November 27, 2007

Neutrality is a sham. Pacifism is a sham...

Norman Lebrech explains how there is a back-story to the latest album by soprano Anne-Sofie von Otter... [Thanks to Bookwormroom]

....Her tragic tale begins on a train, as so many war stories do. Anne-Sofie's father, Baron G�ran von Otter, was a Swedish diplomat in wartime Germany, adjutant to the ambassador. On the night of 20-21 August 1942, travelling from Warsaw to Berlin, he became an involuntary witness to the Holocaust.

Standing in the corridor because he could not get a sleeper, the diplomat saw an SS officer glancing in his direction. When the train stopped at a station, both men got off for fresh air. On the pitch-dark platform, the SS man asked for a light for his cigarette. Von Otter produced a pack of matches with a Swedish crest. 'I must talk to you,' said Kurt Gerstein.

'With beads of sweat on his forehead and tears in his eyes' (as von Otter reported to his superiors), Gerstein explained that he was head of a Waffen-SS Technical Disinfection unit, responsible for supplying poisons and gas equipment. 'Yesterday,' he told von Otter, weeping uncontrollably, 'I saw something appalling.' 'Is it about the Jews?' said the diplomat.

Over the next six or eight hours in the train corridor, having examined Gerstein's papers and satisfied himself of his credentials, von Otter heard a detailed account of the mechanics of genocide, the gas chambers, the mass graves. Gerstein gave chapter and verse, the names of senior personnel, the look in a little girl's eyes as she was shoved naked to the slaughter. 'I saw more than ten thousand die today,' he wept.

He implored the Baron to inform the Swedish government, in the hope of stopping the slaughter. 'I had no doubt as to the sincerity of his humanitarian intentions,' said von Otter, who promptly wrote a report to Stockholm and heard nothing more. Not long after, he was recalled. When he looked for his own report in Foreign Ministry files, there was nothing to be found....

....Von Otter's career stalled, possibly because his 1942 report compromised Sweden's blind-eye neutrality. He rose no higher than consul-general in London, and died in 1988.....

Of course his report disappeared. There was not the slightest chance that Sweden was going to allow itself to be aware of what was going on next door. 'Cause they are better than the rest of us, and don't get involved in evil stuff like wars.

It's the same thing now, with "liberals" not wanting to know about the atrocities of Saddam's regime, or about the concentration camps of North Korea---not as long as there any chance that they will actually have to help do something about it. Especially if they might have to cooperate with President Bush. Better a million rag-heads should die, than that the latte-sipping crowd should have to support America or her elected leaders.

Posted by John Weidner at November 27, 2007 5:42 PM
Weblog by John Weidner