To the amalgamation of politicals and criminals, with which the concentration camps began both in Germany and Russia, soon a third element is added, which would soon form the majority of all inmates. This largest group consisted of people who hadn't done anything that stood in any rational relation to their imprisonment, be it in their own mind or in that of their torturers. Without them the camps could have have existed, that is, they would not have survived the first years of the regime.
These in every sense innocent people do not just form the majority of all the camp population, they also are those, which finally were "exterminated" in German gas chambers. Only on them could the murder of the juridical person be performed so completely that they could be "processed", without names, deeds or misdeeds, by which they could have been recognized, in the mass factories of death, which just because of their sheer capacity could not take individual cases into account anymore. (A Jew for example, who had done a "crime" against the Nazi regime, didn't even get put in there in the first place, they were shot or beaten to death right away.) From the beginning the gas chambers were not intended as means to intimidate or punish; they were intended for Jews or Gypsies or Poles "in general", and they served to prove, that humans in general are superfluous.
While the separation of inmates into categories was merely a tactical-organisatory measure for the the purpose of administration of the camps, the arbitrariness of committal demonstrates the essential principle of the institution as such. The existance of a political opposition is just a pretext for the concentration camp system, and its purpose is not achieved when the population more or less voluntarily conforms as consequence of the most monstrous deterrence, that is, to give up its political rights. The arbitrariness has the purpose to deprive those under the totalitarian regime of all their rights as citizens, which finally become as outlawed [vogelfrei] in their own country as otherwise only the stateless and homeless. The deprivation of humans of their rights, the killing of the juridical person in them is just a precondition of their being totally controlled, for which even voluntary agreement is a hindrance. *[Related to that is the fact that all propaganda and ["Weltanschauungslehre"] was expressly forbidden in the camps. (also see Himmler, "Wesen und Aufgabe der SS und der Polizei"). And together with this in turn it has to be considered that that teaching and propaganda was also not allowed for the guarding elite formations; their Weltanschauung was not to be "teached", but "exercized" (see Robert Ley)]*. And this is not just the case for special categories of criminals, political enemies, Jews, on which it was tested [first], but for every citizen of a totalitarian country."Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft", S. 658 ff.
Criminals don't actually don't belong in a concentration camp. That they still form a permanent category in all camps is, from the viewpoint of the totalitarian power apparatus, a kind of concession to the prejudices of society, which in this way can be made to get used to their existence the most easily."Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft", S. 657
Still the element of criminals must not be missing from any concentration camp. [..] the fact that nearly without exception they compromise the aristocracy of the camps and fulfill administrative duties, shows clearly that it is much harder to kill the juridical person of a human who is guilty of someone, than of someone who is innocent. The rise of criminals into the aristocracy of the camps is similar to the improvement that happens in the juridical situation of the stateless, who also lost their rights as citizens, when they resolve to commit a theft."Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft", S. 656
Compared with the insane world of the concentration camp society itself, which can never be quite grasped by the imagination, because it is outside of life and death, the process by which humans get prepared and [zugerichtet] for it, is rational and purposeful. The [Anstoß], and what's more, the tacit approval of such conditions in the middle of Europe, was created by those events, which in a period of dissolving political forms suddenly had suddenly made hundreds of thousands and then millions of people homeless, stateless, rightless, economically superfluous and socially unwanted. On them it already had been demonstrated that human rights, which were never philosophically founded nor secured politically anyway, had lost even their proclamatory, their appelatory effect and were at least in their traditional form no longer applied anywhere. But these are only the negative preconditions; after all the loss of the workplace and therefore the place in society, which came with unemployment, or in the case of statelessness the loss of papers, home, a secure place to stay and a right to work, were only preliminary, summary preparation, which would have hardly sufficed for the ultimate result.
