Dacau

Posted By: Rocker Ute
Date: Friday 9 November 2018, at 09:12 am
Recommended by 16 user(s)

In college I was able to land a job with HBO sports at Wimbledon with two friends of mine. After spending about 6 weeks in London we toured through Europe on some of the money we made for another week or two. One of the places we spent a day was Dacau Germany, home to a Nazi concentration camp. We had heard they had turned the camp into a Holocaust museum and it was a must see.

This was before smart phones and so getting around involved some maps and books and a lot of asking around. When we got to town and asked about the camp the locals would say things like, "This is a beautiful city, you don't want to see that." But eventually we got directions to the place.

In my mind I had pictured the camp as being far out of the way, away from prying eyes (kind of like Topaz Mtn here in Utah). But to our surprise, the camp was right in town on a major thoroughfare that many of the towns residents walked to go to work each day. It wasn't surrounded by tall walls to conceal what was happening, but rather imposing chain link fences and barbed wire any citizen could easily see through.

The museum was amazing. One of the most difficult and sobering things I have ever witnessed. It forever changed my life.

But perhaps one of the more troubling and puzzling things for me was how it was possible. How could that all happen right in the public eye? The citizens could see the Jewish people held there turn into walking skeletons from starvation and disease. Surely the entire town wasn't evil, was it?

Research back home helped me learn a bit how they were able to get good people to stand by and do nothing. Long before any of this they began to dehumanize the Jews and call them an enemy of the nation. They were characterized as the source of many of the country's problems and certainly their economic woes. It was subtle at first and outright blatant at its height.

Further, fear tactics caused people to be silent out of fear of retaliation. Patriotism was a tool. And honestly, a portion of it was because those things were not happening to them, so it wasn't their problem. Another element was a belief that their government was acting in their best interests.

I see a lot of that sort of thing today, mostly in its infancy but these sort of hateful elements that could be used as a foundation for justifications of atrocities in the future. I'm reluctant to compare people to Nazis, but it has to start somewhere and we should always be on guard and not tolerate it in any form. Evil rarely comes in a raging storm, but comes subtly in.

So are people overeacting to Trump's hateful rhetoric? I honestly don't think it is possible. But I also don't think that fighting hate with hate works. I don't think fighting stereotypes and generalizations with the same works either.

But the sins of Dacau remain a stain on the people there to this day, a shame that comes from good people ultimately doing nothing when the evidence was in front of their eyes. Something to consider.

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