For those who don’t know German, the phrase Jedem das Seine means “to each his own.” Originally it was a harmless phrase roughly equivalent to “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”, and so on. However, I remember that it was in some way associated with Nazi concentration camps, presumably being used as a slogan to express due retribution and punishment to the victims. Am I misremembering this? Was Jedem das Seine ever used in connection with concentration camps, and if it was, is the saying one that people now avoid using?
I don’t know if it is now avoided because of the association, but Jedem das Seine was the motto of Buchenwald, and featured in the wrought-iron gate to the camp.
Just don’t mention the War!
As already said, Jedem das Seine was displayed at the entrance gates to several concentration camps. Many people are aware of this, which is why people might frown at you when you use it, especially if you use it in the German form. The phrase was originally coined in Latin (suum cuique, apparently a legal principle from Roman law). I’d say in the Latin form, it’s still proper to use it.
If you’re interested further in the history of the phrase, there’s this essay (in German); it seems to be from a German left-wing e-zine, but it gives a good overview over the varying associations connected with those few words.
This basically answers my question. If I’m speaking German, it would be best to avoid using this expression.