Did the Jews in "Night" play an inadvertant role in their own destruction?Did the Jews play an inadvertant role in their own destruction?

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hilahmarca's profile pic

hilahmarca | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

In the same way people fail to heed warnings and flee their home before an inpending natural disaster, such as a hurricane, the Jews did play an inadvertant part in their own death.

When the foreign Jews were deported, the Jews should have took immediate action.  Their apathy set a precedent for all the non Jews, who also sat around and did nothing when the homeland Jews were expelled.  Throughout the Holocaust, the majority of people in Europe, not to mention the United States itself, took the position that as long as they are not being targeted, there is no need to take any action.  Of course, genocides and crimes against humanity need to be recognized and acted on by everyone to ensure everyone's present and future safety.  Unfortunately, even the Jews outside of Germany and Poland were guilty of turning a blind eye until it was too late. 

ask996's profile pic

ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

Are you kidding me? That would be like saying a woman who wears a sexy dress asked to be raped. No one but the perpetrators played a part in the Holocaust. The victims were just that-victims. Did they heed warnings-no, but that does not have any relevance to the travesties perpetrated upon them.

auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

They absolutely did; however, in all fairness, though, who would have believed the atrocities we discovered later could be true?  Who could possibly believe anyone, let alone any large group of people, would hate you enough to want you dead--and tortured before you die?  Who could have seen the gradual slide to destruction as it happened, something so easy to see with the benefit of hindsight?  I don't blame them, but they were, to some degree, willing participants in their own demise.

charcunning's profile pic

charcunning | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted on

Yes, in some ways they did. Although it is not their fault they were targeted, Weisel indirectly blames them for not taking action in spite of the warning they received.

When Moishe returns and tells his story of the atrocities he witnessed, the town chose not to believe him. Instead, they continued on with daily life.

Also, their naivite--their belief that everything will be fine in just a minute or two--put blinders over their eyes; they could not, WOULD not, see the truth even when they were being herded like cattle.

It's hard to say what they could have done differently; how can a small town of otherwise peaceful people stand up to the SS? But when news arrived of danger ahead there should have been more action and less belief in the positives.

Hindsight is always 20/20.

ms-mcgregor's profile pic

ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The Jews of Sighet had plenty of warning that destruction was coming. Moshe the Beadle was expelled from the village and then returns. He tell the villagers that the rest of the Jews who were expelled from Sighet were killed. No one believes him and eventually he simply stops warning them. Then the German troops arrive and set up two Jewish ghettos and finally tell the Jews they, too will be "evacuated". By this time, it is too late.

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