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Psychology Of A Bystander In The Holocaust

948 words - 4 pages

Bystanding played as one of the largest roles in the Holocaust (Evans, Carrell). Even though everyone played it safe for way too long (Bystanders), the world has learned from this and we want to make sure it never happens again (Shriver Jr., Donald W). If the individuals, governments, and countries would have stood up for what they knew was right, the Holocaust would have ended before it did. Just like society now, we don't care about something if it doesn't directly impact us.
A lot of bystanders tried to stay ignorant to everything that was going on during the Holocaust. Some knew what was going on but chose to look past it because they were scared of what the consequences would be if they did get involved (Florida Center for Instructional Technology). A large majority of society, especially Germans, stood back and did nothing because it wasn’t affecting them or their families on a personal level, so they truly do not care (Dan Bar-On). Different countries, world leaders, and everyday people can be considered bystanders. America itself has a reputation of staying away from big events like in the case of the Rwandan genocide (Stay the Hand of Vengeance).
When outsiders did finally become conscious of what was going on, it was too late (The Holocaust Resource Center). Many lives were lost and a large portion of the Jewish society faced mass destruction.
Some bystanders ignored what was going on even though they had perfect knowledge of it. A lot of the bystanders say they were just minding their own business (Bystander in Relation) but according to Raul Hilberg, they had all of the clues right in front of them and made the choice to look past it. Many saw the horrors then went right back to their dinners because they didn’t truly care (Bystanders). People that lived near the concentration camps remember the stench they smelled in the air from flesh burning as well as ashes and hair and bone fragments in the streets (Bystanders and Upstanders 15). Railroad employees also claimed to not know what was going on even though they maintained records and knew the tickets were one way (Bystanders and Upstanders 2). Bystanders that ignored the Holocaust until it was too late may have caused more damage than if they would have done something.
The response to the Holocaust was very scarce and extremely late. Most bystanders played it safe for way too long (Princeton University Press). As Carrel Evans says the United states was trying to come back together after great depression and there were so many outsiders and Jews to take care of. Although, we could’ve done more in the means of giving them places to go for safety (Stay the Hand of Vengeance). America usually stays away from military intervention for big events like this and there’s always a pattern...

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