This is a bit out of the blue and off the wall. But then so is care giving.
Last week, specifically April 11th, marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of Israel’s trial of Adolf Eichmann. He was a leader in Nazi Germany’s efforts to exterminate those it dubbed “subhumans” and replace them with a “master race.”
The main targets of this great evil were the Jewish people of Europe. But as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum notes,
On July 14, 1933, the Nazi government instituted the “Law for the Prevention of Progeny with Hereditary Diseases.” This law, one of the first steps taken by the Nazis toward their goal of creating an Aryan “master race,” called for the sterilization of all persons who suffered from diseases considered hereditary, such as mental illness, learning disabilities, physical deformity, epilepsy, blindness, deafness, and severe alcoholism. With the law’s passage the Third Reich also stepped up its propaganda against people with disabilities, regularly labeling them “life unworthy of life” or “useless eaters” and highlighting their burden upon society.
One of the greatest evils of human history included efforts to eliminate the kinds of people we care for.
Care givers defend one of many lines between civilization and savagery. A society that encourages and honors the care of members who can’t care for themselves is – is what? – more advanced, nobler, holier or just plain better than a bunch of people who allow the “healthy” and strong to dispose of those considered weak and “useless.”
You might not feel like you’re making a big contribution to society. But we’ve seen the opposite take place within the lifetimes of people we know – within the generation of Melissa’s and my parents. What you do is part of the difference between good and evil at loose in the world. God bless you for it.