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1942: The "Final Solution"
 pg. 334 
The Nazis made a concerted effort to recruit soldiers from occupied countries. At first they made this effort only among those peoples whom they considered "Aryan," such as these Norwegians who volunteered to fight against the Soviet Union. Eventually, they also recruited among the Slavic peoples of Eastern Europe, who were notorious for their antisemitism and who played an important role in perpetrating the Holocaust.
Photo: SYddeutscher Verlag Bilderdienst
Many Europeans of "Aryan" heritage found the Waffen-SS, the combat arm of the SS, particularly attractive. These Belgian recruits had joined the most elite fighting force in Europe, one that emphasized the racial purity of its troops. Membership in the Waffen-SS was perceived as a way of obtaining influence after the war, when the Nazis planned to put their "New Order" into effect.
Photo: SYddeutscher Verlag Bilderdienst
Police Battalion 101

As dawn broke on July 13, 1942, Major Wilhelm Trapp, 53, the beloved commander of German Reserve Police Battalion 101, addressed his men near Jozefów, a village with 1800 Jews in the Generalgouvernement of Nazi-occupied Poland. Mostly middle-aged family men who had been in Poland less than three weeks, these members of the Ordnungspolizei (Order Police) heard the teary-eyed major explain that the battalion had orders to round up Jozefów's Jews. They were to select the able-bodied males for labor, and then shoot everyone else--women, children, and the elderly.

Trapp's explanation included a significant option: Those Ordnungspolizei who could not perform the task did not have to kill. Murder, in other words, was not mandatory. About a dozen members of the 500-man battalion accepted this offer. The rest murdered 1500 of Jozefów's Jews. By the end of 1943, Reserve Police Battalion 101 (members pictured) --in conjunction with other Order Police killing units--had shot 38,000 Jews and helped to deport another 45,000 to Treblinka.

Using postwar interrogation records, Holocaust scholar Christopher Browning's book Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland documents this history and explores one of the Holocaust's most fundamental questions: How could apparently normal persons become mass murderers?

 July 1942: At Kleck, Belorussia, a few dozen Jews break out and join partisans.
 July 1942: Extermination activities at the Sobibór death camp are temporarily halted for railway construction and enlargement of the camp's gas chambers.
 July 1942: The Jewish community at Gorodenka, Ukraine, is wiped out.
 July 1942: The U.S. and Britain agree on an Allied invasion of North Africa.
 July 2, 1942: The Jewish community from Ropczyce, Poland, is murdered at the Belzec death camp.
 July 2, 1942: The New York Times reports the "slaughter of 700,000 Jews" in German-occupied Poland.
1942: The "Final Solution"
 pg. 334 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.