Samstag, 26. Mai 2012


Josh and I had an extended and deep conversation with Ellen, our housemom, over Buchenwald the night we returned from our visit. Buchenwald was a strong experience and one that will stay with me, and all of us, for an extremely long time. The actions that the Nazis, and mainly SS, committed were atrocious and more notorious than outsiders to the country were led to believe.
Gate of Buchenwald. Translated as "To each his own."
Photography by April Magneson
The surrounding area of Weimar, in very close proximity to Buchenwald, let American GIs and other Germans believe that they had no or very little idea of what was happening in the woods outside Weimar. After Buchenwald was liberated, the community members of Weimar were ordered by the American Army to walk through Buchenwald and witness the horrors that the SS committed. No matter the knowledge the members of Weimar had, no one had the imagination to think of the atrocities at Buchenwald. This leads to one wondering how much guilt the community members of Weimar had. The same can be asked of the whole German population at the end of, and even during, the war.
As we talked with Ellen, she told us of how she and the vast majority of the Germans have no guilt over World War II or the events and actions committed by the Nazis. Nor should they. It is a history long enough ago that the generation during the Third Reich era is steadily withering away. The groups in power in the Bundestag are filled with leaders and members who have no experience during the late ‘30s and early ‘40s. However, that era is a history that still shadows the perceptions of citizens in other countries.
The nations of the world and its 7 billion inhabitants can no longer hold Germany’s past and Nazi history above the progressive and transparent government that is the current German state, just as the world has not held our bloody chapter with the Native Americans over our government and reputation for over a century. The world must remember its part (the indecisiveness, the tolerance, the Stand-by-as-the-world-burns Doctrine), as well as the previous German government’s part, in order to maintain peace and recognize the distinct signs and acts that lead to a neo-Third Reich era.
Events that are current would lead one to believe that we have already reached the neo-Third Reich era in a modern way; in a way that’s more globalized, transparent, and with the same view of idleness and indifference. After the neo-Third Reich era, will the world still be blaming the actors, or will the world start sharing blame to the ones who watched comfortably from the box?
-Zach Sommers

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