There was a belief during this time that the Germans and followers of the Germans believed that Jews were aliens, but I actually believe the Germans were the aliens. How they could go from being decent individuals, as stated in this quote, to being madmen who slaughter people for no good reason is utterly beyond me. The aliens must have taken over the minds of the Germans at this point in time. It’s the only logical explanation… | “Three days later, a new decree: every Jew must wear the yellow star. ‘The yellow star? Oh well, what of it? You don’t die of it…. ‘ (Poor Father! Of what then did you die? ” (6)| I find this quote to be quite sardonic. When you think about having something sewed onto your clothes such as a yellow star, you wouldn’t think at all that it would kill you because, it’s not directly hurting you in any way. This is what the father, I think, meant when he said “So what? It’s not lethal… ” But then, you look deeper and realize that the yellow star symbolizes all of these peoples’ faith and religion, which is what’s ultimately the reason these Jews were being persecuted, because of this faith and the things they believed in, and this is why Wiesel added this slightly satirical comment in parentheses. “I wanted to come back to Sighet to tell you the story of my death. So that you could prepare yourselves while there was still time. To live? I don’t attach my importance to my life any more. I’m alone. No, I wanted to come back, and to warn you And see how it is, no one will listen to me…” (4)| This is when the harshness of what was taking place during the Holocaust first hit me in this book. This man has experienced and seen so much terror take place that he has lost his will to live. It makes me wonder how the Nazis could have lived with themselves after inflicting this kind of trauma into people’s lives (and taking lives, as well).
This man feels his only purpose now is to save others from his terrible fate. It shocks me that someone could have been put through that much pain and suffering to the point of not caring about whether they live or not. | “Behind me, I heard the same man asking: ‘Where is God now? ’ And I heard a voice within me answer him: ‘Where He is? Here He is- He is hanging here on this gallows…’” (42-43)| This shows all of the pure evil and hatred that the Nazis and Hitler poured out to the world. They were strangling God. Anything remotely good and wholesome was squashed immediately.
God could no longer do anything to save Hitler and the monsters that followed him. They had bound him. For those monsters to have hung a child shows that their hearts are forever gone past the point of return. The poor child that they hung represents God. God’s love was suffocating throughout the world. So many cruel men (if you can consider them men, being the soulless, heartless beings that they were) were trying to destroy God. | “’There are eighty of you in the wagon,’ added the German officer. ‘If anyone is missing, you’ll all be shot, like dogs… ” (15) | This is just disgusting to me. Humans are being treated like a herd of animals. I do not understand how you can have such disregard for life. The German officer would not even think twice about killing the entire lot of them. He would not care that he just ended eighty lives, some of which would have been children’s. I am appalled that he would have the nerve to cruelly murder so many people because one person would have tried to escape from the hell they were in. I wonder how the officer would have felt if suddenly, the gun had been turned on him. | “The night was gone.
The morning star shining in the sky. I too had become a completely different person. The student of Talmud, the child I was, had been consumed in the flames. There remained only a shape that looked like me. A dark flame had entered into my soul and devoured it. ” (24)| This passage, I think, describes how much a person can change once he or she has been exposed to the many horrors present in the Jewish concentration camps. These people in these camps might have easily become mentally unstable, because they would witness murder and beatings every day; the suffering of countless people.
The people themselves also had to endure unknown numbers of days in cattle cars and barracks, which could also have been traumatic. Seeing and experiencing all of these things can change a person, and the way they think. No longer is Elie the innocent child who wanted to study religion in his hometown, but now has to deal with the living hell of his mind, which has ultimately changed him. | “What have you come here for, you sons of bitches? have hanged yourselves rather than come here. Didn’t you know what was in store for you at Auschwitz?
Haven’t you heard about it? In 1944? ‘” (20)| This passage surprised me in the severity and urgency of the man’s words. But also, how could they have had a choice but to go there? The man stated this right as the Wiesel’s were entering the camp, and it almost acts as one of those common “beware” phrases you hear in movies, like when they warn the person before they intrude. I’m also surprised that none of the new people entering the camp had heard of Auschwitz before, even though now it’s seen as one of the most well known Nazi concentration camps from the war.
