Monday, April 17, 2006

The anti-heroism of passive resistance to the Holocaust

French gendarmes sent 4000 children under age 12 to die at Auschwitz -- apparently the Germans didn't even particularly request them. The French have as much unexamined history as we Americans have (Germans have been obliged to examine their history more closely).

No great surprise there, simply another instance of the reeking evil that infests humanity. This is more novel:
France during the second world war | Not a good time to be hungry |

... What is remarkable, though, as Mr Vinen points out in this eminently balanced book, is that nearly 80% of the Jews in France survived the war. Hundreds of thousands of shopkeepers, postmen, priests and petty bureaucrats preferred turning a blind eye when there was a new face in town rather than alerting German authorities. Faint praise, perhaps, but this passive resistance helped save over a quarter of a million lives.
This is not heroism, but it is a sort of goodness. Many people would have to choose the path of least activity for it to work. I wonder too, how often some occupying German would decline to follow-up on the occasional report from the hinterland...

We must always remember. It could certainly happen here.

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