Atheist Scruples: war criminals

The question:

You have an older acquaintance whom you suspect was a member of the Nazi SS. Do you report him to the authorities?

The edition I pull these questions from came from the mid 1980s so sometimes the questions aren’t entirely up to date. I could insert some other enemy group from a much more recent war/threat of war and answer the question that way:

I don’t know. A suspicion isn’t evidence. A lot of people were accused of being communists that had no ties to the group. Anyone who looks or sounds a bit “foreign” is a possible terrorist to some people. Babies get put on no-fly-lists because a name matches someone authorities are looking for. Maybe the person is already being investigated. Maybe this person is innocent. I’d have a duty to disclose my concerns if I thought I could offer up better proof than a hunch or report on a random memory of iffy conversation with the person. That’s all I got.

The question actually reminded me of a book I was reading for a book club group but I never made it to the meeting. The book was the Reader by Bernhard Schlink. In it, the adult narrator is reminiscing about a brief affair he had with an older woman when he was a teen. Later on in college, he was in a law class and had to attend a trial for war criminals. His past lover turned out to be one of the women on trial; she’d been a guard at a women’s camp during WWII in Germany. The case itself hinged on documents supposedly written by her detailing the deaths of several Jewish women in her charge during a forced march to another concentration camp. The dilemma faced by the narrator at the time: he had begun to suspect she was completely illiterate and could not possibly have written the report. Should he confess that knowledge to the judge?

Kate Winslet won best actress for the film version, apparently. I don’t keep up on awards. Good for her. I see my local library has it so I think I should borrow it.

About 1minionsopinion

Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
This entry was posted in books, movies, Question of Atheist Scruples and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Atheist Scruples: war criminals

  1. kbeck13 says:

    Was a nazi, as in: past tense? Because WAS and IS are two different things and I wouldn’t want to go tattle-telling on someone who has changed their ways, admitted their terrible terrible fault. Nor would I want to falsely accuse someone of something–especially being a nazi!…Like you say, a suspicion is no reason to call the authorities.

    I have the same version of Scruples (bought at a garage sale). It’s betting than the children’s version we used to play when we were teenagers and had nothing else to do. i’d like to update my version, but some of the questions are just so funny/ridiculous I haven’t done it yet.

  2. 1minionsopinion says:

    Some of them are a bit bizarre. But, it was the 1980s. There’s a game store in town selling an updated version but I don’t know if I feel like throwing $40 or more at it. This edition I got at a garage sale for $2.

Comments are closed.