chapter  7
19 Pages

RESPONDING TO MURDER

Though the Nazis evidently believed that victims’ and bystanders’ behaviour might affect the eventual success of their murder cam-paign, it is a matter of considerable controversy whether their belief was well founded. Ever since the German defeat, scholars and non-scholars have debated intensely, often bitterly, whether Jews or anyone else, within the Nazi orbit or outside it, could have done anything that would have signifi cantly altered the outcome of the murder programme once it was launched. Ultimately, of course, the question cannot be answered with any confi dence: what might have happened if actions not taken had been taken is a matter for speculation, nothing more. Historians can, however, ascertain fairly reliably what sort of options were available to various categories of victims and bystanders in responding to the onset and progress of mass murder and record the choices different groups made as the campaign unfolded. They can also explore the reasons why certain responses were exhibited and others not.