Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland

Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland

by Christopher R. Browning

Brownings shocking account of how a unit of average middle-aged Germans became the cold-blooded murderers of tens of thousands of Jewsnow with a new afterword and additional photographs.

Browning argues that most of the men of RPB 101 were not fanaticalNazis but, rather, ordinary middle-aged, working-class men who committed these atrocities out of a mixture of motives, including the group dynamics of conformity, deference to authority, role adaptation, and the altering of moral norms to justify their actions.

Very quickly three groups emerged within the battalion: a core of eager killers, a plurality who carried out their duties reliably but without initiative, and a small minority who evaded participation in the acts of killing without diminishing the murderous efficiency of the battalion whatsoever.While this book discusses a specific Reserve Unit during WWII, the general argument Browning makes is that most people succumb to the pressures of a group setting and commit actions they would never do of their own volition.

  • Language: English
  • Category: History
  • Rating: 4.08
  • Pages: 271
  • Publish Date: April 6th 1993 by Harper Perennial
  • Isbn10: 0060995068
  • Isbn13: 9780060995065

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This was a bunch of middle-aged guys who were unfit for military service, so they were given an easier job, which was to shoot Jewish people and bury them in woods (okay, the last bit could be hard, but generally you could get the Jewish people to do all the digging before you shot them). schnell!" with the big Alsation dogs at all, it was these middle-aged police reserve guys, your local baker, pharmacist or gardener, just your regular guys. They go along with convention, so you don't notice them, they're not psychopaths, they don't crave power, but if you ask them to shoot a family of seven on a beautiful summer day and bury the bodies in the woods they'll just say okay, but I got to get back by five, my wife will be expecting me.

I VOLENTEROSI CARNEFICI DI HITLER Che cosa spinse i tedeschi comuni a diventare esecutori dellOlocausto? Browning analizza i verbali degli interrogatori postbellici di 210 uomini che avevano fatto parte del Battaglione 101: 500 poliziotti riservisti (uomini comuni per lappunto, come dice il titolo della sua ricerca storica), che fra il 13 luglio 1942 e il 5 novembre 1943 assassinarono una per una circa 38.000 persone in Europa orientale, e parteciparono al rastrellamento e alla deportazione a Treblinka di altri 45.000 Ebrei. Il libro di Browning รจ anche unaccurata ricostruzione documentaria degli eccidi di massa e delle deportazioni avvenute in Europa dellEst in quel periodo, a opera non soltanto del Battaglione 101, ma anche di altri reparti militari tedeschi.

So I MUST be a racist, coming from the American South as I do.) I can't help but think of Mitford, that poster child for hypocrisy, for calling something other than what it is for whatever self serving agenda she felt like preaching. Well, I'd say (without reading Goldhagen's book) that he was looking for an all Germans are anti-Semitic bent to fit everything into. It happened because they were looking for a reason to murder Jews. When someone makes a grab for power like that someone is going to get royally fucked, history says. Browning's work looks at how "Ordinary Men", middle aged Germans who were not professional killers, who did not roam about the countryside shooting civilians by birth for mirth, became well oiled killing machines for the Nazis. Some followed after, some after killing twenty jews. One man who went out of his way to prevent himself and his men from killing the Jews they were transporting would later force twenty old men to undress and then instructed his men to grab bats to beat to death the crawling men. Browning says because one group did so did not mean that another would kill if in their place. In the back of my mind while reading 'Ordinary Men' I had the thought that these German men felt about the Jews the way that many elsewhere in the world would feel for prison inmates. Maybe someone else is looking out for things for us. The way that they rewrote history in their own minds is important. How much of a looming threat did the Nazi higher ups have that a different mind set some couple of decades later would change their side stepping of the larger implications (they massacred so many people)? They killed because they didn't want to think about it. That the men didn't ask to leave when the option was no longer presented to them says a lot to me about going to sleep. It is not an ordinary man who will look into the lowest of humankind and not pretend.

The soldiers deported Jews to Treblinka, and also carried out mass shootings. The author estimates that this single battalion transported 45,000 Jews to death camps and directly murdered at least another 38,000. Its reasonable to conclude that most of the Battalions troops were not committed Nazis. Browning suggests that the Battalion divided into three groups. A third group, between 10% and 20%, asked to be excused from shooting Jews or otherwise evaded doing so. The author concludes that the relentless and pervasive denigration of Jews in Nazi Germany did affect the attitudes of the men of RPB101, but he also argues that deference to authority and pressure of conformity were uppermost in explaining their participation in mass murder.

Having said this, Christopher Brownings Ordinary Men is an integral read for those of us trying to make sense of the Holocaust. I decided to read Brownings book because I wanted more insight into the psyche of the monsters that were ordered to carry out Hitlers final solution. I can only remember Browning mentioning one officer that was a former member of the Hitler youth. Trapp told the enlisted men that they could be excused if they could not take part in the firing squads and then he went to an office and bawled like a baby. However, Browning makes the point that at the time these men were under duress due to combat fatigue and they had reacted to it. I also personally believe that the massacres of the Polish Jews are very different than the massacres of the Chinese citizens of Nanking. The ordinary men of the reserve police battalion were ordered by Himmler at Hitlers wishes to kill all men, women, and children and to shoot infants and the infirm on sight. These policemen certainly would not have carried out these massacres without orders to do so. With a minimum of psychobabble, Browning tries to compare the actions of the Policemen with some University studies where students acting as prisoners were given fake shocks. I believe that these Jews would have preferred to have been shocked a few times or even shipped off to Abu Ghraib to live out the war forming naked pyramids. Early on in the book there is a letter from a German official trying to run the local economy in the east complaining about the implementation of what later became known as the Final Solution. At the end of the day I am still not quite sure why these men went through with carrying out these orders? Trapp was later hanged after the war for carrying out revenge killings of Polish gentiles after a partisan action. In my review of "Our Crime was Being Jewish" I said that the men and women who perpetrated the Holocaust should be hunted down and tried for these crimes until they take their last breath on earth.

This small group of men was personally responsible for the massacre of over 38,000 Jews and the deportation of some 45,000 more to Treblinka. Browning's book is based on interviews with the participants collected after the war. The battalion's commander ordered that anyone not wishing to participate in the shootings could be excused and about 12 were. The horrifying aspect of this account is how little it took for these men to become transformed psychologically from "normal" people into willing participants. That still does not explain the actions of the men who were doing the actual killing. Euphemisms, (protective reaction strikes) were common: killing became "actions" and shipping to concentration camps became "resettlements." Responsibility was diffused by deferring to orders from "above" and dividing the tasks into different parts.

The often personal glimpses demonstrate the slow and methodical change in Nazi policy towards Jewish civilians, as the German leadership shifted towards the Final Solution. Combined with the personal accounts of battalion members, it is easy to see the slow progression of anti-Jewish doctrine, as well as the frequently unmentioned nuances of its executioners, the most revealing of which the lack of disciplinary action for those who refused to take part in the massacres and "Jew hunts" -- reveals a great deal about the make-up of the actual perpetrators.

To win this struggle, the Volk needed to do two things: conquer living space to provide for further population growth and preserve the purity of the German race over all other types of ideologies propgating equality of mankind like Christianity, Liberlaism and Marxism.Jews were deemed responsbile for Liberalism and Marxism.

An account of the atrocities committed by the men of Reserve Police Battalion 101 of the German Order police in Poland during WW2. Provide some detail of their lives before the war, which this book doesn't do. The men in this book are just names.