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Children of Nazis and their victims share family history to mark Holocaust

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By Ben Simon

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Probably explains why the Old Continent has come to terms with its past & 'forgiven' Germany; they themselves weren't beyond reproach, far from it.

Putting "forgiven" in quotes is certainly a good idea, because the question comes down to "forgiven who, and forgiven what"? There is too much in Germany's past that is simply unforgivable, and it always will be. Even if some European countries do "forgive"Probably explains why the Old Continent has come to terms with its past & 'forgiven' Germany; they themselves weren't beyond reproach, far from it.

Putting "forgiven" in quotes is certainly a good idea, because the question comes down to "forgiven who, and forgiven what"? There is too much in Germany's past that is simply unforgivable and always will be. And even if some countries do "forgive" (officially) , others may not: suffering wasn't equal across all the occupied nations, or among all the countries that went to war with Germany.

I think all Euros -not only Germans- have asked themselves (or should have) the same question. There were plenty of nazi collaborators and sympathisers ('enablers', to some extent) all across europe in the 30s and 40s.

It's an easy judgement to make for a non-European. You say "all Euros". How does that work for the countries that were neutral in the conflict. Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, the Baltic states? If you consider them morally culpable for keeping out of the fight, and even profiting from it, consider the position of the United States, which also stayed neutral as one European country after another fell to Germany. Through this period, Americans and American companies continued to do business with Nazi Germany, some in ways that considerably assisted its war efforts and its crimes against humanity. US neutrality in the European conflict ended not through an American decision that it was morally unsustainable, but because Germany and Italy both declared war on the United States on December 11, 1941.

In response to your point about Nazi collaborators, I would say that many Europeans certainly do ask themselves these questions. Considering how recent and raw that history is, that should not be surprising.

The impression I have is that the people who are most prim and virtuous about the Nazis are those from countries whose citizens never really had to make the choice between collaboration and resistance. Britain and America stand out in this regard. British civilians, being closer to the war, did suffer more, mainly as a result of German air raids, but they were never faced with the stark choice of whether to attempt to coexist with German occupiers or try to kill them.

It's too easy to say what you would do in such circumstances, especially with hindsight and the 70 years' worth of sanctimonious near-propaganda we've been fed. It would have been a lot harder for people who were contending with food shortages, actual starvation, and the threat to their families rather than just to themselves. It's not everyone, for example, who would sacrifice the life of their children for a principle, or ten civilian lives for one German soldier; and the occupying Germans were adept at forcing those kinds of choices on civilian populations.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So sad, absolutely a horrific tragedy, but you are so right. We just have to remember and never, ever forget.

Intentionally conflating socialism with National Socialism is disgustingly dishonest.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

but you are so right

What does this mean, exactly?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The German socialists were inhuman monsters. It is frightening that socialism is still so popular

So sad, absolutely a horrific tragedy, but you are so right. We just have to remember and never, ever forget.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Wouldn't it be great if all countries guilty of atrocities could come to this point? Unfortunately, some deny, deny, deny.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Can this be called the ‚last European bubble‘?

Many countries were blinded and individuals too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"When I finally learnt who he was, that he was a member of the Einsatzgruppen, I asked myself a lot of questions and I continue to ask myself one question in particular: what would I have done?"

I think all Euros -not only Germans- have asked themselves (or should have) the same question. There were plenty of nazi collaborators and sympathisers ('enablers', to some extent) all across europe in the 30s and 40s.

Probably explains why the Old Continent has come to terms with its past & 'forgiven' Germany; they themselves weren't beyond reproach, far from it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

We should not be blinded by prejudice or ideology in attributing blame for the truly horrifying record of atrocities that marked the 20th century. The mass killings should not be regarded as an indictment of "-isms", religions or specific nations, but of ourselves, us humans. We were all complicit in the bloodletting. As the Romans used to say: "Man is wolf to man", a truth that cannot be denied. We must all accept the responsibility for Man's seemingly never-ending inhumanity to Man. If not us, who else?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

BigYenToday  03:41 pm JST

I respect these people like Ulrich Gantz who have the courage to publicly face up to and repudiate the sins of their fathers. It can't be easy.

This is a sign of maturity and a really civilized people. Unlike some other people we know who wax lyrical about being civilized but do incredible hideous things then hide and pretend it didn't happen,or shift blame on their victims, which reeks of immaturity and boorishness.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The Nazis were monsters alright, but not socialists. They called themselves the National Socialist German Workers' Party, but were as socialist as North Korea is democratic. They pretended to be socialist until Hitler got elected Reichskanzler/dictator and then they banned it together with liberalism and democratism. The Nazis were more like fascists.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Fully agree with "BigYen"!

Wish others would follow, not just in Germany!

And "Insane Wayne", what are you talking about?

Maybe you forgot the "national" in front of "socialists"?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

@insanewayne The German socialists were inhuman monsters

The German National Socialists were monsters, as were Stalinists. Maybe someday Russia's leaders will own up to the horrific acts committed by the Soviet Union. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_war_crimes

An excellent history of how brutal both Germany and the Soviet Union were is T. Snyder's 'Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloodlands

Snyder examines the political, cultural and ideological context tied to a specific area of land, under which Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union and Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany committed mass killing of an estimated 14 million non-combatants between the years 1933 and 1945, the majority outside the death camps of the Holocaust

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The German socialists were inhuman monsters. It is frightening that socialism is still so popular.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

I respect these people like Ulrich Gantz who have the courage to publicly face up to and repudiate the sins of their fathers. It can't be easy. Martin Bormann Junior, the son of Hitler's deputy Martin Bormann, did the same thing a few years back.

To me it's one more significant step towards burying the legacy of the Nazis - that even their own children should turn their backs on them.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

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