One day, in July 1941, half of the population of a small east European town murdered the other half.
– Jan Tomasz Gross, Neighbours
In the article “Hate Thy Neighbour: The War Crime the Nazis Didn’t Commit”, the author, Lucy Hughes-Hallett, explores the book The Crime and the Silence by Anna Bikont. The book is most interesting for its journal entries – a confused jumble of entries and sixty-year-old memories that the reader – or an Imperial Army officer, digging up evidence of violations of the Imperial Laws of War – has to piece together to a coherent story – while ignoring the (hopefully immaterial) loose ends, as most investigator must to get a finding in the time allotted.
Poles alleged that during the Soviet occupation their Jewish neighbours had denounced them to the NKVD (in fact, only a handful of Jews collaborated): it is not until nearly a third of the way through the book that Bikont tells us about this. Nor does she directly describe the town’s social structure; it is only by inference that readers will gather that many of the Jews’ killers were their employees or their debtors.
There are a lot of Vilani-led corporations, employing lots of low-level Solomani employees out there.
But then again, the Vilani are not your typical market-dominant minority, like the Jews or the Armenians or the Chinese outside of their nation. For one thing, the Vilani are quite capable of engaging in large-scale genocidal operations themselves. For another, they have a lot of off-world friends, some of them very powerful indeed.
As for Nazis not doing much more than simply standing by, as the locals decide to wipe out their employers… you really need to get a Solomani Party man properly lubricated, if you want the most terrifying, hair-raising tales to come out.
As for the “Hate Thy Neighbour” attitude… well, that reached its peak in the Empty Quarter in the 800s-early 900s, culminating with the Hebrin Rebellion. The locals don’t exactly like their neighbours today, but more and more just want to make money, rather than chase the restless ghosts of old grievances and tribal hatreds.
But if you stop and listen carefully, you can still hear a few chains clinking and a distant mournful wail. Even a truly determined instigator would have a hard time reigniting the old rage across the stars, but there are always a few men who just want to watch worlds burn.