Auschwitz and the Holocaust Through the Eyes of the Perpetrators
Driemaandelijks Tijschrift van de Stichting Auschwitz 50 (1996), 23-55
17 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2014
Date Written: 1996
This article explores how perpetrators who worked at Auschwitz perceived the world around them. It is based on an analysis of ego-documents such as diaries, auto-biographies, personal statements and interviews from perpetrators who worked at Auschwitz. On the basis of these documents the article aims to understand why they committed these crimes. Most perpetrators did not have a criminal record or any mental deficiencies and were very ordinary people who used different psychological mechanisms and techniques to emotionally distance themselves from the pain and suffering they caused. Most were struck by horror the first time they entered Auschwitz but then they gradually adapted and accustomed to the world around them.
Keywords: Genocide, perpetrators, Auschwitz, Holocaust, international crimes
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