The Holocaust and the German Bureaucracy

This paper outlines the extent of bureaucratic complicity in the Holocaust, and attempts to explain why German civil servants, instead of obstructing the extermination process, only exerted themselves to ensure its success.

The following paper examines the extent of bureaucratic participation in the final solution in the Second World War in Germany. The second part of this paper seeks to identify the state of mind of German civil servants, which turned pen pushers, technocrats and professionals into earnest, but remote, agents of mass murder.
“Reflection on the Holocaust invariably dwells on the subject of how it could have happened. This is, however, a dual question. In the first respect, it concerns the mechanical means by which the final solution was implemented, that is, the ways in which Jews and others were defined as destined for the death camps, physically identified, gathered for transportation to a relocation center, transported to the camps, processed upon arrival at the camps, murdered, and their bodies and belongings finally disposed of. Since it is almost inconceivable how such an operation could have been performed by people in dispassionate frames of mind – although it must have been, since it is impossible to kill so many as six million people in episodic fits of murderous rage – the question involves a second dimension, which is the nature of the mentality of those who participated, both directly and indirectly, in the extermination process.”
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