Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland
When books are written about European World War II, usually the main subjects are the extermination camps and the ghettos where the Jews were rounded up and terminated. In this essay I am going to talk about Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, a book written byChristopher R. Browning, in which the author describes the transportation and extermination of the ones that the Nazis saw as “disposable”, the Jews, and the tribulations of the men that had to carry out these orders. I also would like to talk about the extreme cruelty in which these events were developed, when family men were facing the order of killing defenseless children and women knowingthat at home they had a family waiting for them.
The Members of the police battalion knew in their minds that what they were doing was wrong but for many reasons they justified their actions. They had been indoctrinated in racist theories that held that Jews were subhuman. They also had been taught to be loyal to their battalion and to follow orders.
Browning in his book OrdinaryMen, gives us a very graphic detail of how the Reserve Police Battalion 101 had to deal with the killing of Jews through the Holocaust. The men of this Battalion were specifically expected to conduct a massive murder of civilians identified as a threat to the Nazi regime only because they were Jews and the regime did not care about their gender or the age.
The members of the ORPO (OrderPolice), specifically the members of the Battalion 101 were not part of the Nazi movement or the S.S., They were middle age men; some veterans from World War I or ex-policeman from a town called Hamburg. This town was one of the last towns selected by the Nazis to be part of the ORPO movement. There was no particular reason why these men were selected, they were just ordinary man, and thereforethe Nazis were surprised because of the capacity of cruelty and killing by the members of this outfit in performing their duties without any visible hesitation in the beginning. However, later in the book Browning argues that some in the battalion were not capable of carrying out their orders.
The sequence of events in this book, describes in detail starting from the moment of theformation of the ORPO and how systematically this group of men were given mission after mission in which subsequently the number of killings and the level of cruelty will increase. The members of Reserve Police Battalion 101 were influenced and indoctrinated in racist profiles by the cadres of the German Army, being filled of a sense of superiority because of their race, emphasizing the inferiority ofthe Jews people, and drilling the sense of duty and the pride of serving to the Nazi movement.
The author states that this was a preparation for the events that happened in Russia in mid July 1941, and other events like the deportation of the Jews to the labor camps, the terminations camps as well as massive executions.
Germany declared that it would never withdraw from theterritories at the east and in order to accomplish this, the government would take all the necessary measures. To this Hitler said “it gives us the opportunity to terminate anyone who is hostile to us. Naturally the vast area must be pacified as quickly as possible, this will happen best through shooting anyone who even looks askance to us” (page 10).
By reading this, Hitler’s words make itclear that he was determined to kill anyone who was against his regime, in addition, this cold blooded objective was revealed in the report sent to Colonel Montua which specified the order of executing old men between the ages of 17and 45 convicted of robbery. The report further specified that the site of the execution should be leveled and kept in secret, in order to prevent pilgrimage and no...