Why Himmler letters deserve closer study: Mallick | Toronto Star

Heather Mallick, who usually writes to the left on issues, has a good column on the Himmler letters and the nature of evil:

The truth is that evil exists, that it has to be confronted, and people will do anything not to. We don’t like hard truths. When I hear about murder, I’m curious about what built the killer. Tell me about child abuse, blows to the head, adolescent shocks and adult lies. Don’t tell me we can treat conditions that we can’t even yet identify because psychology is still a young science. What makes a person evil?

If there’s a thread that runs through all these histories, it’s a bizarre attachment to family. We see it all the time, mothers speaking kindly of their serial-killer sons, siblings defending the indefensible, the idea that everyone has something lovable in them and only families can see it. But is it true, even if Heinrich had pet names for Marga and Hedwig, even if evil has its apologists?

Here is the verdict of Katrin and her co-author in a new book about Heinrich: “These letters show the deformation of normality, violence masquerading as harmlessness, cold-bloodedness that goes along with ostensible care, and the unswerving moral certitude even while committing mass murder.”

Why Himmler letters deserve closer study: Mallick | Toronto Star.