Thursday, 27 September 2007

Nazis can be charming too

Two stories this week coincide to confirm that horror is always more sinister when it wears a smiling face.

Iran’s populist / Islamo-fascist president Ahmadinejad tried to charm Columbia University at a public meeting. From the footage I saw he seemed witty and plausible; spin-doctoring is obviously not just a western phenomenon.

He boasted that there are no homosexuals in Iran –not true of course – but then to be fair he is working on it having publicly executed quite a few. And backtracked on his denial of the Holocaust, saying just that he thought more research should be done to confirm the numbers.

Appropriately also this week the New York Holocaust Museum is hosting an unusual online photographic exhibition. It doesn’t have any of the often seen horrific evidence of the genocide to which we can become desensitised.

Instead it is an album of one of the SS guards - a former bank clerk, and family man. The snap shots show them relaxing and socialising off-duty. If you didn’t know the context you’d think them a jolly bunch; drinking, doing various sports, flirting with the women’s auxiliary and playing with their pets.

Maybe there’s a few lessons there.

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