“You just can’t understand it, even when you’ve seen it”, Percy Knauth an American reporter claimed. (Abzug 45). The Holocaust is without a doubt the epitome of all trajectories.On the topic of the Holocaust, the focus points are the functions of the concentration camps and its survivors.The liberation of these Nazi camps is somewhat overlooked. The photos and the testimonies of the camp liberations allowed for the American people to comprehend the depths of the atrocities that had occurred. Without the witnesses, photos and testimonies the concentration camps wouldn’t have been liberated, if not for the supported evidence from the liberations the American people wouldn’t have face the true depth of the ghastly crime that is the Holocaust. In “Inside The Vicious Heart Americans And The Liberation Of Nazi Concentration Camps” Robert H.
When placed in particular situations, humans prioritize which cultural values they consider to be the most significant. This was the case with the event that left an abysmal wound in world history known as the Holocaust. When individuals were subjected to such horrendous conditions, it was evident that they had prioritized particular values. For some, this prioritization proved to be the factor between life and death. One instance of this is a Jewish survivor called Elie Wiesel. The account of his dreadful experiences are published in his first hand narrative, Night. The memoir elaborates over the impact the event had on him as an individual. Upon analyzing Wiesel’s memoir for the values that humans prioritize during such events, it can be
Christopher R. Browning’s book, Ordinary Men, is a microhistory of the Holocaust that focuses in on the Reserve Police Battalion 101. The books main purpose is to persuade the reader how ordinary middle-aged men could become the professional killers leading to horrible massacres. In the preface to his book, Browning makes the following comment about the men of the Reserve Police Battalion 101, “Never before had I encountered the issue of choice so dramatically framed by the course of events” (Browning, xvi.). This statement helps label some of Browning’s finding in his book. Although the men were given a choice to opt out of the killings during the Holocaust, the overwhelming majority chose to follow orders and commit crimes against
This quote juxtaposes the normalcy of life before the holocaust with the genocide which was to follow. The Jews of Sighet were unable to accept the possibility that circumstances were dangerous due to the veneer of security. They even questioned Hitler’s desire for extermination! When reading this section, I was curious as to whether the community purposefully ignored the imminent turmoil in order to propagate a false sense of comfort, or if they genuinely believed that no harm was to ensue. Upon this thought, I realized that I am viewing the holocaust with knowledge of what will occur, whereas the Jews of Sighet do not look at the situation with the same knowledge of future events (Certainly, if the Jews of Sighet knew what was to come, they would have responded differently). This understanding drastically changed my view of holocaust survivors. I learned that my analysis of events could not possibly be the same as an individual living through the moment themselves. This realization is what inspired me to research further the factors which influenced survival, as I wanted to learn more about the complexities of enduring the holocaust as it relates to the individuals who were personally affected.
This summary paper on Christopher Browning's Ordinary Men will provide a summary and an overview of the main ideas of the text while attempting to focus on Browning's overall central argument which revolves around these seemingly “normal” and “ordinary men” and how they were transformed into murderers due to various elements. The summary paper will also be dedicated to the overall significance of the book and its significance in relation to the history of the Holocaust as a whole. Browning's novel is significant in generating a greater awareness towards the Holocaust but more specifically providing awareness towards who the perpetrators were as Browning provides an in depth examination into the ordinary men which were transformed into these mass murderers, while centering his argument on how and why did these normal and seemingly ordinary men transform into the mass murderers in which they became. The novel also takes the reader into an in depth, detailed account of the horrific actions of the German battalion towards the innocent Jewish population, as Browning details the
This investigation evaluates why common Germans took part in the Holocaust. In order to assess why common Germans took part in the Holocaust the investigation focuses on the participation and complacency of the German people during the Holocaust, specifically the extermination of the Jewish people, and the reasoning behind it. Different explanations for the German actions developed by a range of historians will be presented. The conventional reasons, like psychological and cultural, and the nonconventional reasons will be studied. There will be an in-depth look at the effect of Nazism and propaganda, human behavior, and anti-Semitism on the common Germans and the extent to which they led to the participation in the Holocaust. The scope will allow for analysis and conclusion to the most valid reason why common Germans took part in the Holocaust.
When many think of the Holocaust as a solely negative experience, and while it may seem easy to write the event off as a dark time in history that seems remote and unlikely to affect us today, there are some positive results, including the lessons that it brings for current and future humanity. The lessons that the Holocaust brings are applicable to every person in the world. While many of these lessons do focus on the negative aspects of the Holocaust, like what circumstances permit such a vast genocide and how many people can die because of widespread racial hatred, there are also those that focus on how some people, in all parts of Europe and throughout the world, retained their good human nature during the Holocaust. For example, what made some gentiles in Europe during that time willing and able to help Jews. Currently, Yad Vashem has recognized 26,513 rescuers throughout the world (Names), and the actual number of rescuers could likely be close to twice that amount (Baron,1). It is important that we analyze the reasons behind these rescuers’ choices to be upstanders instead of bystanders because we can learn about our own motivations when we face decisions between helping others and protecting ourselves, and possibly those we love, from harm. Fulfilling one’s self-interest was a potential motivation for helping Jews that will only be briefly addressed. This type of rescue potentially benefitted both the Jews and the Gentile rescuers; these Gentiles only helped Jews survive because they found personal gain, likely social or economic, in the action (Baron). However, in the situation that existed while rescuing the Jews, most efforts included the high possibility that both the rescuer and the rescued would end up worse off than they had begun with no potential for personal gain on either side. So those rescuers’ motivations are less easily explainable.
