Essay Title: 

ordinary men reserve police battalion 101 and the final solution in poland

March 19, 2016 | Author: | Posted in history, holocaust studies


In Ordinary Men , Christopher Browning uses the example of one particularly brutal Nazi police unit in occupied Poland to explain how a group of seemingly normal individuals could participate in some of World War II ‘s worst atrocities . By examining the mixed reactions they showed as they carried out their s , Browning rejects the most common arguments as to why they complied with the Final Solution and asserts that a combination of factors motivated ordinary men to become mass murderers

Reserve Police Battalion 101 , a unit of [banner_entry_middle]

the German Police (or Orpo , played a significant role in the Final Solution by serving as an occupation force in eastern Europe , rounding up Jews and political enemies of the Nazis , helping deport them to labor and death camps , and killing over 38 ,000 Jews between early 1942 and the end of 1943 (191 Its ranks grew from 56 ,000 in 1933 , when the Nazis assumed control and created an extra tier of internal security , to over 300 ,000 by 1942 when the Final Solution was implemented (4-7

Browning makes clear that the unit , which formed in Hamburg in early 1942 , was not comprised of fanatical Nazis , rabid anti-Semites , or marginal members of society . The officers were mainly middle-class merchants and professionals (with some party members and only two members of the SS among them , while the ranks comprised blue-collar men who were not devout Nazis . Clearly , the men who committed mass murder were not marginal , violent criminals but solid citizens who were somehow transformed

The Community (Battalion 101

The battalion ‘s early operations reveal its ambivalence about its mission in Poland . The unit ‘s commander , Major Wilhelm Trapp , initially anguished over the s to kill rather than simply deport Polish Jews and its first major atrocity , the Jozefow Massacre of 13 July 1942 , was hardly a coldly efficient operation by steely-nerved Nazis . The event in which a Polish village ‘s 300 able-bodied Jewish men were deported to a labor camp while its 1 ,500 Jewish women , children , and elderly were gunned down , handled it inefficiently and with significant emotional division . Beset by drinking and sloppy methods , the unit took much of the day to carry out their s and was initially ambivalent about the entire premise of their mission . Trapp even gave his troops the choice to refrain from the killing , which twelve did over the next year , about twenty percent of the unit either never killed Jews or initially did but stopped

Browning remarks that the few who bowed out did so for a variety of reasons . They were so unprepared for the mission that they found it easier to follow s than to think about their actions many feared being labeled as cowards ‘ or weak ‘ by refusing to kill the unarmed and , though few claimed to be avowed anti-Semites , they had at least accepted the assimilation of the Jews into the image of the enemy . [that] was killing German women and children by bombing Germany… [banner_entry_footer]

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