1/31/2010                                                                                       View Comments

"Good Christians" with non-working noses

By summerbreeze

Arbeit macht frei [Il lavoro rende liberi]Image by maxgiani via Flickr

Listening to the news about Haiti, and hearing the News Commentators talk about "the stench of death", revived a memory of what my Dad had said about his service in WW II. He had fought in the Battle of The Bulge, among other battles, and told us several times about how once you smell a decaying or burning body, you instantly know that it is human, and you never forget that smell. Dad was a very sensitive man, and you could see that even decades after-the-fact he was still disturbed by it.

There's a reason that I'm bringing up this unpleasant subject.

Over two decades ago, my husband was an Army Officer and we lived in Central Germany "off post" in a rented house among the German people.

While living there, we used to love to spend every week-end exploring German history from Castles to Concentration Camps. We're both History Buffs in a big way.

On a days' visit to Dachau, I was struck by the close proximity of the town of Dachau to the Concentration Camp. It is only three kilometers between the city's train station and the camp.

I clearly remember thinking as I looked over at the town... "Those people could see from their 3rd-story windows what was going on." Not only could they see, but they also surely could have smelled as well, and that thought was very unsettling.

As we went through the gates at the Concentration Camp, my oldest daughter said "Mommy I don't like this place." I'm sure that she picked up on our somber vibes.

Looking through the lens as an atheist now, I wonder about the mind-set of the average religious person living in Dachau at that time. Catholicism and Nazism had a complicated relationship, and nearly every person in the Nazi hierarchy had been or was a Catholic. Hitler himself was a Catholic (in spite of how Catholic's today denying it), although he also was anticlerical. I'm not saying that every single Catholic endorsed the Nazi Party, just that a large percentage ignored the atrocities.

I have a tremendous respect and awe for the courage that some average Germans had in WWII to save Jews by sheltering them or helping to secretly relocate them. Obviously these single acts of heroism show that a 'higher thinking' was able to transcend centuries of Antisemitism that had been spewed from every pulpit.

I had a German friend in my neighborhood there who was open-minded, and I guess I could describe her as an agnostic. She told me that her parents, grand-parents, etc., as far back as she could remember, sincerely believing that the Jews were "the Christ killers."

Had the Vatican spoken out so much more forcefully, and more often, would the result of the "final solution" been different? Me thinks that in their eyes, that would have meant acknowledging that just perhaps, they may have been wrong about the "Christ killers" package that they'd been delivering to Catholics for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Just how deep does the delusion, the self-brainwashing, and the hatred have to be when it takes precedence over the natural, in-born human compassion we all share ?

After our U.S. troops liberated Dachau, several of our soldiers were so horrified and repulsed by what they saw, the bodies piled high, the gas chambers and the walking corpses, that they opened fire on many of the guards there. Could you blame them ?

Our troops also went into the City of Dachau and rounded up the citizens and forced them to look at the horror inside the camp. I remember seeing pictures of the local men and women with wide-eyed "disbelief" on their faces.....then our troops forced the citizens to help clean up the camp---BRAVO !

At that point, I'm wondering just how many of them gave a sober, hard look at their belief and perhaps wondered just how one can believe such a doctrine of hate and at the same time be a loving human being.

Just as Christopher Hitchens says : "Religion Poisons Everything" ...............minds included.


84 comments:

webmdave said...

Thank you for posting this, summerbreeze.

It really is amazing how the human mind can be conditioned to ignore things that are in plain sight. This is also a powerful example of some of the atrocities committed based on a faulty belief system.

webmdave said...

Summerbreeze, you asked, “…just how one can believe such a doctrine of hate and at the same time be a loving human being.” Apparently, somehow, most believers are able to largely ignore the stench of burning flesh wafting from their own belief system.

Christianity worships a man (Christ) who was just fine with a plan which calls for torturing the majority of humans with fire for an eternity. It thus involves a twisted, perverted value system, and those who take it the most seriously appear to be the most twisted (Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps, etc.). Of course, the believers will tell you that those to be burned must deserve it, never questioning how a finite “sin” can deserve infinite punishment. Sadly, it’s rotten at the core – not the people, who are themselves victims, but the religion, and it damages people just as Nazism damaged people.

webmdave said...

I don't really disagree with your point, but I would like to say that not all Catholics (or Germans) were all hunky dory with genocide in Nazi Germany. All four of my grandparents came from WW2 Europe, and two of them openly participated in Nazi activities. But it was so much more complicated then that. My maternal grandma told me stories about how her priest was extremely troubled by what was going on and prayed on end for the Vatican to say something against it. In the end, he just silently encouraged the town to help those in need. My maternal grandpa had a similar upbringing, except he was forced into the Nazi military with a gun to his head, for being of the right age. My paternal grandma worked in a Nazi munitions factory- I still have her nazi arbeitbuch with the record in it. While I don't know her personal politics, since she never spoke about it, she did end up marrying my very Jewish grandpa, who lost his entire family in the war. And all three of my Catholic grandparents are religious.

My point is that not all Catholics were in support and that there was a much more complicated system of ignorance involved, including patriotism and the psychology that Hitler's cult of charisma was playing. I'm not a religious person at all and I wont stick up for the Vatican's silent approval or church higher ups looking the other way or the religious justifications made. There were average Catholics though that found the whole system to be repulsive. I just don't like painting the whole group with that brush when there were so many other factors playing into the mindset of nazi Germany.

webmdave said...

