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Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: Images of the Holocaust.

 

You know, I think you are right, the world needs to see the horrors it creates, but sometimes, I wish there was a better way. It would be far better to have less horror! I could not stop thinking about the documentary all night long and I kept trying to understand how so many people in one place could be so evil. How did they find so many to help their awful cause?
It isn't as if it was an aberration, like Daumer or Manson or other serial killers or torturers, or even Jim Jones and that awful massacre at his People's Temple. It was a mass effort, a mass turning of the heads to the horror. How can anyone explain that? Was it simply greed, envy, anger? What causes good people to do evil things? What can possibly make humans treat other humans so inhumanely?
Then I ask myself, is it that all humans have the potential for evil? It makes me shudder to think that way and yet I can't find another explanation. How could such a Holocaust happen? How could people think that the Jews, the mentally disabled, the gays, the gypsies, the sick, deserved to suffer the way they did? Was it mass hysteria? The myth that no one knew, at the time, has been dispelled. So how did it happen? How could people look away?
I don't believe in collective guilt. I just want to understand how anyone could have looked away from the nightmare that was created and stood by to allow it to grow. I am sure there are millions who ask themselves the same question, how, how, how? Can it happen again?
Many people in my husband's family were lost during the war. One survivor settled in Paris and another in Brazil. My family was in America already. My parents lost family to pogroms although I was never told the details of anything. It was just not talked about. Perhaps that is the problem, keeping the secrets locked away. Yet what was their crime...they were Jews...how can that be a crime? That is my question and yet there are still people, the world over, who think it is. Perhaps that is why the documentary effected me so profoundly and that is why I am so protective of Israel. For Jews, there is nothing else, no place else that truly accepts them, perhaps "loves" them. Isn't that part of the human condition, to want to be loved and accepted?
And yes...I did read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and I cried and I cried because the simple truth was that when you strip away everything, we are all the same...those little boys proved it. They both suffered from the same things on a different level. They were both homesick, missed their relatives and to different degrees felt deprived. However, they were not corrupted by human nature or those around them that were corrupt. All they wanted was to be friends and in their child's minds, they were innocent, when it came to the meaning of the horrors around them. The story, however, had nothing whatsoever to do with the truth of the situation during the holocaust. It just brought it home.

Choisya wrote:

 

It wasn't a watered down version - it was straight from the newsreels of the day.  I came out of it relatively unscathed I think:smileyhappy:. The point is TWJ, that my father thought people, including children, should be shocked and upset because only by searing such images onto their brains did he think these horrors would stop. German  schoolchildren are taken to the death camps as part of their history lessons and these images are displayed there.  It certainly had an effect on me and caused me to be engaged in many political causes, both in my young life as well as later, including the return of Jews to Israel.  He did not hold my hand but he thoroughly explained what led up to the Holocaust and the politics of Germany after Versailles. We discussed newspaper articles together and he gave me books to read.  It was an intellectual hand holding.   I have done the same for my own children and my 18 year old grandchild (who is about to go to Oxford to read geo-politics and wants to work in the developing world) - they have all seen these films at my bidding.  I urge you to get others to see them, young and old.  
I would also show (senior) schoolchildren images of other genocides like those under Stalin, in Rwanda, in Bosnia.  I think this news is disgraceful and IMO the sooner our history teachers start to teach about 20th century horrors instead of, say, those of the Inquisition, the better. Fortunately, some are being taught about the Holocaust. BTW have you seen/read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas ?

 

Inspired Contributor
dclement04
Posts: 99
Registered: ‎09-30-2008
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Re: World War Two / Holocaust Links

talk about powerful....chills arose down my back and arms when i heard this as well


Coral50 wrote:

Sunltcloud wrote:

Edward Murrow was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. You can listen to his voice here:

 

http://www.radiohof.org/news/edwardmurrow.html


 

Thank you Sunitcloud, hearing Edward Murrow's voice and the air raid sirens gave me chills.

Cora


 

 

Distinguished Wordsmith
Zeal
Posts: 258
Registered: ‎03-18-2009
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Re: Images of the Holocaust.

This, like the one you wrote before it, is a very powerful, thought-provoking post.  I have asked myself many of these questions time and time again.   Sadly, we will probably never know the answers to some of them. However,  I think fear can be an extreme factor in causing people to contribute to horrible atrocities of the past and today.  By no means is that an excuse!

