The ultimate judge of evil
Many of us are familiar with stories about the pathological irony of Nazi guards at the Death Camps who went home each evening to lavish love on their families after a not-very-pleasant day on the job. Then sharing the glories of Germany’s humanistic culture with their loved ones.
Apropos of such is a recent Washington Post story by Thomas Harding, revealing a secret by Brigitte Hoss, an 80-year-old resident of Northern Virginia. This she kept hidden from her friends and neighbors for 40 years. Her father was Rudolf Hoss, the designer and commandant of the Auschwitz Death Camp.
His daughter, fearful of reprisals, used her married name to conceal her identity. “There are a lot of Jewish people,” she says, “and they still hate the Germans. It never ends.”
I dare say this does not include Auschwitz survivor Eva Kor, nor most Jews 70 years after the Holocaust. These people surely recognize the cultural distinctions of a nation second to none. Most ironic is that Jews, before Nazism, were blessed by this unique culture and richly contributed to it as well. They had largely become assimilated. It was even said that “They had become better Germans than the Germans.”
Brigitte has only positive memories of her father. The latter was captured and executed by the Allies for his involvement in the murders of 1.1 million Jews in Auschwitz.
“He was the nicest man in the world,” she says.
She reminisced how he would play with her and read her fairy tales at the family’s luxurious villa outside the concentration camp. She says she never knew what was going on beyond the garden wall.
Despite overwhelming evidence, Harding writes, she refuses to accept that her father was a willing participant in the Final Solution.
“I’m sure he was sad inside. It is just a feeling. Sometimes he looked sad when he came back from work,” she says. “There must have been two sides to him. The one that I knew and then another.”
To put it mildly!
Hannah Arendt notably called the darker side something far more sinister within the soul, or soullessness, of German participants in the Holocaust: “the banality of evil.”
After a daily routine of shoving a goodly quota into the ovens or gas chambers, they went home to hugs and kisses for their children and a hearty family meal in the company of Beethoven, Brahms, Bach or Wagner.
Fast forward to the Supremest of All Courts and the Chiefest of All Chief Justices on Judgment Day.
Brigitte, at her father’s side, tearfully pleads the aforementioned testimony in behalf of her father, “the nicest man in the world.”
“Bring in the jurors,” commands His Eminence, the Supreme Judge, to the Angelic Bailiff.
1.1 million enter the spacious Celestial Courthouse.
The defendant and his daughter turn ashen.
[Rudolf Hoss was the commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp from May, 1940, to November, 1943. He joined the Nazi Party in 1922 and the SS in 1934. He was hanged in 1947 at the age of 46 after a trial in Warsaw.]
— Saul Rosenthal
Health facility was top notch
I am writing you about a nice place to stay.
I had a broken knee cap and my doctor sent me to Signature Health Care of Terre Haute in March of this year. Signature Health Care of Terre Haute, 3500 Maple Ave. I really like all the staff there. They seem to care about people.
I was there for three months and was well taken care of. I was having a lot of trouble with my cellular phone, so they went ahead and put a phone on the wall two doors down from my room to better benefit me. They were always coming to make sure I had enough to eat as well. If I wasn’t satisfied, the staff would bring me another plate of food. They also made sure I was bathed and clean.
— Norman R. Koch Jr.
The ultimate judge of evil
FLASHPOINT: Dealing with hunger requires less rhetoric, more action
In November, millions of families in Indiana and across the nation saw their Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits cut through a planned phase-out of a temporary increase in funding that originally took place during the 2009 recession.
READER FORUM: Dec. 8, 2013
• Diving in to pool project
• A timely review of food basics
• Name-calling shows sad state of our politics
• Republicans their own worst enemy
• Full attack on common sense
- Readers’ Forum: Dec. 6, 2013
READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 5, 2013
• Anarchy is in the ‘tea’ leaves
READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 3, 2013
• Prestige chosen over practicality
• Tea partiers love country, freedom
• Same old clowns
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 3, 2013
Prestige chosen over practicality
Tea partiers love country, freedom
Same old clowns
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 2, 2013
‘Ask not …’: Living by the words we speak
READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 1, 2013
The dangers of aggressive driving
Thanks to Lowe’s for great work
Another ‘Miracle’ set for Friday
Obama lies with malicious intent
Down the path to nowhere
Remembering to help needy
Jihadis, be careful what you wish for
Hanging on to people’s rights
No more trespassers thanks to mayor
READERS’ FORUM: Nov. 29, 2013
Cooperation helps enhance security
READERS’ FORUM: Nov. 28, 2013
Governor can put words into action
- Readers’ Forum: Nov. 27, 2013
READERS’ FORUM: Nov. 26, 2013
• Include Wea in Terre Haute’s ‘Walk of Fame’
• You can pardon a holiday turkey
• Rebuffed by Bennett
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 25, 2013
• Bosma wrong on marriage debate
• Savings Bank was key event sponsor
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 24, 2013
• Tech fails, but change positive
• Terre Haute Take care of your own trash, please
• What about the women?
• Another view of a physician’s life
• Could you follow these instructions?
• Just more lies from politicians
Readers’ Forum: November 23, 2013
Common sense or just nonsense?
Why all the air evacuations?
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 22, 2013
Nominations open for Polaris award
Frustrated by city’s response
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 21, 2013
• Bleeding green at West Vigo HS
• Fundraiser a great success
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 20, 2013
• More liberal shortsightedness
• Food no longer tried and true
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 19, 2013
• Candle lighting honors children
• Join the fun of Girl Scouts
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 18, 2013
Very pleased with child care center
Wrong directionon health care
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 17, 2013
What do you know about distracted driving?
Patriotism on display at vets museum
Here’s what’s governing nation
Bird’s legend the greatest gift of all
Mott misses boat on health care
Celebrating JA of Wabash Valley
- READERS' FORUM: Nov. 16, 2013
FLASHPOINT: A pledge to work together with respect, civility
Indiana’s students and schools have made great progress in recent years. According to the latest scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Indiana is improving at the second-fastest rate of any state in the country. We owe this progress to the hard work of our students, teachers and the parents and school reformers everywhere who have insisted that we hold ourselves to high standards.
- READERS' FORUM: Nov. 15, 2013
- READERS' FORUM: Nov. 13, 2013
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 12, 2013
• Wonderful walk on memory lane
• ‘Mini-Hitlers’ still plague world
• 'Amazing’ theater at Rose-Hulman
- READERS' FORUM: Nov. 10, 2013
FLASHPOINT: A common-sense Congress could strengthen our economy
My top priorities have always been to strengthen Indiana’s economy and to help create Hoosier jobs. We can all agree — Democrats and Republicans — that the recent government shutdown and the threat of failing to pay our nation’s bills were significant setbacks to this seemingly simple goal.
- READERS' FORUM: Nov. 9, 2013
- READERS' FORUM: Nov. 8, 2013
- More Letters Headlines
- FLASHPOINT: Dealing with hunger requires less rhetoric, more action