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Yom Hashoah: Roger asks, Were Hitler’s crimes immense enough for you to make an exception for him?

Yom Ha Shoah

Mon, May 2, 2011 …. Tomorrow is the Jewish holiday, Yom Hashoah .. the day of remembrance of the Holocaust.

Because I do not believe in the death penalty, my  friend Roger asked this question a few weeks ago:

If Hitler had been captured alive, would you have supported executing him? Were his crimes immense enough for you to make an exception for him?

That was the question Israel faced when Mossad captured Eichmann. The Israelis didn’t seem to struggle with the question very much …

The question means a lot to me because my father was the first medic into Buchenwald and had nightmares for the rest of his 90 years.  I am sure, if my father had captured Hitler, Hitler’s death would have been very painful.  If I had captured Hitler?  I would hope he would have gotten some punishment far worse than the one he chose for himself!  Crucifixion comes to mind.

That sort of death, however, is not what the the Nuremberg courts would have meted out.  Nor what that the punishment the state of Israel gave Eichmann.  Eichmann got of lightly.  Was it revenge if Eichmann wanted to die? was it revenge if by dying , the Nazi avoided a more serious punishment?

As an atheist I do not like to use the Deity as an exemplar, but maybe,  in His stead,  Dante will serve?  I do not remember Virgil leading Dante by some perp being “punished” by eternal sleep.

 


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