All students are required to respond to THREE other student posts each week The goal here is to ENGAGE in respectful dialogue – be supportive of each other, even as you are critical of each other’s ideas.
Sam: Some revelations I had this week include the following:
The first revelation I had was the remembrance of a book I read not too long ago. Which I, unfortunately, cannot remember the name of at the moment. But in the book, they talked about a woman’s journey from her home to a Nazi camp. On the train to the campsite, another woman confessed to everyone on the cart that she was smuggling a baby with her because she couldn’t let go of her son, it was too difficult to do. All the women discussed and said they would keep it a secret except for one. So as the train slowed, the men went searching through each cart to make sure nobody had anything they weren’t supposed to. The woman who said she was going to snitch, did so. The guards went to the mother and took her baby from her. Then without a blink of an eye, the guard snapped the baby’s back over his knee and broke it like a twig, then threw it to the ground and instructed everyone to get back into the train. This was the most disgusting thing when I read it for the first time. I cannot imagine any human being treating a baby in that manner.
The next revelation I had was that the Nazis did not invent concentration camps. Places like Cuba, the Philippines, and even the United States all held people in camps who were considered enemies. The only difference in these camps was the Nazi’s invention of gas chambers and using them to kill the people in said sites.
Lastly, something I realized was that the Nazis thought that the Jewish people were a wholly separate race of people from them, where in fact they are only a different religion. So, it is so shocking that they grouped them together as a race when they could be from all different parts of the world.
One open-ended question I can pose to the class this week is, how could somebody instruct others to kill perfectly innocent human beings?
1. In order to survive the Holocaust, one needed to be capable of a lot, from giving up on family members and being strong. It is written, “Whenever he found someone extremely frail…. he would write down his number: good for the crematorium,” signifying that the odds of death were higher for those who were too weak and could not at least run (Wiesel, 70). Eliezar tries not to act like the son of the rabbi who gives up on his own dad, but eventually must because his dad has become too much of a burden and one of the prisoners told him, “Listen to me, kid. Don’t forget that you are in a concentration camp. In this place, it is every man for himself, and you cannot think of others. Not even your father. In this place, there is no such thing as father, brother, friend. Each of us lives and dies alone,” (Wiesel, 110).
2. Night reveals that there is a persistence among the Nazis to keep persecuting the Jews even when the war is about to end. They took the time to transport over a hundred Jews from one camp to another, though it must have been frankly obvious many of them would die with the state they were in and they did, “We had been a hundred or so in this wagon. Twelve of us left it. Among them, my father and myself. We had arrived in Buchenwald,” (Wiesel, 103).
3. The horrors of the Holocaust seem to even Eliezer and other Jews to have been kept hidden for a long time. When Moishe comes back from his capture, “He spoke only of what he had seen. But people not only refused to believe his tales, they refused to listen,” (Wiesel, 7). Another prisoner later remarks, “You should have hanged yourselves rather than come here. Didn’t you know what was in store for you here in Auschwitz? You didn’t know? In 1944?” (Wiesel, 30). There is ignorance even up to 1944 that people, even fellow Jews, did not know of the full degree of persecution going on during the Holocaust till the end of the war.
Question: I am still left wondering to what varying degree did the Allies know about the Holocaust before entering Germany?
1) Weisel wrote, “I thanked God, in an improvised prayer, for having created mud in His infinite and wondrous universe” (page 38). This quotation from the text revealed the gratefulness people can have for the most mundane things. Here, for example, Wesiel was thankful for mud to shield his new shoes from being taken.
Later, Weisel wrote, “And in spite of myself, a prayer formed inside me, a prayer to this God in whom I no longer believed” (page 91). Throughout the book, I felt that Wesiel was very conflicted with his relationship with God. It didn’t make sense to him that God would let all of these terrible things happen. This also tied into his first stray from God on page 69, when he denied the fast, and rebelled against Him.
Within the last few pages of the book, Weisel narrates, “If only I didn’t find him! If only I were relieved of this responsibility, I could use all my strength to fight for my own survival, to take care of only myself” (page 106). This quote exposes the necessary selfishness that Weisel was facing. He could see that his fathers life was coming to an end, and could see how much easier it would be without him. The sentences following also reveal his shame for thinking such things.
2) The author could have chosen to describe himself as a more heroic figure in his book, but rather decided to reveal even his most shameful thoughts, why do you think that is?