I watched Auschwitz: the Nazis and the ‘Final Solution’ tonight not believing I would hear anything new, but because of the hype and five stars surrounding the programme. How wrong I was. You forget how such things give you an insight into the ordinary mind.
It struck home soon into the programme, before the extermination of 1.1 million people began (that’s 1,100,000 souls, more than UK or US dead in the war.) It began with cruel and unusual treatment of the Russian communists. Arms tied behind their backs and roped to hooks, then stools kicked away to hang in unnatural positions.
Shades of Iraq? Unspoken permission to be beastly?
And the German who shot to kill Jews? Brought up to think that a ‘people’ in his midst are culpable in contributing to his poverty? So it’s okay to kill them?
Doesn’t it sound familiar? Asylum seekers et al? Could we be persuaded by culture or propaganda that a ‘final solution’ was possible? Or do-able? I think we might be. With the wrong or right leaders, and I’m not sure which ones we have.
Just this one thought from Len Deighton’s excellent book “Blitzkrieg”: ‘To think of Hitler as a deviant or a monster is to miss the point. He was the epitome of the common man.’