The Nazis Exposed In Christopher Browning's Ordinary Men

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Ordinary men and women became willing participants in the increasingly radicalized anti-Semitic policies of the Nazi regime. They were not ordinary, they were abnormal. We know what happened to the victims in the holocaust, but what about the perpetuators. In his book Ordinary Men, author Christopher Browning argues that the Nazis were ordinary men doing irregular things. These “Ordinary Men” were a part of the process that helped kill. Weather it was physical contact with the victims like rounding up and transportations or the actual killing itself. These men may be classified ordinary, but they did abnormal things. Ordinary men do not kill and humiliate. The Jews were executed unjustly in Russia, Poland, and Germany and throughout Europe.…show more content…
Major Wilhelm Trapp, better known as Papa Trapp headed the 101 battalion. He was a Nazi, but not a member of the SS. He took order from higher ranking captains. These ordinary men had opportunities to step out of killing. Some did, but the majority of them did not. This is important when you don’t find many cases where the perpetrators were punished for refusing to take part in the mass killings. Upon their first mission in the Village of Jozefow, Trapp gave a short speech. “Pale and nervous, with choking voice and tears in his eyes, Trapp visibly fought to control himself as he spoke. The battalion, he said plaintively, had to perform a frightfully unpleasant task.” (2) This tells me that captain did not want to murder but had no choice but to execute. What strikes me thought is him giving them an opportunity to step out. “After explaining the battalion’s vicious assignment, he gave an extraordinary offer: any of the older men who did not feel up to the task that lay before them could step out.” (57) A man stepped forward, then only ten or twelve others followed. They turned in their rifles and were told to await a further assignment from the major. If the opportunity was given to opt out, why didn’t they? The men that decided to stay had to shoot anyone who tried to escape, and kill the sick, frail, weak, infants, and anyone resisting. What even more interesting was the actions of Trapp. He was explained as never being around the executions. A policemen heard him weep about why he was giving these orders and heard him say “orders are orders”. You can feel as pity as you want, you were still a part of killing children, women, and old. Trapp gave people the opportunity not to kill and was not fond of the killing but the end result was

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