By Christopher R. Browning
The surprising account of the way a unit of general middle-aged Germans grew to become the cold-blooded murderers of tens of millions of Jews.
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Extra info for Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland
Synagogues as well as businesses and homes owned by Jews were destroyed, and thousands of Jewish people from both Germany and Austria were arrested and sent to concentration camps. My mother, my sister, and I were agonized with fear. ” He and his brother had prominent positions with a family-owned import-export grain company that had a branch in Rotterdam, and the company would help him to leave Holland. I asked him, “What about England and France? ” “These countries are not prepared for war yet,” he replied.
We noticed a lot of children on board, and people were chatting away in different languages: English, Dutch, German. We met other passengers who were also relieved to be able to leave Europe. The morning went by quickly, and after a while a band began to play music to entertain the passengers. As I listened to the music, I became restless and told Felix that I wanted to go on deck. Standing on the deck, we looked out over the North Sea and sadly thought of our loved ones we had left behind. Soon more people joined us, and we became engaged in pleasant conversations—a distraction from our sad thoughts.
But this was not to be. Felix was a native of Germany, and that was enough reason for the British to refuse him a permanent stay. Even though Felix was at the boardinghouse, he was still under the doctor’s care every day. I was glad that I had never told Felix about the doctor’s original prognosis that he might not walk again. Now the time had come for Felix and me to start talking about arrangements to return to Holland. In the shipwreck we had lost all of our possessions, and we had no insurance.