Ordinary Men

1347 WordsNov 9, 20106 Pages
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 101st Reserve Police Battalion executed at least 6,500 Jews at the Polish cities and villages of Jozefow, Lomazy, Serokomla, Lukow, Konskowola, Parczew, Radzyn, Kock, and Miedzyrzec and participated in the deportation of at least 42,000 Jews to the gas chambers in Treblinka (Browning, chapter 14, page 121). There were most likely even more killings that were never documented and much less remembered by the members of the 101st. These men had their first taste of death at Jozefow where they massacred 1,500 Polish Jews (Browning, chapter 8, page 74). It was a brutal and harrowing event where men,…show more content…
As Browning says, “At Lomazy following orders reinforced the natural tendency to conform to the behavior of one’s comrades. This was much easier to bear than the situation at Jozefow…” (Browning, chapter 9, page 87). This is where the change began to happen for the men of the 101st. Men who slipped away at Jozefow could not do the same at Lomazy and through this baptism by fire they grew more accustomed to the sights, sounds, and smells of these massacres. After Lomazy the 101st mostly participated in deportations to the death camp in Treblinka and had a short reprieve from the massacres at Jozefow and Lomazy, but that all changed in September 1942 at the town of Serokomla. Broken down killing machinery in the camps forced the German command to reinstate mass executions by firing squad. This time however, the 101st would not have the help of the drunken Hiwi’s and had to shoot the Jews themselves, something they had not done since Jozefow (Browning, chapter 11, page 101). Though Browning does not go into specific details about this shooting one can assume that this was the turning point. From here on out killing starts to come easier for the 101st even if that meant drinking copious amounts of alcohol before hand. By showing the men enough horror and forcing them to partake in it they soon became desensitized and efficient killers. This was also extremely evident when the “Jew Hunt” began. The relentless “search and destroy” mechanics of this phase in the

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