Join 3,564 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Ex nazi prison guard marries jew, expelled from US at age of 84
September 20, 2006 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Elfriede Hut aka Elfriede Rinkel, 84 years old, allegedly was a guard at the nazi female concentration camp of Ravensbruck. After the war she married Fred William Rinkel (link to obituary), a longtime member of B'nai B'rith. She left U.S. on Semptember 1st for Germany, were she will probably spend the rest of her life, as she recently was expelled and banned from re-entering U.S.A.
posted by elpapacito (73 comments total)

 
Good. Some crimes can't be forgiven.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:36 PM on September 20, 2006


She joins John Demjanjuk, Helmut Oberlander, Konrad Kalejs and so many others who have been "shown the door" by the United States for past war crimes, etc.
posted by ericb at 1:41 PM on September 20, 2006


Mmmm, where did a certain mr. von Braun go (amongst others)?
posted by stFire at 1:43 PM on September 20, 2006


What exactly was her crime?

She admitted being assigned to the camp, explaining that she had had a less desirable job as a factory worker and then volunteered to be a dog handler at the camp for better wages.

But she insisted she never used her dog as a weapon against the prisoners, never forced them into marches every morning to work or to die.


Mercedes, BMW, Volkwagen all used slave labor. All of them were allowed to sell products in the US immediately after the war. Werver von Braun was in the SS and oversaw slave workers building his V2 rockets, and the army set him up with a very comfortable living and a very prestigious job at nasa.

Apparently some crimes can be forgiven, and have been.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:43 PM on September 20, 2006


BTW -- today is the one-year anniversary of the death of Simon Wiesenthal who dedicated most of his life to tracking down, hunting and gathering information on fugitive Nazis so that they could be brought to justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
posted by ericb at 1:44 PM on September 20, 2006


Yeah, too bad she couldn't build rockets. That said, I feel bad wishing the worst for an old lady, but I wish there was a hell so she could go there and meet Satan's aforementioned thorny 12-incher.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:45 PM on September 20, 2006


not only did she keep the secret all this time, but she even married a jewish guy!
posted by saulgoodman at 1:47 PM on September 20, 2006


...wonder if it was out of a sense of contrition or one of perversity?
posted by saulgoodman at 1:50 PM on September 20, 2006


wonder if it was out of a sense of contrition or one of perversity?

"because all these years she was totally embarrassed."

A dutch newssite translates it kinda like: "to compensate for her past"

hopefully for the husband they were referring more the donations to jewish charity than the marriage
posted by stFire at 1:55 PM on September 20, 2006


Wow, countries sometimes grant exceptions to general laws when it suits their interests to do so. In other news: sky blue, film at 11.

I don't mind adhering to the general principles that some things have no statute of limitations, and that benefits obtained by fraud are always revocable. She should have fessed up in 1959 and taken her chances on the tender mercies of INS.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:56 PM on September 20, 2006


What about this guy? (more here) Wouldn't mind finding out his whereabouts.
posted by fire&wings at 1:56 PM on September 20, 2006


posted "she married Fred William Rinkel (link to obituary),"

I can't help wondering if she had him buried, or cremated.
posted by orthogonality at 1:57 PM on September 20, 2006


(Not trying to be offensive or to trivialize the Shoah, but the question did occur to me.)
posted by orthogonality at 1:59 PM on September 20, 2006


Her story makes an interesting contrast with that of Irma Grese, who was convicted of war crimes and executed in 1945.
posted by mattbucher at 2:00 PM on September 20, 2006


orthogonality - posted "she married Fred William Rinkel (link to obituary),"

I can't help wondering if she had him buried, or cremated.


The first article in the fpp mentions a burial plot she had with her husband, so I'm guessing he was buried.
posted by ktoad at 2:12 PM on September 20, 2006


I can't help wondering if she had him buried, or cremated.

Lol.

