Saturday, 13 February 2016
Any Empathy For Nazism.......?
Yet another former concentration camp guard faces the justice system, this time in Germany, for wrongs done to humanity more than seventy years ago. Despite possible howls of outrage from my Jewish friends (and maybe even The Husband who recently discovered his Jewishness) I have to question the good sense of putting another nonagenarian on trial. At ninety four years of age this particular offender would have been in his early twenties at the very most when the crimes he is accused of were committed. He claims in fact that he never worked in the area of the camp where the atrocities took place and he might well be telling the truth. And even if he is manipulating the facts to some extent, what could he have possibly done to prevent the slaughter? Do we have documented evidence of any single member of any staff in any camp actually defiantly refusing to carry out orders? Did any young guard suddenly report to a superior saying, `Sorry Sir but don’t expect any further help from me – I’m out of here…..’ Would the response have been an understanding, `Fair enough Fritz - bloody nasty business I agree.' Maybe but I think it most unlikely. And even if by some chance a youthful renegade with a flush of blood to the head took it upon himself to stand up against The Reich, how long would his resistance have been likely to last? And after the rebel had been dispatched by firing squad, how likely might it have been that the seed of doubt he had attempted to plant would have burgeoned into anything concrete enough to make Hitler stop and think? I’m not advocating empathy for Nazism and I’d be the first to agree that genocide has to be taken seriously. On the other hand what is there to be gained from these show trials of those in the very twilight of their lives? It all seems just a little bit sick to me.