On July 13, 1941, the 450 Men of the German Reserve Police Battalion 101 were driven to the Polish village of Jozefow. They were ordered to enter the village of 1,800 Jews, select several hundred young men for the work camp, and then kill the rest of the inhabitants. Over the course of 16 months, this battalion was responsible for the massacre of 39,000 Jews and the deportation to Treblinka of 44,000 more.
In this "staggering and important book" (Chicago Tribune), Christopher R. Browning asks what kind of men would carry out such a gruesome task and finds that they were ordinary men: elderly, poorly educated, and drawn from the lower echelons of society. Given the chance to refuse orders, only a small number of them took the opportunity to walk away. A remarkable examination of human nature, Ordinary Men concludes with the most disturbing question of all: If the men of Reserve Police Battalion 101 could become killers under such circumstances, what group of men could not?
"A major contribution to the literature of the Holocaust". -- Newsweek
"Finely focused and stunningly powerful". -- New York Times Book Review