A friend of mine had a similar experience to that of writer Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, albeit 30 years ago (“No Dachau? No Auschwitz? Ignoring just as evil as denying,” Commentary, Oct. 18). When my friend visited Dachau, he encountered a German population that professed to know nothing (or pretended to know nothing) about what had occurred there. There was universal denial and no acceptance of blame for those who had been killed.
Having said this, I was surprised that Mr. Shapiro equated the resistance shown by the White Rose with the attempted assassination in 1944 of Hitler by a group of army officers. The motives of the White Rose movement were pure and simple; namely, to protest against a tyrannical regime that was intolerant and bent on killing all opposition and “inferior” races, primarily Jews. On the other hand, Lt. Col. Claus von Stauffenberg and his fellow officers had no such lofty motive, having witnessed by that point the killing of most of the 6 million Jews, many of them at the hands of the regular German military.
Instead, the leaders of the 1944 plot to kill Hitler were motivated more by an effort to save Germany from the bombing and trauma of utter defeat. The White Rose participants were true heroes and paid dearly for their views. The military that tried to overthrow Hitler in 1944 did not do it for altruistic purposes, but rather to lessen the ultimate consequences of the defeat of Nazi Germany by Allied forces.