Moral Dilemmas Faced By Jewish Leaders

2408 words - 10 pages

All around the world, every minute of everyday someone encounters a moral dilemma whether it is minuscule or monumental. Going against ones religious or moral beliefs can be problematic; it may in fact be so moving that it causes one to reexamine their entire thought process.
Before the Holocaust, Hitler campaigned in Germany with promises that Germany will be great again, people took these promises like candy and followed his every word. Soon they were so loyal to Hitler that they never stood up for the innocent people being murdered. Many tentatively followed each order shouted at them. When told to kill, they killed; when told to scare, they scared; when told to harm, they harmed. Each order had the same response with the occasional bout of deviation.
The Milgram experiment shows us that when one comes face to face with an authority figure that the authority figures always win. During the Milgram experiment people were classified as “teachers” and “students”. The students would answer the teacher’s questions and if they give the wrong response, the teacher would deliver an electric shock. Statistics show that sixty-five percent of the “teachers” delivered the maximum shock of four-hundred and fifty volts with persuasion from the experimenter. This shows that when one was faced with a moral dilemma if an authority figure is present that the person will most likely go along with what they order. Hitler was this authority figure and people made decisions based on his orders. The Jewish people however followed the suggestions of their religious leaders or beliefs. Many Jewish leaders faced moral dilemmas and made the correct decisions. Several helped others survive, denied Nazi orders in order to protect their loved ones, and made life or death decisions to protect themselves or another persons well being. Regardless of ones age during the Holocaust, so many were faced with unbelievable ethical dilemmas.
Crisis situations and heavy consciences
Times before the Holocaust wasn’t easy for the German people; World War I had left Germany in an economic depression. People at the time had been searching at all angles for a scapegoat. Adolf Hitler gave them one: The Jewish people. Gradually Hitler and his unforgettable Nazi party worked their way up the mass murder of the Jewish “race” and toward the “master race” known as Aryans. Whilst many disagreed with what was happening, most feared rebellion as if it was the Anti-Christ. The Jewish people turned to their religious leaders; those who were brave and interested in fighting back turned to rebellion leaders. Some disagreed with the Nazi party’s actions yet took part in Nazi tyranny. Others would rather have faced death than carry out an order for a deportation. When placed in a crisis situation psychology shows us that people jump towards any decision in order to escape.
Being placed in a crisis moment is difficult, it may in fact cause a person to challenge their own morals, allow a person to...

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