Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland

Category: World
Author: Christopher R. Browning
All Reddit 65
This Month Reddit 6

About This Book

The shocking account of how a unit of average middle-aged Germans became the cold-blooded murderers of tens of thousands of Jews.


by HudsonsirhesHicks   2019-11-17

Suggested reading

by DarthFluttershy_   2019-11-17

Cops are "ordinary" people. This is a pity because ordinary people make terrible cops. Ordinary people succumb to peer pressure, corrupt culture, and self-interest if not kept in check. But to be fair, there are precious few truly good people on the planet. Worse, decent people don't want good people around when they do bad things, for precisely that reason. Good people who become cops therefore don't stick around long. This is why expecting the police to be angels is insane, and the police propaganda that pervades our society is extremely harmful.

In the most extreme case study on such an issue, 2.4% of police sent to Poland by the nazis refused to shoot Jews (see link or this article). As far as I can tell, there was no special selection process to ensure high levels of compliance. 20% got sick during the shooting process. The rest were easily able to acclimate to being monsters. These results are roughly equivalent to Milgram's famous shock experiment, though with much higher and direct stakes.

In sum, there's no way to make police good, only ways to make them accountable. Thus the problem starts at the top, which is failing.

by Hoyarugby   2019-11-17

The user turned this narrative into a five part series of the first killings, how the ordinary men of Reserve Police Battalion 101 dealt with the aftermath of that killing, how the killings became a routine, and eventually details their largest mass killing - the killing of the 42,000 Jews in the Lublin Ghetto

HighCrimesandHistory's post is based on the fantastic work Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. The book details the 500 middle aged family men of Reserve Police Battalion 101, mostly shopkeepers and tradesmen from Hamburg, as they directly killed at least 38,000 Jews in under a year, and sent tens of thousands more to the death camps.

The book itself is incredible and a must read for anybody interested, but /u/highcrimesandhistory turned parts of the book into an incredibly visceral and readable narrative

by [deleted]   2019-07-21

> a lot more liberal

You don't even know what liberal means if you think Bernie is liberal. Bernie is authoritarian leftist, as all are socialists, as the system doesn't work any other way.

> I voted for Bernie in the primary and then Trump in the general cause I wanted a change from the establishment politics.

So you don't have any principles, I get it.

> I then got into all the SJW anti feminist stuff that youtubers were talking about. Milo Yiannopoulos, Chris Ray Gun, Blair White, Sargon of Akkad etc. All the skeptic shit. Then I got into the "race realism" stuff which I assume you haven't looked into at all.

omg they were right, youtube is recruiting liberal socialists (lol) to becoming nazis. I don't believe you at all. You didn't start out progressive or even liberal.

I've looked into race realism, and found it split between scientists/pundits wanting to be able to tell the truth without being punished, and nazis looking to coopt the identity war on science for their own cause.

I've also read this, and many other books about where "race realism" (which is a euphemism for right wing identity politics) actually leads. It's real bad.

by mnemosyne-0002   2019-07-21

Archives for the links in comments:

  • By ColossalJumboCunt (theybf.com): http://archive.fo/20l42
  • By VivianJamesDiversity (amazon.com): http://archive.fo/gHhNa

I am Mnemosyne 2.1, No rest, no unarchived links. No matter the cost. ^^^^/r/botsrights ^^^^Contribute ^^^^message ^^^^me ^^^^suggestions ^^^^at ^^^^any ^^^^time ^^^^Opt ^^^^out ^^^^of ^^^^tracking ^^^^by ^^^^messaging ^^^^me ^^^^"Opt ^^^^Out" ^^^^at ^^^^any ^^^^time

by thelankyasian   2019-07-21

During my graduate history studies we read this: https://www.amazon.com/Ordinary-Men-Reserve-Battalion-Solution/dp/0060995068

Using journals taken from these reservist policemen, the aurthor displays just how much the common man knew about the final solution and just how traumatizing it was to shoot them face to face.

by HamburgerTom   2019-07-21

The year was 1944. Rather relevant detail - this happened as the Germans were on the run, just days after D-day.

At first I thought it was the initial fall of France, 1940.