But seriously, I feel kind of bad for this woman. There isn't any evidence that she actually did anything particularly bad, she apparently worked as an animal trainer.
posted by delmoi at 2:18 PM on September 20, 2006


I hear that the CIA team that finally tracked her down has been transferred to hunting Osama Bin Laden. Let the 60 year countdown to justice begin!
posted by GuyZero at 2:23 PM on September 20, 2006


I'd be more intrested in seeing the people involved in forced sterilization and eugenics in the US brought to justice. After all they were a big insperation for the Nazis.
posted by delmoi at 2:26 PM on September 20, 2006


ericb writes "today is the one-year anniversary of the death of Simon Wiesenthal "

Interesting, thanks ericb. Also interesting the claim that he fabricated a case against an innocent Frank Walus. Clearly this could be and probably is a smear campaign as it targets the person of Wiesenthal, but the allegation that 9 out 12 witness were false witness is very relevant. Apparently the source is an April 13, 1983, article by Dick Chapman of The Toronto Star ; obviously is being cited by some nazi notorious nazi sites, yet it would be interesting to clear up this point, if anything because it is being used to undermine an entire life work. Obviously the hunting of genocidal maniacs remains quite a good idea, regardless of Wiesenthal errors and contributions.
posted by elpapacito at 2:27 PM on September 20, 2006


Ugh. Poor woman was 'embarrassed.' How awful this must have been for her.

"She is barred from re-entering the United States. Only in death could she be returned. However, before Rinkel left, she sold her burial plot in Eternal Home Cemetery in Colma -- giving up the double gravestone with the Star of David above their names."

For years, she neglected to even mention her part, out of simple embarrassment, and now she still won't. Oh well, it's been so long that it doesn't matter to anyone anyhow now; everybody else who was there is dead. People even feel sorry for the woman.

The Holocaust, with all the terror and the lessons it ought to teach us, is left behind for the sake of appearances. And there hangs the nation of Germany today: this woman is an emblem for them all. I hope they welcome her.
posted by koeselitz at 2:28 PM on September 20, 2006


I predict Osama bin Laden will be captured in 2040 living in Cleveland, retired from his factory job and living with his southern baptist wife. He'll be 83 and terminally ill, calling himself "Sam" and will make a mean batch of BBQ pork ribs.
posted by mullingitover at 2:32 PM on September 20, 2006


delmoi: There isn't any evidence that she actually did anything particularly bad, she apparently worked as an animal trainer.

My impression was that she left a factory job for a better-paying job as a guard with a dog when she was 22. -- "I vos just trying to pay ze mortgage..."

Optimus Chyme: Some crimes can't be forgiven.

I dunno, man. It's been over 60 years and it's not at all clear that her crime was more than being part of an evil organization. I'd say it's about on par with being a guard at Gitmo or being a CIA operative. Possibly a little higher, say, being CIA operative using "alternative" interrogation techniques in Gitmo.
posted by sour cream at 2:36 PM on September 20, 2006


"When it was established in 1939, Ravensbrück was the only Nazi concentration camp operated exclusively for the internment of female prisoners. The charging document states that while serving at Ravensbrück, Rinkel used a trained attack dog to carry out her guard duties. At Ravensbrück, SS female guards armed with attack dogs forced malnourished women inmates to march to slave labor sites each day, guarded them while they performed manual labor, and then force-marched them back to the concentration camp, where they were held under notoriously inhumane conditions. The charging document alleges that Rinkel’s activities at Ravensbrück assisted the Nazis in persecuting civilians on the basis of their race, religion, national origin, or political opinion, and that her removal from the United States is required by federal law"
posted by Postroad at 2:40 PM on September 20, 2006


Ugh. Poor woman was 'embarrassed.' How awful this must have been for her.

Yeah, let's make snide remarks about this woman, despite the fact that she appears to have done nothing worthy of censure. But why didn't she arm herself to the teeth and try to single-handedly liberate the prisoners at Ravensbruck? Surely that's what all of us would have done in a similar situation.

This woman wasn't a member of the NSDAP. There is no indication that she engaged in any illegal or immoral behavior. This action on the part of the United States government is depressingly typical of the culture, where any sort of outrage can be forgiven the prominent and well-connected, while powerless scapegoats can be kicked around freely for the sake of flattering the conscience.

And it also segues well into the Obligatory Comment Castigating the United States That Must Appear In Absolutely Every Mefi Thread: if being a passive witness to atrocities is enough to get a person expelled from the country, does that mean our soldiers serving in Iraq will be denied re-entry when their tours are through?
posted by Makoto at 2:44 PM on September 20, 2006


Expelling her from the United States doesn't mean she can't work for us though.
posted by srboisvert at 2:49 PM on September 20, 2006


she appears to have done nothing worthy of censure. But why didn't she arm herself to the teeth and try to single-handedly liberate the prisoners at Ravensbruck? Surely that's what all of us would have done in a similar situation.

