The Germans and the Holocaust. What Did They Know?
Bankier examines testimonies, contemporary diaries, and other sources, e.g., letters written by Germans to their relatives abroad, information related by Allied POWs working in Nazi camps, etc. The research indicates that large sections of the German population either knew or suspected what was happening to the Jews. Reactions to these disclosures are discussed, noting a manifest unwillingness to internalize the issue. Even those anti-Nazis who sought information did not perceive the magnitude and the monstrous aspects of the crime of mass murder being perpetrated. The majority of the population seems to have consciously avoided obtaining more knowledge of the facts. Fear of the consequences and punishment were mixed with feelings of guilt and denial of responsibility.