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Old 03-20-2004, 08:31
jcrane jcrane is offline
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Josefow

The Einsatzgruppen and their Actions (due Tues., March 23)

*** The H block posted with BLS in the different color groups. PLEASE POST YOUR RESPONSES HERE, but you may want to read some of their reflections.

Reading: Excerpt from Christopher Browning’s book, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland.

Reading Christopher Browning’s text on the Józefów massacre—a chapter of his book, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, one of the most brilliant books ever written about the Nazi era--it is impossible not to wonder: what happened there. I don’t know about you, but I find his account and the reality of what happened there to be profoundly and deeply disturbing.

Why did these men do what they did? Why did some men participate and some men choose not to? What were the real repercussions if you chose not to participate? Why didn’t more of the men do that? What seemed to be “going through their heads”? What do you make of Major Tripp’s views and actions? Why were these actions—these massacres by teams that served as “einsatzgruppen”—special killing squads—so problematic for the Nazis in the short-term and in the long term?
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Old 03-21-2004, 03:54
ryfry ryfry is offline
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Josefow

Out of my personal opinion I pity these ordinary men yet at the same time hate them for what they did. They did what they did out of order from higher executive personnel which they can’t seem to simply decline. Again some men chose to participate because it was orders but also because some of these men I believe may have I had a dark hatred for Jews, so their stomachs can take the massacre of them. On the other hand some others could not participate because some of them thought of their own families back home and could not kill another family for being Jewish. Another reason why some people could not participate was because the killing of a man is very bloody and gruesome the style that this Reserve Police Battalion 101 did. Some of their men did not choose not to participate because the other stronger men of the battalion bullied those who did not participate because they were chickens or sissies, so they wanted to look strong and not weak. Once again, what were going on in their heads were many things. Some thought of their own families back home in comparison to the ones they were killing. Major Tripp’s actions by killing the Jews was absolutely wrong, but what he did for his battalion to make the job easier was good, but only for the police battalion. He handed out alcohol to make the job easier and assigned others to other jobs when they could not take the killing anymore. These special killing squads became problematic in short term because of inexperience of killing, and so the pace and style of which the massacres were carried out became a problem. In the long term, these teams were problematic because the longer they keep killing Jew’s, the more sickened they become by their own actions, and so they then will begin declining their jobs to kill and abandon the battalion or their jobs duty.
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Old 03-21-2004, 05:26
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I have to say I agree with practically all that Ryfry mentioned. I only would like to know where you got the "had a dark hatred for Jews” from. Was there anything in the text that allowed you to think this? Personally, I think that during the Nazi Era nobody thought they could trust anyone. Maybe that's an overstatement but I do think that some of the soldiers that were hesitant to step forward when given the opportunity to refuse to join the killing squad, thought they would be murdered too. I know of other cases in which German soldiers were killed when refusing to kill Jews. Even though there might have been opportunities to step back, I ask myself how a soldier in such a situation can be sure that they had not fallen into a trap to single out the weaker ones among them? However, I do agree with the idea that there were many of them thinking about their own families back in Germany. What really made me raise my eyebrows (and probably added to the refusal for killing by the soldiers) was that most of the Jews in the town came from Germany. This will most likely have triggered the thinking about family even more. And that, in return, to the hesitation of killing these women and children.

The situation is comparable to soldiers fighting on a front; it is their duty to kill. Also, what might have influenced their decision was the idea that they were doing this for their country and so the must carry on. Once again I agree with Ryfry in that I pity these men too.

In the long run I think that this did eventually lead to the absolute horror of killing people among the German soldiers. I am not completely sure about the completely sure about the accuracy behind the statement I will now make but I think it could also be a long-term result. Wouldn’t the declining numbers of soldiers wiling to massacre Jews have been another reason for Hitler’s government to set up death camps?

Short term is obviously, like Ryfry said, the pace at which these mass murders took place, and it shows again that the Nazi regime was quite unorganised.
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Old 03-21-2004, 07:34
thuhuong thuhuong is offline
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Browning

*While I was reading the article, I felt so sorry for both the Jews and the men. I don't know what is worse -- to be (as some Czechs would say) in the skin of the Jews or in the skin of the men. If I were one of the men, I would automatically stand back -- nothing to solve -- but, initially, not so many men stepped aside, perhaps because they feared that it was some kind of trap. They thought that if they withdrew, the higher authorities would kill them as well, that may explain why some men continued their assignment. Another reason why the men kept killing Jews might have been that they simply had no heart, just like wild animals that kill people, so did some men killed the Jews. They believed in what was going on about the Jews, that they are dirty Jews, they would hurt children, so the men killed them to save their own families. Major Tripp handed out alcohol to the men, and this made them drunk and even not know what they were doing, so that the killing was easier.

