I have been interested in the Holocaust ever since I first learned about it in Religious School at about the age of 13because as a Jewish child it seemed like such a terrifying thing to contemplate, like something out of a science-fiction or horror movie. I always wanted to try and understand what could have motivated the German people to do the things they did. Were they truly evil? My grandfather, who served in WWII and will not buy a German car, and who lost family members in Poland in the Holocaust, gave me a negative view of the German people.
Browning explains in the introduction to his book: Reserve Police Battalion and Final Solution in Poland the circumstances that led him to writing a book about these German battalions that carried one job alone: He pays particularly attention to the testimonies of almost a half of those five hundred that formed the battalion and were sent to Poland in to carry out the Final Solution: The fact that testimonies were detailed and large enough to asses the dynamics of the group, the author can form opinions regarding the psychological circumstances that led to such an incredible transformation.
In his assessment Brownings ordinary men essay the motives some ordinary men had in fulfilling such a hideous and inhumane job, Browning is starting from the very simple consideration that, above anything, those people who formed the Reserve Police Battalions were "human beings.
They came from working, lower-middle-class families, with no prior experience to working abroad. They were stationed at first in the Polish town Bilgoraj. Their first action takes place on July 13, The way he introduces the first action of executing the Jews from the Polish village Jozefow, where there lived 1, Jews is like a camera that runs in slow motion.
The deliberate slow movement toward the climax is destined to make the ordinary human beings watching that film to freeze in horror.
The sharp contrasts between the softness of the first images, the way the members of the battalion gather around their commander, called Papa Trapp, who sheds some tears when he informs them about their mission are all techniques to make the reader understand the way those who were involved in the mass murder jobs.
Their daily jobs over months and, sometimes years, were assigned to ordinary people who were less or not at all subject to fierce indoctrination and special preparation. The Nazi propaganda was a machine that worked almost perfectly in indoctrinating a whole nation over the years, but Browning dwells in his book more on the effects such a propaganda could have had on people who were dispatched in some foreign place, for the first time in their lives and ordered to shoot in cold blood tens of thousands of men, women and children, as their main daily duty.
An extraordinary situation in the case of the Reserve Police battalion was that at their first mission in the Polish village, they were actually given the chance of stepping aside and not caring the orders of killing the Jews.
Only few of them did so. Hey did not rsk any repercussions from their superiors, only the mockery of their peers and accusations of being unmanly. On the other hand, as Browning, points out, they were ordinary men; the selection process was only based on their condition as being too aged to be enlisted in the military.
They did not appear to have been brain washed by the Nazi propaganda, although at some point in the first pages of the book, Browning mentions some of the justifications and encouragements their commander is presenting the inexperienced men with, before taking them to the place were they were supposed to kill people taken from their beds, people they have never met before in their lives.
The reasons given for carrying on with their unpleasant task were: These are the main reasons some of the participants in the murders recollected during their trial.
Yet, they appear incredibly weak as arguments for justified murder. The total number of Jews the reserve Police Battalion killed with the hands of its members or sent to the gas chambers in the concentration camps arose to 83, Such numbers appear incredible when considering the origins, education and training of these ordinary men coming from the working or lower middle class in Hamburg.
Initailly, a minor fraction of them were members of the Nazi Party and another insignificant part belonged to the SS. However, the author shows that some of them joined the Nazi Party after their missions in Poland.
Trapp is reported by one of his men as not participating in the action of murdering the Jewish women, children and old men in the Polish village and saying to himself: But orders are orders" Browning.
The enormous cruelty and the fact that their "jobs" were anything but ordinary triggered the curiosity and the quest for answers in Browning. The phenomenon leading to the transformation of what appears to be ordinary men is also acting in the cases of all those villagers and then, later, all the foreigners who were to replace the Germans for the actual execution of the Jews, under the supervision of the former executioners.
The circumstances were, of course different, because fear appears to be the main and most powerful motivator in the case of those who were under German occupation.
But those villagers in the small village of Jozefow who voluntarily point out to the Jews that did not show for the round up are less susceptible of having acting only because of the fear of repercussions. The Nazi propaganda, although the former members of the reserve Police Battalion do not appear to have been brain washed succeeded, as Browning lets the reader understand with every report form the war diaries or testimony of those on trial.
The jobs of killing civilian men, women and children from close range loose the atrocity associated with premeditated crime because they do not appear to be aware of the human condition of those they are ordered to kill. Although, as the author points out, during the interrogations, matters regarding the Nazi main ideology, that of anti-Semitism is not discussed and only marked by silence, the weight placed on it is very heavy in the book.
The Jews stood outside their circle of human obligation and responsibility. The Nazi propaganda regarding the Final Solution the Police battalion were responsible to carry out, at the orders of the highest commander, the Fuehrer, is proven to be partly of blame.
Browning explains that rather than being consciously acting out of blind conviction, the men of the Police battalion were combatants in a war and saw their task as killing their enemy a something rather normal in the case of war.
On the other hand, their enemy was completely different than what one is expecting n the battle field. The fight they were in was resembling a hunting campaign and not a front line in any war.
The reports and the diaries of any of the Order Police Battalions that executed tens of thousands of Jews in Russia and Poland, during and are repeatedly stating that the action of killing went "smooth" and that no one opposed any resistance.
These people are clearly using a very different kind of logic in their actions, one that is difficult to understand under the circumstances of the twenty first century, in a democratic country.
Although, the atrocities of war are still present world wide, genocide was not left as a relic once World War II ended, but perpetrated into the second half of the twentieth century.Ordinary Men Reserve Police Battalion and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher Browning View Paper .
Ordinary Men Reserve Police Battalion In Ordinary Men, Christopher R. Browning tells the story of a non-descript German military unit during World War II called the Reserve Police Battalion. Ordinary Men essaysBook Review - Ordinary Men by Christopher R. Browning In Ordinary Men, Christopher Browning attempts to answer two questions about the Holocaust in Poland; how the Nazis organized and carried out the destruction of Poland.
Browning ordinary men - Essay Example. Comments (0) Add to wishlist Delete from wishlist. Cite this document Summary. By then the soldiers are essential in carrying out vices against the Jews such as mass murder and violation of Jews’ basic human rights (Browning. Christopher Browning is the author of this book named as ordinary men: reserve police battalion and the final solution in Poland.
He is working at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the department of history. "Ordinary Men" Essays and Research Papers. Ordinary Men. portrayal of men and women has always differed. Women have been If one were to take anything from Christopher Browning’s Ordinary Men it is that even the most ordinary, normal men have the capacity to kill.
The st Reserve Police Battalion executed at least 6, Jews at the. Ordinary Men b Christopher Browning Essay Words | 7 Pages. In the book Ordinary Men, Christopher Browning tackles the question of why German citizens engaged in nefarious behavior that led to the deaths of millions of Jewish and other minorities throughout Europe.