My grandson recently did an excellent project at school about the Nuremberg Trials. He did it as a video tape report. It was extremely well done and really stimulated my interest in the Nazis criminals who were on trial at Nuremberg. One of the sources for his report was a book, “Nuremberg Interviews” by Leon Goldensohn who was an American psychiatrist. He was able to interview most of the defendants and witnesses. He interviewed many of the top people in the Nazis party and folks who were very close to Hitler, like Hermann Goering and Rudolph Hess. Missing from the group was Hitler himself because he committed suicide. Also missing were Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Goebbel who, likewise, committed suicide. Adolph Eichmann escaped to Argentina, but was later caught by the Israelis and hanged.
Most of the people tried at Nuremberg claimed they were following orders and were opposed to Hitler’s tactics. One of the most interesting interviews was with Rudolf Hoess. That’s not Hess who was also interviewed, but was completely crazy. Hoess was head of the famous concentration and extermination camp, Auschwitz. He readily admitted to heading the camp that exterminated about 2.5 million Jews. He described the process in some detail. Train loads of prisoners would be brought to the camp and paraded before a couple of doctors who made the decision about who was fit for work and who would go to the gas chambers. The people weren’t even examined. The doctors just gave a casual glance, and decided who would live and who would die. About 40% were determined fit for work, the other 60% were put to death. Those who died were made to undress, and about 1500 at a time were herded into a chamber where they were told they were to bath, but instead Zyklon B, a poison gas, was released which produced death in 3 to 15 minutes. Many were cremated but large numbers were buried in mass graves where wood would be stacked on layers of bodies and ignited by straw soaked with gasoline. Prior to cremation the gold in the victims teeth would be extracted as will as jewelry collected.
I have read all about the Holocaust many times, but it gives me a chill every time I am reminded about it. It amazes me how the Jew hating President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinjad, denies the Holocaust ever happened. It further amazes me how the German physicians could justify their actions in deciding who lived or died. Even more amazing is the actions of physicians like Josef Mengele who performed horrific medical experiments on prisoners
When I think about all this it ‘s not a lot different from what we did to the American Indians and even to what we are currently doing. Recently, because of budget problems, several states are rationing care for Medicaid patients. In some places transplants are no longer covered, so people with end stage renal disease have no other choice but to die. Medicaid in several places will not cover dental work for root canals to save a tooth, but only pay if it is extracted. I’m afraid much of this rationing is going to get worse and those of us who are weak or infirmed may as well be pushed into a gas chamber. The gas chamber may be more merciful.
All these issues are too heavy for pondering on the porch. I will go back to watching the deer and wishing there was a Heinrich Himmler in Salado to offer a final solution to the deer problem.