You wrote: "I'm wondering just how many of them gave a sober, hard look at their belief and perhaps wondered just how one can believe such a doctrine of hate and at the same time be a loving human being."

I wonder too. Would they have just "swept it under the rug" and gone on attending Mass and having wine and crackers every week, or did some of them go through the Dark Night of The Soul and come out the other side no longer believing the Church knew Best?

I suppose one could try to see if there is/was a higher percentage of non-believers in these areas post-war, but that would probably be almost impossible to do.

webmdave said...

I really don't know how one can become so hard-hearted that they come to believe in an ideology full of hatred. When I saw those pictures of Auschwitz as a child in school, I cried, just as I did concerning Hiroshima. I found WW II was a horrifying time to study.

I found out years later from a WW II vet, that, just as I suspected, they did not need the second bomb in Japan, but dropped it only to get rid of it. I was appalled! How could they, esp when they saw what the first one did. Did they really hate the Japanese that much?

Meanwhile, as George Tekei (Sulu on Star Trek: TOS) can attest to, Japanese-Americans were being placed in concentration camps here in the U.S.

What I am saying is, the U.S. was just as bad with it's hatred too, even in WW II. Of course, we didn't kill any Japanese-Americans, that I know of.

webmdave said...

Pope Pius 12th did do SOMEthing. He wrote an encyclical : Mit Brennender Sorge. ( With burning sorrow) Big deal. There was a Jewish ghetto in the very shadow of the Vatican.All of my grandparents too, came from Germany-earlier. They broadcast Hitler's speeches in the early 30s. I can still recall grandma saying at the conclusion- very sadly, "that man will destroy Germany" this was, I think when he became Chancellor, in 1933-4 Also, after the war, the pope was VERY active in saving top ranking Nazis. Many were hidden in the Papal summer castle while arrangements were made to smuggle them to South America.If there WAS a literal hell, Pius twelve deserved a place in "der Erste Kreis der Helle" (the first circle of hell).

webmdave said...

The death camps did not operate the ovens on Sundays.

webmdave said...

Our ship was at Okinawa when we dropped the bombs on Hiroshima & Nagasaki. The date of the invasion of the islands of Japan was set. Our squadron of minesweepers were to sweep the coast to enable the fleet to come in. The invasion would have killed 100s of 1,000s of Japs & without a doubt, countless 10s of thousands of our troops- quite possibly yours truly, given the kamikazi attacks at Okinawa. ( !,000 kamikazi planes were saved for this event, plus a great many two man suicide subs. Also, they had reinforced inter-connecting trenches & an enormous number of cannon to oppose the invasion. If Japan had not attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, I think efforts would have been made to persuade Japan to surrender.It's easy to second guess the last weeks of the war now, but given the times, it is understandable, what happened

webmdave said...

I still say none of that had to be IF...

If people were more compassionate to others.
If people cared about others more.
If this and that...

Then again, I am a non-religious/humanist conscientious objector. I do not believe violence is necessary for anything, except maybe, when there is no other recourse to defend oneself- such a rape or other personal attack.

webmdave said...

redlemon.....I think that you skimmed thru my post too fast, re-read above and you will see that I said:

( 1 ) " I'm not saying that every single Catholic endorsed the Nazi Party, just that a large percentage ignored the atrocities....."

( 2 ) " I have a tremendous respect and awe for the courage that some average Germans had in WWl l to save Jews by sheltering them or helping to secretly relocate them...."

....and BTW, I have German blood in my veins also

webmdave said...

I admit, I skimmed due to just waking up and coffee being done.

I am slightly sensitive to this kind of topic, only because I have heard it in defense of why all Catholics are bad, bad people. I've heard it a whole lot, actually. So I guess I tend to knee jerk in that respect, only because my grandparents are all such respectable people. I may not agree with their religion, but I sure wish more religious people were like them. So I do apologize. I suppose I just wanted that all to be clear.

Actually, now that I've had my coffee and stopped to think about it, the argument that all Catholics are bad because of nazi Germany has mostly come from evangelical Christians. Hmm, I suppose that's another topic for another day though.

webmdave said...

" Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind " John F. Kennedy

webmdave said...

Summerbreeze said, "Just how deep does the delusion, the self-brainwashing, and the hatred have to be when it takes precedence over the natural, in-born human compassion we all share?"

It is strange what crowds of people; institutions will do that individuals will not do. Mobs lynch people where any one individual would be hard pressed to do the murder on their own by themselves with their own two hands. By the time this corporate craziness moves to the level of a nation state the impersonal nature of the actions has become exponential.

Institutions and nations never even had, "the natural, in-born human compassion we all share ". They are not born naturally from a womb but coldly with a contract or a constitution. "Drop the damn second bomb on the Japs we have to dispose of it someway. " would certainly be something a nation could do to another nation as one political institution to another. Burn them in the ovens might be something the Nazi party institution would do but an individual German would not really try to stuff their neighbor into the kitchen gas oven and shut the door. To institutions (political and corporate) people are reduced to Human Resources and Human Liabilities. Take out the trash or put it to work. Cold as ICE.

The odd thing is that most of the people in the ranks of an army or in the mob doing a lynching have all kinds of conflicting emotions the entire time they go about their inhuman work. Visit any Veterans Hospital Psych ward too see how the difference between being the tool of an institution and at the same time natural born human being can cause a snap. The feelings are usually stuffed down and repressed in the interest of the welfare the "mission" and their own group. Tribalism is the bane of the world.

