A Good Time to Kill
Many view the atrocities and crimes committed against the Jews by the Germans as one practiced by a group of unfeeling, unemotional executioners who did not think twice about killing their fellow human beings. The picture painted by most history books portrays the Germans as merciless and uncaring about their extermination of the Jews. However, this is far from true. Many of the German soldiers, whether they be SS, German Army or Reserve Police units, many of them felt remorse for what they were doing and have regrets for the actions they were ordered to perform. It was wartime and many of these troops were following orders. If they did not execute the Jews then they could be executed themselves. This does not justify the killings they performed, but it does show that many were under duress and had a guilty conscience about their duties despite it being orders from above.
 According to Spielvogel, “Such constant killing produced morale problems for some German executioners. Many resorted to frequent use of alcohol.”  Spielvogel also quotes Himmler as recognizing the problem but basically brushing it off, “Himmler pointed out that the Einsatzgruppen were called upon to fulfill a repulsive duty. He would not like it if Germans did such a thing gladly. But their conscience was in no way impaired, for they were soldiers who had to carry out every order unconditionally.”
This shows that even the Nazi hierarchy knew that it was a dirty business but they believed someone had to do it. Unfortunately, it was the common soldier, who had no taste for execution without battle and for the most part held no grievances against the Jews they were executing. They were following orders and that is what soldiers have to do.
 Jackson Spielvogel and David Redles. Hitler and Nazi Germany. 7th Edition. Pearson. Boston. 2014. 262.
 Heinrich Himmler in Jackson Spielvogel and David Redles. Hitler and Nazi Germany. 7th Edition. Pearson. Boston. 2014. 262.
 Einsatzgruppen. www.wikipedia.org. German Einsatzgruppen troops execute Jewish woman in Ukraine. Accessed 11/07/15.