Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Front of Decent People

Sunday's beatification of Cardinal Clemens von Galen, one of the most courageous figures in the German resistance to Hitler, happened to come just a few days after I finished Thomas Fleming's The New Dealers' War.

The Front of Decent People, as the chief resistance organization called itself, ultimately included not just the prominent, like Admiral Canaris (Germany's spymaster), General Rommel of Afrika Korps fame, and Claus von Stauffenberg, the maimed Catholic veteran whose bomb should have killed Hitler in 1944, but thousands of ordinary Germans as well. And thousands of them died for their actions when that bomb failed in its purpose.

It must have taken extraordinary courage to work secretly against the Nazis, let alone openly condemn their practices, as von Galen did in his famous 1941 sermon against their program of euthanasia. Thank God we don't live in such an age.

But there's still plenty of work to be done, it seems. In the comment at the end of the excerpt at this link, we read that after von Galen spoke, the Nazis stopped their mass euthanizing of the mentally ill and others considered "life unworthy of life," but carried on more discreetly:

Drugs and starvation were used instead and doctors were encouraged to decide in favor of death whenever euthanasia was being considered.

Starvation. Doctors encouraged to decide in favor of death. Remind you of a young woman from Florida who was in the news recently?