Musings —04.24.2015 07:29 AM—
“The capacity of the gas chambers and the capacity of the crematoria were quite limited. Someone said that 5,000 people were processed in 24 hours but I didn’t verify this. I didn’t know,” he said. “For the sake of order we waited until train 1 was entirely processed and finished.”
I have been following the prosecution of this SS Auschwitz guard closely. His blasé recitation of serial horrors isn’t noteworthy – he was indisputably a member of the Nazi killing machine, and his apparent indifference to genocide is almost predictable, notwithstanding his much-reported sophistry about “moral guilt.”
What I find surprising, instead, is the neutral – almost disinterested – tone that some reporters and editors have adopted in covering this trial. Here, then, are some truisms that I have referred to before, in a tautological trifecta:
- It is acceptable to take a position on notorious crimes.
- Notorious crimes like genocide and mass murder should be condemned.
- Condemning such notorious crimes doesn’t compromise one’s journalism, it enhances it.
The Holocaust, and the way in which it was carried out in places like Auschwitz, should not be reported on as mere allegations, as we would report on someone charged with shoplifting and appearing for the first time in provincial court. The Holocaust is no mere allegation. (Nor the Armenian genocide, which commenced 100 years ago today, and which gets referred to in similarly antiseptic reports.) By admitting he was there, facilitating genocide, Oskar Groening – though an old man, and no longer in uniform, and expressing regret – was a mass murderer like the rest of those bastards. And he deserved, and deserves, their fate.