They might not have known about it because the Nazis were trying to keep all of the names of the camps and the happenings going on within them on the down-low, so that Jews (like the Wiesels) didn’t know what was awaiting them and so didn’t have time to run, and also maybe they tried to keep the camps a secret so that fighting forces didn’t know much about them, either. | “Not far from us, flames were leaping up from a ditch, gigantic flames. They were burning something. A lorry drew up at the pit and delivered its load- little children. Babies!
Yes, I saw it- saw it with my own eyes… those children in the flames. ” (21)| When I read this, I had to stop, go back, and reread it. I was in total disbelief. You would expect to hear of atrocities such as this in fictional tales of horror, not in actual history. And yet, it is true. Little infants were thrown into fire! How could anyone do that and not want to kill themselves because of their guilt? How could the people doing this have no emotion toward these babies at all! These children all had a place in the world, a life to live, dreams to fulfill, and so much more.
Now, those budding lives and dreams have been turned into ash to be swept away by the wind. They could not even form words to cry out because they were so young. These babies were completely innocent and pure. They have never done anything to harm anyone. And they are being murdered. | “The passengers on our boat were amusing themselves by throwing coins to the ‘natives,’ who were diving in to get them. An attractive, aristocratic Parisienne was deriving special pleasure from the game. ” (67)| This made me shake my head in shame, for this is a perfect example of getting pleasure ut of another person’s pain. This woman feels that she is inferior to these poor children, so she decides that she might as well mock their suffering while having some “fun” with it. This woman only cares about herself, and (whether the children see it or not), is rubbing it in the natives’ faces that she has a pleasant life while they are struggling. The fact that she would use the children’s poverty and misery to amuse herself revolts me. How could this woman be so uncaring about these people? And then how could she dare to take it a step further by scoffing at their destitution. “Why, but why should I bless Him? In every fiber I rebelled. Because He had thousands of children burned in His pits? Because He kept six crematories working night and day, on Sundays and feast days? Because in His great might He had created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many factories of death? How could I say to Him: ‘Blessed art Thou, Eternal, Master of the Universe, Who chose us from among the races to be tortured day and night, to see our fathers, our mothers, our brothers, end in the crematory? ” (44)| This quote, to me, represents lost hope in the last belief that the Jews have left. What do they have to be grateful for if their God, their Master of the Universe, has let them down? What do they have to be thankful for? What then are you living for? The Jewish people living in the camps still prayed to their God daily, because it was the only thing they felt like they still could do, still had some control over. Many of the people still whole-heartedly believed that the Gods were still with them, on their side, just putting them through some agonizing test to study how they react.
The other side of this is that since so much misfortune had been cast upon these people, I can see why the few (like Wiesel) might be mad at God, and choose not to pray to Him anymore. They might think that their God had switched sides, and and even wanted them all gone. Whichever way you think about it, God played a huge role in the fate of the Jews. It’s what killed the Jews, yet it also keeps them alive. | Survival in harsh conditions- “The commandant announced that we had already covered forty-two miles since we left. It was a long time since we had passed beyond the limits of fatigue.
Our legs were moving mechanically, in spite of us, without us. ” (58)| Throughout Wiesel’s journey from start to finish, Wiesel had to battle nature’s fierce elements. He described a time when all the inmates had to go through the showers, only to be driven out into the cold. They were stark naked and it was 30 or 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Another would be the death march. Wiesel marched through the snow and wind gusts. | “We stayed motionless, petrified. Surely it was all a nightmare? An unimaginable nightmare? ” (20)| In these short sentences, Elie Wiesel describes how all of this seemed like a nightmare.
A nightmare that you cannot wake up from. He makes the horrors of the Holocaust more understandable to us by relating it to a nightmare. We can imagine our worst nightmare, and imagine if it really was true? If it wasn’t a nightmare, but real life? It’s unbelievable. Elie Wiesel was standing in a line in a concentration camp, a boy of fifteen. The line led to death, to his grave. He was in line for the crematory. The smell of human flesh in the air. How could we imagine such a sight? It can’t. The only thing that can be is perhaps our worst nightmare. | “I’ve got more faith in Hitler than in anyone else.
He’s the only one who’s kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people. ” (53)| This quote is definitely one of the more memorable ones from this book. When people started losing sight of their God in the camps, because He had not been listening to their prayers or something, they didn’t have faith anymore that He would follow through with anything. Unlike this, Hitler was always carrying out his promises to the Jews. He promised that they would be put in concentration camps. He promised that they most would be killed. He promised that they all would suffer.
