Unformatted text preview: 4/21: Discussion( WWII/ Holocaust Reflection)
Thursday, April 2 3, 2 015 12:06 PM • What were some of the survival techniques people in the concentration and death camps had to develop?
○ Numerous survivors described the death camps as a hell on earth, somewhere that no human being deserves to ever exist. Millions of people died in these concentration camps due to the inhumane conditions, including lack of nutrition, lack of substantial clothing to combat harsh weather, physically being beaten to death, being too weak to carry on with one’s life and many other reasons as well. Those who did survive learned to depend on the other people around them who were barely getting by as well. All these sufferers were everyday human beings, many of whom had college educations. Depending on each other, the survivors taught one another how to be strong mentally, physically, and when they did not have each other, independently. For instance, the camp survivors learned what plants around the camp grounds were not poisonous for consumption, and would pick the edible ones for when they needed the energy at times when there was no food available. To stay warm in the winter they would put paper in their shoes, and tie empty cement sacks around their bodies. It was known that as long as they were strong and useful to the guards, they would survive for as long as they could. Surviving was what kept them going. One of the stories we read was from Sam Bankhalter who was imprisoned at Auschwitz. He explained how in the concentration camps that when you are fighting for your life, all ethics are gone and you start to live by circumstances. There is no longer pity, and the only thing you concentrate on is your survival.
• How are the accounts of W WII that you read for today different than those we read for W WI? How does the experience of W WII differ than that of W WI?
○ The accounts of WWII that we read talked about the horrors of WWII. The survivors of WWII, especially those in the concentration camps as well as the account of the man from Japan witnessing the those we read for W WI? How does the experience of W WII differ than that of W WI?
○ The accounts of WWII that we read talked about the horrors of WWII. The survivors of WWII, especially those in the concentration camps as well as the account of the man from Japan witnessing the atomic bomb attack all recall the terror that WWII presented. Death was considered almost a luxury in WWII that if someone died it was a relief because they didn’t have to suffer anymore through this hell that was going on. Recalling their experiences is difficult for not just these two survivors of the holocaust but for mostly all survivors. It is hard to fathom the idea that this great genocide took place within our lifetime and it claimed lives of so many innocent people, it is truly astonishing. The accounts we read from WWI differ from the WWII accounts in one way that we read perspectives from soldiers form WWI and perspectives of civilians/victims from WWII. The soldiers were young men who were taking part in trench warfare, which was a new and dangerous kind of warfare, but also a very impersonal warfare. WWII in contrast was a very personal war, targeting different races and groups of people, blaming them for issues that were not their fault. The emotions behind the soldiers who were fighting behind both sides of the war gave more of a power to the war efforts in my opinion, adding more of a purpose to why soldiers were fighting for a cause. Instead of the WWI soldiers who we discussed in class saw the enemy as objectives rather than monster, I believe that the WWII soldiers (allied powers) saw the enemy as monsters (axis powers), especially with the huge affect that the war had on civilians and knowing the impact it had on innocent people. The experience of WWII was vastly different than WWI, especially with civilians who weren’t in the concentration camps being so tuned in on the current events going on with the radio and circulation of newspapers. • Do you think accounts of W WII like those you read have any value today? W hy or why not? ○ I strongly believe accounts of WWII such as the ones we read for today have great value and will continue to for years to come. Being Jewish and coming from a predominately Jewish community, I have been raised with the knowledge of the Holocaust and tragic events of WWII altogether from a young age. Witnessing survivors come talk to my classes at school was something that I took for granted today have great value and will continue to for years to come. Being Jewish and coming from a predominately Jewish community, I have been raised with the knowledge of the Holocaust and tragic events of WWII altogether from a young age. Witnessing survivors come talk to my classes at school was something that I took for granted until I matured and started understanding why it was a topic that our community always took more time to focus educating our children on. I have personally visited the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C. and Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel. They both are truly moving exhibits that have connected me to my religion and to those people that fought and lost their lives so that others could live in freedom. People try to argue that there is not any genocides happening in today’s world or that it will not happen again, but they are 100 percent wrong. There are genocides happening in countries that many of us are too ignorant to investigate in, or we believe that something so horrid such as the Holocaust isn’t capable of happening in today’s world where we have so many people that are highly educated. If we let accounts subside such as the ones we read today, and such as the interviews of survivors I’ve witnessed at the Holocaust Museum and at Yad Vashem and physically witnessed in person, because people believe that it won’t happen again, then it will. We need to constantly be reminded of the horrors that happened during WWII in order for it to never happen again. ...
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- Spring '13
- Concentration Camps