Yes, I did. Like millions of other people, even I cried after watching pictures and reading excerpts about the Holocaust and the Second World War in school. But there is one small difference between the other criers and me. I wept partly because I was wrong.
(Victims of the Holocaust)
I discussed with my history teacher Stian Nordskog and many others about the Nuremberg trials. When I learnt about the trials, I disagreed with the fact that so many SS officials and soldiers were punished for their actions that were ethically wrong but juridically legal. The Nurmeberg Laws segregated the Jews from the population and abducted their human rights. They were all engraved with stars and placed in a common stall. Hundreds and thousands together, or even one by one, they were then slaughtered like cattle. They were shot, burnt, gassed, beaten and treated like dirt. No matter how hard I try to report the tortures or how detailed the sanctions against Jews are described, it would never be enough, and none of the spectators today could feel their pain.
Then we encounter my question in the first place:
Who is to blame? As we human beings know we always need someone to blame upon. Hence, the topic (Holocaust) in the first place.
Many would proclaim with rage that Hitler is to be adjudicated, and also the officials and generals. But what about the guards who followed orders form their superiors and seniors to cremate and kill millions of Jews, not to forget also the handicapped and homosexuals (actually everyone except the Arian race). Is it the thirteen year-old or twelve-year-old soldiers who were forced into the war, and brain washed from reality and sense and non-sense, to be blamed for their actions? These children were taught since the age of 6 or 7 to segregate the good (Arian) from the bad (Jews) in the society.
My history teacher told me that everyone had a choice to walk in or walk out of the Nazi party or to take part in any of the Nazi conductions. Lets imply the same statement to the 1930s. Should every white be sentence to prison for its comportment towards the black in the USA now in 2010? After so many years? It was after all “legal” to segregate the blacks from the white.
We wonder, “What would I do if I were there?” And then we often conclude saying, “I would have never done something like that. I would have rather died.” It is very ease for us to stand back and criticize the incidents in the past now that we are in a revolutionised time. I believe that nobody can ever say what they would do in someone else’s shoes, because they have never walked the path the other person has.
And then yes, I did cry after all. I realised something important that probably makes the human race outstand: guilt. Our feelings towards the human race, our so called “brothers and sisters” would mostly conquer any other feeling we possess. Many times we see examples of people abandoning their dearest pets just to save another stranger’s, human being’s, life. I think that our actions are often controlled by our guilt.
(German police tormenting a Jew in Poland)
The fact that the German soldiers treated their pets better than the captives in the concentration camps, raised my eyebrows. The fact that so many officials and soldiers had the heart to kill thousands of prisoners and “ordinary” people on the street, without even feeling the slightest guilt about it, broke my heart. The fact that it wasn’t guilt towards the people that controlled their actions, but the guilt towards der Führer, disgusted me. The fact that people let themselves brain wash and followed blindly what was told, made me shake my head. The fact that even after watching cruelty and death, suffering and cries, even true friends didn’t regret what they had done to their neighbours and friends, made me cry.
If I do not appreciate and tolerate the caste system in India today, who the hell am I to support the actions and sanctions towards the Jews during the 1940s?
Yes, I did. I did understand.