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The Mindset Of Ordinary People

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During Hitler's rule in Germany there is no doubt that someone killed the Jews. Someone ordered the killings, someone organized the killings, and someone carried out the killings. Who were these "someones"? And is there a difference in these "someones"? The eradication of the Jews has been a controversy for many years. People were accused and tried for their involvement of the mass killings of the Jews, but some of them denied their contribution, others appeared neutral, while some others were proud of their involvement. These killers came from a very diverse group of people, coming from different nationalities, social and economic statuses, and ages. In the article, "One Day in Jozefow: Initiation to Mass Murder" by Christopher R. Browning, he gives an interesting perspective of the mindset of the killers who were actually given the choice whether or not to carry out the killing of the Jews. Brownings's conclusion states that, "Like an other unit, Reserve Battalion 101 killed the Jews they had been told to kill." For the most part, this is not utterly convincing. It is reasonable to believe that there was a stronger force which causes normal people to become killers during the Nazi era.

According to Browning, most of them were once working class citizens. The majority came from a social class that in its political culture had been anti-Nazi. Reserve Police Battalion 101 was made up of men ranging in age from 27-42. Initiated into their careers as genocidal murderers, they received orders to arrive in the city of Jozefow from Hamburg to kill approximately 1800 Jews. The Battalion was to seek out young men for labor and shoot the others. Major Trapp was clearly shaken by the orders to perform such an unpleasant task. Major Trapp then made an offer to his men, if any of the policemen did not feel up to the task, they can be excused and assigned another task. Ten or twelve men accepted his offer. The Jews were taken to a nearby forest in groups of twenty and were executed. 1,500 Jews were shot that day. According to Browning, 10 to 15% either did not shoot at all, or started shooting, but could not continue. When



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