Focusing particularly on genocide, Erwin Staub explores the psychology of group aggression. He sketches a conceptual The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence. Front Cover. Ervin Staub. Cambridge University. In the excerpt below, psychologist Ervin Staub, who was rescued in Hungary as a child, discusses the psychological and social background of the Swedish. Ervin Staub. University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The focus of this article will be on the origins of evil, in several domains. An important.

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Staub is a world renowned expert on the psychology of mass murder and genocide. He had a Hungarian business partner whose [Jewish] relatives were in immediate danger. He knew the relatives from business trips to Hungary, so he had a personal connection to people in need.

His familiarity with Hungary also gave him some competence. While working [earlier] in Palestine, he had seen refugees arriving from Hitler’s Germany; this direct contact with victims must have contributed to his concern and caring. He was asked to go Hungary by representatives of the American War Refugee Board; this request may have helped to define for him what was right and activate important values.

Finally, Wallenberg was one-sixteenth Jewish. Wallenberg was a member of.

He had wide experience in work and travel under the guidance of his diplomat grandfather. At one point, his grandfather urged him join the family bank, but he rootx.


Later his grandfather died, his connection to the family was weakened, and when he changed his mind, he was not allowed to ecil the bank. His work as a partner in an export-import firm was less than fulfilling for him.

Excerpt from The Roots of Evil by Ervin Staub

Because he was not fully involved in pursuing a goal important to him, he was more open to other goals; the request was more likely to activate a desire or obligation to help. In Hungary he started to help by creating [the Schutz Pass], impressive from the bureaucratic standpoint but of stub validity, that gave thousands protection. He threatened, bribed, and cajoled high-level Hungarian officials.

He personally intervened in many ways that required great courage, exposing himself to assassination attempts and the guns of Nazi guards.

He showed great courage and self-confidence in dealing with Nazi officials, including Eichmann. His sense of invulnerability may have been inspired by his aristocratic background. In conditions of extreme danger, people need support to evolve and maintain the motivation to help.

As they begin to help, they also begin to create their own environment, their own context. They rootz connections to a community that supports them. Schindler was supported by the people he helped and also by outside contacts he made through his actions in behalf of Jews.

Educational Resources — Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence

For example, a tge of Hungarian Jews asked him to come to Hungary stahb convince the skeptical Jewish community there of the existence of the camps and killing operations. This had to reinforce and support his identity as an ally, a helper of Jews; acceding to the request contributed to his evolution. Ervin Staub, The Roots of Evil: Cambridge University Press, Add or Edit Playlist. Create an identity chart for to create an identity chart for Raoul Wallenberg based on Staub’s discussion.


List some of the words Staub uses to describe Wallenberg’s characteristics. Evin kind of person might he have been based on your list? According to Staub, what did Wallenberg and other rescuers need to stay motivated to help the Jews?

In Staub’s reflections on altruism and Wallenbergwhich lessons seem particular to this history. What, if any, universal lessons might we rootss from Staub’s reflections on altruism and on Wallenberg’s story? What influences someone to become a good fanatic?

Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence

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