If ever there were killers without conscience it has to be those that initiated and nurtured this political movement. It’s easy to simply define the Reich and the National Socialists of 1940s Germany as monsters (as I typically have done) and to assume that all Nazis and members of the 3rd Reich pledged allegiance to Hitler simply because they were evil. To be sure, many of them were without a doubt sociopaths lacking empathy, and revelling in the torture of Jewish people. This is recorded as historical fact…6 million deaths cannot contradict what the Nazis’ philosophy encompassed.
However I do believe there was another, more powerful enemy at work in the minds of both German civilians and those who filled the ambiguous rank of SS Officers: the brainwashing against Jews as a powerful propaganda, conducted twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The environment plays a great part in the development of a man (Goring). Children were raised by their parents with the philosophy that Jews were dirty and evil. European non-Jews believed in their hearts that only the Aryan race was pure and should prevail. Teachers in non-Jewish schools taught this philosophy to children and youth (or faced severe consequences). Ordinary people on the streets were filled not only with hatred, but with abject fear of Jews. To quote the Führer himself: The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if they belonged to one category.
Indeed. Yet didn’t the Allied countries all the leaders of the Reich to be sociopaths? How brilliant yet sadly, inhuman, was Hitler’s tactic its far-reaching effects. It seduced Germans, Canadians, Americans, the British, and everyone else in the Allied, whom we believed to be the “good guys“. The evidence? Hitler’s Reich offered the countries of North America and many other Allied countries to welcome European Jews into their midst. Hitler’s victims were available for transportation to the Allied countries. How hypocritical to refuse to take Hitler and the Reich up on this generous offer, yet, at the Nuremberg Trials, weren’t we the first to throw stones and sling the hangman’s noose around the Reich’s collective (and literal) neck? To quote Hermann Goring, founder of the Gestapo, I know you want to study me psychologically. That’s reasonable and I appreciate it. Let the other fellow talk and stick his neck into the noose. But you hardly say anything. Someday I’m going to ask you questions.
In fact, so skillful was the Reich’s Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels at manipulating our hatred against Jews, that the Canadian government (among many others I am sure) actively sought out and transported Canadian Jews and landed Jewish immigrants, back to the nightmare they originally escaped. On December 17, 1942, the Allied issued a formal declaration confirming and condemning Nazi extermination policy toward the Jews, yet the US State Department was aware of the use and the location of the gas chambers of extermination camps throughout the war, and refused pleas to bomb them out of operation.
I am clear about the fact that annihilation camps were used for murder. What I did was aiding in murder. If I should be sentenced, I would consider that correct. Murder is murder. We were all equally guilty. The camp functioned in a chain of functions. If only one element in that chain is missing, the entire enterprise comes to a stop. –Werner Dubois, a guard at Sobibor. We certainly are all equally guilty, regardless of whether we stood guard at the gates of Auschwitz or not. The missing link in the Allied’s chain must have been that of humanity, that very accusation we levied against the Reich during the demise of the war as their “crimes against humanity.”
I wonder if he was thinking of the thousands of Jews Britain transported to Germany when he spoke those words.