You have got to be kidding me. She volunteered to use a dog to herd starving slave women who were interned merely because of thier religion. And that was nothing wrong. Wake the fuck up, man. There is a big difference between being a passive witness and herding human beings with a trained attack german shepherd. If you can't see that, I feel sorry for you.
posted by miss tea at 2:50 PM on September 20, 2006


For years, she neglected to even mention her part, out of simple embarrassment

Embarrassed was the word her lawyer used. I'm willing to guess her own emotions were far from simple. Totally ashamed, I'm guessing. Especially if, as we must assume, she loved her husband.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:55 PM on September 20, 2006


Sure, miss tea, but then again, nothing would have happened to her if she had become a US citizen within the past 60 years. I wonder why she hadn't.
posted by sour cream at 2:57 PM on September 20, 2006


if the husband hadn't already died, this woulda killed him i bet. I can't believe she never told him.
posted by amberglow at 2:59 PM on September 20, 2006


It's been over 60 years and it's not at all clear that her crime was more than being part of an evil organization. I'd say it's about on par with being a guard at Gitmo or being a CIA operative. Possibly a little higher, say, being CIA operative using "alternative" interrogation techniques in Gitmo.

Being a guard at Gitmo or being a CIA op who tortures is also a crime and they should also be brought to justice with their superiors. We punish evil.
posted by amberglow at 3:02 PM on September 20, 2006


I dunno, man. It's been over 60 years and it's not at all clear that her crime was more than being part of an evil organization. I'd say it's about on par with being a guard at Gitmo or being a CIA operative. Possibly a little higher, say, being CIA operative using "alternative" interrogation techniques in Gitmo.
posted by sour cream at 2:36 PM PST on September 20


CIA operatives using "alternative" interrogation techniques should be prisoners themselves.

Yeah, let's make snide remarks about this woman, despite the fact that she appears to have done nothing worthy of censure. But why didn't she arm herself to the teeth and try to single-handedly liberate the prisoners at Ravensbruck? Surely that's what all of us would have done in a similar situation.
posted by Makoto at 2:44 PM PST on September 20


I'd probably get a job that didn't involve torture and barbarism. Glad to see you're so weak-willed that you'd happily go along with whatever your masters told you, though. It says volumes about your moral development.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:02 PM on September 20, 2006


I agree, sour cream. I was specifically responding to Makoto's astonishing statement.

The woman's feelings must be incredibly complex, but I do still feel like she is not utterly absolved from her complicity in a horrific system. (Before anyone shouts, yes I do understand that Nazi concentration camps have not be the only places where horrible things have happened.) The fact is, regardless of whether she felt anti-Jewish, anti-Gypsy, or anti-gay feelings herself, she chose to join up and take part in genocide, even if she didn't kill anyone personally. The machinery of death requires those people as well as the evil, you know? I think it is fundamentally right that they are punished. This woman was an adult, not a child, and she made a choice.
posted by miss tea at 3:03 PM on September 20, 2006


It doesn't say--did she pretend she was Jewish? how did they marry? Did she say she was a Christian? Did she say why she left Germany?
posted by amberglow at 3:05 PM on September 20, 2006


Whenever I hear any such story I'm always struck by the utter futility of seeking justice for war crimes 60 years after the fact.

We need to acknowledge and address injustice as it occurs, or as soon as possible afterwards. It's happening now, in Iraq, in Gitmo, and what is being done about that? What is being done about war crimes committed in Vietnam? I can't respect a government that prides itself on deporting 84-year-old concentration camp guards when it does fuck all about Kissinger, Bush, Cheney, et al and won't even take part in the International Criminal Court.
posted by orange swan at 3:09 PM on September 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


It's pretty easy to stand here and call her coward, that she's getting what she deserves and maybe that's true. But most of us have never been in similar situations and don't really know what it's like. I'd be willing to bet their are more than a few here who will do whatever it takes to get more comfortable when things get really uncomfortable.
posted by doctor_negative at 3:09 PM on September 20, 2006


She volunteered to use a dog to herd starving slave women who were interned merely because of thier religion.

She didn't intern, starve or enslave the women in question. There is no indication that she supported Nazi ideology in any way. There is no indication that she used violence against anyone, though she was in a position where it would have been overlooked or most likely encouraged. Absent evidence to the contrary, she... stood around somewhere with a dog. It seems likely to me that the officials responsible for her expulsion were preoccupied more with their own lurid imaginations and guilt-by-association than anything else.

