Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here’s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Auschwitz and the wisdom of crowds

By Mal Fletcher - posted Friday, 30 January 2015

On this the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in Poland, we should perhaps take time to reflect on humanity's potential for inhumanity.

History testifies time and again to the fact that whilst we, as a race, are capable of reaching the noblest heights, we also have the potential to plumb the lowest depths. We forget this at our peril.

My own generation, the once ubiquitous baby boomers, have never known war on the scale of the two bloody conflagrations that engulfed much of the globe in the first half of the twentieth century.


We grew up knowing a different kind of global conflict, a so-called Cold War.

The very name reflects an underlying sense of tension, an awareness that this insidious ideological quarrel might actually heat up at any time, its latent energy bubbling to the surface, fuelled by uncontained nuclear fission.

For my father's and grandfather's generations, however, WW2 represented a much more present and existential threat.

For them, the liberation of Auschwitz and the discovery of the full horror of the Nazi death camps brought a reminder of just how thin a veneer is human civilization.

If it is possible to explain the unique horror of the Nazi death-camps – and Auschwitz in particular – the pseudo-science of eugenics must be a factor for discussion.

All of the Nazi death camps were set up to support Hitler's murderous eugenics – of which anti-Semitism was the most blatant and vicious expression.


Among those deported to Auschwitz, which consisted of three camps, were 150,000 Poles and 23,000 Romani and Sinti, plus thousands from other ethnic groups. They were joined by 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war and 400 Jehovah's Witnesses.

Also consigned to this complex were homosexuals and those battling epilepsy and other physical or mental challenges. In short, anyone considered to be subnormal was deported and many of these were killed.

All would have been allowed and encouraged to lead fruitful lives today.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. All

This article was first published on

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

88 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Mal Fletcher is a media social futurist and commentator, keynote speaker, author, business leadership consultant and broadcaster currently based in London. He holds joint Australian and British citizenship.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Mal Fletcher

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 88 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy