Essay On Bystanders Decisions

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People's’ choices in life make will affect the outcome of history, these individuals will not be blamed, however for their inaction. During the Holocaust, the heinous genocide in which Nazi Germany slaughtered about 6 million Jewish people, ordinary European citizens and bystanders shaped history through the choices they made. Their decisions were greatly influenced by their understanding of the universe of obligation, which sociologist Helen Fein defines as “the circle of individuals and groups ‘toward whom obligations are owed, to whom rules apply, and whose injuries call for [amends]’ (“We and They” 56). During the Holocaust, bystanders’ decisions were influenced by their desire to survive rather than their beliefs and moral obligations, therefore they are not to blame for their inaction, despite these decisions negatively impacting…show more content…
For instance, a young boy was excused from one of his Hitler Youth practices by permission of his family, an official confronts the boy’s father about why he was actually missing from practice. The boy’s father contemplates, “...his son would still have to face the Jungvolk, paying for his father’s moment of “courage.” And so he only said, hesitatingly and stiffly, “No – it certainly will never happen again!” ( “The Birthday Party”, 239). The father fears his son would be punished for his resistance, so he stops himself from further arguing and agrees with the officer. The father takes in account the possible outcomes of arguing in front of the officer and would never want to see any harm to his family, so he decides to endure the officer and son’s statements and pleads and agree that he will be at practice from that point on. Rather than speak his mind, he finds that can only result in harm and prejudice he swallows his opinion and keeps to himself. In the same fashion, many bystanders do not want to cause further damage to the
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