*A few men asked for another job, which I find very reasonable, because they never volunteered for this action, and they thought that the Jews were only people as the Germans were. Another reason was that they were disgusted to see all the shooting and such -- they had the strength to capture the Jews, but not to kill them.

*I don't think that something was going on in their minds when they had the Jews lying in front of them. The men were very confused, frightened, disgusted and everything together... and in those moments they could not think about anything, they just had the Jews in front of them and there it was -- they had to decide whether they want to do it, to kill them, or not. So if something was going on in their heads, it was going on before, and the thoughts led to the decision -- to shoot or not to shoot.

* The long-term and short-term I totally agree with Ryfry and maddy7, so I do not want to copy them.

* This article was really horrible, I am glad we do not have to watch a movie about this (hopefully)!

Sorry if somebody does not like my opinion.

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Old 03-21-2004, 09:02
petia petia is offline
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The text was interesting in that it gave a perspective of the Germans and until now I have only read that of Jews. Its important to view the side of those "ordinary men" in order to really understand what happened and not just think, "what's there to know all the Germans were evil Nazis etc. " because I have heard that in the past.
The actions of Battalion 101 in Josefow can't really be justified, but we could look at their perspective and maybe begin to clarify what they were trying to accomplish. From the reading I understood that they were told simply, " you are given an order to exterminate the Jews, from the highest officials of the state (be that Hitler himself or Goering or his other close men). The reasons they are given to complete the order were simply: the Jews collaborated with the Allies in World War I and they are involved in partisan acts so they must be extirminated. Whether the soldiers obeyed blindly or they believed what they were told can't be determined in my opinion. They were told however to think of the women and children getting bombed back in Germany if it made them feel better, and perhaps that was an inscentive. Some of the men with greater consciences did not go through with it because it involved innocent women and children. Others continued anyway. Its difficult to say whether the ones who went ahead with it were necessarily evil, but they did have the opportunity to decline, seeing as there were no repercussions whatsoever. It's impossible to answer, however, what was going through their heads because we've never been in that sort of position. It was the most difficult period in time, and maybe they weren't sure they themselves would survive. Again, this doesn't justify it.
For Major Tripp, the massacre seemed to be a bigger problem than for some of the soldiers. Perhaps he felt directly responsible since he had given them the order. Also, he probably saw the bigger picture of the murder than the soldiers who were responsible for their own killing squad. I can't say whether he is really that responsible for the actions. He recieved direct orders from the highest officials and probably had fear for his own life not to mention career. That's by no means an excuse to kill innocents but I'm guessing after the massacre was over his mental health probably became unstable anyway as he realized the consequences of his actions.
My guess of the problems caused by the einsatzgruppen is that after the massacre and then the war, there was no way to mask what had happened and so the Nazis couldn't hide the evidence of the atrocities. Probably those soliers confessed their doings anyway.
In any case important details were given in the reading which helped my personal perspective.
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Old 03-21-2004, 09:37
ricky_henderson ricky_henderson is offline
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Let me start by stating the obvious - this article was disturbing. It was disturbing to hear about the deaths of the Jews and just as disturbing to hear about the men who killed them. What I gathered from the text is that nearly all the men were disgusted by the killing of the Jews, and many others would not even participate in the killings to begin with. When Tripp made his offer, I am sure that nearly all the men did not want to kill the Jewish people in the village, but they did not have the nerve to reject the orders. They did not have the nerve because of fear of humilitation and inconformity. Each soldier did not want to be the only one to step out of line. We saw an example of this frame of mind when the old man stepped out of the line after Tripp made his order. He was quickly followed by large groups of men who saw that they would not be alone in their resistance of the orders and thus stepped out. We can definitely NOT say that the men who chose not to step out were all Jew haters. Most probably, these men simply did not have the nerve to defy their officers or risk humiliation. Contrary to what the soldiers thought, the weak soldiers were the ones who stayed in the line. The strong ones could step out.

