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Sue Bower

Jefferson City

Dear Editor:

I just finished watching "Judgment at Nuremberg." The arguments made in defense of the German judges for their judicial decisions and the findings of the American judges sentencing these same German judges certainly gave me pause, equating many of the challenges we citizens face in today's world to the propositions and posturing in the trials recounted in the movie.

The German defendants maintained that while they knew about, and even participated in sentencing, perhaps hundreds of those deemed inferior to the Arian German race (Jews, intellectually challenged, racially inferior) to death, sterilization and imprisonment, that they were "unaware" of the extermination of millions, including children. The defendants maintained that their actions were taken for the greater good of supporting their nation (regardless of leadership) — ensuring purer ethnicities, lawfulness, patriotism, etc.

Their defense attorney pointed out — and rightfully so — that if the defendants were guilty of ignoring the heinous crimes against humanity under the guise of uniting the German people, gaining the political prestige they had been denied, achieving territorial expansion, etc., then others outside the German sphere of influence were also at fault. Churchill had expressed esteem for Hitler in the late 1930s. American businessmen reaped profits from prewar German expansions. European countries stood by as Germany marched into neighboring countries. By standing by and acquiescing to Germany's intrusions, countries gave tacit approval to Hitler's scheme of domination.

The death of even one Jew, Frenchman, Austrian, mentally challenged individual secured a guilty verdict of collusion with, approval of, and proactively participating in, Germany's atrocities. How does this standard of responsibility apply to the U.S. today in America?

Do we Americans give tacit approval to racial mistreatment by our police? Impingement of free speech? Banning books? The woke agenda? Are there lessons for us on either side of the immigration question? On one-sided perspectives of American history? Of religious intolerance in public schools? Of any kind of indoctrination at too early of an age? Of not helping to enforce laws that protect people, property, stores/premises and money? Can we say that if you know "who" committed a crime, that you are abetting, and sharing in the responsibility for, a crime if you do not come forward and identify the culprit? Bottom line: We must each be responsible if our society is to be the unbiased, lawful, caring and successful citizenry we desire for our nation.

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