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Moral resistance to committing atrocities

Discussion in 'Concentration, Death Camps and Crimes Against Huma' started by harolds, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Some of you may have been following a discussion lwd and I have been having. I was making a point that resisting the urge to commit atrocities, even if ordered by those on high, constitutes high moral heroism. Therefore, this thread is to identify and recognize those that resisted orders and/or blind hatred to torture or kill and kept their honor clean. To start if off, I'm nominating German General Fritz Lindemann, commander of the 132nd Infantry division who kept his division from participating in any atrocities and was anti-Nazi. He was eventually implicated in the July 20th Plot and in trying to evade the Gestapo was shot and mortally wounded in September of 1944.
     
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  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    I think AGE plays a big part in this...it quite often the young who commit the atrocities and the young who follow...im a very different person now than when I was 20 (now 46) - Not surprisingly the dessenters from dodgy orders tend to be the older soldiers...
     
  3. harolds

    harolds Member

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    You may be right here. I've always thought that the most dangerous thing in the world is a teenager with a gun. They're still impulsive and don't think to long about the implications of their actions.
     
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Hey, I resemble that remark! :p
     
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  5. hyusu

    hyusu New Member

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    Prince Mikasa was known to have been appalled at the conduct he witnessed of Japanese troops in China and tried to publish a report on it during the war (which of course was censored). As an army officer he did his utmost to maintain discipline among his own troops and took a hard line against potential cruelty perpetrated by them.
     
  6. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    I completely agree. Older men with families especially.
     
  7. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Before we get too carried away extolling the virtues of older men with families, let's not forget that it was the older men (many with families) that planned, ordered and implemented the atrocities, and generally, this was widely accepted. It's the "pillars" of any society that should've acted: professors, priests, doctors, lawyers, industrialists.

    Which makes those brave German few who did resist and did struggle against the madness all the more remarkable.

    Wilhelm Adalbert Hosenfeld (2 May 1895 – 13 August 1952),
    He helped to hide or rescue several Polish people, including Jews, in Nazi-occupied Poland, and helped Polish-Jewish pianist and composer Władysław Szpilman to survive, hidden, in the ruins of Warsaw during the last months of 1944, an act which was portrayed in the 2002 film The Pianist. He was taken prisoner by the Red Army and died in Soviet captivity seven years later.
    In October 2007, Hosenfeld was posthumously honoured by the president of Poland Lech Kaczyński with a Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.
    In June 2009, Hosenfeld was posthumously recognized in Yad Vashem (Israel's official memorial to the victims of The Holocaust) as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.​


    Heinz Drossel (21 September 1916 – 28 April 2008),
    He saved Soviet prisoners from being executed and secretly released them to return to Soviet lines. While on leave in Berlin in 1942, he started covertly assisting Jews when he found a Jewish woman, Marianne Hirschfeld, about to leap from a bridge. Risking court-martial and execution, he sheltered her in his apartment before giving her money to find a safer place to stay. They married after the war.
    He was named as one of the Righteous Among the Nations in 2000.​


    Karl Plagge (10 July 1897 - 19 June 1957)​

    Albert Battel (21 January 1891 – 1952)​
     
  8. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Nor can you discount German Police Battalions who were at the heart of the early atrocities early in the East.
     
  9. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    A Connecticut Yankee, Hiram Bingham, defied Official State Department policy from his Consulate post in Marseilles.
    It is widely believed that he was able to get a few thousand Jews and other refugees out of France who would otherwise have been trapped.
    His humanitarian nature caused United Nations, the State of Israel and the American Foreign Service Association to honor his name.
    The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp of his likeness, out of respect for his actions. Awesome man!

    Hiram Bingham IV: A Humanitarian Honored for Saving Lives during WWII | ConnecticutHistory.org
     
  10. hyusu

    hyusu New Member

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    I think Chiune Sugihara deserves a mention in here as well. Rather than waiting for bureaucratic red tape to be cut to be able to get those visas out to Jews he went ahead and used his initiative. In fact I think Japan in general, despite the horrors they committed during WW2, deserves a bit of credit for what they did to shelter Jews from the Nazis. I know I'll probably get a lot of hate for saying this, but all I mean is it doesn't seem to be something that is often discussed in WW2 history. I'm definitely not saying one good deed cancels out a hundred bad ones, it's just interesting to take note of. Despite requests from the German embassies and Nazis such as the "Butcher of Warsaw" Josef Meisinger, Japan refused to adopt Nazi genocidal policies. In fact they were taking in Jewish refugees at a time when the USA was turning some of them away: The U.S. Government Turned Away Thousands of Jewish Refugees, Fearing That They Were Nazi Spies | History | Smithsonian
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
  11. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    To a degree, you are correct. This excerpt explains that the Japanese government resisted German pressure about the Jews who escaped Germany:
    During the war years, the Jewish communities in the Far East living under the Japanese occupation - principally the 30,000 in Shanghai- but also small communities in other Chinese cities and throughout the Netherlands East Indies and Philippines - lived under an administrative policy that was noteworthy for its generally neutral attitude. (Another group lived in French Indo-China, but they were subject to Vichy's anti-Jewish laws and suffered removal from government positions and had prohibitions placed on their activities. Although a small number of Jews suffered maltreatment at the hands of individual Japanese officials, few were imprisoned or restricted because of their identity. In these latter cases, the Jews were singled out because they were stateless persons, having been stripped of their Polish or German citizenship by Nazi policy, and necessarily because they were Jews. Overall Japanese policy and actions towards Jews as a group was one that could be characterized as studied even-handedness. The Japanese did not single out the Jews for special attention or restrictions because of their “ethnic” or religious uniqueness. On the other hand, the Jews shared equally in the suspicion that the Japanese held for all neutral and non-Japanese nationals living within the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.
    You can read further here http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/japan-and-the-jews-during-the-holocaust

    Japan had other issues, especially the treatment of captured soldiers and the barbarity they practiced. You are correct when you state that one good act does not excuse a hundred bad ones. The Japanese certainly proved that.
     