The real repurcussions were not very harsh. They might have consisted of name-calling by the other soldiers, but usually were just a reassignment to guard duty away from the firing squads. Soldiers did not always know this, and presumed there to be worse consequences. Thus, many did not step out of line. They may have even sensed some sort of trap that would make them end up laying down with the Jews in the death line.

Major Tripp was honorable, in that he did what he could given the circumstances. He could not stop the killings, but he could make it as easy on everyone as possible. Other soldiers surely had as intense negative feelings about the killings as Tripp, but were more reluctant to let these feelings out. When Tripp saved the life of the young bleeding girl in the marketplace, he demonstrated defiance of the German higher command and saved a life - even a small one. This was an incredible gesture.

The German soldiers who composed the firing squad cannot be directly blamed for the deaths of the Jews. Yes, they could, and should, have stepped out of line. However, as we saw in the experiment with shocks on the movie, even "good" people will hurt others if told to by superiors. These Germans who made up the firing squads were weak, but they cannot be blamed for their weakness. They should be forgiven and be offered some sort of chance for redemption.

These squads were difficult for the Nazis because they lowered German morale and exposed the Nazis' real plan to exterminate innocent people. The Nazis lacked foresight in thinking that ordinary men could shoot Jews in the head without any moral consequences. Many soldiers who made up the firing squads probably lost morale and motivation for the rest of the war, and cost the Germans valueable manpower.
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Old 03-21-2004, 10:25
Lydia Lydia is offline
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The men of the Reserve Police Battalion 101 took part in the Jozefow Massacre primarily because of orders given to them by Trapp. I think this chapter in some forms, represents Stanley Milgram’s study of learning, determining how far people would go if told to. The men did what they did because they were told to and they wanted to be faithful to their Nazi party. They almost felt as though they would be disrespected if they didn't, as one man expresses being called “**** head” and “weakling” (Browning, 66). Although some men chose not to go ahead with orders due to the factors, men could not carry on shooting free hand as “brains and bones flew everywhere” (64). Furthermore men did not want to kill the elderly, women and children, in the most part innocent children. The repercussions that one experienced if they did not participate was awaiting a further assignment. Although there are a few cases in which if men did not obey they were pretty much told they should lie with the Jews and forfeit their life. More men did not ask to be reassigned due to pride issues and fear of the few cases. I cannot comment on what was going through the men's heads at the time, although I can predict it to be something along the lines of distress and the sheer extent of their orders. Trapp’s distress was said to be no secret, he openly shed a tear and doubted the orders given to him. A factor that reveals some questioning for me is why did he go through with these orders, was it merely what Milgram’s experiment was trying to prove? Overall the einsatzgruppen seem to be problematic for the Nazi’s as although individuals did not express it, many did not agree with them. Especially after being a part of one men did definitely not want to go through with another. This is shown in the reading Trapp allowed the Jews to return back to their houses even though he had been ordered to execute them.

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Old 03-21-2004, 12:44
eileenchanyl eileenchanyl is offline
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I believe that those men did what they did because they did not want to be labelled as cowards, also probably because they were afraid that they would go through the consequences if they backed out of it. I guess those who participated were looking forward to the alcohol supplied for the men who continued shooting, while those who chose not to participated chose not to because they felt disgusted by the sight of blood splashing in all directions, brains being blown out and bones flying. Also they probably couldn't believe that they had actually murdered innocent people. Those people who chose not to participate were later sent back to the marketplace, in fact, they were not treated badly at all had they not shot anyone except that they were called names. However, many men continued to shoot the innocent victims becaues they not only did not want to be labelled as a "weakling" or a "coward", but also because they were brainwashed into thinking that shooting Jews wasn't a bad thing after all.

In my opinion, I felt that Trapp's views and actions contradicted each other. Although he made such a show of feeling ashamed of what he had done and how "he wept like a child", he still gave the commanders their assignments to kill the Jews and even said "But orders are orders." I didn't feel very sorry for him because of what he did.

The long term effects were, perhaps, that the Jewish massacres by those men led to the unpopularity of the Nazis amongst the German population, (although I’m not really sure on this). Short term effects were probably that this delayed significantly the rate of Jews they were able to kill compared to what was expected.
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Old 03-21-2004, 13:28
martyna martyna is offline
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einsatzgruppen

Like almost everyone before me, I feel incredibly sorry for the innocent people that were killed and for the wretched men that had to kill.

