The Road Barbarossa; The Road to Auschwitz

Being there . . . . figuratively, lest we forget, on two infamous roads for ultra-sad journeys into
illimitable perniciousness, systematic murder, and unimaginable evil. The first, from Berlin, is a
straight arrow to Moscow and the heart of Stalin on the morning of a day “in which the world
held its breath”, June 22, 1941. Watch 3,000,000 SS and Wehrmacht troops, most on 600,000
vehicles and 3,350 tanks, run or rumble across a 1,250 – mile frontier between the Black and the
Baltic Seas. The greatest invasion attack in World History was incredibly successful, although
the seeds for Hitler’s future inexplicable blunders resulting in Germany’s ruin had been strewn
in front of the massive 19 – ton Panzer III wheel treads. Then, as painful as the words and
chapters are to read, dare yourself to continue, lest you semi-consciously choose to avoid this
aspect of World War II, how the horror of the Holocaust began for the Slovak Jews in the
autumn of 1938 when tiny Slovakia became an autonomous region. Jewish property was
confiscated, and businesses liquidated at bargain prices as to “Aryanize” the country. Read on
how by the end of March 1942, the first trainloads of Jews deported from Slovakia embarked to
their final destinations at Auschwitz and the numerous death camps in the Lublin area. Witness
for the first time Hitler and Himmler’s methodical mechanisms for rounding up the Jews and
subsequent forced deportations – – the Hlinka Guards. Not pleasant reading, granted, but
absolute “must reads”, if you are a real WW II military buff, to know and understand pure,
unadulterated malignity and depravity in quantities by so many hitherto unknown among the
Just in, reviewed and highly recommended by Don DeNevi
“THE ROAD TO BARBAROSSA – – Soviet-German Relations 1917 – 1941”, by Norman Ridley.
Frontline Books – Pen & Sword Ltd, dist. by CASEMAT PUBLISHERS: 2023, 217 pages, 6 ½” x 9
½”, hardcover; $42.95. Visit,
“THE ROAD TO AUSCHWITZ – The Deportation of the Slovak Jews by the Hlinka Guard”, by
Walter S. Zapotoczny Jr. Fonthill Media Publishers, dist. by CASEMATE PUBLISHERS: 2023, 192
pages, 6 ½” x 9 ½”, hardcover; $35. Visit,
“THE ROAD TO BARBAROSSA” focuses on how two “strange bedfellows”, Communism and
National Socialism, dealt with western hostility and found ways to accommodate each other in
a bid to recover from devastation and dismantling of their (Russia’s and Germany’s) territorial
boundaries. The extent to which cooperation was achieved is unusual given the circumstances,
especially as they had to contend with the machinations of the Western Powers. The era of the
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact proved to be a brief liaison, one that collapsed into savagery again
when Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa just a few months later.
“THE ROAD TO AUSCHWITZ” details how by October 1942 the Hlinka Guards had overseen
the deportation of some 60,000 Slovak Jews. During the 1944-1945 German occupation,
another 13,500 Jews were deported and 5,000 imprisoned. Many of the Jews ended up at the
Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration and extermination camps. After a brief respite, the Hlinkas

Guards once again began rounding up and persecuting Jews throughout Slovakia. Slovak
Gypsies (Roma) were also persecuted by the Hlinka Guards. But it was the Hlinka Guardsmen
who were assigned to do the dirty work, killing suspect Roma Rebels in front of their wives and
children, then murdering the entire families. “The Road to Auschwitz” tells the story of the
Hlinka Guards and their involvement with the genocide witnessed at Auschwitz. Walter S.
Zapotoczny Jr. is an award-winning writer and editor, with over 30 years’ experience. He also
has authored “Straf Battalion – – Hitler’s Penal Battalions”, “Beyond Duty”, “The Italian Army in
North Africa”, “Decima Flottiglia Mas”, “The 110 th Holds in the Ardenness”, “The Aztec Eagles”,
and “Crushing the Japanese Fleet.”

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