"People of the Lie"
TITLE - "People of the Lie"
WHERE - Entry gate, Sachsenhausen concentration camp, Oranienburg, Germany (2015)
When the Christian psychiatrist M. Scott Peck wrote his unsettling analysis of human wickedness, he titled it People of the Lie because the perpetration of self-serving lies to oneself and others, he found, was a signature trait of the persons he would classify clinically as "evil." Here the welcoming message to incoming prisoners at the camp's front gate is a falsehood of darkest cynicism, a cruel joke of the most acrid, hope-crushing sort. Displayed at several Nazi death camps, the taunting phrase made its appearance first with this sign, at Sachsenhausen: "work sets you free." By work, of course, the tormentors meant worked to death.