Deplorable Documentation

It’s interesting that the author of this article starts off by claiming this document by formal criteria standards is a perfect example of technical communication document. Not many documents from this awful time in history are considered well written in the moral or ethical sense, but many of them can be considered well written in the formal sense of composition and structure.

When first starting this document I was reminded of a short film my senior class viewed on our Holocaust history day. We visited a synagogue and watched a sad silent short reel. It showed a Jewish grade school teacher and his young Jewish class. They were out at recess when a ambulance pulled up driven by Nazi officers. They ordered everyone in the back of the van. They then took a rubber hose and fit it from the exhaust pipe into the back of the closed off van where the children and his class were held. It was understood by the viewers that this was a mobilized chamber used to murder Jewish victims. This in my mind is exactly what “Just” the author of the document, was talking about when requesting updates on Nazi vans. The main feelings that come to me when reading the van is sadness and surprise. I am obviously sad that so many people met their fates in such deplorable ways. I am also surprised that not only humans would do this to other humans so willingly (as if enjoying it) but also how creative the means they go to are. One would not normally think a van to be a certain death trap as the Nazi’s have created them to be.

While I agree with Katz that the document’s morals and ethics are deplorable and completely wrong, I also agree that the document in question is very well written. I do not believe I would call it perfect based on the fact that technical communication is concerned about the good ethics and morals of a document, which this one obviously lacks, but it is prefect in the formal sense. Like Katz, I agree that the writer “Just” goes about writing this rhetorically in a near perfect fashion. He not only writes clearly and efficiently but also very formal rhetoric.

While the author of the document does write well and with a purpose, he is severely lacking in Ethos in his document. In a almost brilliantly yet disgustingly way, this is done on purpose to this and many other Nazi documents. By using such technical terms and non-specific nouns, they are not clearly spelling out the crimes they are committing. If one were to come across this document without any knowledge of it’s context, it would be very difficult to tell that they were talking about murdering people.



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