Obedience in the Holocaust

2087 WordsNov 1, 20079 Pages
The Holocaust is known as one of the most devastating, or perhaps even the most devastating incident in human history. On paper, the dizzying statistics are hard to believe. The mass executions, the terrible conditions, the ruthlessness, and the passivity of the majority of witnesses to the traumatic events all seem like a giant, twisted story blown out of proportion to scare children. But the stories are true, the terror really happened, and ordinary citizens were convinced into doing savage deeds against innocent people. How, one must ask? How could anyone be so pitiless towards their neighbors, their friends? In a time of desperation, when a country was on its knees to the rest of the world, one man not only united Germans against a…show more content…
I asked Karl Boem-Tettelbach how it was possible in the 1930s that someone could respect Hitler and what he was doing for Germany when Jews were forced to lose their jobs and leave the country. In his reply spoke, I believe, for millions of other Germans: "That never came up. Everybody thought the same, that you were in a big team and you didn't separate from the group. You were infected. That explains it a bit." (2) And as for actual officers, during the Nuremberg Trials, a Commandant named Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess had this to say of his indifference, "Don't you see, we SS men were not supposed to think about these things; it never even occurred to us. And besides it was something already taken for granted that the Jews were to blame for everything….It was not just newspapers like Sturmer but it was everything we heard. Even our military and ideological training took for granted that we had to protect Germany from the Jews….We were all so trained to obey orders without even thinking that the thought of disobeying an order would never have occurred to anybody." (3) So there is a delicate balance between conscious and unconscious actions of every individual of Nazi Germany. The majority was bewitched by the charismatic Hitler who not only gave them a reason as to why they were suffering with ubiquitous propaganda, but also promised to strengthen Germany until she was beyond restored. (4) For some it was an underlying hatred that had finally found a vent. For
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