The machinery of death requires those people as well as the evil, you know?

Those, like ourselves, who live comfortable lives in the developed world are able to do so as a result of inhumane treatment, often amounting to barbarism, inflicted for our economic benefit on those with the ill luck to be born in less developed nations. Are we any less complicit because our brutality has been outsourced?

(That point is an aside unrelated to the FPP. I'm not making the argument that this woman should be absolved because cruelty exists everywhere, but because this (admittedly scanty) article does not suggest she herself committed any reprehensible acts aside from being there. And absent any demonstration of positive cruelty or sadistic intent on her part, I can't condemn her for that.)
posted by Makoto at 3:15 PM on September 20, 2006


She lied on her application for immigration originally. She lied to her husband and family for all these years. She lied even now about why she was going back to Germany. Why are you guys defending her? What about her deserves any sympathy?

She was in no danger staying in Germany in the first place--she wasn't a refugee or threatened there. She chose to come here under false pretences--she wasn't coming from a third-world or developing country. She and millions of others of her generation were just fine and all in the same boat in Germany. We here have laws about it (unless you were a rocket scientist or something).
posted by amberglow at 3:20 PM on September 20, 2006


miss tea writes "If you can't see that, I feel sorry for you."

Actually I appreciate more your taking the time to write why a volunteer isn't the same as a person forced to obey at gunpoint

The parallels with gitmo and abu grahib guards are indeed possible, even if we hopefully think at least Gitmo is nowhere near as comparable to a nazi concentration camp. That said, we can imagine being a guard in Abu Ghraib, out of control, out of media scrutinity (assuming there still is some) but filled with hate against the alleged terrorist...they are responsible of everything including 9/11 ! They are subhumans, unworthy, scum.

I wonder how many fell for this line in nazi germany, and how many fell for the dehumanization logic now in US and in the West.
posted by elpapacito at 3:24 PM on September 20, 2006


Mmmm, where did a certain mr. von Braun go

A man whose allegiance is ruled by expedience
Call him a Nazi, he won't even frown
"Nazi, schmazi!" says Wernher von Braun.
posted by jokeefe at 3:27 PM on September 20, 2006


This is why I'm not rushing to judge her:

Attorney Dixon said Rinkel regretted her wartime actions. However, she added, "I was informed that it was not completely voluntary on her part. She answered a work ad. ... In Germany at that time, if you answered certain work ads and went to the interview and said you didn't want the job, they would put you in the camp yourself."

Not saying it's true, of course. Also, I have to wonder how many of us (including myself) would be condemning her outright if "she" had been a "he."

Also, I agree with Makoto's hypothetical.
posted by brundlefly at 3:28 PM on September 20, 2006


"We punish evil."


ORLY
posted by stenseng at 3:36 PM on September 20, 2006


Mmmm, where did a certain mr. von Braun go (amongst others)?

"Nazi, Schmazi," says Werner von Braun
posted by briank at 3:50 PM on September 20, 2006


I'm struck by the fact that she continued to lie, even up to the time that she left the U.S. Why didn't she tell her own family the truth? Something is fishy there. If she were as (relatively) innocent as her lawyer made her out to be, wouldn't she have discussed this with her family before she left town?
posted by peeping_Thomist at 3:51 PM on September 20, 2006


Mmmm, where did a certain mr. von Braun go (amongst others)?

"Nazi, Schmazi," says Werner von Braun
posted by briank at 3:53 PM on September 20, 2006


She married a jewish man, presumably a man she loved and intended to be buried beside, and the two of them chose to spend their lives together in the one of the most liberal and multi-cultural cities in the world. This is a terrible story, but I'll bet the facts are more complex than those calling for the old lady's damnation might imagine them to be. Sometimes even evil comes in shades of gray.
posted by applemeat at 4:07 PM on September 20, 2006


I'm struck by the fact that she continued to lie, even up to the time that she left the U.S. Why didn't she tell her own family the truth? Something is fishy there. If she were as (relatively) innocent as her lawyer made her out to be, wouldn't she have discussed this with her family before she left town?

I wouldn't presume to know how someone who might be dealing that level of guilt would act.
posted by brundlefly at 4:16 PM on September 20, 2006


Sometimes even evil comes in shades of gray.

you mean gray like the color of the inevitable "fog of war"?

(soft-hearted moral relativistm if i ever heard it...)

