The Dangers of Apathy

June 4, 2009

This doesn’t have a lot to do with what I normally write about but I just had to write something…

The Post had an article today that really shook me up.  It was about a new book that is coming out which is the result of a ten-year project that sought to create an encyclopedia of all of the Nazi concentration camps.  They expected to have a total number somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000, instead they found that there had been over 20,000 camps and ghettos. 

20,000 is a mind-blowing number.  Just to give you a reference point, there are approximately 11,000 Starbucks in the United States.  So within the Nazi empire there were twice as many camps as we have Starbucks.  When you think about it in that way you begin to realize that there is no way the average citizen didn’t understand what was going on.  Now, granted, the camps and ghettos weren’t just what we think of when we think of concentration camps, they were also detention centers for teenagers who listened to jazz music and brain-washing camps for foreign children who’s racial make-up was appealing to the Nazis and camps where unwed pregnant women were sent to get forced abortions.  But the idea that these camps and ghettos were so ubiquitous and people didn’t do more to stop them is just terrifying to me.

I know that people were, in many cases, just trying to survive the war and I know that these things happened slowly, that the changes were incremental.  But it makes me wonder what it takes for someone to take a stand against injustice.  How does that apathetic mind-set take hold and how do we combat it within ourselves?


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