Is it true that many of the captured organizers of the holocaust were diagnosed by psychiatrists as "perfectly normal"?

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Sheldrake
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Re: Is it true that many of the captured organizers of the holocaust were diagnosed by psychiatrists as "perfectly norma

Post by Sheldrake » 08 Apr 2023 23:08

Back in the 1950s they tgried to create a personality type to match Nazi functionaries and came up woith the F Type (F for Fascist) then relabelled "Authoritarian" https://www.psychologistworld.com/influ ... ersonality.

I hesitate to post this given my familiarity with social media, but saome of the quiestions were:
How much do you agree with the following statements?
  • People can be divided into two distinct classes - the weak and the strong.
  • Some people are born with the urge to jump from high places.
  • No weakness or difficulty can hold us back if we have enough willpower.
  • Most of our social problems would be solved if we could somehow get rid of the immoral, crooked and feeble-minded people.
I think I know a few people who would answer yes to all of these...

The idea that it took a special type of person to carry out ionhuman acts was challenged by the Milgram experiements, which suggested that nder the right setting US College students could be pursuaded to do horible things. The holocaust equivalent are "Hitler's Willing Executioners2 and Ordinary men"

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Re: Is it true that many of the captured organizers of the holocaust were diagnosed by psychiatrists as "perfectly norma

Post by gebhk » 09 Apr 2023 10:11

Hi Sheldrake

Aside from the rather, ahem, feeble-minded idea that a complex of continuums like people's personalities can be conveniently pigeonholed, even if there was such a thing as a 'Personality F', I don't think the two ideas are incompatible. Yes, it probably takes a bunch people with that system of beliefs to make it the default setting of society. Relatively not that difficult a task since they offer simplistic solutions to what are in reality complex problems, but that's by the by. Once it is the default, most people will 'obey orders' and do horrible things regardless of personality.

Where I disagree, if that is what is implied, is that people with this 'Personality F' would make the more useful functionaries of such a system. The problem is that they would be less likely to be compliant with social norms. While they may well believe that 'immoral, crooked and feeble-minded' people should be removed from society, they may have entirely different ideas on who those people are from the prevailing norm etc. On the contrary, it seems more likely to me that it is those compliant 'ordinary men' who would make the more efficient functionaries of the 'factories of death', much as they do in every other facet of stable life.

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Re: Is it true that many of the captured organizers of the holocaust were diagnosed by psychiatrists as "perfectly norma

Post by wm » 09 Apr 2023 15:43

A guy on Twitter, an experienced commander in the American Army, said something like this:
5% of every group is evil, and if you didn't deal harshly with them,
another 15% went along with them,
alienating the 80% of hard-working, honest soldiers.
Interestingly the Polish Underground, during the occupation, estimated the evil group at 5 percent too.

It has nothing to do with education (of the four Einsatzgruppen commanders, three held a total of four doctorates) or upbringing.

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Re: Is it true that many of the captured organizers of the holocaust were diagnosed by psychiatrists as "perfectly norma

Post by Obi44 » 09 Apr 2023 23:08

Sheldrake wrote:
08 Apr 2023 23:08
Back in the 1950s they tgried to create a personality type to match Nazi functionaries and came up woith the F Type (F for Fascist) then relabelled "Authoritarian" https://www.psychologistworld.com/influ ... ersonality.

I hesitate to post this given my familiarity with social media, but saome of the quiestions were:
How much do you agree with the following statements?
  • People can be divided into two distinct classes - the weak and the strong.
  • Some people are born with the urge to jump from high places.
  • No weakness or difficulty can hold us back if we have enough willpower.
  • Most of our social problems would be solved if we could somehow get rid of the immoral, crooked and feeble-minded people.
I think I know a few people who would answer yes to all of these...

