Sunday, 17 January 2010

Sobibor survivor: 'I polished SS boots as dying people screamed'

I'm not sure what I feel about this, to be honest. I think that there's a risk in assuming that the motivation of Demjanjuk would be the same as, say, Heydrich, or Eichmann. Of course, there are those who would argue that the distinction between one murderer and another, in terms of motive, is irrelevant: the very fact that they undertook the action they did renders them identical, both morally and legally. I don't believe that that's true, but I am in the minority.

Sobibor survivor: 'I polished SS boots as dying people screamed'

By curious coincidence, I watched a movie (Conspiracy, 2001), last night, which dramatized the events of the Wannsee Conference. I don't know how accurate this movie is, historically. It is based on the edited (by Eichmann), minutes of the meeting, a copy of which was found by American investigators in the files of one of the delegates, after the War.

The thing that strikes me from this, though, is that there was no discussion - the decision had been made. The purpose of the meeting was to inform those who would need to be involved, and ensure that their agreement was obtained. Those who wavered, initially (Dr Friedrich Kritzinger, for example), are left in no doubt as to the position they would place themselves in, were they to object - according to the movie, at least. Does this make any difference - that some of the delegates may have been coerced into complicity?

I don't know. I'm just glad that I'm not Thomas Blatt, for a whole bunch of reasons.


Ana said...

Sorry, but just reading Sobibor I didn't felt like reading.
Trying to be at peace.
Too much to get angry.

Radagast said...

[shrug] I'm largely dissociated from it, so it's not something that affects me... I don't feel the need to be appalled by what I am told the Nazis did; I certainly won't be compelled to feel appalled, and I won't be told that I'm anti-semitic for not condemning what is reported to have happened.

As I said: I wasn't there, so it doesn't affect me. And even if I was appalled, what would it change? Besides which, the mentality that allowed the Holocaust is present in every day society - I've been on the wrong end of it myself.