Ordinary men, p.24
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       Ordinary Men, p.24

           Christopher R. Browning
 
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  In short, the fundamental problem is not to explain why ordinary Germans, as members of a people utterly different from us and shaped by a culture that permitted them to think and act in no other way than to want to be genocidal executioners, eagerly killed Jews when the opportunity offered. The fundamental problem is to explain why ordinary men—shaped by a culture that had its own particularities but was nonetheless within the mainstream of western, Christian, and Enlightenment traditions—under specific circumstances willingly carried out the most extreme genocide in human history.

  Why does it matter which of our portrayals of and conclusions about Reserve Police Battalion 101 are closer to the truth? It would be very comforting if Goldhagen were correct, that very few societies have the long-term, cultural-cognitive prerequisites to commit genocide, and that regimes can only do so when the population is overwhelmingly of one mind about its priority, justice, and necessity. We would live in a safer world if he were right, but I am not so optimistic. I fear that we live in a world in which war and racism are ubiquitous, in which the powers of government mobilization and legitimization are powerful and increasing, in which a sense of personal responsibility is increasingly attenuated by specialization and bureaucratization, and in which the peer group exerts tremendous pressures on behavior and sets moral norms. In such a world, I fear, modern governments that wish to commit mass murder will seldom fail in their efforts for being unable to induce “ordinary men” to become their “willing executioners.”

  APPENDIX: SHOOTINGS AND DEPORTATIONS BY RESERVE POLICE BATTALION 101

  TABLE 1 NUMBER OF JEWS SHOT BY RESERVE POLICE BATTALION 101

  Location Mo./yr. Est. # Jews shot (minimum)

  Józefów 7/42 1,500

  Łomazy 8/42 1,700

  Międzyrzec 8/42 960

  Serokomla 9/42 200

  Kock 9/42 200

  Parczew 10/42 100

  Końskowola 10/42 1,100

  Międzyrzec 10/42 150

  Łuków 11/42 290

  Lublin district (misc. roundups) from 7/42 300

  Lublin district (“Jew hunts”) from 10/42 1,000

  Majdanek 11/43 16,500

  Poniatowa 11/43 14,000

  TOTAL 38,000

  TABLE 2 NUMBER OF JEWS DEPORTED TO TREBLINKA BY RESERVE POLICE BATTALION 10

  Location Mo./yr. Est. # Jews deported (minimum)

  Parczew 8/42 5,000

  Międzyrzec 8/42 10,000

  Radzyń 10/42 2,000

  Łuków 10/42 7,000

  Międzyrzec 10/42-11/42

  Biała 4,800

  Biała Podlaska 6,000

  county

  Komarówka 600

  Wohyn 800

  Czemierniki 1,000

  Radzyń 2,000

  Łuków 11/42 3,000

  Międzyrzec 5/43 3,000

  TOTAL 45,200

  NOTES

  Abbreviations

  BA Bundesarchiv, Koblenz

  BDC Berlin Document Center

  BZIH Biuletyn Żdyowskiego Instytutu Historycznego (Bulletin of the Jewish Historical Institute)

  G Investigation of G. and others, Office of the State Prosecutor, Hamburg, 141 Js 128/65

  HW Investigation and trial of Hoffmann, Wohlauf, and others, Office of the State Prosecutor, Hamburg, 141 Js 1957/62

  IMT Trials of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal, 42 vols.

  JNSV Justiz und NS-Verbrechen. Sammlung Strafurteile wegen Nationalsozialistische Tötungsverbrechen 1945-1966, 20 vols.

  NO Nürnberg document relating to party organizations

  NOKW Nürnberg document relating to the military

  YVA Yad Vashem Archives, Jerusalem

  ZStL Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen, Ludwigsburg

  PREFACE

  1. Raul Hilberg estimates that more than 25 percent of the victims of the Holocaust died in shootings. More than 50 percent perished in the six major death camps equipped with gassing facilities, and the remainder under the terrible conditions of ghettos, labor and concentration camps, death marches, etc. The Destruction of the European Jews (New York, 1985), 1219.

