Sunday, 24 January 2016

Night Will Fall


Dear Reader,

Last night I spent a longer amount of time than usual watching TV. But  it's invariably the case that if something is shown that has something profound to say about humanity, then I will try to watch it.

Last night, ITV and More-4 showed two programmes about the Jewish Holocaust, 70 years on. The first was about a woman who, as a twin, was experimented upon by the infamous Dr. Mengale, and yet survived her ordeal. She was predicted by the Nazi doctor to have only a short time to live, but by willpower and providence she survived. If she hadn't, her twin sister would also have been killed for comparison of the two bodies at death. The most astonishing aspect is that the woman is willing to forgive all Nazis for their actions. Amazing. Yet the 94-year-old lady has many critics amongst her own people.

The second (longer) program was entitled Night Will Fall and was based upon the huge documentary film evidence that was put together from British, American and Russian sources in 1944 and 1945 (under British direction in the UK by the famed Alfred Hitchcock), after liberation of the worst of the concentration camps.

This film was intended for showing to the German people following the War but it was instead mothballed as the British (in particular) decided that alternative means should be sought to motivate the German state back into order. In short, the British allowed the German people to forget their trauma, but the non-release of the full film also had the effect of not reminding the world of the horrors that man can perpetrate onto man. Since 1945 (and, indeed, before), there have been many other barbaric and despotic situations, lately exemplified by Daesh (ISIL), all illustrating how difficult it is to eradicate evil.

Usuually, the application of evil on the masses is allowed to take effect because the doctrine is little questioned - particularly if the doctrine makes it clear that there's something 'in it' for the people listening.  Strangely, it was a great German (Dr. Albert Schweitzer) who made this observation years before the Nazi uprising:
To blindly accept a truth one has never reflected upon retards the advance of reason. Our world rots in deceit. . . .
We have to be very careful - don't we? - of how we go about our lives and not be ensnared by false values. Even the seemingly most innocent deviations can lead to something far worse if we don't take great care.

A Latin phrase perhaps sums up the dilemma very neatly: Caveat emptor! - let the buyer beware.