Holocaust: The Holocaust and People Essay

Submitted By jmlenhard
Words: 1006
Pages: 5

How Could the Holocaust Happen? When learning about the holocaust you learn about the horror the Jews faced, the atrocities that occurred, and who committed the atrocities. But one aspect of the holocaust is not often explained, not for a lack of care, but because it is a question that cannot be easily answered or summed up. That question is "How could this happen?". We often portray the Nazis as typical movie villains, not just doing evil things for their own profit, but doing evil things for the sake of being evil. We portray them as these larger than life monsters that were beyond being compassionate and incapable of love. But we know this is obviously untrue. These people were mere humans, they could be my descendents, they could be yours. The questions that Elie Wiesel's book Night often implies is what are the conditions of human culture that manifest themselves into situations like the Holocaust, Armenian Genocide, or even modern genocides such as the situation in Rwanda in the mid 90's? Memoirs of genocides such as Night are extremely important because they bring awareness to the genocide itself, but also can give clues to what were the causes of the atrocities like The Holocaust. To begin the process of answering the question of "How could this happen?" one must first ask themselves whether human kind is inherently evil or not. I believe that humans are not naturally evil. This has been proven throughout time that different people's can get along. I do not think that humans "want" to hate anyone else. With that assumption, the next question is why do some groups of people hate others then? While humans are not naturally hateful, we are greedy and do want resources for ourselves. When we see a threat to our way of life from another group of people who can potentially harm us, often times violence ensues. A perfect example of this is the Jewish Holocaust. German Jews typically kept to themselves and made themselves an easy target to be considered "the enemy". Germany was in a very tough time after WW1 and Hitler and the Nazis found a perfect enemy to unify the Germans against. The Nazis saw Jews as a threat and with the use of propaganda, found a way to turn the entire nation against the Jews. Once the nation had identified its enemy, it was easy to get the populous to go along with the extermination or turn a blind eye. They also had to begin the exterminations without massive Jewish revolt, which was done through deception and secretive actions. Wiesel talks about how the Jews of Sighet were told only the Jews of Budapest would be deported, which was obviously a lie. Then, in order to keep the Jews calm, they were deported in small chunks. Nobody notices if a small amount of the population is taken, but it quickly adds up until no one is left. Even the Jews were resistant to the idea that the Nazis could be so evil. "Annihilate an entire people? Wipe out a population dispersed throughout so many nations? So many millions of people! By what means? In the middle of the twentieth century!"1 No one fathomed that those trains led to death camps and they had no reason to believe they did. Nobody that ever went to those death camps left alive to tell the tale. This was a time before the internet and cell phones, people could not quickly and effectively communicate which left tons of Jews vulnerable to being deported to the death camps without any prior knowledge. Mass lies and deception are what allowed a genocide to happen in front of the world and have nobody notice. While I believe the times of mass genocide are coming to an end, one must look at the genocides that occurred after the