Een Auschwitz-overlevende stelt een vraag

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De vraag luidt als volgt


Quote p.301: "How was it possible, I often asked myself, for a young man of average intelligence and normal personality to carry out the unspeakable atrocities demanded of him in the belief that thereby he was doing his patriotic duty, without ever realizing that he was being used as a tool by perverted political dictators?"


My comment: Muller is the only one who survived the Krematorium-kommando in Auschwitz. He is a Cech, and the book has been translated. The answer is in part Milgram, in part Kohlberg, and in part that man is an ideological ape. The reason this is in part a good question is that he stresses it concerns people "of average intelligence and normal personality", and not some unexplainable devils from hell: Probably the most definite difference between the SS and others is that the former were slightly more bend on making a career.

However, the second part of the question is OK in so far as it stresses that people do things for reasons they believe in, but not OK in sofar as Muller attributes his own moral and intellectual sophistication to others, whereas people "of average intelligence and normal personality" typically do not raise such questions, and are moved by the desire of being normal, of conforming, of fitting into any social framework they have been raised in, of not making a fuss. If this means burning Meyer and his family because they are Jewish, "who are they to know better than their betters", and so Meyer and his family get burned, and if it involves collecting money to help Madonna help Mother Theresa, then that's what happens. The important thing is to conform, not to question: Be a loyal fool, serve the Leader and the Group, ask no difficult questions, and always support Us, and you will not only survive but thrive.


Colofon:

Citaat uit "Auschwitz Inferno", van Filip Muller.

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Maartens@xs4all.nl