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A Generation of Coldness: Pre-war German Values

             Susan Griffin's clearly depicts her belief that the pre-war values instilled in the German society led to the Holocaust. The attitudes of Germany towards childrearing, sex, women's roles in society, and the creation of a master race are all points she focuses on in Our Secret. Griffin also supports her theory with passages explaining Alice Miller's corresponding view on the effect of these instilled values. .
             Heinrich Himmler, a character in Susan Griffin's aforementioned story, was a result of pre-war German child-rearing. He became a callous and cruel individual during the latter part of his life, eventually ordering the deaths of millions of innocent men, women, and children. As an adult, Himmler showed no sympathy for any situation and felt no remorse for his merciless behavior. These characteristics stem back to how Himmler was raised. As a young boy, Himmler was forced by his father to record events in his journal, and he was also forced to leave his reactions to these events out of the record. This is because his father, as well as the rest of the German society, felt that all "feminine" characteristics of a boy should be destroyed. At the time, men were not allowed to have empathy or emotions- there was no room for compassion in a man's life.
             At the time, many psychologists were recommending that parents "establish dominance" and "suppress everything in the child" (350). These child-rearing practices led to a generation of cold-hearted, distant adults, those who were responsible for the Holocaust. Among the most prominent of all psychologists in pre-war Germany was Dr. Daniel Gottlieb Moritz Schreber. He encouraged practices such as placing a brace on a child to prevent poor posture and positioning a metal plate in front of the child to prevent slumping over their work (350). These torturous procedures became way of life for Germany because they were thought to help create a master generation.

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