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Nazi Hunters...


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Not sure if this is the proper place for this, it's not really a rant, but it's also not really a general theological issue, if it needs to be moved, please do...

 

Anyway, yesterday I was reading the paper with a colleague and he happened to come across an article about Nazi hunters finding some old Nazis in Brazil. He made a quick comment that he doesn't agree with still hunting Nazi's, and I asked why. His response was that if they were a high ranking person, then yes, hunt them and get them, but if they were just a soldier, they were following orders and should be left alone.

 

I find this position shocking (and a bit frightening). He said that if they did not follow orders, they would have been killed. I responded that the Nazi's could not have done what they did if they army didn't cooperate. What would they have done, killed their whole army? My point was that if these people had a backbone and a conscious, they would have defected, like many people did (I even know a German woman whose family came here because of Hitler). Following orders is no excuse to kill innocent people, even if it is to save your own life. In my opinion, the only justification to kill another human is if that human is specifically going to kill you. (*EDIT* I'm actually not too sure how I feel about Capitol Punishment, so this may not be a completely accurate statement.) Killing innocents to save your own hide is not a justification.

 

Everyone else in the room seemed to agree with me, but most of them are Jewish. Just wondering what the general consensus is in here about what to do about Nazi's that are still alive and hiding...

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Although not a perfect book, read Hitler's Willing Executioners. It shows that soldiers had plenty of choice to turn down "special actions", were often not even the SS or idealogically trained any more than the rest of the populous. In fact, many of the police battalions used in mass killings were comprised of older or unhelathy men, unfit for regular frontline service.

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Thanks for the suggestion! The book is on its way...

Another book you may find of interest is The Nazi Doctors by Robert Jay Lifton. He cites some examples of doctors/medical staff refusing to participate in killings. Some would even get promotions in another assignment after. The trick seemed to be for these doctors to refuse to do it because you felt incapable of it or not competent in doing the task, rather than disagreeing with the policy itself. An intersting note in that book is that the program to sterilize or kill the disabled and mentally ill in Germany was lauded to some degree by American doctors who complained that the US was far behind the Germans in that matter.

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Who cares? If they're not dead from old age yet, they will be in a year or two. Better they spend their energy stopping genocide that is taking place in various places today than tracking down old men trying to met out justice that doesn't mean anything anyway. This kind of idealism is silly to me. Pragmatically it's silly and pragmatically, they have already escaped justice.

 

My guess is this is just a good way for someone to build a foundation to raise money and jerk others around seeking contributions. Again, better the contribute their money to a cause that will actually change something.

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My point in posting this thread though is not to discuss whether it is practical to hunt them, I was shocked that apparently my co-worker would kill me or anyone else if his life was threatened if he did not. His position was not that is is impractical to hunt them, it was that they should not be held accountable because they were "only following orders".

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Why stop with Nazi's?

 

Go after Christians, Catholics, Islam and any other group that has done horrific things to the human race. Start with me, I used to be an Xtian (as a child).

 

The fact that all the old Nazi's may soon be gone don't mean that the idea will go away (like neo Nazi's).

 

I haven't found a way to create peace in the world and doubt I ever will,,,,,, but it's a nice thought. ;)

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It's a tricky subject though, because there are experiments showing that about 70% of the population actually would go to the extent of killing other people, even innocent, if they were forced. The Stanford Prison experiment shows how power and authority corrupt people, and Doc Zimbardo has written books about this. But the strongest evidence for how people can be manipulated into evil acts are shown in the famous Milgram's experiment. So it's not so easy to say, they were all evil and that's the reason why they acted evil, but rather that human nature is easily manipulated. It's not about that they are completely out of guilt, but it's hard to draw the line where the guilt lies exactly.

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Everyone else in the room seemed to agree with me, but most of them are Jewish. Just wondering what the general consensus is in here about what to do about Nazi's that are still alive and hiding...

 

:scratch:

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It's a tricky subject though, because there are experiments showing that about 70% of the population actually would go to the extent of killing other people, even innocent, if they were forced. The Stanford Prison experiment shows how power and authority corrupt people, and Doc Zimbardo has written books about this. But the strongest evidence for how people can be manipulated into evil acts are shown in the famous Milgram's experiment. So it's not so easy to say, they were all evil and that's the reason why they acted evil, but rather that human nature is easily manipulated. It's not about that they are completely out of guilt, but it's hard to draw the line where the guilt lies exactly.

 

I agree

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The fact that all the old Nazi's may soon be gone don't mean that the idea will go away (like neo Nazi's).

 

I think there are some of Hitler's extended family left?

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Guest Marty
Everyone else in the room seemed to agree with me, but most of them are Jewish. Just wondering what the general consensus is in here about what to do about Nazi's that are still alive and hiding...

