The New York Times reported today and yesterday that Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, just removed a right leaning German minister, Hans-Georg Maassen, from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution for his alleged failure to effectively monitor and control the rise of neo-facist political parties in Germany. Facism is very much afoot again in the United States and Europe, spurred by the diaspora of migration from war, violence and poverty in the Southern Hemisphere.
Uncomfortable images like the tiki torchlighted marches in Charlettsville, the forced separation of immigrants from their children, refugees contained in “camps” and The European Commission’s invocation of Article 7 of the European Treaty against Poland, denouncing recent judiciary “reforms,” placing Poland’s courts under the political control of it’s right-wing majority party led by Polish President Andrzey Duda are cropping up with ever greater frequency.
Now appears to be an apt opportunity to pause and remember that we are not far from what British historian and filmmaker, Lawrence Rees, describes as “a crime of singular horror in the history of the human race,” the extermination of 6 million Jews in Germany and Poland from 1939 to 1945, through starvation, sterilization, deportation and murder.
Rees recently published a remarkable book, The Holocaust – A New History, Public Affairs (2017), which is now available in paperback. Highly readable and historically exhaustive, Rees weaves together the roiling evolution of historical events with horrific first- hand testimony of survivors. This harrowing, comprehensive narrative of racial prejudice, mass murder and smothering denial is a timely and necessary reminder and warning sign of the near limitless capacity of human beings for surrender to the evil lurking just beneath the surface of tribal conflict.