Lithuanian Jews and a German Wehrmacht soldier during the Holocaust in Lithuania, June 24, 1941.

WHEN the Nazis occupied the countries which Soviet Russia had annexed in 1939 they acquired their one opportunity to pose as friends and liberators. All the other countries which they had entered regarded them from the start as brutal invaders who had come to kill and to plunder. In none of them was there a chance that they could ever succeed in making themselves popular even if they genuinely wanted to do so. But in the east of Europe things were different. In the Baltic countries, Eastern Poland, and to some extent also in White Russia and the Ukraine, there was a possibility that the Germans could win over a substantial part of the population by introducing a more tolerant and palatable régime than the one they had just ended.

The Soviet régime had not yet had time to assimilate more than a fraction of the local population in

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  • JOACHIM JOESTEN, formerly correspondent in Scandinavia of several European newspapers and periodicals; author of "Rats in the Larder" and "Stalwart Sweden"
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