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

Topics: The Holocaust, Nazi Germany, Jews Pages: 2 (746 words) Published: October 26, 2008
Although our world has seen many events occur which defy explanation and simply boggle the mind, thus far none has matched the Holocaust in the intensity and sheer damage that it caused the world and more significantly the Jewish population of Europe. Yet, to this day who should be blamed for the Holocaust has still been an open question, yes it was Hitler's plan and original idea, but was he the only one behind it? All along it was the idea that the Jews had been the downfall of the German empire and something has to be done about them. A large factor in these ideas was the use of Einzatsgruppen and Police detachments behind the Army Front in clearing out and containing the Jewish populations in Ghettos or simply to eliminate them. Who these men were and what they represented is what Christopher R. Browning discusses in his book "Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland." We are shown what kind of men comprised this unit, Party members, members of the SS, which social class did they come from, working or privileged upper higher classes, and so on. The first killings are examined and how individuals reacted to them. None of the members of Police Battalion 101 had any idea that their first shooting of unarmed Jews was to take place, thus when asked by the commander of the Battalion those who wish to step out can, and they will be assigned other jobs, at first one man stepped out and was immediately berated by his commanding officer. After Trapp (the commander of the battalion) "had taken Schmike (the man who stepped out) under his protection, some ten or twelve other men stepped forward as well. They turned in their rifles and were told to await a further assignment from the major (pg. 57)." Later on even more men would step out or at least be asked to be excused after they had shot five or six people while others simply milled about at different junctures of the area trying to avoid being asked to be part of the shooting squads....
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