 

:scratch:

 

Are you saying that only Jews are horrified at what the Nazi's did? Of course out of anyone they should be the most interested in "getting" the Nazi's, but I posted here exactly because of the bias that was in the room last night. I can't help but think your chin scratching is a subtle way of saying that only Jews care about what the Nazi's did.

 

Keep in mind the discussion last night was NOT should we still hunt the Nazis, but rather, should the low-level soldiers be given a pass for killing innocent people because they were following orders.

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The fact that all the old Nazi's may soon be gone don't mean that the idea will go away (like neo Nazi's).

 

I think there are some of Hitler's extended family left?

 

I can't say that Hitler's extended family are still alive (I don't know) and if they were, would they all be teaching Nazi ideology?

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The fact that all the old Nazi's may soon be gone don't mean that the idea will go away (like neo Nazi's).

 

I think there are some of Hitler's extended family left?

 

I watched a show about this awhile back. Apparently he does have some siblings and/or extended family left, and they have all decided to not have children to end the family lineage. They are basically in hiding, they have changed their names, and just want to fade away. Apparently mental illness runs in Hitler's bloodline, and I think they want to stop it from moving into the future.

 

And I think I kinda had 2 purposes in writing this thread. In the forefront of my mind, I wanted to discuss how people will willingly kill innocent people to save themselves. But in re-reading my OP, I realize I wrote:

 

Just wondering what the general consensus is in here about what to do about Nazi's that are still alive and hiding...

 

Which wasn't really why I started the thread, but I wrote it, so I guess subconciously I'm interested in what others think about hunting them down. Personally, I agree with the position that it is too late, and a waste of resources that could be better used in current problems.

 

Han, thank you for the info, I will look into that a bit more. That is what I am interested in discussing. Sorry if I mis-wrote in my OP. It was still rather early when I logged on here... :shrug:

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Are you saying that only Jews are horrified at what the Nazi's did? Of course out of anyone they should be the most interested in "getting" the Nazi's, but I posted here exactly because of the bias that was in the room last night. I can't help but think your chin scratching is a subtle way of saying that only Jews care about what the Nazi's did.

 

I assumed the guy was Jewish? Thought it was a little odd that a Jew would disagree with it. Anyway, who are these Nazi hunters? Bounty hunters? Public officials? What are they?

 

He made a quick comment that he doesn't agree with still hunting Nazi's, and I asked why.
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And I think I kinda had 2 purposes in writing this thread. In the forefront of my mind, I wanted to discuss how people will willingly kill innocent people to save themselves. But in re-reading my OP, I realize I wrote:

 

Just wondering what the general consensus is in here about what to do about Nazi's that are still alive and hiding...

 

Which wasn't really why I started the thread, but I wrote it, so I guess subconciously I'm interested in what others think about hunting them down. Personally, I agree with the position that it is too late, and a waste of resources that could be better used in current problems.

 

I don't think anyone should be killed innocently, but if they are practicing Nazi's that are a threat, or whatever; then I think the authorities, if possible should deal with it.

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Guest Marty
Are you saying that only Jews are horrified at what the Nazi's did? Of course out of anyone they should be the most interested in "getting" the Nazi's, but I posted here exactly because of the bias that was in the room last night. I can't help but think your chin scratching is a subtle way of saying that only Jews care about what the Nazi's did.

 

I assumed the guy was Jewish? Thought it was a little odd that a Jew would disagree with it. Anyway, who are these Nazi hunters? Bounty hunters? Public officials? What are they?

 

He made a quick comment that he doesn't agree with still hunting Nazi's, and I asked why.

 

Oh, OK, no, they guy reading the article is not Jewish, but others in the room that overheard our discussion are Jewish, and agreed with me that "following orders" is not a justification for killing innocent people, and they should be held accountable. Sorry I misunderstood.

 

And Nazi hunters are mostly holocaust survivors who find Nazi prison guards and bring them to trial.

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And I think I kinda had 2 purposes in writing this thread. In the forefront of my mind, I wanted to discuss how people will willingly kill innocent people to save themselves. But in re-reading my OP, I realize I wrote:

 

Just wondering what the general consensus is in here about what to do about Nazi's that are still alive and hiding...

 

Which wasn't really why I started the thread, but I wrote it, so I guess subconciously I'm interested in what others think about hunting them down. Personally, I agree with the position that it is too late, and a waste of resources that could be better used in current problems.

 

I don't think anyone should be killed innocently, but if they are practicing Nazi's that are a threat, or whatever; then I think the authorities, if possible should deal with it.

 

I think you are misunderstanding the discussion I had.

