Networks of Nazi Persecution: Bureaucracy, Business, and the Organization of the Holocaust

Networks of Nazi Persecution: Bureaucracy, Business, and the Organization of the Holocaust

Networks of Nazi Persecution: Bureaucracy, Business, and the Organization of the Holocaust

Networks of Nazi Persecution: Bureaucracy, Business, and the Organization of the Holocaust

Synopsis

The persecution and mass-murder of the Jews during World War II would not have been possible without the modern organization of division of labor. Moreover, the perpetrators were dependent on human and organizational resources they could not always control by hierarchy and coercion. Instead, the persecution of the Jews was based, to a large extent, on a web of inter-organizational relations encompassing a broad variety of non-hierarchical cooperation as well as rivalry and competition. Based on newly accessible government and corporate archives, this volume combines fresh evidence with an interpretation of the governance of persecution, presented by prominent historians and social scientists.

Excerpt

Division of Labor, Networks, and Organized Mass Crime

Organized mass crime is unthinkable without division of labor. The Holocaust is no exception to this rule but, rather, its most horrifying manifestation. Evidence related to the role of government bureaucracy was, to be sure, already part of classic Holocaust research. Meta-theories of the Holocaust have drawn on the nature and consequences of modern bureaucracy as a tool of persecution and mass murder, the most prominent being Hannah Arendt's banalization theory.

Both the planning and the implementation of genocide were carried out in accordance with conventional division-of-labor principles. From 1939 on, the Amt IV, “Gegnererforschung und Bekämpfung” (Researching and Combating the Enemy) of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Security Main Office) with its Department IV B 4, run by Adolf Eichmann, was in charge of anti-Jewish policy. The enforcement of the persecutory measures was delegated to the Staatspolizeileitstellen (State Police Head Offices) or, in the German occupied territories outside the Reich, to the Befehlshaber der Sicherheitspolizei und des Sicherheitsdienstes (SD) (Commanders of the Security Police and Security Service) (BdS). These core institutions, however, were dependent on numerous other institutions and individual participants, state and private, German and, in the occupied territories, domestic agents, for the implementation of the “final solution.” In the occupied territories in particular, anti-Jewish policy implied resource dependency of the occupation administration and the Berlin central offices. Vertical division of labor was . . .

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