  2. The only other major study of an individual killing unit is Hans-Heinrich Wilhelm, “Die Einsatzgruppe A der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD 1941-42: Eine exemplarische Studie,” part 2 of Die Truppe des Weltanschauungskrieges: Die Einsatzgruppen der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD 1938-1942, by Helmut Krausnick and Hans-Heinrich Wilhelm (Stuttgart, 1981). Wilhelm’s study is based on much more plentiful contemporary documentation than exists for Reserve Police Battalion 101. However, Wilhelm did not have available a roster of this unit. His study of personnel is thus limited to the officers.

  3. Marc Bloch, The Historians Craft (New York, 1964), 143.

  4. Raul Hilberg, “The Bureaucracy of Annihilation,” in Unanswered Questions: Nazi Germany and the Genocide of the Jews, ed. Françis Furet (New York, 1989), 124-26.

  1. ONE MORNING IN JÓZEFÓW

  1. Adolf B., HW 440.

  2. Erwin G., HW 2502-3; Johannes R., HW 1808; Karl F., HW 1868.

  3. On Trapp’s behavior during the speech: Georg A., HW 421; Alfred L., HW 1351; Bruno P., HW 1915; Walter N., HW 3927; Heinz B., HW 4415; August Z., G 275. On the contents of the speech: Georg A., HW 421; Adolf B., HW 439; Martin D., HW 1596; Walter N., HW 1685; Bruno D., HW 1874; Otto-Julius S., HW 1952; Bruno G., HW 2019; August W., HW 2039-40; Wilhelm Gb., HW 2146; Franz K., HW 2482; Anton B., HW 2655, 4346; Ernst Hn., G 505. For the extraordinary offer; Otto-Julius S., HW 1953, 4577; August W., HW 2041-42, 3298, 4589.

  2. THE ORDER POLICE

  1. The only institutional history of the Order Police is Zur Geschichte der Ordnungspolizei 1936-1945 (Koblenz, 1957): part 1, Hans-Joachim Neufeldt, “Entstehung und Organisation des Hauptamtes Ordnungspolizei,” and part 2, Georg Tessin, “Die Stäbe und Truppeneinheiten der Ordnungspolizei.” Heiner Lichtenstein’s Himmlers grüne Heifer: Die Schutzpolizei und Ordnungspolizei in “Dritten Reich” (Köln, 1990) appeared too late to be consulted.

  2. Tessin, 7-8.

  3. Tessin, 13-15, 24, 27, 49.

  4. Tessin, 32-34.

  5. Tessin, 15, 34.

  6. NO-2861 (Daluege’s annual report for 1942, presented to high-ranking Order Police officers in January 1943). Slightly different figures are given in Das Diensttagebuch des deutschen Generalgouverneurs in Polen 1939-1945, ed. Werner Präg and Wolfgang Jacobmeyer (Stuttgart, 1975), 574. On November 21, 1942, the commander of the Order Police in the General Government reported a force of 12,000 German police, 12,000 Polish police, and 1,500 to 1,800 Ukrainian police (presumably in Galicia). The commander of the Security Police reported a force of 2,000 Germans and 3,000 Polish employees.

  3. THE ORDER POLICE AND THE FINAL SOLUTION: RUSSIA 1941

  1. Krausnick and Wilhelm, 146; Tessin, 96.

  2. IMT 38:86-94 (221-L: Hitler conference of July 16, 1941, with Goring, Lammers, Rosenberg, and Keitel).

  3. Yehoshua Büchler, “Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS: Himmler’s Personal Murder Brigades in 1941,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 1, no. 1 (1986):13-17.

  4. For example, the direct subordination of Police Battalion 322 to HSSPF von dem Bach-Zelewski “for the imminent tasks of the battalion” took place on July 23, 1941. YVA, 0-53/127/53 (war diary of PB 322, entry of July 23, 1941; hereafter war diary).

  5. NOKW-1076 (Kommissarbefehl, June 6, 1941).

  6. Gerichtsbarkeiterlass Barbarossa, signed by Keitel, May 13, 1941, in Hans-Adolf Jacobsen, “Kommissarbefehl und Massenexekutionen sowjetischer Kriegsgefangener,” Anatomie des SS-States (Freiburg, 1965), 2:216-18 (doc. 8).

