1941 - Czechoslovakia
"Some Czech workmen are on the roof of the Opera House in Prague in order to take down a statue of Mendelssohn, the composer, because he's a Jew. The order has come directly from Heydrich, recently named Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, and a connoisseur of classical music. But there's a whole row of statues on the roof, and Heydrich hasn't specified which is Mendelssohn. Now, apart from Heydrich it seems that nobody - even the Germans - is capable of recognising the Jewish composer. But nobody dares disturb Heydrich just for that. So the SS guards decide to point out the statue with the biggest nose. Well, they're looking for a Jew, aren't they? But - disaster! - the statue the workmen start to remove is actually Wagner!"
- Laurent Binet, 'HHhH'
1932 - Russia
"Much blood has been shed, hundreds of atrocities have been committed, and the spirit of destruction has breathed over the country (Russia). But in my heart of hearts, I feel it would be superficial and untrue to dismiss the whole Bolshevik regime in terms of violence and rapine. It strikes me as being all very simple, and yet highly complex in all its aspects, in all its form; I see something profoundly Russian, an ugliness essentially Russian in the mixture of folly and cruelty.
I should be blind and prejudiced if I did not recognise that to Lenin and some of his associates the Bolshevik movement was an attempt to re-create life on a fairer basis. They were definitely not "mere thieves and brigands." The tragedy lay in the fact that our Russian architects were not content to build an ordinary human edifice on a reasonable scale; nothing less than a "tower defying the heavens" a Tower of Babel would do for them...
They were not satisfied with the steady progress of the man who goes to and fro between his work and his home - they must rush headlong towards the future. "Down with the old world!" was the general outcry, and so the old world needs to be swept away, lock stock and barrel.
Thus it came about that every human quality, like a medal, showed its reverse side. "Liberty" became tyranny; "fraternity" civil war: "equality" ended in the thrusting down of any head that dared to lift itself above the level of the morass."
- Feodor Chaliapin, Man and Mask
2013 - USA
"Aaronson tells me he's shocked by the number of kids he knows who believe the Jews were behind 9/11. "The problem with this demographic is that they do not know the basic narratives of their histories – or really any narratives," he says. "They're blazed on pot and searching the Internet for any 'factoids' that they believe fit their highly de-historicized and decontextualized ideologies. And the adult world totally misunderstands them and dismisses them – and does so at our collective peril," he adds."
The first quote comes from one of the best books I've read this year. The second is from an autobiography that I recently discovered in a box of titles from a house clearance. The final quote sums up my frustration with my son's blind faith in the veracity of YouTube videos (fortunately, he has a healthy cynicism about the lizard people and most 9/11 conspiracy theories).
You can read Janet Reitman's full article on the Boston bombers by clicking on the link above.