And so in this sense, people had more faith in what he said, because they knew that whatever he said would be the truth, and he would make it happen. | “Someone began to recite Kaddish, the prayer for the dead. I do not know if it has ever happened before, in the long history of the Jews, that people have ever recited the prayer for the dead for themselves. ” (22)| People don’t recite Kaddish for themselves in Jewish law, even when they know they’re about to die. They know that their family friends, and the rabbi will recite it for them. But in the Holocaust, the people knew that they were going to die.
Everyone shared the same fate. Many had no one else to recite Kaddish for them. Reciting the Kaddish for themselves made them feel better because who will care enough to recite Kaddish for them? Their family was dying too. They couldn’t recite Kaddish for them. | “Death wrapped itself around me till I was stifled. It stuck to me. I felt that I could touch it. The idea of dying, of no longer being, began to fascinate me. Not to exist any longer. ” (58)| Elie is beginning to reach his breaking point. Death has come for him but has continued to fail. However, now, Elie is too tired to run, too tired to fight.
Death is considered a gift to him. An escape from the hellish camp. | “I did not believe him myself. I would often sit with him in the evening after the service, listening to his stories and trying to hardest to understand his grief. I felt only pity for him. ” (3)| | “In the wagon where the bread had landed, a real battle had broken out. Men threw themselves on top of each other, stamping on each other, tearing at each other, biting each other. Wild beasts of prey, with animal hatred in their eyes; an extraordinary vitality had seized them, sharpening their teeth and nails. (67)| I think there is a level of desperation in which one loses sight of their humanity and turns to being instead a savage animal, as can be proven from this situation. To kill over a crust of bread? These people were getting so desperate to survive, they would do anything to keep themselves alive, even if it meant killing others in the same situation. This relates back to Hobbes theory of human nature, and that it is that every one is cruel and barbaric at heart. I don’t believe we are all this way by choice, but then when things get tough, we have no choice but to do what’s in our own best interest. “The race towards death had begun. ” (6)| Elie was aware of everything that was going on. He knew that every action and every word they said would count against them if they did something wrong. He knew that from that point on that everything was a competition and they had to be prepared whether they lived or not. | | | | | “We were the masters of nature, masters of the world. We had transcended everything–death, fatigue, our natural needs. We were stronger than cold and hunger, stronger than the guns and the desire to die, doomed and rootless, nothing but numbers, we were the only men on earth. (58)| To be able to bring this empowering, inspiring, quote into the story was very uplifting to read. To realize that Wiesel still, at this terrible time, thought of the Jews as the most powerful people he had ever known was so moving. He realized that these people who had been beaten, murdered, and tortured, were still standing for something so important, and that in the end, they would prevail. Because good always does. They were the strongest men alive. | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | Pg 30 top of page| |
Choose one question from the in-class discussion and elaborate on your thoughts and reactions, directly referencing the readings at least once. Then, discuss a comment that was made in class – do you agree or disagree with this comment, and why? Your response should be 2 paragraphs in length or a minimum of 200 words.
Question – Allen(1996)explainsthatFeministStandpointtheoryaimstouncoverand explain women’s experiences so that they can contribute to knowledge like men do. How do you think that we can maintain the separation between men and women’s experiences while still constructing universal knowledge?
Understanding the balance of what people are comfortable with and can do for their safety and equating that not all people who are uncomfortable are the same
Muted group theory- women don’t have the language to express what we want to say some of the time, policies aren’t made for women
Empowering women to speak up could be very beneficial to help with the collaboration between men and women, having a safe place for everyone to lay out what you feel
No gender is homogenous (not all men feel like they can fight someone if it comes down to it, etc.)
We aren’t being socialized to account for each other’s differences and compromise on those differences (basic power dynamics)
Positions and scripts (not only gender but also social), and the way we see each other and can handle, it should be subconsciously happening sometimes
Support each other when you aren’t the most comfortable, understand even though you may not experience the same thing, but realizing that people have experiences and helping to accommodate them
Men have the power dynamic to help women if they can and use it if they have to. The differences are a good thing, knowledge and gender are socially constructed
Book chapter 5 are attached