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What Humans Can Do

January 08, 1994

David Gritten's "Growing Into the Role" (Jan. 6) contains wording I feel compelled to address. In his article on actor Ralph Fiennes, who plays Nazi work-camp commandant Amon Goeth in Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List," Gritten says, "It is almost impossible to square his demeanor with that of Amon Goeth, a man capable of randomly shooting Jewish prisoners with a rifle from the balcony of his villa overlooking the work camp."

As Maya Angelou has said, "I am human, therefore nothing human is beyond me." The point is that it was not what the Nazis were "capable" of doing (or what the world was capable of ignoring), it was what was done. Gritten would have more accurately served had he noted that Goeth was a man who randomly shot Jewish prisoners.

The distinction between what we are capable of and what we actually do is an important one that lies at the heart of the unfathomable questions that surround the Holocaust.

ROSE POLSKY

Redondo Beach

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