Ordinary Men Essay

1341 Words Oct 29th, 2010 6 Pages
If one were to take anything from Christopher Browning’s Ordinary Men it is that even the most ordinary, normal men have the capacity to kill. The 101st Reserve Police Battalion executed at least 6,500 Jews at the Polish cities and villages of Jozefow, Lomazy, Serokomla, Lukow, Konskowola, Parczew, Radzyn, Kock, and Miedzyrzec and participated in the deportation of at least 42,000 Jews to the gas chambers in Treblinka (Browning, chapter 14, page 121). There were most likely even more killings that were never documented and much less remembered by the members of the 101st. These men had their first taste of death at Jozefow where they massacred 1,500 Polish Jews (Browning, chapter 8, page 74). It was a brutal and harrowing event where men, …show more content…
The men in the field began to experience the same thing and many men either asked to be reassigned, just slipped away and hid for the rest of the day, or missed their shots on purpose until they were dismissed (Browning, chapter 7, pages 58-62). This is very humanizing to hear and reinforces the ordinary nature of many of these men. But at the end of it all the number of men who stepped away was miniscule compared to the number of men who stayed and followed orders, over and over again, all day long (Browning, chapter 7, page 69). But interestingly enough, the 101st next assignment at Lomazy went differently. The Hiwi’s did the majority of the shooting at the mass grave while the 101st was tasked with rounding up the Jews from the village where they killed the sick and frail on the spot. There were less total men than at Jozefow and more Jews so Lieutenant Gnade, the highest-ranking officer, took a more bestial approach. There was no mercy given to the men or the Jews and the mass grave was a testament to that. Perhaps not surprising was the fact that less men stepped away from this action than did at Jozefow and they ended up killing more Jews in half the time with a third of the manpower (Browning, chapter 9, pages 82-85). German methods had become more efficient. Much of this came from the commanding officer’s demeanors. Trapp was upset and weeping at Jozefow and the men reacted the same way. Gnade was bloodthirsty, drunk, and

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