How did the camp's captives feel about resistance in terms of how they viewed one another?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of Fenelon's most interesting points is that she displays life in the camps in a very honest manner.  Rather than embracing the sense of solidarity and sense collectivity against their oppressors, Fenelon's narrative actually shows how many of the victims have actually absorbed the same denigrating and dehumanizing language and attitudes that have emboldened the Nazis and the Holocaust, in the first place.  The social stratification that comforted many into believing that they would never be "selected" as targets of the Nazis is evident in how so many view one another.  Those who were not Jewish resented those who were Jewish because, in their minds, the latter is the reason why the former is in the camp, in the first place.  The Anti- Semitism that this generated becomes part of the reason why the latter resents the former.  The captives who "looked non- Jewish" were resented by those who did look "Jewish."  Fenelon articulates how these divisions are in the musical composition group, in the element that could conceivably provide some level of unity.  In this depiction, the reality of how those who have been dehumanized by the Nazis end up absorbing and replicating these same tactics to rob their own fellow captives of their own dignity.  Fenelon's depiction of this reality is painful, but reflects how the true horror of the Holocaust is not the behavior of the Nazis as much as how easy it was to appropriate their own hateful persona.


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