Ordinary Men

PDF EBook by Christopher R. Browning

EBook Description

Jessica Mitford claimed in her book A Fine Old Conflict that the racism in her new home Oakland, California was from people who moved there from the Southern states (I guess we kept moving there for those acts of racially led police brutality over the years). Ordinary Men PDF EBook No one else would be capable of that. Bitch, please! (Of course, I don't have a photo selection of myself with black people I got on well with as she does. So I MUST be a racist, coming from the American South as I do.) I can't help but think of Mitford, that poster child for hypocrisy, for calling something other than what it is for whatever self serving agenda she felt like preaching. Christopher R. Browning's book Ordinary Men Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland is a hell of a book and interesting to me for more reasons than one of my messy goodreads reviews (did I mention that is my 600th?) could cover. Paul Bryant's review says that it changed his life. It also changed mine for those reasons of putting into context human nature aspects I can only suspect and never pin down (it's much, much too big). I want to call something for what it is, pretty much. It changes me again when I have to ask myself if I believe in the will of human nature.

You may have heard of author Daniel Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners. I have, although I've never read one of his pulp(it) tomes. They took the same source information, those interviews for 1960s investigations of war crimes, the same historical texts and came to some important differences. Well, I'd say (without reading Goldhagen's book) that he was looking for an all Germans are anti- PDFSemitic bent to fit everything into. It happened because they were looking for a reason to murder Jews. Hitler just gave them the means. It couldn't have happened to anyone else, anywhere else. Bitch, please! If you want to ignore centuries of history and the present... When someone makes a grab for power like that someone is going to get royally fucked, history says.

Browning's work looks at how "Ordinary Men", middle aged Germans who were not professional killers, who did not roam about the countryside shooting civilians by birth for mirth, became well oiled killing machines for the Nazis. Were they just following orders? Not always, at least not in any immediate way. They weren't held at gun point. I found it interesting that only a dozen opted out when given the choice not to kill. Some followed after, some after killing twenty jews. The breaking point, if there was one, was not the same. Definitely not all. One man who went out of his way to prevent himself and his men from killing the Jews they were transporting would later force twenty old men to undress and then instructed his men to grab bats to beat to death the crawling men. What is in one man, their Captain Trapp, to deliver their orders through his tears to continue to do so? Browning says because one group did so did not mean that another would kill if in their place. It doesn't mean that another wouldn't.

In the back of my mind while reading 'Ordinary Men' I had the thought that these German men felt about the Jews the way that many elsewhere in the world would feel for prison inmates. Their punishment is abstract. They could say to themselves, "Well, they deserved what they got." That's if they thought about them at all. The execution takes place far away. The possibility of innocence, of falling through the cracks for making a mistake (one of the most depressing things, to me, is how many are in prison because they could not afford the court costs. A fucking evil scam! I am overwhelmed with hatred of society when I think about things like that. Complacency and heartless? distraction takes many forms). They hate us for our freedom. Maybe we shouldn't have freedom, then. Maybe someone else is looking out for things for us. It's okay to drop a devastating bomb far away. Sleeeeeep sheeeeep. The only racists are in the American south. It's not bigotry to hate gays, if you're black. I've heard that one a lot. Pretending something isn't what it is by calling something else in huge bold letters. Evil! Nazis! Just them.

I have no doubt that they were thinking about themselves first of all. The way that they rewrote history in their own minds is important. It also cannot be discounted that the interviews were for legal proceedings and no way were they going to even mention direct culpability or anti-Semitism. As Browning points out, that would make it intent and the intent makes it homicide. How much of a looming threat did the Nazi higher ups have that a different mind set some couple of decades later would change their side stepping of the larger implications (they massacred so many people)? I have an idea in the back of my mind that it is complacency out of selfishness. They killed because they didn't want to think about it. That the men didn't ask to leave when the option was no longer presented to them says a lot to me about going to sleep. The killings were routine and it was all something to get used to. Would they have moved for themselves? I don't even know that. (Ten officers to 8,000 Jews and they didn't revolt? We're just being resettled.)

Would I call them Ordinary Men? It doesn't take an extraordinary man to do what they did. Yet, so many have done what they have, not just in Nazi territory, that I don't know what else to call them. I'd say talking about it to call it anything is better than not talking about it. The ordinary men didn't talk about it, not even when they were talking about it.

Five fucking stars. It is not an ordinary man who will look into the lowest of humankind and not pretend. There was much more I wanted to write here and now my mind is too numb with statistics (600 reviews) that I can't even say anything nice now. People sure can suck. What do I call it, again? (Fascism?)

And I realize I didn't break any new ground here but that's really why I love this so much. It's tangible proof of this darkness. I held it in my hand. Not just numbers. Like this book? Read online this: In Praise of Ordinary People, An Ordinary Day.

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