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memorial
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Auschwitz
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Poland Auschwitz (#2345)

Poland Auschwitz (#2345)
In the distance is the house of the commander of Auschwitz, where he raised his children and entertained in his garden, while prisoners were dying in these barracks or being gassed in the gas chambers, which are just over my left shoulder.

Comments
David Goulart
David Goulart
that's what seems to be incomprehensible to most people. the people who ran the camp system and those who worked in the camps weren't charlie manson type mass-murderers. they were people like the rest of us, doing what they considered their jobs, living normal lives.
even when it was obvious how the war was going and germany started losing the eastern lands they'd captured, they didn't stop. the deportations and killings were accelerated. it's like they had to get the job done while they still could.
2 years ago.
Don Barrett (aka DBs… has replied to David Goulart
A key point for doing the trip was trying to understand how people who aren't that different from what we consider to be 'normal' could do this. To think about the question of whether a mid-level manager at a contemporary company could do this. The frightening thought is that the answer seems to be 'yes', so the question becomes what do we do as a society to keep from going down that road.
2 years ago.
InterstateGirl
InterstateGirl
I think there are very few examples in history of people who are inherently evil, no matter what they may have done (Hitler was, in fact, probably one of those rare examples). The scarier thing is that the vast majority of people can and do justify horrific acts with a variety of mundane rationalizations - everything from "I was just following orders" to "I had to do X in order to survive." Thankfully most of us (Americans) have been blessed to live in a country and a world where we have not been placed in a situation where those rationalizations might need to be made.
2 years ago.
Don Barrett (aka DBs… has replied to InterstateGirl
I am regularly reminded of the closest thing in my life, the willful and partly-like atmosphere that accompanied lynching of blacks in the South. Though that had largely stopped about a decade before I was born, I'm sure it happened during my parent's time. They and neighbors never talked about it and I would like to think that they had higher morals, but they also never mentioned having taken action to stop it. Also, driving by KKK rallies of burning crosses, when I was a child, made all of that seem as if it hadn't ended.

The immediacy of our ability to be inhumane is also evident in the facts that my own age cohort engaged in some fairly inhumane acts in Vietnam, and my student's cohorts in Iraq/Afghanistan.

The level of cultural-wide acceptance of insanity isn't in those examples, but they are indicators of our ability to either do it, or let it happen.
2 years ago. Edited 2 years ago.