The Tragedy Of The Holocaust Essays

The Tragedy Of The Holocaust Essays

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Still today, society seeks to make everyone either an enemy or victim, and once this perception is established, it often becomes an inescapable reality. When a person wants to state forcefully that someone is evil, they often call him or her a “Nazi.” Likewise, when a person thinks of a minority that has been victimized in modern times, they likely think of the Jews during the Holocaust. But the truth is somewhat different. In reality, “the Holocaust is both at the root of the extraordinary revival of Jewish life after the genocide and the cause of the deep anxiety and bewilderment that characterizes much of postwar Jewish thought and creativity” (Bartov 800). There are Jews who experience great guilt about not knowing the extent to which the Nazis would go in order to eradicate their people. They feel as though they could have fought back and prevented some of what had happened. Even more so, offspring of Holocaust survivors experience shame for their family’s part in the Holocaust. “Holocaust survivors are eternal victims, void of any recourse” (Bartov 815). Unlike war veterans who are commemorated for their participation, survivors of the Holocaust are not seen as heroes. There is nothing “heroic” about being a victim, although some may have acted just as bravely as men on the battlefield.
This “guilt” has given rise to Israel’s current powerful, well-trained military with mandatory conscription of citizens including women. “Israeli society found it much easier to deal with the image of the Jew as resister and fighter, even if he or she ended up as a victim, than with the Jew as the victim of another 's perception, irrespective of his or her actions” (Bartov 805). Despite Israeli efforts to change the perception of the Jews, m...


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... Instead, it should be understood that “there are other ways to view reality” (Bartov 816). There is no question that the Holocaust is among the most evil chapters in the history of the world. It has had the greatest effect on how much of the world perceives war and genocide. Without the perception of the Nazis as the iconic enemy of all time, the Jews would not be seen as the ultimate victims. But as Omer Bartov states in his closing remarks, humanity must “study what this manner of perceiving the world had wrought on humanity in the past” (Bartov 816). By being obsessed with defining enemies and victims, we cloud our vision of the real circumstances, of the real world in which we live. These labels are damaging and a burden to those who carry them. Ultimately they are destructive because they act to separate countries and people in a way that cannot be overcome.



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