Tag: Nazism

VP Pence Speaks on Behalf of Trump in Poland

 

Vice President Pence spoke in Poland, marking the start of World War II with the German invasion of Poland, 1 September 1939. Highlight comments include: “None fought with more valor, or determination, or righteous fury than the Poles…Poland proved itself a homeland of heroes.” and “The fight against the twisted ideologies of Nazism and Communism reflected the eternal struggle between right and wrong, good and evil.”

Vice President Pence’s remarks were punctuated by the notable absence, this time, of the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin.

ACF Critic Series #28: Never Look Away

 

There is a new Donnersmarck movie, Never Look Away, a brilliant successor to the famous The Lives Of Others, so we are getting the team back together. @FlaggTaylor and Carl Eric Scott join me on the podcast for a long, wide-ranging discussion about art and tyranny, about the relationship between beauty and politics, and what great movies can offer by way of meditation on our search for freedom. Flagg and Carl co-edited the book on Donnersmarck’s marvelous, Oscar-winning debut, The Lives of Others.

Joe Garber: American Hero

 

We knew Joe through his wife, who was also called Jo. Joe was her second husband; she knew him through an organization to which her first husband belonged; both men were prisoners of war. When Jo’s first husband died, Joe eventually courted her and Jo and Joe were married.

A couple of weeks ago, Joe passed away. Both of them had been knocked down by a nasty strain of the flu; Joe didn’t make it. He had been unwell for a while, suffering for years from maladies such as a recurrent type of dysentery and vertigo, results of his year as a POW in a Nazi camp. In spite of the trials he’d been through back then, he was funny and engaged with others. His funeral was yesterday.

Joe was a radioman in a B17, shot down over Germany. He was in the camp for one very long year, going from 159 pounds to 89 pounds. One person at the funeral shared how much he loved Joe’s stories. He even cracked a joke when the Nazis picked him up after parachuting into enemy territory. His joke was met with the butt of a rifle. He was featured in a news story with other Daytona Beach veterans three years ago on the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.

The Nazi Within

 

amis_cover_3019706aI recently finished Martin Amis’s novel, The Zone of Interest, the plot of which centers around the conflicts of a host of characters inside a Nazi death camp — German soldiers, their wives, children, and, of course, the Jews. The book was rejected by Amis’s German publisher and received mixed reviews when it came out last year. That’s largely because of the unconventional and sometimes uncomfortable use of satire in a Holocaust novel.

The book reads much like a conventional character drama, centered around themes of jealousy, lust, ambition, and longing. Only, in this case, this rather standard human tale happens to be taking place in the midst of the most inhuman atrocities imaginable. Gruesome and brutal crimes of world-historic proportions serve as a mere backdrop for a story that stubbornly focuses on the mundane and rather unremarkable relationships of those guilty of the crimes.

You’ve never read a Holocaust novel like this one. Some readers might feel that Amis’s approach minimizes the heinous crimes that are taking place. But for me, it worked in just the opposite way. Amis’s focus on the trivial “drama” taking place among his Nazi characters has the effect of humanizing them and making the horrible genocide they are carrying out seem all the more incomprehensible. By the end of the book I was left wondering how, how, how did the genocidal mania of Nazism ever take hold of nearly an entire nation of seemingly normal human beings? What was the origin of this great hatred, and of the great collective will to act on it?