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Defense Documents

Evidence for the Implementation of the Final Solution: Electronic Edition, by Browning, Christopher R.

Table of Contents
<< C. Camouflage Langauge

D. Implications:

The systematic mass-murder of Jews on occupied Soviet territory primarily through shooting, with the explicit goal of making these territories "free of Jews," is clearly visible in the surviving German documents. Both method and goal are transparent. The commanders in the field were explicitly told to report extensively, as both Hitler and Himmler were to be kept well informed. Clearly their reports were intended to show that government policy was being carried out with zeal and efficiency. Their actions were neither the unauthorized initiatives of a few rogue commanders nor the product of a sporadic breakdown in discipline in the heat of battle.
Such a thorough documentation does not exist concerning the fate of the Jews from the rest of Europe. What can be learned from these documents concerning the intentions and actions of the regime and its use of language is essential, however, in interpreting the scantier documentation, evaluating the credibility of eyewitness testimony, and drawing conclusions from circumstantial evidence.