Here is a beautiful Fandanguillo by Joaquin Turina Perez, performed by Julian Bream. There should be accents on the "i's" but I have no idea how to do that on my computer.
She insisted that only good had any depth. Good can be radical; evil can never be radical, it can only be extreme, for it possesses neither depth nor any demonic dimension yet — and this is its horror! — it can spread like a fungus over the surface of the earth and lay waste the entire world. Evil comes from a failure to think. It defies thought for as soon as thought tries to engage itself with evil and examine the premises and principles from which it originates, it is frustrated because it finds nothing there. That is the banality of evil.
The Nazi Hunters by Andrew Nagorski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a truly fascinating account of a segment of history that gets less attention each year. I think a wonderful movie could be made of this book.
Nagorski starts with the end of WWII and begins with the rounding up of Nazi War criminals. He describes the lawyers, tribunes, and the victims. Last but not least, he describes the defendants and their atrocious acts of cruelty (not for the faint of heart) and their fate. He even gives a brief history of the hangman who served out justice to the defendants who were sentenced to death. Not all of them were.
Still, many Nazis got away. Some of this was because they tribunal judge decided that being a guard, or in some way serving in a concentration camp was not evidence of guilt. This was changed, years later, after most Nazis were dead, to guilt by association. If you were a part of the machine, you were still guilty.
It's interesting the excuses almost all of the criminals caught gave: They were merely following orders and in times of war, one cannot think or question. But that does not explain why some got such sadistic pleasure out of their job, not to mention that there are some things that transcend government orders. There is a higher moral order we must all answer to.
After the initial trials, interest waned in bringing war criminals to justice, mostly because the nations, especially Germany, but also the United States, wanted to put the past behind them. In the United States case, they had become embroiled in the Cold War and their focus had shifted.
But there were individuals that refused to give up the past until all perpetrators had been brought to justice. We learn about Simon Wiesenthal, a holocaust survivor and others who at first fought singlehandedly to bring former Nazis to justice. Nagorski does a nice job giving background information of the Nazi criminals and their hunters.
Much of the book runs like a high action movie. The hunt by the Israeli group, the Mossad, after Adolph Eichmann and the "Angel of Death", Josef Mengele keeps the reader in primed suspense. There are others too. Former Nazis running for offices in German Parliment, France, and also the United Nations.
Nagorski also recounts the efforts of Germany to create a gap in their history for their citizens who were born after the war. Thanks to some piercing documentaries made by a couple of German film makers in the seventies, German youth received a shock and awareness of, not only what happened in their country, but also that beloved relatives, grandparents, aunts, uncles, were a part of this notorious regime.
Hannah Arendt, while covering the Eichmann trial in Israel coined the term, "the banality of evil." She meant that "people who commit acts of evil are not always monsters, sometimes they are bureaucrats."
She asserted "that only good can be radical. Evil can never be radical; it can only be extreme."
"Evil can be extraordinary acts committed by otherwise unremarkable people."
Her articles for the New Yorker, which were later compiled into a book (that I just bought and will read soon), caused a lot of controversy among the Jews, who felt she was diminishing the evil work of Hitler and his regime. Arendt was herself a German-Jewish exile.
I think the thought that evil could become normal by average everyday citizens, makes people uncomfortable. But look at what is accepted in our own society. First it was abortion. Now in New York and Virginia, it's infanticide. And people stood up and clapped.
There are heartbreaking stories, one in particular of a Jewish man riding on a train in Germany, chatting amiably with his fellow passengers, everyone friendly. And then the train stops and soldiers take this man away and no one says a word.
My question is would that be any of us? Like watching the child in our school being bullied and we just stand and watch? I remember as I was entering a grocery store I saw a man screaming at his elderly mother. Two elderly woman passed me by. One said, "That's not right." And the other immediately said, "Yeah, but you can't do anything about it," and both walked into the store.
Isn't that most of us? Don't get involved? I did nothing to help the woman that day.
The book brings us almost up to date as to the accomplished work of these hunters and their untiring work to remind people of the past and that there is no statute of limitations on atrocities.
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