Lessons are ALL life is precious
and that God is ultimatly in control
and that the wicked will one day
be judged and all things will
work together for good
and help stregnthen people
when heartache comes.
"The Holocaust is an unparalleled example of power run wild, which is to say that once evil on this scale picks up enough momentum, once it establishes itself in a system of functioning structures, it cannot – after a certain crucial point – be stopped by any counter force within itself. The greater the concentration of power, the greater the paranoia it generates about its need to destroy everything outside itself. The worst thing that can be said of vast power is not that it inevitably corrupts its agents, but that after some point its deployment becomes greater than the will of the men who serve it. What can be destroyed, will be destroyed – a lesson the Holocaust confirms and which we, with our B-52's and nuclear submarines, our talk of ‘death yields’ and ‘overkill,’ might wish to remember."
-- Terrence Des Pres, introduction to Jean-Francois Steiner, "Treblinka," New York: New American Library, 1979, p. xii
"What happened was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to be governed by surprise, to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believe that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security.
"The crises and reforms (real reforms too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.
"To live in the process is absolutely not to notice it -- please try to believe me -- unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted.'
"Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next, and the next. You wait for one shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow.
"Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven't done (for that was all that was required of most of us: that we did nothing) ... You remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised beyond repair."
[An anonymous German college professor describing the coming of fascism. From 'They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1939-1945', by Milton Mayer, a stunning and chilling account of ordinary people in extraordinary times.]
"In Germany, the Nazis first came for the communists, and I did not speak up, because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak up, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak up, because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I did not speak up, because I was not a Catholic. Then they came for me... and by that time, there was no one to speak up for anyone."
-- Martin Niemoeller, Pastor, German Evangelical (Lutheran) Church (1892-1984)
"The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant and so devastating that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated. If we cannot eliminate the causes and prevent the repetition of these barbaric events, it is not an irresponsible prophecy to say that this twentieth century may yet succeed in bringing the doom of civilization."
-- Justice Robert Jackson, U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Chief Prosecutor at International Military Tribunal (IMT), Nuremberg, Germany, November 1945
"If civilization is in danger today, if it is fated to decline and perish, it will do so with the enthusiastic assistance of credulous people. They seem to me more dangerous than the most brazen leaders, because everything is done with their cooperation. ....
"How pleasant it is, after all: to treat politics of whatever kind with utter contempt, to dance, to love, to drink and sleep and breathe. To live. God give you strength!
"The only thing is that I can see from my little window that while some people are loving and sleeping, others are busy making handcuffs for them. Why? That's the question. There are so many would-be benefactors in the world. And they are all determined to shower benefits on the whole world. Nothing less. And for this purpose very little is needed: simply that the world should fit into the design which is taking shape God knows how in their feeble, complex-tortured minds.
"They do not scorn politics; they are makers of policy. They make their own cudgel and then bring it down on other people's heads and in this manner they put their politics into practice.
"Careful, my friends!
"On the basis of my own and other people's experience and of experience generally, on the basis of much thinking and searching, worry and calculation, I say to you: THE PERSON WHO TODAY IGNORES POLITICS WILL REGRET IT.
"I did not say I liked politics. I hate them. I scorn them. I do not call upon you to like them or even respect them. I am simply telling you: DON'T IGNORE THEM."
-- A. Anatoli Kuznetsov, "Babi Yar" (the great Russian novel about World War II)
Kuznetsov was a boy when the Germans occupied Kiev. The novel was banned in the Soviet Union for many years (in its uncensored form) since it was too blunt. Babi Yar is the place where the Nazis shot the Jews of Kiev, and then shot tens of thousands of non-Jews.