The idea that it took a special type of person to carry out ionhuman acts was challenged by the Milgram experiements, which suggested that nder the right setting US College students could be pursuaded to do horible things. The holocaust equivalent are "Hitler's Willing Executioners2 and Ordinary men"
Any society can fall victim to something similar in nature to the National-Socialist curse. Even otherwise good-natured, decent people, can do the dirty work of genocidal regimes. The youth are most susceptible to this, but as Ordinary Men proves, even the middle-aged and older can dish out more than their fair share of cruelty.

When the Wehrmacht, full of enthusiastic 18-25 year olds who had been told it was alright to treat the perceived racial enemies of their nation with incredible disregard and even cruelty, above all of them the Jew, we can't be surprised that they committed widespread atrocities. We should condemn them and punish them, but we ought not be surprised at their occurence. The environment was perfect for it. The culture of the German war machine at the time was, too. I'm just glad I wasn't alive at the time, but it's disheartening to realize they were largely my age group :(

Just a little rant of mine on the subject. Hope it isn't too off-topic :oops:
Obi

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Re: Is it true that many of the captured organizers of the holocaust were diagnosed by psychiatrists as "perfectly norma

Post by gebhk » 10 Apr 2023 11:30

Hi Sheldrake and Obi

No Obi - not only are you not off-topic, but I think you are hitting the nub of the topic. The problem of the idea of 'F Personality' that Obi presented is that it is immensely difficult to disassociate a set of beliefs from personality. And one can hold any set of beliefs regardless of ones personality so beliefs do not detgermine personality. It is very much a chicken and egg thing because a personality makes one more or less likely to accept certain belief systems (or accept prevailing belief systems at all in the first place) while the prevalent belief systems are a significant factor in shaping personality (and that raises the whole nature vs nurture debate). I appreciate that Obi has presented only a selection of questions used to differentiate the 'F Type Personality' but, clearly, these are questions about belief systems and whether anything valid can be determined about personality from an extrapolation from belief systems (or even a reliable understanding of what they areally are) is, at the very least, debatable.

The fact is that the human species has been more successful than it should be, based on physical ability alone, for two reasons. The first is, despite the ramblings of the 'killer instinct' brigade, that we are predominantly cooperative and social (some would even argue, at least partly eusocial). In a stable environment, co-operation (aka altruism) is always more effective than uncontrolled competition and that cuts across the whole of biology. It is not a coincidence that, for example, eusocial insects form an estimated 75% of insect biomass despite comprising only a small minority of insect species.

The second is that we are very varied in our strategies not just within the species as a whole, but even within the same community. This is rare and gives humanity a great deal of resilience when dealing with periods of instability. I don't think there is x% of 'others', just a continuum where there is a 5% at one end that the mojority consider 'evil' (and what that means precisely depends on the beholder), probably 5% at the other that (using the same metrics) we would consider 'good' with the rest of us inbetween; and the sheer size of that 'get along' proportion suggests that that is the most successful strategy, nine times out of ten.

And, to get back to the specifics of the thread, why the majority of the perfectly 'normal' peopled would have been dispropotionately engaged in all manner of horrific things under those circumstances, because someone had made it 'the norm'. Oddly, it would be those 5% fringes (which was evil and which was good would depend on your point of view) could be be less likely to be involved (because by nature they are contrary) albeit if they were involved they may well be involved with particular gusto.
Last edited by gebhk on 11 Apr 2023 08:49, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Is it true that many of the captured organizers of the holocaust were diagnosed by psychiatrists as "perfectly norma

Post by Obi44 » 10 Apr 2023 13:41

gebhk wrote:
10 Apr 2023 11:30
Hi Sheldrake and Obi

No Sheldrake - not only are you not off-topic, but I think you are hitting the nub of the topic. The problem of the idea of 'F Personality' that Obi presented is that it is immensely difficult to disassociate a set of beliefs from personality. It is very much a chicken and egg thing because a personality makes one more or less likely to accept certain belief systems (or accept prevailing belief systems at all in the first place) while the prevalent belief systems are a significant factor in shaping personality (and that raises the whole nature vs nurture debate). I appreciate thast Obi has presented only a selection of questions used to differentiate the 'F Type Personality' but, clearly, these are questions about belief systems and whether anything valid can be determined about personality from an extrapolation from belief systems (or even a reliable understanding of what they areally are) is, at the very least, debatable.

