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“A remarkable—and singularly chilling—glimpse of human behavior. . .This meticulously researched book...represents a major contribution to the literature of the Holocaust."—Newsweek Christopher R. Browning’s shocking account of how a unit of average middle-aged Germans became the cold-blooded murderers of tens of thousands of Jews—now with a new afterword and additional photographs. Ordinary Men is the true story of Reserve Police Battalion 101 of the German Order Police, which was responsible for mass shootings as well as round-ups of Jewish people for deportation to Nazi death camps in Poland in 1942. Browning argues that most of the men of RPB 101 were not fanatical Nazis but, rather, ordinary middle-aged, working-class men who committed these atrocities out of a mixture of motives, including the group dynamics of conformity, deference to authority, role adaptation, and the altering of moral norms to justify their actions. Very quickly three groups emerged within the battalion: a core of eager killers, a plurality who carried out their duties reliably but without initiative, and a small minority who evaded participation in the acts of killing without diminishing the murderous efficiency of the battalion whatsoever. While this book discusses a specific Reserve Unit during WWII, the general argument Browning makes is that most people succumb to the pressures of a group setting and commit actions they would never do of their own volition. Ordinary Men is a powerful, chilling, and important work with themes and arguments that continue to resonate today.
Abteilung Deutschland came about as a department of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs in May 1940, following a reorganization of the Referat Deutschland. The latter was established in 1933, and its first task was justifying German anti-Jewish policies to the outside world. Later its functions expanded, and in 1938-39 Referat Deutschland was instrumental in the policy of "forced emigration" of Jews, launched by the SS. The Referat D III was a desk in the Abteilung Deutschland dealing with Jewish matters. Dwells on the personalities of the chief of the department, Martin Luther; the Referat D III's chief, Franz Rademacher; and its leading "Jewish experts", e.g. Karl Otto Klingenfuss, Herbert Müller, and Fritz-Gebhardt Hahn. In 1940-41 the Referat D III prepared Nazi projects for resettlement of European Jews (e.g. the Madagascar project) and helped the Nazi satellite states (and exerted pressure on them) to introduce anti-Jewish legislation and implement their own anti-Jewish policies. Luther coordinated the Abteilung Deutschland's policies with every turn of the Final Solution. With the start of the deportations and mass murders of Jews, the Abteilung Deutschland became involved in deportations of Jews from satellite and neutral countries. However, the department remained a junior partner of the SS, since the latter did not always consult with the Foreign Office in carrying out its anti-Jewish actions. In March 1943 Abteilung Deutschland was dissolved, following a personal conflict between Luther and Ribbentrop, and its functions passed to the Inland II A department.
No Ordinary Men peels back the cloak of secrecy and reveals four untold special operations that Joint Task Force 2, an elite counterterrorist unit, conducted in 2005–06 in which their courage, tenacity, and impressive capabilities meant the difference between life and death.
This book is a foundational text for our understanding of François Laruelle, one of France's leading thinkers, whose ideas have emerged as an important touchstone for contemporary theoretical discussions across multiple disciplines. One of Laruelle’s first systematic elaborations of his ethical and "non-philosophical" thought, this critical dialogue with some of the dominant voices of continental philosophy offers a rigorous science of individuals as minorities or as separated from the World, History, and Philosophy. Through novel theorizations of finitude and determination in the last instance, Laruelle develops a thought "of the One" as a "minoritarian" paradigm that resists those paradigms that foreground difference as the conceptual matrix for understanding the status of the minority. The critique of the "unitary illusion" of philosophy developed here stands at the foundation of Laruelle’s approach to "uni-lateralizing" the power of philosophy and the universals with which it has always thought, and thereby acts as a basis for his subsequent investigations of victims, mysticism, and Gnosticism. This book will appeal to students and scholars of continental philosophy, philosophy of religion, ethics, aesthetics, and cultural theory.
Of all the controversies facing historians today, few are more divisive or more important than the question of how the Holocaust was possible. What led thousands of Germans – many of them middle-aged reservists with, apparently, little Nazi zeal – to willingly commit acts of genocide? Was it ideology? Was there something rotten in the German soul? Or was it – as Christopher Browning argues in this highly influential book – more a matter of conformity, a response to intolerable social and psychological pressure? Ordinary Men is a microhistory, the detailed study of a single unit in the Nazi killing machine. Browning evaluates a wide range of evidence to seek to explain the actions of the "ordinary men" who made up reserve Police Battalion 101, taking advantage of the wide range of resources prepared in the early 1960s for a proposed war crimes trial. He concludes that his subjects were not "evil;" rather, their actions are best explained by a desire to be part of a team, not to shirk responsibility that would otherwise fall on the shoulders of comrades, and a willingness to obey authority. Browning's ability to explore the strengths and weaknesses of arguments – both the survivors' and other historians' – is what sets his work apart from other studies that have attempted to get to the root of the motivations for the Holocaust, and it is also what marks Ordinary Men as one of the most important works of its generation.
