Friday, May 07, 2010

Germany / Nazism / Sociology of Genocide

The Bureaucracy of Genocide
By Sean McLachlan, May 7, 2010
"The typical image of a Nazi is a jackbooted thug gunning down innocent people. While there were all too many killers like that in the Third Reich, the majority of Nazis were civilians. It takes a lot of people to run a government and an army, and many Nazis never personally killed anyone. They were educated, middle-class bureaucrats who loved their children, were kind to their neighbors, and spent their workday running one of the most brutal regimes the world has ever seen. A new museum in Berlin examines the role of these mild-mannered perpetrators of genocide. The Topography of Terror Documentation Center opens today, the day before the 65th anniversary of the Third Reich's surrender to Allied forces. The museum is built over the site of the former SS and Gestapo headquarters. Exhibits explain how the bureaucracy worked, planning oppression and genocide with the same meticulous care and red tape that other governments plan road expansion schemes and educational policy.
One of the most arresting exhibits is a wall covered with 7,000 index cards containing employee information. Sixteen of these stick out a bit, marking those employees who were brought to trial after the war. Of these, only three were convicted. The museum goes on to explain what happened to the rest of the 7,000. The vast majority of them simply faded back into civilian life, some even becoming prominent in the regimes of West and East Germany. [...]"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be constructive in your comments. - AJ