THE ENTHUSIASTS OF DEATH
Elie Wiesel, a survivor of Auschwitz, writes:
This, this was the thing I had wanted to understand ever since the war. Nothing else. How a human being can remain indifferent. The executioners I understood; also the victims, though with more difficulty. For the others, all the others, those who were neither for nor against, those who sprawled in passive patience, those who told themselves, "The storm will blow over and everything will be normal again," those who thought themselves above the battle, those who were permanently and merely spectators--all those were closed to me, incomprehensible.1
The argument of indifference is vastly overstated. What Wiesel and others call indifference was more than acquiescence. It was a willed desire, throughout the German population, for the elimination and extermination of persons of the Jewish race.
What appeared to be indifference, patience, spectatorship above the fray, was not at all silent protest or passive acceptance of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, but an active embracing of actions to rid the Kultur and nation of what was psychologically experienced as a racial infection. Arguments that the German populace was ignorant of or