Monday, March 21, 2016

Primo Levi's Heartbreaking, Heroic Answers to the Most Common Questions He Was Asked About "Survival in Auschwitz"


"And yet varied sources of information were available to most Germans. Knowing and making things known was one way of keeping one’s distance from Nazism. But most Germans didn’t know because they didn’t want to know. Because, indeed, they wanted not to know. It is certainly true that the German people, as a whole, did not even try to resist. In Hitler’s Germany a particular code was widespread—those who knew did not talk; those who did not know did not ask questions; those who did ask questions received no answers. Shutting his mouth, his eyes, and his ears, the typical German citizen built for himself the illusion of not knowing, hence of not being an accomplice to the things taking place in front of his very door...

"... Everybody must know, or remember, that Hitler and Mussolini, when they spoke in public, were believed, applauded, admired, adored like gods. They were “charismatic leaders”; they possessed a secret power of seduction that did not proceed from the credibility or the soundness of the things they said, but from the suggestive way in which they said them. And we must remember that their faithful followers, among them the diligent executors of inhuman orders, were not born torturers, were not (with a few exceptions) monsters: they were ordinary men. Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous; more dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions."


Here is also a book the revolutionized my outlook of social life:
The Mass Psychology of Fascism

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