This groundbreaking international bestseller lays to rest many myths about the Holocaust: that Germans were ignorant of the mass destruction of Jews, that the killers were all SS men, and that those who slaughtered Jews did so reluctantly. Hitler's Willing Executioners provides conclusive evidence that the extermination of European Jewry engaged the energies and enthusiasm of tens of thousands of ordinary Germans. Goldhagen reconstructs the climate of "eliminationist anti-Semitism" that made Hitler's pursuit of his genocidal goals possible and the radical persecution of the Jews during the 1930s popular. Drawing on a wealth of unused archival materials, principally the testimony of the killers themselves, Goldhagen takes us into the killing fields where Germans voluntarily hunted Jews like animals, tortured them wantonly, and then posed cheerfully for snapshots with their victims. From mobile killing units, to the camps, to the death marches, Goldhagen shows how ordinary Germans, nurtured in a society where Jews were seen as unalterable evil and dangerous, willingly followed their beliefs to their logical conclusion. "Hitler's Willing Executioner's is an original, indeed brilliant contribution to the...literature on the Holocaust."--New York Review of Books "The most important book ever published about the Holocaust...Eloquently written, meticulously documented, impassioned...A model of moral and scholarly integrity."--Philadelphia Inquirer
The story of two courageous opponents within Hitler’s Germany—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the celebrated theologian, and his brother-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi, a lawyer in the Wehrmacht—who both bravely resisted the Nazis During the twelve years of Hitler’s Third Reich, very few Germans took the risk of actively opposing his tyranny and terror, and fewer still did so to protect the sanctity of law and faith. In No Ordinary Men, Elisabeth Sifton and Fritz Stern focus on two remarkable, courageous men who did—the pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his close friend and brother-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi—and offer new insights into the fearsome difficulties that resistance entailed. (Not forgotten is Christine Bonhoeffer Dohnanyi, Hans’s wife and Dietrich’s sister, who was indispensable to them both.) From the start Bonhoeffer opposed the Nazi efforts to bend Germany’s Protestant churches to Hitler’s will, while Dohnanyi, a lawyer in the Justice Ministry and then in the Wehrmacht’s counterintelligence section, helped victims, kept records of Nazi crimes to be used as evidence once the regime fell, and was an important figure in the various conspiracies to assassinate Hitler. The strength of their shared commitment to these undertakings—and to the people they were helping—endured even after their arrest in April 1943 and until, after great suffering, they were executed on Hitler’s express orders in April 1945, just weeks before the Third Reich collapsed. Bonhoeffer’s posthumously published Letters and Papers from Prison and other writings found a wide international audience, but Dohnanyi’s work is scarcely known, though it was crucial to the resistance and he was the one who drew Bonhoeffer into the anti-Hitler plots. Sifton and Stern offer dramatic new details and interpretations in their account of the extraordinary efforts in which the two jointly engaged. No Ordinary Men honors both Bonhoeffer’s human decency and his theological legacy, as well as Dohnanyi’s preservation of the highest standard of civic virtue in an utterly corrupted state.
A captivating non-fiction anthology filled with heroic profiles, epic tales, and timeless parables. You'll meet valiant personalities who've challenged and changed the world in remarkable ways. Their unforgettable stories are religious and secular, historical and current, unknown and familiar, foreign and domestic. Prepare to encounter priests, farmers, pilots, immigrants, missionaries, engineers, martyrs, businessmen, lawyers, pioneers, presidents, soldiers, writers, and scientists – their dynamic legacies are destined to become part of us and our heritage. Collectively, their stories answer the pertinent questions of our time: What makes a genuine hero? How can a hero personify godly character? Why is personal character so vital for our families and country? These are unique tales told with zest; these are unforgettable tales to long treasure. Enjoy the exciting profiles and parables; then share them in family, church, workplace, ministry, and educational settings because that's where they began and that's why they were written. The 26 portraits will quickly find special places in heart and head, dwelling therein to influence life's crucial choices. It's unlike any other book due to the dual advocacy on behalf of the redeeming value of stories and the critical need for reinvigorating personal and national character. Every chapter advocates making a positive impact on others and mastering the days we are given. Readers depart with an abiding conviction of the significant difference one committed life can make. No matter our past or where we find ourselves today, we will be inspired to finish well.
James Montgomery Boice demonstrates how God develops the extraordinary from the ordinary as evidenced by the courage, faithfulness, and humility seen in the lives of Abraham, Moses, and David.