I've been surfing into the non-stop History Channel coverage of the SS. Everything from Himmler, Heidrich, Death's Head, to the Waffen SS has its own program. Each hour History Channel airs what footage remains of the roundups and mass murder of the Jews of Europe, among other SS topics.
What strikes me as odd is the complete lack of real remorse or trauma among the remaining SS troopers. I've seen Congressional Medal of Honor winners - among the few who didn't win the award posthumously - break down when describing their time spent on Anzio, Iwo Jima, or Okinawa. CMH winners are not what one would call soft. To win the award a soldier must practically do the work of a whole company of infantry. Often they have been seriously wounded, rescued their comrades under heavy fire, and still had time to kill dozens of the enemy. But these brave American heroes almost always tear up at some point in the interview.
Generally speaking, if a war veteran is willing to talk about the worst experiences of the war at all, the tears will begin to flow at some point.
Having watched at least a dozen interviews with German SS troopers, I've yet to see even one show any sign of emotion or remorse. One, when asked if he would have fired the machine guns used to kill Jewish civilians, thought for a moment and replied "probably yes". He made a face similar to sipping spoiled milk, but nothing more. This man personally witnessed hundreds or thousands of cold-blooded murders.
The soldiers who fought from bunker to cave on Okinawa had more compassion for their Japanese military opponents than the surviving Nazis do today for slaughtering innocent women and children. I'd chalk it up to brainwashing, but it's been almost 60 years.
If one loses or never learned compassion or humanity, can they be regained or discovered later in life? Are we born empty vessels, but filled only once?