Master Heidegger, examine carefully this photograph. This is the last image of a human being my father saw. Look at that man. Yes, come on, don’t delay. Take the photo. It ennobles you to want to do it. Don’t look at it from a distance. Don’t look at it with disgust. Hold it like this. In your right hand, which I now notice, shakes. What do you see? What is that? Is it a Jew? Is it a Gypsy? Is it a German Social Democrat? Is it a Pole? Is it a Russian? It’s garbage, Professor. Garbage. They’ve turned him into garbage. Give me that photo. You’ve had a good look. Now you now, partly, why I came. I came to show you that photo. My father, in the letter he left me, described that man with admirable and painful precision, occasionally cruel; but cruel, let’s be clear, towards himself. My father, in that letter, the one he wrote to me painfully, says to that man: You are trash and will die with the garbage. I ask your forgiveness. Before you I am guilty. I am what they have made of you. I am that garbage you are, or worse. Because I am an accomplice, that believed himself innocent, that chose not to know, ignoring what in my name, in our name, in the name of Germany, was being done to you. I shall die, then, with you, as garbage and in the garbage, without redemption.
We’ve finished, Master Heidegger. The Luger was never there to threaten you. After looking at that photo (the one we’ve together, you and I, just seen) my father took the Luger. It had belonged to his father. With it, that honest German patriot from the First World War had killed a Lieutenant who refused to enter French territory. With it my father made the last decision of his life. Dieter Müller, Professor Heidegger, that minor philosopher, when he learned of the monstrosity of the Reich’s crimes, chose a single photograph from the thousands they showed him. He took it to his room, and looked at his victim for a long time. He decided that one, a single poor naked creature, was enough. He grabbed the Luger and blew off his head.
Now, then, while, slowly, I push the Luger towards you and leave it, resting, before you, waiting for your final decision or for your frozen, absolute disdain, I put to you the question I came here to ask.