 

Education of many kinds plays a huge role in creating well-developed, compassionate, active citizens.  As a parent, I started very early educating my children and teaching them acceptance and tolerance.  They are now 6 and 9.  We have barely begun to touch the surface of the world and its people, but they are well aware and accept different cultures, religions, physical aspects of others (whether they are handicaps or tattoos), sexual preferences, etc.  This has come not only through exposure, but also through the encouragement of questioning.  It is healthy to question and find out the answers in order to grow, learn, and develop "real" attitudes and perspectives.  We say, "Wow!  That is different or unique" instead of "eww!  That's weird."  They know that Jeremy and Keith love each other just like mom and dad love each other.  That Josh has two moms, instead of a dad.  That the Amish live simply.  Different races marry.  Children are born out of marriage.  A lot of people have a different church or don't go to church at all.  I could go on and on.  I will show them sensitive material as they grow and provide them with powerful knowledge in order to make good decisions and help those who need help.

 

I also take this philosophy into my classroom and do what I can in order to create more tolerant, productive students.  Sadly, sometimes that backfires on me with intolerant parents, but that hasn't stopped me from trying.


thewanderingjew wrote:

 

You know, I think you are right, the world needs to see the horrors it creates, but sometimes, I wish there was a better way. It would be far better to have less horror! I could not stop thinking about the documentary all night long and I kept trying to understand how so many people in one place could be so evil. How did they find so many to help their awful cause?
It isn't as if it was an aberration, like Daumer or Manson or other serial killers or torturers, or even Jim Jones and that awful massacre at his People's Temple. It was a mass effort, a mass turning of the heads to the horror. How can anyone explain that? Was it simply greed, envy, anger? What causes good people to do evil things? What can possibly make humans treat other humans so inhumanely?
Then I ask myself, is it that all humans have the potential for evil? It makes me shudder to think that way and yet I can't find another explanation. How could such a Holocaust happen? How could people think that the Jews, the mentally disabled, the gays, the gypsies, the sick, deserved to suffer the way they did? Was it mass hysteria? The myth that no one knew, at the time, has been dispelled. So how did it happen? How could people look away?
I don't believe in collective guilt. I just want to understand how anyone could have looked away from the nightmare that was created and stood by to allow it to grow. I am sure there are millions who ask themselves the same question, how, how, how? Can it happen again?
Many people in my husband's family were lost during the war. One survivor settled in Paris and another in Brazil. My family was in America already. My parents lost family to pogroms although I was never told the details of anything. It was just not talked about. Perhaps that is the problem, keeping the secrets locked away. Yet what was their crime...they were Jews...how can that be a crime? That is my question and yet there are still people, the world over, who think it is. Perhaps that is why the documentary effected me so profoundly and that is why I am so protective of Israel. For Jews, there is nothing else, no place else that truly accepts them, perhaps "loves" them. Isn't that part of the human condition, to want to be loved and accepted?
And yes...I did read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and I cried and I cried because the simple truth was that when you strip away everything, we are all the same...those little boys proved it. They both suffered from the same things on a different level. They were both homesick, missed their relatives and to different degrees felt deprived. However, they were not corrupted by human nature or those around them that were corrupt. All they wanted was to be friends and in their child's minds, they were innocent, when it came to the meaning of the horrors around them. The story, however, had nothing whatsoever to do with the truth of the situation during the holocaust. It just brought it home.

Choisya wrote:

 

It wasn't a watered down version - it was straight from the newsreels of the day.  I came out of it relatively unscathed I think:smileyhappy:. The point is TWJ, that my father thought people, including children, should be shocked and upset because only by searing such images onto their brains did he think these horrors would stop. German  schoolchildren are taken to the death camps as part of their history lessons and these images are displayed there.  It certainly had an effect on me and caused me to be engaged in many political causes, both in my young life as well as later, including the return of Jews to Israel.  He did not hold my hand but he thoroughly explained what led up to the Holocaust and the politics of Germany after Versailles. We discussed newspaper articles together and he gave me books to read.  It was an intellectual hand holding.   I have done the same for my own children and my 18 year old grandchild (who is about to go to Oxford to read geo-politics and wants to work in the developing world) - they have all seen these films at my bidding.  I urge you to get others to see them, young and old.  
I would also show (senior) schoolchildren images of other genocides like those under Stalin, in Rwanda, in Bosnia.  I think this news is disgraceful and IMO the sooner our history teachers start to teach about 20th century horrors instead of, say, those of the Inquisition, the better. Fortunately, some are being taught about the Holocaust. BTW have you seen/read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas ?

