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Thursday, April 14, 2005


The Third Reich, the atrocities

And the deafening silence of the German Nation

A few weeks ago I saw the movie "Downfall" which depicted the final days of Adolf Hitler and his inner circle in the bunker as the Russians were closing in on Berlin. Bruno Ganz has received a lot of praise for his performance as Hitler. Deservedly so. But this is not a review of the movie. It is about my reaction to it.

History of the Third Reich, Hitler and his key aides has been well documented. We know that they were murderous thugs blinded by hatred for the Jews and obsessed with establishing reign of a master race. While the film does not try to completely hide their role, it treats them kindly. Hitler and members of his inner circle appear to be decent human beings!

Questions continue to be raised about the silence and complicity of the German people. An article by Luke Harding in The Guardian (UK) about the concentration camp in Belsen made me think that while the scale might be different atrocities against hapless people continue in different parts of the world; unjust wars still take place. There is apathy, there is ignorance, and there is an overwhelming tendency to look the other way---just as the Germans did during the Third Reich.

"Yesterday Maj Williams said the local German population must have been aware of the camp's existence. 'The nearest railway was 5km away in the town of Bergen. Prisoners then had to walk [to the camp]. The people of Bergen must have known,' he said."


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