Yeah, there are some psychopathic individuals who are just as bad but it seems from time to time nations and other institutions go psychopathic and it is just called war as if that word could cover up the insanity of the action. In the case of the Nazi's and most other totalitarian dictatorships their war is with the entire world that is not already under their thumb. Bombs, ovens, guns and steel, sure...whatever will get the job done for the benefit institutional bottom line. Plato taught that the normal state of affairs is war and that all national governments are formed with policies that assume war as the backdrop of all their policies. National security is job one for every politician. Just why are those Swiss guards there at the Vatican gates? Oh, hired mercenaries will do best and that way the dirty jobs can get done without any of the home team taking a hit. I am surprised that no American politician has suggested that we American "hire" Haitians and put them on the frontline in Iraq and kill two birds and many people with one stone. Dachau is a great illustration of the horror machine that has first and second gears as well this fourth gear with the peddle to the metal.

webmdave said...

I have always love JFK and have always felt that, if he had lived, he would have been president when I was born in 1966. It is amazing to me how humans can so easily change the potential course of history, just by killing one of us.

webmdave said...

My husband has a very small family because of the Holocaust. His paternal grandfather did not make it out, but was able to send his wife and two sons to the US. His mother's parents came to the US before it all started, but most of their family did not.

I have read many accounts of the atrocities that took place while Hitler tried to cleanse the world of the undesirables. I think that while some took pleasure in the roundup and extermination of their neighbors, the vast majority was living in fear that their family could be next and acted only to keep their own families safe.

I still feel bad about a little girl who lived next door to us when we were first married. We lived in a crummy apartment building next to an even crummier house that was divided into apartments. We were on the third floor and used to grill dinner on the fire escape landing.

One day, a 3-year-old crawled up all those steps when she smelled our dinner cooking. I took her back down and went in search of her family. Another neighbor told me she lived next door, but no one was home. About a half hour later, her mother came walking home from the store with a bag of liquor and a bag of potato chips. I told her about the child crawling up all those steps, and she said, "She's prolly hungry," and threw the chips at her. The child ripped into the chips and started cramming them into her mouth.

The child coming up the stairs at dinner time became a regular occurrence, and I started making extra food. She could eat a whole chicken breast and baked potato by herself. I bought her some warmer clothes and shoes and talked to the mother about how dangerous it was to let her roam the neighborhood alone, and how she needed to feed her more than chips. She continued to leave her by herself. I called the authorities to report the situation, but they would not come out unless I gave my name. I wanted to talk to my husband first.

but then, the mother said something that stopped me from getting the child help. She said her boyfriend was about to get out of prison and he was coming home. He'd been in prison for manslaughter.

By this time, I was expecting our first child. I will always be ashamed that I did not report the way this child was living to the authorities because I was afraid for my own family. I did not want to be on the wrong side of a man who killed people.

We moved several months after the boyfriend came home, but not before we found out the mother was expecting another child.

I don't know what happened to those children, or any others they might have had.

I was so terrified of one man who might or might not do harm to me and mine that I let a little child continue to live like a stray cat. Can I blame those people in Europe in WWII, who were up against an entire government, who tried hard not to see what was going on around them?

webmdave said...

This was probably during the 70s, right? Lisa, you should have reported it anyway. :(

webmdave said...

Well there is also the inquisition, the burning times, and the crusades.... simply put, the Catholic Church is the single most perverted institution known to man.

webmdave said...

The internment camps were a dark day in American history, but they were not concentration camps. They did not drop the second bomb just to get rid of it, and seeing as how those bombs were highly classified and not built by the military I would imagine that the WWII vet you speak of was speaking largely based on speculation and/or rumors. But those bombs were horrible. Probably the worst thing man has done.

webmdave said...

The vet was there. He dropped one- so he says.

George Tekei might even disagree with you about the U.S. Concentration camps though.

webmdave said...

I wont argue about that, because I fully believe that. As I said, it's just a sensitive topic for me because I hate the broad brush that's painted over individual people.

webmdave said...

Im not saying the internment camps weren't a horrible thing, but the term concentration camp has different connotations that would not be accurate for the internment camps. I know people who were there, as I live on the west coast in an area where our Japanese-American population was evacuated and their property confiscated. A terrible thing. Below is a list of the crew of The Bockscar on the day it dropped "Fat Man" on Nagasaki:
Maj Charles W. Sweeney, aircraft commander
Capt Charles Donald Albury, co-pilot (pilot of Crew C-15) [3]
2nd Lt Fred Olivi, regular co-pilot
Capt James Van Pelt, navigator
Capt Kermit Beahan, bombardier
Master Sergeant John D. Kuharek, flight engineer
SSgt Ray Gallagher, gunner, assistant flight engineer
SSgt Edward Buckley, radar operator
Sgt Abe Spitzer, radio operator
Sgt Albert Dehart, tail gunner
Also on board were the following additional mission personnel:
CDR Frederick L. Ashworth (USN), weaponeer
LT Philip Barnes (USN), assistant weaponeer
2nd Lt Jacob Beser, radar countermeasures

webmdave said...

Fair enough. I mean its not like the average Catholic is evil or anything. In fact, of course, most catholics are good people. But I never cease to be amazed that so many people can put so much faith into an organization that has historically done so much wrong.

webmdave said...

Yes, I should have. But, I had a friend who was a social worker who said they would know who had reported them. She said chances were the child would not be removed from the home. And I was scared for my own unborn child and for my husband and myself.

webmdave said...

