by Stephen P. Pizzo
Atlantic Free Press
Friday, 12 October 2007
As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.
– Justice William O. Douglas
I was born the very day World War II ended. My fellow postwar “Baby Boomers” grew up on old black and white documentaries of that war and the events leading up to it. But those films never really answered the most important question, a question that has nagged me, and I suspect most of my generation
How does something that extraordinary happen? It’s a question that has not only burdened American Baby Boomers, but three generations of postwar Germans as well. But for them it’s much more than just a historical curiosity. For postwar Germans it’s also been a nagging sense of collective guilt – guilt about events they had nothing to do with, but guilt nonetheless. It’s a guilt built on the realization that their parents and grand parents either participated in, supported and/or enabled what happened over half a century ago – or, at the very least, did nothing to prevent or stop it.
Of course the fascist rulers of the Third Reich ruled with a heavy hand. So it’s not hard to understand why so many Germans simply laid low rather than oppose the regime.
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