 


 

"I learned to dream through reading, learned to create dreams through writing, and learned to develop dreamers through teaching. I shall always be a dreamer."
Sharon Draper
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Images of the Holocaust.

 

For Jews, there is nothing else, no place else that truly accepts them, perhaps "loves" them. Isn't that part of the human condition, to want to be loved and accepted?
Thanks for such a fulsome response TWJ.  However, I do not think that the Jews have 'no place else that truly accepts them, perhaps "loves" them''.  They are people like any other people and there are many of us who accept them and love them.  Of course, there is prejudice, against the Jews, against homosexuals, against ethnic minorities and a host of other nationalities and creeds, depending upon where you live but in the main I believe that ordinary people, left on their own, without political interference or propaganda against one race or another, get on together and learn to love one another.  I am very much a glass half full person about this because as you say "we are all the same" underneath the pyjamas.   
It was the dehumanisation of Jews via political propaganda which allowed the Holocaust (and other genocides) to happen, just as the dehumanisation of Protestants allowed the Catholic Inquisition to happen.  And yes, it can happen again - as we have recently seen in Bosnia.  We must always guard against this dehumanisation, individually and collectively.  Obama is being dehumanised at the moment - compared to an ape, likened to a Muslim etc. and we must all protest about this, irrespective of the political party he represents, ditto any other leader or person we know.  Opposition to policies is one thing, hate propaganda is another, as we saw in Hitler's Germany.  Let the Golden Rule prevail:smileyhappy:.      

thewanderingjew wrote:

 

You know, I think you are right, the world needs to see the horrors it creates, but sometimes, I wish there was a better way. It would be far better to have less horror! I could not stop thinking about the documentary all night long and I kept trying to understand how so many people in one place could be so evil. How did they find so many to help their awful cause?
It isn't as if it was an aberration, like Daumer or Manson or other serial killers or torturers, or even Jim Jones and that awful massacre at his People's Temple. It was a mass effort, a mass turning of the heads to the horror. How can anyone explain that? Was it simply greed, envy, anger? What causes good people to do evil things? What can possibly make humans treat other humans so inhumanely?
Then I ask myself, is it that all humans have the potential for evil? It makes me shudder to think that way and yet I can't find another explanation. How could such a Holocaust happen? How could people think that the Jews, the mentally disabled, the gays, the gypsies, the sick, deserved to suffer the way they did? Was it mass hysteria? The myth that no one knew, at the time, has been dispelled. So how did it happen? How could people look away?
I don't believe in collective guilt. I just want to understand how anyone could have looked away from the nightmare that was created and stood by to allow it to grow. I am sure there are millions who ask themselves the same question, how, how, how? Can it happen again?
Many people in my husband's family were lost during the war. One survivor settled in Paris and another in Brazil. My family was in America already. My parents lost family to pogroms although I was never told the details of anything. It was just not talked about. Perhaps that is the problem, keeping the secrets locked away. Yet what was their crime...they were Jews...how can that be a crime? That is my question and yet there are still people, the world over, who think it is. Perhaps that is why the documentary effected me so profoundly and that is why I am so protective of Israel. For Jews, there is nothing else, no place else that truly accepts them, perhaps "loves" them. Isn't that part of the human condition, to want to be loved and accepted?
And yes...I did read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and I cried and I cried because the simple truth was that when you strip away everything, we are all the same...those little boys proved it. They both suffered from the same things on a different level. They were both homesick, missed their relatives and to different degrees felt deprived. However, they were not corrupted by human nature or those around them that were corrupt. All they wanted was to be friends and in their child's minds, they were innocent, when it came to the meaning of the horrors around them. The story, however, had nothing whatsoever to do with the truth of the situation during the holocaust. It just brought it home.

 

Contributor
Lisa1971
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎09-03-2009
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Re: World War Two / Holocaust Links

Thanks All!!