The United States’ response to the Holocaust is a much-discussed and very sensitive subject for a variety of groups close to or related to the situation. The opinions on the subject are diverse and far-reaching, and the analyzations and comparison of some of these can lead to a greater understanding of not only the happenings of the Holocaust itself but also the social reactions to the event by the many groups involved. Four sources I intend to compare include Martin Gilbert’s Auschwitz and the Allies, David Wyman’s The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust, 1941-1945, W.D. Rubinstein’s The Myth of Rescue: Why the Democracies Could Not Have Saved the Jews from the Nazis, and Peter Novick’s The Holocaust in American Life, because I believe that these four sources make up a diverse and widespread selection from which nearly all opinions, or the most conflicting ones, can be observed and interpreted. The first work uses an investigatory style that proposes pieces of evidence from the period shortly before the Holocaust that could have allowed the allies further and more prudent action. Similarly, the second work argues that there is substantial evidence that the United States and the rest of the allies could certainly have saved thousands of lives with earlier and more aggressive action, but argues from a more opinion and theoretical style that focuses less on
It is a tragedy that the terror and destruction of the Holocaust could have been avoided if the warnings were taken seriously. In Night, by Elie Wiesel, Moshe the Beetle tries to inform the community of his experience, but they do not adhere to his warnings. Similarly, my great-grandmother also sailed across the Atlantic, to warn her relatives. She informed them of the possible danger, but they too did not listen. Likewise, Jan Karski also saw the danger and tried to warn the allied leaders of the upcoming threat. In all three stories, warnings were given and then rejected. This essay will discuss responses to the Holocaust, by examining warnings regarding community members, family members, and Righteous Amongst the Nations. From the very beginning of Hitler’s rise to power, his ultimate goal, was evident in Mein Kampf and threats against Jews should always be taken seriously.
My goal with my research is to look into the resistance of both the Jewish people and the others in European society who assisted in Jewish escapes. The perceived image of the Jews during the Holocaust is of “lambs to the slaughter.” The pictured painted of the rest of European society is one of either knowing accomplices or silent spectators. The Jewish people had many forms of resistance, some small and some large. While many of their neighbors were silent spectators, but many people were actively resisting the tyrannical Nazi government by assisting Jewish escapes. Each of these individuals risked their lives and the lives of their families and friends to aid these hunted individuals. They all deserve to have their stories heard and honored. In a time of complete chaos and destruction many people would not have the ability or fortitude to save the life of another person. The people that I will discuss in this paper were not only able to take that step, but put themselves and their families in real and eminent danger for the life, at times, of a complete stranger.
There are little facts about the role of obedience up until now. Psychologists have been debating on factors that constitute obedience within an individual. For example, certain theories suggest that people do horrible actions only if they are ordered to do so. Research has shown that most people obey all orders given to them by the authority-figure. The idea for this topic came to me while flipping through channels. I came across a show called 20/20, on the Investigative Discovery Channel. The show goes through a series of crimes and murders and provides insight on how the crime came to be and why. On a particular episode, a successful businessman orders a new intern to “take care” of someone to gain favor from him. The intern is noted to be kind and helpful by his friends and family, fresh out of college and very hopeful. So it shocked them to hear that he had murdered someone. Would he have committed this crime if he wasn’t told to? That is what I seek to know more about.
The Holocaust is known as one of the most devastating, or perhaps even the most devastating incident in human history. On paper, the dizzying statistics are hard to believe. The mass executions, the terrible conditions, the ruthlessness, and the passivity of the majority of witnesses to the traumatic events all seem like a giant, twisted story blown out of proportion to scare children. But the stories are true, the terror really happened, and ordinary citizens were convinced into doing savage deeds against innocent people. How, one must ask? How could anyone be so pitiless towards their neighbors, their friends? In a time of desperation, when a country was on its knees to the rest of the world, one man not only united Germans against a
Christopher Browning is a professor of history at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. He is considered an expert on the Holocaust and has written several acclaimed books covering this subject (Christopher R. Browning). To write this his book Ordinary Men, he relies on a collection of indictments and judgements that took place from 1962 to 1972 (Browning xvii). These cases that Browning studied are full of testimonies from Battalion 101 members. He writes Ordinary Men completely based on these testimonies and the conclusions that can be drawn from them.
It is a challenge to reconcile human beliefs in compassion and morality with the actions, or inactions, of bystanders in the Holocaust. How is it possible that hundreds of thousands of people stood by while millions faced pain and suffering? Before exonerating or condemning all of them, it is necessary to consider the differences in bystanders. For the context of the Holocaust, a bystander is someone who was neither a target of the Nazis or a Nazi themselves. Putting all of these people in the same group is an oversimplification, because it ignores the power system in place during the Holocaust and the various positions of bystanders in that system. The wealthy business owner is not the same as the working-class mother of four. In this situation, one has considerable power and ability, and the other does not. Applying a blanket statement, and calling the latter unjust when they are ordinary people in a time of horrific war is contrary to reason. It is also necessary to consider the extent of bystander’s actions. Have their actions merely helped to ensure their own survival, or do they directly hurt Holocaust victims? The magnitude of each situation is varied. In conclusion, to gauge the morality of a bystander’s actions, they need to be judged on an individual basis, with two qualities in mind: that person’s ability to act and the effect of their actions.