“The White Rose, In the Land of the Willfully Blind”
“This is one of my favorite leaflets from ‘Die Weiße Rose.’ I enjoy their observation that “German intellectuals fled to their cellars, there, like plants struggling in the dark, away from light and sun, gradually to choke to death.” One cannot blame them in some ways, since from the very beginning the National Socialists were backing their words with violent street thugs in brown shirts. And so many among the very wealthy and the highly trained professional classes threw themselves into the arms of the powerful like hypocrites and whores. But even if we rightfully condemn the failure of those whose obligation it is to speak, how often are we seeing this in our own time?
When the economy was very obviously building towards the financial crisis of 2008, how many economists were ignoring the bubble conditions, preferring to keep their noses in their statistics, a willful condition that I call data blindness. How many lawyers look at outrageous miscarriages of justice and say and do nothing? How many of those who have been blessed by circumstances sit back and smugly attribute their good fortune to their natural superiority as a the new ubermensch?
It is not safe to see too much, and even less safe for the career minded to speak out against the actions of powerful insiders who control the benefactions of position, and the perks of the privileged class.
It is much more judicious to hide one’s nose in a selective book of statistics, ignoring the reality, and relying instead on being data blind or ideologically blind to what is really happening. It is easier to say ‘I didn’t know of this injustice’ and afterwards, ‘who could see such a thing approaching?’ And then to do it all over again.”
“The White Rose, Second Leaflet”
“We will not be silent.
It is impossible to engage in intellectual discourse with National Socialist philosophy, for if there were such an entity, one would have to try by means of analysis and discussion either to prove its validity or to combat it. In actuality, however, we face a totally different situation.
At its very inception this movement depended on the deception and betrayal of one’s fellow man; even at that time it was inwardly corrupt and could support itself only by constant lies. After all, Hitler states in an early edition of “his” book (a book written in the worst German I have ever read, in spite of the fact that it has been elevated to the position of the Bible in this nation of poets and thinkers): “It is unbelievable, to what extent one must betray a people in order to rule it.”
If at the start this cancerous growth in the nation was not particularly noticeable, it was only because there were still enough forces at work that operated for the good, so that it was kept under control. As it grew larger, however, and finally in an ultimate spurt of growth attained ruling power, the tumor broke open, as it were, and infected the whole body.
The greater part of its former opponents went into hiding. The German intellectuals fled to their cellars, there, like plants struggling in the dark, away from light and sun, gradually to choke to death.
Now the end is at hand. Now it is our task to find one another again, to spread information from person to person, to keep a steady purpose, and to allow ourselves no rest until the last man is persuaded of the urgent need of his struggle against this system. When thus a wave of unrest goes through the land, when “it is in the air,” when many join the cause, then in a great final effort this system can be shaken off.
After all, an end in terror is preferable to terror without end.
We are not in a position to draw up a final judgment about the meaning of our history. But if this catastrophe can be used to further the public welfare, it will be only by virtue of the fact that we are cleansed by suffering; that we yearn for the light in the midst of deepest night, summon our strength, and finally help in shaking off the yoke which weighs on our world.
We do not want to discuss here the question of the Jews, nor do we want in this leaflet to compose a defense or apology. No, only by way of example do we want to cite the fact that since the conquest of Poland three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in this country in the most bestial way.
Here we see the most frightful crime against human dignity, a crime that is unparalleled in the whole of history. For Jews, too, are human beings- no matter what position we take with respect to the Jewish question- and a crime of this dimension has been perpetrated against human beings.
Someone may say that the Jews deserve their fate. This assertion would be a monstrous impertinence; but let us assume that someone said this- what position has he then taken toward the fact that the entire Polish aristocratic youth is being annihilated? (May God grant that this program has not yet fully achieved its aim as yet!)
All male offspring of the houses of the nobility between the ages of fifteen and twenty were transported to concentration camps in Germany and sentenced to forced labor, and all the girls of this age group were sent to Norway, into the bordellos of the SS!
Why tell you these things, since you are fully aware of them- or if not of these, then of other equally grave crimes committed by this frightful sub- humanity? Because here we touch on a problem which involves us deeply and forces us all to take thought.
Why do German people behave so apathetically in the face of all these abominable crimes, crimes so unworthy of the human race? Hardly anyone thinks about that.
It is accepted as fact and put out of mind. The German people slumber on in their dull, stupid sleep and encourage these fascist criminals; they give them the opportunity to carry on their depredations; and of course they do so.
Is this a sign that the Germans are brutalized in their simplest human feelings, that no chord within them cries out at the sight of such deeds, that they have sunk into a fatal consciencelessness from which they will never, never awake?
It seems to be so, and will certainly be so, if the German does not at last start up out of his stupor, if he does not protest wherever and whenever he can against this clique of criminals, if he shows no sympathy for these hundreds of thousands of victims. He must evidence not only sympathy; no, much more: a sense of complicity in guilt.
For through his apathetic behavior he gives these evil men the opportunity to act as they do; he tolerates this “government” which has taken upon itself such an infinitely great burden of guilt; indeed, he himself is to blame for the fact that it came about at all… “
Don’t bother saying you didn’t know, weren’t warned. You’ve heard this hundreds of times
right here on this little blog over 8 years, and here’s one more. Willful ignorance is no excuse…