Regardless, the first crucial step on the way to totalitarian power is the killing of the juridical person, which in the case of statelessness happens automatically because the stateless person ends up outside of all law. In the case of totalitarian power this automatic killing becomes a planned murder, because concentration camps are always placed outside of the penal system, and the inmates are never to be put there "for punishable or other offenses" (also see Maunz, p. 50). Under all conditions totalitatarian power takes care to put people into the camps, which only *are* -- Jews, carriers of diseases, members of dying classes -- but have already lost their ability to act, be it for good or bad."Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft", S. 655
5 m ago in Metasammlung
Verglichen mit der Irrsinnswelt der Konzentrationslagergesellschaft selbst, die von der Phantasie nie ganz erreicht werden kann, weil sie außerhalb von Leben und Tod steht, ist der Prozeß, durch den Menschen auf sie präpariert und gleichsam zugerichtet werden, einsichtig und zweckvoll. Den Anstoß und, was mehr ist, die schweigende Billigung solch unerhörter Zustände in der Mitte Europas haben jene Ereignisse erzeugt, welche in einer Periode untergehender politischer Formen plötzlich Hunderttausende und dann Millionen von Menschen heimatlos, staatenlos, rechtlos machten, wirtschaftlich überflüssig und sozial unerwünscht. An ihnen hatte sich bereits erwiesen, daß die Menschenrechte, welche ohnehin weder philosophisch begründet noch politisch je gesichert gewesen waren, auch ihre rein proklamatorische, appellierende Wirkung verloren und in ihrer traditionellen Form zumindest nirgends mehr Geltung hatten. Dies aber sind nur die negativen Vorbedingungen; schließlich war der Verlust des Arbeitsplatzes und damit des angestammten Platzes in der Gesellschaft, wie die Arbeitslosigkeit ihn mit sich gebracht hatte, oder der bei den Staatenlosen eingetrene Verlust von Paß, Heimat, gesicherten Aufenthalt und Recht auf Erwerb nur eine sehr vorläufige, summarische Vorbereitung, die für das Endresultat schwerlich ausgereicht hätte.
Der erste entscheidende Schritt auf dem Wege zur totalen Herrschafft ist nichtsdestoweniger die Tötung der juristischen Person, die im Falle der Staatenlosigkeit automatisch dadurch erfolgt, daß der Staatenlose außerhalb allen geltenden Rechts zu stehen kommt. Im Falle der totalen Herrschaft wird aus dieser automatischen Tötung ein geplanter Mord, der dadurch eintritt, daß die Konzentrationslager immer außerhalb des Strafvollzugs gestellt werden und die Insassen niemals "zur Ahndung von strafbaren oder sonst verwerflichen Taten" eingeliefert werden dürfen. [Siehe Maunz, op. cit. p. 50.] Unter allen Umständen achtet die totale Herrschaft darauf, in den Lagern Menschen zu versammeln, die nur noch *sind* - Juden, Bazillenträger, Exponenten absterbender Klassen - , aber ihre Fähigkeit zu handeln, zur Tat wie zur Missetat, bereits verloren haben."Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft", S. 655
Dennoch darf das Element des Verbrechers in keinem Konzentrationslager fehlen. [..] die Tatsache, daß sie fast ausnahmslos die Aristokratie der Lager bildeten und die administrativen Funktionen erfüllten, zeigt deutlich, daß es erheblich schwerer ist, die juristische Person in einem Menschen zu töten, der sich etwas hat zuschulden kommen lassen, als einem völlig Unschuldigen. Der Aufstieg des Verbrechers in die Aristokratie der Lager ähnelt auffallend der Verbesserung, die in der juristischen Lage der Staatenlosen, welche ja auch ihre bürgerlichen Rechte verloren haben, eintritt, sobald sie sich zu einem Diebstahl entschließen."Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft", S. 656
Verbrecher gehören eigentlich nicht in das Konzentrationslager. Daß sie dennoch eine permanente Kategorie in allen Lagern bilden, ist vom Standpunkt des totalen Herrschaftsapparats aus gesehen eine Art Konzession an die Vorurteile der Gesellschaft, die man auf diese Weise am leichtesten an die Existenz der Lager gewöhnen kann."Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft", S. 657
Zu dem Amalgam von Politischen und Verbrechern, mit dem in Deutschland wie in Rußland die Konzentrationslager begannen, fügt sich sehr bald ein drittes Element, das bald die Majorität aller Insassen bilden sollte. Diese größte Gruppe bestand aus Menschen, die überhaupt nichts getan haben, was, sei es in ihrem eigenen Bewußtsein oder im Bewußtsein ihrer Peiniger, in irgendeinem rationalen Zusammenhang mit ihrer Haft steht. Ohne sie hätten die Lager niemals existieren beziehungsweise die ersten Jahre des Regimes überleben können.
Diese in jedem Sinne vollkommen Unschuldigen bilden nicht nur die Majorität der Lagerbevölkerung, sie sind auch diejenigen, die schließlich in den deutschen Gaskammern "ausgemerzt" wurden. Nur in ihnen konnte der Mord der juristischen Person so vollständig durchgeführt werden, daß sie ohne Namen und ohne Taten oder Missetaten, an denen man sie hätte erkennen können, in den Massenfabriken des Todes "verarbeitet" werden konnten, die zudem schon ihrer Fassungskraft wegen individuelle Fälle gar nicht mehr berücksichtigen konnten. (Ein Jude etwa, der sich wirklich gegen das Naziregime "vergangen" hatte, kam dort gar nicht erst hinein, er wurde sofort erschossen oder totgeschlagen.) Die Gaskammern waren von vornherein weder als Abschreckungs- noch als Strafmaßnahme gedacht; sie waren bestimmt für Juden oder Zigeuner oder Polen "überhaupt", und sie dienten letztlich dem Beweis, daß Menschen überhaupt überflüssig sind.
