Of course there are good Germans. Thousands of them- millions even. I’m sure there are many Germans amongst the 250 good people I know well. And there were good Germans, too, between 1938 and 1946.
I’ve just come back from seeing the play Good by C.P. Taylor at the Exchange Theatre. John Halder is a doctor and he believes in euthanasia for the terminally mentally ill who have no quality of life. He comes towards a Nazi ideal through the highest motives. On the other hand, his friend Maurice, a Jew who refuses to save himself, loves Frankfurt and hates other Jews apart from his wife and children. Both Halder and Maurice think that Hitler is an aberration that will soon pass. The racism against Jews is just a moment of madness that will also pass.
And in my story Kathe Edler is defending some of their German friends. “There are good Germans too,” she tells Renate. She quotes Renate’s father, their former servants, and their friends in Stuttgart.
Did I include this scene today because I knew I was going to see Good? Or do I have a similar message to Taylor? That the whole situation is complex, that it is not possible to judge and that it cannot be defined in black and white terms.
The play was brilliant and I can recommend it. It made very clever use of music.