Good German

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Good Germans is a term referring to German citizens during and after World War II who claimed not to have supported the Nazi regime, but remained silent and did not resist in a meaningful way.[1][2] The term further denotes those who claimed ignorance of the Holocaust and German war crimes. Despite these claims, post-war research has suggested that a large number of ordinary Germans were aware of the Holocaust at least in general terms: captive slave laborers were a common sight; the public knew Jews were being deported to Poland; and the basics of the concentration camp system, if not the extermination camps, were widely known. While there is some controversy as to its exact meaning, the term "Good Germans" is therefore usually used to signify passivity by ordinary Germans in the face of widespread crimes against humanity.

Despite the Nazi regime's efforts to keep the mass murder of Jews a secret and destroy any evidence of mass killings, hundreds of thousands of Germans were involved to some extent in the genocide: participating in the killings directly; guarding and administering the camps where Jews and others were systematically murdered and worked to death; and providing support from both the civil and military authorities which facilitated the machinery of genocide.

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  • Dochartaigh, Pól Ó; Schönfeld, Christiane (2013), "Introduction: Finding the 'Good German'", Representing the Good German in Literature and Culture After 1945: Altruism and Moral Ambiguity, Camden House, ISBN 9781571134981