The Nazi’s Pursuit for a “Humane” Method of Killing

  • Russell N
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When Nazis of all ranks spoke of a ``humane'' method of killing other human beings, what exactly did they mean? One outcome of this book is a tentative outline of the key characteristics---a Weberian Ideal-Type---of what the Nazi's regarded as the most humane method of killing. As Russell argues in this chapter, when Nazis spoke of such matters, what they seemed to desire was a method of killing that rated highly on four main conditions. First, victims should remain totally unaware that they are about to die. Second, perpetrators need not touch, see, or hear their victims as they die. Third, the death blow should avoid leaving any visual indications of harm on the victims' bodies. And finally, the death blow should be instantaneous.




Russell, N. (2019). The Nazi’s Pursuit for a “Humane” Method of Killing. In Understanding Willing Participants, Volume 2 (pp. 241–276). Springer International Publishing.

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