Comparing Night And Browning's Ordinary Men

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When discussing the Holocaust that killed millions of Jews and other minority groups in the 1930s and 1940s, many historical sources fail to capture the true horror and intensity of genocide, often watering down specific events into facts, numbers, and dates. Elie Wiesel’s “Night” and Christopher Browning’s “Ordinary Men” offer a very visceral view of the Holocaust, the former being a biopic of an Auschwitz prisoner, and the latter a collection of primary sources concerning a Battalion of the Einsatzgruppen, hastily assembled police forces given the unpleasant task of clearing Jews out of various towns and villages. Since the two points of view taken by the authors are so different, it should come as no surprise that the authors would have different thoughts on the Holocaust. That being said, both authors do an excellent job tackling the theme of the loss of humanity, which is…show more content…
Many of the events he describes are gut-wrenching such as the stuffing of over a hundred prisoners into one train car (Browning 135) and the extreme plundering where “rings were pulled off fingers in the most brutal way” (Browning 23). While many of the battalion members did transform into automatons capable of killing in cold blood, some members did manage to retain some of their humanness. Anyone who did not wish to participate in the executions could be excused (Browning 57) and the head of the battalion Major Trapp did not attend the executions himself, confiding in his colleagues that he believed this was wrong (Browning 58). In some cases, the battalion members refused to obey orders from their superiors, sparing the lives of infants and children and not separating them from their mothers (Browning 59). To boot, many of the battalion members were incapable of continuing with their work with many of them hiding and disappearing (Browning 62) or being unable to continue due to psychological stress (Browning

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