Nothing — nothing — is unthinkable, and political institutions by themselves provide no permanent safety from barbarism, which permanently lurks beneath civilization’s thin, brittle crust.
This is why the Holocaust is the dark sun into which this democracy should peer.
Erna Paris writing in The Globe and Mail:
The core learning future generations must acquire, in addition to the facts of Holocaust history, will be to recognize the impulse to genocide, how and why it starts, the propaganda tools it employs to persuade, and the known consequences of silence and indifference. I think this learning must also include the somewhat rueful acknowledgement that most humans are susceptible to propaganda in various degrees, which is why early-stage vigilance is so crucial.
Erna Paris was born in Toronto in 1938. She is the author of seven works of literary non-fiction and the winner of twelve national and international writing awards for her books, feature writing, and radio documentaries. Her book Long Shadows: Truth, Lies, and History was chosen as one of “The Hundred Most Important Books Ever Written in Canada” by the Literary Review of Canada.
“Report from Nuremberg: The International War Crimes Trial” is a collection of reenacted radio broadcasts providing news covering the Nuremberg War Crimes trials. Given all that has been written about the trial, it is interesting to hear the contemporary radio reports. It is almost like CNN updates on the trials. The descriptions of the defendants and their dress, mannerisms and personalities were of great interest.
I commend Audible for creating these reenactments and making them available. I enjoyed listening to them. The narrators were all excellent. The sound of the mechanical typewriter at the start of each broadcast helped me imagine what it must have been like to hear these broadcasts live.
Between October 18, 1945, and October 1, 1946, the International Military Tribunal, as it was known, tried 22 people on charges of crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and conspiracy to commit such crimes. Twelve of those convicted were sentenced to death. Three defendants were acquitted.
Germany’s National Socialist (Nazi) government and Switzerland had substantial ties. Switzerland’s contribution to the construction of the Dachau concentration camp near Munich is not well known.
Before WWII, Extroc, SA, a Swiss state-subsidized timber company built the Dachau concentration camp, under a contract for 13 million Swiss francs. The contract was negotiated by Colonel Henri Guisan, the son of the later Swiss Commander-in-Chief Henri Guisan (1874–1960) and a Swiss national hero.The Swiss Colonel was in turn connected to Hans Wilhelm Eggen, an SS captain who bought timber in Switzerland for the Waffen SS. This was the wood used to construct Dachau. Dachau was the first regular concentration camp established by the Nazi government.
According to a now declassified CIA report, Eggen often went to “Switzerland under cover of a delivery agent for wooden barracks.” Eggen was a friend of Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the SS. In Nazi Germany, the SS controlled the German police forces and the concentration camp system.
See, Roberts, Andrew, The Storm of War (p. 113). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition; Goñi, Uki, The Real Odessa: How Perón Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina (p. 170). Granta Books. Kindle Edition.
Daniel Lubetzky, the CEO of KIND, is the son of a Holocaust survivor and a Mexican Jew. KIND makes popular fruit and nut bars. He was born in Mexico City and moved to the United States as a teenager. He’s also a Stanford-educated lawyer.
Lubetzky’s father was liberated from the Dachau Concentration Camp. When Lubetzsky was just nine years old, his father started describing his experiences during the Holocaust. His father felt that if he lived through the Holocaust, his son could hear about it even at an early age.
Lubetzky explains in his book entitled Do the KIND Thing: Think Boundlessly, Work Purposefully, Live Passionately:
Being the son of a Holocaust survivor marks you and makes you acutely conscious of our human frailty. My burning commitment to build bridges stems from a survival instinct: to prevent what happened to my dad from happening again to other human beings. Part of the reason I exist today is that my grandfather and my father were always kind to people.
KIND is privately owned and has nearly five hundred employees.
Maggie Gyllenhaal is the beautiful, immaculately dressed star of the series. She portrays Nessa Stein, a London heiress whose father was a big-time arms manufacturer and Zionist. Gyllenhaal, an American, does a convincing job of portraying an English woman.
Most of Nessa’s family perished in the Holocaust. She and her older brother, Ephra (Andrew Buchan), are dual citizens of Israel and Britain. On top of this, their mother died in childbirth and their father was murdered in front of their eyes in Jerusalem when they were young children.
The story includes the Holocaust, the Arab-Israeli conflict, kidnapping, rape, chronic trauma and high stakes philanthropy and investment.
The New York Times called the series a “smart, moodily complex thriller” and a “lavish homage to John le Carré.”
I had to watch the series more than once to follow all the twists and turns and loved every minute.