Während die Einteilung der Insassen in Kategorien nur eine taktisch-organisatorische Maßnahme für die Verwaltung der Lager ist, zeigt die Willkür der Einlieferungen das wesentliche Prinzip der Institution als solcher an. Die Existenz einer politischen Opposition ist für das Konzentrationslagersystem nur ein Vorwand, und sein Zweck ist nicht erreicht, wenn infolge ungeheuerlichster Abschreckung die Bevölkerung sich mehr oder minder freiwillig gleichschaltet, daß heißt ihrer politischen Rechte begibt. Die Willkür bezweckt die bürgerliche Entrechtung aller von einem totalitären Regime Beherrschten, die schließlich in ihrem eigenen Land so vogelfrei werden wie sonst nur Staaten- und Heimatlose. Die Entrechtung des Menschen, die Tötung der juristischen Person in ihm ist die Vorbedingung für sein totales Beherrschtsein, dem selbst freie Zustimmung hinderlich ist [Damit hängt zusammen, daß jede Propaganda und "Weltanschauungslehre" in den Lagern ausdrücklich verboten waren. (Siehe Himmler, *Wesen und Aufgabe der SS und der Polizei*.) Hiermit wiederum muß man zusammenhalten, daß Lehre und Propaganda auch für die bewachenden Eliteformationen nicht zugelassen waren; ihre Weltanschauung sollte nicht "gelehrt", sondern "exerziert" werden (Robert Ley, op. cit.)]. Und dies gilt nicht nur von speziellen Kategorien wie Verbrechern, politischen Gegnern, Juden, an denen die Sache ausprobiert wird, sondern von jedem Einwohner eines totalitären Staates."Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft", S. 658 ff.
5 m ago in Meta Collection
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.The Declaration of Independence
But our present State is a dictatorship of Evil. “We’ve known that for a long time,” I can hear you say, “and it is not necessary for you to remind us of it once again.” So I ask you: If you are aware of this, why do you not stir yourselves? Why do you permit this autocrat to rob you of one sphere of your rights after another, little by little, both overtly and in secret? One day there will be nothing left, nothing at all, except for a mechanized national engine that has been commandeered by criminals and drunks. Has your spirit been so devastated by rape that you forget that it is not only your right, but your moral duty to put an end to this system?
If a person cannot even summon the strength to demand his rights, then there is nothing left for him but destruction. We will have deserved to be scattered to all corners of the globe, as dust before the wind, if we do not pull ourselves together in this eleventh hour and finally summon the courage that we have been lacking till now. Do not hide your cowardice under the cloak of cleverness! Because every day that you delay, every day that you do not resist this spawn of hell, your guilt is steadily increasing, like a parabolic curve.
Of course, the terrible things I heard from the Nuremberg Trials, about the six million Jews and the people from other races who were killed, were facts that shocked me deeply. But I wasn't able to see the connection with my own past. I was satisfied that I wasn't personally to blame and that I hadn't known about those things. I wasn't aware of the extent. But one day I went past the memorial plaque which had been put up for Sophie Scholl in Franz Josef Strasse, and I saw that she was born the same year as me, and she was executed the same year I started working for Hitler. And at that moment I actually sensed that it was no excuse to be young, and that it would have been possible to find things out.
Courage is indispensible because in politics not life but the world is at stake."Between Past and Future"
The principle that human nature, in its psychological aspects, is nothing more than a product of history and given social relations removes all barriers to coercion and manipulation by the powerful.
As citizens, we must prevent wrongdoing because the world in which we all live, wrong-doer, wrong sufferer and spectator, is at stake."The Life of the Mind"
What is to be done? The answer is easy. It has always been easy. Stop saying "not in my name" and start saying "over my dead body". That's what we did. It works. Do it.
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
You don’t know what order with freedom means! You only know what revolt against oppression is! You don’t know that the rod, discipline, violence, the state and government can only be sustained because of you and because of your lack of socially creative powers that develop order within liberty!
You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be. And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid... You refuse to do it because you want to live longer... You're afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you're afraid someone will stab you, or shoot at you or bomb your house; so you refuse to take the stand.