/snark
posted by saulgoodman at 4:22 PM on September 20, 2006


Makato: "The machinery of death requires those people as well as the evil, you know?"

This 'machinery of death,' which we hear about so often nowadays in connection with the Holocaust, is strangely very comforting. Every time somebody comes along who has some past connection to Nazism, we trot it out and point to it: 'look, they didn't do anything wrong, they were just saving their own lives. If they didn't go along with the party line, they might have died. They obviously didn't really believe in Nazism.' It seems that some huge, nameless, faceless thing (that 'machinery') just came along and forced all those poor Germans to vote for Hitler, to sign up for Hitler, to do what Hitler said.

Of course, we all believe that the Pope and all the rest of them have dealt with it; that they've thought it through, and learned the lessons, and can move on. The trouble is: there is no moving on. This isn't something we can just forget about; it's an essential lesson. I don't believe we've really learned it yet.

I don't say that it wasn't hard to stand against Nazism. And yes, I'm damned lucky I didn't have to. But it is despicable to save one's own life at the cost of an entire race. If deporting some old woman who dealt with this so little, who thought about what this meant so little, that she refused even to tell the truth to her husband, and that she refuses to be buried next to him now that it is known, can help us begin to teach our children that, then so much the better.
posted by koeselitz at 4:36 PM on September 20, 2006


The Holocaust, with all the terror and the lessons it ought to teach us, is left behind for the sake of appearances. And there hangs the nation of Germany today: this woman is an emblem for them all.

koeselitz, what the fuck? Tell me you don't mean that. I went to Berlin last year, and visited the recently completed Holocaust memorial there. It is very apparently an integral part of the city. The respect Germans have for the enormity of their past is in my experience unparalleled: it is precisely because they are now in the main fully aware of their history that they are at ease in the present. Pick your words more carefully; I didn't like to see the nice pair I stayed with (a naturalised Vietnamese immigrant and a native) smugly tarred with your brush. Come to think of it, my uncle took off for Germany in the 80s. He's lived there ever since. Perhaps you would like to characterise him as a self-hating/dumb Jew for adopting that country as his home? He plainly loves it. This woman is emblematic of nothing. She's just an old criminal, and thank God for that.
posted by topynate at 5:14 PM on September 20, 2006


If deporting some old woman who dealt with this so little, who thought about what this meant so little, that she refused even to tell the truth to her husband, and that she refuses to be buried next to him now that it is known, can help us begin to teach our children that, then so much the better.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think anyone here is saying she shouldn't be deported.

It's the whole, "GASP! EEEVIL!" thing. Saying she was despicable and leaving it at that obscures the fact that it's ridiculously easy for things like the Holocaust to happen among normal/non-evil people. I think that's the essential lesson we haven't learned yet.
posted by brundlefly at 5:18 PM on September 20, 2006


I think it's really not that easy. I think we're more aware of our choices and speak up much more (like when it's happening in Darfur, for instance) now, whether leaders do anything about it or not. I think she had choices (and she admitted to having them), and chose wrongly and evilly. She knew what kind of place it was, and didn't care because it paid better than factory work? wtf? Amoral is pretty much the nicest thing you can say about her and her choices--both then and throughout her life, i think.
posted by amberglow at 5:27 PM on September 20, 2006


It's better not to forget The Rwandan Genocide either. Expecially, for what it is worth, the role of Rado Vision Libre des Milles Collines that , despite the visionary name, was an hate inducing machine , capitalizing on the artificial, nonsense, entirely fabricated distinction between Utu and Tutsi : thanks old europe !

Worth mentioning is also Radio Maryja apparently opposed by the Pope himself
posted by elpapacito at 5:36 PM on September 20, 2006


Lies.. lies... "I did not have sexual relations with that woman"...

We care about lies these days?
posted by lundman at 6:14 PM on September 20, 2006


Optimus Chyme: Glad to see you're so weak-willed that you'd happily go along with whatever your masters told you, though. It says volumes about your moral development.

Ha. Someone never took Psych 101. I really wish everyone would, it would sure help the world a lot. At the very least, read up on Milgram, and also the Stanford Prison Experiment, and google "dehumanization". It wouldn't hurt to read Elie Wiesel's "Night" to get the big picture, either.

