The following is the cover of Christopher Browning’s Book ‘Ordinary Men’ Isabella Morman
On Saturday Dr. David Snyder, professor of history at APSU, and the Tennessee Holocaust Commission hosted a Holocaust lecture from noon to 2 p.m., inside the Gentry Auditorium.
The lecture also included commentary and a Q&A session with the author of ‘Ordinary Men’ which is a well-known and important piece of work on the Holocaust by Christopher Browning.
Browning and Snyder’s relationship started at Northwestern University during a three week program on the topic of Jewish Civilization.
“I was lucky that while I was attending the fellowship I was already familiar with him as an established Holocaust scholar and now I got to know him a little bit more one on one. I’ve always been a huge admirer of professor Browning. His use of social psychology has influenced my own research,” said Snyder.
Browning’s book is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year which he and Dr. Snyder spoke about at the event.
The event covered major topics all of which discussed how seemingly ordinary men, such as Reserve Police Battalion 101, can turn into perpetrators of war.
“The warning that you know, I took it right off the pages of the book. I mean it is like the very last pages of the book and the warning is that anybody could become a killer given the right circumstances,” said Snyder.
One of the books quotes read:
“At the same time, however, the collective behavior of Reserve Police Battalion 101 has deeply disturbing implications. There are many societies afflicted by traditions of racism and caught in the siege mentality of war or threat of war. Everywhere society conditions people to respect and defer to authority, and indeed could scarcely function otherwise. Everywhere people seek career advancement. In every modern society, the complexity of life and the resulting bureaucratization and specialization attenuate the sense of personal responsibility of those implementing official policy. Within virtually every social collective, the peer group exerts tremendous pressure on behavior and sets moral norms. If the men of Reserve Battalion 101 could become killers under such circumstances, what group of men cannot?”
Snyder adds that next year he plans to host an event with Peter Hayes, another specialist in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, with the help of the Tennessee Holocaust Commission.
“We need to make sure that genocide doesn’t happen again of any group and the best way to go about it is education. Professor Browning mentioned that he said that what we need is to make sure that democracy thrives around the world because whenever you have a free press and free speech, genocide usually doesn’t happen,” said Snyder.
Any updates or previews of future events will be found on The All State’s website.