henchmen, came to fulfillment innGermany only because the countrynpossesses such a long tradition of contemptnfor intellectuals, for reason andnthe things of the mind.nIt appears that the German people wereneager to embrace a fundamentally antirationalnforce that would allow them tonfollow orders and be exempt from thinking,nto unleash their most brutal impulses.nHochhuth aptly quotes as anmotto to one of his chapters the systematicallynmisunderstood Nietzsche,nwhose oft-mentioned opposition to “reason”nwas in fact a repudiation of a suicidal,nhypocritical and ultimately dangerousnform of asceticism, no less dangerousnthan the excess of exuberance sonprevalent in crowds inebriated by prejudice.n”Insanity,” said Nietzsche, “is anrare thing in an individual but habitualnto groups, parties, nations, and ages.”nThis is not to say that “insanity” is anunivocal, simple concept: criminal actsnare committed for a variety of reasons.nYet history demonstrates how easilynindividuality surrenders to the group,nhow reluctant men are to disobey superiors,neven when the risks are comparativelynnegligible, but especiallynwhen obedience leads to some gain, nonmatter how slight. The whole, to paraphrase,nwell-nigh obliterates the part.n-L o be sure, some groups will, atntimes, be more vulnerable than others.nHochhuth notes that people under thenHitler regime appeared to be undulynprone to evil. Outraged without, however,nindulging in sentimentality, henmerely presents the evidence, justifyingnnothing. The fact that Hitler was “ansick man,” for example, “is a statement,nnot an excuse.” As for Goering—the infamousnmurderer had no real ideology,nno hatred of the Jews, “he merely hadnan urge, first to impress Hitler with hisnall-round versatility, and secondly, ton’Aryanize’ as many Jewish-owned worksnof art as possible into his personal possessions.”n(One is reminded of the contrastnbetween the single-minded, asceticn34inChronicles of CalturenLenin and the contemporary communistnelite with its Swiss bank accounts.) Andnwhat about the inhabitants of FraunKrop’s village.” Most of them did notnseem to hate Poles especially; their motives,nindeed, were not qualitativelyndifferent from Goering’s. The neighbornwho denounced the couple, for instance,ncoveted the unhappy woman’s grocerynshop. Ultimately, of course, neitherngreed nor envy are essentially German:nRusanov, the Party member in Solzhenitsyn’snCancer Ward, reports an acquaintancento the authorities and has himnsent off to the Gulag in order to obtainnthe man’s apartment. Echoing Solzhenitsyn,nHochhuth says that the propensitynto sin and to hurt others is really innus all, varying degrees notwithstanding.nWhat makes it possible, then, fornevil to overwhelm our better sense, thenfaculty that Solzhenitsyn refers to simplynas our “conscience”.” Without offeringna direct answer, Hochhuth doesnhint at one. It appears that some systemsnmake it easier for people not tonresist the satanic tendencies within. Indeed,ncircumstances can so dictatenevents that even some of the kindestnmen become partners to murder. Zasada’snhangman, for instance, his friendnand fellow Pole, accepted his loathsomentask out of fear that someone less fondnof Zasada might torture him more. (Ornwas this only a rationalization, howevernunconscious?) And what of Zasada’snfellow POW’s who had been brought tonwitness the execution? They were accompaniednby only two guards—hardlyna sufficient deterrent to revolt. Arenthey not to blame, even a trifle? To thenend, Zasada believed that they wouldnnnrise to save him. To be sure, the risksnand dangers they faced were greaternthan those of the German womannturned informer—but we are now talkingnof degrees.nThis does not mean that a “system”nexcuses or even explains the all-too-humannpropensity to cast aside generositynand to refuse to listen to one’s consciencenand altruistic impulses; suchnMarxist determinism is at best simpleminded,nand undoubtedly dangerous,nfor it exempts individuals from legitimatenblame. Quite the contrary, Hochhuthnseeks to scrutinize the hearts of allninvolved, to warn against the conscious,neven enthusiastic, surrender of individuality,nso common despite its wellknownncatastrophic effects. Much as hendislikes Hegel, Hochhuth credits himnwith this insight:nThe masses revel in their love of obediencenas if doing of their own freenwill what they are only and unwittinglyndoing for the sake of another, whonwill destroy them in the process.nAnd lest this sound a bit too elitist,nHochhuth is quick to add:nLet no one suppose that the educated,nor even those well versed in history,nare any less prone to the orgasms ofnthe political St. Vitus’s dance. Theyndiffer from the mindless conformistsnonly in,their desire to furnish themselvesnwith an intellectual pretext fornconformism.nReason is by no means the monopoly ofnthe educated. Indeed, Lewis Feuer wouldnemphasize that intellectuals (so-called)nare peculiarly attracted to authoritarianism.nAnd because of their influence,nthey are disproportionately dangerousnrelative to their actual number.nA system does not exempt a personnfrom responsibility, but it may make itneasier to forget that each must answernfor his own actions. In truth, it was anfirm conviction that all the participantsnto Stasiek Zasada’s murder had an