Tuesday, Apr. 28 2015, Globe and Mail
A frail, anxious-looking man of 93 sits in a German courtroom – minus his SS uniform. Oskar Groening is charged with complicity in the murder of 300,000 Jews in the Auschwitz death camp during the spring of 1942. His specific job was to rifle through the belongings of new arrivals to confiscate their money (they wouldn’t need it any longer, he later explained). And, and as one of the few Nazis still alive, his trial may be the last from that murderous era. [more]
From Tolerance to Tyranny: A Cautionary Tale from Fifteenth-Century Spain explores the consequences of anti-minority politics, such as we are seeing in many places today, including Canada.
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Long Shadows: Truth, Lies, and History is now available as an e-book.
From Tolerance To Tyranny: A Cautionary Tale from Fifteenth-Century Spain, Cormorant Books
Available as an e-book on Amazon Kindle, Kobo and the iBooks store.
Erna is happy to announce the publication of From Tolerance to Tyranny: A Cautionary Tale from Fifteenth-Century Spain, an updated edition of her 1995 best-selling, award-winning book, The End of Days. The story of how medieval Europe’s most vibrant multicultural society became its least tolerant, with an Inquisition to purify the faith and two ethnic expulsions, continues to resonate powerfully in the first decades of the 21st century.
View the slide show: From Tolerance to Tyranny
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The following excerpt was published in the Ottawa Citizen January 20, 2015.
The most elusive question about tyranny is this: How are ordinary people persuaded to comply passively with injustice, or to take the next step and actively turn on neighbours with whom they may have lived in peace for decades, or even centuries? A devalued, marginalized minority seems to be the key, for exposed to a continuum of propaganda, decent human beings are transformed and desensitized.
Anti-minority propaganda labours to give birth to one and only one offspring: a population that is incrementally conditioned to accept the abuse of the excluded group. Such propaganda is not subtle; frequently it includes an attempt to depict the enemy as a blood-sucking, disease-infected, reeking metamorphosis of a despised animal or insect — in other words, as subhuman. These pointed metaphors permit decent people to reject the pariah from the community; they enable persecutors and passive onlookers to accept the unacceptable on grounds that the victim does not deserve or even need their compassion. [more]