>Adolf Diekmann said the atrocity was in retaliation for the partisan activity in nearby Tulle and the kidnapping of an SS commander, Helmut Kämpfe.

There it is.

War turns soldiers into little more than wild animals. It scares me - the penchant that humans have to spilling blood. And that the people who did this killing were often not dedicated Nazis, but ordinary men conscripted.

That book is worth a read for anyone who has ever asked "Who could do such evil and why?" Unfortunate answer: Anyone could be a mass murderer, given the right tools and circumstances.

by -Crux-   2019-07-21

Humans are inherently good:

Think about how often, under sober cognitive conditions, you perform an action explicitly for its negative consequences. Unless you have sociopathy, I would presume that's not very common. Barring mind-altering substances and mental pathology (which calls into question the sufferer's agency), our choices and actions are almost always carried out according to their positive effects. Even if we knew ahead of time of any negative consequences that would manifest, we would still make our decisions based on the net positive we stand to gain.

Take for example a mugger: he doesn't mug you because he intentionally means to deprive you of your money; he does it to buy food, or satisfy an addiction, or whatever else. In his view, however distorted that may be by circumstance/beliefs, the value he gains is worth more than the value you lose. He mugs you because it's good for him, not because--or even despite the fact that--it's bad for you. By his interpretation of things, such an action is a good (or at least good enough) thing.

You can even take an extreme example in Hitler. Of course, we rightfully look back on him as the quintessence of malice and hatred who systematically committed one of the greatest acts of evil imaginable. But that's not how he would see it; he believed he was doing the right thing; he saw his mission on some level as moral, or at least justified, in nature. He didn't perpetrate the Holocaust with the intention of being evil; he did it because he wanted racial purity and to appropriate land for Germany. Whether or not we can determine these to be immoral goals, which they very well may be, Hitler believed they were moral and acted accordingly

So one could say humans are inherently good according to how they conceptualize what "good" is.

Humans are NOT inherently good:

In 1966, Charles Whitman, after killing his wife and mother, climbed to the top of the university tower at UT Austin and indiscriminately shot 42 people from the observation deck before committing suicide. In a journal he maintained prior to the event, he wrote about crippling migraines and his fear that he was no longer in control of his actions. During his autopsy they discovered he had been suffering from a glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. As it turns out, this tumor was pressing against his amygdala, which is responsible for mood regulation. Were it not for this unfortunate brain tumor, he very likely wouldn't have committed such a massacre.

In the same vein, Christopher Browning in his book Ordinary Men relays the accounts of six everyday German citizens who were drafted into the Wehrmacht and eventually committed many of the atrocities of the Holocaust. The book reveals not only that truly normal people were naturally conditioned into committing acts of atrocious evil, but that they did so voluntarily, having been offered multiple chances to back out with no threat of retribution. These regular individuals chose to remain with their battalion and tortured innocents of their own volition. The Stanford Prison Experiment evoked similar results.

Humans aren't inherently good, they're inherently ambiguous. Morality and decision-making are subject to immense external stimuli and environmental factors which can lead anyone, even the truly righteous, to intentionally committing terrible acts. If humans were inherently good, one would expect the purest good in the world to be found in young children as they are the least tainted by bad ideas and experiences. And yet they annoy incessantly, damage property, lie on a whim, and bully others.

Anyone is capable of great good and great evil, and whichever they choose to act out may be determined by factors entirely out of their control.

by wormat22   2019-07-21

This is a foolishly naive statement. Try reading Ordinary Men - it's the story of how ordinary soldiers turned into mass murderers over the course of the war

by chewz   2019-04-24
I recommend reading book - Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland.

Well researched (based on testimonials) and well written.

Some men get used to the job, some enjoyed it, some kept refusing.

> Twelve out of 500 soldiers opted out when allowed to leave freely.[34] Those of them who felt unable to continue shooting at point-blank range of prisoners begging for mercy, were asked to wait at the marketplace where the trucks were loaded.[35] The action was finished in seventeen hours. The bodies of the dead carpeting the forest floor at the Winiarczykowa Góra hill (about 2 km from the village, pictured)[36] were left unburied. Watches, jewelry and money were taken.[3]

Unfortunately some of those men who refused were hanged after the war for made up war crimes. History has bitter sense of humor.