  7. YVA, TR-10/823 (Landgericht Wuppertal, judgment 12 Ks l/67):29-30.

  8. YVA, TR-10/823 (Landgericht Wuppertal, judgment 12 Ks l/67):40-65.

  9. War diary, 15, entry of June 10, 1941.

  10. War diary, 28, entry of July 2, 1941.

  11. War diary, 35-41, entries of July 5, 7, and 8, 1941.

  12. War diary, 4
0-42, entries of July 8 and 9, 1941.

  13. YVA, 0-53/128/219 (confidential order of Colonel Montua, July 11, 1941).

  14. For Police Battalion 322, see JNSV 19, no. 555 (Landgericht Freiburg, judgment 1 AK 1/63):437-8. For Police Battalion 316, see YVA, TR-10/721 (Landgericht Bochum, judgment 15 Ks 1/66): 142-77.

  15. War diary, 53, entry of July 23, 1941.

  16. War diary, 64, entry of August 2, 1941.

  17. YVA, 0-53/128/80 (Riebel, 3d Company, to PB 322, August 10, 1941).

  18. YVA, 0-53/128/81 (Riebel, 3d Company, to PB 322, August 15, 1941).

  19. War diary, 79, entry of August 29, 1941.

  20. War diary, 82, entry of August 30, 1941.

  21. War diary, 83-85, entries of August 31 and September 1, 1941.

  22. YVA, 0-53/128/87 (Riebel, 9th Company, to 3rd Pol. Batl. Reg. “Mitte,” September 1, 1941).

  23. War diary, 116, 118, entries of October 2 and 3, 1941. Riebel’s report in fact claims 555 for his Ninth Company. YVA, 0-53/86/150 (Riebel, “Report on the Jewish action of October 2-3, 1941,” to 3d Pol. Batl. Reg. “Mitte”).

  24. YVA, 0-53/128/242-75, 0-53/86714-62 (incomplete collection of daily reports of HSSPF South, Friedrich Jeckeln, to RF-SS Himmler, August 19-October 5, 1941).

  25. ZStL, II 204 AR-Z 1251-65 (Landgericht Regensburg, judgment Ks 6/70):9-35; and 204 AR-Z 1251/65, 2:370-77 (report of Bavarian State Criminal Office, Munich, September 10, 1968).

  26. ZStL, 204 AR-Z 1251/65, 1:53-54, 58-60, 94-96 (interrogations of Johann L., Franz P., and Karl G.); 3:591-95 (notes from Balek diary).

  27. For a highly flawed legal judgment containing useful background on the activities of Police Battalion 11, see JNSV 18, no. 546a (Landgericht Kassel, judgment 3a Ks l/61):786-835.

  28. IMT 27:4-8 (1104-PS: Gebietskommissar Carl in Slutsk to Generalkommissar Kube in Minsk, October 30, 1941).

  29. JNSV 18, no. 546a (Landgericht Kassel, judgment 3a Ks l/61):786-87, 835.

  30. The only document I have found on Order Police participation in the execution of Russian Jews in 1942 is an Order Police company report on the role of two battalions in the final liquidation of 15,000 Jews in the Pinsk ghetto between October 29 and November 1 (YVA, 0-53/129/257-58, USSR 199A). The German judicial investigation stemming from this document uncovered a wider pattern of executions. Police Battalion 306, along with one company each from Police Battalions 310 and 320 and a squadron of mounted policemen, was involved in Pinsk. Throughout September 1942, units of Police Battalions 69 and 306, as well as the mounted police squadron, had also participated in liquidating the ghettos in Lachwa (200-500), Luninets (1,000-1,500), Stolin (5,000), Janow (2,000), and Drohotschin (1,500). See Staatsanwaltschaft Frankfurt, 4 Js 90/62, indictment of Kuhr, Petsch, et al., 66-107.

  31. NO-2861 (Daluege report for Order Police activities in 1942).

  32. NO-600 (Grawitz to Himmler, March 4, 1942).

  4. THE ORDER POLICE AND THE FINAL SOLUTION: DEPORTATION

  1. For the most recent analysis of the deportations from Germany, see Henry Friedlander, “The Deportations of the German Jews: Post-War Trials of Nazi Criminals,” Leo Baech Institute Yearbook (1984): 201-26.

  2. IMT 22:534-36 (3921-PS: Daluege to inspectors of the Order Police, October 27, 1941); YVA, 0-51/63/4, 6 (Butenop, KdSchupo Wien, October 24, 1941, to local Orpo units; Bomhard memorandum on the evacuation of the Jews, October 4, 1941).

