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Thu Jan 29, 2015, 05:49 AM

To follow up on Holocaust Remembrance Day,

I recommend the film, The Decent One.

It is about Himmler and is based on the papers and letters that were found in his home by the Allied soldiers who stayed there after the war.

It is quite compelling.

One of the prime architects of the brutal Nazi regime, Gestapo commander Heinrich Himmler was also a dedicated family man, as this documentary illustrates with items from a newly discovered cache of his personal diaries, correspondence and photos.


Reviews are mixed. I think it is very difficult for people to comprehend the banality of cruelty in a fascist society. Cruelty is viewed as virtue. It's hard to reconcile how a man who loves his children can be responsible for so many deaths, such terror.

Today it seems to me that it is particularly important that we be aware of that banality of cruelty. It is so easy for a society to justify extremism and revenge. In particular, we need to consider the torture by our own governmental agencies in the light of this film.

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Reply To follow up on Holocaust Remembrance Day, (Original post)
JDPriestly Jan 2015 OP
potone Jan 2015 #1
JDPriestly Jan 2015 #2
oberliner Jan 2015 #3

Response to JDPriestly (Original post)

Thu Jan 29, 2015, 06:47 AM

1. I saw the film recently and I agree.

The disconnect between the family man and the willing mass murderer was mind-boggling. He wrote to his family as if he were just an over-worked bureaucrat who was valiantly trying to match--and exceed!!--the expectations of his superiors.

I think that you are right about the banality of cruelty. But it extends beyond the issue of torture by government officials to policies that constantly penalize the poor and anyone who is struggling, as is increasingly the case in the US.

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Response to potone (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 29, 2015, 07:20 AM

2. Thanks. So true.

And so often, we do not realize when we ourselves begin to cross the line into banal indifference to the suffering of someone else.

We may not be cruel. We may not begin to approach the cruelty of the NAZIs. But we easily judge the cruelty of others and tend to find our own, granted much less harmful cruelty completely acceptable. In fact, we all need to be careful about how we treat and view others at all times. We judge so easily without knowing all the facts.

There is no justification for hating others, especially if the hate is based on their nationality or race or religious affiliation. You can disagree with them. But hatred brings us into dangerous territory.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 29, 2015, 09:32 AM

3. "There is no justification for hating others"


Totally disagree. There is often a good deal of justification for hating others.

In this context, for instance, if more hate was directed at the leadership of Nazi Germany, perhaps more could have been done to stop the horror before it was too late.

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