The Reserve Police Battalion 101 was told to kill more then a thousand Jews from Józefów, basically with their bare hands, and then live with it for the rest of their lives. Surprisingly the policemen did shoot the people form the village. Some shot one, some four, but some shot even up to twenty human beings, one after the other. The men were given the opportunity not to shoot before the action started, but very few took it. They most likely feared that if they won’t fulfill their orders, they will be killed. It wasn’t that much of a problem for the ‘authorities’ to run a mass murder of some one thousand people, so few soldiers would be nothing for them. They were also afraid of humiliation, as Elliot said. When they learned that nothing happened to those who refused to shoot, many started to ask their supervisors to release them from the shooting squad.
When the policemen were shooting in the Jewish ‘necks’, they were probably telling themselves that it’s just their duty and that they aren’t doing anything wrong to comfort their conscience. But when the bones, brain and blood of their victims were splashing all over their faces, most could not take it anymore and they refused to shoot more people. It was not only the sight, but it was also a sudden realization that they are killing innocent people, which they could not bear. All of the policemen were given large amounts of alcohol to shut down the consciousnesses so they would have no scruples when shooting, but it worked with very few of them. Some took the valuables of the murdered Jews, possibly as a payment for what they had to go through …

Major Trapp was fully aware of what his men were doing and that he will be held partially responsible for those actions, even though he didn’t kill anyone himself. He fulfilled the orders and killed everyone that there was to kill. To comfort himself, he kept a small, ten-year-old girl alive, who has seen the most horrible thing a human could ever encounter. He realized that what he did was more wrong than anything else he has done so far and refused to carry out more such massacres.

The einsatzgruppen were largely problematic because they shredded the men’s morale to pieces, thus making them unable to ever touch a gun again. This caused the Nazis to loose large numbers of soldiers. It also largely exposed their crimes. Thousands of dead bodies lying in a forest could not be left unseen. The men who belonged to the einsatzgruppen, often wanted to get rid of the burden and they talked about the mass murders that they had to carry out. This again, revealed the Nazi crimes to the world. To answer Maddy’s question, the inconvenience that was caused by the einsatzgruppen pushed the Nazis to build more death camps. The first one, Chełmno was ‘opened’ in 1941, when the einsatzgruppen began their operations, and by 1942 the other five extermination camps were built. And I also agree with Eileen, the einsatzgruppen were too slow in the killings and they could not kill as many Jews as the Nazis wanted to get rid of.
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Old 03-21-2004, 15:54
Masha Masha is offline
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This article is disturbing, as many already wrote…
Why did these men do what they did? It`s terrible, but the main reason probably was the pressure… They were afraid to be considered weak. The men were also under infuence of the ideas that killing Jews was serving their country. I do not pity those soldiers for what they had to do-they had the choice. This article was an example of when pople had the opportunity to step back. I do pity them, though, for becoming the victims of the Nazi movement. During that time everyone became cruel, the personalities of most people were non-human. How could they kill innocent children, women and men?!

However, some men chose not to participate. I think those were the people that had some consions left. They probably realised that the Jews were people just like them. The soldiers perhaps thought of their own families. But what were they doing in those squads anyway?!

I think that the real repercussions for those soldiers if you chose not to participate would not be so hard in this case, because Major Tripp gave them the choise and became responsilble for this. Actually, Major Tripp`s actions were not correct considering that those were killing squads that were supposed to follow ordes. He was right though giving the soldiers the opportunity to step back but surprisingly many decided to follow the order and kill.

