I was reading Eric Muller's post on discovering his Uncle Leo's identity card 65 years after the Germans sent him to the gas in Poland. One commenter speaks of the pure evil operating in Nazi Germany. While I don't quibble with the term, I think that many people miss the point when trying to apply the historical significance of the German "Final Solution" to our contemporary lives.
The point here is not that "monsters" perpetrated these acts. The point is that regular, everyday Germans did so, while going about their regular everyday business. It bears thinking about that the clerks and bureaucratic functionaries who signed the orders, made the entries, ensured the trains were full, and dropped the poison zyklon pellets were all regular people, doing what they were told to do because their government told them the subhuman Jews were the enemy. Apparently for the Germans, their government's denunciation was enough; without a flicker of remorse or second-guessing [collectively, at least], regular Germans as "normal" as any average American accepted unquestioningly the twisted ravings of a few, and translated it into a horrifyingly efficient and bureaucratically well-documented genocide.
For those interested in the best and most-readable exposition of the German-perpetrated genocide, as well as the typical German efficiency with which it was carried out, read Herman Wouk's War and Remembrance. The made for TV miniseries of War & Remembrance is flawed, but the episodes dealing with the Holocaust-related aspects of World War II are strikingly well done. In fact, the Auschwitz scenes were actually filmed there.
It is naive to think another such holocaust could never happen here. Without constant vigilance, it could happen anywhere.