Talk about taking a creepy bit of news and making it 10 times creepier. A town in Germany is having a problem with Rudolf Hess. It seems his grave has become something of a tourist trap. What, not on your itinerary? That's probably because you're not a Nazi sympathizer.
Me neither. Kind of explains why I didn't know until now that the neo-Nazis pour into little Wunseidel by the thousands to worship at the grave of the deputy leader of the Third Reich, huh? Man, I feel for that town.
I live in a heavily trafficked tourist town, and it's hard enough sharing my roads with the Sunday driving visitors who are just really excited to see a cow or a bald eagle. I can't imagine being happy if the people clogging the lines at the neighborhood grocery store were white supremacists. My cart full of food might accidentally bang into the back of their heels a time or 20, if you know what I'm saying. And my "directions" to the hot spot might just send them on a wild goose chase on some really crappy dirt roads.
But town officials in Wunseidel have bypassed passive-aggressive tourist dissuasion methods and gone straight on into crazy town. They dug up Rudolf Hess' grave, pulled out the dead creep's bones, and burned them. Now they won't tell anyone what they're doing with the ashes.
Wow. It sounds familiar, doesn't it. Who was it who desecrated human bodies and refused survivors a place to visit their loved ones' remains? Oh right ... the Nazis.
Yeah, I went there. A bit overboard, I'll admit, but there's just something about this that bothers me.
Not because I have even an iota of respect for Hess. This was a guy who reportedly took everything Adolf Hitler said and spit it back out; he was so caught up in his own hero worship that he didn't do a dang thing to protect the millions of innocent men and women slaughtered during the Holocaust. He was the ultimate scumbucket.
But he was a human being. The fact that he was a despicable one, that we as sane members of society found him to be a depraved individual doesn't negate that.
It's as human beings ourselves that we have to remember what it was that was so wrong about the practices of Hitler, the Third Reich, and men like Rudolf Hess. They believed in levels of humanity, that theirs was the superior race, that they could judge who was worth living and who was worth dying. They abandoned human beings in mass graves, they burned people's bodies, because they deemed them a lesser race, a lesser quality of person. It was disgusting.
Now consider the removal of Rudolf Hess' grave. People in Wunseidel deemed themselves "better" than Hess and his cronies. Knee jerk, and I'd agree. But what does it say about them that they acted on it?
I'll be honest. I can't think of a better option off the top of my head, but grave desecration makes me uncomfortable. It seems they could have done something other than burning his bones and closing the grave.
Does the town's decision to mess with a grave seem right to you? Can you think of a better option?
Image via K.Kendall/Flickr