Gitta Sereny

Into That Darkness: An Examination of Conscience


Honesty in journalism as well as in life


The sudden impression I had when finishing reading this great book was how ridiculous fiction can be when compared to reality. I had never read a book yet where truth was seeked more honestly and more compulsively than here. Bravo for Ms Sereny. I could see the interviews in my head, as I was reading, just like one of those old -but good- BBC documentaries. We follow the life of this man who was the Commandant of one of the extermination camps, and under whose eye perhaps a million civilian Jews were killed during WWII: we hear her wife's testimony, those involved in various ways, and of course, himself. The reporter writes so well, we can see how hard it must have been for her to keep from pronouncing judgments and letting her prejudices interfere with her questioning. Her efforts are well compensated by the results: truth was not to be obtained through any special skills of the interviewer, truth was to be obtained only freely, willingly.


The amazing thing was the ambivalence of feelings which these conversations produce in the reader. On the one hand we are faced with the crude reality of the death camps, we see clearly who the victims are and who are the criminals, if not by active engagement in the crimes, then by passivity or complicity. And on the other hand we cannot help but noticing the inner struggle of husband and wife when faced with their individual responsibilities. All the excuses you can imagine. We almost feel inclined to accept their explanations. But who can remove the guilt from their consciences?


Ms Sereny does not force the Stangl couple to admit their share of guilt, she does the hard thing: she make them judge honestly whether they were guilty or not. There are great lessons to be learned from this book.

"Es cierto que el Romano es libre de hacer todo lo que quiera. Pero también lo es que tiene que soportar las consecuencias de sus actos. No importa que se haya equivocado, que le hayan engañado o incluso forzado: un hombre no se deja forzar: etiamsi coactus, attamen voluit. Es libre; pero si distraído, imprudente o atontado, prometió pagar una determinada cantidad y no puede pagarla, se convierte en esclavo de su acreedor."

Rudolph von Ihering

“Slavery, protection, and monopoly find defenders, not only in those who profit by them, but in those who suffer by them.”

Frédéric Bastiat

On the true nature of the Castro Revolution in Cuba: "The revolution was a cover for committing atrocities without the slightest vestige of guilt ... we were young and irresponsible. We were pirates. We formed our own caste ... we belonged to and believed in nothing -no religion, no flag, no morality or principle. It's fortunate we didn't win, because if we had, we would have drowned the continent in barbarism."

Jorge Masetti -In the Pirate's Den

La anarquía, es decir, la ausencia de fuerza estatal, no es una forma de Estado, y cualquiera que acabe con ella por el medio que sea, el usurpador nacional o el conquistador extranjero, rinde un servicio a la sociedad. Es un salvador, un bienhechor, porque la forma más insoportable de Estado es la ausencia de Estado.

Rudolph von Ihering

"El envidioso está afligido no solo por sus males propios, sino por los bienes de los demás."  -Hipias

[la norma de conducta de los progres] "No hacer nada que alguien pueda envidiarme." -Hipasos




Seguimos a la espera de la reedición de este importante libro del gran escritor español José Pla

Historia de la Segunda República.


También a la espera de este importante libro del genial Rafael Abella.

Finales de enero, 1939, Barcelona cambia de piel


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