The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking – NYTimes.com
The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.
The figure is so staggering that even fellow Holocaust scholars had to make sure they had heard it correctly when the lead researchers previewed their findings at an academic forum in late January at the German Historical Institute in Washington.
“The numbers are so much higher than what we originally thought,” Hartmut Berghoff, director of the institute, said in an interview after learning of the new data.
“We knew before how horrible life in the camps and ghettos was,” he said, “but the numbers are unbelievable.”
The documented camps include not only “killing centers” but also thousands of forced labor camps, where prisoners manufactured war supplies; prisoner-of-war camps; sites euphemistically named “care” centers, where pregnant women were forced to have abortions or their babies were killed after birth; and brothels, where women were coerced into having sex with German military personnel.
Just when you thought it was too big in the first place, we find out it was even bigger. There was, obviously, a lot more participation from the average German. After all, it takes a lot of personnel to run tens of thousands of facilities.
Is this a business ethics question? Of course, it is. The thousands of work camps, the huge shipments of human beings in cattle cars, the identification of the Jews and the other victims by IBM punch cards, the creation of the death factories, etc. etc., were all business endeavors utilized by the state to destroy the perceived enemies of the states. Without the, “It’s just business.” attitude, how difficult it would have been. Without the psychological distance provided by modern management techniques, would so much suffering have been so simple?
People tend to draw from the Holocaust the lesson that racial prejudice and hatred are wrong. But another lesson might be that business in the service of the state has incredible possibilities for the most extreme evil.
What crimes can be committed to make a profit ( or in the free market) ? What do we mean by “It’s just a job, if I don’t do it, someone else will?” The ultimate moral abdication?
Let’s draw fully on the lessons of the holocaust by doing a full analysis. It was a complex phenomenon and deserves study as such.
From around the web -
From the web site, Holocaust Research Project:
Daily Telegraph correspondent in Berlin during 1938
“I was in Berlin at that time and saw some pretty revolting sights – the destruction of Jewish shops, Jews being arrested and led away, the police standing by while the gangs destroyed the shops and even groups of well-dressed women cheering.
Maybe those women had a hangover next morning, as they were intoxicated all right when this was taking place. I found it, you know, really utterly revolting. In fact to a German journalist who saw me on that day and asked me what I was doing there, I remember I just said very coldly, “I’m studying German culture.”
From the web site, Paolosilv’s Blog: (He’s explaining motive not glorifying Hitler. jp)
Hitler in his own words:
“we are well aware that this war could eventually only end that they be out-rooted from Europe or that they disappear.They have already spoken of the breaking up of the German Reich by next September, and with the help of this advance prophesy, and we say that the war will not end as the Jews imagine it will, namely, with the uprooting of the Aryans, but the result of this war will be the complete annihilation of the Jews. Now for the first time they will not bleed other people to death, but for the first time the old Jewish law of ‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,’ will be applied. And the further this war spreads, the more antisemitism will spread. It will find strength in every prison camp, and in every family, which will understand that its sacrifices are because of this antisemitism. And the hour will come when the enemy of all times, or at least of the last thousand years, will have played his part to the end.” [Sportspalast speech, Adolf Hitler, 1942]
From the web site, A Journey that will Change My Life:
My trip to Auschwitz with Eva has changed me. I feel inspired and refreshed. I want to take her message of peace and forgiveness and use it to change the lives of others. I want to spread her message to anyone who will listen. I hope in the coming weeks that I will have some quiet time to sit down and continue processing and writing about my experiences in Poland. Until that time I will keep working and always remember this journey that changed my life.
From the web site, Lo Lewis’ blog – Holocaust Perpetrators: (I really like this one! jp)
The cover of this film suggests that it is about the downfall of Hitler as well as the Third Reich. “April 1945, a nation awaits its…” which described to me that it is also Germany’s downfall. From what I have seen so far, it is clear that the title of this movie suggests that it is the downfall of a nation rather than a leader. Although Downfall does capture the demise of Hitler as a powerful leader, it also depicts the downfall of other Nazi officials such as Goebbles. Everything in Germany has fallen apart and though at first I blamed it on Hitler’s death, it cannot be solely put on him. Hitler was a single man who could have done nothing without the support of millions of people who carried out the horrible things he preached about. It was also the German peoples fault..the downfall of Germany/The Third Reich that is. The downfall refers to more than just the downfall of one man, it symbolizes the downfall of a way of life. Hitler planted an idea into the minds of millions of people and they took care of killing 6 million people. Hitler was a perpetrator but he was a representation of all normal Germans who carried out his master plan. Everyone who was involved with the holocaust was at fault. This is another example of holocaust perpetrators being portrayed not as monsters, but as real people, similar to Eichmann in Jerusalem and The Reader. They chose this way of life, and essentially through the Jews under the bus in order to take part in a mass genocide. They would rather kill than be killed and took the easy way out. The holocaust perpetrators may have been “just doing their job” but they had the power to say no and they did not. Examples of this are Adolf Eichmann and Albert Speer. The Downfall of the Third Reich, the holocaust perpetrators and Hitler are all represented within the title of this movie.