I am finishing a book on the Third Reich (Nazi Germany) and have just finished a section on the atrocities against the Slovak and Jewish peoples. As I road along listening to the author describe the specifics of what the Nazi’s did and the German people tolerated I found myself going to this weird place emotionally. I was confused like a 4 year little city girl who just found out that we eat animals by killing them and disassembling them into edible parts. It was completely beyond my comprehension.
Yes, I have seen documentary footage of the concentration camps and the end results. But I have not heard eyewitness accounts of the actual activity to the detail or this volume. I will not repeat it for you. I will not encourage you to know. It left me shutdown in some ways. I was in shock to the point of not being able to process anything for a while except the continued long drive home.
To go ahead and state the obvious, I am stunned that humans can do such things. I didn’t think I was naive about peoples capacity for evil, but I framed it in the context of doing something for gain; financial, political, entertainment, sexual, food. But so much of what I was hearing was beyond what I felt a group of people could decide to do. I am familiar with a single twisted person doing bizarre things to others out of mental illness, but the Nazi atrocities are like millions of Jeffrey Dahmer’s being in the same place at the same time. There are no words to say it properly. It speaks to what a human is on some deep primal level.
The more I think about it the more I find myself lost in it. It is like finding out that the world really is flat and my Mother never was my real mother and all of the people around me are playing a part in a big play put on just for me. I am a bit immobilized by it. But I feel the wrong reaction is the put this feeling away in some dark corner of my mind and forget it. This was not an accident or a strange set of circumstances alone. These were real humans from the same planet.
So this is the part where I come up with some cool way to handle it and I tell you. WRONG! Not today. Maybe not for weeks or years. I am late to the party, but I am still stunned.
- How does one look at other humans the same knowing this information?
- Where does this fit in my faith? Today there is no slot for this in my religion folder.
- How do people stand by and watch or worse comply with it?
- What is the proper reaction if not folding it up, putting it away in a dark box, burying it and running far far from it?