  3. This figure does not include smaller transports of less than 100 Jews at a time, of which there were many. A comprehensive list of the deportation trains from the Reich has not yet been compiled.

  4. YVA, TR-10/835 (Staatsanwaltschaft Düsseldorf, 8 Js 430/67, indictment of Ganzenmüller): 177-78. For the takeover of transports from Bulgaria to Treblinka by the Order Police in Vienna, see YVA, 0-51/63/109 (note by Butenop, KdSchupo, March 26, 1943). This file contains the correspondence of the Order Police in Vienna concerning the guarding of Jewish transports to various places in Poland, Minsk (Maly-Trostinez), and Theresienstadt from the spring of 1942 to the summer of 1943.

  5. Gertrude Schneider, Journey into Terror: Story of the Riga Ghetto (New York, 1979), 195-211; Krausnick and Wilhelm, 591-95.

  6. YVA, 0-51/63/42-43 (Fischmann report, June 20, 1942).

  7. This document has been published in German in Adalbert Rückerl, NS-Vernichtungslager im Spiegel deutscher Strafprozesse (Munich, 1977), 56-60. A copy of the report, from Soviet archives, is found in ZStL, USSR Ord. No. 116, Bild 508-10.

  5. RESERVE POLICE BATTALION 101

  1. ZStL, 3 AR-Z 52/61, in HW 1-6; Kurt A., HW 11; Ernst Hr., HW 2712.

  2. BA, R 20/51/3-7 (activity report of Reserve Police Battalion 101, May 5, 1940-Apri 1 7, 1941).

  3. Bruno P., HW 1912-13.

  4. Alfred H., HW 43-44; Georg L., HW 1425; Heinrich S., HW 1561; Walter Z., HW 2683; Ernst Hr., HW 2712; Ernst R., G 607.

  5. Paul H., HW 1647.

  6. BA, R 20/51/3-7 (battalion activity report).

  7. Bruno G., HW 2017.

  8. YVA, TR-10/462 (Landgericht Dortmund, judgment 10 Ks l/53):3-4.

  9. Bruno P., HW 1913-14.

  10. Hans K., HW 2246; Ernst Hr., HW 2713.

  11. Anton B., HW 2684; Wolfgang Hoffmann, HW 4319.

  12. YVA, 0-53/141/4378-86 (lager report of EK 3, Kovno, December 1, 1941); Schneider, 23-30.

  13. See YVA, BD 23/4 (International Tracing Service Lists), and Dokumenty i Materiały Do Dziejów Okupacji W Polsce, vol. 3, Ghetto Łódzkie (Warsaw, 1946): 203-5 (Erfahrungsbericht, November 13, 1941), for the Łódź transports; JSNV 19, no. 552 (Landgericht Koblenz, judgment 9 Ks 2/61): 190, for the transports to Minsk; and Schneider, 155, for the transport to Riga.

  14. Heinrich Ht, HW 1173; Wilhelm J., HW 1320; Hans K., HW 2246; Franz K., HW 2475; Anton B., HW 2689.

  15. Otto G., HW 955.

  16. For Łódź, Arthur K., HW 1180; for Minsk, Bruno P., HW 1930-32; for Riga, Hans K., HW 2246, and Max F., HW 1529.

  17. Hans K., HW 2246.

  18. Bruno P., HW 1930-31.

  19. Salitter report, December 26, 1941, cited in Krausnick and Wilhelm, 594.

  20. Staatsanwaltschaft Hamburg, 141 Js 1957/62 (indictment of Hoffman and Wohlauf):206 (hereafter Hoffman/Wohlauf indictment).

  21. Ernst G., HW 1835.

  22. BDC, Wilhelm Trapp party card. Julius Wohlauf, HW 2882, 4326; Wolfgang Hoffmann, HW 2930, 4318-19, 4322.

  23. Hoffmann/Wohlauf indictment, 47-49.

  24. Hoffmann/Wohlauf indictment, 49-51.

  25. Staatsanwaltschaft Hamburg, 141 Js 1457/62, Sonderband: DC-Unterlagen.

  26. This statistical breakdown of Reserve Police Battalion 101 is based upon information from 210 interrogations conducted by the Hamburg prosecuting attorney in the 1960s. Not including the officers, administrative officials, and noncommissioned officers, the interrogations provided a sample base of 174 men from the ranks. While all interrogations included data on age, not all included full information on employment. Some men gave only postwar employment status, and many of those—given the age group—were listed merely as pensioners. Thus the employment sample consists of only 155 men.

