that happened because of isolationism politics, anti-Semitism and fear. It was a traumatic event
that showed the world just how cruel humans can be. The things people will do in the name of
religious faith astounds even today.
The actions of Pope Pius XII’s during the Holocaust is considered controversial. He
presented a public front of indifference and remained silent while the Germans committed
atrocities. He rejected pleas for help on the grounds of neutrality, yet he would make
condemning statements of the injustices being done. Privately, he hid a small number of Jews
and spoke to a few select officials, encouraging them to help the Jews.
He did speak out about the 1938 Italian racial laws that concerned mixed marriages and
the children from these marriages, but not once did he condemn the Kristallnacht (the night of
the broken glass) that took place in November of 1938. Though he knew of this matter, he chose
to remain silent. One intervention that he took place in was during March 1939, he was able to
retain three thousand visas for European Jews to enter Brazil, but it was with the stipulation that
they had to convert to Catholicism. Later two thirds of the visas were revoked because the Jews
had stated to practice Judaism. (Gutman, Israel, Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, p. 1136)
America adopted a policy of Isolationism, preventing their involvement in any other
country’s domestic and international conflicts. In Eastern Europe, in the 1930’s Hitler’s
regime took away all non-Aryans, specifically Jews, of their civil liberties and humanity.
Millions were massacred while America sat in silence- Was America in denial of the harsh
realities or were they complying with their isolationist policy? There are a variety of theories as
to why the US waited years before entering the war. It is economically and politically proven
that America maintained an isolationist policy with regard to foreign relations between 1920 and
1941. However, there were underlying factors such as ignorance, denial and anti-Semitism that
further explained why America failed to become involved in the Holocaust prior to 1941.
Franklin D. Roosevelt had a different attitude. In his speech, “America, Franklin D.
Roosevelt and the Holocaust,” he viewed the Holocaust as just another part of the war. He
“For those who share Winston Churchill's judgment, and I do, that the Holocaust " is
probably the greatest and most terrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world,"
there can be no greater indictment than to allege complicity with that crime. There are some
whose legitimate concerns over those grievous events leads them to try and make America and Americans feel guilt and responsibility for the Holocaust. They write and talk with barely a
reference to the colossal military struggle known as World War II in which 67 million people
were killed, where nations were decimated, where democracy's survival was in the balance. The
Holocaust was part of World War II. Any discussion of the Holocaust must put events, values
and attitudes in their time and place.” (http://newdeal.feri.org/feri/wvh.htm)
Yet, he did care for he opposed Hitler and the Nazi regime from the very beginning.
He never altered in his belief that the pagan malignancy of Hitler and his followers had to be
So, this brings me to the two literary works from our readings and how faith played a
role in their everyday lives.
According to Elie Wiesel’s book, Night, it seemed that the Jews were not aware of the
horrific tragedies that were decimating their people, but they were about to be thrust into that
reality. History has a way of repeating itself when generation after generation, no matter the
country has not