/cornell psych degree
//firstborn american, ancestors german
///if you do not forgive, you will never heal
posted by Lectrick at 7:14 PM on September 20, 2006


////if you excuse people who were willing participants in evil doings, you help ensure evil will always find willing participants in the future.
posted by amberglow at 7:39 PM on September 20, 2006


"She is barred from re-entering the United States. Only in death could she be returned. However, before Rinkel left, she sold her burial plot in Eternal Home Cemetery in Colma -- giving up the double gravestone with the Star of David above their names."
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:50 PM on September 20, 2006


Factory job to a concentration camp, eh? My grandfather did the exact same thing. He was 15 when they marched into Poland. He, his sisters, and his parents lived just outside Lublin.

Under the occupation, he began work at a factory, working the second shift. Usually, he got out before the curfew began and was able to make it home. One day, he kissed his mother goodbye and went to work. For whatever reason, he ended up working late and thought he could make it home through the back alleys. The way my grandmother tells it, he was running across a main street when he ran into a patrol and had no papers on him.

He spent his 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th birthdays in Dachau. 46 months all told.
posted by quite unimportant at 8:18 PM on September 20, 2006


Surely the purpose of hounding Nazis to their grave is to send a message that once you commit a war crime you can never relax again. In today's world, where atrocity after atrocity is ignored for the sake of political expediency, this seems rather petty and pointless.
posted by stammer at 10:52 PM on September 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


This 'machinery of death,' which we hear about so often nowadays in connection with the Holocaust Iraq, is strangely very comforting. Every time somebody comes along who has some past connection to Nazism the Bush administration, we trot it out and point to it: 'look, they didn't do anything wrong, they were just saving their own lives. If they didn't go along with the party line, they might have died lived less comfortably. They obviously didn't really believe in Nazism the Bush administration.' It seems that some huge, nameless, faceless thing (that 'machinery') just came along and forced all those poor Germans Americans to vote for Hitler Bush, to sign up for Hitler Bush, to do what Hitler Bush said.

I do not subscribe to Bush-hating, but it had to be said.
< /derail>
posted by po at 12:59 AM on September 21, 2006


Lectrick writes "///if you do not forgive, you will never heal"

Maybe you should go back Cornell, upgrade degree : forgiving is not forgetting. As I think you should know, but maybe just "forgot", one isn't required to
forget to forgive. The memory of the event should no longer elicit pain , but that isn't achieved by trying to forget the memory : rather it is done by understanding the event, understanding its dynamic, eventually letting the resentment, pain ease as they only prolong the misery of the person feeling eternal resentment, eternal pain.

But as patterns of human activity are usually repeated, one is very likely to repeat them if there is no memory of how and what went wrong. Mere memory isn't enough either, one should be able to recognize patterns of indoctrination...the terrorist are EVERWHERE, they hate ALL of us , we are in a PERPETUAL WAR.
posted by elpapacito at 3:05 AM on September 21, 2006


I don't see much point in going after a little old lady, even if she did once eat babies. I suppose I'd feel different if she'd eaten my babies, but you can't take away her 84 years, you can only take away what she has left, and that can't be much.

In any case, all the US government did was send her back to her homeland, which happens to be a very nice place to live, maybe nicer than where she had been living, and she's staying with her sister now, perhaps enjoying being back, reliving old times...
posted by pracowity at 5:56 AM on September 21, 2006


I think it's really not that easy. I think we're more aware of our choices and speak up much more (like when it's happening in Darfur, for instance) now, whether leaders do anything about it or not.

That's about the most... optimistic thing I've heard in some time. I wasn't aware that we suffered from a lack of options. If anything, I think the options are really opening up for us. Pre-emptive nuclear strikes, torture, just about anything if the end is worthwhile enough or we're scared enough.

I guess you see the average person on the street watching the mob and maybe doing nothing. I see the average person on the street in the mob.
posted by dreamsign at 6:18 AM on September 21, 2006


Ha. Someone never took Psych 101. I really wish everyone would, it would sure help the world a lot. At the very least, read up on Milgram, and also the Stanford Prison Experiment, and google "dehumanization". It wouldn't hurt to read Elie Wiesel's "Night" to get the big picture, either.

/cornell psych degree
//firstborn american, ancestors german
///if you do not forgive, you will never heal
posted by Lectrick at 7:14 PM PST on September 20


I think this is probably both the stupidest and somehow most condescending post I've yet read here. I've taken Psych 101, like everyone else here. I know all about Milgram's shock experiment, and the Stanford Prison Experiment, and I've read about ten of Wiesel's books, including Night.