  27. These Party membership statistics are based on Party membership cards held in the BDC.

  6. ARRIVAL IN POLAND

  1. Experimental gassing with Zyklon-B began in the Auschwitz main camp (Stammlager, or Auschwitz I) in September and October 1941. The systematic use of the new gas chamber (a converted farmhouse) at nearby Birkenau (Auschwitz II) began on February 15, 1942. Danuta Czech, Kalendarium der Ereignisse im Konzentrationslager Auschwitz-Birkenau 1939-1945 (Reinbeck bei Hamburg, 1989), 116, 174-75.

  2. There was a total of 3,000 men in the Sonderdienst for the entire General Government. That many were apparently Polish collaborators with only a specious claim to ethnic German status can be seen from the fact that only 25 percent of them spoke German. Diensttagebuch, 574.

  3. in the Lublin district, I have relied upon Yitzhak Arad, Betłżec, Sobibór, Treblinka: The
Operation Reinhard Death Camps (Bloomington, Ind., 1987), 383-87, 390-91; Tatiana Brustin-Berenstein, “Martyrologia, Opór I Zagłada Ludnósci Zydowskiej W Distrykcie Lubelskim,” BZIH 21 (1957): 56-83; and various German court cases.

  4. Diensttagebuch, 511 (Polizeisitzung, June 16, 1942).

  5. Hoffinann/Wohlauf indictment, 205-6.

  6. Johannes R., HW 1807.

  7. For the stationing of the various units of Reserve Police Battalion 101 throughout 1942, see Hoffmann/Wohlauf indictment, 208-12.

  8. Alfred S., HW 294-95; Albert D., HW 471; Arthur S., HW 1161; Friedrich B., HW 1581-82; Martin D., HW 1598-99; Wilhelm K., HW 1770; Herbert R., HW 2109; Heinrich E., HW 2169; Walter Z., HW 2622; Bruno G., HW 3300; Ernst N., HW 1648; August W., HW 2039.

  7. INITIATION TO MASS MURDER: THE JÓZEFÓW MASSACRE

  1. As neither Trapp, his adjutant Hagen, nor Lieutenant Gnade survived to be interrogated in the 1960s, the only direct witness to this meeting was Captain Wohlauf. His versions were so numerous and self-serving, and crucial aspects of the rest of his testimony so overwhelmingly contradicted by other witnesses, that he simply cannot be relied on.

  2. Heinz B., HW 819-20, 2437, 3355, 4414.

  3. Julius Wohlauf, HW 4329-30.

  4. Friedrich Bm., HW 2091.

  5. Hans S., G 328.

  6. Bruno D., HW 1874

  7. Alfred B., HW 440.

  8. Rudolf B., HW 3692.

  9. Otto-Julius S., 1953-54, 4576-79; August W., HW 2041-42, 3298, 4589. S. and W. were the only two witnesses who recalled Trapp’s offer in precisely this way. Several others initially remembered a call for volunteers for the firing squad instead (Alfred B., HW 439-40; Franz G., HW 1189-90; Bruno G., HW 2020). Others, when questioned about the incident, either conceded the “possibility” that Trapp had made the offer (Anton B., HW 2693; Heinz B., HW 3356-57, 4415) or at least said they would not contest or deny it had happened. Trapp’s stipulation about “older” men appears in S.’s testimony (HW 1953, 4578). W., who most explicitly confirmed S.’s testimony in other respects, did not mention this qualification and claimed that younger men stepped out as well. However, he does seem to have understood that Trapp made his offer to the older reservists. When asked to explain why he himself did not step out, he indicated that he was a relatively young volunteer, an “active” policeman—i.e., not a conscripted reservist (HW 2041-42, 4592). The greater precision and vivid detail of the S. and W. testimony and the subsequent behavior of the officers and noncoms of the battalion in accordance with Trapp’s offer (i.e., those who belatedly asked out were released from firing squad duty—something the officers and noncoms could never have done so consistently without the prior sanction of the commanding officer) have persuaded me that a much greater probability rests with their version than with any other.

 
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