Imagine buying a phone that snitches on you to the authorities if it spots something illegal:
Someone's comment on Twitter reminded me how differently we interpret what we experience: My impression from that interview was that Yuri was…
Via Twitter. From the book The Gray Lady Winked, photographed by Michael Shermer: Here's the tweet that the paragraph references (took a while…
Research accumulating since the 1990s, based largely on newly discovered documents in archives located in former Communist countries, has done much to modify the way scholars approach the problem. Before that time, it was generally assumed that any order for killing, written or oral, must have come from the highest ranks of the regime. Recent archival findings have suggested, however, that troops entering the Soviet Union were initially instructed to undertake only targeted killings of clearly defined categories of Jews. It now appears that indiscriminate mass killings were initiated by local military personnel and commissioners, who subsequently sought approval up the chain of command for their actions. Until at least late fall 1941, thinking in Berlin still centered around the reservation idea: Nazi officials hoped that Jews from all over Europe could be deported to the Soviet areas east of the Ural Mountains that Germany expected to conquer. Once the German offensive against the Soviet Union stalled, the central authorities appear to have become increasingly receptive to mass killing, until by the end of 1941 that model emerged as the preferred one for dealing with Jews from all parts of Nazi-occupied Europe.
Recent studies also give reason to suspect that the idea of systematic total killing may have suggested itself to local German commanders, at least in part, by observation of the behavior of local non-Jews toward Jews in territories conquered from the Soviet Union. The weeks following the German conquest witnessed outbreaks of violence perpetrated by Lithuanians, Estonians, Belorussians, Ukrainians, Poles, Croats, and Romanians against their Jewish neighbors. At least some of this violence appears to have been spontaneous, not directly instigated by Germans. Furthermore, these killings were often more extensive than the targeted shooting undertaken by Germans in the immediate aftermath of the Soviet invasion.