  12. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    "You are correct when you state that one good act does not excuse a hundred bad ones."
    Interesting statement...ive often wondered about the opposite...Say a para-medic who has saved hundreds of lives over say 20 years service...rapes a women or kills someone...the usual reaction is one of horror and total put down...I think "what about the hundred people who wouldn't be here today if not for him?" - What would they think of him...what should WE think of him...beyond the sheep murmers...? I know this is off topic - but the statement did stir me to type...this all bad or all good is a child's perspective, yet we carry it into our adult lives...right or wrong?
     
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  13. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking the same thing CAC. We should never use the right things someone has done, to excuse or overlook the one wrong thing they have committed. You wouldn't just let a murderer go because he set up a charity organization or volunteers his time to help others, saying, "well....considering how much good you've done, I'm gonna let this slide. Actions should have consequences (at least in the legal terms), no matter the background, superiority, or personality.
     
  14. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Yet I think it SHOULD happen...and indeed some magistrates do too..."since this is your first offence and taking into consideration your valuable service to the community I will put you on a good behaviour bond or the lowest sentence im allowed to give" - Ive heard such things in court but NEVER in the community...See im not talking sentencing im talking public perception...A surgeon that saves people where no one else can, they will die without the skill and training of a surgeon...he gropes a women whilst she is under or makes disparaging remarks about the patients weight or some such and he is scum!
    He doesn't get a medal, pay rise or even a few lines in the newspaper for saving people almost daily, but step out of line and we forget his service to people just remember the one or few injustices...
    After having this conversation with myself for years now...I still haven't come up with a solid answer...our priorities are askew...I think the "group mind" or social aspect plays a part here...but why doesn't the good things rate as much as the bad? Is it a human thing?
     
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  15. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Seriously?

    1) Such a surgeon undermines the trust the public has in all surgeons.
    2) Surgeons do actually get quite well paid. Far beyond want ordinary people get. They get the satisifaction of doing a meaningful job, and often hear the appreciation of patients and their loved ones. You want to give them a medal too?
    3) Surgery isn't always life saving. Sometimes it's even trivial.
    4) Surgeons and doctors demand and get a lot of respect in the hospital they work and even the wider community. Just because of the title. Irrespective of their views, values, and personality.
    5) Presumably, the person chose the profession, knowing the demands it makes, and the ethical boundaries it entails.
    6) Gropers are lowlifes. Regardless of their titles.

    Exploiting the trust people place in you is heinous.

    Or perhaps we should give surgeons a carte blanche to do whatever they like?

    The epitome of a life well-lived isn't one where the good and the bad deeds cancel themselves out. How many children should we let the priest rape? If you volunteer your child, do you get to count some portion of the priests good deeds to your credit, so you can steal?
     
  16. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    A poor response mate...
    Obviously im talking about the public not the victim or their friends and relatives...your points are obvious and mostly irrelevant. You think what they get paid (8-10 years of training - over worked) is worth your life? Even if it doesn't save a life it brings a (lifetime) of improvement. These people aren't a dime a dozen...
    "Gropers are lowlifes" vs "surgeons are awesome people" - So the question is which one are you going to put the most weight on?
    And the preist doesn't (arguably) give the world a highly valued and unquestionably valued service.
    You seem to be missing the GIST of my point...yes groping and raping and murder and undermining public trust is bad, that's not the issue...its whether we flip the coin and put as much esteem to good things that we do bad...That we judge people on bad things and not on the good.

    One good act does not excuse a hundred bad ones - is the statement. We all can easily get our heads around.
    One bad act does not erase a hundred good ones - is the opposite statement yet people have problems with it...including you.
     
  17. green slime

    green slime Member

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    No.

    Read again.

    Just because you are unwilling to accept the truth does not make it any less true.

    To clarify; one bad act can indeed eradicate a million good ones.

    It is part of the nature of good vs evil, societies needs vs the individual's wants. So your opposite statement contravenes morality; there is no zero-sum game to be found in moral acts.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
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  18. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    It is part of the nature of good vs evil, societies needs vs the individual's wants. So your opposite statement contravenes morality; there is no zero-sum game to be found in moral acts. - THERE! That's the response I was looking for...Not everyone will agree with this but its a good answer.
     
  19. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Everyone doesn't have to agree with this. But to believe otherwise is immoral, and generally unacceptable. Logically, it leads to the example in post #15, which few human societies would accept.
     
  20. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    I think there is tremendous disparity between both of those statements. It really depends on the scope. We can find a middle ground here. This is, as social media has displayed over the course of the past 5 years, a differentiated business. If a human being spends his/her life donating and crusading in philanthropic endeavors and has a weak moment (Ex: going to a prostitute) then, IMO, we can forgive said human. However, if that charitable person murders, molests or rapes. that person's history is null and void. Case in point, look at Bill Cosby. This man has done wonders for the African American community. Spent thousands and was personally responsible for sending thousands of black men and women to institutions for higher learning. This is only the tip of the iceberg. However, his legacy is now over because he was nothing but an immoral monster that shielded himself with his public causes. In this case in particular, his monstrous actions now extinguish the good he has done.

    Wherever you stand on the issue, it needs to be taken case by case. There are degrees of immorality and we know what they are.
     
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