So, it was the 70s? The 80s were almost as bad, but it was starting to get better after that. Too bad that was too late for some of us. sigh.

webmdave said...

'78

webmdave said...

Summerbreeze,

Thank you for a thoughtful post.

To be clear about a topic such as this, one must remember that fear is the tool of oppression. The NAZI movement relied upon that from day one. Loyal party members could, themselves, be killed or imprisoned simply by a libelous or slanderous statement. Their own were killed just out of convenience and real party politics. Take the case of the "Night of the long knives" as only one instance.

Remember too, that everyone in that regime lived under the shadow of the Gestapo. The other civilian NAZI organizations reported to the Gestapo any person who seemed even slightly suspicious or non-mainstream. Children of the Hitler-Jungen (Hitler youth) were taught to even report on their own parents and neighbors. This was sometimes done just to get brownie points from the Jungen leaders and Gestapo.

It was very risky business to even voice the slightest opinion of compassion towards jews, gypsies, political dissidents, homosexuals, etc. To do so would cast suspicion upon oneself and invite arrest by the authorities. Many of those vocal, compassionate citizens ended up in work camps themselves.

The Hitler regime is a prime example as to what goes terribly wrong when fanaticism, patriotism, religiosity and the like catch fire in the larger social context.

swabby

webmdave said...

How did I guess! I am so glad things have changed since then. Maybe more children in such situations can be helped.

webmdave said...

I have been a subscriber to this organization and it's ideology for a few years now, but have never commented. This thread of conversation was extremely heartfelt and deepdown honest. Thank you all for this wonderful flow of conversation....dragonflyJack

webmdave said...

Actually, they WERE called concentration camps at the time. Upon the discoveries of the German concentration camps the term was changed to "internment" camps. Prior to this the term "concentration" camp simply referred to camps where concentrations of people were held (itself a dark idea in today's eyes).

The bomb could have just as easily been dropped somewhere else rather than on a densely populated area. It was my understanding that it was done so that there would be no doubt that it was the USA who dropped the bomb and the Japanese couldn't make the excuse that the explosion was caused by an accident (was was a concern) and also to completely demoralize the country.

webmdave said...

I was having this conversation with my son the history buff and venting about how the German people could allow this and he told me about the villagers being conscripted into burying the dead, etc. He also told me that the mayor of the town along with his wife were so effected by this that they and committed suicide.

About the Catholic Church --for centuries they upheld the "blood liable"--the belief that Jews require the blood of Christian babies for their rituals. This was deeply embedded in the minds of Europeans at that time as it is still in the minds of Muslims today.

The Nazi leaders who escaped to Venezuela were smuggled out of Germany to safety through a network of Catholic monasteries which implicates the RCC as intimately connected with the Third Reich.

webmdave said...

swabby, Thank-You for your comment to my post. Yes, those were terrible, horrible times. I wasn't criticizing individual religious German citizens, just the doctrine of hate that caused the deluded ones to turn against their inner instincts to be compassionate & loving human beings.
I am just glad, very glad that I didn't have to live in Europe at that time.
I wanted to post this because now-a-days there are idiots who are declaring that it all never happened.

webmdave said...

lisa, thank-you for your comment to my post. I'm sorry about your husband's paternal grandfather. Such horror done to families. I had a Jewish Uncle who died about 10 years ago, he was one of my favorites. He and his family came from Chicago, but they all then moved down to Miami. I got to know them very well, and one of the greatest sadness's in that family, was the large amount of their relatives in Europe that had been killed in the Holocaust.

I wanted to post that story because I'd been hearing a lot about how now there are so many people ( idiots ) who say it never happened !

webmdave said...

dealdoctor, Thank-You for your comment to my post. What Plato spoke of, gosh, what a sad state of affairs to have to live under that concept !
And the really sad part about it is, that the majority of wars were fostered and nurtured under the "my god is the one true god, yours is not" concept. With THAT process, killing the godless comes very easy.

webmdave said...

Mriana, Thanks for your comments on my post.....yes I remember that horrible, terrible footage that we watched in Jr.High School showing the concentration camps....made me ill. Mans' inhumanity to man. And it seems the more deluded & brainwashed one is, the easier it is to do such dastardly deeds.

webmdave said...

godfree, thanks for commenting on my post. Yes I've always liked that quote too "Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind".....how true. And the sad thing of it is, is that "might makes right" is not always true. Sometimes the bad guys win.

webmdave said...

johnofindiana, thanks for your comment to my post. Yes, I've wondered about what you brought up in your last sentence, about finding out the ratio of believers to non-believers post-war. I know that had I lived in Europe at that time, I sure would have ended up dropping Gawd like a hot potatoe !

webmdave said...

ooops....I mean redlemon.....but never mind, it seems to have gotten in the right sequence.

webmdave said...

erdlemon, I'll try to get to you this way.....look down below to my comment to you.

webmdave said...

redlemon, I hope that you can see this...it's at the end of some other comments to you. Thank-You for the apology, I appreciate that. What happened in those days is such a sticky subject, I don't mean to step on Catholic's toes here.....It's not the person, it's the terrible doctrine that they are subjected to. Thanks for your comment !

webmdave said...

WizenedSage, thank-You for your comment. Yes, you're right, religion is "rotten to the core" and damages the mind of those who are too gullible to think for themselves. sad.

webmdave said...

