jewish?".

The man replied, "Yes". Himmler asked: "Are both your parents Jewish?". He then replied "yes". Himmler asked, "Do you have any ancestors who were not Jews?", "No", the man replied. "Then I can't help you", said Himmler.

The white youth and 99 other prisoners were shot in the back of the head. As each line of prisoners was executed, they were covered with dirt and another group was brought in from so far away that they could not hear the gunfire.

Himmler, watching closely the ditch where the corpses lay, felt nauseous when brain matter and blood sprayed his uniform. Wolff claims that this was Himmler's first view of the dead body.

Most of the 90,000 Jews and 300,000 Soviet soldiers captured at the fall of Minsk on 27 June 1941 had been killed or deported by the time Minsk was liberated in 1944. Everyone behind a wire fence in this photo was likely killed by the Nazis before 1943. ,

In 2010 the Telegraph obituary published a photograph titled "Greeceli encounters Heinrich Himmler (wearing glasses) in the PoW camp". Joseph Horace "Jim" Greasley was a British soldier in World War II who was captured by the German Wehrmacht in May 1940 and later became famous for claiming that he was involved in a secret love affair more than 200 times. fled from his camp, returning each time to captivity. However, that information is incorrect, the prisoner in the picture is not Greasley.

Historian Guy Walters explicitly stated that the soldier in the photo was not Greasley, stating that the photo is with the US National Archives and the caption description suggests it was taken in Minsk (in Belarus) in mid-1941, That it was taken by a photographer for a propaganda film and identifies the soldier by his hat as Soviet, and the officer in the photo is the same officer who appears with Himmler in the film.

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