The fact is that the human species has been more successful than it should be, based on physical ability alone, for two reasons. The first is, despite the ramblings of the 'killer instinct' brigade, that we are predominantly cooperative and social (some would even argue, at least partly eusocial). In a stable environment, co-operation (aka altruism) is always more effective than uncontrolled competition and that cuts across the whole of biology. It is not a coincidence that, for example, eusocial insects form an estimated 75% of insect biomass despite comprising only a small minority of insect species.

The second is that we are very varied in our strategies not just within the species as a whole, but even within the same community. This is rare and gives humanity a great deal of resilience when dealing with periods of instability. I don't think there is x% of 'others', just a continuum where there is a 5% at one end that the mojority consider 'evil' (and what that means precisely depends on the beholder), probably 5% at the other that (using the same metrics) we would consider 'good' with the rest of us inbetween; and the sheer size of that 'get along' proportion suggests that that is the most successful strategy, nine times out of ten.

And, to get back to the specifics of the thread, why the majority of the perfectly 'normal' peopled would have been dispropotionately engaged in all manner of horrific things under those circumstances, because someone had made it 'the norm'. Oddly, it would be those 5% fringes (which was evil and which was good would depend on your point of view) could be be less likely to be involved (because by nature they are contrary) albeit if they were involved they may well be involved with particular gusto.
I think you've gotten us confused - Sheldrake presented the hypothesis about the "F" personality.
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Re: Is it true that many of the captured organizers of the holocaust were diagnosed by psychiatrists as "perfectly norma

Post by gebhk » 10 Apr 2023 16:04

You are of course quite right. Duly corrected with my apologies.

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Re: Is it true that many of the captured organizers of the holocaust were diagnosed by psychiatrists as "perfectly norma

Post by wm » 11 Apr 2023 23:37

The "F" personality defined as:
- Blind allegiance to conventional beliefs about right and wrong
- Respect for submission to acknowledged authority
- Belief in aggression toward those who do not subscribe to conventional thinking, or who are different
- A negative view of people in general - i.e. the belief that people would all lie, cheat or steal if given the opportunity
- A need for strong leadership which displays uncompromising power
- A belief in simple answers and polemics - i.e. The media controls us all or The source of all our problems is the loss of morals these days.
- Resistance to creative, dangerous ideas. A black and white worldview.
- A tendency to project one's own feelings of inadequacy, rage and fear onto a scapegoated group
- A preoccupation with violence and sex
doesn't look scientific to me at all. It actually looks like a political hit piece against the Republicans.

In Auschwitz, German guards didn't volunteer to process the incoming death trains because of their "preoccupation with violence and sex".
They volunteered because they got a piece of wurst, a glass of vodka, and 5 cigarettes for their efforts.
And prisoners volunteered, too, for similar rewards.

And this:
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Re: Is it true that many of the captured organizers of the holocaust were diagnosed by psychiatrists as "perfectly norma

Post by Obi44 » 12 Apr 2023 06:29

wm wrote:
11 Apr 2023 23:37
The "F" personality defined as:
- Blind allegiance to conventional beliefs about right and wrong
- Respect for submission to acknowledged authority
- Belief in aggression toward those who do not subscribe to conventional thinking, or who are different
- A negative view of people in general - i.e. the belief that people would all lie, cheat or steal if given the opportunity
- A need for strong leadership which displays uncompromising power
- A belief in simple answers and polemics - i.e. The media controls us all or The source of all our problems is the loss of morals these days.
- Resistance to creative, dangerous ideas. A black and white worldview.
- A tendency to project one's own feelings of inadequacy, rage and fear onto a scapegoated group
- A preoccupation with violence and sex
doesn't look scientific to me at all. It actually looks like a political hit piece against the Republicans.