> For a battalion of less than 500 men, the ultimate body count was at least 83,000 Jews.[50]

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Ordinary-Men-Reserve-Battalion-Soluti...

[2] http://hampshirehigh.com/exchange2012/docs/BROWNING-Ordinary...

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reserve_Police_Battalion_101

by someone447   2018-11-10

Ordinary Men by Christopher Browning.

by kvn9765   2018-11-10

Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland


It can happen to you...

by bomphcheese   2018-11-10

In this vein, I'd like to plug the book *Ordinary Men *, which examines how people went from being normal middle class people with normal jobs, from bakers to bankers, to routinely killing thousands of people.

Because they were too old or out of shape for combat, hundreds of these men were conscripted into Reserve Police Battalion 101. The first order to kill came while they were in the Polish town of Jozefow. The battalion's commander was choking back tears as he gave the order to his men. He even gave everyone the opportunity to step down if they didn't feel they could carry out the order. Only 12 of the hundreds of men stepped down. 1500 Jews were executed before a mass grave that day. Some didn't die immediately and were instead suffocated by the bodies that fell on them.

That battalion of "ordinary men" went on to kill 38,000 men, women, and children; and sent another 45,000 to camps to be executed.

The author examines how they went from average citizens to mass murderers. Much of it comes from their own testimony at their trials. Some is speculation based on current psychology. Both make you really think.

I highly recommend everyone read it, as it seems more relevant today than at any time since.

by ALABAMA_LEPRECHAUN_   2017-08-19

> And I feel like

You "feel like"? That isn't a very strong argument. Have any evidence to back up your opinions? I have some to back up mine. This book is a seminal work that proves just the things you are saying to be very wrong.

Also, many people who murdered innocents during the Holocaust weren't members of the Nazi party and didn't know that they would be ordered to kill helpless people. If you can make it through that book (it's a great read but very emotionally challenging) you will understand what I'm saying.

by eorld   2017-08-19

You clearly didn't read the second link, (also wtf is executing leaders of an opposing ideology, they were murdering prisoners of war) here's a few crimes by the 'ordinary men' of the Wehrmacht

> The 707th Infantry Division of the Wehrmacht put this principle into practice during an "anti-partisan" sweep that saw the division shoot 10,431 people out of the 19,940 it had detained during the sweep while suffering only two dead and five wounded in the process.[64]


> At Mirgorod, the 62nd Infantry Division executed "the entire Jewish population (168 people) for associating with partisans".[65] At Novomoskovsk, the 444th Security Division reported that they had killed "305 bandits, 6 women with rifles (Flintenweiber), 39 prisoners-of-war and 136 Jews".[65] In revenge for a partisan attack that had killed one German soldier, the Ersatz-Brigade 202 "as an act of retaliation shot 20 Jews from the villages of Bobosjanka and Gornostajewka and burnt down 5 Jew-houses".[66] Even more extreme was the case in Serbia, where the majority of the Jews there were murdered by the Wehrmacht, not the SS.[67] At Šabac, "Central European Jewish refugees, mostly Austrians, were shot by troops of predominantly Austrian origin in retaliation for casualties inflicted by Serbian partisans on the German Army".[65] The orders issued by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel in September 1941 called for the German Army to shoot 100 Serbs for every German soldier killed by the Serb guerrillas and did not call for Jews to be singled out.[68] But because of rampant anti-Semitism in the German officer corps, it was more or less automatically assumed that the Serbian Jewish community were behind all of the partisan attacks, hence the targeting of Jews in the mass shootings carried out in retaliation for guerilla attacks.[68] The German historian Jürgen Förster, a leading expert on the subject of Wehrmacht war crimes, argued that the Wehrmacht played a key role in the Holocaust and it is wrong to ascribe the Shoah as solely the work of the SS while the Wehrmacht were a more or less passive and disapproving bystander.[67]

Edit: Just to add, when you say that part about "normal people not liking that" that just isn't true, the Nazis made regular people key parts of the holocaust all the time. You should read about the 101st ' by Christopher Browning)