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One of the most influential theories about Holocaust perpetrators, set forth in the seminal book written by Christopher R. Browning, Ordinary Men (1993), highlights a diverse set of factors that led men - mostly not hardcore Nazis - to become mass murderers of Jews. Many have taken this idea to the extreme, claiming that any of us could become a perpetrator of genocide. Led by a historian from Yad Vashem, this lecture seeks to show that the people who became perpetrators of the Holocaust, many of them “ordinary”, were deeply influenced by the world in which they lived, the ideas that gained traction in their world, and the system that came into being under the Nazis.  Any discussion of the perpetrators of the Holocaust must take into account the social, ideological and political contexts in which the crimes were committed.

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