In Auschwitz, German guards didn't volunteer to process the incoming death trains because of their "preoccupation with violence and sex".
They volunteered because they got a piece of wurst, a glass of vodka, and 5 cigarettes for their efforts.
And prisoners volunteered, too, for similar rewards.

And this:
To pretend that there were no ideologically-driven men running the Holocaust is a faulty stance. Each man was different, with varying levels of belief in Nazi ideals and varying limits when it came to carrying out their perceived "duty."

Also, nowhere does this suggest an anti-Republican stance, unless you want to suggest Republicans are supposedly preoccupied with violence and sex?
Obi

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Re: Is it true that many of the captured organizers of the holocaust were diagnosed by psychiatrists as "perfectly norma

Post by gebhk » 12 Apr 2023 09:03

Hi Obi

You are of course right, albeit it has to be said that for the majority of us, we tend to be 'driven by ideology' so long as that ideology is working for us. RedTelephone asks in another thread
All the SS Generals surrendered rather than die.
And very quickly ditched the Nazi ideology ( at least in public) to adapt to the new American ways.
What a shabby lot.
Of course they weren't outstandingly shabby, they were just normal humans, behaving like normal humans do. There were of course exceptions at the fringes - like the wounded German officer taken in the Cassino battles who preferred death to a life-saving transfusion because the medics couldn't guarantee the transfusion did not contain 'Jewish' blood. But that is the point - the latter are the exceptions and probably, ironically, shared many if not all personality traits with those few Germans who opposed Hitler during the 3rd Reich.

As for then 'Republican' thing - of course you are right. The point is that the whole bunkum is a classic, beautifully self-fulfilling and conveniently vague and subjective prophecy which thus can be applied to pretty much anyone. That is because it is a selection of descriptors of the universal human condition dressed up in suitably pejorative language to make it sound 'fascist'. It has as much validity as the average horoscope. I mean: 'obsessed with sex and violence'? Who isn't? Of course you could call it 'having a healthy interest in romance and the plight of the victims of violence' but that wouldn't sound terribly 'Fascist', now would it? Prospective trial with neutral language anyone?

The fact that it was initially called a 'Fascist' personality, rather starkly reveals the bias of the original proponents of this idea, if the pejorative biased language didn't reveal that enough. In short it it is a tool for making all evidence fit the theory as opposed to finding out whether the evidence supports the theory.

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Re: Is it true that many of the captured organizers of the holocaust were diagnosed by psychiatrists as "perfectly norma

Post by Obi44 » 12 Apr 2023 13:47

gebhk wrote:
12 Apr 2023 09:03
Hi Obi

You are of course right, albeit it has to be said that for the majority of us, we tend to be 'driven by ideology' so long as that ideology is working for us. RedTelephone asks in another thread
All the SS Generals surrendered rather than die.
And very quickly ditched the Nazi ideology ( at least in public) to adapt to the new American ways.
What a shabby lot.
Of course they weren't outstandingly shabby, they were just normal humans, behaving like normal humans do. There were of course exceptions at the fringes - like the wounded German officer taken in the Cassino battles who preferred death to a life-saving transfusion because the medics couldn't guarantee the transfusion did not contain 'Jewish' blood. But that is the point - the latter are the exceptions and probably, ironically, shared many if not all personality traits with those few Germans who opposed Hitler during the 3rd Reich.

As for then 'Republican' thing - of course you are right. The point is that the whole bunkum is a classic, beautifully self-fulfilling and conveniently vague and subjective prophecy which thus can be applied to pretty much anyone. That is because it is a selection of descriptors of the universal human condition dressed up in suitably pejorative language to make it sound 'fascist'. It has as much validity as the average horoscope. I mean: 'obsessed with sex and violence'? Who isn't? Of course you could call it 'having a healthy interest in romance and the plight of the victims of violence' but that wouldn't sound terribly 'Fascist', now would it? Prospective trial with neutral language anyone?

