Not The Neutral Observer
Posted on October 2, 2012
Adam Brereton considers a dream to live life in such a way that wouldn’t disappoint the greats that came before.
Christopher Hitchens tells a story with a similar moral about Peter Schneider, who wrote a book about those ordinary Germans who had risked their lives to perform trivial acts of grace toward Jews during World War II. By giving food, shelter and assistance, many hundreds of Jews were saved; even the most minor acts of charity kept bodies from the furnaces.
Schneider, thinking his book would be well received, as stories of ‘good Germans’ tend to be, was surprised to be the subject of bad reviews. By praising the invisible actions of many he destroyed the myth of the exceptional individual, and had, of course, unwittingly blown the moral alibi of all those Germans for whom even the smallest moral acts were rationalised as being too risky.
Read more of Adam’s story in Overcoat Issue Three: Dreams.