H OW DID A BATTALION OF MIDDLE-AGED RESERVE POLICEMEN find themselves facing the task of shooting some 1,500Jews in the Polish village of Józefów in the summer of 1942? Some background is needed, both on the institution of the Order Police (Ordnungspolizei, or Orpo) and on its role in the Nazi policy of murdering the Jews of Europe.


The Order Police resulted from the third attempt in interwar Germany to create large police formations with military training and equipment. 1 In the wake of the German defeat in World War I, revolution broke out in Germany. As the army dissolved, military officers and government officials fearful of being swept away by revolutionary forces organized counterrevolutionary paramilitary units known as the Freikorps. When the domestic situation stabilized in 1919, many of the Freikorps men were merged with regular police into large formations stationed in barracks and on hand to combat any further resurgence of the revolutionary threat. The Allies, however,demanded the dissolution of these police formations in 1920 as a potential violation of the clause of the Versailles Treaty limiting Germany’s standing army to 100,000 men.


After the Nazi regime was established in 1933, a “police army” (Armee der Landespolizei) of 56,000 men was created. These units were stationed in barracks and given full military training as part of Germany’s covert rearmament. When Hitler openly defied the disarmament provisions of the Versailles Treaty and reintroduced military conscription in 1935, the “police army” was merged into the rapidly enlarging regular army to provide cadres of commissioned and noncommissioned officers. The “police army” played no small role as a training ground for future army officers. As of 1942, no fewer than ninety-seven generals in the German army had previously served in the “police army” of 1933–35.

1933年纳粹政权建立后,一支由5.6万人组成的“警察部队”(Armee der Landespolizei)被创建。这些部队驻扎在军营里,作为德国秘密行动的一部分接受全面的军事训练,并且重整军备。当希特勒公然藐视《凡尔赛条约》的裁军条款并重新引入1935年兵役制后,“警察军”并入正规军,迅速扩大,并提供了军士官和干部。“警察部队”给未来的军官充当训练场发挥了不小的作用。到1942年为止,至少有97名将军曾经在1933 - 1935年的“警察部队”中服役。


作者 leoom


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