Book details German citizens’ role in end of war killings


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More than 250,000 concentration camp prisoners died in death marches shortly before the end of World War II. Many of them were murdered by German civilians. A new book tries to answer the question why.

There is no historical evidence that anyone at the very top, such as Hitler or SS chief Heinrich Himmler, gave the orders to liquidate the camps. The last weeks of the war were characterized by a gradual breakdown of administrative order. The jurisdiction over the groups of prisoners being forced to march around the country changed in rapid succession, and many local officials acted on their own authority when deciding what to do with the prisoners.

A decade of indoctrination, or what Blatman calls a “genocidal mentality” that had systematically dehumanized the Jews and the Slavs, led to the collective hunt. Adolescent members of the Hitler Youth often reached for their guns as a matter of course.

Spiegel for more

(Thanks to Harsh Kapoor of South Asia Citizens Web)

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