Friday, June 28, 2013

Good Germans

This one's almost certainly from Germany, after World War 2.  There's an Agfa watermark on the back of the print that dates from the mid forties through the fifties.  Too, look at the background, and see what appears to be the bombed out ruins of a building.

I've never been a big believer in the idea of blaming children for the sins of their parents.  Any German that was born after the mid thirties has no responsibility for what happened during the war.  Even if a German child joined the Hitler Youth or parroted the party line of their elders, well I figure they were too young to understand their actions.

But when I see pictures of German adults, taken after the war, I always wonder, what was their responsibility.  Did they break windows on Kristallnacht? Did they burn books? Paint yellow stars on buildings?  Did they rally to the Nazi cause?  At least some of the people in this photo must have.  And how did they live with themselves after the war?  Were they true believers whose only regret was loosing?  Or did they embrace the German myth: our country was taken over by a handful of fanatics and we had to obey orders to survive?  I'm going to recommend a book.  Hitler's Willing Executioners by Daniel Goldhagen.  

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