It is more difficult to undermine faith than knowledge, love succumbs to change less than to respect, hatred is more durable than aversion, and at all times the driving force of the most important changes in this world has been found less in a scientific knowledge animating the masses, but rather in a fanaticism dominating them and in a hysteria which drove them forward.
The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.
We have spoken out against inhuman slaughters perpetrated by the Nazis and the Communists. But will we speak out also against the inhuman slaughter in Indonesia, where over 100,000 alleged Communists have been not perpetrators, but victims?
I watched the sky as it turned from silver to grey to the colour of rain. Even the clouds tried to look the other way.
They claim there’s a rationale for the children, don’t they, sir?”
“Yes. Those babes in arms will grow up and want revenge on the Nazis in about 1963. I suppose the rationale for the women under forty-five is that they might be pregnant. And the rationale for the older women is while we’re at it.
There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity, maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews. I mean, there’s always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason. I mean, if you and I were in a line moving towards what we knew were gas chambers, I’d rather have a go at taking one of the guards with me; but they [the Jews] were always submissive.
A refusal on the part of psychiatrists and therapists to validate the horrors of their patients’ tortured past implies a refusal to take seriously the unconscious psychological mechanisms that individuals need to use to protect themselves from the unspeakable. Such a denial is, however, no longer ethical, for it is in the human capacity to dissociate that lies part of the secret of both childhood abuse and the horrors of the Nazi genocide, both forms of human violence so often carried out by ‘respectable’ men and women.
Self-preservation and determination meant she could get away with anything. As her law-abiding, conventionally minded daughter, I secretly envied her this. She was not the clinging-vine type, nor one who could coax sugar from a lemon. Hers was the frontal attack with no inhibitions. She told the Nazis you could not trust Hitler, and they let her go. In the days of chaperones, she hitch-hiked a ride on a French destroyer along the coast of Crete; ‘All quite proper, I had my cook with me,’ she explained.
The greatest miracle was that in the end I could actually feel pity for those men because they were so deluded: they thought they had power and really they had nothing. I will never forget it. And from that moment on I’ve never really hated anymore. It all turned around when I sat there thinking what poor empty souls they were.
I can tell you that events were incremental, that the unbelievable became the believable and, ultimately, the normal.