Summary Of Ordinary Men By Christopher R. Browning

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Christopher R. Browning’s Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and The Final Solution in Poland is seen as one of the most influential book in Holocaust studies. The book traces the Reserve Police Battalion (hereafter RPB-101), a single German unit, throughout their military duty. These soldiers were instructed to kill innocent Jewish men, woman and children in Poland. Most of the men in the RPB-101 were originally deemed not suitable of conscription. When massacres in history occur, it is in the nature of human beings to think of the culprits as being different from normal people; savages or villains that kill for pleasure or have no remorse. Ordinary Men investigates the story of how normal people were commissioned to carry out such …show more content…

Never before had I encountered the issue of choice so dramatically framed by the course of events and so openly discussed by at least some of the perpetrators. Never before had I seen the monstrous deeds of the Holocaust so starkly juxtaposed with the human face of the killers (Browning, XVI) Browning then goes on to present different challenges he faced when doing his research and writing the book. He also presents different historians and their onions, as well as other individuals who helped in doing his research. The first chapter describes Major Wilhelm Trapp, the commander of the RPB-101 briefing his men on the assignment that they have been giving: round up the Jews n the village of Józefów separate the ones who are able and of working age and shoot the rest. After describing the assignment and reassuring all of the men that it was okay to kill these innocent people, Trapp offers the men an out “if any of the older men among them did not feel up to the task that lay before him, he could step out” (Browning, 2). At this point, the chapter does not give details on who took up the offer. It leaves a cliffhanger for the reader as Browning begins the next …show more content…

Heinrich Himmler was the Riechfuhrer of the SS, Chief of German Police and Reich Minister of the Interior followed orders handed down from Hitler authorizing the slaughter of civilians in occupied Russia. “Himmler toured the eastern front, personally urging his men to carry out the mass murder of Russian Jewry”(Browning,11). The chapter goes on to depict the beginnings of the slaughter of the nearly half-Jewish city of Bialystok and other nearby towns. When the battalion first entered the town, they beat and humiliated the civilians. There is one example of a Jewish leader begging for mercy on him and his people and a member of the Police Battalion 309 urinating on him (Browning, 12). The beatings and humiliations quickly escalated to bringing large numbers of Jews into the woods to shoot them. In addition to carrying out shootings, the Order Police played a large role in facilitating the deportation of Jews into the concentration camps. The next chapter delves into the specific role the Order Police had in the deportations. It gives a specific example chronicled by Paul Salitter, an Order Police Lieutenant of a time where the Order Police had the task of transporting Jews from Vienna to Sobibór extermination camp. This is the final chapter that gives background knowledge to the reader, at this point the reader should have a level of

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