Write 2 pages thesis on the topic the value of deception and concealment of evil in the book into that darkness. Ethical Values of Characters in ‘Into That Darkness’ Two persons featuring in Gitta’s interview about the Treblinka and Sobibor concentration camps were Bau and Franz Stangl. In the book, Into That Darkness by Gitta Sereny, Franz Stangl was a commander inside the Treblinka camp while Bau was a Jew prisoner inside the same camp. Franz was tasked with the administration of the camp, specifically organizing and authorizing operation of the killing machines. Contrarily, Bau was an informant of the extermination system. As a Jew, Bau decided to work for the Nazi soldiers in gathering information around Treblinka camp, and informing the administration about the state of affairs among the prisoners. Both Bau and Franz had peculiar set of ethical codes. Despite being a prisoner, Bau helped his enemies in keeping the killing machines running (Sereny, 17). On the other hand, Franz distanced himself from the actual killing processes, but organized execution of the processes. Personally, I consider both characters as having tried to do the right thing in the Treblinka camp.
Apparently, one central value held by Franz was deception. Franz admired the value of deception and concealment of evil in helping the Jews prisoners deal with horrors of the camp. When he arrived at Treblinka camp, Franz admitted that bodies of dead Jews littered the streets. After commencing duties as the commander, Franz ordered that Treblinka should be reorganized to become attractive. When fresh groups of Jewish prisoners were delivered into the camp, Franz would mask the imminent face of death by letting soldiers dressed in deceptive lab coats to welcome the prisoners (Sereny, 18). Franz extended his value of deception into distancing himself from contact with Jewish prisoners, and using white attire as tools of deception. Unlike Franz, Bau voluntarily assisted in reducing the pain of death awaiting Jew prisoners. Bau offered a hand in facilitating execution of evil against his own people. In the gassing chambers, Bau and other prisoners would work in shifts in organizing and directing women and children into the chambers (Sereny, 25). In this context, Bau valued to helping in the pain of death.
Based on the analysis of ethical values held by Franz, it emerges that this survivor of Treblinka camp was a relativist. Franz’s predecessor was termed as incompetent in managing the Treblinka camp. However, Franz perfected the art of mass murder through deception. Conventionally, deception or concealment of truth is perceived as morally wrong (Jones and Hayward, 17). However, Franz believed that the use of deception in Treblinka was appropriate in easing fear relative to the horror faced by prisoners in the camp. Theoretically, ethical relativism emphasizes that the moral concepts of right and wrong are relative. dependant on environmental contexts and reference points (Gibb, 38). Franz chose to use deceptive tools because the value of deception was relatively effective in facilitating achievement of goals within the Treblinka concentration camp.
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Contrarily, Bau was a pluralist as described within Aristotle’s ethical pluralism theory. Based on the analysis of ethical codes, it emerges that Bau offered his help in execution of evil against his own people. In conventional circumstances, offering to help in killing one’s people is ethically wrong (Smith and Lindsey, 386). However, pluralism asserts that distinct ethical values may be both necessary and correct, regardless of whether or not the values conflict each other. For example, Bau would have taken a reserved position, and watch his fellow Jews being brutally murdered. In this case, taking a reserved position is morally right given that Bau had no power to salvage the situation. On the other hand, offering one’s help in easing pain of inevitable death is still ethically correct. The Jews would feel pain before their death even if Bau played no role in their death. However, offering to quicken their demise is acceptable, given that the imminent death within the camp was eventually inevitable (Roth, 92).
Gibb, Carol. Moral Dilemmas and Ethical Reasoning. New York: Transaction Publishers, 2010. Print.
Jones, Gerald and Hayward, Jeremy. Moral Philosophy: A Guide to Ethical Theory. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2006. Print.
Roth, John. Ethics During and After the Holocaust: The Shadow of Birkenau. Pittsburg: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Print.
Sereny, Gitta. Into That Darkness: From Mercy Killing to Mass Murder. London: Random House, 2013. Print.
Smith, William and Lindsey, Robert. “Mapping moral philosophies: Strategic implications for political administration.” Journal of Strategic Politics 24.4, (2003): 385-392.