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View Diary: A Promise to My Grandfather: A Follow Up (321 comments)

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  •  Also, "Hitler's Willing Executioners" (none)
    You can get this book on Amazon.

    To cut to the chase: ordinary people, just like us, perpetrated the Holocaust. Monsters not needed. Book extremely popular in Germany.

    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

    by CarbonFiberBoy on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 10:44:40 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Better yet (none)
      Get it on or  Amazon is a major red donar. B&N and Borders tend to go blue.
    •  also the documentary (none)
      The documentary "The Sorrow and the Pity", the book "Vichy France" by Robert O. Paxton, and the book "Crimes of Obedience" by Herbert Kelman and Lee Hamilton.

      The Sorrow and the Pity was made in 1971 but banned from being shown in French cinemas or on French TV until Francois Mitterand came to power in the early 1980's (Mitterand was the first postwar French leader to have an untainted record during WWII - he'd been an active member of the Resistance and rescued author Marguerite Duras's husband from a concentration camp - Duras and her husband were in his Resistance cell) rather than cooperating in one form or another. It's about how the French government and many ordinary French people went along with their occupiers and actively persecuted Jews and resisters. It's available to buy on Amazon, I believe, but should be hard to rent unless you live near a university library. On the same subject, historian Robert O. Paxton wrote a very compelling book about Vichy France, also published in 1971, also banned from being sold in France until Mitterand's presidency. That should be easier to find in a library than the documentary.

      I realize we were talking about Germany, but  collaboration, even enthusiastic collaboration, happened elsewhere too, even when the collaborators were betraying their own people. My godmother's uncle was in the Dutch Resistance. He was picked up by the Gestapo at the pharmacy in Amsterdam where he worked after a tip-off from one of his neighbours (also Dutch, not German). One of his colleagues at the pharmacy called his house as soon as he'd been arrested and told his wife to take their baby son and leave the house immediately. She went underground and his Resistance cell smuggled her and the baby to England. Why did the colleague call, and why did the cell work so hard to keep her and the baby out of sight? If an interrogation subject wouldnt' cooperate, the Gestapo might pick up their family, in hopes that someone who wouldn't break under torture would break if their loved ones were tortured in front of them.

      There was a huge infrastructure of ordinary people in Germany who helped carry out out Hitler's commands, either by actively participating or by not caring, and a smaller but equally obedient infrastructure in the occupied countries who did the same for the occupiers.  

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