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Maayan Armelin

Junior Fellow (10/2020 – 3/2021)


Leadership Styles and Social Relations in the SS-Einsatzgruppen


Web ArmelinThis doctoral dissertation studies the SS-Einsatzgruppen, mobile squads who murdered over a million and a half Jewish and non-Jewish civilians in the Nazi-occupied Soviet Union. The project explores officers’ leadership styles and particular social relations within the units and how these affected members’ apparent willingness to perpetrate mass murder. The research draws on historical literature discussing cohesion and comradeship in military and paramilitary units during the Second World War and traces the operating structures, cultures, and social relations of various institutions under the Nazi regime. Combining social psychological concepts such as social identity theory, inter-group relations, leadership, and conformity, the project analyses testimonies of former Einsatzgruppen members given in postwar Germany and Austria. It explains how crucial patterns of leadership and peer relations encouraged individual Einsatzgruppen members to engage in mass violence.


Maayan Armelin is a PhD candidate at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. She holds a BA in History and Psychology and an MA in Social Psychology from the University of Haifa. She has received fellowships from the Claims Conference (2014–2019) and EHRI (2017–2018) and previously worked at the Strochlitz Institute for Holocaust Research at the University of Haifa and on the editorial board of the Journal of Holocaust Research.

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May 2024
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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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