One of Life’s Injustice

When Rainer Hoess was 12 years old he discovered that his grandfather as the commandant of Auschwitz was a mass murderer. The gardener of his boarding school, an Auschwitz survivor, beat him “black and blue” when he found out his identity. Leaving aside the reaction of the gardener, how would we react where we to find out that family members had committed unspeakable acts? It’s difficult not to feel touched by the burden these young lives were—and are—forced to carry. In Germany, where the Holocaust is taught and spoken about, lest it ever happen again, the descendants of notorious Nazis are only now revealing their identity, and even then sometimes at the cost, like Rainer Hoess of being ostracized by the rest of their family. Reading about the atrocities affects all of us; knowing that they happened reaches deep into our psyche; and to add to that the fact these atrocities were committed by someone you either revered or were supposed to, someone with links to you, is a hardship worth much compassion. To be blamed by association for something you didn’t do and something you abhor would have to be one of life’s deeper injustices.