Another possible explanation for the second bomb has been theorized to deter the Russians for the upcoming cold war. Of course at the time they were our allies, but it was a tense and terse relationship at best. And of course after so many brutal pacific campaigns there was much concern over how many troops would be lost if we had to invade mainland Japan. And as for the concentration camp situation, what I was trying to argue and perhaps wasn't clear with, is that even thought our internment camps were a terrible disgraceful thing, in this day and age it isn't quite fair to refer to them as concentration camps due to the current connotation of the term.

webmdave said...

I was having this conversation with my son the history buff and venting about how the German people could allow this and he told me about the villagers being conscripted into burying the dead, etc. He also told me that the mayor of the town along with his wife were so effected by this that they and committed suicide.

About the Catholic Church --for centuries they upheld the "blood liable"--the belief that Jews require the blood of Christian babies for their rituals. This was deeply embedded in the minds of Europeans at that time as it is still in the minds of Muslims today.

The Nazi leaders who escaped to Venezuela were smuggled out of Germany to safety through a network of Catholic monasteries which implicates the RCC as intimately connected with the Third Reich.

webmdave said...

Actually, they WERE called concentration camps at the time. Upon the discoveries of the German concentration camps the term was changed to "internment" camps. Prior to this the term "concentration" camp simply referred to camps where concentrations of people were held (itself a dark idea in today's eyes).

The bomb could have just as easily been dropped somewhere else rather than on a densely populated area. It was my understanding that it was done so that there would be no doubt that it was the USA who dropped the bomb and the Japanese couldn't make the excuse that the explosion was caused by an accident (was was a concern) and also to completely demoralize the country.

webmdave said...

RenDP....thanks for your comment to my post, yes "faulty belief systems" have been at the root of so much evil in the world.

webmdave said...

How did I guess! I am so glad things have changed since then. Maybe more children in such situations can be helped.

webmdave said...

I have been a subscriber to this organization and it's ideology for a few years now, but have never commented. This thread of conversation was extremely heartfelt and deepdown honest. Thank you all for this wonderful flow of conversation....dragonflyJack

webmdave said...

'78

webmdave said...

So, it was the 70s? The 80s were almost as bad, but it was starting to get better after that. Too bad that was too late for some of us. sigh.

webmdave said...

Yes, I should have. But, I had a friend who was a social worker who said they would know who had reported them. She said chances were the child would not be removed from the home. And I was scared for my own unborn child and for my husband and myself.

webmdave said...

Summerbreeze,

Thank you for a thoughtful post.

To be clear about a topic such as this, one must remember that fear is the tool of oppression. The NAZI movement relied upon that from day one. Loyal party members could, themselves, be killed or imprisoned simply by a libelous or slanderous statement. Their own were killed just out of convenience and real party politics. Take the case of the "Night of the long knives" as only one instance.

Remember too, that everyone in that regime lived under the shadow of the Gestapo. The other civilian NAZI organizations reported to the Gestapo any person who seemed even slightly suspicious or non-mainstream. Children of the Hitler-Jungen (Hitler youth) were taught to even report on their own parents and neighbors. This was sometimes done just to get brownie points from the Jungen leaders and Gestapo.

It was very risky business to even voice the slightest opinion of compassion towards jews, gypsies, political dissidents, homosexuals, etc. To do so would cast suspicion upon oneself and invite arrest by the authorities. Many of those vocal, compassionate citizens ended up in work camps themselves.

The Hitler regime is a prime example as to what goes terribly wrong when fanaticism, patriotism, religiosity and the like catch fire in the larger social context.

swabby

webmdave said...

Im not saying the internment camps weren't a horrible thing, but the term concentration camp has different connotations that would not be accurate for the internment camps. I know people who were there, as I live on the west coast in an area where our Japanese-American population was evacuated and their property confiscated. A terrible thing. Below is a list of the crew of The Bockscar on the day it dropped "Fat Man" on Nagasaki:
Maj Charles W. Sweeney, aircraft commander
Capt Charles Donald Albury, co-pilot (pilot of Crew C-15) [3]
2nd Lt Fred Olivi, regular co-pilot
Capt James Van Pelt, navigator
Capt Kermit Beahan, bombardier
Master Sergeant John D. Kuharek, flight engineer
SSgt Ray Gallagher, gunner, assistant flight engineer
SSgt Edward Buckley, radar operator
Sgt Abe Spitzer, radio operator
Sgt Albert Dehart, tail gunner
Also on board were the following additional mission personnel:
CDR Frederick L. Ashworth (USN), weaponeer
LT Philip Barnes (USN), assistant weaponeer
2nd Lt Jacob Beser, radar countermeasures

webmdave said...

I wont argue about that, because I fully believe that. As I said, it's just a sensitive topic for me because I hate the broad brush that's painted over individual people.

webmdave said...

The vet was there. He dropped one- so he says.

George Tekei might even disagree with you about the U.S. Concentration camps though.

webmdave said...

The internment camps were a dark day in American history, but they were not concentration camps. They did not drop the second bomb just to get rid of it, and seeing as how those bombs were highly classified and not built by the military I would imagine that the WWII vet you speak of was speaking largely based on speculation and/or rumors. But those bombs were horrible. Probably the worst thing man has done.

webmdave said...

Well there is also the inquisition, the burning times, and the crusades.... simply put, the Catholic Church is the single most perverted institution known to man.

webmdave said...

This was probably during the 70s, right? Lisa, you should have reported it anyway. :(

webmdave said...

