Some say those who abused their power should be held accountable for
their crimes, and others hold that wisdom lies in moving towards
the light; though each position can reasonably be argued, these's still a point which neither one addresses.
Germany, in 1945, when the various Allied forces moved in to liberate the camps,
they documented the atrocities they found; as the images of things once
unspeakable and once contained found their way into the world, the
German people, the ordinary citizens living in and around the
countryside, argued one of those positions or the other, both from anger and from shame.
that time, one German man whose name I do not know—but a wise man and a
brave one, I believe—with all around him, angry and ashamed, this man
spoke to his countrymen and neighbors. And he said the only thing that really mattered, and the one thing they did not want to hear:
didn’t have to come to this; we knew, everyone knew...we knew about Belsen...Dachau...we all
knew, whenever we saw the smoke...we knew what the stench that hung in the
air was...and if we had tried as hard to stop it as the one who started
it...this didn't have to happen. It did not have to come to this."