From an interview with playwright EugMene Ionesco in the Paris weekly Le Nouvel Observateur:
The only things I have ever been hostile to were stupidity and the violation of human rights. When I returned to Rumania at age 13, my first contact with political reality was the sight of an officer of King Carol slapping a peasant who had not taken off his cap before the national flag. A definitive hatred was born in me, an instinctive mistrust of all flags. Then I lived through the rise of Naziism. I saw young men my age join the Iron Guard. They threw Jewish students out of the windows of the medical school. My own family beat the servants. If you want to talk of my political convictions you must begin here. There is the zoo my play "Rhinoceros" came from.
In pre-war Rumania I learned how men become brutes. Some of my friends were against the Nazis, but they let themselves become infected without realizing it. One day one of them would say, "The Jews really go too far. Didn't they get all of Rumania's trade under their thumbs?" At that moment I knew that he was becoming a rhinoceros.
I asked myself: "How can I be right and the rest of the world wrong?" I thought I would go crazy. When I fled to France and I met others as "crazy" as myself my anguish was calmed. But if I had stayed in Rumania I would have been lost. . . .
The supreme trick of mass insanity is that it persuades you that the only abnormal person is the one who refuses to join in the madness of others, the one who tries vainly to resist. We will never understand totalitarianism if we do not understand that people rarely have the strength to be uncommon. . .