A woman took to Twitter to defend her Nazi grandparents and extended family, insisting that kindness shields them from judgment. The whole of Twitter reminded this person, who might be a bot, that the world doesn't work that way.
It began last Friday when @its_a_trapppp posted the following, in reaction to a previous tweet:
But you literally just judged all Nazis a 'assholes'. My grandfather, my grandmother, their families and friends were all involved with the Party. They're also some of the kindest, most wonderful people I've meet, yet you've already judged them based on a group generalization
To which Josh Callahan, a hero to everyone, replied in such a way that it completely dismantles her argument:
I'd love to introduce them to my great grandparents but they were gassed in a concentration camp.
But I'm sure they're great.
Another Twitter user felt this needed wider recognition.
It is bad enough that we have people still saying "not all men" mistreat women, completely derailing the conversation for gender equality. But the argument that not all Nazis were bad takes it to a whole new level of absurdity. This is the world we live in now?
Her logic forgets that grandparents are more inclined to be kind to their grandkids.
Even the KKK love their children. And yet, they are still racist, white supremacists.
Storybook villains 101: You can be kind and evil.
Apples and oranges.
Participation in genocide is not an equivalent "group generalization" as being born with the same color hair.
So yeah, it's okay to group generalize Nazis.
Don't judge people for who they are, but do judge them on their actions.
Others on Twitter were far less forgiving.
"He still was an antisemitic, racist piece of Nazi trash."
Those who went to @its_a_trapppp Twitter page soon discovered that she too is racist and a Nazi.
"The apple didn't fall far from the tree."
Some recommended reading might enlighten her worldview.
Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil is a book by political theorist Hannah Arendt, originally published in 1963. Arendt, a Jew who fled Germany during Adolf Hitler's rise to power, reported on Nazi Adolf Eichmann's trial for The New Yorker. The phrase "the banality of evil" refers to Eichmann's bland behavior at the trial as the man displayed neither guilt for his actions nor hatred for those trying him, claiming he bore no responsibility because he was simply "doing his job."
But disagreement on principle doesn't permit one to cast off the shame of participation.
The real reason why we need to continue teaching about the Holocaust.
Knowledge and guilt is a huge part of the German and Austrian culture.
In the words of the late, and truly kind, author Terry Pratchett:
There are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.
― Terry Pratchett
This person had Nazi participation explained to him as a life-or-death ultimatum held over family members.
"Nice people made the best Nazis."
But sometimes... something truly amazing happens when people engage in conversation.
One man's point of view changed for the better.
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