Holocaust Essay, Research Paper
Throughout the movie, ?The Holocaust?, the phrase, ?I just do my job,? was usually the only excuse most people who committed crimes against the Jews could come up with. For example, when Helena and Rudy Weiss were staying in Kiev, the city was bombed. During the bombing, one of the Nazi soldiers, who happened to be Heinz Muller, a friend of Inga?s family, was hit by falling debris. Hesitant, Rudy helped Muller escape from the collapsing building, gave him some water, and asked him why he was taking part in the mistreatment of the Jews. ?I obey orders,? Muller replied, unrepentant about what he did. Also, when Bertha Weiss was sent to the gas chambers in Auschwitz, Dr. Joseph Weiss asked the Kapo what happened to her. The lady bluntly retorted, ?Don?t blame me, I just take orders.? Whether to keep a job, remain loyal to their cause, or just because they had no other excuse, everyone used that phrase to justify what they did wrong against the Jews.
Anti-Semitism and unfair grudges are two factors that can cause Genocide. During the movie, Eric Dorf claimed he did not feel bad about Kristallnacht or what happened to the Jews, because he said the Jews provoked it. Even though Kristallnacht was the first major pogrom, a government sponsored attack on the Jews, and was terribly destructive, Eric said that they killed Christ and they deserved what they got (The Holocaust). In addition, Heydrich believed that Germans and the Aryan race was superior to the Jewish race and they had to ?isolate the germ carriers? (The Holocaust), so he decided to go through with the plan for Jewish ghettos. The ghettos were intended to hold the Jews in a temporary Jewish community until they could be efficiently exterminated. This demonstrates how Anti-Semitism and grudges can produce Genocide.
In the video, ?Conversations With Oprah: Elie Wiesel?, Wiesel explains that the most important lesson to be learned from what happened during the Holocaust is to not be indifferent, but to still be human in spite of everything that happened. He said he believed that the opposite of love is not hate, but rather indifference, because indifference can not be fought (Conversations). Not being indifferent is important in preventing another Holocaust in the future.
?When you have a choice to make and you don?t make it, that in itself is a choice,? William James once said. Judy Meisel?s son explained that ?no one should be indifferent to cruelty? (Holocaust Deniers), but rather to be kind to people no matter how different they are. He was referring to the horrific gas chambers at the Shtudehof death camp, in which 80,000 Jews were murdered. This was an example of how the Nazis submitted to cruel murdering for The Final Solution, which was Hitler?s plan to efficiently exterminate all European Jews. He only wanted Aryan people, which are usually people with white skin, blue eyes and blond hair, to be part of his ?perfect? empire. Instead of standing up to the plan, the Nazis and most other German citizens just went along with it. Also, when Wiesel and his village had a chance to escape and hide into the mountains before the Nazis came, they did nothing. They didn?t know what horrors lay ahead, so they just waited. By the time they found out what was going to happen to them, it was too late (Wiesel). When there is a decision to be made, it is important to make a strong choice, based on beliefs and convictions, not wait or go along with what is happening at the time.
?How might things have been different?? That question haunts the hearts and souls of many, probably because they know at least some of the Holocaust horrors could have been prevented. For example, during the Nazi occupation, Bertha Weiss dismissed the option of leaving Germany before things got worse when Dr. Joseph Weiss urged her to consider the possibility. Bertha explained that she did not fear the Nazis, the country of Germany was as hers as was theirs and she adjourned the conversation by saying they would talk about it later (The Holocaust). If people in their same situation had taken the threat of the Nazis more seriously and had moved away, many more Jews could have survived the Holocaust. In addition, the Red Cross did not try to stop the Nazis like they could have if the ?Paradise Ghetto? and concentration camps, which they did not believe, did not fool them. For example when Red Cross officials inspected the art studios at the camp, Karl and other artists had looks on their faces that they wanted to tell the Red Cross the actual horrors that were taking place. Many could have spoken up, and maybe then the Red Cross could have had more of a basis to intervene more than they did. Most were probably feared their lives, like Karl did, so they did not say anything when opportunities came around. During the Holocaust, if people would have taken Nazi threats more seriously and were more persistent and courageous about telling people what was really going on in the Holocaust, things could have been different.