Developed The “Jeckeln System” For Murdering “Undesirables”

An SS-Obergruppenführer (a rank second only to Heinrich Himmler in the SS), Friedrich Jeckeln (pictured above, far left, standing up) led one of the largest Einsatzgruppen – “task forces” or “deployment groups” responsible for mass killings – during the German occupation of the Soviet Union. Jeckeln was responsible for ordering the slaughter of more than 100,000 Jews, Slavs, Roma and other “undesirables” in the conquered territories during World War II.

Having joined the Nazi Party as early as October 1929, Jeckeln became an SS member a year later, before being elected as a member of the Reichstag in 1932. Known as being ruthless, hard and brutal, Jeckeln murdered members of opposition parties – particularly those on the far left.

Developing his own extremely efficient method for killing large numbers of people at once – known as the “Jeckeln System”, where victims’ mass graves were already dug before they were stripped, forced to lie flat in the pits and then executed – Jeckeln organised three infamous Nazi massacres of World War II: Rumbala (November and December 1941, where 25,000 were murdered), Babi Yar (September 1941 onwards, when more than 180,000 were murdered), and Kamianets-Podilskyi (June 1941, where at least 24,000 Jews were murdered).

Jeckeln was even awarded the “War Merit Cross with Swords” (or “Kriegsverdienstkreuz”) for the massacre at Rumbula, and he was eventually captured by Soviet troops near Halbe in north-east Germany on April 28, 1945. Tried before a Soviet military court in Riga, Latvia, in early-1946, Jeckeln was calm and admitted his guilt, explaining:

Brutal African Dictator



Benjamin Richardson



In 1957, Kwame Nkrumah led the British colony of the Gold Coast to independence, declaring himself president of the new Republic of Ghana. The first African colony to achieve self-determination, Ghana’s independence sent a wave of nationalism across the continent, with citizens of various British, French, Belgian, and Portuguese properties now clamouring for their own political freedom.

The scramble for autonomy meant that in the next decade no fewer than thirty African territories seceded from their colonial masters. Unfortunately, few of them could follow the model of stability and economic prosperity set by Nkrumah’s Ghana. Leadership and politics were unfamiliar concepts for most of the newly liberated nations, and for all too many of those in a position of power, the opportunity for change became an opportunity for personal gain.

This hitherto unknown authority had the capacity to corrupt, and quickly the continent began to replace colonial masters with tyrants whose regimes caused bloodshed amongst the very populations they were elected to save. Ethnic divisions caused civil war to sweep across the newly independent nations, as nepotism, venality, and persecution began to run rife amongst the continent’s fresh crop of rulers.