Today we were at Belzec and we asked ourselves, were the Nazis who murdered millions and millions of people monsters? The conclusion we came to was no, in our opinion they were just people. People who had relationships and friendships and who had laughs and loves. They were of course people who did monstrous things, but they were people nonetheless. We just want to point out that we not want to inspire sympathy for the perpetrators of the Holocaust, but to really learn from their crimes, we do need to fully understand them.
|Odilo Globocnik, director of Aktion Reihard (see Treblinka post for details)|
|Reinhard Heydrich, organiser of Final Solution and after whom, Aktion Reinhard was named|
As we said earlier we really wanted to think about the perpetrators and to humanise them. If we call them monsters then we justify what they did, because monsters are inherently bad but if we accept that they are people then we need to question their actions and try to understand how grown men coud bury babies alive. Once we accept that the Nazis were people we then need to question ourselves, we need to ask ourselves if we are just as capable of committing such monstrous acts. The answer might well be yes. So what makes us different from the Nazis?
In our (very humble) opinions, the difference is choice. The Nazis made choices. They chose to herd millions of people into gas chambers. They chose to shoot children into ditches. They chose to rip families apart and they chose to destroy people's lives. We now need to make choices. We can choose to be part of the story of prejudice, calling people names in the classroom, looking down on someone because they are different, we can choose to not care and to disregard people and their feelings and in our opinion the worst thing you can choose to do, is not think. You can choose not to think about the consequences of your actions. HOWEVER, you can choose life (that's a Trainspotting quote right there!). You can choose to think about your actions and what part you play in the lives of those around you. You can choose to think about how you treat people and you can choose not to be part of the story of prejudice.
Really, all that separates us from the Nazis is choice.