So what is it you really want? Should we accept that we are capable of horrors, and leave it at that? Never strive to be anything better? Shall we forgive all crimes because we are all capable of sin? Not everyone who sees an open till takes from it.

/fuck off
//psych degrees are no different from english degrees
///i'm not intereted in healing, i'm interested in justice
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:35 AM on September 21, 2006


What Optimus Chyme said. I really don't understand the attitude that because none of us can be certain how we'd behave in difficult circumstances, we should just let it all go. If I behaved in that way through human weakness, I should be deported too. I believe in understanding and empathy, but taking part in evil is taking part in evil, even if you only held the dogs while someone else did the killing.

In Germany at that time, if you answered certain work ads and went to the interview and said you didn't want the job, they would put you in the camp yourself.

Pure bullshit. But a natural thing to say if you're the one who took the job. It's too little known that many Germans refused to do as the Nazis said, and nothing happened to them. Yes, bad things happened to others, but it was a chaotic, fucked-up system, and if you had some guts and took chances you had a perfectly good chance of getting away with it. But of course it's always easier to go along and claim you had no choice.
posted by languagehat at 7:19 AM on September 21, 2006


I guess you see the average person on the street watching the mob and maybe doing nothing. I see the average person on the street in the mob.
Yup--watching, recognizing the evil and shit, and usually doing nothing but shrugging and turning away (the vast majority) or complaining about it/taking action. What they aren't doing, tho, is volunteering or signing up to participate in perpetrating it (see the army recruitment problems here for just one example)

Last night i realized that this woman's behavior reminds me of the Bush administration in many ways--all the very many actions they're taking to cover their asses because they know they're doing wrong--even Roberts and Alito were chosen in part because they will allow presidents to do anything at all, legal or not. They're pressuring Congress to change our laws, they're ignoring our laws but at the same time lawyering up, they're using signing statements to get around the laws, they've put people in secret places to evade the laws ...
posted by amberglow at 7:39 AM on September 21, 2006


Hey, if we can forgive the pope for being a nazi...
posted by Artw at 8:02 AM on September 21, 2006


Optimus Chyme writes "/fuck off
"//psych degrees are no different from english degrees
"///i'm not intereted in healing, i'm interested in justice"


Oh my you two are a couple , optimus ! Psych degree yeah it can be inaccurate, superficial and to a degree it is , but still beats hands down an english degree when you consider it's only a goddamn language. Yeah it is not so easy to use it accurately, but you will have no need for english degree with dealing with people, as opposed to psy101.

And also, you are not interested in healing, but in justice ? Well then good luck with abstraction such as justice, let' see if I can prevent people from killing, beats having a judge emitting decrees post-facto.
posted by elpapacito at 8:42 AM on September 21, 2006


[Elpapacito: You're in Italy, so maybe you're thinking "English degree" as in "English as a Second language?" An English degree here involves at least a little more than just learning to use "a goddamn language" accurately.]
posted by applemeat at 11:40 AM on September 21, 2006


Simon Wiesenthal Center Urges Prosecution of 83-year-old Nazi.
posted by ericb at 12:08 PM on September 21, 2006


applemeat writes "involves at least a little more"

As studying english literature ? That's fine and dandy and maybe gives some insight into human nature, maybe aslo teaching to write in different styles. Still , all the literature majors here, with some exceptions of course, are utterly unemployed or in position that have absolutely nothing to do with the skill they acquired (if they did). Eventually they start learning other languages and try hard to get into communication business, but their skills aren't in big demand. Not their fault of course.
posted by elpapacito at 5:44 PM on September 21, 2006


Pardon my English, Alpapacito, but you're just talking shit. As a trial attorney, I use my English degree every day. Scoff all you want, but the skill of using not just "accurate" English, but knowing how to write persuasively is a valuable commodity in many well-paid professions. Sure, there are plenty of underemployed English majors (as there are plenty of underemployed liberal arts majors in general.) But the sweeping generalizations you've made sound rather ignorant.
posted by applemeat at 6:39 PM on September 21, 2006


since when do you have to have been an English major to know how to write persuasively? Madison Ave would be empty.
posted by amberglow at 8:04 PM on September 21, 2006


I think elpapacito is just mad I talked shit about psych degrees, the majority of which are held by really annoying receptionists.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:33 AM on September 22, 2006


« Older Clarence Ashley - The Coo Coo Skip James - Crow J...  |  College fresman works the syst... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments