Jewish Prisoners In A Concentration Camp Analysis

Decent Essays
The Three Psychological Stages of a Jewish Prisoner in a Concentration Camp

Many wars of the 20th Century were caused by leaders aiming to create a so-called Master Race. As a result many millions of soldiers and civilians were killed in conflict. Adolf Hitler, the German Fuehrer, decided that one group of people in particular needed to be eradicated: The Jew. He set up concentration camps and tried to round up all of Europe’s Jews to create “the final solution”. The Jews were either forced to work slave labor, or face extermination if they were too week or unwilling. One survivor of this Holocaust, Viktor Frankl, wrote a work of psychology, Man’s Search For Meaning, that described the horrific conditions of camp life. Frankl explains that
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After being cooped up in squalor and surrounded by torture for four years, the prisoners couldn’t grasp the concept of their own freedom: “Its reality did not penetrate into our consciousness; we could not grasp the fact that freedom was ours” (88). They had looked forward to it so much that when it came it was almost like an anti-climax. The freed prisoners also had a strong desire for retribution: “They became instigators, not objects, of willful force and injustice. They justified their behavior by their own terrible experiences” (90). Frankl went onto refute this by saying, “that no one has the right to do wrong, not even if wrong has been done to them” (91). Moreover, the prisoners had kept positive in the camps by thinking that they will see their loved ones upon release. Sadly, for many they found that “the person who should open the door was not there, and would never be there again” (92). To these people Frankl imposed the idea that even suffering has a meaning in life; that it is the individual’s responsibility to overcome it and keep fighting on until their last breath. Ultimately, “there is nothing he need fear anymore-except his God” (93).
Shock, apathy, and disillusionment were three psychological stages that the prisoners of the Nazi concentration camps experienced. Ironically, it took an event of such tragedy and destruction to enable us to learn more about how the human mind responds to certain situations. Frankl’s methods for remaining positive can be used by every human being to give them a meaning in their lives regardless of what predicament or mental state they are in – it is in many ways like a phoenix risen from the
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