Youtube is full of private vids made by German soldiers, it always interesting to watch.
He wasn't the only one but they were few. Those few we know about have been honoured at Yad Vashem, the most well known being Oskar Schindler and his wife Emille.Thanks for that, his Sergeant Major had a pair as well.
To my mind the fact that some Germans could be so good only accentuates how bad the others were. And by 'others' I mean the ordinary Germans who murdered and those who pretended not to know what had gone on.He wasn't the only one but they were few. Those few we know about have been honoured at Yad Vashem, the most well known being Oskar Schindler and his wife Emille.
It is reported that people living down the road from Dachau and Bergen Belsen in their nice houses knew absolutely nothing of what was going on. Sidney Bernsteins film 'Night will fall' shows this.To my mind the fact that some Germans could be so good only accentuates how bad the others were. And by 'others' I mean the ordinary Germans who murdered and those who pretended not to know what had gone on.
The actions & behaviours of the Heer across all theatres bear witness to this. I am in the middle of writing a paper on the actions of DAK in tunisia in 42/43 & their role in the persecution of the small Jewish community where estimates in dead vary from 500-2500 out of a labour camp population of approx 5000 - North Africa, a theatre were the war was fought by honourable & chivalrous enemies supposedly untouched by the horrors of the northern Europe war. Despite the simple to discover fact that many of the units of DAK had also been deployed in Poland & later Russia where Heer units were routinely slotting innocents.
Very interesting as the North Africa campaign has always been painted as an 'honourable' part of the war, in particular when Rommel was leading the campaign. Did the attitudes of the DAK leech over into the Italian forces about committing atrocities? Rommel was and had been commander of Hitler's Heer protection battalion.
Maybe it just shows you didn't need to be a member of the SS/SD/Einzatzgruppen to be a murderer.
As Christopher Browning alluded too in his book Police Battalion 101. Is the Wehrmacht and the Holocaust an on-line resource or a book?Its easily accessible information & data that almost anyone can get hold of - Wehrmacht & the Holocaust. The myth about Rommel has been long standing.
A significant proportion of the mass shootings on the eastern front were undertaken by the Order Police battalions, units subordinate to the SS but not part of the SS. These were 'ordinary men'.
I subscribe to the theory that they had no idea that what they were doing was in any way wrong.
I've commented before that I believe that if the Germans had succeeded with Op SEALION, they would, I'm sure, have found sufficient 'willing helpers' in Britain. Just ordinary people.I think you underestimate mankinds capacity for cruelty.
Its an old phrase but civilisation is a very thin veneer. Combine that with the herd mentality and I am of the belief that people have a natural tendency to re-draw there moral boundaries quite easily.
I think they knew it was wrong but simply adjusted their defintion of right and wrong in tune with their compatriots.
I also suspect that it is a fundemental of human nature.
The punitive reperations imposed after the Great War, mainly at the insistence of France (still smarting from the Franco-Prussian wars and the constant losing / regaining of the Alsace region) created the deep feeling of injustice in the German people,
The German State avoided some of the penalties mainly through being broke, although having it's economy sunk to a level where 1US$ cost 4,200,000,000,000 Marks and people were bartering artworks, jewellery and the like for basic foodstuffs helped drive the ferment leading to the foundation and support for the NSDAP who promised a return to a better lifestyle for everyone - and started to deliver on that. From the point of view of the 1920's & 30's German who was used to seeing their lords and masters still hunting, shooting & fishing, throwing lavish parties for their peers whilst everyone else was forced to scrape a living and borrow heavily, it's easy to see the attraction.Except they managed to escape most of them, mostly thanks to the USA and the UK.....