This is a great way to find resources to follow up on any extra interest we draw from the book!

 

Inspired Wordsmith
Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: World War Two / Holocaust Links

[ Edited ]

From the introduction to "ghetto diary" by Janusz Korczak:

 

"By now Korczak's body had fallen to pieces, but he was still kicking pretty hard as, every midnight or dawn, he forced his hand to record his frammented thoughts. His notations were often no more than a terse shorthand that he hoped to fill in later. The diary flashes back to scenes of his own childhood as he free-associates from some interaction with the orphans, who take over many pages with their coughs, their own diaries, their yearning for trees and flowers. He was living in the future, too, with lists of his literary projections and fantasies of a peaceful world, where the only war would be of poets and musicians in Olympic games, or a war for the most beautiful prayer in a world hymn to God once a year. At one point, he adds slyly: "I have forgotten to mention that now, too, a war is going on." But this "District of the damned: - where half a million people were squeezed in on top of one another without sufficient food, housing, or heat, and where typhus had decimated those who had not already succumbed to malnutrition and cold - gave his writing an urgency that escalated along with the increase in Nazi violence and cruelty."

 

Janusz Korczak might have been able to save himself, but "....Korczak, hatless, in high military boots, holding two young children by the hand, was at the head of the orderly procession of 192 children and 10 staff members, including the loyal Stefa, who had also turned down offers to escape."

 

"Janusz Korczak, a renowned Polish Jewish writer and pediatrician and one of the world's first children's rights advocates, often said that life is a strange dream. But his death proved even stranger. Today he is remembered not for the way he lived, but for the way he died."

 

And finally, "The Jewish police jumped to attention and saluted when they saw Korczak helping the children into the chlorinated freight cars. The Germans asked: Who is that man? The doors closed. There were no survivors."

 

 

Ghetto Diary

 

Inspired Wordsmith
Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: World War Two / Holocaust Links

Hier is another book, unfortunately only available in German, which was written by an ordinary citizen, Max Mannheimer, who endured everything possible during the inferno of the Third Reich. This is his diary about his life at Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Warsaw, and Dachau. He lost most of his family in the gas chambers, and after being freed he swore he would never again set foot on German soil. But eventually he did; he now teaches children about the Holocaust and leads discussions and tours about and through Dachau. I hope there are some students of German out there who would benefit from reading this book.

 

Spates Tagebuch

Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Images of the Holocaust.

Your mention of Therisienstad, made me remember the hidden synagogue I visited there. My NJ rabbi arranged it for us. It was not open to the public at the time. When I googled it, I also came upon this link which has images from it.
twj
T-Mo wrote:

edited by twj....The Red Cross was allowed to visit the Theresienstadt Ghetto in Prague. When they arrived, the Nazis had “spruced” it up, dressing up inmates and stocking bakeries with food and treats that had never existed in the ghetto. Based on what was portrayed to the Red Cross, they reported that the Jews in Theresienstadt were being treated decently despite the difficult war-time conditions. In reality, like the other ghettos and camps, thousands of Jews were dying of starvation and disease.

 

The Jewish Virtual Library http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/index.html has an immense amount of history and information pertaining to the Jews during the Holocaust as well as other vital information pertaining to Jewish history and culture.

Correspondent
PinkPanther
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎10-26-2008
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Re: Images of the Holocaust.

All of these links have been wonderful! Thank you all for posting them. The one that I found very interesting was the voice of Edward Murrow. It is incredible to hear him reporting while there are sirens of war in the background. While most people were hiding in their homes, he was risking his life on rooftops just to bring us news.

"I ought, therefore I can"
-Immanuel Kant
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melissas
Posts: 392
Registered: ‎05-25-2009
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Re: World War Two / Holocaust Links

Thanks for the great links. Although this is one of the saddest times in history, I find it the most interesting. Perhaps it's because I can't fathom how something like the Holocaust even happened. But I'm always grateful for the enlightment.

Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: World War Two / Holocaust Links

[ Edited ]

 


melissas wrote:

Thanks for the great links. Although this is one of the saddest times in history, I find it the most interesting. Perhaps it's because I can't fathom how something like the Holocaust even happened. But I'm always grateful for the enlightment.


 

And keeps happening.  Unfortunately, genocide is not an issue only of the past.

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy