Rationalizing Genocide: The Trial of Oskar Groning, The Bookkeeper of Auschwitz
Part III: The Force that is Forgiveness
By: Brad Kronen*
In 2002, a documentary film was released entitled “Blind Spot”, a series of recorded interviews given by Gertraud Junge, who served as Adolf Hitler’s secretary from 1942 – 1945.
Frau Junge claims to have been a non-political, sheltered girl who simply because of having the highest stenography scores at Secretary School was given the long term assignment of working directly under Germany’s Fascist dictator.
In order to emphasize the level of sacrifice the German people had to make during the War, Junge cited as example statements given by a concentration camp guard during an interview taken just after the close of World War II:
“A soldier who had been stationed in a concentration camp was once asked by an interviewer, “Didn’t you feel any pity at all for the people you treated so badly there?” And he replied, “Yes, I certainly did feel pity for them, but I had to overcome it. That was a sacrifice I had to make for the greater cause.”
The final scene of the film abruptly ends after Gertraud Junge makes the following realization regarding Sophie Scholl, a girl born her same year (along with Oskar Groning) who was executed by guillotine for distributing anti-Nazi pamphlets on the campus of the University of Munich:
“One day, I walked past a plaque on the wall in memory of Sophie Scholl on Franz Joseph Strasse (in Munich). I could see that she had been born the same year as I, and that she had been executed the same year when I entered into Hitler’s service. And, at that moment, I really realized that it was no excuse that I had been so young.”
Rationalization is a powerful thing. So powerful, it has the ability to convince a person their actions are in the right, even while they are in the midst of one of the darkest examples of Man’s inhumane treatment to his fellow man.
Such is the case for Oskar Groning and his time served as an SS guard at the Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz during the Second World War.
Part II discussed the influence Neptune’s current transit through its ruling sign of Pisces can have societally, namely by affecting “Truth”. In both its evolved and unevolved forms, Neptune in its natural sign takes the concept of Truth to an almost archetypal level. But where the evolved side of Neptune in Pisces embraces the righteousness of high minded Truthfulness, the unevolved side does the same, but in a deceptively pure aura of thorough and utter self-deception.
Oskar Groning’s words and actions have reflected both sides of this astrological concept.
From an evolved perspective, Mr. Groning has set a new societal precedent by being the only one of his kind to openly admit his guilt and “moral complicity” in regards to his Nazi past and the legal charges associated with it.
On the unevolved side, Mr. Groning’s ability to rationalize both his time spent at Auschwitz along with his stance as to why he believes he is not guilty are either so emotionally detached or deduced with such an irrational state of reasoning, they could only come from a place that is thoroughly self-delusional.
In order to get the fullest perspective possible of this highly complex, extremely sensitive debate, we must further examine Oskar Groning’s time of duty while serving as an SS guard at the largest of the Nazi killing centers, as well as compare the 93 year old’s birth planets and how they correlate with his overall personality both then and now.
The Bookkeeper of Auschwitz
Before War broke out, Oskar Groning had worked as both a bank teller and an accountant. During the War, Groning still put his financial background to active use, but this time around his skills and experience were applied to concentration camp culture and its “unorthodox” rules and regulations.
Upon their arrival at Auschwitz, Jews were ordered to relinquish any/all monies carried on their person, which in effect were collected for Oskar Groning to sort through, count, and subsequently ship back to Berlin.
“Inmate Money Administration”, “Prisoners’ Possessions Administration”, even “Money Without Owners”- these were the nebulous terms used to describe the blatant acts of wanton theft and robbery shown to the countless number of Nazi victims during their final moments of life.
Oskar Groning may have openly expressed his “moral guilt” to the judge and jury of Luneburg, Germany on the first day of legal proceedings, but the former Nazi also drew gasps of horrified shock from the court on the trial’s second day.
When asked by the judge why the SS forcibly took money from their victims, Mr. Groning matter of factly replied the money was viewed as property of the state, and in regards to their former owners,
“They didn’t need it anymore.”
Over time, Groning says that part of life at Auschwitz became “perfectly normal”, he worked hard, slept with comfortable quilts (provided by victims), and exercised with other guards on a nearby athletic field (within sight of the transport train ramps),
…And he also was well fed.
Groning’s sense of emotionally detached flippancy was best displayed on the third day of legal proceedings when he described how over the course of his time of duty at Auschwitz his thoughts became “more pedestrian”. While discussing a particular memory of the camp’s guards being informed of transports soon arriving from Hungary, Mr. Groning recalled thinking to himself back then,
“If this is Hungary, they have bacon on board.”
The Birth Chart of a Nazi
In Astrology, nothing is causal. We cannot pinpoint a particular planet’s positioning or its inter-relation with another heavenly body and make any black or white conclusions, such as “A-ha! This planet placed in this particular sign is THE definite cause as to why this person’s actions are good/evil/evolved/unevolved/actively aggressive/inactively passive.”
However, when seen in its holistic entirety, the positions of the planets at the time of one’s birth each play a significant role in shaping our personalities by influencing a person’s actions, attitudes and overall behavior.
Since an exact time of birth isn’t available for Oskar Groning, a complete natal chart cannot be cast. Despite not being able to delineate the House placements of a proper birth chart, we can still determine where each of the planets’ were located in the Heavens on the day of Mr. Groning’s birth along with how they interact with each other.
On the day Oskar Groning was born, June 10th, 1921, in the Lower Saxony district of Nienburg, Germany, the planets were positioned in the sky as follows:
Sun in Gemini, Moon in Leo, Mercury in Cancer, Venus in Taurus, Mars in Gemini, Jupiter in Virgo, Saturn in Virgo, Uranus in Pisces, Neptune in Leo, Pluto in Cancer, along with the North Node being placed in Libra
The Astrological Rationalizer
Some signs tend to be naturally emotional. Some tend to be inherently action oriented. And there are some signs that tend to be innately rational.
Amongst the residents of the Zodiac, the rational mind holds the strongest influence over four signs in particular – Libra, Aquarius, Gemini, and Virgo.
Those who are strongly rational tend to approach things with a predominantly cerebral perspective and will have a propensity to greatly downplay, or in some cases, negate their feelings or anything of an emotional nature.
Not surprisingly, Oskar Groning was born beneath the sign ruled by the planet of Rationality, itself, that being the Mercurial sign of Gemini. Not only were the Sun and Mars placed in the rationally based sign of The Twins at the time of Mr. Groning’s birth, both Jupiter and Saturn were positioned in the other sign which the planet of rationality holds dual rulership over, Virgo.
The curse of the Gemini is boredom, and the most powerful form of mental stimulation for those born beneath the sign of The Twins is duality.
With Mars, the planet of action and motivation also placed in Gemini conjunct the Sun, it can be inferred that Mr. Groning dualistically compartmentalized his time at Auschwitz, where despite being in the midst of an organized killing center, he had a job to do and was motivated to perform his assigned duties while stationed there.
From a societal perspective, this compartmentalization appears to have been a key factor behind the overall administration of The Nazi Final Solution.
To quote Matthias Geyer in his New York Times interview with Groning:
“He lived in an organized world and its order ensured that the terror of the concentration camps could be compartmentalized, kept apart from the foundations of civilization. The terror was subject to clear command structures and tightly regulated service schedules, assignments of duties and positions, making one man a torturer and another a bookkeeper.”
The influence of Jupiter natally conjunct Saturn appears to have assisted Mr. Groning with this particular mental approach.
“Burdened by larger social issues and heavy responsibilities”
Jupiter is also known as “The Great Benefic” and Saturn, “The Great Malefic”. Said another way, Jupiter can be seen as God and Saturn as The Devil.
When these two planetary heavy hitters are brought together by conjunction, one has a propensity to be consistently even tempered, and also tends to never overreact to situations, no matter how extreme. Jupiter conjunct Saturn also lends for a person’s attention span and focus to be intensely concentrated “in the moment” whenever need be.
With The Great Benefic and Malefic’s being mutually positioned in the rationally ruled sign which optimally functions best with details, Virgo, one could surmise Mr. Groning was able to rationalize his time at Auschwitz by intensely focusing on the details of his work, namely the counting, sorting, and tallying of various currencies of money arriving from the many countries of Nazi occupied Europe.
It would appear as if “details” for the young Mr. Groning served as both his personal Devil and his saving grace with The Great Malefic and Benefic placed together in the detail driven, Mercurial sign of Virgo since there’s a high probability of those born with this planetary conjunction having incredible memories which retain nearly every detail of any given past situation.