Fair enough. I mean its not like the average Catholic is evil or anything. In fact, of course, most catholics are good people. But I never cease to be amazed that so many people can put so much faith into an organization that has historically done so much wrong.

webmdave said...

My husband has a very small family because of the Holocaust. His paternal grandfather did not make it out, but was able to send his wife and two sons to the US. His mother's parents came to the US before it all started, but most of their family did not.

I have read many accounts of the atrocities that took place while Hitler tried to cleanse the world of the undesirables. I think that while some took pleasure in the roundup and extermination of their neighbors, the vast majority was living in fear that their family could be next and acted only to keep their own families safe.

I still feel bad about a little girl who lived next door to us when we were first married. We lived in a crummy apartment building next to an even crummier house that was divided into apartments. We were on the third floor and used to grill dinner on the fire escape landing.

One day, a 3-year-old crawled up all those steps when she smelled our dinner cooking. I took her back down and went in search of her family. Another neighbor told me she lived next door, but no one was home. About a half hour later, her mother came walking home from the store with a bag of liquor and a bag of potato chips. I told her about the child crawling up all those steps, and she said, "She's prolly hungry," and threw the chips at her. The child ripped into the chips and started cramming them into her mouth.

The child coming up the stairs at dinner time became a regular occurrence, and I started making extra food. She could eat a whole chicken breast and baked potato by herself. I bought her some warmer clothes and shoes and talked to the mother about how dangerous it was to let her roam the neighborhood alone, and how she needed to feed her more than chips. She continued to leave her by herself. I called the authorities to report the situation, but they would not come out unless I gave my name. I wanted to talk to my husband first.

but then, the mother said something that stopped me from getting the child help. She said her boyfriend was about to get out of prison and he was coming home. He'd been in prison for manslaughter.

By this time, I was expecting our first child. I will always be ashamed that I did not report the way this child was living to the authorities because I was afraid for my own family. I did not want to be on the wrong side of a man who killed people.

We moved several months after the boyfriend came home, but not before we found out the mother was expecting another child.

I don't know what happened to those children, or any others they might have had.

I was so terrified of one man who might or might not do harm to me and mine that I let a little child continue to live like a stray cat. Can I blame those people in Europe in WWII, who were up against an entire government, who tried hard not to see what was going on around them?

webmdave said...

buffettphan, I just got thru reading your reply, Thanks ! Yes you are right about how so many people who believe in catholicism , are very good people. My Daughter's In-Laws are all catholic ( but not her husband ) and I just love them dearly. Also, when I was young, my parents had many friends who were very strong catholics and they were such great people ( most are gone now ). I guess it just boils down to: " hate the delusion, but love the person !" huh ?.....and YES, you are indeed an " all-time good person " ! As a matter of fact, one of the sweetest on this site ! : )

webmdave said...

Sorry I'm so late to respond to your spot-on post, summerbreeze. As a former catholic -- and an all-time good person ;-) -- I've never understood how any good-hearted person could remain a catholic. But they do and they are truly good people. I even know some of them, including a few priests and a couple of nuns. Heck, I was one myself decades ago. Cognitive dissonance at its finest I guess.

That 'doctrine of hate' is one of the big reasons I am no longer catholic. I probably could have gone along with the fun feel-good myths, the non-literal interpretation of the bible, and some of the liberal (i.e. renegade and excommunicated) theologians I studied. But I never could get past the corruption and atrocities committed by the catholic church -- from its early beginnings all the way through history and into today's current events.

My disdain for Rome, the pope, church rules and laws, the greed, and the total hypocrisy of the church has steadily increased ever since I read The Diary of Anne Frank and researched Hitler, Nazism, and the Holocaust -- which led me to study the Inquisition -- 40 years ago!

I agree 100% with your comment "And it seems the more deluded & brainwashed one is, the easier it is to do such dastardly deeds. In fact, the screensaver on my computer says:

"When someone says they are willing to die for something, it frequently means that they are also willing to kill for it." *

BP

* Wish I knew the source of that quote. Maybe from one of the many wise people on this very website....?

webmdave said...

firemanjack.....That was a very nice description, thanks. I'm not too far from Ontario ( Michigan ). My husband & I just got back from Toronto not too long ago, we took the train, and love to go to the museums there.
.....Thanks for being here, summerbreeze

webmdave said...

Buffetphan, I can't find a source for that particular quote, although it does remind me of this one from Elbert Hubbard: "Martyrs and persecutors are the same type of man. As to which is the persecutor and which the martyr, this is only a question of transient power." I can't help but agree that only a fanatic would volunteer for either position.

I come from a Catholic family as well, and my mother's pat answer toward Catholics/Christians individually or collectively doing evil was usually something like, "Well, sure, but that person would have been ever worse if they weren't Christian," as if that were some kind of self-evident fact. Really? Hitler, Torquemada, Fred Phelps, etc. would have been even more evil than they were if they hadn't been (rolls eyes) properly restrained by their religious beliefs? Some people can be so deluded and self-righteous. Even without the obvious historical atrocities that you can attribute to that whole "us vs. them" mentality, that arrogant presumption of moral (and often every other type of) superiority toward everyone not a part of one's particular group would have been enough to turn me off of organized religion.

webmdave said...

Myriana, Japan was told by the US in late July to surrender or we would destroy Japan. They refused.We must remember, the military RAN Japan at that time.

webmdave said...

And it seems the more deluded & brainwashed one is, the easier it is to do such dastardly deeds.

