Gitta Sereny

Into That Darkness: An Examination of Conscience


Honesty in journalism as well as in life


The sudden impression I had when finishing reading this great book was how ridiculous fiction can be when compared to reality. I had never read a book yet where truth was seeked more honestly and more compulsively than here. Bravo for Ms Sereny. I could see the interviews in my head, as I was reading, just like one of those old -but good- BBC documentaries. We follow the life of this man who was the Commandant of one of the extermination camps, and under whose eye perhaps a million civilian Jews were killed during WWII: we hear her wife's testimony, those involved in various ways, and of course, himself. The reporter writes so well, we can see how hard it must have been for her to keep from pronouncing judgments and letting her prejudices interfere with her questioning. Her efforts are well compensated by the results: truth was not to be obtained through any special skills of the interviewer, truth was to be obtained only freely, willingly.


The amazing thing was the ambivalence of feelings which these conversations produce in the reader. On the one hand we are faced with the crude reality of the death camps, we see clearly who the victims are and who are the criminals, if not by active engagement in the crimes, then by passivity or complicity. And on the other hand we cannot help but noticing the inner struggle of husband and wife when faced with their individual responsibilities. All the excuses you can imagine. We almost feel inclined to accept their explanations. But who can remove the guilt from their consciences?


Ms Sereny does not force the Stangl couple to admit their share of guilt, she does the hard thing: she make them judge honestly whether they were guilty or not. There are great lessons to be learned from this book.




On Cuba's Revolution:

"The revolution was a cover for committing atrocities without the slightest vestige of guilt ... we were young and irresponsible. We were pirates. We formed our own caste ... we belonged to and believed in nothing -no religion, no flag, no morality or principle. It's fortunate we didn't win, because if we had, we would have drowned the continent in barbarism."

Jorge Masetti, In the Pirate's Den

España [por el contrario de Estados Unidos] se ha ido configurando, siglo a siglo, como una sociedad herida por la envidia, en la que todavía hacer demagogia con la pobreza rinde réditos electorales y donde los que han tenido o tienen grandes riquezas -tanto los progres como la iglesia católica– no pocas veces predican la solidaridad con el prójimo a la vez que protegen sus patrimonios nada desdeñables en SICAVs, algo, dicho sea de paso, bastante lógico tal y como está el panorama fiscal.”

César Vidal en su artículo Las razones de una diferencia en

2. La Constitución se fundamenta en la indisoluble unidad de la Nación española, patria común e indivisible de todos los españoles.

3.1. El castellano es la lengua española oficial del Estado. Todos los españoles tienen el deber de conocerla y el derecho a usarla.

'The Pale Maiden'
"Thus heaven I've forfeited,
I know it full well
My soul, once true to God
Is chosen for hell."

by Karl Marx

from Richard Wurmbrand´s book on Marx

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