Saturday, 30 December 2017

A View Not Universally Shared

I have learned that it isn’t yet fashionable to be supportive of Nazi war criminals, or those accused of inclusion in that category. There are not that many of them left to support in any case but demonstrating a modicum of concern for those that do still remain is much like showing unease about the ongoing denunciation of Harvey Weinstein and his acolytes. It simply isn’t playing the game and akin to ending a relationship with a text message – just not acceptable in polite circles and definitely not in politically correct circles! I know this for sure, not because I have ever used text messaging irregularly but because I was soundly and surprisingly castigated quite recently for showing disquiet about the fact that the baying for blood re historical incidents of sexual molestation simply wasn’t dying down. Three people advised me that they `Had thought better of me’- one person felt I had personally let her down by holding such views…..she would need time to come to terms with it. Quite sobering comments really but ones that sharply reminded me that the society in which we live is still placed uncomfortably close to those witch hunts of the middle ages where simply owning a black cat might be cause for rumour and tittle tattle. And furthermore and more simply, if people find that they like or agree with some of your views then they expect you to think as they do in most respects.

But to get back to Nazi war criminals for a moment or two – and let me say quite categorically that I have no German blood whatsoever as far as I am aware and that most Germans I have known over the years would not seem to have made very dedicated Nazis. Nevertheless, I cannot help feeling some alarm that it appears that Oskar Groening will in all likelihood serve a four year prison sentence at the age of 96. There is a touch of farce about sending a man of his great age to prison especially since his War Crimes are said to have come to light only because he lifted his head above the social parapet in order to remonstrate with today’s Zionist Haters and Holocaust Deniers. Oskar’s mistake was pointing out that these groups of Doubting Thomases are sadly in error – The Holocaust DID take place and he knew this for a fact because he played a minor role in it! If he had shut up and got on with attending to his window boxes and collecting stamps, said to himself that it was none of his business what the Great Uninformed believe then he would still be a free man.

Oskar Groening was born in 1921 in Hanover and was hoping for a job in the local bank when war started and he found himself stationed at Auschwitz Concentration Camp for a period. He was known as a Bookkeeper and his duties revolved around itemising and sorting the personal belongings of incoming prisoners. He was not a decision maker of any kind and in fact by October 1944 he had been transferred to a combat unit so his direct input into The Holocaust then ceased. Of course it was always possible that during his time as Bookkeeper he could have gone to his immediate superior and said something like, `I’ve been meaning to explain Sir that I’m personally not at all keen on what we seem to be doing in this place – Genocide has to be taken seriously.’ But of course Oskar didn’t do that and that was his mistake because there was always an outside chance that his seniors might just have given him a sympathetic hearing. On the other hand, depending upon the mood and the workload he might simply have been shot – who knows?

After the war he seems to have led a quiet life and more than forty years went by before he chose to expose his own link with Auschwitz because he found it impossible to remain quiet in the face of ongoing and irritating Holocaust denial. It would be true to say that he is the only person responsible for the position in which he now finds himself. Groening was charged in 2014 as being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 people. There is something distinctly absurd about such a charge, it harks of paunchy film directors who may or may not find themselves starring in a media circus for unwisely touching the breast of a would-be starlet visitor to their hotel room decades ago, a miscarriage of justice of medieval proportions. At least that is my opinion which will of course not be shared by all readers.

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