I agree and the Shrub still isn't going to be tried for his war crimes. I wondering about all the other deluded and brainwashed people who commit crimes due to their religion, if they were be prosecuted. Even Islamic extremists get away with crap too.

webmdave said...

Summerbreeze, thanks for your response...My testimony, unlike a lot of the others here wasn't so much a conversion from Christianity as it was an awareness of some sort of cosmic proof of there not being a god...
I recall, as a young boy, looking up into the clear summer sky of Turkey Point, Ontario...seeing millions of stars, and realizing that we were such a small part of the big picture...And in the ensuing years, I came to think of organized religions and a supreme being as a load of hooey (scientifically speaking)...It was gradual...But I know, by the time i was in my teens I was an atheist...Many moons ago..
Hey..maybe this IS a testimony..hehe Anyhow...That's me..in a nutshell dragonfly

webmdave said...

Regardless, there was no need to kill sereval how many people, esp after we saw what the first bomb did. It was unnecessary human suffering, imposed of course by other human beings. In this aspect, it is nothing new, but still, it was very unnecessary.

webmdave said...

Rita D'Alvarez, Thank-You for your comments to my post. Yes, those were such horrendous years...I'm just so glad that I, and my family didn't live in Europe during those years. Isn't is so woefully sad, when religious doctrine can just whip the natural in-born compassion & love out of some people who prefer instead to cow-tow to ancient beliefs, with some of those beliefs being the " out-groups and in-groups " line of thinking.

webmdave said...

firemanjack, Thank-You for your very kind words about my post. And congratulations on your first comment ! Don't be a stranger...in fact, would you like to place a testimony here ? We'd like to hear from you.
Thanks again.........summerbreeze

webmdave said...

TheTruthShallSetUsFree, Thanks for your comments on my post ( like your name by the way ). Yes, there is a difference between internment camps, and concentration camps. Both are horrendous, and anti-humane, but the concentration camps were far worse because some of them were used as killing factories. Man's inhumanity to man. And the vast majority of that inhumanity is due to good 'ol religion. In-groups and Out-groups....sad.

webmdave said...

godfree, wow, is that really true ? If it is, well, why should I not be surprised huh ? Saving the Lord's Day ! !

webmdave said...

I have always love JFK and have always felt that, if he had lived, he would have been president when I was born in 1966. It is amazing to me how humans can so easily change the potential course of history, just by killing one of us.

webmdave said...

Summerbreeze said, "Just how deep does the delusion, the self-brainwashing, and the hatred have to be when it takes precedence over the natural, in-born human compassion we all share?"

It is strange what crowds of people; institutions will do that individuals will not do. Mobs lynch people where any one individual would be hard pressed to do the murder on their own by themselves with their own two hands. By the time this corporate craziness moves to the level of a nation state the impersonal nature of the actions has become exponential.

Institutions and nations never even had, "the natural, in-born human compassion we all share ". They are not born naturally from a womb but coldly with a contract or a constitution. "Drop the damn second bomb on the Japs we have to dispose of it someway. " would certainly be something a nation could do to another nation as one political institution to another. Burn them in the ovens might be something the Nazi party institution would do but an individual German would not really try to stuff their neighbor into the kitchen gas oven and shut the door. To institutions (political and corporate) people are reduced to Human Resources and Human Liabilities. Take out the trash or put it to work. Cold as ICE.

The odd thing is that most of the people in the ranks of an army or in the mob doing a lynching have all kinds of conflicting emotions the entire time they go about their inhuman work. Visit any Veterans Hospital Psych ward too see how the difference between being the tool of an institution and at the same time natural born human being can cause a snap. The feelings are usually stuffed down and repressed in the interest of the welfare the "mission" and their own group. Tribalism is the bane of the world.

Yeah, there are some psychopathic individuals who are just as bad but it seems from time to time nations and other institutions go psychopathic and it is just called war as if that word could cover up the insanity of the action. In the case of the Nazi's and most other totalitarian dictatorships their war is with the entire world that is not already under their thumb. Bombs, ovens, guns and steel, sure...whatever will get the job done for the benefit institutional bottom line. Plato taught that the normal state of affairs is war and that all national governments are formed with policies that assume war as the backdrop of all their policies. National security is job one for every politician. Just why are those Swiss guards there at the Vatican gates? Oh, hired mercenaries will do best and that way the dirty jobs can get done without any of the home team taking a hit. I am surprised that no American politician has suggested that we American "hire" Haitians and put them on the frontline in Iraq and kill two birds and many people with one stone. Dachau is a great illustration of the horror machine that has first and second gears as well this fourth gear with the peddle to the metal.

webmdave said...

" Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind " John F. Kennedy

webmdave said...

I admit, I skimmed due to just waking up and coffee being done.

I am slightly sensitive to this kind of topic, only because I have heard it in defense of why all Catholics are bad, bad people. I've heard it a whole lot, actually. So I guess I tend to knee jerk in that respect, only because my grandparents are all such respectable people. I may not agree with their religion, but I sure wish more religious people were like them. So I do apologize. I suppose I just wanted that all to be clear.

Actually, now that I've had my coffee and stopped to think about it, the argument that all Catholics are bad because of nazi Germany has mostly come from evangelical Christians. Hmm, I suppose that's another topic for another day though.

webmdave said...

redlemon.....I think that you skimmed thru my post too fast, re-read above and you will see that I said:

( 1 ) " I'm not saying that every single Catholic endorsed the Nazi Party, just that a large percentage ignored the atrocities....."

