How many had been exterminated? In the first shock of the discovery no one could even estimate. But it was clear as reports came in from all along the front that the total would be astronomical. As to who the victims were, that was only too obvious. They were, by the Third Reich’s definition, the “non-Aryans,” the “culture-tainting inferiors,” peoples of a dozen nations and of a dozen faiths, but predominately Jews. Among them were Poles, Frenchman, Czechs, Dutchmen, Norwegians, Russians, Germans. In history’s most diabolical mass murder, they had been slain in a variety of unnatural ways. Some were used as guinea pigs in laboratory experiments. Thousands were shot, poisoned, hanged or gassed, others were simply allowed to starve to death.
In the camp of Ohrdruf, overrun by the U.S. Third Army on April 12, General George S. Patton, one of the U.S. Army’s most hard-bitten officers, walked through the death houses, then turned away, his face wet with tears, and was uncontrollably ill. The next day Patton ordered the population of a nearby village, whose inhabitants claimed ignorance of the situation within the camp, to view it for themselves; those who hung back were escorted at rifle point. The following morning the mayor of the village and his wife hanged themselves.
(The Last Battle, Cornelius Ryan, 1966)
Jonah Goldberg, one of those “conservative” commentators who has long been hated far more by the right than the left, recently posted a column in response to the Jussie Smollett Hate Hoax (the latest of hundreds staged in recent years, each initially received with more breathless credulity by the “professional” media than the last and each more plummily explained away when the hoax is revealed) which begins:
Here’s something you might not know: In Nazi Germany, very few Jews staged bogus hate crimes against themselves.
By all means, read the rest. His take on the Smollett story is interesting in a stopped-clock, blind-squirrel sort of way. A reminder that we are where we are and are who we are because, in the process of dismantling all tradition, we’ve forgotten literally everything. We are a silly, absurdist, country where no one–especially the self-proclaimed “decent” people–even pretends to be horrified by the specter of the gas chamber or the dead baby anymore because we’ve accepted that horror itself is a thing of the past unless it can be blamed on somebody wearing a MAGA hat.
We’ve forgotten everything, even as we bring a future filled with the next round of rotting corpses and crematoriums for the living closer and closer by our ignorance.
Remember how it goes: there will be Tyranny.
Or there will be Chaos.
And then Tyranny.
And whichever path we choose, it will almost certainly begin from within.