Traditionally, it’s been said those born with Jupiter conjunct Saturn tend to be placed in jobs which bear a high level of significance for more than just themselves. As per traditional astrological definition, Oskar Groning would embark in work that would in all likelihood be “burdened by larger social issues and heavy responsibilities”.
Guilt – Yin to Rationalization’s Yang
In many ways, Guilt is Rationalization’s foil.
Regardless of how adept a person’s ability is to rationalize, Guilt has a unique way of breaking through the mind’s rational defenses by saturating one’s mental perspective with a level of emotion that is usually long overlooked and much overdue.
A good example of Guilt working its way through the subconscious mind would be Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth and her “Out! Out! Damned Spot!” sleepwalking soliloquy and an equally fine example of Guilt affecting the conscious mind would be Oskar Groning’s natal Mercury conjunct Pluto in Cancer.
“I have heard the cries of the dead in my dreams and in every waking moment. I will never be free of them.”
Cancer is a Water sign, the element associated with the non-rational mind as well as human emotion. The sign of the Crab is also the resident of the Zodiac which The Past holds the most influence over.
As stated earlier, Mercury is the planet which rules over the rational mind and Pluto is the planet which oversees the subconscious mind and anything related to Death. With his planet of rational thought positioned in the emotionally charged sign of the Past alongside the planet of Death and the subconscious, Oskar Groning’s memories of his time at Auschwitz will never fade, regardless of how much time has gone by.
And as evidenced by the above quote, Guilt is Mr. Groning’s internalized concentration camp guard which makes sure those pain filled memories of the Past never get a chance to escape via the former Nazi’s powers of rationalization.
As Currently Above, Is Currently Below
The trial of Oskar Groning is highly significant not only for humanity’s Past but for its unfolding Future as well.
And not strictly for reasons which are all thoroughly dark and tinged with evil.
On the first day of proceedings, the generational planet extensively discussed throughout this series, Neptune, was placed by exact degree over Oskar Groning’s natal Uranus in Pisces. Uranus is the planet of individuality, uniqueness, and anything considered to be a first of its kind.
Despite focusing on Mr. Groning’s ability to rationalize the horrors of The Holocaust, with Neptune currently touching upon his natal Uranus, the Universe is highlighting this elderly man’s trail blazing sense of resolve to face his nightmarish Past by being the first person accused of Nazi war crimes to openly admit his guilt by association.
Lastly, the North Node is currently in the same sign as when Oskar Groning was born over nine decades ago. The North Node is a term which refers to Karmic Destiny that is individualized when observed through a person’s birth chart and societal when analyzed from the viewpoint of the present day skies.
Auschwitz survivors have come from various points of the globe to testify at Oskar Groning’s trial in order to tell their heart wrenching stories of how the Nazi killing center affected their lives. The first of these to testify was 81 year old Indiana resident, Eva Mozes Kor.
Mrs. Kor was 10 years old when her transport from Romania arrived at Auschwitz in May of 1944 after 70 hours with no food or water. When the cattle car doors finally opened, Eva’s mother, father, and two older sisters were immediately sent to the gas chambers while she and her identical twin sister Miriam were selected to be experimented on by “The Angel of Death”, Josef Mengele.
Miraculously, both Eva and her sister survived Auschwitz, despite both girls being injected with various diseases by Dr. Mengele.
After testifying last week at Oskar Groning’s trial, Mrs. Kor approached the former Nazi in court. In her words, she wanted to “thank him for having some human decency in accepting responsibility for what he has done.”
Mr. Groning then proceeded to kiss and embrace her.
In a picture (slide show cover photo) taken of the former prisoner holding hands with the former prison guard, the look of joyful thanks on Oskar Groning’s face is unto itself truly astounding.
“Always forgive your worst enemy” Mrs. Kor tweeted, “as it’s the only way you’ll be able to set your soul free.”
The North Node in the current skies above is in the same location of the Heavens as it was when Oskar Groning entered this plane of existence in Libra, the sign of Justice and Partnership whose astrological glyph symbolizes Peace, itself.
No matter the outcome, the trial of Oskar Groning serves as a modern day reminder that we must never forget the pain of History’s Past in order to affirm our unfolding future going forward as a societal whole. These legal proceedings that are a first and last of their kind also testify to the notion that Forgiveness is a force more potent than the power of Rationalization and Guilt combined.
*Brad Kronen’s latest book, “Love In The Stars” published by Llewelyn Worldwide, Inc. is now available for pre-order via Amazon.com.