Playing down crimes is a sign of the times. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott made the case when ABC News reports him saying that Americans don’t care about Trump's guilt in the defamation case. He may be right. Certainly, the GOP’s laissez-fair attitude about any of Trump’s 91 indictments backs him up.

The fog of war

But that acceptance of wrongdoing may also tie to the acceptance of Nazi crimes and the rise of fascism. Too much of a leap? Hang on. Allow me to make the argument.

In the news is a redesign of a Holocaust museum exhibit in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

The changed display was driven by museum guard witnessing school children taking selfies with displays of Nazi officer’s black uniforms with their red swastika armbands.

So, the Zekelman Holocaust Center rearranged its exhibit. In one instance, you can still see the Nazi uniforms, but now photographs of German soldiers leading Jews to mass shooting sites are highlighted.

As the museum curator Mark Mulder explained: “I don’t want them to see this uniform without facing the truth of these people who wore these uniforms.” The revamped exhibit was his attempt to avoid the glorification of what he called “the aesthetics of fascism.”

Another change in the exhibit: Mulder completely removed a giant blowup of Hitler because some children were caught giving him the Nazi salute.

This effort to reorient children’s perspective to the victims of the Holocaust calls to mind a 2008 movie “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” about an eight-year-old called Bruno living in Nazi-occupied Poland whose father is commandant of a nearby death camp.

Bruno befriends Shmuel, a boy of the same age who is a prisoner in the camp.

They meet through a barbed wire fence. Neither boy is aware of the true nature of the place. They’re so innocent that Bruno thinks the striped uniform that Shmuel wear are pajamas.

All is quiet on the surface until Bruno’s mother learns that the odor from the nearby camp comes from burned bodies. She persuades her husband to allow her to take Bruno to live elsewhere until the war is over.

When Bruno goes to say goodbye to Shmuel, he learns the boy’s father is missing and offers to help find him. He dons the striped "pajamas" that Schmuel lends him to sneak into the camp. The child’s-eye view – so unknowing – adds the power of this movie.

When Bruno’s parents learn he’s missing, a search dog tracks him to the camp, but it was too late. He had already been sent to a gas chamber.

Mind you, all the horror of this death camp takes place off-screen. There are no signs of Nazi atrocities. But because we know what’s going on, we fill in the blanks. In that sense, we help write the script. Watching this movie, then, is not passive entertainment.

Narrowing the focus

Also, by narrowing the focus of the Holocaust to the life of a single German officer and his family, putting all the horror on such a small scale, only suggesting Nazi barbarism, redoubles it all the more.

“The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” ought to be required viewing for those school children intent on selfies with Nazi uniforms.