Millions of innocent human beings were treated worse than dirt throughout the holocaust. Numerous adults and children experienced events in their lives that made their life seem like a nightmare, due to them being Jewish. Crowds of eyes watched the horror that occurred in front of them, bearing witness of the genocide. They were seeing innocent souls being abused, thrown around, being dehumanized and their rights stolen away from them, but yet voices weren’t heard. Instead the voices were trapped within bodies and hearts, due to fear and ignorance. This was a major aspect of the holocaust.
In the holocaust, the stages of genocide were shown, which displayed the oppression that led to the extermination of Jews. Classification is a stage where the Jews are categorized as ‘them’ or ‘others’. When Jews were called as ‘them’, it made them feel isolated and made them feel that they were not part of society, which was Hitler’s first plan. The idea of being isolated made Jews feel invisible and they felt that they were not worthy enough to be paid attention to. It is also an act of discrimination. Another stage is symbolization, which plays an important stage in the genocide.
It was a sign to allow other people around them distinguish that they are Jewish and the ones that at fault. Throughout the genocide, Jews were forced to wear a yellow star. In the novel, Night by Elie Wiesel, it shows that Jews weren’t allowed to go to restaurants, cafes, or to be on the streets after a certain time once the purpose of the star was revealed. It demonstrates how powerful symbolization could be. The situation made non-Jews identify the Jews easily which influenced them to not allow them to do much as a regular person could do. Dehumanization played a huge role in the genocide as well.
The concept of it was to take humanity away from a group, in this case, the Jews. For example, in the novel, it shows that Jews were given tattooed numbers on their left arms, “I became A-7712. From then on, I had no other name. ” (page 42) This made Jews feel that they were not human, but an object instead. It also made them lose faith in themselves because they weren’t treated as a human with a soul but the reverse of that. For instant, in the novel, the father of the main protagonist asked kindly to go to the restroom and in response he got slapped in the face.
This shows that Jews weren’t being treated rightly. Overall, the stages of genocide brought an end to the Jews due to the reckless actions. Bearing witness is when seeing something happening in front of you and not taking action about it, or in other words being a bystander. From the quote, As I Said Nothing by Poastor Martin Niemoller, it portrays the actions of the people who witnessed the genocide by showing that non-Jews didn’t bother standing up for others because they weren’t Jewish.
The passage also reflects the idea about the aspect of life, when one does an action that is considered bad, sooner or later in their life they will experience the same thing they did in the past. This relates to the last line of the quote, “Then they came for me—and by that time no one was left to speak up. ” The vulnerability of saying or doing ‘nothing’ about something, in this case the genocide, it displays no sense of humanity. Everyone in the world deserves to be treated with equality because we are all the same and share the same home, that means humans should always stick up for each other and cooperate.
For example, when one witnesses another being mistreated, he/she should stand up instead of letting the situation pass by. This is shown in the novel, “My father had just been struck, in front of me, and I had not even blinked. I watched and kept silent. ” (page 39) In addition, a horrible sense of guilt builds up when you see millions of people going through pain and you don’t do anything about it. Not only the nightmare haunts the Jewish but also those who didn’t do anything as well.
Although the holocaust is a horrible moment in history, it also teaches many valuable lessons. It teaches that nobody should be afraid to stand up for others or something, because every voice can make a difference in life, and it all takes is belief and courage. When the question about who’s responsible for the holocaust and who is there to blame, many people would say Hitler which is correct. He may not be the one who started the hate towards Jews, however he was the one who spread the hate and brought it to a whole negative level.
However, Hitler wasn’t the only one who held the responsibility of the annihilation of the Jews, it was also those who supported the idea and included, such as German citizens and Nazis. These supporters brought much greater power for Hitler which encouraged him to move each step up by a lot. Cruelty and greed for power is also the blame for the holocaust. There are two sides to the question of if the holocaust could have been stopped. One would be no, because during that time Germany and Hitler was very powerful and one fatal move could have brought major destruction.
Especially when one tries to tell a man full of power that what they are doing is wrong. Since Hitler was arrogant, he would have hated that person and the country he/she was from. Nevertheless, yes the holocaust could have been stopped if a group of people went to take action and stood up for the Jewish people. It would have made a difference during that time period, but not many voices were heard but yet hidden instead. As responsible and mindful human beings there are ways to prevent horrible events such as the holocaust or any genocide to happen.
As a whole, we should all accept one another by understanding the fact we are all human and we all deserve the fair share of equality and rights. With this in mind, it can slowly eliminate discrimination in this world. Furthermore, we should be more alert about what is happening around the world and in our society. This can allow us to know what news is being hidden or wrong, so we can speak up. In addition, as citizens around the world, we should also stand up for one another when there is something needed to be heard about and allow voices to be heard.
Therefore, with all these actions, they can make a difference in our world to make it a better place filled with fairness. In conclusion, the holocaust taught valuable lessons throughout the event. It showed us the stages of genocide, which can allow us to identify if genocide is occurring and in that way, we can put effort to stop it. It also teaches us that we should all not be bystander and watch with silent eyes and mouths. Instead, as human beings, we should allow our voices to speak for themselves and stand up for one another.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 1 October 2016
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