Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ordinary people

The Jew-hating, anti-Semitic, Zionism- disparaging, puppy-kicking, NY Times has an article today about a new trove of Auschwitz photos [A slide show is attached to the article] recently donated to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. The photos are significant for two reasons:

(1) They include the very first pictures of Mengle at Aushwitz. (I'm sorry to say he's far less foreboding then I imagined. Thinner. Younger. Not an unpleasant face. Just a guy.)

(2) The photos are entirely of SS men and women hanging out and enjoying downtime together. There's one of a Christmas tree lighting (At Auschwitz!). Another shows a group of men singing together on a bridge. A third has, like, 15 SS girls sitting on a fence eating blueberries. Not one of them looks over 30. And as the Times helpfully informs us, at that moment, just down the lane, Jews were being burned.

You can't help but ask yourself: How in the hell? Was it bifurcation? A form of mental illness? Or did these smiling men and women simply come of age in a foreign time and place, a time and place where people mattered less (Jews especially) and such things were unremarkable?

(Some other time we'll talk again about the various forces that contributed to the creation of that foreign time and place.)

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