Ordinary Men ~ Christopher Browning

This book is worth a read, though some might find it depressing. It is not a literary work, it is a historical research; Browning puts together an account from the men's own confessions of how one regiment of the Order Police, ordinary guys from Hamburg, managed to overcome their humanity and contribute to the wholescale annihilation of Jewish people in Poland in 1942. They were completely under the spell of orders, peer pressure and authority. They did not claim to feel any hate in general towards the Jews, hardly any of them had been part of Nazi movements before they were sent to Poland; they just blindly followed and obeyed those in charge. These men in Order Police battalion 101 were ordinary shop-keepers, carpenters, pharmacists, and so on, who signed up to the Order Police in order to avoid conscription in the war. It is a study in how any of us ordinary human beings can become monsters.

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