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The Third Walpurgis NightThe Complete Text$
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Karl Kraus

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300236002

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300236002.001.0001

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Murder with Mendacity

Murder with Mendacity

(p.72) 11 Murder with Mendacity
The Third Walpurgis Night

Karl Kraus

Yale University Press

This chapter criticises the public's habit of ignoring or outright deceiving themselves with regard to the Nazi persecution of the Jews. Here, using certain set phrases as a form of exorcism satisfies the social needs arising from impoverished imaginations, never blaming the perpetrators but rather the victims and invariably those who report the deeds. Unshakeable credit is given to people travelling through Germany who conclude from the fact that they have “seen nothing wrong”—that nothing has occurred and everything is in order. Moments free of violence have been witnessed by many a traveller who is then able to give plausible eyewitness testimony, and that they have seen nothing can be confirmed by others who were in the same position. In times like these, people disregard the most basic logical question: whether that which is happening must always be visible everywhere or even visible at all. And there is also the ethical question: whether it might not on the contrary be more correct deliberately to multiply a single case by a factor of ten, if this is the only way to draw attention and to arouse people's conscience.

Keywords:   Nazi persecution, mendacity, eyewitness testimony, violence, ethics, public conscience, victim blaming, deception

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