An excerpt from They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45, by Milton Mayer:

Herr Simon [a former Nazi interviewed after WWII], was greatly interested in the mass deportation of Americans of Japanese ancestry from our West Coast in 1942. He had not heard of it before […]

He asked me whether I had known anybody connected with the West Coast deportation. When I said “No,” he asked me what I had done about it. When I said “Nothing,” he said, triumphantly, “There. You learned about all these things openly, through your government and your press. We did not learn through ours. As in your case, nothing was required of us–in our case, not even knowledge. You knew about things you thought were wrong, didn’t you, Herr Professor?” “Yes.” “So. You did nothing. We heard, or guessed, and we did nothing. So it is everywhere.” When I protested that the Japanese-descended Americans had not been treated like the Jews, he said “And if they had been–what then? Do you not see that the idea of doing something or doing nothing is in either case the same?”




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