The Bystander Effect In Night By Elie Wiesel

775 WordsOct 16, 20174 Pages
38 people witnessed Catherine Genovese get stabbed, in three separate attacks, over a period of 35 minutes in Queens. Even as the assailant returned twice to finish off the job people still did nothing to intervene. This is called the bystander effect. This is a psychological phenomenon that describes the decrease in a person's likliness to help someone in need when there are other witnesses around. As found in most everyday crimes, the bystander effect was also found during the Holocaust. In Night, by Elie Wiesel, the bystander effect is revealed due to one's inability to help others in need because of fear they will be persecuted as well. The Jews of Sighet did nothing to help the foreigners being expelled from the area, Elie could not…show more content…
I kept silent. In fact, I thought of stealing away in order not to suffer the blows” (Wiesel 54). This is a prime example of the bystander effect because it shows a witness that is frozen and unable to act for a certain reason. In this situation Elie can not help his father because he knows that if he does, then he will suffer a beating as well. He would rather slip away then help his father in order to escape a beating. Fear locks Elie as a bystander unable to act but only watch. Prisoners during the holocaust normally could do nothing to help family, friends, and stranger who were falling victim to the Nazi regime. Many times they had to watch as their fellow prisoners were beaten and killed but could do nothing about it due to their fear. Elie describe what happened at the gallows when the young boy was hung, “Then came the march past the victims. The two men were no longer alive. Their tongues were hanging out, swollen and bluish. But the third rope was still moving the child, too light, was still breathing…” (Weisel 65). After the execution each prisoner had to walk past the boy, but yet again could do nothing but watch him die. They knew that if they help the child then they would either be beaten or even worse, killed. These prisoners once again fall victim to the bystander effect because they are unable to help someone in need because of their own
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