Making a little break from french poetry and 19th century ghosts beliefs, to dive into André Halimi's excellent book
on denunciations during the nazi occupation of France. All these polite letters (between 3 and 4 millions of them in four years) about jewish neighbours, about "antinationals", about "non-assimilable" coworkers, and about what should be done to them, are an excellent window into the nazi mentality. Which, again, is not a matter of evil geniuses or alien forces mysteriously roaming earth at one point, but "ordinary people", with a very widespread, commonplace mindset, eagerly supporting a narrative of oppressed ethnic identity, and impatient to see it lawfully cleansed of its impurities.
I'm always fascinated by the proximity of nazi discourses from the 30s/40s. A discomforting mirror shattered by those who wish to see it as an irrelevant episode of the past, and who minimize this popular support (letters, journal articles, local politicians) behind the caricatural figures of comic book villains and defeated leaders. It suffices to plunge into those ordinary pro-nazi writings to be immediately remembered that we're still living in the same humanity. Amongst the same normal people. Those reflexes, those mentalities, are always here, awkwardly repressed until a politician succeeds in channeling and validating them.
Basically, it feels like reading today's internet forums.