I agree with maddy7, that those killing might have lead to the first death camp, because they were a support to the government. If many soldiers protested, the German government would`n continue these massacres in in the concentration camps.
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Old 03-21-2004, 17:33
chewie chewie is offline
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As many people wrote before, I agree that the men were pressured to commit these crimes. They did not want to look as cowards, or they took it as an order which has to be obeyed. "Fortunatelly" In this case colonel Trapp was tolerant and he allowed soldiers to step out, but as Maddy said in other of these units, the "policemen" were shot if they did not participate in the murdering of worst state - women, children and elder people. How could these people be a threat to the Reich???
Browling describes how men tried to flee this duty, but he could maybe focus on the men who "satisfied" their sadistic pleasures. Yes, he mentions them, but maybe he could show readers how huge gaps there were between the soldiers. If Tropp himself had to shoot the Jews, maybe he would feint from the horrible view. One may ask why did he obey this order? The order came to him from the "higher places" so he had no other choice.
The Nazis convinced "crazy" people to work for them and thes "crazy" men men became enthusiasts, who would listen to the Führer no matter what. By these insane people the Nazis were able to force most people to commit there awful crimes.
In short term men who were forced to murder were discussed, but then they got used to it, or maybe some of them tried to do something against the Reich. For longer time the hate from civilians of occupied teritories formed partisan units, which then "terrorized" the Germans. This led to other massacres and more massacres led to more hate and oppostion.
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Old 03-21-2004, 18:14
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I feel that these men did what they did because they were not exactly aware of what they were going into. I don’t think that any of these men had ever been on a killing squad, and the older soldiers that had, were told by Tripp that they could be excused. I think that tripp understood from the beginning that this isn’t something a man should go through twice in a lifetime. I think that the men that chose not to participate could have had any number of reasons. I feel that in fact anybody with a bit of sanity in them would not want to participate in the massacre. I think that the people that did not were just able to look beyond the jews as people, and sort of set themselves to a mechanical state. In order to proceed. I think that it really does take a specific type of person to be able to obey orders that contradict what you believe. Like demonstrated in the movie we watched in class, it is really hard to disobey direct orders.
Having these massacre teams really brought down the morale of the soldiers. I think that because they soldiers all saw exactly what they were doing, and were forced to do it over and over again, it really brought down the morale of the soldiers. The soldiers were forced to shoot and kill innocent women and children. Making it quite clear about the nazis real extermination plans. (to agree with Ricky_Henderson)
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Old 03-22-2004, 05:45
Adelka Adelka is offline
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Even reading this made me shiver, and got me sick from my stomach. I literally can’t imagine being asked to do such a thing. I would definitely not participate. Everyone would be able to see that I’m a “weak character” anyway because I would throw up just from seeing the blood and pieces of brains on the uniforms of the other soldiers. On the other hand these were German soldiers who were constantly being told how one German soldier is worth 10 Slavic and 100 Jewish lives. What a unique and important race their were. In the reading we also see that the soldiers that stood out were being laughed at and embarrassed by the other soldiers. I think that they simply wanted to prove that they could do it; they wanted to show that they were the strong members of the einsatzgruppen.

These actions were problematic for the Nazis because they simply took too long, and too much effort. They needed to do everything as fast as possible; kill as many people as possible in a short time, and this did not work with such an approach. The deportations to the destruction camps were in this case much more efficient. I wouldn’t even be surprised if the members of the einsatzgruppen would be left with some long-term effects on their health; this would also be a problem for the Nazis.

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Old 03-22-2004, 05:49
kyrgyz kyrgyz is offline
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In my personal opinion it's not a sensation. I have read many articles about people who participated in repressions and mass killings in Soviet Union. All those soldiers in battallion 101 and people in NKVD (oraganization in Soviet Union Later was restructured into KGB) were killing because they are soldiers and their duty is to follow orders. As long as they succeeded in making those Jews in Jozefow their enemies they were able to kill. I think experiment that you showed in class perfectly proves my point; people under pressure of orders from higher ranking officials follow those orders no matter how horrible they are. Morning in Jozefow has a lot to doc with psychology of those people and background issues like: War, propaganda of Jews and etc. some people have stepped out because they did not succeed in alienating themselves from those people. For example, soldier goes and kills a person because he thinks that he is that "dirty Jew from Poland", but after he kills him he takes another Jew and asks him/her where they are from, and realizes that they are from his hometown; he realizes that he/she is not his enemy, he/she is his neighbor, and soldier cannot kill anymore. Role of propaganda during the war is to make soldiers abhor the enemy. Person cannot kill his enemies, but can easily kill someone from a different land. I think many soldiers when they get in such situation just loose their mind, that’s why many soldier have problems fitting in the society after the war. At last I think Trapp (his name was Trapp not Tripp) was a good example of civilian in this kind of situation. Trapp became an officer in German army just before he took command of his unit and still felt like civilian. On the other hand Hoffman represents a typical officer in a war situation he wanted his soldiers to follow orders as precisely as possible. In conclusion I think it is not soldiers responsibility that they killed all those Jews. High command is fully responsible for such actions of their soldi
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Old 03-22-2004, 05:51
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I disagree with RichardW, I think that these men knew exactly what they were doing and thus the older veterans were excused, like you said because they believed that no man should need to do this twice in one life time. "I think that anybody with a bit of sanity in them would not want to participate in the massacre", how can you say anybody with a bit of sanity. We saw in the experiment that even when people feel strongly against something and constantly argue and disagree they still will follow direct orders. That is why I feel that it is wrong to misjudge them and say that they had no sanity whatsoever. There were no real repercussions because when somebody disagreed to the task of massacre they were just sent to begin another one. Even though they had sanity, because of all the propaganda they felt as though this was the best thing to do as they saw all the pictures of the "dirty Jews', and of course they didn't want to disobey direct orders from commanding officers. Most of the people that took part in the massacres were mostly thinking that the right/ best thing to do was to cleanse the world; this was because of the propaganda and brainwashing that they had endured. On the other hand the people that did not take part in the killings had two main reasons for not taking part in the massacres. The first being the fact that they felt that because they were German Jews they felt as though they could relate to them and that they were just like them, meaning that killing them would be like killing one of our own men. The second reason was because the soldiers heard that they were going to kill civilians and immediately protested, saying that killing civilians is not the duty of a soldier. I believe that Major Tripp's views at the beginning of the massacres was that it was an order from a higher member in the Nazi party and thus it must automatically be the right thing to do, however he did feel bad about doing this and thus kept the 10 year old girl alive. At the end of the massacres however he realized that what he did was wrong and that just because they were direct orders they were not the right thing to do, and thus he regretted them. I agree with Martyna, the men could no longer do anything related to killing, or anything that might be connected to those things either. As well as the fact that this exposed the Nazi crimes, which they then received much criticism for.