 

A coworker of mine said that old Nazi's should be left alone because they were just following orders from the really bad Nazi superiors. I had said that is no excuse, that killing an innocent third party just to save yourself from being killed by your superiors shows a huge lack of moral character and these people do not deserve any less punishment that Mengele or any other Nazi. The Jews in the room agreed with me, and we moved on. But I can't stop thinking about the fact that my coworker thinks killing innocent people to save his own life is OK. IOW, if some crazy guy walked into the theatre, put a gun to his head, and told him he would kill him if he didn't kill me first, my coworker would kill me without much of a second thought.

 

That is what has been bothering me about the discussion.

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Holy shit, I just realized that this discussion is a very good metaphor for the xtian salvation plan!! i.e. Having an innocent third party killed in order to save yourself from torture, punnishment and/or death.

:ohmy:

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Han, thank you for the info, I will look into that a bit more. That is what I am interested in discussing. Sorry if I mis-wrote in my OP. It was still rather early when I logged on here... :shrug:

No problem. The topic is rather interesting because it is a very difficult one. How much guilt does a person carry for a deed he did? We have on one side the "twinkee defense" group who blames games for teenagers going on a shooting rampage, but then we have WWII Nazi survivors who are blamed all the way down to secretaries, foot soldiers, and paper pushers for what Hitler did. So which is it? Do people do bad things because the environment in form of games, TV, media, books, pressure, makes them? Or is it the opposite, that we, the grassroots are evil individuals and force the government to act on our evil expressions? Not easy puzzle. I think the obvious answer is: all of it. We're not just slaves to pressure, and we're not just free enough to always act the way we wish. There's a stasis point in between, and we might have to consider that point is different between people, and in different contexts.

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My point in posting this thread though is not to discuss whether it is practical to hunt them, I was shocked that apparently my co-worker would kill me or anyone else if his life was threatened if he did not. His position was not that is is impractical to hunt them, it was that they should not be held accountable because they were "only following orders".

 

Most people would. A small handful (of free thinkers IMO) left the country before it started. A small handful joined the resistance. The rest went along like the sheep people are.

 

In Russia Stalin killed 1/3 of the country. The rest sat idly by while their neighbors and family members were shipped off to die in work camps for such high crimes as writing poetry. There were stories that neighbors would call the NKDV on their neighbors making up stories about them to get them shipped off just because their baby kept them awake crying at night. The stories were horrendous and they tell us a lot about who people really are.

 

I was told by a Russian friend of mine who is an academic that Stalin had a theory: Take care of the 10% of the population who asks questions and the rest will do whatever you say.

 

It's for this reason that pure democracy is a very bad idea. There has to be a way to protect against a tyrannical majority, otherwise you end up with a situation as bad or worse than any system of despotism.

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The topic is rather interesting because it is a very difficult one. How much guilt does a person carry for a deed he did? We have on one side the "twinkee defense" group who blames games for teenagers going on a shooting rampage,

 

Hans, Am I the twinkee defense group? :grin:

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but then we have WWII Nazi survivors who are blamed all the way down to secretaries, foot soldiers, and paper pushers for what Hitler did.

 

From what I understood, Hitler's followers, workers didn't think much of him? I thought somewhere it said they all lite cigarettes up when he shot himself, because he was anti cigarettes.

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Do people do bad things because the environment in form of games, TV, media, books, pressure, makes them? Or is it the opposite, that we, the grassroots are evil individuals and force the government to act on our evil expressions? Not easy puzzle. I think the obvious answer is: all of it. We're not just slaves to pressure, and we're not just free enough to always act the way we wish. There's a stasis point in between, and we might have to consider that point is different between people, and in different contexts.

 

I think it's all in the environment, the odds that is of someone 'doing evil'. If one is a monk, secluded to a monastery, then the odds of them going on a killing spree is about slim to nothing, whereas different environments provide different approaches. Las Vegas, is someone more or less likely to gamble if they live there? Gang areas, schools; is someone more or less likely to be in a gang if they are surrounded by that?

 

The answers could be yes, or no to these. One may say yes because this behavior flourishes here, yet some may say that there are certain ones that will avoid all these surroundings, going on to not adapt into that environment. But, odds are, there will be different behaviors by the environment.

 

Here's a good personal example. Where I came from, if you talk junk to someone, you may get shot. Where I live now, everyone fights, and talks junk; but aren't 'looking' to kill, as where I came from. Make sense?

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It's for this reason that pure democracy is a very bad idea. There has to be a way to protect against a tyrannical majority, otherwise you end up with a situation as bad or worse than any system of despotism.

 

I completely agree, and I think this is a problem in America. Most people think this is a democracy, and that the mob opinion must rule all. Most people are too stupid to govern themselves; isn't that why the Founding Fathers put the electoral college into the voting process? Wasn't it supposed to curb the influence of ignorant, non-educated farmers, etc in elections?

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