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This review is taken from PN Review 66, Volume 15 Number 4, March - April 1989.

IMPRISONED BY THE NAZIS Luise Rinser, Prison Journal, translated by Michael Hulse, Macmillan, £9.95

Forty-four years have passed since VE Day. The world has since proved over and over again what Golding said: 'Man produces evil as a bee produces honey.' The atrocities committed by the Red Guards; South Africa today and yesterday; the regimes of Bokassa and Amin - the list is endless. I was in Cambodia before Nixon invaded: how many of those happy, lazy people are left alive after Pol Pot? Warfare - even the fight against terrorism - creates evil in its participants: the Americans in Vietnam, the British in Palestine and Kenya were appallingly guilty of crimes against humanity. Now that West Germany is a fellow member of the EEC, now that West Berlin has become the brash showcase of Western materialism, is it not time to forgive and forget?

Well, yes and no. Of course, in every case we are called upon to hate the sin and love the sinner. Donald Soper, speaking on Tower Hill in the Second World War, shocked people deeply by the harrowing truth of his claim 'God loves Hitler.' This century has seen Tojo's Japan; Stalin's Russia; but has there ever been a more bestial creed than Nazism? Has any other regime been so sytematically vile? Especially now, when in France and elsewhere repellent right-wing extremists are distorting history, playing down the horrors of the Third Reich and insulting the memories of Jews and Gentiles who died in unthinkable circumstances merely because they were considered unworthy to breath the same ...


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