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Old 03-22-2004, 06:14
pregnant_goat pregnant_goat is offline
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Jósefów

To analyze this issue properly we must analyze the concept of duty vs. moral righteousness.

First, let’s try to define them. Duty can be defined as a set of obligations that are essential or required by association or affiliation with a body that exerts these obligations onto its members or affiliates.

Morality is a concept that is not universally defined. Generally, it is a set of rules that guide one’s perception of right and wrong. While there is dissent between cultures that argue whether honor justifies death, there is little debate over whether it is right or wrong to kill innocent people.

Now then, we can discuss what happened in Jósefów. Let’s begin with Major Trapp. He was assigned by “the highest authorities” to order his troops to wipe out a shtetl. The pretense was there: the people in the shtetl had betrayed the Reich. Wartime regulations in many countries have extremely strict rules concerning treason suspects, so it is conceivable that the executed Jews were subject to this rule. However, accusing the entire shtetl of treason is dubious in how right the motivation behind it is. We don’t know what Major Trapp’s orders were, but if they required the inclusion of all men in the operation, he betrayed his duty. If that wasn’t the requirement, then he followed his order and did not betray his duty. His men were faithful in their duty, because they were given the option to not participate. What they were not faithful in was the decision that some of them went on to make in not participating properly in the executions.

We have now come across a highly controversial moral issue, because refusing to kill is rarely morally condemned. I think we can reasonably say that duty is conditional morality, or the morality that is defined by the guidelines of a specific organization. The Einsatzgruppen had their own command, which received orders from government agents. The command had no right to debate decisions that were made by their government. Therefore Major Trapp and his men were following orders, which their duty (conditional morality) required them to follow. However, their innate morality – the morality that made them see that what they were doing was a moral (as defined by civilian norms) crime – came into conflict with their duty. This is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” situation. Major Trapp’s decision is somewhat respectable. On one hand, he recognized how wrong it was to carry out the orders he was given. On the other hand, he saw the sadism of his subordinates who would pursue the task with much more vigor and he made the only right decision in this scenario – giving them the option to do what they felt was right.

I’m not trying to say that what the Einsatzgruppen did was right. It was, by all means, wrong. But the formal pretense was there. The conscience that plagues those who chose to participate is their own judgment. We can condemn those who participated and felt that what they did was right, but we must also recognize that they felt like they had to do it to fully follow their duty.
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Old 03-22-2004, 06:45
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As I read more postings I have to wonder what people write. Many students claim, like Adela and Thu, that they would not participate in the murdering.

I just have to ask - how can you know that you would not do it? Were you ever in this kind of situation?
Have you listened to the video with the "tutoring" experiment?
60% of people would do the torturing. It is human to listen to authorities.

Now with the time distance you say that you would not do it, but you do not live in that time and you do not have the mentality, morality and habits of people who lived in 1933-1945.
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  #18  
Old 03-22-2004, 07:02
Lucie Lucie is offline
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DEFINITELY NOT?



