language rules

“…Furthermore, all correspondence referring to the matter was subject to rigid “language rules,” and, except in the reports from the Einsatzgruppen, it is rare to find documents in which such bald words as “extermination,” “liquidation,” or “killing” occur. The prescribed code names for killing were “final solution,” “evacuation” (Aussiedlung), and “special treatment” (Sonderbehandlung); deportation—unless it involved Jews directed to Theresienstadt, the “old people’s ghetto” for privileged Jews, in which case it was called “change of residence”—received the names of “resettlement” (Umsiedlung) and “labor in the East” (Arbeitseinsatz im Osten), the point of these latter names being that Jews were indeed…

grant a mercy death

“… None of the various ‘language rules,’ carefully contrived to deceive and to camouflage, had a more decisive effect on the mentality of the killers than this first war decree of Hitler, in which the word for “murder” was replaced by the phrase “to grant a mercy death.” Eichmann, asked by the police examiner if the directive to avoid “unnecessary hardships” was not a bit ironic, in view of the fact that the destination of these people was certain death anyhow, did not even understand the question, so firmly was it still anchored in his mind that the unforgivable sin…

geflügelte worte

“Before Eichmann entered the Party and the S.S., he had proved that he was a joiner, and May 8, 1945, the official date of Germany’s defeat, was significant for him mainly because it then dawned upon him that thenceforward he would have to live without being a member of something or other. “I sensed I would have to live a leaderless and difficult individual life, I would receive no directives from anybody, no orders and commands would any longer be issued to me, no pertinent ordinances would be there to consult—in brief, a life never known before lay before me.”…

moral phenomena

+++    “Evil … had lost the quality by which most people recognize it—the quality of temptation.” Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, 1963 +++ “Moral law is an invention of mankind for the disenfranchisement of the powerful in favor of the weak.”  Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, 1985 +++ “Morality is the herd instinct in the individual.” Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 1882 +++ “‘As the twig is bent the tree’s inclined.’ The instinct of antipathy against an Indian grows in the backwoodsman with the sense of good and bad, right and wrong. In one…