Ordinary Men : Reserve Police Regiment 101 And The Final Solution

1684 Words 7 Pages
The 1992 book Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, written by Christopher R. Browning, seeks to understand the police officers behind the blitzkrieg against Polish Jews during the German military offensive of 1942. Rather than focus on the liquidation of major ghettos in Warsaw and in Lodz, this study focuses on the smaller towns and villages that included significant Jewish populations in Central Poland. By examining indictments and judgements from legal documents obtained from the Central Agency for the State Administration of Justice in Ludwigsburg, Browning is able to illustrate the roles played by the individuals comprising Police Battalion 101 in the destruction of Polish Jewry. Browning offers a multilayered approach by examining the psychology of the police offers: striving to understand how men with little to no history of violence or anti-Semitism could play active roles in the direct destruction of a Jewish population.

Browning’s Ordinary Men begins by defining the role occupied by the Order Police. The Order Police became necessary as a result of the Wehrmacht’s rapid military success on the Eastern front. As more eastern territories fell under German military authority, more occupation forces became necessary. By mid-1942, the total strength of the Order Police in central Poland was 15,186 men (pg.7). The men comprising the Order Police were, as Browning notes, different than the average volunteer for regular…

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