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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

The Folly of Entitlement: Ludwig Topf and Byron Sonne

      - Byron Sonne, a man who went out of his way to get arrested, allegedly to prove some kind of point, but really just for shits and giggles.

     - Ludwig Topf built crematoria for Nazi Concentration Camps

He was a legitimate businessman doing business with the government, so of course he did no wrong - except facilitate the murder of millions.

Recently I was hit, as a pedestrian, by a rich kid who fits this same profile - they see themselves as well-heeled and therefore, not accountable. It's a story that plays out time and again across the city and across society.

People like this, people at both ends of the economic spectrum that robe themselves in entitlement, are at the root of our social challenges.  Until we are all conscious that no person is an island, we're going to keep reading stories like this.

Kurt Prüfer's arrest on May 30, 1945 led Ludwig Topf to fear arrest himself. That same evening, he decided to commit suicide. In a farewell letter he cast himself in the role of a person guilty of nothing and wrongly persecuted. He disinherited his brother Ernst-Wolfgang and his sister Hanna who, he felt, had abandoned him. On the morning of May 31, 1945, at the age of 41, Ludwig Topf committed suicide by taking poison.

Farewell letter by Ludwig Topf, May 30, 1945 (excerpt, underlining in original)

"If I have made the decision to evade arrest it is for the following reason: I have lost all belief in any law in this world now that my family has also done me so much wrong and harm. If I am arrested, the greatest of all wrongs will be done to me. I never consciously or intentionally did anything bad; instead it has been done to me.
I was never cowardly – but I was proud. Handing myself over to the mercy or mercilessness of a foreign country is something I cannot do, because I have learnt the bitter lesson that there is no law and no decency left in this world. That is why I, as a decent person, today have one remaining opportunity to determine my fate as I see fit. And that means immediate departure from a world that in general has become unbearable, and in particular has persecuted and wronged me.
If I ever believed that my innocence as far as the crematoria are concerned (and my brother is just as innocent) would be recognized and honoured, I would continue to fight for justification, as I always have until now – but I think people need a sacrifice. In which case the least I can do is provide it myself. I was always decent – the opposite of a Nazi – the whole world knows that. If I were still able to feel at peace in the heart of a family, the struggle would be worthwhile – but the Topf family that showed composure, integrity and self-confidence has ceased to exist. I was its sole representative as far as that was concerned. Indeed I am so alone that I have no need to ask anyone's forgiveness, not even for a suicide." 

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