The takeover of Jewish property was so widespread in occupied Poland that it called for the emergence of rules determining distribution. Thus when in August 1941 a certain Helena Klimaszewska went from the hamlet of Goniądz to Radziłów “to get an apartment for her husband’s parents because she knew that after the liquidation of the Jews there are empty apartments,” she was told on arrival that a certain “Godlewski decides what to do with ‘post-Jewish’ apartments.” She presented her request to him but, she later testified in court, “Godlewski replied, ‘don’t even think about it.’ When I said that Mr Godlewski has four houses at his disposal and I don’t even have one he replied ‘this is none of your business, I am awaiting a brother returning from Russia where the Soviets deported him and he has to have a house.’ When I insisted that I need an apartment, he replied, ‘when people were needed to kill the Jews, you weren’t here, and now you want an apartment,’" an argument that met with a strong rebuttal from Klimaszewska’s mother-in-law: “They don’t want to give an apartment, but they sent my grandson to douse the house with gasoline…” And so, we are witnessing a conversation between an older woman and other adults that is premised on the assumption that one gains a right to valuable goods by taking part in murder of their owners.It's a shift in moral perspective powerful enough to permit its participants to feel genuine outrage at their mistreatment according to the new rules. "That's not fair" is a cry that always resonates, even among people who deny the power of any traditional system to restrict their own behavior.
From Theodore Dalrymple, via Maggie's Farm, a quotation from Golden Harvest: Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust by Jan Tomasz Gross, about what Dalrymple calls a "transvaluation" of moral values:
By Texan99 on Thursday, December 13, 2012