Well, you may go on and live until you are 90, but you're just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.
Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our character to be passive in its presence and thereby eventually lose all ability to defend ourselves and those we love.
So, never be afraid. Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion, against injustice and lying and greed. If you, not just you in this room tonight, but in all the thousands of other rooms like this one about the world today and tomorrow and next week, will do this, not as a class or classes, but as individuals, men and women, you will change the earth; in one generation all the Napoleons and Hitlers and Caesars and Mussolinis and Stalins and all the other tyrants who want power and aggrandizement, and the simple politicians and time-servers who themselves are merely baffled or ignorant or afraid, who have used, or are using, or hope to use, man’s fear and greed for man’s enslavement, will have vanished from the face of it.address to the the graduating class at University High School, Oxford, Mississippi on May 28, 1951
And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? After all, you knew ahead of time that those bluecaps were out at night for no good purpose. And you could be sure ahead of time that you’d be cracking the skull of a cutthroat. Or what about the Black Maria [Government limo] sitting out there on the street with one lonely chauffeur — what if it had been driven off or its tires spiked. The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!
If... if... We didn't love freedom enough. And even more — we had no awareness of the real situation. We spent ourselves in one unrestrained outburst in 1917, and then we hurried to submit. We submitted with pleasure!
We've changed. And we've become contemptuous of the idea that we're all in this together. This is about sharing. And about, you know... when you say sharing, there is a percentage of the population, and it's the moneyed percent of our population, that hears "socialism" or "communism" or any of the other -isms they wanna put on it, but ultimately, we are all a part of the same society, and it's either gonna be a mediocre society that, you know, abuses people, or it's not.
When I was asked to make this address I wondered what I had to say to you boys who are graduating. And I think I have one thing to say. If you wish to be useful, never take a course that will silence you. Refuse to learn anything that implies collusion, whether it be a clerkship or a curacy, a legal fee or a post in a university. Retain the power of speech no matter what other power you may lose. If you can take this course, and in so far as you take it, you will bless this country. In so far as you depart from this course, you become dampers, mutes, and hooded executioners.
As a practical matter, a mere failure to speak out upon occassions where no statement is asked or expected from you, and when the utterance of an uncalled for suspicion is odious, will often hold you to a concurrence in palpable iniquity. Try to raise a voice that will be heard from here to Albany and watch what comes forward to shut off the sound. It is not a German sergeant, nor a Russian officer of the precinct. It is a note from a friend of your father's, offering you a place at his office. This is your warning from the secret police. Why, if you any of young gentleman have a mind to make himself heard a mile off, you must make a bonfire of your reputations, and a close enemy of most men who would wish you well.
I have seen ten years of young men who rush out into the world with their messages, and when they find how deaf the world is, they think they must save their strength and wait. They believe that after a while they will be able to get up on some little eminence from which they can make themselves heard. "In a few years," reasons one of them, "I shall have gained a standing, and then I shall use my powers for good." Next year comes and with it a strange discovery. The man has lost his horizon of thought, his ambition has evaporated; he has nothing to say. I give you this one rule of conduct. Do what you will, but speak out always. Be shunned, be hated, be ridiculed, be scared, be in doubt, but don't be gagged. The time of trial is always. Now is the appointed time.Commencement Address to the Graduating Class of Hobart College, 1900
5 m ago in Meta Collection
I have expressed my strong interest in the mass of the people; and this is founded, not on their usefulness to the community, so much as on what they are in themselves. Indeed every man, in every condition, is great. It is only our own diseased sight which makes him little. A man is great as a man, be he where or what he may. The grandeur of his nature turns to insignificance all outward distinctions.
Is it only when the flowers are in full bloom and when the moon is shining in spotless perfection that we ought to gaze at them?
You can not, without guilt and disgrace, stop where you are. The past and the present call on you to advance. Let what you have gained be an impulse to something higher. Your nature is too great to be crushed. You were not created what you are, merely to toil, eat, drink, and sleep, like the inferior animals. If you will, you can rise.
In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.
When you stand before me and look at me, what do you know of the pain in me, and what I do I know of yours. And if I threw myself to the ground before you and cried and told you, what would you know more of me than of hell, if somebody told you that it is hot and terrible. For that reason alone we humans should should face each other so reverend, so thoughtful, so loving as if facing the gates of hell.
Have compassion for everyone you meet,
even if they don't want it.
What appears bad manners, an ill temper or cynicism
is always a sign of things no ears have heard,
no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets
the bone."The Ways We Touch"
The forest would be pretty quiet if only the best birds sang.