Richard J. Green answers:
I highly recommend Christopher Browning's book, Ordinary Men: Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland.
This book is a case study that explores these issues.
Yale F. Edeiken answers:I would highly recommend Christopher Browning's "Ordinary Men" Harper Books, 1993 for the best analysis of how participation in the Holocaust affected "ordinary Germans."
I believe your question is misphrased. The German nation -- that is the country -- was guilty because the acts were perpetrated in their name just as the American nation was guilty of improperly imprisoning certain American citizens of Japanese descent during WW II. I cannot impute guilt to individual Germans on this basis just as I do not impute guilt to the vast majority of Americans who did not participate in imprisoning Americans of Japanese descent.
were those who did nothing not interested, unaware or deliberately denying what was occuring?
I believe that it varied with the individual. The reasons you cite are possible reasons. Likewise fear (it was a capital crime to speak against the policies of the nazis and over 5,000 people were executed for that reason, agreement with the policy, personal gain (many profited from both the exclusion of Jews and the confiscation of their property), and blind patriotism are other possible reasons.
I would be grateful for any feedback. In anticipation, thank you
I hope this helps. Please do not hesitate to use the question answering service at The Holocaust History Project if you need further assistance.
--Yale F. Edeiken
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Last modified: September 4, 1999