Caption for photo: I got this photo from a quote site entitlted http://www.funnyuse.com/ (although the quote in the photo is entirely serious and not funny). I think this is applicable to the reading because we need to be able to prevent awful events like the Holocaust from happening again. We can only stop terrible events from happening in the future if we know how to recognize the signs of prejudice and wrongdoing from the study of past tragedies.
Reading about this period of time around the world always saddens me. It is not a happy subject to talk about or study, but it is necessary that we do so in order to understand how things are now. We need to understand all of the political and social events that lead to this genocide where thousands of innocent people were denied the joy of life.
This is really heart-wrenching for me to read, because being of Jewish ethnicity, if I was born in the wrong place at the wrong time, that easily could have been me. Even if I wasn’t a practicing Jew, the size of my nose could have matched the measurements of what was considered to be a “Jew nose” and I would be sent off to a large-scale death camp.
Jews have been the scapegoat so many times throughout history and it appears as though, from what we’ve studied, they never really had the time or chance to prove themselves to the majority of the population. Clearing out Jews with the purpose of “racial hygiene” seems like an ignorant statement in my opinion. In my sociology class last Semester, we were taught that the term “race” is a socially constructed idea. We are all one race, the human race. If you were to cut us open and look at our insides, you could not tell the difference between and Aryan and a Jew. Experimenting, starving, and torturing someone who may have lived down the block from you a few years back seems like it would be impossible to justify.
In Wiesel’s words, we need to realize that “other people’s tragedies are our tragedies.” We all all affected somehow by these disasters and it’s important to acknowledge them and realize that it’s not acceptable. If we try to “forgive and forget” and leave our past behind us, we may not see a storm brewing in the future that could cause similar events.