31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
A rare inside look at Police Battalion 101,
By A Customer
This review is from: Ordinary Men (Paperback)
Reserve Police Battalion 101 was composed of 500 middle-aged men who had come from Hamburg, Germany and were either too old or unsuitable for the army. It was these ordinary men that carried out a piece of the dreaded New Order in Hitler's Europe, systematically gunning down Jews, Poles and other undesirables. They followed the dreaded "Einsatzgruppen," or Mobile Killing Units that carried out similar ghastly deeds and were, in turn, predecessed by the German army operating in the East. In this tremendously interesting and radical book, Christopher Browning has painted a portrait filled with much more than blood, guts and bone-splitting detail: he has clearly shown how these ordinary men became the perpetrators of some of the most henous crimes in history. It was Police Battalion 101 that commited the single greatest atrocity commited during the whole of the Second World War. It was this group -- which began as one composed of men who could not bear to see their victims falling in corpse-filled ditches -- that were responsible for the shooting of 38,000 people and another 45,200 who were deported to the killing center of Treblinka. Tracing their origins from the killers' own testimonies and using a brilliant writing style, Browning's book remains a crowning historical achievment, for it shows how this group of ordinary men went from scared individuals to systematic killers of humanity.
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Initial post: 8 Oct 2012 12:08:31 BDT
John M. W. Smith says:
I think, after also having read carefully the reviewer who only gave this book three stars, that in the end it simply comes down to one thing, however unpalatable that may be. Think of the film Lawrence of Arabia. Remember the scene where Lawrence is disturbed about the executions he had to perform. Do you remember what he said? About why it upset him so much? He said it was because he found himself enjoying it. And there was no explanation for that. It is part of human nature. They enjoy killing!
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jun 2013 06:01:17 BDT
B. Buckley says:
Well said. When asked why antisemitism has persisted throughout the ages, Freud said that people are reluctant to stop doing what gives them pleasure. Look at the faces of the perpetrators as they torture and murder the Jewish victims. Often they are laughing.
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