( 2 ) " I have a tremendous respect and awe for the courage that some average Germans had in WWl l to save Jews by sheltering them or helping to secretly relocate them...."

....and BTW, I have German blood in my veins also

webmdave said...

I still say none of that had to be IF...

If people were more compassionate to others.
If people cared about others more.
If this and that...

Then again, I am a non-religious/humanist conscientious objector. I do not believe violence is necessary for anything, except maybe, when there is no other recourse to defend oneself- such a rape or other personal attack.

webmdave said...

Our ship was at Okinawa when we dropped the bombs on Hiroshima & Nagasaki. The date of the invasion of the islands of Japan was set. Our squadron of minesweepers were to sweep the coast to enable the fleet to come in. The invasion would have killed 100s of 1,000s of Japs & without a doubt, countless 10s of thousands of our troops- quite possibly yours truly, given the kamikazi attacks at Okinawa. ( !,000 kamikazi planes were saved for this event, plus a great many two man suicide subs. Also, they had reinforced inter-connecting trenches & an enormous number of cannon to oppose the invasion. If Japan had not attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, I think efforts would have been made to persuade Japan to surrender.It's easy to second guess the last weeks of the war now, but given the times, it is understandable, what happened

webmdave said...

The death camps did not operate the ovens on Sundays.

webmdave said...

Pope Pius 12th did do SOMEthing. He wrote an encyclical : Mit Brennender Sorge. ( With burning sorrow) Big deal. There was a Jewish ghetto in the very shadow of the Vatican.All of my grandparents too, came from Germany-earlier. They broadcast Hitler's speeches in the early 30s. I can still recall grandma saying at the conclusion- very sadly, "that man will destroy Germany" this was, I think when he became Chancellor, in 1933-4 Also, after the war, the pope was VERY active in saving top ranking Nazis. Many were hidden in the Papal summer castle while arrangements were made to smuggle them to South America.If there WAS a literal hell, Pius twelve deserved a place in "der Erste Kreis der Helle" (the first circle of hell).

webmdave said...

I really don't know how one can become so hard-hearted that they come to believe in an ideology full of hatred. When I saw those pictures of Auschwitz as a child in school, I cried, just as I did concerning Hiroshima. I found WW II was a horrifying time to study.

I found out years later from a WW II vet, that, just as I suspected, they did not need the second bomb in Japan, but dropped it only to get rid of it. I was appalled! How could they, esp when they saw what the first one did. Did they really hate the Japanese that much?

Meanwhile, as George Tekei (Sulu on Star Trek: TOS) can attest to, Japanese-Americans were being placed in concentration camps here in the U.S.

What I am saying is, the U.S. was just as bad with it's hatred too, even in WW II. Of course, we didn't kill any Japanese-Americans, that I know of.

webmdave said...

You wrote: "I'm wondering just how many of them gave a sober, hard look at their belief and perhaps wondered just how one can believe such a doctrine of hate and at the same time be a loving human being."

I wonder too. Would they have just "swept it under the rug" and gone on attending Mass and having wine and crackers every week, or did some of them go through the Dark Night of The Soul and come out the other side no longer believing the Church knew Best?

I suppose one could try to see if there is/was a higher percentage of non-believers in these areas post-war, but that would probably be almost impossible to do.

webmdave said...

I don't really disagree with your point, but I would like to say that not all Catholics (or Germans) were all hunky dory with genocide in Nazi Germany. All four of my grandparents came from WW2 Europe, and two of them openly participated in Nazi activities. But it was so much more complicated then that. My maternal grandma told me stories about how her priest was extremely troubled by what was going on and prayed on end for the Vatican to say something against it. In the end, he just silently encouraged the town to help those in need. My maternal grandpa had a similar upbringing, except he was forced into the Nazi military with a gun to his head, for being of the right age. My paternal grandma worked in a Nazi munitions factory- I still have her nazi arbeitbuch with the record in it. While I don't know her personal politics, since she never spoke about it, she did end up marrying my very Jewish grandpa, who lost his entire family in the war. And all three of my Catholic grandparents are religious.

My point is that not all Catholics were in support and that there was a much more complicated system of ignorance involved, including patriotism and the psychology that Hitler's cult of charisma was playing. I'm not a religious person at all and I wont stick up for the Vatican's silent approval or church higher ups looking the other way or the religious justifications made. There were average Catholics though that found the whole system to be repulsive. I just don't like painting the whole group with that brush when there were so many other factors playing into the mindset of nazi Germany.

webmdave said...

Summerbreeze, you asked, “…just how one can believe such a doctrine of hate and at the same time be a loving human being.” Apparently, somehow, most believers are able to largely ignore the stench of burning flesh wafting from their own belief system.

Christianity worships a man (Christ) who was just fine with a plan which calls for torturing the majority of humans with fire for an eternity. It thus involves a twisted, perverted value system, and those who take it the most seriously appear to be the most twisted (Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps, etc.). Of course, the believers will tell you that those to be burned must deserve it, never questioning how a finite “sin” can deserve infinite punishment. Sadly, it’s rotten at the core – not the people, who are themselves victims, but the religion, and it damages people just as Nazism damaged people.

webmdave said...

Thank you for posting this, summerbreeze.

It really is amazing how the human mind can be conditioned to ignore things that are in plain sight. This is also a powerful example of some of the atrocities committed based on a faulty belief system.