The most startling example of how the average German behaved in an inhumane fashion toward the Jews was that they stood idly by as the Nazis transported Jews through the towns on their way to be exterminated. In two different sections Elie Wiesel notes that the Germans simply looked on unsurprised as Jews came through. In section three as they are being taken to the work camp at Buna Elie writes,
As we went through the villages, many of the Germans stared at us without surprise. They had probably seen quite a few of these processions.
In the same scene "some young German girls" flirt with the SS troops. They are totally oblivious and seem not to care about the fate of the Jews. They find it perfectly appropriate to be "kissed and tickled" while men are being taken to a camp where they may ultimately die.
In section seven the Jews are transported by train to Buchenwald. Again the same reaction from the common German people:
Sometimes we passed through German townships. Very early in the morning, usually. The workmen were going to work. They stopped and stared after us, but otherwise showed no surprise.
The German workmen also seem oblivious to the fate of the starving and dying men they see on the train. They even amuse themselves by throwing pieces of bread into the wagons, just to watch the Jews struggle and virtually kill each other just to get a crumb. Elie writes,
A crowd of workmen and curious spectators had collected along the train. They had probably never seen a train with such a cargo. Soon, nearly everywhere, pieces of bread were dropped into the wagons. The audience stared at these skeletons of men, fighting one another to the death for a mouthful.
Where was the outrage among the German citizenry? They simply stood by and even encouraged the worst excesses of the Nazis. Their apathy was as much a part of the extermination of the Jews as Hitler's sociopathic quest for racial purity.