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- Daniell, Raymond (27 May, 1945). "At Our Knees — Or at Our Throats" (html). The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-24. Check date values in:
It is a saying among our [Allied occupation] troops that there are no real Nazis in Germany, only "good Germans." Every crime Germany committed against humanity seems to have been done by someone else.
- Good German
- (historical) a citizen of Nazi Germany who, after the defeat of Nazi Germany, denies supporting the conduct of (or even having knowledge of) any war crime
- (by extension) a person in any country who observes reprehensible things taking place — whether done by a government or by another powerful institution — but remains silent, neither raising objections nor taking steps to change the course of events
- Usage notes
- Rich, Frank (October 14, 2007). "The 'Good Germans' Among Us" (html). Opinion. The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-24.:
Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our [Iraq] war. The longer we stand idly by while they do so, the more we resemble those “good Germans” who professed ignorance of their own Gestapo.
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- Related terms
"Good Germans" is a phrase that originally referred to citizens of Nazi Germany who, after Germany’s defeat in World War II, claimed not to have supported the regime, yet made no claim to have opposed it in any significant way. This was widely noted by Allied occupation troops, who were amazed and appalled by the widespread disavowal of responsibility for Nazi crimes among the German populace. For example:
- It is a saying among our troops that there are no real Nazis in Germany, only “good Germans.” Every crime Germany committed against humanity seems to have been done by someone else.
The term has come to be used to refer more generically to people in any country who observe reprehensible things taking place — whether done by a government or by another powerful institution — but remain silent, neither raising objections nor taking steps to change the course of events.