On August 8th, 1914, the French destroyer “La Rapière” intercepts, in the Channel, the German sailboat “Frieda Mahn”. Seven crew members are captured and interned. Among them, the 20-year-old German sailor Fritz Sauckel, who was going to become one of the highest dignitaries of the Nazi regime.
Indeed, in 1942, he was appointed “responsible dignitary for the employment of the workforce ". He was in charge of the organization of the deportations of workers towards Germany from occupied countries. Convicted of war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the inter-allied Military tribunal of Nuremberg he was condemned to death and, hung on October 16th, 1946.
At first interned successively in the camps of Cherbourg, Saint-Lô and Dinan, Sauckel arrives in the camp of Ile Longue on September 18th, 1915, to stay there until October 20th, 1919. In an autobiographical entitled text “Für Herrn Mayor Kelly” (For Major Kelly) (Steven Raßloff p. 119) writen in 1945, he speaks about his activities during the years of internment: “During the captivity, beside my daily work, I studied nautical, mathematical, economic and social subjects and in which I took some examinations.” It seems that these studies laid the foundations for his nationalist and anti-semitic convictions. His name does not appear either in the numerous reports of sportive, cultural or other events in the magazine of the camp “Die Insel-Woche”, or moreover in no other original document at our disposal. In the camp of Ile Longue, he thus seems to have lived a life away from the community, without being outlined or getting noticed. Can we conclude from this that Fritz Sauckel was simply a “normal” man and at the most “average”? Could we then apply to him too what the philosopher Hannah Arendt says about Adolf Eichmann and of”the banality of the evil"?
Hannah Arendt and the "banality of evil”: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Hannah...