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Answered 2008-04-25 22:06:50

My mom's first husband was a POW during WWII. In his opinion, most people that lived in towns around the camps knew what was going on. The difference was, that there wasn't much they could do about it. Hitler turned many people against the Jews. The Germans weren't the only ones in denial. When he returned after the war, there were a lot of Americans that didn't believe what he had seen. They told him he was just spreading government Propaganda. Very few people could comprehend that many people being murdered and no one was stopping it. He died at a young age of a massive heart attack partially brought on by damage caused by all the time and torture of being a POW in WWII Germany. Just an afternote: my uncle transported German POW's back to Germany after they worked in the U.S. during their captivity...he couldn't count all of them that begged him to leave them in the U.S. To find some way for them to stay here. Certainly many Germans, and others, were directly involved in and knew what was going on. Equally certainly, many of them endorsed it or not, for any number of reasons, including self preservation and not seeing any alternative or what we now class as pure hatred. Also equally as sure would be that, human nature being what it is, to really acknowlege the terrible acts being done (especially if there is any complicity), is something one would conciously or not, try and find a way not to. In fact, LEST WE FORGET, for years after the end of WW2, even from those who had first hand experience, coming to terms and bringing to light what had gone on, was not done, being a grossly offensive human experience simply too hard or embarrassing to deal with and maybe even desired forgotten. Most German soldiers on the Eastern Front knew what was happening, though not necessarily the details. Occasionally, they came home on leave - and talked ... Some Germans listened to the BBC ... There was at least one case where a train transporting Jews was derailed in the Rhineland and some of the cattle trucks broke open. They knew (in outline) but they didn't want to know.

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