The fact that it was initially called a 'Fascist' personality, rather starkly reveals the bias of the original proponents of this idea, if the pejorative biased language didn't reveal that enough. In short it it is a tool for making all evidence fit the theory as opposed to finding out whether the evidence supports the theory.
I agree that most humans are opportunist by nature. You essentially hit it on the head - a Nazi when the war's going well, and suddenly a member of the German resistance by 1945. Then there's the men who never really cared either way and simply "went with the flow" as they thought the situation required.

But I think many, if not most Holocaust perpetrators and general German society believed in National-Socialism somewhat. Surely if a young man is being told by his state he is of a superior stock than the other nations surrounding him he'd buy into it to an extent, right? That's unless he was part of an opposition group before the war.
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Re: Is it true that many of the captured organizers of the holocaust were diagnosed by psychiatrists as "perfectly norma

Post by gebhk » 12 Apr 2023 14:36

The fact is that as a species we have it hard-wired into our genes to follow 'herd thinking'. The majority of people, if told so by their peers a few times, will agree that a circle is a square even though the incontrovertible proof that it is not so is staring them in the face. Of course the more seductive the 'herd thinking' the more likely we are to internalise it (rather than just go along with it) and internalise it more retentively, so your comments are very much on the mark.

The political fringe groups I came across in days of yore tended to be a lot like cults. The leaders tended to be highly intelligent and charismatic individuals with a (probably) even mix of true believers and guys who simply enjoyed the power. The lieutenants tended to be intelligent but somewhat inadequate individuals who were mainly there to bask in the approval they got from the leader. The rank-and-file were mainly the dregs of society, there for the love-bombing - as you say -, to be given reassurance that despite their many inadequacies they had supreme value - merely for the accident of birth that made them, say, white or British or 'working class'. Given that the group was the only place they could find such validation (society in general treated them like worthless scum) they were fanatically devoted to the group and highly motivated both to genuinly believe the 'teachings' of the leader and to change society to be more like their group. Sound familiar? :)

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Re: Is it true that many of the captured organizers of the holocaust were diagnosed by psychiatrists as "perfectly norma

Post by LineDoggie » 12 Apr 2023 18:01

wm wrote:
09 Apr 2023 15:43
A guy on Twitter, an experienced commander in the American Army, said something like this:
5% of every group is evil, and if you didn't deal harshly with them,
another 15% went along with them,
alienating the 80% of hard-working, honest soldiers.
WRONG! LTC. Dave Redman (ret) was a CANADIAN ARMY officer.

https://tbof.ca/about-us/david-redman/
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here".
Col. George Taylor, 16th Infantry Regiment, Omaha Beach

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Re: Is it true that many of the captured organizers of the holocaust were diagnosed by psychiatrists as "perfectly norma

Post by wm » 13 Apr 2023 22:21

Maybe but still totally irrelevant to the subject at hand.

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Re: Is it true that many of the captured organizers of the holocaust were diagnosed by psychiatrists as "perfectly norma

Post by wm » 13 Apr 2023 22:43

Obi44 wrote:
12 Apr 2023 06:29
To pretend that there were no ideologically-driven men running the Holocaust is a faulty stance. Each man was different, with varying levels of belief in Nazi ideals and varying limits when it came to carrying out their perceived "duty."

Also, nowhere does this suggest an anti-Republican stance, unless you want to suggest Republicans are supposedly preoccupied with violence and sex?
It doesn't, but it looks like today's anti-Republican talking points. "Preoccupied with violence and sex" is, of course, the opposition against sex education in schools and the LGBTQIA+ chutzpah.

We are all driven by some ideology, so "ideologically-driven" explains nothing. Was there burning people in ovens in national socialism? I don't think so.
The explanation was:
If we cannot now obliterate the biological basis of Jewry, the Jews will one day destroy the German people
which suggests paranoia, not ideology.
And the SS creed required blind obedience - "My Honor Is Loyalty", that had nothing to do with ideology either.

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