Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland – Christopher R. Browning

Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland – Christopher R. Browning

Ordinary menSynopsis

From 1942 to 1944, a unit of 500 German family men too old for army service was responsible for the deaths of 83,000 Polish Jews. Drawing on postwar interrogations of 210 former members of the battalion, Browning suggests that they were acting less out of deference to authority or fear of punishment than from the insidious motives of careerism and peer pressure.

My Thoughts

Here we go again, another book I read for a paper. The subject of this paper revolves around perpetrator interpretations and viewpoints in events of genocide and mass violence. Ordinary Men gives us quite the insight into Nazi idealism and the “Final Solution” of Jews in Poland.

There seems to be a conception that the perpetrators of mass violence are all raging psychopaths with an agenda. Though this can be true in some cases – and Adolf Hitler is one of those cases – the individuals involved in the death squads are far from the ideal mass-murdering scum bag. In fact, many of the men involved were given the opportunity to step down – which they took.

This book can be hard to read at some bits, in terms of facts and figures involved. There are many individual accounts of particular instances of violence that are extremely difficult to get through. There were many instances where I simply had to put the book down and take a breather for a while. To put it bluntly – this is a bloody, horrific account of what happened to the Jews in Poland in the 1940s.

I garnered much necessary information for my paper by reading this book, and it is definitely worth a read for anyone interested in the history of WWII and perpetrator psychology. It is not for the faint of heart. This is not a book for everyone. However, this is a fascinating insight into the minds of the lesser known perpetrators of mass violence – those who do not suffer from psychopathy and a heightened sense of ideological righteousness.


~ by Aubrey Smith on November 29, 2013.

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