Center for Interdisziplinary Research

How ordinary people become mass murderers

ZiF-Public Lecture with Harald Welzer

Date: November 21, 2007 at 6.30 p.m.

Such as any other genocide, the war of extermination as well as the holocaust needed a lot of people that had to make the decision to kill others. A question that still remains to be clarified is this: how is it possible that people turn into mass murderers who - even a couple of months before - would not have believed that they themselves might ever be able to do such a thing. The lecture examines how a readiness to kill is generated, what kind of social and professional dynamics develop based on the division of labor of the killing and how killing - within a few weeks -can become work that has to be done like any other duty.

Harald Welzer

Prof. Dr. Harald Welzer is head of the Center for Interdisciplinary Memory Research at Essen and Research Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Witten/Herdecke. His main fields of research and teaching are memory, group violence, and research methods.



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