I hear you,Jan.My mother was born in '36.All my family on the german side were 'good ariers',and my grandfather first worked for Zeiss Jena in prescision technology (also used for weapons) in the development,then as a motorbike soldier in the field information during the war until he was invalided out (lost a leg).My eldest uncle was enrolled at age sixteen and killed by gunshot in the front line two weeks later.You'd think they were on the right side,huh?
Nope.My gran was asked to an inquisition because my mum had played with a girl whose family turned out to be Jews.They thought my mum had passed on information or assisted them.She was only little,but still she was in danger for PLAYING with the 'wrong' child.My grandpa said a few things some people didn't like to hear-they had to pack up and flee in the night because someone had tipped them off the SS wanted to come in the morning...
My mum told me about how it used to be...you used to lie in bed at night,hearing the boots on the stairs in the house next door,hearing the cries,the splintering,the shots.You used to cry for fear under your blanket,praying nobody had said anything wrong about YOU.
Wrong,that could be buying and hoarding too much bread,picking an apple,(the father of my kids's teacher was shot for that),listening to the wrong radio programme,not sending your daughter to the Hitler Jugend,saying,'I wish Josl Rosenberg hadn't been picked up last week.He didn't repair my watch before...'
Everybody could be a spy.The grocer.The boss.The neighbour.Your own child.
Nobody was safe,ever.Everybody was scared.Of course they knew what was happening.
So what would you have done?Gone over to your neighbours and said,'leave them alone,they are my friends'.Do you think that would have stopped them?No,they would have just taken you,too,and maybe made you watch while they dragged your own children out of their beds and shot them first.And what good would that have done?There were a lot of movements against Hitler,and they wouldn't have gotten so far as trying to assassinate him if they hadn't got a lot of support from those people that are sneered at now for"not doing enough".There were hundreds of people hidden away behind double walls,in cellars and attics and fed off the meagre rations of the family.If they were found,not only those who were found died,also those who had hidden them did,too.
It wasn't only the people in the camps who were freed by the allies.It was the whole nation.And it makes my blood boil to hear snotty young people shaking their wise heads saying they really hate Nazis and why didn't the Germans do anything against them?They don't hate Nazis.They don't know what it feels like to be scared every day,to be hungry,not to know what you come home to from school,not to know if yours is the door the boots will stop at next.THEN you hate Nazis.
And isn't it a bit much to demand pope-like behavior from a scared 14-year-old?You,of course,would probably behaved differently....or would you?It's easy to be brave and stand up to your beliefs from a vantage point of a free country and 65 years.
It´s still magic even if you know how it´s done.