23 Jul. 2007

What Have We Become?

And at that moment I actually realized ... that it might have been possible to get to know things.
- Traudl Junge, Adolf Hitler's secretary.
That quote comes from Part 1 of an essay by Jacob G. Hornberger, "Why Germans Supported Hitler". Nowadays, of course, there is even less excuse for not informing oneself about the reality being manufactured by our governments and media.
Keep in mind that while Hitler and his cohorts were harassing, abusing, and periodically arresting German Jews as the 1930s progressed, culminating in Kristallnacht, the “night of the broken glass,” when tens of thousands of Jews were beaten and taken to concentration camps, it was not exactly the type of thing that aroused major moral outrage among U.S. officials, many of whom themselves had a strong sense of anti-Semitism.

For example, when Hitler offered to let German Jews leave Germany, the U.S. government used immigration controls to keep them from immigrating here. In fact, as Arthur D. Morse pointed out in his book While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American Apathy, five days after Kristallnacht, which occurred in November 1938, at a White House press conference, a reporter asked Roosevelt, “Would you recommend a relaxation of our immigration restrictions so that the Jewish refugees could be received in this country?” The president replied, “This is not in contemplation. We have the quota system.”

Let’s also not forget the infamous 1939 (i.e., after Kristallnacht) “voyage of the damned,” in which U.S. officials refused to permit German Jews to disembark at Miami Harbor from the German ship the SS St. Louis, knowing that they would be returned to Hitler’s clutches in Nazi Germany.
Today our governments turn away boatloads of refugees, and ignore the bloody massacre of a million Iraqis. And we, who say nothing, who do nothing, who nod in silent approval, are complicit in these crimes.