Saturday, July 20, 2019
Hong 1 Rebecca Hong Ms. Geers English 10H/4 17 January 2014 People Make Choices, Choices Make History The five major types of people involved in any genocide or human rights abuse---perpetrators, victims, bystanders, rescuers, and upstanders---all shape history. PeopleÃ¢â¬â¢s choices are always hugely influential in historical events, and the Holocaust is no exception. The perpetrators of the Holocaust were arguably the most influential of the five types of people. They were able to get millions of Germans to turn a blind eye to millions of crimes against humanity. By taking advantage of historical Jewish oppression, utilizing propaganda and censorship to create a strong dominant discourse preaching anti-Semitism in Germany, and creating various us-them mentalities, the perpetrators of the Holocaust changed the identities of bystanders, shaped their choices, and changed history. Bystanders were one of the most pivotal groups of the Holocaust. As Elie Wiesel reminds us, Ã¢â¬Å"The victims perished not only because of the killers, but also because of the apathy of the bystanderÃ¢â¬ ¦Those who perished were victims of Nazism and of societyÃ¢â¬ (Why Were There So Few). For the most part, German civilians turned a blind eye, allowing the Holocaust to happen. As a German bystander later recalled, Ã¢â¬Å"If I had refused to take the oath [of loyalty] in 1935, it would have meant that thousands and thousands like me, all over Germany, were refusing to take it. Their refusal would have heartened millions. Thus, the regime would have been overthrown, or, indeed, would never have come to power in the first placeÃ¢â¬ ¦Thousands, hundreds of Hong 2 thousandsÃ¢â¬ ¦were also unprepared [to resist]Ã¢â¬ ¦Thus, the world was lostÃ¢â¬ (Do You Take the Oath?). How could milli... ...zens were capable of standing by in the face of genocide. Anti-Semitism was everywhere, and censorship meant that dissent was nowhere to be found. The identities of bystanders changed; the constant propaganda forced Nazi ideology into their identities. As Holocaust survivor Garmaine Pitchon stated, Ã¢â¬Å"I donÃ¢â¬â¢t hate the Germans. The Germans are good people. The only people I hate are Hitler and MengeleÃ¢â¬ ¦they killed my familyÃ¢â¬ (Auschwitz, Evil at Play). The perpetrators of the Holocaust are ultimately the ones who corrupted civilians and turned them into bystanders. The perpetrators bombarded the German citizens with propaganda until they Ã¢â¬Å"internalized Nazi allegationsÃ¢â¬ ¦[and] excluded entire groups from their universe of obligationÃ¢â¬ (Vashem), giving in to the dominant discourse of the time. The perpetrators successfully brainwashed millions, in order to kill millions more.