It is easy to imagine the perpetrators of the holocaust as vile, wicked, evil people. The truth is more disturbing. The holocaust occurred because a society and culture allowed it to occur. Evil men were the masterminds, but “ordinary men” was the more likely description of those who implemented the heinous plans of the holocaust. Once the Jewish people were turned into “the others” the slope became slippery and ordinary men fell into terrible evil.
Brian Butler leads off in this episode with JB Shreve & the End of History to look at the reality of the ordinary men and women who carried out the holocaust. Ordinariness is not an excuse for the crimes committed in the holocaust. It is an alarm to wake us from the arrogance that presumes we would never commit such evil. The crime of genocide keeps happening again and again because most people think they are above such evil. They aren’t!
This episode in our series Never Again, Again – the ongoing history of genocide is the second part of our look at the holocaust.
Additional Reading –
The Men Who Pulled the Triggers – New York Times