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The recent studies on Fascism and Holocaust have shifted their focus to the

broad-based investigation of the events that led to the catastrophe to the examination of

the motivation and activities of particular forces of the perpetrators. It is a matter of

controversy whether it was Adolf Hitler’s political maneuvering that resulted the killing

of the six million people or the German people harbored anti-Semitic feelings since

generations and were waiting for a chance to give vent to their anger. Browning (1992)

and Goldhagen (1996) both study the composition of the Reserve Police Battalion 101

and the behavior of the members to arrive at contradictory views about the motivation of

the “ordinary” people who were recruited by the Nazi forces. While Goldhagen (1996)

opined that the Germans had always been anti-Semitic, which was why the members of

the battalion went ahead and shot seventy eight Jews in the Polish village of Josefow

even when given the chance of evading the killing with no major consequence, Browning

(1992) uses the same evidence for establishing that it was peer pressure, rather than any

inherent urge to kill Jews, that prompted the behavior. Browning notes that the German

soldiers could have killed many more Jews in Josefow but limited to shot only seventy-

eight of the probable three hundred, the only killings for which the members of Battalion

101 were charged.

Reserve Police Battalion 101 was a unit of the German Order Police formed in

Hamburg. The Battalion, composed of 500 soldiers between the age of 30 and 40 – hence

too old to be conscripted in the army - was sent in 1939 to Poland for the purpose of

invasion of that country. The members of the battalion, mostly lower class people from

Hamburg, crossed over to Poland in September, rounded up Polish soldiers and military

equipment and guarded a POW camp, before returning to Germany by the end of the

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