Howell informs us on Sunday, August 1, 1999
that Professor Browning was invited away to
speak at the time-honoured Cambridge Lecture Series
in Massachusetts. . .
"Before leaving the Pacific Lutheran University
(at Tacoma, Washington State) Browning delivered
one of the lectures from this series as his last
special lecture. I was invited to this. The topic
of the lecture was
attempted to show different aspects using a
comparison. However, the comparison was not
parallel and therefore his theory is not even near
factual especially by means of deduction. There
wasn't support for justification of the
"The first case was a secluded German town. The
Jewish community in the non-mainstream German town
had a long time casual relationship with the
locals. From police reports and Jewish journals it
is apparent that they received less harsh treatment
than other parts of Germany. This situation was
true until the German mandate requiring Jews to don
the Star of David [in late 1941].
"Browning's point was that since both parties
were neighbours and shared a history the police
were less likely to abuse the Jews.
"The second case and other half of the
comparison was a town in Poland. Here the police
were sent in from a town in Germany. From the
initial period, it is fact that the Jews received
harsh treatment. A log of a German officer also
shows his emerging inhumane treatment toward those
in Poland. His language turned from insecurity to
that of a confidant sportsman on a hunt. Browning's
statistics were inconsistent with his thought.
"He compared the newly transferred German police
with the local police used in extermination of
people. He thought it would show a difference in
restraint between the two. However, the numbers
"More so, Browning wanted to show that the Jews
would seem less human to the foreign (imported)
police for the simple reason that they were alien.
However, what caught my attention was, yes this was
all true, but Browning wasn't being a good
historian. Browning was playing with history.
"In no way should he compare these two cases.
The chief fault in his logic is that these
instances are not parallel. The secluded town
observed a period of neighbour-kindness until the
Star of David mandate. After the mandate, treatment
became increasingly ruthless.
"The mere mentioning of the town in Poland, even
as secondary information, would be wrong. The case
in Poland didn't even occur until after the Star of
David mandate. The key factor in determining the
level of severity in treatment in the secluded town
occurred in the town in Poland before the period
when Browning wrote the stages of harsh
"I of course pointed this out during the
conclusion of the Special Lecture. Browning was
flummoxed and became defensive. A former student of
Browning's told me this subject was a favourite of