Ethics in an Age of Terror and Genocide: Identity and Moral Choice

By Kristen Renwick Monroe | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
Beatrix: Bystander

Q. Did you know about the concentration camps during the war? Yes.

Q. Did you know that the Jews were being gassed?

Yes. I can’t tell you who told this, but my husband heard a lot when he

worked in the hospitals.

Q. How did you react to something like that?

You couldn’t do anything.

Q. There was nothing you could do.

No. No … You could not do anything.

Spring 1991

I am the cousin of Tony and I have stayed a lot with his parents when my mother died. My mother died when I was thirteen years old. I was born in 1913—here, just two houses away—in Rotterdam. I am looking at the house as we speak.

I’ve been from one school to another. I first went to the gymnasium, and at a time when it was strange that a girl went to the gymnasium, which were then usually only for boys. Then my mother died and I went to school in Brussels, a boarding school. That was because the mother of Tony knew it was a very good school. I made acquaintance with a Norwegian girl. She spoke a little Dutch and so she was allowed to come to my home and I was allowed to go to Norway. We went with our ship to Bergen. I think it is a beautiful country.

Oh, I remember everything of my youth. My father liked very much sports, cricket and tennis. My mother was always at home. She was always making clothing. She did everything, including the most beautiful handwork. It was very beautiful. But she died very early at the time. I think she was operated on for gall bladder problems. In America you had medicine that could make the blood coagulate but then she got a little clot and died.

I was not the only child since I had a brother who was seven or eight years older, but he didn’t live anymore at home much after that. He married very young; when I was thirteen, he was about twenty, and he was at home. My mother was

-92-

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Ethics in an Age of Terror and Genocide: Identity and Moral Choice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Part 1- The Puzzle 1
  • Chapter 1- Introduction 3
  • Chapter 2- The Holocaust and Genocide 9
  • Part 2- A Study in Contrasts 32
  • Chapter 3- Tony- Rescuer 35
  • Chapter 4- Beatrix- Bystander 92
  • Chapter 5- Kurt- Soldier for the Nazis 114
  • Chapter 6- Fritz- Nazi Propagandist 138
  • Chapter 7- Florentine- Unrepentant Political Nazi 160
  • Part 3- Cracking the Code 187
  • Chapter 8- The Political Psychology of Genocide 189
  • Chapter 9- A Theory of Moral Choice 248
  • Conclusion the Psychology of Difference 301
  • Methodological Afterword 321
  • Appendix A 323
  • Appendix B Glossary of Terms and Central Concepts 347
  • Notes 353
  • References 405
  • Index 433
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