I have read most of the postings that others have posted before me and I am surprised that after watching the video on Stanley Milgram's experiment, most of you keep stating that YOU WOULD DEFINITELY NOT PARTICIPATE IN SUCH BRUTAL KILLING (see for example Thu's or Adelka's postings). You were not in the situation that the soldiers were in and you are most likely not going to be ordered to kill, yet, Milgram's experiment proved that it is not hard to convince a normal (ie not a sadist) person to commit violence.

Thu, you probably did not mean to say that the ARTICLE was horrible, but the happenings during the holocaust were. Besides, I do not think we would find a person in this school, who would say that the killing was not horrible, so your point seems a bit redundant- - -

The psychology that the Nazis used to convince the soldiers was to expose them to violence gradually. If the Nazis had shown -say- a video coverage of the killing (with the brains and everything) right after the soldiers were recruited, they would refuse to do it. It would be such a shock, that the soldiers would not even imagine themselves in the places of the murderers. However, the Nazi regime was cunning; first, the Nazis wanted the soldiers to round up the Jews, then select the work-able men and then proceed to the killing of women, old men and children.We should notice that the actual executions happened last and if the soldiers did not experience what came before, they might not be able to kill.

Compared to the gas chambers, the 'einsatzgruppen' was a rather ineffective way to kill. The gas chambers work as a machine and therefore there is no way they would get too disturbed and refuse to gas the Jews. The Nazis tried to use humans as machines and htey did not expect so many to refuse. Yet, it is startling that so many still participated.

i believe that NONE OF US has the right to say "I would definitely not do what these soldiers did." I am not calling you murderers, but guess why we are studying Philip Zimbardo's experiment along with the Holocaust... Random people are able to kill if you give them the position to do so....


Sorry, it was a kind of long.....

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Old 03-22-2004, 08:04
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Makaay Makaay is offline
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This article poses a question to its readers, how can people have the mind to take Jews into the forest, and just shoot them? The thought of even bringing up this question, can and most of the time is distrubing to many of us.
The Nazi party can be thought by many, as a disgusting party as a whole. But really it's the Commanders that are the most disgusting. They are the ones who order these soldiers to shoot these innocent Jews. Many soldiers after a while become disgusted around such an environment, that can not bear it any longer. Most of the Commanders responses were that they would let them do something else. But some of the Commanders were real mean, and said "that if they do not shoot the Jews, they would lean down and get shoot with the Jews.\
Tradjic but true.
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Old 03-22-2004, 13:34
Thu_Huyen Thu_Huyen is offline
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As I was reading this article I thought about what a bad thing they could have done. I was very scared what the people that time could do to make other people suffer. During the Nazi Era many Jews were killed.

I think that when the soldiers were ofered by Major Trapp to go and kill all the Jews. Some of the men decided to join this because of the abhor against Jews, but also that they were ofered to do that thing. They listening to everything that Trapp had told them to do.I think that some of them participated because they thought that this was the right thing to doso that they can tell the and show that we are stronger and we can do with you whatever we want. this was the people who had a significant hate against Jews, but on the other hand the men, who had not join this group because they were sorry of the Jews, who were also people as they are and also they thought about theyr future and theyr family, friends, who were also Jews.These men, who had joining this group wereevil, who did not have hearts for the people, and treated them as "animals."

I think that what was going through their heads were nasty, bad things about the Jews.As like that Jews are dirtier, smaller, and that they spread different kind of diseases, which are not curable.

From the views and action of Major Trapp, he was this officer, who had done a wrong thing, which was to ofered the soldiers to go and kill the Jews. He felt that this was the wrong thing that he had done. Major Trapp was sorry about what he had done and also guilty. He was not at the place, where the Jews were killed, so he realize that this is a wrong thing that I have done, but he actually was suffering and crying as a child. I think that what Major Trapp had done to these people is bad, because he had ofered soldiers to do this work for him and that the soldiers were dong the things that he told them to to, which was to kill the Jews. I think that even he was sorry and sad about what he had done, he might feel an abhor against Jews inside of his mind and only pretending to say that he had done a wrong thing.

In the short term of this article is basicly that the soldiers were doing the things that they were asign from Trapp to do with the Jews. Also that the squads killing of the Jews was one of the problematic situation. But on the other hand the long term of this time was when they were still killing the Jews, they still will appear to fight against the Nazi.
I agree with the long and short term with Maddy7 and Ryfry.
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