"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest."
"Not to transmit an experience is to betray it."
"Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds."
"I decided to devote my life to telling the story because I felt that having survived I owe something to the dead. and anyone who does not remember betrays them again."
"I write to understand as much as to be understood."
Affirmation and encouragement are a plus, but remember that the bulk of your posts and responses to one another should address the subject matter of the week and its impact on your learning.
In the pre-writing stage, you are advised to use KWL charts (What you knew. What you wanted to know. What you learned.), your daily reflection journals, and tree maps to generate and organize your content.
Remember that you must Tell. Tell. Tell. Type your draft into a Word Document. Edit for focus and conventions (spelling and grammar). Then, and ONLY THEN, post.
Each time you write an entry, consider the above quotes of Elie Wiesel, survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp. How are your words combating genocide? How are they attaining the quality of deeds? How are you gaining understanding...being understood?
***As it is an academic site, this is not a forum for evangelizing or criticizing the faith of others. Respect for diversity is to be adhered to at all times.
This week has left me questioning my values on forgiveness and loyalty. I have found myself questioning my values on forgiveness because of The Sunflower, a book we are reading in class. I started questioning loyalty when we began discussing the Jewish people who disguised themselves as Nazis and had to kill their fellow man for their own survival. Lastly, I found the "Nazi Olympics" very interesting and was glad that we did a fact search on it.
The most interesting thing to think about this week is our debate question, "Should Simon Wiesenthal forgive the Nazi soldier?" We have to go through the book Sunflower and find evidence for whether he should and for whether he should not. I do not want to personally take a side until we have finished the book. My usual stance on the topic of forgiveness is "forgive, but never forget," and I am worried because I've realized that I'm very biased against the Nazi soldier. It is difficult to take an unbiased approach to the question when I've made it a point to take the atrocities against the Jewish people personally. Without reading the book, my immediate thought was "how dare he ask forgiveness." But, that is my biased view on Nazi soldiers coming out, and I am trying to look at him as a "human" and not a "Nazi." I have to question his intent in asking for forgiveness. Is he asking Simon for forgiveness, or is he asking Simon to stand as one voice for every Jewish person and forgive him for the Jewish people? I feel like he is still belittling the people he has murdered because he is trying to take away their right to forgive him. Is he hoping that by asking the main character for forgiveness he will not have to stand in front of everyone he has harmed and face the wrath of a collective group after death? Is he using the main character as a means to secure himself a happy afterlife? I feel like his mentality is still "one Jew is the same as another," so if he can get Simon to forgive him, he is forgiven by the people he helped slaughter. I do not trust his intent, but I am not going to make a complete decision right now. I'll wait until we finish the book and try to get rid of my biases so that I can make a logical and fair decision.
Another decision I had to think about this week would be whether or not I would put my own life above my family and people. We talked about Jewish people who looked Aryan and made their way into the Nazi ranks. Uri from Milkweed was an example of one of these such people, and I was made to wonder whether or not it was a cowardly decision. To become a Nazi you would have to abandon your family and kill your own people. Is life that important? Would your life really be worth it any more if you had to deal with the knowledge that you were a traitor to your own people? But, is that better than rotting in a concentration camp and watching everyone you love die and have to fight for survival. Those that are your "people" would probably betray you just as easily in a concentration camp. It's a dog-eat-dog mentallity to take when your deciding to betray a fellow Jew before they can have the chance to betray you, but it is the mentallity many probably took. If you look like an Aryan and choose not to take advantage of it then are you making an unwise decision? Is it cowardly to abandon your family, or is it cowardly to rot with your family and not take a step towards your own survival? It really boils down to how selfish you are and how much emphasis you put on your own survival. The way I categorize it in my mind is by the houses in Harry Potter. A Slytherin would be the type of person to join the Nazi ranks. They are not necessarily "evil" people, but they are ambitious people and put themselves first. Uri was smart, selfish, and did what he could for his own survival. Does this make him evil? I cannot answer that yet because I still have not grasped whether or not one should view their own life as more important than other people's lives. I don't know if I should devalue my own life and put others above myself. It seems like all the righteous and great martyrs of the world do this, and it is treasured as one of the highest attributes one could obtain. But, I think the people who can break emotional ties and go through that much trouble for their own survival are strong as well. I do not know what is right in this situation.
The last thing I want to talk about is the Nazi Olympics. In 1936, Germany hosted the olympics in Berlin. A very interesting thing I found was, "In anticipation of both the Winter Olympics and the Summer Games, Hitler directed that signs stating "Jews not wanted" and similar slogans should be removed from primary traffic arteries. In some places, however, anti-Jewish signs remained visible." "Also in preparation for the arrival of Olympic spectators, Nazi officials ordered that foreign visitors should not be subjected to the criminal strictures of the Nazi anti-homosexual laws." (ushmm.com) Der sturmer was also removed from concession (it was still published though) and over 800 Gypsies were rounded up and put in a camp away from Berlin in preparation for the games. The Nazi's tried to disguise the conditions of their country and put up the facade of a peaceful nation. Many were duped by this, and a New York Times reporter even commmented in an article that the Games put Germans "back in the fold of nations," and even made them "more human again." For anyone wanting to read even more on the Nazi olympics http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/olympics/detail.php?content=august_1936&lang=en
had alot of useful information that I found interesting. I'm alittle disgusted with this poorly-disguised cover up and concerned for the people who fell for it. It even said that not all the signs were taken down, so I can only wonder if Hitler had some magic supernatural quality to him. He charmed an entire nation and then ingratiated himself in the minds of not just his country, but the minds of the countries who participated in the olympics as well; even with evidence against him.
To conclude, this week has left me with a lot of questions to ponder and sort through. My values are constantly challenged in this class, and I am glad for it. With all this stretching of thought, I can honestly say what I believe when I finally come to a conclusion. I've been questioning forgiveness and loyalty a lot this week, and I've also done some research on the Nazi Olympics. I'm excited for the conclusion of The Sunflower and a little nervous to start the debate. I can't wait to see what my classmates have to say, and I"m looking forward to next week!
Moss, I'm so glad you wrote about being biased toward the Nazi soldier. As we've read The Sunflower, I too have been critical towards Karl, and I've thought extensively about how I think he doesn't derserve forgiveness. All this time I've been thinking of him as strictly a Nazi, a monster; not a human being. I haven't even considered his emotions as a human being, how scared he must be. Thank you for opening my eyes towards my own prejudices! Now I'll be able to read the book and hopefully see all points of view.
Molly, I agree with what you said. When I read this book I was automatically against him. I saw him as a demon and as a person that should have no forgiveness. But then again, I also have to think about that fact that he is also human and deserves human treatment. I also have thought about, and related this to the point about Hitler brainwashing and transforming his soldiers into something else.