Rationales for the Holocaust
In order for the Jewish Holocaust to take place, the Germans had to dehumanize the Jews. Many reasons were given to murder that were insane rationales. Historian Christopher Browning gave a report from one of the German murderers, “I made the effort, and it was possible for me, to shoot only children… because I reasoned with myself that after all without its mother the child could not live any longer” (1). This reason shows how the Germans had to disregard human life. The Reserve Police Battalion 101 were being fed with the knowledge that the enemy was killing German women and children so it was “acceptable” to kill Jewish women and children. I feel that because of the sudden orders and the pressures from the commanders that the germans had to come up with rationales in order to try and make sense of this all. One german reported when asked why they shot the Jews in the first place , “I must answer that no one wants to be thought as a coward” (2). Also, some stated that if they were not going to kill the Jews that someone else will, so they might as well do it now. With these ideas, germans could justify their killings. There was no question that the actions taken against the Jewish people were not even remotely close to being justified. This just shows that the ideology in Nazi Germany along with the propaganda and attitudes within the state had been deeply ingrained within the community.
Browning, Christopher R. Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. ( New York: Harper Collins, 1992), 73
Einsatzgruppe A, Wikipedia (Novosti Press, Moscow) 1941.