Role of Ordinary Germans in the Holocaust

2313 Words Aug 23rd, 2013 10 Pages
The role of ordinary Germans in the Holocaust is that of bystanders. The people of Germany watched on, without protest, as the Jewish people were murdered. Small and large jobs such as engineering and railway work contributed to the operation of the Holocaust and the murdering of Jews. The manipulation of the German people, through racist and anti-Semitic propaganda, speeches and polices from Hitler, meant that millions of Germans backed the plans to rid the nation of Jews. The idea that the Jews were responsible for economic, social and political issues was endorsed and it led to the idea that their banishment would lead Germany into a brighter future. Many people did not intend on aiding the Holocaust, but minor jobs that they did …show more content…
His role was as a gas-van driver, where he would drive a van and the exhaust would feed into the back area of the car, suffocating the Jews seated there. Burmeister claims that he was “…too influenced by the propaganda of the time to have refused to have carried out the orders [he] had been given” Whether or not it can account for it, this manipulation of strategic propaganda could have influenced why Germans either became a part of the Holocaust or simply chose to ignore it.

The lack of resistance and ignorance of the ordinary German population cost many million Jewish lives. The Nazi party’s desire for popularity and support meant that if there was a protest, actions would be taken to keep the public happy, or quiet, with minimal loss of reputation and status. In other words, it meant that the people could win. One successful attempt of protest proved that this theory would have worked. The Rosenstrasse Protest that occurred on the 27th of February 1943 led to the release of several hundred Jewish men from a Gestapo headquarters. This symbolic protest highlighted the fact that if the public were to protest, the execution of Jews could have been slowed or even halted. Despite this, the Rosenstrasse Protest remained the only large protest against the Holocaust throughout its entire duration. This means that the German population continued to ignore and become passive bystanders of the genocide happening around
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