I just read My Grandad the Nazi on the BBC website, and found the reader comments very interesting. Most of them took a very human – and humane – view. One of forgiveness and acknowledgment that any of us could have been in the same situation.
It also reminded me of maybe the most important lesson of the story: Where and how do we support the unspeakable? What are we doing – right now – to support that which systematically harms life? What is it that I am taking part of, that I would rather not look at?
Here is what I submitted to the BBC website…
In reading the comments, I can see valid points in almost all of them – and how they add up to a larger picture.
(1) Yes, it could have been any of us, under the right (or rather, wrong) circumstances.
(2) Yes, we are always responsible for our own actions. We cannot blame it on orders, superiors or the system.
(3) Yes, this is in the past, but also very relevant to us today.
(4) And another point, which many of us would rather not look at. What is the current parallel? Is it how we are all active participants in an economic system that is gradually destroying the life-support system of future generations? Is it how we allow civil liberties and human rights to go by the wayside in the name of fighting terrorism? Where and how do we support the unspeakable, either passively or actively?