Excerpt from Wilhelm Hosenfeld's letter to his wife, 23.7.1942 [the beginning of the deportation from Warsaw to Treblinka death camp]:
…I don't like being here any longer. What is being done here, how they kill the Jews – in other cities thousands have already been murdered; now the ghetto with half a million people is to be emptied. Himmler was here, so they say – can a German at all show his face to the world? Is this what our soldiers are dying for at the front? There are probably no precedents in history. Prehistoric men may have eaten each other, but plainly slaughtering an entire people – men women and children – in the 20th century, by us, who are leading the campaign against Bolshevism – this is a bloody guilt that makes one want to collapse on the ground. The question is whether the responsible people are at all normal. Did the devil take on human shape? I have no doubt. This is not a nice end to a letter, but I am so miserable, so depressed, that I cannot fight the hopelessness of our future…"
September 1, 1942, Hosenfeld, a devout Catholic, attempted to deal with the question of how the moral collapse of Germany had been possible;
Because humanity had to be shown where its godlessness was taking it ... This denial of God's commandments leads us to all the other immoral manifestations of greed - unjust self-enrichment, hatred, deceit, sexual license resulting in infertility and the downfall of the German people. God allows all this to happen ... to show mankind that without him we are only animals in conflict, who believe we have to destroy each other. We will not listen to the divine commandment: "Love one another" ... and must die, guilty and innocent alike.
Excerpt from Hosenfeld's diary, 16 June 1943:
"Innumerable Jews have been killed like that, for no reason, senselessly. It is beyond understanding. Now the last remaining Jewish residents of the ghetto were annihilated. An SS-Strumfuehrer boasted that he had shot the Jews who jumped out of the burning houses. The entire ghetto is a burned ruin. This is how we want to win the war. These animals. With this horrible mass murder of the Jews we have lost the war. We have brought an eternal curse on ourselves and will be forever covered with shame. We have no right for compassion or mercy; we all have a share in the guilt. I am ashamed to walk in the city….
Excerpt from Hosenfeld’s diary, August 13, 1943:
It is impossible to believe all these things, even though they are true. Yesterday I saw two of these beasts in the tram. They were holding whips in their hands when they came out of the ghetto. I would like to throw those dogs under the tram. What cowards we are, wanting to be better and allowing all this to happen. For this, we too will be punished, and our innocent children after us, because in allowing these evil deeds to occur, we are partners to the guilt.