Perpetrators of the Holocaust are those who were directly or indirectly involved with the policymaking or killing of European Jews and other victims of the Holocaust.
The list of perpetrators for the Holocaust is long. From the high-ranking officials down to the lower-ranked officers, all of these men and women were in some way responsible for the events that took place. Some of the most important figures are Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, Reinhard Heydrich, and Adolf Eichmann. These men were key figures to Adolf Hitler’s plans to carry out the Final Solution.
Other perpetrators include the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units), which followed behind the German army, eliminating so-called undesirables and political opponents. Internally, the Gestapo (German secret police) maintained the social order that the Nazi dictatorship imposed on Germany and occupied territories.
German women participated in the regime by keeping Nazi ideology alive in their homes. At times, they were also actively involved in the killing fields. Young people were organized in the Hitler Youth, which indoctrinated the German youth with Nazi ideology.
Not only were those who actively participated in the Nazi system guilty of being perpetrators, but also those who managed the bureaucracy (like the Landrat Udo Klausa in Będzin) or bystanders and onlookers who did little or nothing to stop the discriminations and persecutions of their neighbors, and hence became complicit.
For more information on perpetrators:
Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (Harper, 1992)
Wendy Lower, Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields (Houghton Mifflin, 2013)