This paper looks at the Holocaust, not from the dominant approach of the Nazi elite, but from the perspective and role played by so called ‘ordinary’ Germans of the male civilian population. It examines their involvement within the context of events taking place in Nazi Germany after 1933, in particular the emergence of the Volksgemeinshaft or national community. It reviews the existing historical debate on this question including the background to and reasons for the Nazis’ decision to embark upon the Holocaust. The focus is on the role of selected groups in the Holocaust and their motives for getting involved and how this changes our perception of this key event in twentieth-century European history.
Keywords – Holocaust, Nazi Germany, Volksgemeinshaft, German Civilians, Shutz Staffel, Final Solution, Lebensraum, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Deutsche Reichsbahn.
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